Sex Trade Flourishing

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Subject: Sex Trade Flourishing
From: Jenny Stanger (
Date: Thu Feb 24 2000 - 10:52:46 EST

Sex trade flourishing, US says

By Paul Shepard, Associated Press, 2/23/2000

WASHINGTON - With as many as 2 million women worldwide forced into sexual
slavery, the sex trade seems to have replaced narcotics as the favored
illegal trade activity, White House officials said at a Senate hearing

Harold Koh, assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and
labor, said international criminals are moving away from ''guns and drugs''
to marketing women. ''There are weaker restraints and growing demand,'' Koh
told the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Near Eastern and Southern
Asian Affairs.

Republican Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, who was chairman of the hearing,
spoke of meeting some female victims during recent travels to Asia and
called the trade ''the greatest manifestation of slavery in the world
today.'' ''They are told they will be taking a job as a nanny and are given
money. Then they are taken across a border and held against their will,'' he

A woman called Inez and disguised to protect her identity testified that she
was forced into a life of sexual slavery in the United States by traffickers
in her native Mexico.

She said she was duped by men who promised her work at a restaurant but said
she owed them a ''smuggling fee'' of $2,500 that she had to pay off by
selling herself to men.

Solid numbers on the scope of the problem are hard to come by, but best
estimates show at least 50,000 women are brought into the United States
annually for forced labor, officials said.

Bills aimed at curbing trafficking have been introduced in the House and

This story ran on page A6 of the Boston Globe on 2/23/2000.
                        Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.
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