Police ‘failing to deal’ with human trafficking misery

 

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Most victims of human trafficking are being ignored because police continue to focus on large-scale trade organised by criminal gangs, a new report claims.

The majority of people trafficked are brought into this country on their own or in groups of two or three and are left open to abuse, according to the study.

Those who do summon the courage to seek help from the police or councils find themselves turned away or not believed.

The research by London Assembly member Andrew Boff suggested concentrating on organised trafficking gangs allowed many cases to slip through the net.

Mr Boff highlighted several cases including three London police stations turning away a man who escaped from his traffickers.

Mr Boff said: ‘My research shows that there is total denial that the trafficking and sex grooming of boys exists, and this can be linked to the social stigmas attached to being a male victim as well as the stereotypes of being a man.

‘Labour trafficking cases will soon overtake sex trafficking cases and yet this serious form of exploitation is also downgraded by the authorities.’

A Home Office report on organised crime published this month said the human trafficking trade is worth an estimated £130million nationwide. Some estimates put the number of victims in Britain as high as 4,000.

Theresa May blog: An abhorrent evil in our capital

Figures from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency show there were 389 cases potential trafficking cases so far this year but just 36 were picked up by the Metropolitan Police, according to Mr Boff.

His report claimed the Met’s anti-trafficking unit is overstretched and there is a target driven culture in the force.

Mr Boff said human trafficking was ‘a very complex crime’ with many hidden and informal cases, which could mean domestic trafficking of Nigerian children under the guise of informal fostering, the exploitation of Latin Americans in the au pair industry, and the sex grooming of British boys on the internet.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said it was ‘disappointed’ with the report’s conclusions.

The force insisted it took a proactive approach and ‘responds to and builds up intelligence’.

Writing for Metro, home secretary Theresa May described equated human trafficking to modern-day slavery and described it as ‘the evil in our midst’.

 

 

 

source:  http://metro.co.uk/2013/10/14/police-failing-to-deal-with-human-trafficking-misery-4144814/

Published in: on October 14, 2013 at 2:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Raising awareness for human trafficking

The Marquette Branch of the American Association of University of Women hosted a meeting to raise awareness about human trafficking Thursday night.

There have been reports of human trafficking in the Upper Peninsula, including Ironwood.  One of the reason the U.P. has seen reports is because it’s so isolated.

Michigan as a whole is one of the top five states in the country where trafficking is exploding.  Michigan borders Canada and has a large tourism industry, two factors that increase the abundance of human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery,” Sexual Assault Advocate at the Women’s Center Kelly Laakso said.  “We tell people that slavery never really ended with the Emancipation Proclamation, it really just transformed itself moving on into today.”

“Human trafficking is basically someone–a trafficker–exploiting somebody else–the victim– for some sort of service or some sort of benefit.  Whether that’s labor trafficking or as popular culture would have popularized it, sex trafficking,” Youth Advocate for Harbor House Amy Kordus said.

One of the first steps to prevent human trafficking is to learn to identify the victim.

“Looking for (for example) if someone doesn’t have access to their identification, if they don’t have possessions that are in their control, if they’re accompanied by somebody who insists on telling a story all the time, if they’re telling you a story all the time that they’re a student or that they’re here on a visa or a tourist and there’s a lot of inconsistencies in their stories,” Kordus said.

“If you’re falling under the myths and misconceptions that it’s not here, then we don’t know to look for the victims of trafficking,” Laakso said.  “And really, stopping human trafficking starts with victim identification.”

“A lot times, these crimes are happening behind more obvious crimes you might think about,” Kordus said.  “If there’s a situation with zone ordinance or kidnapping or all sorts of criminal charges that people are more familiar with, there could be elements of human trafficking.”

“If there’s more of an awareness in the community we can push behind and look behind those crimes to look and see what’s happening.”

Kordus and Laakso say if people see anything suspicious or think they see a victim of human trafficking, people should call their local law enforcement agency.

