John Davies can re-enter Hungary ! and engagement with traffickers

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John Davies (
Fri, 25 Sep 1998 14:16:40 +0100

Dear All,

The Central Immigration Office in Budapest has upheld my appeal and has struck down the exclusion order issued by the Szeged Immigration Office.

The CIO has upheld our contention that I could not be considered a threat to public safety and has said that I should be allowed to resume my residency in Hungary. Cathy received the official notice this morning.

I would like to thank everyone who sent faxes of support to the CIO. The CIO received more than fifty faxes from concerned groups and individuals, including the local Mayor of our home town in Hungary.

My son Benjamin will have his 14th Birthday next month and I will be able to spend it with him. All my family would also like to send their thanks to everyone who sent a fax of support and Melody 10 and Kimberley 6 will be sending you a home-made thank you card by e-mail next week.

I am presently working with Julie and Mihaila on mapping trafficking/migration routes to Turkey and Greece. I met a group of "traffickers" in Greece who are mainly interested in recruiting women for Thessalonki sex clubs, and they were very interested in ensuring that women referred to them genuinely wanted to participate in sex work.

All of them said that they no longer worked with Albanian agents as many of the women referred by them were coerced or deceived and as such were not suitable for club work. The Albanian women seemed to be excluded from mainline sex work because of this perception and as such are not able to benefit from the support of other women working in sex work. I met a number of very young Albanian sex workers and trafficking by deceit and then coercion seems endemic. Their illegal immigration status effectively prevents them from being able to engage with more emancipated sex workers.

There were a number of sex workers from the UK and Denmark working in the Thessalonki clubs, and many of the Ukrainian, Hungarian and Czech women said that association with the British and Danish women had raised their own expectations and helped them assert their own interests. Most women with permits had their own rented apartments in the Perea beach area and where able to change work venues whenever they wanted.

The women identified the difficulty in acquiring work permits as dancers as the main obstacle to being able to function normally. A woman with a work permit as a dancer can live independently of any facilitator and most work independently changing clubs when they want. Without the work permit women must rely on various agents or protectors to enable them to work illegally. Women with work permits were able to engage with local health services and did so on a regular basis, women without permits hardly ever consulted medical services and would often self medicate.

A couple of the British and Danish sex workers and a Hungarian sex worker said they would be willing to help advise new migrants on accommodation and safe working venues and participate in the design of any project intended to engage with sex workers in Thessaloniki. Two agents also said that they would be willing to contribute advice to any project intended to protect and empower migrant women and that they would cooperate with any such project.

The women said that agents varied greatly in the services provided and that it is vitally important that any trafficking service operated as a proper travel facilitator and not as an international "pimp". The best agents could arrange work permits, and accommodation on arrival with also a choice of work places. Without a work permit it was important to have safe accommodation on arrival and a pre-arranged discreet working place.

We spoke with six Romanian women who were being deported after only nine days in Greece, they identified the lack of proper accommodation as the main reason that they were vulnerable and were therefore willing to work in a venue that gave them accommodation on the premises. Such accommodation was overpriced and created the possibility that they could have fallen into considerable debt to the manager. Living at the bar prevented them from easily changing work venues and also made them vulnerable to arrest and deportation. They certainly considered that their agent in Romania had deceived regarding their work conditions and accommodation. Their agent was a woman.

Next time they intend to send one woman ahead to rent an apartment and arrange work before the others arrive.

Anyway I will keep the list advised of any developments in Greece.

Best regards

John Davies.

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