News/UK: Foreign prostitutes become "sex slaves"

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Subject: News/UK: Foreign prostitutes become "sex slaves"
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Jun 12 2000 - 11:20:27 EDT


Foreign prostitutes become "sex slaves"
                     in Britain
                     2 Jun 2000 14:38GMT

                     LONDON, June 2 (Reuters) - Hundreds of women are
trapped into sex slavery in Britain
                     each year by gangs of human traffickers who
smuggle them into the country and and force
                     them into prostitution, researchers said on Friday.

                     Many of the women are brought into Britain from
areas such as eastern Europe and are
                     compelled into selling sex to pay off
extortionate rates charged by the traffickers.

                     Dr Linda Regan, one of the authors of a report
compiled for Britain's Home Office (interior
                     ministry) on the problem, said the women were
unaware of what traffickers could demand.

                     "These women are charged an enormous amount of
money by the traffickers, far more than
                     they can possibly hope to earn. They have to
service clients -- usually for an extended
                     period of time -- to pay back that debt," Regan said.

                     "They are then charged for use of a flat, maid
service, laundry, the food they eat -- and it is
                     impossible to pay off the debts to the
traffickers," she told BBC radio.

                     Having conducted a survey of Britain's police,
studied official figures and interviewed
                     experts of the subject, Regan said that between
140 and 1,400 women were used as sex
                     slaves in Britain each year.

                     One brothel madam supported the findings.

                     "There are plenty of girls who come through from
all sorts of places. They phone up and
                     knock at the door for work all the time," brothel
manageress Marion, who declined to give her
                     full name, told BBC radio.

                     "They come over on the boats and drift into the
country all different ways. There are no
                     English girls around now, because there is no
money -- the men won't pay the money now
                     becuase they are getting it cheaper from the
foreign girls," she said.

                     Regan's report, compiled for the Home Office
along with her colleague at the University of
                     North London's Child and Woman Abuse Studies
Centre, said traffickers pushed the women
                     into selling sex since it is seen as a low-risk activity.

                     Regan said this was partly due to police in some
parts of Britain chosing to adopt a
                     hands-off approach to prostitution.

                     "It's more a case of (the police) not paying an
awful lot of attention to the off-street sex
                     market, which is where these women are," Regan said.

                     The prostitution report will be considered by the
home office as part of a major review of
                     sexual crime in Britain.


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