July 13, 2008

The Horror of Human Trafficking - Part 1

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4


While living in Berlin, Germany, we worked with Teen Challenge who had a small cafe in the red light district where anyone could come off the streets for free refreshments and a warm place to rest.

Besides giving a listening ear we also offered hope as we shared the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It was painful to watch these men and women return to the streets to do their 'job'. Deceived by the money, a few claimed they enjoyed the work but the vast majority felt trapped in a cycle of prostitution and drugs which often led to illness and an early death.

We also worked with a team in the Netherlands and would evangelize on the streets of Amsterdam where woman flaunted themselves in store windows and balconies. Again the pain in their faces could be seen behind the makeup and colored lights.

According to the following recent article, the Dutch 'heavy sentencing' ranges from from 8 months to 7-1/2 years. Big deal.

Six get heavy sentences in Dutch human trafficking trial
USA Today
July 11, 2008
source


AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — A court convicted six people Friday in what prosecutors said was the largest case of human trafficking ever brought to trial in the Netherlands.

Experts said the case could have an impact on Dutch policy because the crimes were committed after brothels were legalized in 2000 in the hope that legitimacy would make it easier for the police to monitor prostitution.

Five of the six convicted men were found guilty of participating in a large, well-established network that kept women in prostitution by force — and with extreme violence.

Some of the victims were compelled to have breast enlargement surgery, and one defendant was convicted of forcing at least one woman to have an abortion. Women were beaten and forced to sit in icy water to avoid bruising. They also were tattooed.

The sentences ranged from eight months to 7 1/2 years. M.E. van Wees, a judge authorized to speak to the media, said the sentences were particularly harsh by Dutch standards because of the violence inflicted on the women.

According to Dutch privacy laws, the identities of the defendants were not released, although officials said the two leaders of the network were born in Turkey and some of the group had lived in Germany.

Seventeen women took the stand in the trial, but some later recanted.

Van Wees said in some cases the judges ignored the attempt to withdraw testimony because "there were signs of intimidation."

Prosecutors said the investigation involves roughly 50 suspects and more than 100 women.

Jan van Dijk, an organized crime and victimology expert at the University of Tilburg, said the timing of the case was significant because it came after years of debate that led to the liberalization of Dutch prostitution laws.

"It was supposed to be very visible and transparent, and yet behind the facade, horrible things were happening under the nose of the police," said van Dijk.

"The honeymoon of the new prostitution legislation is over; we are really reconsidering whether we're on the right track," he said.

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And here is another recent article:

Three suspected Uzbek sex workers


Experts Say Human Trafficking A Major Problem In U.S.

July 11, 2008
By Andrew F. Tully
source


WASHINGTON -- Every year, the U.S. State Department issues a report on the status of human trafficking around the world. These documents focus only on the practice and impact of modern slavery in foreign lands. But two experts told a Washington conference on human trafficking on July 10 that the problem is especially problematic in the United States itself.

Laura Lederer, a leading State Department official on human trafficking, opened the conference with a sobering statistic.

"Human trafficking is the third-largest global criminal enterprise, exceeded only by drug and arms trafficking, as many of you have heard over and over again," she said. "We have some very basic statistics on human trafficking. We've looked at this mainly as a law enforcement issue and as a human rights issue. But it is also an industry. By some estimates, the industry is growing, and the [worldwide] illegitimate gain from the industry is as high as $32 billion per year."

But while so much attention has been put on the problem of human trafficking in other countries, Lederer and two others put the focus at the Washington conference on how big the problem is in the United States.

Bradley Myles, who specializes in fighting human trafficking, focused his presentation on how trafficking works. Louise Shelley, the founder and director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center in Washington, spoke of how the traffickers make their money.

Sex-Trafficking Hotline

Understand these two aspects of human trafficking, Lederer said, can help Americans do a better job of fighting the practice.

Myles said it's always difficult to determine just how a criminal enterprise works. Each organization is unique, he said, and none is eager to publicize its secrets.

But Myles said his organization, the Polaris Project, has ways to observe how sex-trafficking rings work. For example, he said, a sex-trafficking hotline run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a federal cabinet agency, has been a great help in rescuing victims of the domestic network and bringing its organizers to justice.

Myles said information from the hotline also gives researchers like him a broad overview that's confirmed by more direct observation in selected U.S. cities.

"So what we've been able to see from the work on the national hotline is sort of a 'bird's-eye view' of different trends that are emerging and different types of sex trafficking that are emerging around the country," he said. "And then we're also doing some local work on the ground here in Washington, D.C., and in some of our other offices around the country. And what we're able to see with some of our local work on the ground is we're able to confirm what we're hearing on the national hotline."

