graduate help?

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Julie Montgomery (ratty@ufl.edu)
Fri, 07 Aug 1998 09:41:43 -0400


Hi everyone,

I am a sociology graduate student at the University of Florida working with
Joe Feagin and Karen Pyke. I'm very interested in the subject of global
trafficking of women. I have two requests for anyone that can help me out...

First, I am currently working on my masters thesis and it deals with the
"Asian mail order bride" industry. I have done some research on the images
presenteed within the Internet arena. I am trying to locate men and women
involved in this industry in any way. So if anyone has any ideas, I would
greatly appreciate it. I think this industry needs to be documented in
order to produce change. Unfortunately, I will have to change my thesis
topic if I am unable to locate anyone with information dealing with this
"industry".

Second, I would like to become actively involved in organizations that
fight against global trafficking, like yourselves. Basically, how do I get
involved? I will be graduating in August 1999, so I will not be able to
relocate until that time... but if anyone knows how/where I can be actively
involved in a non-profit organization fighting against this oppression,
please let me know.

Finally, I would like to say how much I enjoy being on this listserv. It's
been very educational and it's great to know that there are other people
out there that think this problem is as important as I do.

Thanks again,
Julie Montgomery
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From jkanics@igc.apc.org Fri Aug 14 16:18:38 1998
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From: Jyothi Kanics---Global Survival Network <jkanics@igc.apc.org>
Subject: Conf. Summary:Trafficking in Albanian Women and Children

The following is an overview of "Trafficking in Albanian Women and Children:
Human Dimensions and Legal Responses" which was organized by the United
States Information Service, American Embassy Tirana, Albania on 17 July
1998. Melanie Orhant and Jyothi Kanics of the Global Survival Network both
attended and presented at the event.

Albania Trip Report

FROM: AMERICAN EMBASSY TIRANA, ALBANIA

Subject: Conference on Trafficking in Albanian Women and Children Draws
Justices, NGOS, and Government Officials, July 17, 1998

Summary

Approximately one hundred and thirty participants -- including prosecutors,
judges, NGO leaders, journalists, and officials from national and local
government -- attended a USIS-sponsored conference called "Trafficking in
Albanian Women and Children: Human Dimensions and Legal Responses." The
Albanian Ministers of Justice and Labor were among the ten speakers at the
July 17 Conference. Which was [the] first one to be held on the issue in
Albania. The Conference attracted considerable media attention especially
from television.

Program Design and Preparation

The two incentives for organizing the Conference were the President's March
11 Action Plan Against Trafficking in Women and the prevalence of the crime
in Albania. Although most of the publications on trafficking focus on the
situation in the NIS and in Southeast Asia, the consistent news reports of
incidents involving trafficked Albanian women and children, the high number
of Albanians arrested for trafficking in Italy, and the contents of the few
studies that have been done on the issue domestically convinced us that the
problem was serious. After discussing the issue with several Albanian
contacts, the Public Affairs Officer at United States Information Service
(USIS) noticed that the women's Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) were
the most sensitized to the issue. Discussions at post yielded the idea of a
Conference which would avoid preaching to the choir. Bring together groups
which rarely met, emphasize the rule of law, and show that trafficking in
women and children fits into a broader criminal network.

The Conference had two audiences. The first, those who attended the
conference, consisted of prosecutors, judges, officials from the ministries
of justice, labor and public order, local officials from cities particularly
affected by trafficking, NGO leaders, the media and representatives of
international organizations working in this area. (We had a surprisingly
large turnout of local government officials, who traveled from Korce,
Elbasan, Fier, Lushnje, Vlora and Lezhe to attend the Conference.) The
second audience was the wider public, who we addressed by arranging
interviews for all of our speakers from outside of Albania and through a
co-ordinated effort with the International Organization for Migration (IOM),
the Italian Embassy in Tirana, and the State TV Station, TVSH. The Station
re-broadcast a three part documentary on Albanian emigration, which included
large parts on trafficking, on the three days leading up to the Conference.

The Conference was divided into three parts: "The Picture Worldwide," "The
Albanian Experience" and "Responses to the Problem." We chose this
structure to correct for an audience which would enter the hall with
different levels of knowledge, to show how the Albanian experience relates
to patterns worldwide, and to ensure that there would be discussion of
possible solutions.

As our American speakers had not visited Albania before, we took advantage
of their early arrival to being them to Vlora and Fier, two of the major
trafficking sites in Albania. There they spoke to mayors, prosecutors,
judges, the editor of a local newspaper and an NGO representatives.

Speakers

Albanian Justice Minister Thimio Kondi, Labor and Social Affairs Minister
Anastas Angjeli and United States Ambassador Marisa Lino welcomed
participants to the conference. The Ambassador Lino described the United
States Government's role in the fight against trafficking and explained the
President's March Plan on the issue. She also outlined how the Conference
was organized. In his remarks, Minister Kondi considered the problem as a
challenge to the court system, while Minister Angheli approached it as the
issue of forced migration as a social problem.

The Ambassador Lino then introduced our two American speakers, Jyothi Kanics
and Melanie Orhant from the Washington-based NGO Global Survival Network
(GSN). The two speakers, recruited by the Information Bureau at USIA, are
Co-Directors of the Trafficking Project at the Organization. In their
presentation, they defined the meaning of trafficking, forced migration,
debt bondage and other terms, and explained the methods commonly used by
traffickers to lure women and children away from their home country and to
force them to remain in the receiver nation. They also depicted the
conditions trafficked women frequently find overseas: withheld passports,
meager pay, and intimidation from crime bosses. Kanics referred to her
extensive knowledge of the situation in the NIS, and drew from a conference
Open Society Institute's Network Women's Program and GSN.

