RE: Foreign Policy In Focus:Trafficking in Women

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Watson, Sandy (
Wed, 2 Dec 1998 09:02:11 -0000

Dear Jyothi

Do you have anything similar on the laws in Europe? We're making a
documentary, as part of which we would hope to call on the British
government to make trafficking a specific offence. Do you know in which
European countries this is already the case? I believe it is so in Belgium,
Italy and Austria - do you know any more?


sandy watson

> ----------
> From: Jyothi Kanics---Global Survival
> Network[]
> Sent: 01 December 1998 23:06
> To: Multiple recipients of list
> Subject: Foreign Policy In Focus:Trafficking in Women
> NOTE: This piece is a bit outdated now (the US Congressional Resolution
> mentioned below had an "anonymous hold" put on it this past Congressional
> session), but I thought that many on the list would find it interesting.
> Foreign Policy In Focus:Trafficking in Women
> October 1998
> Vol. 3, No. 30
> Written by Jyothi Kanics, Global Survival Network
> Edited by Tom Barry (IRC) and Martha Honey (IPS)
> Key Points
> o The United Nations estimates that 4 million people are trafficked
> each
> year, resulting in $7 billion in profits to criminal groups.
> o Many countries have weak, unenforced or no laws against trafficking
> in
> human beings, often making it less risky and more profitable to criminal
> groups than drug or arms trafficking.
> o With increased economic globalization, trafficking in women from
> poor to
> wealthier countries appears to be on the rise. Trafficking networks may
> recruit and transport women legally or illegally for slavery-like work,
> including forced prostitution, sweatshop labor, and exploitative domestic
> servitude.
> Increased economic globalization has resulted in an increased feminization
> of poverty, forcing greater numbers of women worldwide to migrate in
> search
> of work. Seeking economic opportunities abroad, women turn to a variety of
> resources, including newspaper ads, acquaintances, marriage agencies,
> labor
> recruiters, and modeling agencies. They accept positions as nannies,
> maids,
> sex workers, dancers, factory workers, and hostesses. Many of these
> migrants
> end up as victims of illegal and unscrupulous trafficking networks.
> Trafficking, according to U.S. Senate Resolution 82 on Trafficking,
> "involves one or more forms of kidnapping, false imprisonment, rape,
> battering, forced labor, or slavery-like practices which violate
> fundamental
> human rights." The resolution, which was introduced in 1998, states:
> "Trafficking consists of all acts involved in the recruitment or
> transportation of persons within or across borders, involving deception,
> coercion or force, abuse of authority, debt bondage or fraud, for the
> purpose of placing persons in situations of abuse or exploitation such as
> forced prostitution, battering and extreme cruelty, sweatshop labor or
> exploitative domestic servitude."
> The United Nations has estimated that 4 million people (both men and
> women)
> are trafficked annually, resulting in profits to criminal groups of up to
> $7
> billion. In Mauritania, for instance, women are trafficked internally from
> one ethnic group to another. In other cases, forced labor migration is
> from
> rural areas to urban centers, and people are trafficked within their
> country
> or to neighboring countries. For example, poor rural girls from Burma are
> trafficked and forced to work in Thailand's sex industry. Furthermore,
> since
> the collapse of the Soviet Union, the economic transition in Central and
> Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union
> has caused many women to migrate for work to Western Europe, Japan, the
> U.S., and elsewhere.
> Many countries-regardless of whether they are places of origin, transit or
> destination-have weak, unenforced laws or no laws against trafficking in
> human beings. Individuals can be sold and resold many times and forced to
> prostitute themselves and work under slavery-like conditions. Penalties
> for
> trafficking and selling humans are often relatively minor compared with
> those for other criminal activities. Therefore experts believe that
> trafficking in people is often more profitable and less risky to criminals
> than trafficking in drugs or guns.
> Some women may end up as victims of trafficking and exploitation through
> officially legal routes. For example, under U.S. law, foreign diplomats
> and
> employees of international agencies (such as the World Bank and United
> Nations) are permitted to bring in domestic workers under special A-3 and
> G-5 visa categories. The several thousand workers-mostly women-imported
> each
> year under these programs are supposed to be paid minimum wage and
> protected
> by U.S. labor laws. But because oversight is extremely lax, many of these
> domestics are forced to work long hours for little or no pay.
> In other instances, women knowingly agree to migrate for work in the sex
> industry, but then are coerced into debt bondage where they are forced to
> repay their trafficker and/or employer for transportation and other
> "fees."
> Further, because these women may have entered the U.S. or other countries
> illegally and are often working in an illegal industry, they are afraid to
> turn to local authorities for help and are unable to file civil suits
> against their abusers or have access to other protections provided by
> labor
> laws. In such cases, the criminalization of prostitution "adds to the
> burden
> of women who are already victims," noted Mary Robinson, UN High
> Commissioner
> for Human Rights.
> Problems With Current U.S. Policy
> Key Problems
> o The Clinton administration has taken modest steps to address
> trafficking
> in women, but more needs to be done to protect the victims, prosecute the
> traffickers, and enforce U.S. labor laws.
> o The U.S. and other governments have failed to document instances of
> trafficking and to ensure victims' safety, and instead have summarily
> deported them without investigation into abusive situations.
> o Public awareness campaigns are crucial, but they are not enough to
> stop
> trafficking.
> In March 1998, in recognition of International Women's Day, President
> Clinton issued an Executive Memorandum on Steps to Combat Trafficking that
> pledges to combat "trafficking in women and girls with a focus on the
> areas
> of prevention, victim assistance and protection, and enforcement." This
