Re: [Stop-traffic] News/US: Opinion -- COMBATING MODERN SLAVERY

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Subject: Re: [Stop-traffic] News/US: Opinion -- COMBATING MODERN SLAVERY
From: Melanie Orhant (
Date: Sun Nov 26 2000 - 17:42:31 EST


I have not heard of any studies directly on trafficking and penalties
acting as a deterrent; however, there are many studies on penalties
acting, or not acting, as a deterring crime.

Directly on the issue of trafficking, I personally believe that
stiffer penalties would act as a deterrent. Traffickers know that
even if caught and convicted they would receive little sentences and
small fines. If the penalties equaled or surpassed that of
trafficking in drugs or arms, then maybe people would stop
trafficking in persons.


>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?
>Phil Marshall
>UN Inter-Agency Project on Trafficking
> wrote:
> >
> > 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
> >
> > 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.
> >
> > _______________________________________________ Stop-traffic
>mailing list
>Stop-traffic mailing list

Melanie Orhant
Stop-Traffic Moderator

Please contact me off-list for any questions about Stop-Traffic at

Women's Reproductive Health Initiative
Program for Appropriate Technology in Health

Stop-Traffic is an open, facilitated, international electronic list
funded by the Women's Reproductive Health Initiative of the Program
for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) that addresses human
rights abuses associated with trafficking in persons, with a strong
emphasis on public health. The focus of Stop-Traffic is the
trafficking in persons into sweatshop labor, domestic servitude,
forced prostitution, forced agricultural labor and coercive
mail-order bride arrangements. Trafficking in people for forced
labor is an ever-growing worldwide phenomena that affects the health
and well-being of millions of women, men and children.
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