News/OSCE: Vollebaek Defines Trafficking as 'Modern Day Slavery'

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Subject: News/OSCE: Vollebaek Defines Trafficking as 'Modern Day Slavery'
From: Walsh, Maureen (
Date: Fri Nov 19 1999 - 22:16:46 EST

The following is a press release about a meeting on trafficking that took
place at the just-concluded OSCE Summit in Istanbul. The original document
can be found at <> and has links to both
the OSCE Chairman's opening statement and the full ODIHR Action Plan to
combat trafficking in the OSCE region.

     Media Advisory

    Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
    19 November 1999
     Vollebaek Defines Trafficking as 'Modern Day Slavery'
     US Donates $1 Million to Combat Trafficking

     Istanbul, 19 November 1999 - OSCE Chairman-in-Office Knut Vollebaek led
a panel of presidents, prime
     ministers, ministers, lawmakers and citizen activists last night in
presenting solutions to combat the human rights
     scourge in trafficking women and children. Mr. Vollebaek announced a
Norwegian sponsored regional conference
     on trafficking of human beings next Spring in Oslo. US Representative,
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton,
     announced a $1 million grant to fight trafficking in OSCE countries.

     The premier event, held in the margins of the OSCE Istanbul Summit,
featured addresses by Ms. Ruth Dreifuss,
     President of the Swiss Confederation, Latvian Prime Minister Andris
Skele, Finnish Foreign Minister Tarja
     Halonen, Helle Degn, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly,
Ambassador Gerard Stoudmann, Director
     of the OSCE Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)
and Ms. Stana Buchowska,
     representing the Warsaw based La Strada Foundation Against Trafficking
in Women.

     In his opening statement, Mr. Vollebaek reiterated the significance and
tragedy of trafficking as fundamental
     human rights challenge and defined it as 'modern day slavery.'

     'Trafficking of human beings is a return to the dark ages of the
history of man,' Mr. Vollebaek said. 'It
     predominantly involves women and children and represents one of the
most reprehensible and profound human
     rights abuses of our time.'

     Ms. Clinton pronounced a growing consensus, not only in Europe and the
United States, but also into other parts
     of the globe, that new measures are needed to combat trafficking of
women and children.

     'Finally, trafficking of women and children has emerged out of the
shadows and into the spotlight,' she said. 'We
     must prevent it, protect the victims and prosecute the perpetrators to
the full extent of the law.'

     Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss and Finnish Foreign Minister Tarja
Halonen said that trafficking was a fundamentally
     flagrant human rights violation. They both called for increased
cooperation and stepped up legislation to combat
     trafficking. Prime Minister Skele of Latvia presented the Baltic States
initiatives in fighting trafficking through a law
     enforcement framework addressing organized crime.

     The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's leadership reaffirmed its commitment
to the issue of trafficking by calling on
     all participating States' national assemblies to take up the issue as a
matter of high priority. The ODIHR spelled
     out its action plan on trafficking which encompasses prevention,
legislation, political initiatives and a specific
     plan of action for Southeastern Europe.

     For further information contact Melissa Fleming, OSCE Spokesperson,
tel.: (+ 43) 664-325 3698, (090) 0532
     790 75 68 or e-mail: or Tanya Domi, (+90) 0532 790 75
77 or email:

                                  Press and Public Information Section
                                         OSCE Secretariat
                                         Karntner Ring 5-7
                                       A-1010 Vienna, Austria
                                       tel: (+43-1) 514 36 180

Maureen T. Walsh
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
   (Helsinki Commission)
234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-1901 tel
(202) 226-4199 fax

Melanie Orhant

Stop-traffic is a facilitated, international electronic mailing list
dealing with human rights abuses associated with trafficking
in persons, with an emphasis on public health and trafficking
in persons for forced labor, including forced prostitution,
sweatshop labor, domestic service and some coercive mail
order bride arrangements.

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