> order outlines the roles that different governmental agencies should play
> to
> reduce trafficking. These various efforts are coordinated by the
> President's
> Interagency Council on Women in consultation with nongovernmental
> organizations (NGOs).
> The State Department and United States Information Agency have funded
> public-awareness campaigns and conferences abroad to warn high-risk groups
> and the general public of the methods used by traffickers, and to
> strategize
> for solutions. State Department efforts include a public awareness
> campaign
> in the Ukraine and production in Russian, Polish, and Ukrainian of a
> brochure on trafficking that U.S. Consulates abroad distribute to visa
> seekers.
> Unfortunately, many of these U.S. initiatives appear to be hastily planned
> and lacking in competent follow-through. For example, the brochure being
> distributed through U.S. Consulates abroad to visa seekers gives the
> National Domestic Violence hotline number to call if foreigners find
> themselves trafficked or otherwise abused in the United States. Hotline
> staff, however, say they have not yet received training in how to handle
> calls about trafficking. There must be training and resources for
> personnel
> in the U.S. if this hotline is to effectively counsel victims on their
> rights and direct them to shelters and other services.
> The U.S. strategy also calls for protection, legal counseling, and other
> services for victims, but none of these programs have been
> institutionalized. Frequently, victims of trafficking who are caught in
> raids by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) or police are
> quickly deported, which makes it difficult to prosecute their employers or
> traffickers.
> Some trafficking victims are inappropriately held in INS detention centers
> or local jails. As noted in a September 1998 Human Rights Watch report,
> "INS
> detainees are being held in jails entirely inappropriate to their
> noncriminal status where they are mixed with accused and convicted
> inmates,
> and where they are sometimes subjected to physical mistreatment and
> grossly
> inadequate conditions of confinement."
> Similarly, there is no effective monitoring of domestic workers who are
> brought into the U.S. legally under the G-5 and A-3 visa programs to work
> for diplomats and officials of international agencies. Former domestic
> workers and their lawyers describe situations akin to slavery or bonded
> servitude. They report that employers confiscate workers' passports and
> other documents, require dawn to dusk labor for little or sometimes no
> pay,
> and forbid them from leaving the house or making contact with other
> domestic
> workers. If a domestic worker runs away, she is likely to be caught and
> deported by the INS because, by breaking her work contract, she loses her
> legal status. Experts and social workers believe that some of these
> domestics escape into underground criminal networks, finding work in sex
> clubs or sweatshops.
> The lack of government monitoring of both illegal workers and legal
> domestic
> worker programs allows the rampant abuse of workers to continue. And
> although the creation of brochures, documentaries, posters, and other
> public-awareness materials is very important in the campaign to stop human
> trafficking, information is not enough to slow the flow of migrant workers
> who have no viable economic alternatives in their home countries.
> The U.S. has failed to address the root of the trafficking problem. It
> needs
> to fund and support gender-sensitive economic development and education
> projects overseas. Lack of support has severely hampered the efforts of
> local nongovernmental groups to create and coordinate such projects.
> Toward a New Foreign Policy
> Key Recommendations
> o The U.S. should sign and ratify existing international human rights
> conventions and treaties so that it can use these tools to better address
> trafficking in human beings.
> o Congress should approve the Resolution on Trafficking and follow up
> with
> legislation that will effectively implement the resolution's proposal for
> a
> coordinated, comprehensive, governmental response to the problem.
> o The U.S. should make sure that funding of projects abroad reaches
> local
> nongovernmental organizations who promote public-awareness campaigns,
> advocacy, education, and rehabilitation with regard to trafficking in
> human
> beings.
> The U.S. should ratify the following international treaties and
> conventions
> pertaining to trafficking: Convention on the Rights of the Child,
> Convention
> on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and Convention
> on the Rights of Migrant Workers and the Members of Their Families.
> Ratification of these international agreements is essential to the
> coordination of an effective international human rights based response to
> trafficking.
> Additionally, the U.S. needs to develop domestic legislation to more
> appropriately and effectively prosecute crimes associated with
> trafficking.
> However, legislation and migration policies created to combat trafficking
> should not further limit or prohibit the free movement of people.
> Specifically, the G-5 and A-3 visa categories should not be eliminated
> because they are among the few ways poor women from developing countries
> can
> legally enter the United States. Rather, the government agencies involved
> (including INS, State, and Labor), as well as institutions (including the
> World Bank, UN, and foreign embassies) must create a monitoring system to
> ensure that these workers' are fairly treated according to U.S. laws
> regulating wages, working conditions, and worker rights.
> Congress should approve the Resolution on Trafficking (Sen. Con. Res. 82)
> and follow it with legislation that will effectively implement the
> Resolution's proposal for a coordinated, comprehensive, governmental
> response. This response must include greater communication and
> coordination
> between and within government agencies at the international, federal, and
> local levels. Federal resources and skills need to be shared with local
> authorities, especially when carrying out investigations, prosecuting
> cases
> of international trafficking, and providing services to victims. Care
> should
> be taken so that the laws passed do not further stigmatize trafficking
> victims, but rather prosecute traffickers with punishments proportional to
> the seriousness of the crime.
