Commission Chairman: "It's Time to Declare War on Sex Traffickers"

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Subject: Commission Chairman: "It's Time to Declare War on Sex Traffickers"
From: Walsh, Maureen (Maureen.Walsh@mail.house.gov)
Date: Tue Jul 27 1999 - 11:04:06 EDT


> CSCE NEWS RELEASE
> Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
> 234 Ford House Office Building
> Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
> (202) 225-1901
> www.house.gov/csce
> Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Chairman
> Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Co-Chairman
> Contact: Chadwick R. Gore
>
> Commission Chairman: "It's Time to Declare War on Sex Traffickers"; Calls
> for Passage of H.R. 1356, a Bill "To end international sexual trafficking"
>
>
> For Immediate Release
> June 28, 1999
> Contact: Chadwick R. Gore
> (202) 225-1901
>
> Washington,DC-The Commission on Security and Cooperation in
> Europe today examined an escalating human rights problem in the OSCE
> region- the trafficking of women and children for the purpose of sexual
> exploitation.
>
> "Trafficking in human beings is a form of modern day slavery," said
> Commission Chairman Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ). "When a woman or
> child is trafficked or sexually exploited by force, fraud or coercion for
> commercial gain, she is denied the most basic human rights-namely, her
> rights to liberty and security of person, her right not to be held in
> slavery or servitude, and her right to be free from cruel or inhumane
> treatment. In the worst cases, she is denied her right to life. Under the
> laws and practices in the United States and in European countries,
> trafficking victims are denied an effective remedy against those who have
> violated their rights. Ironically, it is the women who are trafficked who
> end up being arrested in brothel raids, locked up and then deported as
> illegal immigrants while their perpetrators rarely suffer repercussions
> for their actions," he concluded.
>
> "It is time to declare war on those that commit these crimes," said
> Smith. "That is why earlier this Congress I introduced the Freedom from
> Sexual Trafficking Act of 1999, H.R. 1356, which would severely punish
> persons in the United States convicted of sexual trafficking, including
> recruitment, harboring, transporting, purchasing or selling the
> trafficking victim. Non-humanitarian U.S. assistance would not be provided
> to foreign countries which do not meet the minimum standards for the
> elimination of sexual trafficking. Of critical importance is the
> assistance and protection that would be provided to victims of
> trafficking, such as the provision of shelters and rehabilitation programs
> for victims and limited provision of relief from deportation for victims
> who expose their traffickers. These are important and necessary changes to
> U.S. law designed to help end this brutal, inhumane, and horrific
> exploitation of women and children."
>
> Commissioner Rep. James C. Greenwood (R-PA) commented, "This is some
> of the most heartbreaking testimony I've heard."
>
> Anita Botti, Deputy Director and Senior Advisor on Trafficking in
> the State Department's Office of the Senior Coordinator for International
> Women's Issues testified, "Over 50,000 of these women and children are
> trafficked into the U.S. annually, primarily from Latin America, the
> former Soviet Union and South East Asia. Russia, Ukraine, Poland and the
> Czech Republic are major countries of origin in Central and Eastern
> Europe."
>
> Wendy Young, speaking about the threat of trafficking of refugees,
> reported, "Despite the lack of concrete data, disturbing reports regarding
> the situation of women and children are emerging, including stories of
> women and girls caught up in the trafficking network that was already
> thriving in the region, especially in Albania. For example, the
> Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and others have
> reported that existing trafficking rings in Vlore, Albania have smuggled
> as many as 10 boatloads of 40 or more Kosovars each night into Italy. The
> price paid for the perilous journey is approximately $750 per person,
> totaling up to $50,000 each night in profits per smuggler. Among their
> number are an unknown number of young women who are recruited or abducted
> by the smugglers and forced into prostitution." Wendy Young serves as the
> Washington Liaison and Staff Attorney for the Women's Commission for
> Refugee Women and Children which is a program of the International Rescue
> Committee.
>
> Steven Galster, Executive Director of Global Survival Network, who,
> between 1994 and 1996, led an undercover investigation into the
> trafficking of women and girls from countries of the former Soviet Union
> to Asia, Europe, and North America, commented, "I believe the United
> States Government is now moving in the right direction to combat
> trafficking on U.S. soil and abroad...Specifically, U.S. policy on this
> issue should emphasize the following components: increase public awareness
> [of the trafficking issue]; increase economic opportunities for women at
> risk; emphasize national civil rights laws and international human rights
> treaties in anti-trafficking enforcement activities; recall the existence
> of several international, anti-slavery instruments, which should be taken
> into account before OSCE states create new laws or agencies to fight
> slavery.
>
> "An effective response to trafficking would provide a victim with a
> stay of deportation for at least the period during which the investigation
> and potential trial against the trafficker takes place. Also, don't forget
> that these women are potential sources of information that aid law
> enforcement actions against organized crime groups. But they must be
> guaranteed protection," said Galster.
>
> Dr. Louise Shelley, American University Professor and Director of
> the Center for the Study of Transnational Crime and Corruption, who since
> 1995 has conducted a program in coordination with specialists in Russia,
> and more recently Ukraine, on the problem of organized crime, pointed out
> that the main features of the trafficking problem are heavy involvement of
> organized crime; lack of capacity and motivation; complicity and
> corruption in law enforcement, passport services and consular divisions;
> corruption within NIS law enforcement, border guards and passport
> services; absence of law enforcement links; and, absence of victim
> protection. Among other points, she recommended that there be cooperation
> between telecommunications companies and law enforcement investigations in
> the trafficking area particularly in the American-European-Eastern
> European-NIS area.
>
> "Next week," pointed out Chairman Smith, "the U.S. delegation to the
> OSCE Parliamentary Assembly meeting in St. Petersburg will be advancing a
> resolution I have proposed calling for the governments of OSCE
> participating States to develop nationally and internationally coordinated
> law enforcement strategies to combat international organized crime,
> particularly the role of organized crime in trafficking of women and
> children. We are hopeful that the OSCE can be a valuable forum in which we
> can work with other governments in the region to bring an end to this
> demeaning, exploitive, and violent trade."
>
> Laura Lederer, Research Director and Project Manager of an extensive
> research project under way in the Women and Public Policy Program at
> Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, which aims to
> gather and disseminate information regarding laws that protect women and
> children from commercial sexual exploitation, noted that in studying the
> laws of 154 countries, "we find that the prostitution laws, which are
> aimed at women and children, are enforced, while the procuration laws,
> aimed at the traffickers, are almost never invoked."


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