For more information on human trafficking awareness, visit the Women’s Center website, or the Office of the Administration for Children & Families website.

http://youtube/R8dAx0mfiqs

 

source: http://abc10up.com/raising-awareness-human-trafficking/

The Marquette Branch of the American Association of University of Women hosted a meeting to raise awareness about human trafficking Thursday night.

There have been reports of human trafficking in the Upper Peninsula, including Ironwood.  One of the reason the U.P. has seen reports is because it’s so isolated.

Michigan as a whole is one of the top five states in the country where trafficking is exploding.  Michigan borders Canada and has a large tourism industry, two factors that increase the abundance of human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery,” Sexual Assault Advocate at the Women’s Center Kelly Laakso said.  “We tell people that slavery never really ended with the Emancipation Proclamation, it really just transformed itself moving on into today.”

“Human trafficking is basically someone–a trafficker–exploiting somebody else–the victim– for some sort of service or some sort of benefit.  Whether that’s labor trafficking or as popular culture would have popularized it, sex trafficking,” Youth Advocate for Harbor House Amy Kordus said.

One of the first steps to prevent human trafficking is to learn to identify the victim.

“Looking for (for example) if someone doesn’t have access to their identification, if they don’t have possessions that are in their control, if they’re accompanied by somebody who insists on telling a story all the time, if they’re telling you a story all the time that they’re a student or that they’re here on a visa or a tourist and there’s a lot of inconsistencies in their stories,” Kordus said.

“If you’re falling under the myths and misconceptions that it’s not here, then we don’t know to look for the victims of trafficking,” Laakso said.  “And really, stopping human trafficking starts with victim identification.”

“A lot times, these crimes are happening behind more obvious crimes you might think about,” Kordus said.  “If there’s a situation with zone ordinance or kidnapping or all sorts of criminal charges that people are more familiar with, there could be elements of human trafficking.”

“If there’s more of an awareness in the community we can push behind and look behind those crimes to look and see what’s happening.”

Kordus and Laakso say if people see anything suspicious or think they see a victim of human trafficking, people should call their local law enforcement agency.

For more information on human trafficking awareness, visit the Women’s Center website, or the Office of the Administration for Children & Families website

Lake County commissioners expressed support for a local task force fighting human trafficking in the area at Tuesday’s county board meeting.

The task force was started to raise awareness of human and sex trafficking in the area, and its members approached Commissioner Brad Jones to ask if the county would be willing to commit funds toward a billboard. The advertisement would aim to raise awareness of trafficking and point victims toward helpful resources, Jones said.

“These things have happened in our area. It’s frightening. I think it behooves us to do what we can to help these organizations out,” Commissioner Rich Sve said.

Sve said they would ask a representative from the task force to come to a future board meeting to explain the billboard and its purpose in more depth.

Two Harbors Public Library director Michele Monson appeared before the board to ask for support for more library renovations. Recently, with county support, carpet was replaced in the building and Monson said she hoped the board would help with a project to install a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. She said the current system is outdated.

“It looks like something out of a 1950s movie,” Monson said.

Jones said the outdated system has been a nagging problem, as parts become impossible to find and repairs become more difficult to make.

“It has been an ongoing struggle for several years,” he said.

The board agreed they would consider the requests in upcoming budget talks.

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– See more at: http://www.twoharborsmn.com/event/article/id/25542/#sthash.SfKBK711.dpuf

Lake County commissioners expressed support for a local task force fighting human trafficking in the area at Tuesday’s county board meeting.

The task force was started to raise awareness of human and sex trafficking in the area, and its members approached Commissioner Brad Jones to ask if the county would be willing to commit funds toward a billboard. The advertisement would aim to raise awareness of trafficking and point victims toward helpful resources, Jones said.

“These things have happened in our area. It’s frightening. I think it behooves us to do what we can to help these organizations out,” Commissioner Rich Sve said.

Sve said they would ask a representative from the task force to come to a future board meeting to explain the billboard and its purpose in more depth.