There are several kinds of sex trafficking networks in the United States. One is typified by Asian immigrants, and it often breaks down into three kinds of services -- the massage parlor, the brothel hidden in a legitimate business, and the so-called "hostess clubs" or "room salons," which are modeled after men's clubs.

According to Myles, all sell sex, all are linked to organized crime, and all cater almost exclusively to Asian men. And they keep their activities safe by keeping their clientele small.

Sharing Workers

What's more, Myles said, all three kinds of sex operations share workers.

"The women from these networks all interlink and all interchange," he said. "So one of the women in the massage parlors may have just been in one of the residential brothels, and then previously -- before that -- has just been in one of the 'room salons.' Or vice versa: One of the women in the room salons has just moved on to one of the massage parlors. So if you're talking to a group of women [in the sex trade], you'll realize that this network -- this triangulation of these three [business] models -- are all feeding from the same source of women who are being victimized."

As for making money, Shelley told the conference that there's no shortage of men in the United States who create a demand for sexual services, and there's no shortage of sex workers, either.

Shelley said the vast majority of sex-trafficking victims in the United States are Americans, and predominantly young Americans. She estimated their number as ranging from 100,000 to 300,000, compared with imported sex workers numbering between 14,500 and 17,500 from Asia, Latin America, and the former Soviet-bloc countries.

Most of these young sex workers, Shelley said, are teenage runaways.

"This is important because we are the only advanced democracy in the world that has the preponderance of its victims be its own citizens and have it be youth," Shelley said. "And this is something that we're not paying enough attention to. We have an enormous problem of victimization in our country, and a vulnerability, and we're not talking enough about it, and we're not doing enough about it."

Who are the traffickers? Shelley said there are many kinds, according the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, the nationwide law enforcement agency. They range from organized crime syndicates, smaller family operations, common pimps, and motorcycle gangs.

Handsome Profits

Among these traffickers, Shelley said, are diplomats and foreign business executives. She said they're often involved in what she called "domestic servitude," but occasionally they actually sell these servants into the sex trade.

The foreign nationals involved in human trafficking don't always operate on a large scale, Shelley says, but that doesn't mean they don't occasionally turn handsome profits. She pointed to two university professors from Uzbekistan living in Texas who victimized two young Uzbek girls and managed to make $400,000 in 18 months.

While Shelley believes American society is doing too little to address the problem of human sex trafficking in the United States, that doesn't mean law enforcement agencies aren't trying hard enough.

During a question-and-answer session after their presentation, one questioner asked whether police forces, who receive valuable information from Myles' operation, respond by cracking down on sex trafficking in their jurisdictions.

Myles replied that several factors affect the police response.

"In terms of the law enforcement response, I'd say it varies based on the capacity of law enforcement. It varies based on the level of training and sensitivity of the local law enforcement department that's been trained on the issue. It also varies based on what are some of the other competing crime priorities that department is dealing with," Myles said. "So if there's been a spike in murders or a spike in robberies in a given area, that's going to affect their ability to focus on trafficking. But what we've seen is -- I think it's been a largely positive response."

Myles said police usually are glad to receive tips from citizens about human trafficking in their areas, and they often respond quickly to the tips. In many cases, he said, information from a single citizen has been instrumental in leading police to bring down large prostitution rings.

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Proverbs 6

20 My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.

22 When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.

23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

24 To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.

25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.

26 For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life.

27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?

28 Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?

29 So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.

30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;

31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.

32 But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.

July 17, 2008 UPDATE
Recent News article:



Jul-16-2008 12:26


Human Trafficking is an Unaddressed Worldwide Tragedy

Tim King Salem-News.com
source


We, the world of civilized humans, all bear the responsibility of putting an end to this holocaust of mutilation of body, soul, and emotions of our women and children in the sex slave industry.‏

(SALEM, Ore.) - Bringing attention to human slavery and trafficking should not be a difficult task. People should be completely shocked and appalled that this problem has been allowed to grow completely out of control. Governments, including the United States, devote far too little in the way of time and resources to it. Many people say that is because too many government employees are part of trafficking and slavery. That makes fighting it all the more difficult if it is the case.

Human trafficking is defined by Wikipedia as the recruitment, transportation, harboring, or receipt of people for the purposes of slavery, forced labor (including bonded labor or debt bondage) and servitude.

This is estimated to be a $5 to $9 billion-a-year industry. Wikipedia cites The Council Of Europe saying, "People trafficking has reached epidemic proportions over the past decade, with a global annual market of about $42.5 billion".

Victims typically fall into the clutches of traffickers who use the tools of coercion, deception, fraud, abuse of power, or outright abduction. Threats, violence, and economic leverage such as debt bondage can often make a victim consent to exploitation, Wikipedia explains.

