Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Holidays from Captive Daughters

We at Captive Daughters would like to wish everyone a very happy holiday and best wishes for the New Year.

In 2007 we look forward to continuing the fight against the sexual exploitation of women and children throughout the world. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read this blog, to spread the word about sex trafficking within their communities and to continue the chain of education that is so essential in eventually ending this heinous practice.

We will be back on the blog in 2007. Until then, be well and enjoy your family and friends this holiday season.

Warm wishes,

Captive Daughters

EU: Human Rights Commissioner Lauches Effort to Combat Violence Against Women

This is the keynote address given by Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights at the launching conference on the Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence. Delivered in Madrid on 27 November 2006.

MADRID -- It has to be said at the outset that violence against women is a manifestation of unequal status between men and women in society. Therefore, violence against women must be addressed in the context of seeking to end all forms of discrimination, to advance gender equality and to empower women.

Women are still grossly underrepresented in almost all political assemblies and decision making bodies at all levels in Europe – also within the Council of Europe. This in turn is reflected in the priorities selected and, very importantly, on budgets and decisions on funding.

In spite of the numerous women’s rights conferences, agreed norms against discrimination and political pledges about gender equity, the gap between rhetoric and the daily reality remains. This is the main message in the UN Study on Violence Against Women which was published just a few days ago.

The UN Study points out that though strong laws have been adopted in many countries, most national-level responses have been inadequate and have not eradicated the impunity perpetrators too often enjoy.

The Study confirms previous reports indicatng that the level of violence against women, including domestic violence, remains very high. Though precise data are lacking, we know that such abuses are widespread and a serious problem also across Europe – affecting the lives of a large number of women, as well as their children.

We also know that where combating violence against women indeed has been made a priority by the government, we have seen tangible improvements in a relatively short time. The host country of this conference has been one of those that have taken the issue very seriously and progress is being made. This is largely thanks to the efforts of the women’s moment and the good co-operation between the government and the women’s groups.

This Conference should clearly send the message across Europe that combating violence against women is a very high priority and something to be taken seriously. The support demonstrated here in statements must be turned into serious action at the national and local levels, where it really matters.


California: 4 Accused of Smuggling Women for Prostitution

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Four women from Guatemala have been arrested as part of a scheme in which young women were lured into the U.S. with promises of good jobs and forced to become prostitutes in Los Angeles.

The women were arrested Wednesday when investigators from the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Labor and the LAPD served search warrants at six Los Angeles homes and apartments linked to the alleged prostitution ring.

Charged with importing and harboring undocumented immigrants as well as harboring them for prostitution were Gladys Vasquez Valenzuela, 36; her sisters, Jeanette, 25, and Albertina, 48; and Albertina's daughter, Maria Vicente de los Angeles, 27.

Another relative, Maribel Vasquez Valenzuela, is being sought by authorities.

The investigation began three months ago when two alleged victims of the ring escaped with the help of a male customer and contacted authorities, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Two other victims were rescued by investigators last month. Ten women at the locations raided Wednesday were also believed to have been working as prostitutes and were being interviewed by authorities to determine if they also were victims.

In a sworn affidavit used for the arrests and searches, FBI Agent Tricia Whitehill provided a harrowing account of how the young women were duped into coming to the U.S., forced into prostitution and held against their will, often beaten when they complained.

One victim, identified only by the initials I.C., told the agent she was first approached in Guatemala about coming to the U.S. by a man named "Chepe." According to the affidavit, he told the woman he had children in the U.S. who needed help with their restaurant business and that she could make plenty of money that she could send back to her daughter in Guatemala.

Agreeing to the offer, I.C. traveled for 20 days by foot and bus, crossing the Mexican border into Texas in February. There, she met a man and woman who drove her from Houston to Los Angeles.

Gladys Vasquez Valenzuela and her niece, Maribel, met the van and paid the smugglers $1,600 for I.C. and another woman, according to the affidavit.

Returning to Vasquez Valenzuela's apartment, I.C. said, she was told by the woman that she owed $10,000 for the trip and would have to work as a prostitute if she did not have the money.


Monday, December 18, 2006

South Africa: Flesh Traffickers Using SA as Prime Brothel

SOUTH AFRICA -- Among the throng of people who arrived at the new Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok from OR Tambo this week was a 29-year-old sex slave.

Napa's touchdown was a bittersweet moment for Thai diplomats in Pretoria and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security which is struggling to cut the human trafficking link between Thailand and South Africa.

Of the estimated 1 000 Thai women and children lured to South Africa this year to work in the sex industry, Napa (not her real name) was one of the lucky 52 to be repatriated.

Although she was whisked away for a debriefing, social workers gave the assurance she would not be treated as a criminal, but rather as a victim of human rights' abuse.

Her experiences in South Africa are vital when it comes to closing in on the extensive network which has, in recent times, increased human trafficking to and from Thailand, and will also serve to protect other potential victims.

In an interview with a South African media group in Bangkok, Thailand's Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, Wallop Polytaptim, said South Africa was the third most popular destination for sex slaves from Thailand, the top two being Malaysia and Japan.

Yet, he said - referring to the fact that a South African delegation had been barred from attending a meeting with Thai officials in November - it had not been possible to reach a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on dealing with the problem.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Canada: Reviewing Prositution Laws

CANADA -- Members from the Liberal, New Democratic, and Bloc Québécois Parties are of the view that sexual activities between consenting adults that do not harm others, whether or not payment is involved, should not be prohibited by the state. (p. 92)

The report of the Subcommittee on Solicitation Laws was tabled in the House of Commons. It points to the absence of consensus on the subject of prostitution in Canada, underlining the existence of profound disagreements "as to the nature, causes and effects of prostitution, but also as to the solutions." (p. 5). It also points to the absence of knowledge as to the size of that industry in Canada, to such a degree that two of its seven recommendations deal with that issue.

The report is far from unanimous. The representatives of the Conservative Party have important disagreements with the other three parties. Some positions have the support of the Liberals and New-democrats ; others are backed by the Blockistes.

In short, in spite of the existence of profound differences, the report accepts, not to say justifies, sex as a business, under various excuses : security of the people involved, public health, apparent consent, etc. It reduces to a simple matter of individual choice a question which relates to a huge global and national system organised to the profit of pimps and traffickers as well that of prostituting clients. It also treats equally all sexual relations, “whether or not payment is involved". In such a context, to state that the report trivialises prostitution is an understatement.


More on Canada's Prostitution laws from The majority report of the Justice Subcommittee on Solicitation Laws : a direct assault on women's rights and a gift for organized crime

Canada: NGO Calls for Anti-Sex Trafficking Plan

TORONTO, CANADA -- Save the Children Canada congratulates Joy
Smith, M.P. for her initiative in presenting a Private member's Bill in the
House of Commons to develop a national strategy to combat human trafficking
and protecting victims of trafficking, most of whom are young women and
children. "This is a positive step." said David Morley, President and CEO of
Save the Children Canada. "All effort must be made to ensure that this human
tragedy is eliminated from within our borders and beyond."
Many children who are victims of trafficking are subjected to forced
prostitution, the production of child pornography, domestic servitude, work in
sweat shops and agriculture, and forced to become drug couriers. Children are
also being abducted and sold for illegal adoptions. Girls are more likely to
be trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and domestic service, whereas
boys tend to be trafficked for forced labour in agriculture, crime and the
drug trade.