Two Harbors Public Library director Michele Monson appeared before the board to ask for support for more library renovations. Recently, with county support, carpet was replaced in the building and Monson said she hoped the board would help with a project to install a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. She said the current system is outdated.

“It looks like something out of a 1950s movie,” Monson said.

Jones said the outdated system has been a nagging problem, as parts become impossible to find and repairs become more difficult to make.

“It has been an ongoing struggle for several years,” he said.

The board agreed they would consider the requests in upcoming budget talks.

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– See more at: http://www.twoharborsmn.com/event/article/id/25542/#sthash.SfKBK711.dpuf

Modern Slavery in Europe

Human trafficking is the 21st century’s modern form of slavery, and it concerns the entire European Union. Trafficking in human beings is an extremely profitable business for organized crime and can take different forms of exploitation; from sexual exploitation and illegal adoption to forced labor, domestic work, illegal trade in human organs and begging. Human trafficking can target men and women as well as girls and boys of different nationalities, relying on threats, fraud, deception, and different forms of coercion and abduction.

 

The question to address is how to overcome this dramatic phenomenon and what measures to take to diminish the number of victims in the EU in general, but particularly in the Eastern Partnership countries.

 

Very often the root of this phenomenon lies in economic disparity, lack of opportunities and employment, poverty, gender inequality and discrimination. Today, unemployment particularly affects women who, striving to survive in their home countries, take up and leave their homes in search for work and a better life elsewhere. Their helplessness can be exploited by traffickers looking to sell cheap labor abroad.

 

Lithuania has become the most important country for transit between Eastern and Central Europe, as well as a destination country for women and girls subjected to human trafficking. Lithuanian women are victims of sex trafficking in Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, Sweden, Finland and Norway. Women from Eastern bloc countries are transported from these countries through Lithuania to Western Europe, with about 12 percent of them remaining and working as prostitutes in Lithuania. Once they are entangled in the prostitution business in Lithuania, they suffer from discriminations and sexual exploitation before perhaps being trafficked onwards to Western Europe.

 

Lithuania is trying to combat all forms of human trafficking and to protect the rights of victims. The government has strengthened anti-trafficking laws, but large challenges still remain.

 

Anti-trafficking activities undertaken in cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries can help to build networks between Lithuania and other countries in the battle against human trafficking. In November, the Eastern Partnership summit will take place in Vilnius. The countries involved have placed their hopes for commercial integration into the European family on this meeting. However, factors like deficiencies in human rights, the rule of law, the fight against corruption and human trafficking are getting in the way of Eastern Partnership countries’ integration into Europe.

 

To overcome these shortcomings, we need to boost coordinated actions against human trafficking between European Parliament member states and Eastern Partnership countries to cooperate effectively with each other across borders.

 

In Lithuania and other EU member states, as well as in Eastern Partnership countries, the main effort has to go towards raising the population’s awareness and making the profile of the trafficking problem clear and understood. These public awareness actions should target potential adult victims of trafficking and in schools and universities, where they can take different forms like seminars, public lectures and other anti-trafficking events.  My country is undertaking such a public awareness action by filming a movie about a Lithuanian girl who becomes a victim of human trafficking, which will hopefully contribute to understanding the trends of human trafficking both inside and outside a country.

 

Legislation against human trafficking is an effective legal instrument but further coordinated actions among member states and non-EU countries to address the issue must be taken in order to put these legal instruments into practice. These coordinated actions can include the establishment of partnerships and training among government agencies and groups both inside and outside the EU.

 

Despite the implementation of different legislation targeting human trafficking, the working methods of human trafficking can change and can adapt to these legal frameworks and provisions. But a better understanding of the human trafficking phenomena and an effective reaction from citizens can help to diminish its flow. Identifying the extent of the problem in the EU as well as outside can be the key to stemming the increased levels of human trafficking. In Lithuania, Europe and outside the EU it is time for everyone of us to act on each level — local, national and European — in order to eradicate the slavery of the 21st century: human trafficking.