Exploitation includes forcing people into prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. For children, exploitation may also include forced prostitution, illicit international adoption, trafficking for early marriage, or recruitment as child soldiers, beggars, for sports, or for religious cults.

A human trafficking awareness poster from the Canadian Department of Justice.

The latter is brought into focus in the recent movie "The Kite Runner" which depicts the life of a boy who was literally "bought" from an orphanage, only to be sexually abused by members of the Taliban.

Individuals Call for Justice

One advocate who works for the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office in Florida, Betty Dehnert, says the civilized people of earth have absolutely no clue about this industry.

"The Global sex slave industry is controlled by large organized crime, gangs, and supported by the Governments of many countries that benefit from the money involved. This is money that is circulated around the world at the expense of innocent women and children being sold into slavery for sex."

Billions of dollars could be applied to this problem, and it could be turned around. To say that we squander our money in this nation is a vast understatement. Hundreds of billions spent to kill people in Iraq, tax cuts for the poor, huge amounts of corporate welfare, endless support from U.S. taxpayers for Israel, and yet we spare only a pittance toward investigating human trafficking.

As our economy worsens, this problem will rise exponentially. Illegal money and crime will not be affected by the financial downfall of the United States. Yet American citizens are not immune from sexual slavery, and trafficking. Talk about legitimate fears, it happens every day in other places where their economies are severely depressed, like Mexico.

Betty Dehnert in Florida says she does not understand why the SO CALLED sophisticated Governments of this world can take such as lackadaisical attitude.

"The most disturbing response that I typically hear people retort when they do become aware of this holocaust is 'Oh it’s the oldest profession in the world, it will always be around'. I would like to applaud, and support with my own money, groups such as the not for profit human rights organization the 'CATW', that work diligently to get laws passed through the U.N. to fight this industry from becoming the biggest industry on the face of the earth."

In the United States, trafficking laws are prosecuted at the federal level. The overwhelming majority of states do not have laws against human trafficking. One example cited by Wikipedia is that in Maryland it is a felony to have sex with a minor, but only a misdemeanor for making it available to those who wish to have sex with a minor.

The laws of the U.S. have seen some improvements in recent years. One example is the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, which allows for greater statutory maximum sentences for traffickers, provided resources for protection of and assistance for victims of trafficking and created avenues for interagency cooperation. It also allows many trafficking victims to remain in the United States and apply for permanent residency under a T-1 Visa. The act also attempted to encourage efforts to prevent human trafficking internationally, by creating annual country reports on trafficking and tying financial non-humanitarian assistance to foreign countries to real efforts in addressing human trafficking.

According to Wikipedia, the United States Department of State has a high-level official charged with combating human trafficking, the Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons ("anti-trafficking czar"). The current director is Mark P. Lagon.

Yet, international NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have called on the United States to improve its measures aimed at reducing trafficking. It has been recommended that the United States more fully implement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children and for immigration officers to improve their awareness of trafficking and support the victims of trafficking.

The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-International (CATW) is a non-governmental organization that promotes women's human rights by working internationally to combat sexual exploitation in all its forms.

Founded in 1988, CATW was the first international non-governmental organization to focus on human trafficking, especially sex trafficking of women and girls. CATW obtained Category II Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 1989.

The group states that it is a fundamental human right to be free of sexual exploitation in all its forms. Women and girls have the right to sexual integrity and autonomy.

Projects Underway

One program The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women maintains is intended to curb male demand for prostitution. The group draws a parallel between prostitution and trafficking. It seems fair to consider that this is the case in many parts of the world. It is also true however, that places like the state of Nevada in the U.S. where prostitution is legal, have far lower rates of abuse and sexually-transmitted diseases that places where it is illegal.

One of CATW's goals is to combat sex trafficking and prostitution by discouraging the demand. They say it is important to challenge the men who buy women for the sex of prostitution through various measures, including education of boys and men and support of enforcing laws against buyers.

They also believe it is important to publicize a chart of "global good practices," illustrating police and community actions taken against male "customers."

Many police departments have creatively used local legislation to arrest, charge, and prosecute the men. Some have seized men's cars, which is obviously controversial, and others have utilized techniques of 'naming and shaming' in which men's names are published in the newspapers or on the internet when they are caught in the act of soliciting women in prostitution. Other police forces have aired surveillance videos of male buyers, caught in the act of soliciting women in prostitution, on a special TV show.

One thing that is extremely important to remember, is that the problems of human trafficking involve boys also. Get involved, write your Congressmen and Senators and demand action. Join groups, hold rallies, try to be proactive in whatever way you can imagine.

For more information, visit: Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

Wikipedia's page on Human Trafficking

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And PRAY. Seek the Lord while He may be found.

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