> The U.S. is reviewing its standards for gender-based asylum decisions, and
> it should incorporate granting asylum to trafficked women under this
> category. This new policy, coupled with reform of the INS detention
> system,
> would ensure trafficked women the protection and services they need. Until
> such policies are implemented, information and access to victims must be
> given to nongovernmental organizations that are trying to reach possible
> victims of trafficking lost in the detention system.
> If the U.S. and other governments want to prosecute organized crime
> syndicates that profit from trafficking in human beings, they will need to
> take steps to protect and compensate victims regardless of occupation or
> legal status. This requires cooperation with nongovernmental organizations
> in order to educate law enforcement officers and reach out to victims. In
> addition, governments need to be aware that tightening up immigration
> restrictions only puts more pressure on people trying to migrate, forcing
> them to use trafficking networks that will take the opportunity for
> further
> exploitation and profit.
> There is great potential for the U.S. to take the lead in the global fight
> against human trafficking by continuing and expanding its work and by
> funding projects with foreign governments and international and local
> NGOs.
> The U.S. should increase funding to countries undergoing socio-economic
> transitions and experiencing cases of human trafficking. This aid should
> be
> used to investigate the extent and forms of trafficking and to provide
> legal
> assistance and rehabilitation for trafficking victims.
> When planning and implementing programs abroad, U.S. officials should
> consult with national and international women's and human rights
> organizations. All U.S. government programs implemented for judicial
> reform
> and law enforcement training abroad should contain a gender perspective,
> including information about the special situation of women and children
> who
> are victims of sexual and gender crimes such as trafficking, sexual
> slavery.
> and rape. The U.S. should also make a serious effort to distribute funding
> directly to local grassroots groups working on these issues in order to
> minimize loss of funds caused by traditional "pass-through" grants to
> large
> American NGOs and government agencies.
> The United States Information Service (USIS), U.S. Agency for
> International
> Development (USAID), Peace Corps, and other agencies abroad are in a
> unique
> position to work with communities vulnerable to trafficking. Their
> educational campaigns overseas should include a component on the dangers
> of
> trafficking, the rights of foreign workers-legal and illegal-in the U.S.,
> and courses of action available to victims. U.S. embassies should be
> required to report instances of trafficking or communities that appear to
> be
> vulnerable to trafficking to relevant government agencies in the United
> States. This information should be shared with relevant foreign
> governments,
> and international organizations, and NGOs. Finally, the State Department
> should include information about trafficking in its annual human rights
> country reports.
> By following these suggestions, the U.S. will be able to more effectively
> document cases of trafficking and more successfully collaborate with other
> countries in the processes of legal reform, investigation, prosecution of
> traffickers, and victim rehabilitation.
> Sources for More Information
> Organizations
> Foundation Against Trafficking in Women (STV)
> P.O. Box 1455
> 3500 BL Utrecht, The Netherlands
> Voice: (31) 30-2716044
> Fax: (31) 30-2716084
> Email:
> Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women
> P.O. Box 1281 Bangrak Post Office
> Bangkok 10500 Thailand
> Voice: (662) 864-1427-8
> Fax: (662) 864-1637
> Email:
> Website:
> Global Survival Network
> P.O. Box 73214
> Washington, DC 20009
> Voice: (202) 387-0032
> Fax: (202) 387-2590
> Email:
> Website:
> Human Rights Watch
> 1522 K Street, NW, #910
> Washington, DC 20005
> Voice: (202) 371-6592
> Fax: (202) 371 0124
> Email:
> Website:
> International Human Rights Law Group
> 1200 18th Street, NW
> Washington, DC 20036
> Voice: (202) 822-4600
> Fax: (202) 822-4606
> Email:
> International Organization for Migration
> Nibelungengasse 13/4
> A-1010 Vienna, Austria
> Voice: (43-1)585-3322-25
> Fax: (43-1)585-3322-30
> Email:
> Website:
> Witness Project
> Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
> 333 Seventh Avenue, 13th Floor
> New York, NY 10001-5004
> Voice: (212) 845-5252
> Fax: (212) 845-5299
> Email:
> Website:
> Publications
> Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW), Removing the Whore
> Stigma:
> Report on the Asia and Pacific Regional Consultation on Prostitution
> (Bangkok, Thailand: GAATW, 1997).
> GAATW, Practical Guide to Assisting Trafficked Women (Bangkok, Thailand:
> GAATW, 1997).
> GAATW, Regional Meeting on Trafficking in Women, Forced Labor, and
> Slavery-like Practice in Asia and Pacific (Bangkok, Thailand: GAATW,
> 1997).
> Global Survival Network (GSN), Crime & Servitude: An Expose of the Traffic
> of Women for Prostitution from the Newly Independent States (Washington,
> D.C.: GSN, 1997).
> GSN, Trafficking of NIS Women Abroad: Moscow Conference Report
> (Washington,
> D.C.: GSN, 1998).
> Human Rights Watch, Women's Rights Project, Trafficking of Women and Girls
> into Forced Prostitution and Coerced Marriage (New York: Human Rights
> Watch,
> 1995).
> Human Rights Watch, Women's Rights Project, Asia Watch, A Modern Form of
> Slavery: Trafficking of Burmese Women and Girls into Brothels in Thailand
> (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1993).
> Siriporn Skrobanek, Nattaya Boonpakdee and Chutima Jantateero, The Traffic
> in Women: Human Realities of the International Sex Trade (Bangkok,
> Thailand:
> Foundation for Women, 1997).
> Marjan Wijers and Lin Lap-Chew, Trafficking in Women, Forced Labour and
> Slavery-like Practices in Marriage, Domestic Labour and Prostitution (The
> Netherlands: Foundation Against Trafficking/STV, 1997).
> U.S. Senate Congressional Resolution 82.
From Thu Dec 3 20:36:54 1998
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From: "DeWayne Brown" <>
To: <stop-traffic@SOLAR.RTD.UTK.EDU>
Subject: Trafficking in Canada
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 18:43:35 -0700
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Got this out of the Toronto Sun this evening.