 
 
source:  http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/modern-slavery-in-europe/487603.html#ixzz2hKVIfo00

Published in: on October 10, 2013 at 10:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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In child sex-trafficking case, court says no knowledge of age needed

A federal appeals court held Friday that prosecutors did not need to prove a defendant in a child sex-trafficking case knew his victim was under 18, if the defendant had “reasonable opportunity” to observe the underage victim.

In a case of first impression for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the court rejected a bid by Devon Robinson to overturn his child sex-trafficking conviction. Robinson claimed the government had not proven he was aware that the girl wa s underage at the time of the crime of which he was accused.

Robinson was convicted in 2010 of trafficking a 17-year-old girl. She testified at Robinson’s trial in Brooklyn federal court that he was her boyfriend, not her pimp, and said she told “everybody” at the time that she was 19, according to the ruling.

The jury convicted Robinson of two counts of sex trafficking of a minor, and he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. On appeal, he said the government could not prove he knew the girl’s age and therefore had not proven he recklessly disregarded this information.

Robinson and the government offered competing interpretations of Section 1591 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.

That section was amended in 2008 to enable prosecution to convict someone of child sex trafficking if he had acted in “knowing, or in reckless disregard of the fact … that the person has not attained the age of 18 years and will be caused to engage in a commercial sex act.”

Robinson argued that the government had to prove that he had ample opportunity to observe the girl, and that he had recklessly disregarded her underage status. Prosecutors countered that they only had to prove one or the other.

The 2nd Circuit agreed with the government.

“Viewed in context, the most natural reading of this provision is that proof that the defendant had a reasonable opportunity to observe the victim may substitute for proof that the defendant knew the victim’s underage status,” U.S. Circuit Judge Jose Cabranes wrote in the opinion. He was joined by Judge Chester Straub.

In a brief concurring opinion, Judge Amalya Kearse said she would affirm Robinson’s conviction but was not persuaded by the majority’s interpretation of Section 1591.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn declined to comment. Curtis Farber, an attorney who represented Robinson on appeal and has since been appointed as a judge in the Kings County Criminal Court, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The case is U.S. v. Robinson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, No. 11-301.

For the U.S.: Sylvia Shweder and David James of the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York

 

source:http://newsandinsight.thomsonreuters.com/

Published in: on December 2, 2012 at 3:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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When Victims Become Traffickers

Burmese police announced this week that out of the hundreds of human traffickers they have arrested over the past several years, at least 100 of them were once victims. Sadly, trafficking victims becoming traffickers is not unusual. But what makes a person go from victim to trafficker?

Most of the 100 victims-turned-traffickers were trafficked from Burma into China and Thailand for forced labor, forced prostitution, or forced marriage. Once discovered, they were shipped back to Burma, sometimes deported, and usually with no compensation. Back in Burma, there were no support services for them, no money for counseling or job training, no help with medical bills or education. The lack of support for victims traps them in a vicious cycle. Some people end up trafficked again and again because they cannot break out of that cycle. Others eventually break the cycle, by becoming traffickers themselves.

Victims can turn into traffickers for a number of reasons. For those trafficked as children, there may be no other conceivable industry for them to enter other than the one they were sold into as a child, whether that’s commercial sex, brick making, or domestic service. So as an adult, they follow the only career path they’ve known and recruit other children into the same industry. Others many find that the only model of power in their life is the person who owns and controls them — their trafficker. When they look around for ways to empower themselves, becoming a subjugater of others is all they see. Still others, as is the case with many of the 100 Burmese nationals, may not even realize what they’re engaging in is against the law. They know the trafficking routes, brokers, and bosses from the time they were forced to work. That they should recruit others to do the same thing might feel like the natural extension of their previous “job.”