Cameroon: Sexual Exploitation of Children Study

CAMEROON -- Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) has become a major concern around the world. Although many are still not aware of its effects, it is gaining grounds in African society. As a result, the State and international organs are very much concerned with such an act. Despite numerous studies conducted so far, it still remains difficult to establish exact statistics based on the global view of CSEC. Sexual exploitation of children exists in different forms such as child prostitution, pornography and trafficking of children for sexual purposes. CSEC is provoked by misery and poverty in most families, the limits of public politics on matters such as school attendance and education, the insufficiency of the State to effectively guarantee all the rights prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child of 19891 and those of the ILO Convention No 29 concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour adopted on 28 June 1930; Convention No 138 concerning the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment adopted on the 26 June 1973 and Convention No 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour adopted on 17 June 1999 and ratified by Cameroon in 2000; and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, which entered into force in November 1999.2 To resolve such issues as the definition of a child, the root causes of and forms of CESC in Cameroon, the profile of child sex exploiters and what can be done to eliminate CSEC, ECPAT, in collaboration with ASSEJA, launched a research on the commercial sexual exploitation of children in three towns in Cameroon: Yaoundé, Bamenda and Bertoua.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Nigeria: Women Sacrificed to Sex Trade

BENIN CITY, NIGERIA -- A family friend arranged for Gloria to leave Nigeria to work as a prostitute in Italy. Blessing was approached by an aunt. A next-door neighbor organised the trip for Adeyinka.

Thousands of women in southern Nigeria's Benin City -- a run-down port of crumbling buildings and potholed streets where power cuts are frequent and jobs scarce -- are encouraged by their desperate families to sell their bodies abroad.

"Our friend came to my house and said he could help me travel to Europe and make a lot of money. I wanted to help my mother. We are poor," says Gloria, who was 19 at the time and among the youngest of a family of 19 children.

She ended up in Italy after a harrowing journey across the Sahara during which several women died of hunger and thirst.

She arrived in debt, and by the time she was deported back to Nigeria after eight months working on the streets, she was still penniless, having only managed to pay some of the $35,000 she owed her new madam.

"Those years were wasted. When I think about it I feel very desperate," said Gloria, tears smudging her make-up.

Her story is sad but not uncommon in this city.

Trafficking women for prostitution became a problem in Benin City in the mid-1980s when free-market economic reforms led to massive job losses and impoverished many Nigerians...


Monday, December 11, 2006

UK: Children Smuggled in For Life of Crime

BRITAIN: An international gang is smuggling children as young as 5 into Britain and exploiting them in crimes ranging from pickpocketing to prostitution. The children are brought in by women couriers, who pose as their relatives and then hand them over to gangmasters.

The younger children are put to work begging on the streets and as pickpockets, and shuttle back and forth between groups of adults making multiple fraudulent child benefit claims. Teenage girls, some as young as 14, have been forced into prostitution and suffer violent abuse in brothels.

The gang’s activities came to light in May this year with the arrest at Stansted airport of Anna Puzova, a Czech woman, who was trying to enter Britain posing as the guardian of three Romanian children. Inquiries revealed that she had flown alone from Luton airport to Valencia 24 hours earlier.

Puzova, who was pregnant with her ninth child at the time of her arrest, had come to police attention two months earlier after flying into Luton from Barcelona with two children. Further investigations revealed a pattern of frequent travel between British airports and destinations in Spain and Italy.

As a national of a European Union member state, Puzova could travel in and out of Britain free. She always left on her own but returned with children. In police interviews she admitted bringing into Britain 13 Romanian children, aged between 5 and 15, between January and May. The three children who were with her at Stansted are now in the care of social services and are said to be in good health.


South Africa: Rife With Human Trafficking

Innocent victims: A little girl abducted from Mozambique finds sanctuary at the Amazing Grace Children's Home in Mpumalanga. She was one of the lucky ones. Photo: Boxer Ngwenya, The Star

SOUTH AFRICA: They are promised a better life in South Africa, but instead they are kidnapped, branded and sold into sexual slavery for as little as R380 [$54USD].

Women and children, some as young as 13, are falling prey to syndicates operating in Mozambique and Swaziland, trafficking and smuggling them to South Africa on an unprecedented scale.

According to a report from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), at least 1,000 Mozambicans are smuggled into South Africa monthly at a price of about R1,000 [$140USD] each.

Margie de Monchy, the United Nations Children's Fund's child protection adviser, said South African cities, especially Johannesburg, were often used as a marketplace by human traffickers and were also targeted by international syndicates to smuggle girls out of South Africa to Asia and Europe.

Slave traders use the country's cities as a transit point to Europe. Often, rural children who are taken advantage of are offered the chance of an education or a better life.

They are then told that they need to pay large amounts of money to buy their freedom, which they never get, and are then forced into labour or the sex industry, De Monchy said.

Due to the absence of legislation and allegations of police complicity with the traffickers, the South African Police Service is battling to stop the rampant human smuggling.

The IOM says human trafficking is one of the world's most lucrative trades, surpassed only by drug and gun trafficking, and estimates the industry nets organised-crime gangs about R50-billion a year.

An investigation by The Star has revealed cases of syndicates abducting or luring girls as young as eight from their homes to South Africa.

The Mareyane (traffickers), as the syndicates are known along the border areas, operate by pretending to be acquaintances or relatives of the innocent girls and luring them from their homes to Johannesburg.

The victims end up in brothels in, among other places, Hillbrow and Yeoville, where they are used as prostitutes or in porn videos shown on the Internet. Some are sold as sex slaves or for hard labour.


Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Amsterdam: Trafficking Forces Clampdown in Red-Light Area

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS -- The famed tolerance of the Dutch has reached its limits in Amsterdam after city authorities announced the closure of almost one third of the windows from which prostitutes ply their trade in the city's famous red-light district.

The move is a setback to the Amsterdam's thriving sex trade area which attracts thousands of tourists - as well as customers - and which has been well-established since the 17th century.

The authorities' action reflects the trend in the Benelux countries of shifting towards a flexible policy of tolerating some, carefully monitored, prostitution while cracking down on the rest. City authorities and police are increasingly concerned about the criminal underbelly of the sex business, in particular money laundering and human trafficking.

According to some estimates, around 3,500 women are trafficked to the Netherlands each year from eastern Europe and Asia to work in secret brothels or illegal escort agencies, often under appalling conditions.

Though the Dutch government legalised prostitution in 2000 to make it easier to tax and regulate, the authorities in Amsterdam have decided to use powers under a more recent law. This permits them to revoke licences from brothels when they suspect them of other illegal financial activity.

About 100 of the 350 prostitution windows in the Dutch capital's red-light district will be forced to close by the end of the year, though brothel owners can agree to withdraw their permits.


San Diego: Former Teen Prostitute Speaks Out

Former teen prostitute who began prostituting at age 11 tells her story to San Diego's 10 News

SAN DIEGO -- It is a sobering reality walking San Diego’s streets -- young girls, many barely teenagers, working as prostitutes.

10News met with a young woman who spent most of her teenage years as a prostitute.

“A lot of the girls I knew have ended up dead,” said 19-year-old Sarah.

For Sarah, the streets are paved with haunting memories. Two years ago, she left the only profession she had ever known -- prostitution.

“I would walk back and forth on the streets,” said Sarah.

Sarah took 10News to El Cajon Boulevard and one of the corners she worked since she began walking the streets at age 11.

Like so many teen prostitutes, Sarah said she ran away from a troubled home and into a life that earned her plenty of cash.

“On a good night, I made $1,200. Sometimes, I could push myself to $1,500,” said Sarah. “It was crazy. Money was the most addictive part. It was insane.”