Toronto police arrested 39 people following prostitution-linked raids at 10
homes and businesses throughout the Toronto area last night.
Project Trade, a year-long investigation into a prostitution ring in which
women were brought from Thailand to work in bawdy houses, massage parlours
and hotels, wrapped up after last night's raids by officers including those
from Toronto police and Immigration Canada.
``Project Trade has targeted a group of people who were bringing Thai
females into the city. These females are sold to 500 customers before they
can earn any money on their own,'' said Detective Peter Yuen of the Toronto
force's special (Asian) task force.
Yuen said one woman could surpass that quota in about eight weeks. He said
the women, aged 18 to 25, were sold to their owners for $16,000 to $25,000
each, and that about 95 per cent came to Canada illegally, knowing exactly
what they were getting into.
Organizers in the ring would send agents to Thailand, where they would seek
out women willing to come to Canada to work as prostitutes and the women
would arrive in Toronto on visitors' visas.
They would then be provided with accommodation and a place to ply their
trade, police said.
The raids, which began at 8 p.m., were conducted at locations in Toronto's
west end, Scarborough, North York and Richmond Hill. They were conducted by
officers from the Toronto police service, York and Peel Region police, the
Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and
Immigration Canada.
One location included the Fairbank Hotel at Dufferin St. and Eglinton Ave.
`This was a very sophisticated operation, and we targeted the agents behind
it. I think we broke the back of this organization,'' Detective Sergeant
Dave Perry said.
``This is a big, big, money business,'' said one officer involved in the
Unable to co-ordinate transportation with paddy wagons, police transported
those arrested to 55 Division station, on Coxwell Ave. in Toronto's east
end, in the back of unmarked cars and police vans.
A total of 192 prostitution-related charges were laid, including keeping a
common bawdy house, procuring for the purpose of prostitution, forcible
confinement and forging documents.
Most of those arrested covered their heads with coats to avoid being
photographed through the back windows of cars. The arrests were the final
stage of Project Trade, in which similar arrests were made last winter.
One of the women arrested then was deported shortly after, only to be
arrested again last night, police said.
The suspects were to appear at College Park court today.

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