USA: Anti-Trafficking Resolution

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Victoria Marinelli (
Fri, 09 Oct 1998 22:22:19 PDT

Is anybody on the stop-traffic list working on this? I'm not familiar
with this particular legislation. -- Victoria Marinelli

from the National Organization for Women

October 9, 1998

The coercion and abduction of young women and girls for purposes of
prostitution is a violation of fundamental human rights that
occurs around the world. It has been estimated that more than a million
women and young girls are forced into this brutal trade
each year. Although this practice occurs in many countries, there are
several notorious for permitting sex-trafficking, such as
Thailand and Burma. Young women -- often from rural, poverty stricken
areas -- are sold by their parents or kidnapped and
sent to larger cities to be kept in slave-like conditions in huge and
highly profitable brothels.

To help bring pressure on those nations which allow sex-trafficking to
flourish, members of Congress are sponsoring a resolution
decrying the practice and asking the federal government to undertake a
number of initiatives to stop certain practices. The
resolution would require that the State Department investigate and
combat trafficking. It also to urges the State Department work
with the Thai government to help them strictly enforce their
anti-trafficking law and to stop the police collusion that appears to
help perpetuate the evil trade.

The Anti-Trafficking Resolution is sponsored in the House by Rep. Louise
Slaughter ( D-NY) (House Concurrent Resolution
114) as well as in the Senate by Sens. Paul Wellstone (DMN) and Dianne
Feinstein (S.Con.Res. 82). The Senate resolution has
made some progress; it was voted unanimously out of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee last July. The Republican and
Democratic cloakrooms in the Senate also have agreed to clear it for
unanimous consent passage by the Senate. But pressure
needs to be brought on Senate leadership to move the measure to a floor
vote. We must encourage Senator Lott to take up the
resolution immediately. Additionally, the House resolution is still
stuck in the House Subcommittee on International Operations
and Human Rights, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), chair.

Unless the Senate or House moves on the matter, this issue may not be
addresses until the new Congress comes in next year.
Such delay will only further extend the period of time in which women
who suffer the human rights abuses associated with
trafficking continue to go without assistance or recognition.

How you can help:

Please call your Republican senators as soon as possible and urge them
to ask Senator Lott to take action on S. Con. Res. 82.
A vote needs to be scheduled in the Senate in the few remaining days
before adjournment. House activity might be spurred by
calls to your representative. Have him or her contact Rep. Chris Smith
and urge him to report out H.Con. R. 114 for a floor vote
before the House adjourns.

Further information on the issue is available by connecting with Rep.
Slaughter's website at

You can reach the Congressional switchboard by calling (202)224-3121 and
ask them to connect you with your senator's or representatives office.
Or visit the website

You may also want to call the White House and urge President Clinton to
direct that the State Department undertake the actions
which are specified in the resolutions. The White House main number is
(202) 456-1414.

Thank you for your efforts.

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Date: Fri, 9 Oct 1998 15:26:33 -0800
To: stop-traffic@SOLAR.RTD.UTK.EDU
From: Carol Leigh <>
Subject: Re: Influencers

>VM: ...
 A person who lives off the earnings of someone else's
>prostitution is a pimp. This isn't a big, bad, scary postmodern piece
>of flippant jargon, this is your basic dictionary stuff.

Pimp \Pimp\, n. [Cf. F. pimpant smart, sparkish; perh. akin to piper to
pipe, formerly also, to excel. Cf. {Pipe}.] One who provides gratification
for the lust of others; a procurer; a pander.

      To pander; to procure lewd women for the gratification of others.

  a person, usu. a man, who secures customers for and manages a
prostitute's business for money.

          to manage and make money from the activities of one or more

Dear V.M,

I very much appreciate the effort you have taken to explain your
perspectives. I sometimes burn out on explaining and writing. It is
especially difficult when among many people with another strong point of
view, so thanks for the opportunity to discuss these issues!

It seems important that many women have been hurt by pimps - ie people who
take their money, using violence, force, etc... I don't want to
presume, but I think those who have experienced those intense adverse
aspects of 'pimping' want to define it in a way to make sure those
experiences are visible -- society is so quick to dismiss some of the
tortures inflicted on us. Language strategies are still most pressing and
central in regard to prostitution/sex work issues from my point of view.
All these issues are very relevant to trafficking, of course. I think
'pimping' and 'trafficking' are exactly the same. I wrote years back and
still feel that a chasm is created between women based on our responses to

I believe that anti-trafficking efforts in the US need to expand their
definitions so that women who have abusive pimps on a local or regional
basis are included among those for whom the movement advocates. I think
the movement winds up compartmentalizing the abuse against those in the sex
industry, and most detrimentally, from the perspective of 'national border
crossing.' Especially in the US, it is hypocritical to point fingers at
abuses in other countries and ignore similar abuses here.

I think the solution is to target abuses in the sex industry, whether it be
violence and force, bad working conditions, police corruption, clients who
abuse, murders of prostitutes, etc. I wish that those organized around the
'politically correct' issue of trafficking would step back and take a look
at the prostitutes who live next door to them, as well as focusing
attention on international and global issues.

 Pimps have
>been mythologized and glorified by pimps and the result is some general
>discomfort with the term. Black pimps have been vilified by whites who
>don't want to think about the fact that they are counting on pimps of
>all varieties to provide the sexual access which they require of a
>certain caste of women and youth.

There needs to be more research about class/race relations and
prostitution. Men and women of color get scapegoated by anti-prostitution
laws and efforts. Euro-American women seem to have a higher percentage of
prostitutes here from the studies I have seen. From what I see, they are
also arrested as frequently. The difference comes in when women of color
are sentenced to more jail time. I think the discriminatory enforcement is
one of the main reasons we have to review the anti-pimping laws and change

In terms of working together, in San Francisco, prostitutes' organizations,
rights and anti-prost groups are working together to develop a protocol for
domestic violence service providers to increase accessibility and relevance
of services to pros. Although I have experienced many unsuccessful efforts
at working together, for the first time something positive is really
happening... and the results, from my perspective, is that we share a lot
of similar concerns and similar strategies. One that comes to mind is that
the usual definitions of DV don't relate to the life experience of many sex
workers.(It is classist because DV assumes one has a 'home' in which the
violence occurs. ) The shelters sometimes don't let prostitutes and users
stay at their shelters, and both pros factions have a problem with that.
Anyway, my point is that when we have finally all come to the table with
service related advocacy goals in mind, we have been unified and in
opposition to the current standards.

In that light, I think advocates from various positions could come together
on pimping issues. I think we are mostly complaining about the same thing.
As far as Rebecca Rand, for example...if I were a worker at her place, I
might try to organize to improve working you can tell from
my interview, I have some different values...but I generally don't like
businesses or business owners..a throw-back to my 60's social anarchist
ideas-- but I wouldn't start at the sex industry to 'dismantle
capitalism,' because sex workers are too easily the scapegoats of every
'moral reform', and it's important to be careful of that. On the other
hand, I far preferred working for someone as part of a group at a massage
parlor because screening clients and maintaining a workplace was so much
trouble and headache, and I like working with other women.

Carol Leigh
Prostitutes' Education Network

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