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

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Subject: Re: Commission Chairman: "It's Time to Declare War on Sex Traffickers"
From: Steven Russell Galster (
Date: Wed Jul 28 1999 - 15:55:45 EDT

TO: Listserve

FR: Steven Galster, Director, Global Survival Network

RE: Smith legislation to combat Sexual Trafficking

For the record---

My testimony before the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
was not represented in full in the press release below. I specifically made
it a point during the hearing --several times-- that (a) trafficking must
be clearly defined as involving force, coercion or some form of debt
bondage; and (b) any legislation to combat trafficking should NOT focus
solely on sex trafficking, but should include ALL victims of trafficking
(men, women, girls,boys, sweatshop victims, domestic servitude victims,
etc). Steven Galster, GSN

At 01:58 PM 7/28/99 -0400, Walsh, Maureen wrote:
>> Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
>> 234 Ford House Office Building
>> Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
>> (202) 225-1901
>> 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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