News/DENMARK: US AMBASSADOR PROPOSES TO FIGHT WOMEN TRAFFICKING.

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Subject: News/DENMARK: US AMBASSADOR PROPOSES TO FIGHT WOMEN TRAFFICKING.
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Jun 27 2000 - 09:01:48 EDT


6-14-00 DENMARK: US AMBASSADOR PROPOSES TO FIGHT WOMEN TRAFFICKING.
By Peter Starck
COPENHAGEN, June 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. ambassador to Denmark on Wednesday
proposed a partnership between Washington and Copenhagen to fight the
trafficking of women and children for prostitution.
Ambassador Richard Swett described the trafficking as "a heinous crime with
catastrophic consequences for its victims, for our societies and the world
at large."
The United States estimates the multi-billion dollar business of luring of
women and children across borders for prostitution is the third largest
source of profit for organised crime after drugs and guns.
Swett's initiative was made at a meeting on the legal and political aspects
of trafficking organised by a Danish lawyers' and economists' union and the
U.S. embassy in Copenhagen.
Danish Justice Minister Frank Jensen, one of the keynote speakers, welcomed
the proposal, saying he had already asked the state attorney's office to
evaluate existing legislation and pinpoint areas requiring tighter rules.
Jensen also pledged to address the issue in talks with his Nordic
colleagues as well as with the European Union.
Swett's proposal came just days after 180 countries at a week-long United
Nations women's rights conference in New York took a strong stand against
trafficking and domestic slavery.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in a speech last week called for
an international campaign against trafficking in women and children, saying
it robbed them of their dreams and degraded societies.
Experts say poverty and a sense of duty to family were among factors
pushing some girls as young as seven across national borders into
prostitution.
A U.S. State Department report estimates that between one and two million
women and girls were coerced each year into prostitution, manual labour and
domestic service that amounted to virtual slavery.
Swett said some estimates reached up to four million.
Several speakers said a big obstacle to dealing with the problem was that
so few women forced into the sex trade were willing to come forward.
"It is very important that the women are speaking up," said Copenhagen
police Deputy Commissioner Bitte Dyrberg. "It is necessary that they stand
up."
Swett called on governments and non-governmental organisations alike to
move from "merely digesting the sheer horror of (this) modern form of
slavery" to concrete cooperation.
Most prostitutes in Denmark come from southeast Asia, primarily Thailand. A
growing number of women from the Baltic republics, mainly Latvia, are also
trying to escape poverty by becoming prostitutes in Denmark.
Reuters Limited 2000.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE


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