The money was even better online, where Sarah said she eventually drummed up most of her business.

She posted ads on Web sites like Craigslist, using a fake age and enticing language designed not to incriminate.

One of Sarah’s ads read, “Looking for a good time, discreet encounter or casual business relations.”

Eventually, those relations proved risky.

Besides being arrested once, Sarah was also raped and was routinely attacked.

“I’ve had guns to my head, Tasers, knives to my eyeballs,” she said.

But Sarah admitted it wasn’t only fear of violence that forced her out of the business, but another fear.

“I didn’t want to get stuck, and I saw myself getting there,” said Sarah.


Israel: Stop Protecting Tel Aviv's Pimps

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL -- (from an editorial in YNet News by, Yuval Ben Ami):

Now is time to raid Tel Aviv brothels, shut them down

A few months ago I stood in the sludge of cigarette butts and empty beer bottles near Tel Aviv's central bus station, amidst a screaming crowd. I was a party to a protest aimed at sounding the alarm regarding the extent of human trade in Israel.

Every year, thousands of women arrive here to see their rights being stripped from them along with their passports. They are fully exploited, regularly raped and threatened, forced to engage in prostitution day and night, and at times receive nothing from the money given to them by the client.

The protest passed through the streets while attracting little attention among passerby and shoe store owners. At one point it reached the corner of Levinsky and Rosh Pina streets, where a neon heart declares the existence of a brothel.

At that point, the rally leaders chose to stop and use a megaphone to speak to the prostitutes, pimps, and customers inside. The two police officers who secured the protest stood next to the brothel's door while protecting both those inside and outside.

The police officers performed the task they were given that day very well, and still, the sight was depressing – cops who are familiar with the law are standing at the entrance to a building, where it is clear that endless crimes are taking place: Exploitation, rape, violence against women, and who knows what else. They did not open the door and did not do a thing.

The night before I saw two police detectives at the nearby Florentin neighborhood charging at a young guy who dared light up a marijuana cigarette at a public place and screaming at him that should he fail to get rid of it, he'll find himself with a police record. Yet this time – nothing. Not even a warning.

It was clear that even after we leave, a well-armed police unit would not be storming the site. I have no doubt it is teeming with action at this very moment.

That's ok, I comforted myself, after all there's logic to those things – these pimps are used as police informers. We cannot just storm their business as long as the intelligence system relies on them. Top officials obviously did a sophisticated calculation here: Maintaining the brothels will provide more security to a larger number of people than raiding them and shutting them down.


UN: United Nations Day for the Abolition of Slavery

UNITED NATIONS, a speech delivered by Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa at New York University, November 30, 2006:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The slave trade was not abolished in the nineteenth century by the British Parliament or by the 13 th amendment to the US Constitution. Slavery is not part of history. It is with us and thrives in our backyard.

Slavery is a booming international trade, less obvious than two hundred years ago for sure, but all around us, even in this well-off neighbourhood.

Of course we know the roots of the problem. Poverty makes people vulnerable. Then evil people exploit their dreams of a better life using deception, coercion and inevitably, violence. Victims end up in sweatshops, in mines or on farms, doing dirty, dodgy or dangerous manual work, or in the sex trade - enslaved and indebted to their masters, afraid or unable to escape. There is no money, no identity, no dignity, and no future in this heart of darkness.

The economy of human trafficking is significant. Since the world woke up to this terrible reality (about 10 years ago), the mass of people trafficked and exploited would populate a state like Kansas, producing an income equivalent also to that of Kansas, or Montana. And yet we don't see this tragedy in our own backyard?

Perhaps we do not want to see this very real and competitive state, as so many middle class, god-fearing, law-abiding citizens buy the products and the services produced on the cheap by slaves.

At the United Nations we talk a lot about failed states. Well, what can we do to make this state fail? As we cannot send blue-helmeted peacekeepers, we may like to volunteer ourselves as freedom fighters, and free the slaves.

We can count on effective weapons. (continues here)


San Francisco: Stemming the Sex Trade

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE EDITORIAL: San Francisco thankfully has summoned the will to crack down on sex trafficking. The Board of Supervisors voted this week to impose extra steps and more public notice for a massage parlor to open anywhere in the city.

The idea is clear enough: Use the city's drawn-out approval procedures and public-hearing processes to warn neighbors and chase off shady operators. With this extra red tape goes earlier city pledges of more legal scrutiny and surprise inspections.

It's about time. San Francisco's anything-goes outlook on sex laws has been exploited by the massage parlors, which in many cases are fronts for prostitution and the worldwide sex trade. Young women are lured here from Asia with talk of nonexistent jobs and obliged to work off travel debts as prostitutes. It's sex slavery that persists by preying on the women's unwillingness to denounce their exploiters and risk deportation and shame back home.

For years, the problem was ignored. Raids and prosecutions were few, until recently. Now there up to 90 massage outlets in the city and even a Web site rating the employees for male customers.

The new city law won't touch these operations, which must be policed by law enforcement and health inspectors. But the board's vote on additional regulation for new businesses could cap the problem's growth and send a clear message. San Francisco doesn't want to be a destination in the global sex trade.

There is more to be done. The far-flung nature of sex trafficking makes it a federal, state and local problem. Laws need to be adjusted to go after all the players, including landlords and customers. The board's action is one such step among many needed to stop the exploitation and misery of this business.


Saturday, December 2, 2006

Africa: Sex Abuse of Girls Growing Problem

Menja Rahamtanirima, 5, who said an uncle abused her, with her mother, Domoima, and brother in Antananarivo. Her mother pressed charges. (Lynsey Addario for The New York Times)

SAMBAVA, Madagascar — Thirty miles outside this down-at-the-heels seaside town, Justin Betombo tends his vanilla plants and cheers the local soccer team as if he had not a care in the world. And in fact, what was once his greatest worry has been almost magically lifted from his shoulders.

Justin Betombo denied his niece Kenia’s accusation. He was freed after convincing a prosecutor that he had falsely confessed after a police beating.

In the local prosecutor’s office, a file filled with accusations that he had sodomized his 9-year-old niece has vanished.

Mr. Betombo was arrested in 2003 after the girl, Kenia, said he had savagely assaulted her. The police obtained his confession, which he later recanted, and a doctor’s certificate that Kenia had been sexually violated, rendering her incontinent and anorexic. Twice they sent the case file to the prosecutor.

There matters ended. Mr. Betombo attended one hearing in the prosecutor’s office, but Kenia’s parents say they were not told about it. The records are nowhere to be found. And Mr. Betombo walked away a free man. Kenia’s parents, distressed by what they saw as a travesty of justice, asked that her name be published, hoping that her case would set an example.

Among sub-Saharan Africa’s children, such stories are disturbingly common. Even as this region races to adopt many of the developed world’s norms for children, including universal education and limits on child labor, one problem — child sexual abuse — remains stubbornly resistant to change.

In much of the continent, child advocates say, perpetrators are shielded by the traditionally low status of girls, a lingering view that sexual abuse should be dealt with privately, and justice systems that constitute obstacle courses for victims. Data is sparse and sexual violence is notoriously underreported. But South African police reports give an inkling of the sweep of child victimization. In the 12 months ending in March 2005, the police reported more than 22,000 cases of child rape. In contrast, England and Wales, with nine million more people than South Africa, reported just 13,300 rapes of women and girls in the most recent 12-month period.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

South Africa: Open Borders for Child Traffickers

Cebile Dlamini at the Amazing Grace Children's Home in Mpumplanga. The 12-year-old Swazi girl was kept as a domestic slave from the age of 10

MALELANE, SOUTH AFRICA -- When the governments of Mozambique and South Africa decided to revive the transport route between Maputo and Johannesburg in the mid-1990s, child slaves were not the cargo envisaged for haulage.

