News/Manila meet urges crackdown on human trafficking

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Subject: News/Manila meet urges crackdown on human trafficking
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Thu Apr 06 2000 - 10:13:22 EDT


                 Manila meet urges crackdown on human trafficking

RTw 3-31-00 1:42 PM

Reuters Ltd.

     MANILA, March 29 (Reuters) - An Asian conference called on governments
on Friday to seize the profits of crime syndicates who procure women and
children and sell them to prostitution rings and sweatshops around the
world.
      Government officials and non-governmental groups from 23 Asian
economies issued the call in a regional action plan adopted at the end of a
three-day meeting in Manila on how to combat trafficking in women and
children.
      "This pernicious modern day slavery is repugnant to all nations," a
conference statement said.
      In its action plan, the conference urged nations "to examine the need
and adopt, as appropriate, laws and other legal measures to impose
penalties on trafficking, including the seizure and confiscation of gains
obtained by criminal organisations."
      Delegates said they had no firm figures on the profits amassed by the
traffickers but a Filipino non-governmental group said estimates ranged up
to $17 billion annually.
      U.S. officials who attended the meeting said more than a million women
and children were being bought and sold by crime syndicates annually for
use as prostitutes and virtual slaves in sweatshops around the globe.
      They said the trade had grown to become organised crime's third
largest source of profits, after drugs and guns.
      More than a quarter of a million of those annually driven to work in
sub-human conditions or forced into prostitution come from Southeast Asia,
they said.


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