[Stop-traffic] News/BRAZIL: GLOBAL CRIME BUSTERS WARN OF NEW SLAVERY.

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/BRAZIL: GLOBAL CRIME BUSTERS WARN OF NEW SLAVERY.
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri Dec 22 2000 - 12:29:48 EST


28/Nov/00 BRAZIL: GLOBAL CRIME BUSTERS WARN OF NEW SLAVERY.
By Axel Bugge
BRASILIA, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Top global crime busters warned on Tuesday
that a surge in the international smuggling of women, children and slave
laborers, could be the world's fastest growing organized criminal activity.
Modern slavery, in the form of women and children sold into prostitution in
the developed world or desperate people that go to extremes for a better
life in the first world, is fast becoming a serious threat, delegates at a
U.N.-sponsored conference said.
"This is the fastest growing form of organized crime," said Pino Arlacchi,
head of the based U.N. Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention
(UNDCP), which is hosting the meeting.
He was opening the first ever International Seminar on the Trafficking of
Human Beings where crime experts and human rights groups will wrestle with
the scourge in which four million people are smuggled each year, according
to UNDCP.
In the backdrop of the meeting was the images of such horrendous events as
a container load of dozens of dead Chinese who were found at Britain's port
of Dover this year, having died of suffocation on their journey from China.
"Trafficking in human beings is one of the most globalized markets in the
world today," said Arlacchi, who won fame in the early 1990s for busting
Italian mafia rings. "Almost no country is immune from it."
Calling the problem, a "new form of slavery," Arlacchi warned that
traditional crime rings could increasingly turn to smuggling humans and
away from other activities as many countries have few institutional means
to fight it.
Most nations have focused on the problem of illegal immigrants and not the
criminals taking advantage of them.
Delegates hope the meeting can start the work of adopting an international
strategy to fight trafficking in humans to be adopted at a global forum in
2002.
Speakers at the meeting warned that the problem extends well beyond the
international sex industry, to trafficking in children for adoption, women
forced into marriage, humans smuggled for organs and outright slavery with
forced work.
Above all, the lure of a new life in the United States or Europe, attracts
thousands of poor into the clutches of international crime rings that
charge thousands of dollars to ship their human cargoes.
Often the hopefuls end up in the shark-infested waters of the South China
Sea, lost forever, said Hamish McCulloch, an expert in trafficking of
humans at Interpol in Paris.
"Human beings are treated as nothing more than commodities by the
traffickers," said McCulloch. He estimated the criminals behind human
trafficking make $9 billion a year.
Host country Brazil, the world's fifth largest country with massive
isolated farm lands, itself faces huge problems both with internal slavery
and the illegal trafficking of women to Europe and the United States.
"Arlacchi will find a country with great problems of violence," Brazil's
Justice Minister Jose Gregori told delegates, stressing that Brazil is
ready for change.
"We have started to act, we are no longer standing still," he said.
Brazil's Labor Ministry has rescued almost 2,000 rural workers from slave
labor in the past five years but human rights workers say the resources
devoted to the work are sorely needed, leaving hundreds more to fall
through the net.
The meeting's organizers said 75,000 Brazilian women work in Europe as
prostitutes, most of them smuggled.
(C) Reuters Limited 2000.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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