Yet management at the Amazing Grace Children's Home (AGCH), a grassroots child welfare organisation in Malelane, near one of the main border-crossing points to Mozambique in South Africa's northeastern Mpumalanga Province, believe child traffickers are increasingly using the highway to deliver their human merchandise to local and overseas buyers.

Every month up to 100 Mozambican and Swazi children are trafficked along the Maputo corridor to Johannesburg, South Africa's economic hub, where they are sold into the local sex industry or transported to Europe, according to AGCH's expert on child trafficking, Vusi Ndukuya.


Monday, November 27, 2006

US: Daryl Hannah Speaks Out About Sex Slavery

SANTA MONICA, CA--Daryl Hannah was interviewed in Santa Monica on Tuesday for a special episode of "America's Most Wanted" that focuses on the sex slave industry and the big business behind human trafficking.

The 45-year-old actress is currently filming a documentary about sex crimes and parts of it will air on the Fox crime show.

Andrea Miller, a freelance producer for "America's Most Wanted," spent two hours with the actress filming the TV segment, which will air on Nov. 25.

"She travels around the world and documents these kinds of sex crimes that are happening in various countries and she is basically making her own film about it," says Miller. "We talked about her film-making career now, you know, how she's an actress, activist turned filmmaker now. She wants to get as many people involved to know that there are more people in slavery today than any other time in our history."

Hannah's low-budget documentary, which is still in the early stages of production, is untitled and has no official release date, Miller said.

John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted," said in a conference call Wednesday that Hannah traveled to Cambodia and Thailand to get footage for her documentary.

Hannah told Miller that she learned about about the booming sex slave industry from a friend.

"She was horrified because everybody thinks slavery has been abolished," says Miller. "She's a very caring and very human rights-oriented person, it pretty much shocked her to hear something like that, and she just felt that she had to do something about it."

See the full article on

California: State Yet to Test Slavery Statute

CALIFORNIA--When Westminster police raided the apartment, they were convinced they were freeing the eight women inside from modern-day slavery.

Police said the women had agreed to come to the United States from villages in Malaysia and Singapore on vague promises of a better life, but instead found themselves forced into prostitution.

Their pimps seized their passports and kept the women locked in a series of bleak apartments, with video cameras monitoring their movements and furniture barricading the doors. On the rare occasions the women were allowed outside, police said, it was with an escort.

Cases like this one prompted California last year to become the first state to enact a federally drafted law cracking down on human trafficking. Despite some well-publicized cases, authorities said existing law did not provide the legal tools to fight the crime, instead forcing them to use other charges, which often carry little or no jail time.

When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law amid much fanfare and with the hope that it would become a national model, he said it would help put an end to "a horrific crime that our society cannot abide."

But in the 11 months since the law went into effect, not a single human trafficking case has been prosecuted, according to the law's sponsor, Assemblywoman Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View). Police complain the law makes it too difficult to prove that human trafficking has taken place.

The problem is that seldom is the evidence black and white. Were the workers being kept against their will, or were they enduring their hardships willingly as a step up the economic pecking order?

Read the full article at

To learn more about California's sex trafficking laws and key figures involved in the anti-sex trafficking fight, visit Captive Daughters--California Watch

Essay: Globalization, Militarism and Sex Trafficking

ESSAY--The author, Jean Enriquez, gave this communication at the International meeting of Women World March, in Lima, Peru, from July 4th to July 9th 2006. She speaks as coordinator of the Coalition against Trafficking in Women Asia Pacific (CATWAP) and as a feminist activist from the Philippines working with survivors of prostitution.

Coming from the previous discussion on the impact of globalization on women, I would just want to emphasize the need to criticize globalization not only in terms of its impact on our lives, but criticize the very framework of globalization as masculinist given its assumptions. It rides on the gender division of labour, with women subsidizing reproductive work, and with neo-liberalism basing itself on the idea of competitiveness and domination.

Globalization further uses might and arms of states. Military aid is dangled and anti-terrorism bills are pushed down the throats of poor countries by powerful nations to ensure the “security” of foreign investors, in the guise of a fight against “international terrorism.” The World Trade Organization (WTO) itself encourage manufacture of arms, given its exemption on security in Article IX of the GATT, thus the encouragement of Bombardier operations in Canada. Members of the G-8 similarly pressured Massachusetts to reverse its ruling on countries supporting fascist governments such as that of Burma. The point I’m making is that globalization and militarism of states are intimately linked.

Now both globalization and militarism creates the conditions for violence against women, particularly trafficking and prostitution. However, I want to state in the outset that prostitution itself, the buying and selling of women and children’s bodies, is a system of violence against women which determines trafficking. The act of buyers and business establishments of using our bodies in exchange for profit and other consideration is a flagrant violation of our integrity, dignity and autonomy. The acts committed by buyers and capitalists exploit the context of lack of choices for women, whether in the North or in the South. (I will expound on this question of choice later.) Trafficking is merely the means to ensure the supply of women’s bodies towards the demand side - that is, the prostitution industry. Thus, we want trafficking to be more sharply defined to constitute not only those that include the element of physical force, but from the feminist perspective, such acts that exploit or take advantage of compulsions or vulnerabilities created by societal contexts of economic and gender inequality.

Read the full essay at

India & Iran: No to Bombs, Yes to Ending Sexual Slavery


NEW DELHI--Iran may be toying with the idea of acquiring a nuclear weapon, but Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi argues that the money needed for making an atom bomb can be used better for a more pressing need - ending prostitution and sexual trafficking of women.

"The cost of making an atom bomb should be set against the cost of rescuing and rehabilitating girls and women trapped in prostitution," said Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, the only Iranian to win the coveted honour, here Saturday.

"Governments complain about not having money or resources to end sexual trafficking of women. But that's only an excuse," Ebadi told rights activists and journalists at the India International Centre here.

The 59-year-old lawyer and human rights activist - an icon for many in Iran - was invited to India by Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an NGO engaged in fighting sexual exploitation of women.

Read the full article at

California: Pimping Network Uncovered

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA--Two men, suspected of running a brothel in Pacifica and other Bay Area cities, were arrested in Colorado Tuesday.

Kwor "Tom" Chou, 29, the so-called brothel "regional manager" and his assistant, Ri Luo, 42, were both arrested on warrants obtained by the Pacifica Police Department. They face felony charges of pimping, pandering and conspiracy.

A third man, who worked as their Webmaster and advertiser, has not been charged. Police are also likely to seek prostitution charges against several young women in their 20s suspected of working out of an apartment on the 200 block of Gateway Drive, as well as other females being prostituted out of two apartment locations in Cupertino and a third Foster City apartment in connection with the operation.

A sting operation was conducted Tuesday in Denver, Colo., with law enforcement agents arresting Chou's common-law wife, who is suspected of setting up appointments via the Internet and telephone. Pacifica police were set to conduct similar raids in Pacifica, Cupertino and Foster City with help from Chinese translators from Broadmoor, South San Francisco and San Bruno police departments until they determined over the weekend that the two local men had traveled to Colorado.

"Operation Gilded Cage," a San Francisco task force made up of federal, state and local law enforcement officials, late last year focused on investigating and arresting pimps engaged in smuggling young Korean women into the United States for illegal sex trade.

