Subject: Re: [Stop-traffic] News/US: Opinion -- COMBATING MODERN SLAVERY
From: Phil Marshall (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Nov 21 2000 - 23:27:19 EST
Is there any evidence to suggest that stiffer penalties act as a deterrent? My understanding is that stiffer penalties in most areas have a limited effect because most people committing crimes don't expect to be caught. We would be very interested to learn of any research relevant to this question?
UN Inter-Agency Project on Trafficking
> COMBATING MODERN SLAVERY
> October 16, 2000
> When someone mentions forced labor, Americans are apt to think of China. References to trafficking in women and children for prostitution brings to mind Thailand or Eastern Europe. For the most part, these scourges are found abroad. But they also occur right here in the United States. Up to 50,000 illegal immigrants are brought to this country every year and forced into modern-day slavery in sweatshops or brothels.
> The criminals who smuggle these immigrants in and brutally exploit them are acting illegally, of course. But victims are unwilling to go to authorities because, having come here illegally, they fear being deported. And existing laws often don't fit the crimes precisely or punish them appropriately.
> But help is on the way. The House and Senate recently passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, which President Clinton has promised to sign. Sponsored by Sens. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), the measure establishes stiffer federal penalties for criminals who buy and sell human beings--including sentences of life in prison in cases involving homicide, kidnapping and sex trafficking in children under 14. It affords protection to the victims by allowing them to stay in the U.S. and letting 5,000 of them a year be granted permanent resident status.
> Combating such activities beyond our borders is harder. Most of the people victimized by slave trade come from poor nations where jobs are scarce and conditions harsh. The ultimate remedy lies in promoting economic progress that will make it possible for people to earn a decent living without leaving home. This bill also requires the State Department to include this abuse in its annual country reports on human rights--and allows, though it doesn't require, economic sanctions against nations that make no effort to address the problem.
> Human bondage used to be just an ugly part of history in this country. With effort, and laws like this, it may once again be consigned to the past.
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