Re: seeking input on best practices/experts

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Subject: Re: seeking input on best practices/experts
From: Sue Metzenrath (scarlet@dynamite.com.au)
Date: Mon Apr 24 2000 - 13:21:08 EDT


Hello Jill:

I would be interested in you sharing with the list the practices in the
countries that you mention (ie Italy, Netherlands & Belgium) out of
interest. I am particulalry interested as recently in Australia we have had
legislation enacted on sex slavery (incredibly narrow minded as it does not
deal with smuggling or with trafficking for purposes other than the sex
industry, even though the problems are much greater in other areas, eg fruit
picking and the construction industry), but the legislation itself provides
no support to the victims, in fact they would be deported to their countries
of origin and if that person has already accrued a debt in coming to
Australia, the debt stills stays and more than likely they would be met by
members of syndicates that have facilitated their entry into the country in
the first place at the airport on arrival only to send them to some other
country to get their money back. It was the main reason the Scarlet
Alliance was opposed to the legislation and particularly as it makes it
harder for the agents to operate all it will mean ultimately is that the
victims will have to pay bigger contract fees, it will be more underground
then it is now and the conditions for these workers will deteriorate
further.
Of course our interest is in the sex industry as advocates for sex worker
rights and so we lobbied the government not to enact this legislation but
instead to allow employer sponsorship of these workers. Sex Work is legal
in most states and territories in Australia, so we feel that if a legitimate
brothel operatorin a state/territory where sex work is legal could sponsor
someof these workers, then at least they would enjoy the same working
conditions and rights as local sex workers and because they are in the
country legally if there was a problem at least they could access support
organisations and do something about it and of course they wouldn't have a
huge debt hanging over their heads. Of course from a pragmatic point of
view you also don't want to open the floodgates so the government could set
a quota system, such that every year only a certain number of people could
come to Australia to work in the sex industry and their sponsorship would be
for a certain period of time (eg 1-3 years) at which time they would have to
return to their own countries. This is how the current employer sponsor
scheme works in other industries. You could also develop a code of practice
clearly setting out the roles and responsibilities of employer and employee
which would be a means of regulating the industry to ensure that they ere
doing the right thing. We have primarily taken this position because the
majority of women who come to Australia,mostly from Asian countries, to work
in the sex industry under a contract system are sex workers in their
countries of origin and they know that what they will do is work in the sex
industry. Also, most of them are only interested in working for as long as
it takes them to pay off their debt and set themselves up economically in
their country of origin. This happens by them sending money back home
generally to relatives or parents and the money may go to buy a house, land,
a small business or farm and the workers have all intentions of going back
to their countries. Of course whilst there are very few restrictions on the
movement of capital, there are more and more restricitons in relation to the
movement of labour. Yet, Australia is wealthy enough to allow this practice
to occur, hell there are so many legitimate migrants who send money to their
relatives o/seas and it hasn't sent the country broke yet. The other issue
is that whilst these workers are in the country legitimately they would pay
taxes and also spend money locally in meeting the needs of their everyday
life. Of course we sympathise with those workers who have been lied to
and/or tricked into believing they will be doing something else but it is a
separate issue and this is where a human rights initiative set up to support
the recent legislation would be particulalry important. The support we
would like to see for those workers who get caught by immigration and
especially if they have the guts to be a witness in gaining convictions
against the perpetrators is that Australia should at the very least grant
them humanitarian visas to remain in the country if they so desire and allow
them to work (in whatever industry they like including the sex industry).
Of course it would be very dangerous for them to take the stand and also be
very difficult to return to their own countries, yet Australia does nothing
to support them.
The Scarlet Alliance would very dearly like to develop a lobbying document
on the human rights issues associated here and what Australia should do
about it to present to government. We now have this stupid law in place and
therefore have to live with it so we are now interested in ensuring that the
vitims are supported so if any other country has a more humanitarian
approach I would like to hear about it.
If anyone else has some ideas on issues we should get the gov to support in
relation to this please email the list or myself privately as long as they
don't involve criminalising the sex industry!

We are about to develop a resource aimed at these workers togive them
information on their rights if they are busted by the Immigration Dept,
including various visa categories that they may want to apply for, contact
orgs, etc

In terms of a suggestion for a speaker, someone I would highly recommend is
Ann Jordan, she has been intimately involved in the recent negotiations on
the protocol on trafficking being drafted by the UN Crime Commission.
She is the director of the initiative against trafficking in persons with
the International Law Group. Her details are: e- annj@hrlawgroup.org, 1200
18th St, NW, Washington DC 20036, tel 202-822-4600, fax 202-822-4606

Cheers
Sue

----- Original Message -----
From: Jill Thompson <jill@odihr.osce.waw.pl>
To: Multiple recipients of list STOP-TRAFFIC
<stop-traffic@friends-partners.org>
Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2000 10:00 AM
Subject: seeking input on best practices/experts

> Dear List:
> In preparation for an upcoming conference on trafficking in human
> beings in the OSCE region (Europe and former Soviet Union), I am
> seeking information on the following:
>
> 1) examples of good policies and practices for the treatment of
> victims of trafficking involving States/ governments, particularly
> (though not limited to) Central, SouthEastern, or Eastern European
> governments. (I am acquainted with good laws/practices in
> Netherlands, Belgium and Italy).
> 2) experts qualified to discuss examples of trafficking for
> purposes other than the commercial sex industry (such as
> domestic servants, agricultural or factory workers) and/or
> trafficking in children for forced labour/servitude (including sexual
> exploitation) within Europe or involving European workers.
> 3) recommendations for good speakers to address the human
> rights aspects of the trafficking problem (including trafficking in
> women and forced prostitution) before a large audience.
>
> Thank you in advance for whatever ideas you can provide.
>
> Jill Thompson
> OSCE/ODIHR
> Advisor on Trafficking Issues
> (48 22) 520-0600
> jill@odihr.osce.waw.pl
>
>


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