The women in such operations aresupplied with fake identification and other documents and smuggled into the country via the Mexican border. Once in the country, they are forced to work as sex workers to repay their debts that can range upward of $30,000 to $40,000. A special report on the "sex slave trade" was recounted in a multiple-part series published earlier this year in the SF Chronicle.

Read the full article at

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all. No posts today, but we shall return next week.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Vatican: Modern Trafficking Worse Than Slave Trade

VATICAN -- Today's trafficking in women and children for commercial sex work and forced labour is worse than the historic African slave trade, a senior Vatican official said Tuesday.

At a news conference in Vatican City, Cardinal Renato Martino, a former Vatican envoy to the United Nations, said modern-day forms of slavery are an increasing challenge to wealthy countries, and not enough is being done.

"It's worse than the slavery of those whose slaves were taken from Africa and brought to other countries," Martino said. "In a world which proclaims human rights left and right, let's see what it does about the rights of so many human beings which are not respected, but trampled."

Cardinal Martino was releasing an annual papal message on the problems faced by migrant communities. He singled out the buying and selling of women for prostitution and minors for child labour as the most pressing issues that need to be addressed.

The papal message says refugee women are very vulnerable to being sold as sex workers, particularly those in refugee camps.

Read the full article at

The EU: MP's Call for Anti-Sex Trafficking Plan

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT -- The European Parliament considers that all measures implemented by the EU to reduce human trafficking have been unsuccessful and call on the Commission and the Member States to adopt an action plan to prevent and combat this criminal activity. In adopting the own-initiative report by Edit Bauer (EPP-ED, SK), MEPs call for a new EU strategy to fight trafficking in human beings.

The EP propose to adopt a more coherent approach and to implement an Action Plan that should involve all relevant policies, such as migration, gender, employment social and neighbourhood policy. The report asks, in fact, to take into account all forms of human trafficking, including sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, illegal adoptions, forced domestic servitude and selling of human organs.

Parliament proposes that victims of human trafficking should be granted short-term residence permits, including a recovery period of no less than 30 days and access to legal assistance. MEPs also call on the Commission to establish a multilingual hotline with a single European number to provide first assistance. In the approved recommendation, Member States are asked to provide all victims with access to education and training programmes during the criminal and administrative procedures that regard their cases. Finally, MEPs also propose that victims should not be returned in their home country if they may suffer further harm.

Read the full article here.

UK: Prostitution Reform: Stamp Out Sexual Slavery

Captive Daughters has just learned of a new UK-based website that is seeking to educate the public, as well as politicians, about how sex trafficking feeds prostitution, especially in the UK.

The site is also gathering signatures for a petition that aims to reform sex supply laws, focusing on the demand side, or the customer.

From their website:
Recent articles in the Times and the BBC have suggested that the use of prostitutes in the UK has doubled over the last ten years. At the same time, the numbers of women being trafficked from Eastern Europe, Africa and the Far East and being held in sexual slavery in the UK has dramatically increased. Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the enactment of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act 1807. We believe it is time for the UK government to act in order to stamp out sexual slavery.

This website aims to explain why the UK’s current prostitution laws have contributed to the increase in “punters” and the increase in trafficked women and why the laws must be changed to reverse this devastating development.

Seattle: Craigslist Prostitution Sting

SEATTLE -- Seattle police officers have arrested 110 people in a prostitution sting targeting women who advertised on the Web site and the men who responded to them.

The department's vice unit created fictional ads and placed them in the personals section of the Web site, as well as in the back pages of the Seattle Weekly and The Stranger newspapers. Men who responded were directed to a furnished Seattle apartment, where they were arrested when they agreed to pay for sex from undercover female detectives.

During the two-week sting, 96 men were arrested for patronizing a prostitute, and 14 women were arrested for prostitution.

"During slow periods, detectives called escorts advertising on craigslist," the police department said in a news release Thursday.

Most of those caught were cited and released, but five were booked into the King County Jail. Those included a registered sex offender, three people on drug charges and one on a weapons charge.

One of the females arrested was 15 or 16 years old, and said she had been forced into prostitution. The department is continuing to investigate.

Read the full article at

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pakistan: Rape Laws Amended

Women protested outside parliament as the debate was held

PAKISTAN--Pakistan's national assembly has voted to amend the country's strict Sharia laws on rape and adultery.

Until now rape cases were dealt with in Sharia courts. Victims had to have four male witnesses to the crime - if not they faced prosecution for adultery.

Now civil courts will be able to try rape cases, assuming the upper house and the president ratify the move.

The reform has been seen as a test of President Musharraf's stated commitment to a moderate form of Islam.

"It is a historic bill because it will give rights to women and help end excesses against them," Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told parliament after the vote.

Religious parties boycotted the vote, saying the bill encouraged "free sex".

A woman is raped every two hours and gang-raped every eight hours in Pakistan, according to the country's independent Human Rights Commission.

Correspondents say these figures are probably an under-estimation as many rapes are not reported.

Monday, November 13, 2006

NYC: Glamour Mag Honors Somaly Mam

Somaly Mam, former child sex slave and now anti-trafficking and child prostitution activist, was honored by Glamour magazine as a Woman of the Year

NYC--For surviving her childhood as a sex slave, Somaly Mam is a hero. For rescuing thousands of other girls from that same fate, she’s a modern-day saint, and she’s setting an example for the world. As an orphan in war-torn Cambodia, Mam, now in her late thirties, was sold to a brothel by the family she lived with. She was forced to have sex with as many as six men a day and saw girls get chained, caged and beaten. The defining moment of her life came when she watched an abusive pimp kill her best friend. She looked the dying girl in the eye and decided to risk her life by escaping; if she made it, she’d help others break free too.

In the years since then, South Asia’s sex-trafficking industry has only boomed. Girls as young as five are sold by their parents for just a few dollars. Mam’s rescue organization, Acting for Women in Distressing Situations (AFESIP, its acronym in French), saves girls, many of whom have HIV, from brothels in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. At her centers, Mam, whose life is under constant threat from the brothel owners, helps the girls heal physically and emotionally. It’s heartbreaking work: Often they try to go back to their pimps because freedom is so unfamiliar. “I say to them that I was like them,” says Mam, who spent three years convincing one girl to stay. “Me also, I wanted to go back.”

“Somaly Mam’s story is a model for activism in the global effort to abolish modern-day slavery. She is a clear hero in my eyes,” says Ambassador John R. Miller, director of the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Clearly her work has worldwide impact, but Mam is most interested in whichever child needs her this moment. “All I want is to help the victims,” says the woman who never knew her own parents—or even her birth date. “I want to be a true mother for them. A mother who gives them love.”

Read the full feature at

The EU: Romanian & Bulgarian Crime Explosion?

LONDON, Nov. 1--Ministers have been warned of a potential crime explosion when Romania and Bulgaria join the EU next year, it was reported today.

A secret Cabinet memo warned of increases in street violence, ATM theft, sex trafficking and fraud, according to reports.

The document reportedly estimates that Romanian gangs are behind "80-85 per cent" of cash machine crime in the UK.

According to the Sun newspaper the memo comments: "There is concern that free movement will encourage people from Bulgaria and Romania to come to the UK, some of whom may be drawn towards organised criminal activities already well established in the UK."

Read the full article at The Evening Standard

Nashville: Couple Charged with Trafficking Teenage Girl

NASHVILLE - Two people from Nashville were charged with the sex trafficking of children after authorities said they smuggled a 13-year-old girl into the U.S. from Mexico and forced her into a life of prostitution in Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky.