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Published in: on August 28, 2010 at 10:29 pm  Comments (1)  
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Mom, Grandma Accused of Pimping 14-Year-Old Houston Girl

In a disturbing story out of Houston this week, a 14-year-old girl told the police she was being forced into prostitution. The pimps she named? Her own mother and grandmother. And while the idea of a grandmother as a pimp may be strange to the point of almost comical, familial trafficking of teen girls is far from rare.

Elizabeth Buford, her daughter Alicia Melchor, and her 14-year-old granddaughter lived together in a rented motel room in the Houston area. They paid their rent on time, but the motel soon began to receive complaints from other tenants that there was a steady stream of people going  in and out of the room at all hours of the day and night. When police investigated, they found evidence to indicate Buford and Melchor had been forcing their grand daughter/daughter into prostitution, possibly since she was 11 years old. The money the teen was paid to have sex with several men a night went to support the older women’s drug habit and to pay for basic living expenses.

Melchor claims the forced prostitution charges are a lie, and that her daughter had been in her father’s custody until recently. However, the teen told police her mother and grandmother had been selling her for sex for years. The two women were eventually arrested at the motel where they lived for compelling a minor into prostitution and possession of heroin. No word yet as to whether human trafficking charges will be brought as well.

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New U.K. Study: One in Ten Women in Prostitution Are Slaves

An explosive new report out of the U.K. has estimated that at least one in ten women in prostitution in the country are victims of human trafficking. It also found that at least 15% of migrant women in prostitution are forced or coerced into the trade and up to 40% of them may be exploited just shy of slavery. These findings could help blow the lid off the notion that exploitation and trafficking in commercial sex is rare.

The report called Setting the Record, which was released this week by the Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, used a sampling extrapolation method to estimate the number women in prostitution and the number of human trafficking victims in England and Wales. The results? They found that out of the 30,000 or so women in prostitution in the country, around 2600 are trafficking victims, or just shy of 10%. In addition to those women who are trafficked, researchers found 9600 other women they deemed “vulnerable,” meaning they showed some signs of trafficking and faced cultural or financial factors preventing them from exiting prostitution, but they tended to have day to day control over their activities. Taken together, these estimates indicate that as much as 40% of women in prostitution in the U.K. lack some control of their situation and are at high risk for or in current situations of slavery. You can read the report in full here.

As with any study trying to count human trafficking, this one has some flaws (which the authors readily own). First of all, the study focuses exclusively on organized, off-street prostitution, leaving out any potential trafficking victims in other forms of prostitution, including closed ethnic brothels. Second, the analysis of trafficking appears to have been applied primarily to the 17,000 migrant women in prostitution, leaving out any native trafficking victims. And finally, as with most similar studies of human trafficking, the report only provides estimates based on extrapolated sample data, not actual numbers of victims. Setting the Record has, however, been significantly more transparent about methodology for studying trafficking than many other prominent report-makers. <cough> U.S. Government <cough>.

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Published in: on August 19, 2010 at 11:29 am  Comments (3)  
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How to Protect Children from Trafficking in 3 Easy Steps

If you want to make a difference in the fight against child sex trafficking and have a fun afternoon social networking and shopping at the same time, you’re in luck. That’s because The Body Shop, ECPAT-USA, and The Somaly Mam Foundation have teamed up to give you a way to fight child sex trafficking and protect children in three easy steps.

Their new campaign has a couple of goals. The first is to raise funds for awareness and services for child trafficking survivors and at-risk teens. These services range from basic medical and mental health care, to special services like removing tattoos pimps often use to brand the girls they enslave. The second goal is encouraging every state to pass Safe Harbor Laws, which protects anyone under 18 from being charged, prosecuted or imprisoned for prostitution. Currently, only three states out of 50 have Safe Harbor Laws, and most states still prosecute teens for a crime they aren’t legally able to consent to.

If you’re interested in helping provide services for trafficked kids and supporting the passage of Safe Harbor Laws, here’s what you can do:

1. Sign the petition: Go to the Body Shop’s petition website and add your name to the hundreds of thousands who have already signed. It would be great to get over a million, two million, or even ten million people telling to government to make ending child sex trafficking a priority.