Following the Americans' presentation, the Director of the NGO "Useful to
Albanian Women," Sevim Arbana, gave an articulate presentation of the survey
her organization has done on the issue over the last five years. Arbana
portrayed a phenomenon which has grown every year in the face of economic
difficulty, social upheaval, and increasingly wily traffickers, who are
sometimes in league with, or even members of, the victims' immediate
families. Arbana was the first speaker of several to touch on the strong
Albanian Taboo against prostitution, a fact which discourages the victim
from returning to her home town even if she can. Finally, Arbana related
some of the help her organization has given to Albanian women who, despite
the above taboo, have returned to Albania and hope to resume a normal life.
 
Next on the agenda was Fitore Paluca, the Sex Crimes Investigator for the
City of Tirana. She touched on the link between trafficking other crimes,
particularly homicide. Though Paluca has been on the force for several
years, her position is a new one, and a hopeful sign that local authorities
are starting to take the issue seriously. In the question and answer
session after her speech, Paluca underlined Tirana's importance as a transit
site, mentioning several cases where girls from outside the capital had been
found in Tirana en route to Italy and Greece. Though her presentation was
short, Ms. Paluca's participation grounded the Conference in the particular
criminal realities of trafficking in Albania.

Our next speaker was Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, the legal adviser at the
GOI's Ministry of Equal Opportunity. Recommended by the office of the IOM
Representative for Albania, she was a strong speaker, giving a clear,
focused explanation of the Italian Law on Trafficking and her Government's
Inter-Ministerial Council on fighting the problem. She elaborated on the
Ambassador's remarks about the joint US-Italian Initiative and drew on her
recent meeting with Consular Officials at Embassy Rome. Ms. Giammarinaro
also cited the involvement of the Government of Italy's Anti-Mafia
Directorate in the effort. Besides being well-organized, her presentation
showed the audience that the U.S. is not alone in the fight against
trafficking, and indeed has been joined in the effort by the government of
the primary receiver nation for Albanian women and girls.

The noon session began with Ariana Fullani, a former Judge and the current
Director to the Women's Advocacy Center, a legal aid clinic which has been
helped by the local branch of ABA/CEELI, an AID contractor. She spoke about
the Albanian law on trafficking, linked it to International Conventions on
the issue and speculated as to why it was not more frequently enforced.
(Ms. Fullani led the Albanian delegation at the Conference on Trafficking
held in Rome last November and organized by the International Women Judge's
Federation. The participation of two of the three Albanian delegates was
funded by a grant from the Post's Democracy Commission.) Probably the most
knowledgeable person about the Albanian laws on trafficking. She gave a
speech that was clear and well-argued. She faced some testiness from
audience members looking for more outrage. But she withstood these
challenges with wry self-deprecation and a plain-spoken defense of the rule
of law. Like Ms. Arbana, Ms. Fullani described the efforts her organization
has made to date to incorporate returned Albanian women and girls into the
mainstream of society.

Mr. Kosta Barjaba, Chairman of the Albanian Center for Migration Studies at
the Ministry of Labor, looked at how the massive social and economic changes
Albania has undergone have left the country with a large number of
unemployed women. He also discussed the internal migration which has taken
place since the controls on where people could live and visit were lifted
after the collapse of communism. This internal migration, usually by
villagers in search of a more prosperous life in the cities, undermined
traditional systems which had built up over the centuries. His remarks
attempted to portray the trends which had made Albania so susceptible to the
ravages of Trafficking.

The afternoon session was rounded off by our two American speakers, who drew
on their knowledge of responses to trafficking elsewhere to suggest more
effective responses in Albania. Ms. Orhant drew on her experience working
with women who had been trafficked from Thailand and advocated a serious
public education effort. She also urged NGOs to continue working to
re-integrate women and girls who have returned into Albanian society. Both
she and Ms. Kanics noted the importance of shielding the identity of
trafficked women when they testify against their traffickers. Such
protection would shield her and her family from criminal retribution and
ease the social stigma against the trafficked woman. Both Kanics and Orhant
painstakingly emphasized that the country was taking the first steps toward
fighting the problem, and not to be discouraged by the slow pace of
progress. This session was followed by a lively audience discussion about
how to best fight trafficking in Albanian and about the degree to which
traditional gender roles in Albania are to blame for the phenomenon. The
Ambassador concluded the Conference when the session had run its course.

Material

Each Conference participant received a folder containing Albanian language
versions of the Conference schedule, the overview of trafficking and the
United States governement's response prepared by the President's
Inter-Agency Council on Women, and the text of the joint United States
governement-Government of Italy Initiative Against Trafficking. The folder
also contained (again in Albanian) biographies of the speakers and the
Recommendations which emerged from the Conference on Trafficking that took
place in Budapest in June under the sponsorship of the Soros Foundation and
the guidance of one of our speakers from the Global Survival Network. In
addition USIS paid for an additional 100 Albanian-Language versions of the
survey prepared by "Useful to Albanian Women," that undergrided Ms. Arbana's
speech.

Influence

This was the first time a large-scale Conference has been held on this issue
in Albania. It was clear from the healthy attendance and spirited
participation that many Albanians are becoming aware of the gravity of the
problem and want to develop more effective responses. By placing the issue
in a legal context, we tried to keep grand-standing to a minimum and to show
one more argument for a state with an effective rule of law.

As the Ambassador said in her closing remarks the Conference was a first
step. It was a way to initiate public education on the subject and a place
to gather people addressing the problem -- from the different Ministries in
Government, from the NGOs, from international organizations, and from
foreign governments -- in one place to discuss it. Any diminishment in the
number of Albanian women and children being trafficked will come about
through better co-operation and responsiveness among all the above groups.

Many thanks to Jennifer Scotti for her package of literature on the issue
and to Stan Rubin and John Jacik for providing our speakers on such short
notice.


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