Juan Mendez and Cristina Andres Perfecto were arrested last week and named Thursday in a complaint filed in federal court in Memphis.

Federal officials in Memphis said it is the first case to their knowledge involving children smuggled into Tennessee to be forced into the sex trade.

"Obviously, we're concerned about it, and it's certainly our intention to keep this investigation going," said Lee Anne Jordon, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Memphis.

Authorities said it's too early to tell how large the ring was or whether all perpetrators have been found.

The girl, now 15, is the only juvenile victim identified, Jordon said.


Perfecto, authorities said, told the girl that she and Mendez would have to pay smugglers $3,000 to get her into the U.S. and that she would have to repay that when she started working.

Once in Nashville, Mendez raped the girl and threatened to kill her family if she did not work as a prostitute, according to court documents. She was 14 at the time.

Two weeks later, court documents state, Mendez took her to a Kentucky brothel and forced her to have sex with 14 people on the first day. Afterward she was sick with a headache and severe pelvic inflammation and had to be hospitalized for several days.

[Editor's note: Why didn't the hospital staff report the girl's condition to authorities at that time?]

Mendez let her rest for two weeks after her release from the hospital but then forced her to work as a prostitute in Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis, Birmingham, Ala., and other cities, the federal documents state.

She was never allowed to leave unescorted and never ran away because she was afraid for her family, the account states.

See the full article at

Dubai: Curbing Trafficked Filipinas

DUBAI — The Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi has been coordinating with travel agencies in the [United Arab Emirates] to curb sex trafficking involving Filipinas and keep an eye on ‘brokers’, according to Libran Cabactulan, Ambassador of the Philippines.

He said their initiative aimed to minimise, if not solve, the problem of Filipinas being forced into prostitution.

“We are coordinating with travel agencies because they have a database of people who have applied for visit visas. They deal directly with so-called ‘brokers’,” Cabactulan said.

The official added that ‘brokers’ were not necessarily pimps, but they might serve as a link to members of the Filipino community who are allegedly involved in flesh trade.

In recent months, the local Press reported about Filipinas who claimed that they were promised decent jobs in the UAE, but were eventually forced into prostitution.

Read the full article at the Khaleej Times Online.

San Francisco: Massage Parlor Regulation

SAN FRANCISCO--Opening a new massage parlor in San Francisco will require public hearings and a permit from the city's Planning Commission under an ordinance approved by the Board of Supervisors in an initial vote Tuesday.

The law is intended to weed out spas that serve as fronts for brothels and is an effort by city leaders to curb the illegal sex trade in San Francisco, part of a growing $8 billion international sex trafficking industry.

The Board, which voted 9-1 in favor of the law, is scheduled to take a final vote next week.

"This will make it harder for sex trafficking to come here to San Francisco. ... It will protect women in that San Francisco will not be a viable alternative for trafficking," Supervisor Fiona Ma said after the vote.

Ma, who was on Tuesday's ballot as a candidate for state Assembly, introduced the legislation shortly after federal agents raided 10 Asian massage parlors in San Francisco in the summer of 2005. During the raid, federal agents arrested 29 people for alleged ties to a South Korean sex trafficking ring and removed 104 Korean masseuses in California's largest sex trafficking bust.

Read the full article at

Toronto: High-Rise Brothels

TORONTO--The scent of cheap cologne and hairspray trails the 40-something man as he paces anxiously inside the front entrance of a Scarborough highrise apartment building.

Alternating between buzzing and phoning, his persistence is rewarded a few minutes later with a welcoming voice on the intercom. "Hi. It's apartment 1410," an Asian woman says.

The front door unlocks and the man, dressed in grey pants and a black leather jacket, hurries to join a group of children in an elevator at 3275 Sheppard Ave. E., near Warden Ave.

Like a steady parade of other male visitors to the building every day, this man is on his way upstairs to purchase sex at one of Toronto's growing number of highrise brothels.

This building is a symbol of the migration of prostitutes from public space to private — a city-wide movement that has tenants complaining and officials struggling for answers.

Police, politicians, landlords and prostitutes all say hundreds of brothels are finding homes in Toronto apartment buildings like 3275 Sheppard Ave. E., where the Toronto Star discovered five separate brothels operating out of units located next to families and seniors. At least some of the brothel migration into private apartment buildings appears to be the result of the city's efforts last year to stamp out prostitution in licensed — but bogus — "holistic" centres. Today, there are 620 fewer women holding city licences to work as "holistic practitioners" — a 34 per cent drop from a year ago.

The move followed a Star investigation showing the city had inadvertently licensed more than 300 brothels and was spending more than $2.5 million a year to inspect and charge the operations.

The crackdown may have solved one problem for the city. But questions about Toronto's sex trade are mounting.

Many of the women selling sex in Toronto may be victims of human trafficking, police officials say.

Acting Staff Insp. Mike Hamel of Toronto Police's sex crimes unit says many of the estimated 2,000 people trafficked into Canada each year end up working in the sex trade in Canada's largest cities, including Toronto.

"There's more of a problem than just prostitution here. The issue is, where are these people coming from, who brings them in and what's the background?" says Hamel, whose department recently established a special victims unit to offer assistance to sex trade workers and to prosecute those who exploit them, including human traffickers.

Read the full article in

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

San Francisco: 4 Part Series on Sex Trafficking

You Mi Kim, former sex trafficking victim is now a student. Chronicle/Deanne Fitzmaurice

Last month the San Francisco Chronicle published an in-depth 4-part series about sex trafficking, focusing on a young Korean woman named You Mi, a former sex slave in one of the city's massage parlors. Reporter Meredith May tells You Mi's story in the following four articles, while photographer Deanne Fitzmaurice tells the story with pictures:

Part 1: San Francisco Is A Major Center For International Crime Networks That Smuggle And Enslave
*Photo gallery that accompanies part one.

Part 2: A YOUTHFUL MISTAKE You Mi was a typical college student, until her first credit card got her into trouble
*Photo gallery that acompanies part two.

Part 3: BOUGHT AND SOLD You Mi is put into debt bondage -- life becomes an endless cycle of sex with strangers
*Photo gallery that accompanies part three.

Part 4: FREE, BUT TRAPPED In San Francisco, You Mi begins to put her life back together -- but the cost is high
*Photo gallery that accompanies part four.

California: Underage Prostitutes

Berkeley, CA--By Internet, self-promotion, or pimp, whether they are trading for goods, services, or cold hard cash, more and more underage girls are turning to prostitution, according to police departments and youth organizations in major cities throughout California.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office and San Leandro Police Department both conducted prostitution stings in recent months, and each arrested multiple minors, some as young as 14.

On September 27, San Leandro Police arrested 11 people over the course of one evening. Ten were solicited on Internet sites like Craigslist and, and only one person, a 17 year-old girl, was working under a pimp, though he claimed to just be her boyfriend. In total, three minors were arrested: two prostitutes and the17 year-old male accused of pimping.

The other minor arrested was just 14, and was accompanying another prostitute who was in her 30s, according to San Leandro Police Lieutenant Mark DeCoulode, who oversees the Investigation Division.

While in the past many teenager prostitutes were run-aways looking for money to support themselves, teenagers today turn to hooking for all sorts of reasons, according to police. Some are entering a profession that they will keep for years, while others are just looking for some quick, easy money and don't plan to continue.

"There are all different types [of underage prostitutes]," said DeCoulode. "Some are students who do it to support themselves, some live at home with their parents and do it to earn a little extra cash, and some are dope people who live on the streets."