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Local leaders work on solutions for sex trade problems

The Portland metropolitan area has acquired a deplorable reputation nationwide for being a major hub for prostitution and child sex trafficking.

Most people, understandably, don’t want to think that children anywhere in the United States – and especially in Portland and East Multnomah County – are vulnerable to being ensnared by the sex industry. But the problem has become so evident that the Portland area was even featured in a recent Dan Rather television special: “Pornland, Oregon: Child Prostitution in Portland.”

The TV show told viewers something that local law-enforcement officials already knew: Child prostitution is a national problem in the United States. And Portland, due to its location on the Interstate 5 corridor, provides fertile ground for those who make money from the entrapment and abuse of children. In fact, a U.S. Department of Justice study has ranked Portland and Seattle among 12 hub cities where traffickers recruit teenagers for sex work and move them around the country.

The natural reaction to such news is usually denial – and the Portland area has experienced its share of that. But now we are pleased to see that local leaders are moving well beyond simple disavowal of the problem and toward effective solutions.

As reported this week in The Outlook and the Portland Tribune, East Multnomah County Commissioner Diane McKeel is working with others to establish new programs intended to attack prostitution and the exploitation of young women. These initiatives include:

• A $900,000 federal grant announced Thursday by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden that will help establish a shelter for victims of human sex trafficking.

• Another effort, also co-sponsored by Wyden, to secure a federal grant of $2.5 million per year for three years to create six safe houses around the country for girls 12 to 18 years old.

• A new Portland police program that will allow the customers of prostitutes to enter a diversion program – or “john school” – in Gresham, where they will learn about the destructive effects of their behavior.

• A pilot program – proposed by Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman – that would place women seeking to escape their life on the street into private-market units around the city, rather than in one central “safe house.”

Not all of these initiatives directly target child sex trafficking. But taken together, they can begin to uproot the Portland area’s deeply embedded sex industry. Anything that local officials can do to decrease the demand for prostitution and to provide havens for girls and women ensnared by the sex trade will eventually make this a safer community.

McKeel has been a leader on this issue, and for very good reason. It’s embarrassing to be known as one of the sex capitals of the United States – but even more shameful is the knowledge that vulnerable girls are having their lives irreparably damaged when they are lured and entrapped by those whose only intent is to exploit them.

source:http://www.theoutlookonline.com/opinion/story_2nd.php?story_id=128052814612511700

Published in: on August 2, 2010 at 11:06 am  Comments (1)  
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The World’s Oldest Oppression

The trafficking of women and children for purposes of sex has grown exponentially to become a major criminal activity—generating funds of around $12 billion a year, just behind the criminal funds generated by illegal drug and arms sales. The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines trafficking as follows: “The recruitment, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force, or other forms of coercion, or abduction or fraud or deception, or the abuse of power, or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of person having control of another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others, or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

Because it is usually clandestine, precise statistics on sexual trafficking world-wide can be hard to estimate. The United States State Department reckons the number to run, minimally, to about 800,000 yearly. Other estimates (for example, by the Human Rights Law Group) run into the millions annually. Moreover, it seems to be growing apace. In 1996 at the First World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, held in Stockholm, the issue was raised as a growing phenomenon. The International Labor Organization in 1998 saw it as an issue of global concern on the rise. The Second World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in 2001 estimated that the situation had worsened since 1996.

I first became aware and interested in this horrendous criminal violation of human rights and dignity issue when I began teaching and writing about globalization a decade or so ago. I wanted also to know how criminal elements used the new tools of globalization ( the internet, world travel and banking etc) to further criminal activities such as smuggling, arms and drugs sales and prostitution. I chanced upon a 2005 book by a Canadian journalist, Victor Malarek, The Natashas: The New Global Sex Trade. Malarak recounted in that book the tales of numerous Eastern European women from the old Soviet bloc countries who were promised jobs in western Europe as nannies or maids only to find themselves, first, brutally raped by the criminals who contacted them, having their passports removed and kept under guard in the bordellos across Europe where they were whisked. The portrait was one not of happy hookers or the world’s oldest profession but rather of the world’s oldest oppression.

