Europe must combat sex slave trade -commissioner

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Melanie Orhant (
Mon, 5 Oct 1998 09:48:12 -0500

Europe must combat sex slave trade -commissioner

VIENNA, Oct 1 (Reuters) - More and more women are being forced into
prostitution in western Europe and tougher legislation is needed to fight
this ``modern slave trade,'' European Justice Commissioner Anita Gradin
said on Thursday.

Gradin told a conference in Vienna that laws to combat the sex trade in
some European Union countries are too weak.

``Trafficking in human beings has to be criminalised. It is not acceptable
that there are less risks when you traffic in human beings than when you
traffic drugs.''

Thousands of people from economically troubled former communist countries
in eastern Europe have been forced into prostitution after being lured to
the west by fraudulent promises of work as waitresses, maids or dancers.

``New networks are being created almost daily and strategies are becoming
increasingly ruthless,'' Gradin said.

The EU commissioner said that while some member states punished drug
dealers with jail sentences of up to 12 years, criminals convicted of
forcing women into prostitution might face terms of only one to two years.

She called on the EU to launch information campaigns in eastern Europe
warning women against accepting promises of easy money in the west of the

The Geneva-based International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimates
that up to half a million foreign women have fallen victim to pimps in
western Europe.

11:39 10-01-98

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

Melanie Orhant

Human Trafficking Program
Global Survival Network

P.O. Box 73214
Washington, DC 20009
T: 387-0028
F: 387-2590

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