Read the entire article at

San Francisco: Mayor Cracking Down on Sex Traffickers

San Francisco, CA--San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is developing a plan to fine and possibly jail landlords who let massage parlors operate as brothels in their buildings.

His proposal is modeled after a similar effort in New York state that stemmed the illegal trafficking of women from other countries to work as sex slaves.

[Podcast: Mayor Newsom talks about sex trafficking]

"It's time to let these traffickers know San Francisco is not the city to be operating in," Newsom said.

His idea is one of several options city leaders are considering to curb the illegal sex trade in San Francisco, part of the growing $8 billion international trafficking industry. City Hall also is preparing a public-awareness campaign for bus shelters and billboards, and Supervisor Fiona Ma wants a one-year moratorium on any new massage parlors in the city.

Newsom said he's even open to the idea of putting pictures of johns on billboards -- something that has been tried in Oakland.

Read the full article here at

Iraq: Women & Girls Targeted by Sex Traffickers

MARIAM, 16, escaped life as a sex worker

DUBAI, 26 October 2006 - Mariam, 16, relives the day her father in Baghdad sold her off as a domestic worker in one of the prosperous Gulf nations. Instead, she was forced into the sex trade.

“I was a virgin and didn’t understand what sex was. I was told that they [the traffickers] were going to get good money for my first night with an old local man who paid for my virginity. He was aggressive and hit me all the time,” Mariam, who refused to reveal her real name, told IRIN.

Thousands of Iraqi women are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous sex worker traffickers seeking to exploit young girls’ desperate socio-economic situation for profit, United Nations agencies have reported.

In Mariam’s case, she was taken to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and kept in a house with 20 young girls, all of them sex workers, she said.

Before she left Iraq, she and her three sisters were being cared for by her father. Their mother was killed during the US-led invasion of the country in 2003.

Mariam said her father couldn’t cope with looking after the children on his own and wanted her to go abroad, particularly given the increasing insecurity and daily violence in Iraq.

In November 2005, a member of a trafficking ring offered Mariam’s father an advance payment of US $6,000 for her, saying she would work for a family in Dubai. He was promised that his daughter would be returned to Iraq after finishing a one-year contract.

Mariam said she faced daily threats in Dubai from the traffickers, warning her not to try to leave. However, she managed to escape and is now back in Baghdad being looked after by a local NGO, the Organisation for Women's Freedom.

Read the full story here.

S. Africa: Breaking the Cycle of Vulnerability

South Africa - A new report launched by IOM's Regional Office for Southern Africa finds that trafficked women in Eastern and Southern Africa do not receive the sexual, reproductive and mental health care they desperately need.

The report "Breaking the Cycle of Vulnerability - responding to the health needs of trafficked women in East and Southern Africa", says that there are not enough trained counsellors to provide adequate health care and support to victims and that organizations active in the field of counter trafficking need to better address their health and mental needs.

According to the report, the trafficking process increases women’s vulnerability to health-related problems including Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), HIV and post-traumatic stress disorder, which, if not properly addressed, could lead to chronic anxiety, self harm and suicide.

Read the full report here

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"Girls Gone Wild" Creator Busted for Exploiting Minors

JOE FRANCIS (Evan Agostini / Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that "Joe Francis and the Santa Monica-based company he built on soft-core "Girls Gone Wild" videos pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating federal laws designed to prevent the sexual exploitation of children and agreed to pay fines totaling $2.1 million."

These videos sold on late night cable feature young women, mostly college students on Spring Break holiday, drunk and enagaged in various sexually explicit positions and acts. Francis failed to keep accurate records proving the age of some of the girls featured in the videos.

From the article:
In legal statements filed Tuesday, the companies acknowledged that throughout 2002 and part of 2003, it filmed, produced, and distributed sexually explicit materials in violation of record- keeping and labeling laws. Those laws require producers not only to maintain proof of age and identification for performers, but also to carry labels on their videos saying where those documents can be found.

"We regret that this occurred and will make sure that no other minors are used in 'Girls Gone Wild' films," Francis said in his court statement.

Since 1998, Francis has built a business around spring-break revelry and youthful hedonism. The company has released dozens of "Girls Gone Wild" films featuring real footage of young women, often intoxicated, bouncing around bars and beaches and flashing their breasts for the cameras.

A portion of the evidence used by the Justice Department investigation that resulted in Tuesday's guilty pleas came from a separate case filed in Panama City in 2003. The state attorney's office filed a 77-count complaint in Florida circuit court that alleged that Francis and his crew took a 16-year-old girl and four 17-year-old girls to a motel and paid them to engage in sexual conduct with one another in a shower in front of his cameras. He also paid two of the girls $50 each to engage in sexual actions with him, according to the complaint. Authorities seized film footage, Francis' Ferrari and his personal jet.

Francis pleaded not guilty to all charges. After a judge last month suppressed all the evidence, saying it was illegally obtained, Dyer said he would seek to have the case dismissed. He said Tuesday's agreement would have no bearing on the state criminal case in Panama City.

Also pending is a civil case alleging child abuse and sexual exploitation, which was filed against Francis, his crew and his company by the parents of the young women in Panama City.

Based on evidence seized in Panama City, federal investigators stepped in and obtained a search warrant for Mantra Films' Santa Monica office. The FBI has confirmed that it conducted a search of Francis' offices in September 2005.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Opium Trade in Afghanistan Linked to Human Trafficking

Geneva: Lisa Schlein reports for VOA News that: The Geneva-based International Organization for Migration says there is a connection between the illegal trade of drugs in Afghanistan and human trafficking. IOM is holding a three-day workshop in the Afghan capital, Kabul, to make government officials more aware of the problem and the need for them to take action.

In her report, Schlein notes that:
"According to the 2006 State Department Report on Trafficking in Persons, Afghanistan is a source country for women and children.

The IOM says children are trafficked within the country to work as beggars or as bonded labor in the brick kiln and carpet making industries. It says women and girls are kidnapped or sold for forced marriages. They are pushed into prostitution and sometimes used to settle debts or to resolve conflicts.

Internationally, IOM says Afghan women and girls are being trafficked primarily to Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia."

What Causes Men to Buy Sex?

From a column in Edmonton's Vue Weekly, Murray Sinclair tackles the question "What causes men to buy sex?" And he finds, startlingly but not surprisingly, that the reason is less about sex about more about control and voilence:
In Sergeant Jim Morrissey's experience, sex isn't the main factor behind men buying prostitutes, even though there's obviously a sexual act involved.

"It's more about power ... about control and violence," said the detective with Edmonton Police Service's vice section.

While a man being violent to his wife, girlfriend or even a woman he picked up at the bar may be reported to the police, that chance of law enforcement becoming involved is significantly lower when a sex trade worker is assaulted, but understanding the root causes of why men buy sex is relevant to the issue of prostitution, with street activity reportedly increasing in the city.

"We’ve had more [offences] this summer than at this time last year," Morrissey confirmed.

Kate Quinn, executive director of the Prostitution Awareness and Action Foundation of Edmonton (PAAFE), is also familiar with the violent streak shown by johns. At least once a week, the prostitutes to whom she speaks suffer "bad dates" or violent acts committed by men who have bought sex.

"There were two bad dates last night," she said when interviewed in late August, noting that men sometimes use very derogatory language against the sex trade workers they are with, suggesting that they see women as objects, and think they can be physically and verbally abusive because they're paying. As well as providing quick, anonymous sex with no commitment or attachment, she said men buy to achieve "a sense of power."