Prostitution, to be sure, is not a new phenomenon. But the global reach of transporting women from Eastern Europe or South Asia to cities such as London, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Melbourne is something new. Much of the trafficking in Russia, Hong Kong, Japan, Columbia and Eastern Europe is controlled by large criminal organizations.

They target certain key countries (Moldavia, Ukraine, Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia) to recruit young women ( sometimes they are sold by their parents) who are, then, sent, first, to some key transit countries (Austria, Israel, Mexico) and then to their final destination countries (Australia, The United States, Japan, Korea being major receiving countries). Key traffickers target also places with a lot of United States troops ( e.g. Korea) or where there are UN Peace keepers. One Ukrainian trafficked woman, Olega recognized eight of her former clients (UN Peacekeepers) when the bar she was forced to work out of in Bosnia was raided.

Over the past decade, words of concern about the phenomenon of sex trafficking have proliferated but to little effect. Laws are weak (and often punish the prostitute but not “ the john”); governments are corrupt; many of the economies from which the women are snatched into sex slavery are in shambles and national and international resolve is shaky.

A year ago in Rome, at a remarkable congress organized by the International Union of Superiors General and the International Organization for Migration, dozens of women religious spoke to the issue. “Human trafficking is one of the effects of the globalization of poverty and hunger against which governments are only engaged in a war of words.” The statement from the congress complained that national policies were ineffective in getting women who were forced into prostitution off the street. They saw the phenomenon of sex slavery as not only a violation of human rights but “an embarrassment for all humanity.”

Trafficking feeds on the three famous P’s: Patriarchy (men’s sense of entitlement over women), poverty and powerlessness. Many prostitutes freed from their slavery return because of the lack of economic alternatives. Most studies of prostitutes, however, show high rates of physical assault and rape. One study of 207 trafficked women, conducted by the London School of Health and Tropical Hygiene, found that 8 out of the ten women had been physically beaten or assaulted. 61% had been threatened with a gun.

One of the difficulties in addressing the issue of global prostitution is the different stance of those who want to right the wrongs. There are abolitionists versus reformists. Abolitionists, such as in a 2003 statement by the Coalition Against the Trafficking of Women, oppose any legalization of prostitution. They see prostitution as an inherently degrading profession for the women and a violation of human dignity to see sex and a woman’s body as an item to bought and sold. An alternative NGO, The Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, rejoins that abolition of prostitution is doomed. They seek its legalization and a renaming of prostitutes as ‘ sex workers’, with all the labor rights of any worker. Places which have legalized prostitution ( e.g. Amsterdam, Melbourne), however, have seen little diminution of a criminal element or of the influx of sex trafficked slaves. Mayor Job Cohen of Amsterdam rued the impact of legalization in his city. In Melbourne, for the 100 legal bordellos there are 400 underground, illegal brothels, many of which employ trafficked women from Indonesia or Thailand.

In a new book, The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men who Buy It, Victor Malarek takes the position of the abolitionists. He champions a stringent newish law in Sweden which targets the johns. In Sweden, selling sex is de-criminalized (giving the woman some leeway). But buying sex is a crime. Middlemen who purchase a sexual service for someone else face a fine and a possible jail term of up to six months. Anyone who has sex with a trafficked woman or with a woman who has bruises on her body gets a specially heavy fine or jail sentence. Norway has followed Sweden’s law. Norway’s justice minister explained the rationale: “People are not merchandise. By criminalizing the purchase of sexual favors, Norway will become less attractive in the eye of human traffickers.” Norway also has initiatives to help women leave prostitution.

source: http://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?blog_id=2&entry_id=3148

Published in: on July 30, 2010 at 11:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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