"They're buying someone to make them do what they want them to do," she continued. "It's hard to find a common denominator, but there are a number of men [who buy sex] who are violent and abusive. Violence is part of prostitution."

Quinn added that the problem might be more widespread, as much of the violence goes unreported and "a lot [of johns] avoid arrest," mentioning the 28 prostitutes who have been murdered in the Edmonton area and noting that so far only one man has been jailed for any of these crimes. The johns encountered by Quinn and Morrissey come from all different ages, professions and socio-economic and racial backgrounds.

"It's a United Nations of misbehaviour," said the sergeant, who has caught aboriginal chiefs, lawyers, plumbers, salespeople and even fellow officers buying sex. "It could be any man."

One of Morrissey's most incredible stings was of a priest picking up a prostitute mere metres away from the front doors of his church. ("There's lots of religious people buying sex," he said.)

Morrissey also noted that johns tend to have problems similar to those faced by the prostitutes they solicit, including drug and alcohol addiction, poverty and mental health issues, and, like prostitutes, many Johns have grown up in abusive homes.

Up to 15 per cent of johns are pedophiles looking to have sex with underage girls who are "fresh," said Morrissey, using the industry term.

Quinn said some johns may be out of a relationship and looking for a way to address their sexual needs by buying prostitutes, but again power may come into play.

"When you pay for something, nobody can reject you," she said. "You don't have to put yourself out there (or) face rejection."

But Morrissey said many johns actually look relatively attractive, and probably would not have much problem picking up a woman at a bar for consensual sex. Relating buying sex to issues of power again, he speculates that some men may buy sex because they are unhappy with their personal relationships.

"It's the way they get a little bit of power back—it makes them feel good," Morrissey said. "But that’s someone's mom or daughter. It's sad—I'm very disappointed in my gender some days."

When asked what kind of measures could be used to curb prostitution, Morrissey points to the prostitution offender program, or "john school," an alternative measures program coordinated by PAAFE.

Eligible men caught buying sex who choose to participate in the day course learn about the health risks of buying sex and hear stories from people and communities victimized by the sex trade.

"It’s a tremendous success," said Morrissey, noting how sorry graduates feel about buying sex. "In one day, they learn that prostitution is not a victimless crime. If only we could educate all of our adolescent men and adults."

That said, talking about prostitution in school is difficult, as Morrissey discovered when a principal nixed his plans to talk about his vice section's work during a school visit, worried about how parents would react.

Child Trafficking in Zimbabwe Worse Than Thought

Harare, Zimbabwe: The Herald newspaper published this article on August 22, pointing out that while Zimbabwe has been included in many major studies focusing on cross-border trafficking of children and women, trafficking within the country has gone largely unchecked. The trafficking of children, most especially.

From Zimbabwe: Stop Trafficking in Women and Children by, Ropafadzo Mapimhidze:
Salome, an 18-year-old teenager from Epworth, recently revealed in an interview this week that she had been a sex slave since she was 13 years old.

A friend of her aunt who promised her a job at a food outlet brought in Salome, an orphan, from Murehwa, but her nightmare began three days after arriving at her house in Mbare.

"I was told on the third day to dress up in clothes she had bought. I was instructed to wear make-up and to join her at a local pub. When we got there at around 9pm I was made to drink alcohol and I was introduced to all sorts of men. That night I was forced to go with some man at her house where he raped me.

"That became the trend until I no longer went to the bar but instead clients would come to the house any time of the day and the money would be paid to the woman. I lived there like a prisoner and I never set foot in the city centre for the period I lived there.

"I was threatened not to tell anyone until I fell pregnant when I turned 15 and she chased me away in December last year. I then found myself on the streets.

"I was too scared to go back to my rural area because I had nothing to show for the few years that I had been working and so I am now living in Epworth with other teenage girls that have been through more or less the same ordeal. My baby died from pneumonia a few months after birth," Salome said.

When asked how they were surviving, she said they had resorted to full-time prostitution and that they walked the streets of Harare at night seeking clients.

Massage Parlor Ads in Washington Post

Washington Post columnist Deborah Powell takes on her own newspaper's advertising when she writes about the massage parlor ads run within, especially in the sports section. She notes that some of these parlors advertised in the WP were busted for sex trafficking rings.

From Sunday, August 27, "Time to Drop the Massage Parlor Ads":

The Post runs "massage parlor" advertising almost every day in the Sports section. The ads are small and discreet in content, but not always candid: The money for those ads doesn't come from masseuses trained in Swedish, shiatsu or deep-tissue massage. And men don't go there for back rubs.
Read the full column here.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

August Hiatus

Dear Readers:

The Captive Diaries will be on hiatus for the month of August and posting will resume in early September. Thank you for your continued attention and concern towards combatting sex trafficking.

Captive Daughters

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Buffett and Gates: Fighting Poverty, Fighting Sex Trafficking


A number of factors contribute to sex trafficking: gender inequality, organized crime syndicates, lack of employment opportunities, lack of education for girls and women, areas ravaged by war or natural disasters and the list continues.

But the greatest contributing factor to the existence and practice of sex trafficking is poverty.

With Warren Buffett's recent $30.7 billion donation to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, earmarked to fight poverty, Captive Daughters asks how will these funds eventually affect sex trafficking as a result of combating the poverty that motivates sex trafficking?

A new essay on the Captive Daughters website entitled Poverty & Sex Trafficking: How will Warren Buffett's $30.7 billion donation to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, earmarked to fight poverty, affect global sex trafficking, the cause of which is rooted in poverty? explores this question and the link between sex trafficking and poverty.

We want to encourage the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to address sex trafficking as they seek to fight poverty in developing nations. The link between the two is clear, and we invite you to read our new essay and to write to the Gates Foundation, asking that the link between sex trafficking and poverty be recognized and addressed.

Write to the Gates Foundation here: or by mail:

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
PO Box 23350
Seattle, WA 98102

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Dutch Courts Rejects Ban of Paedophile Party

A court in Hague decided Monday that the Amsterdam-based political party formed by paedophiles, The Brotherly, Freedom and Diversity Party (PNVD) "could not be banned as it had the same right to exist as any other party, the ANP news agency ANP said"

From a Reuters article:
The PNVD says it wants to lift the taboo on paedophilia which it said had intensified since the 1996 Marc Dutroux child abuse scandal in neighbouring Belgium.

The Netherlands, which already has liberal policies on soft drugs, prostitution and gay marriage, has been shocked by the plan. An opinion poll showed that 82 percent wanted the government to do something to stop the new party.

The party wants to allow possession of child pornography and supports broadcasting pornography on daytime television, with only violent pornography limited to the late evening.

Young children should be given sex education and youths aged 16 and up should be allowed to appear in pornographic films and prostitute themselves. Sex with animals should be allowed although abuse of animals should remain illegal, it says.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Indian, Nepali Journos Pledge to Fight Sex Trafficking

ANI news reports today that Indian and Nepali journalists, in conjunction with UNIFEM, have pledged to fight sex trafficking in their respective countries by highlighting more often in the media this horrendous practice rampant in this region:
Attending a "Media Sensitisation" workshop on the problem organised by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in Gorakhpur, the journalists accepted that the trafficking of women was a horrendous practice quite rampant in South Asia.

Unofficially, it has been estimated that over 700,000 South Asian women are part of this nefarious business and the UNIFEM believes that the media can highlight the concern of the victims and sow seeds of change.

"In my opinion, this particular issue cannot be sorted out by various stakeholders. Instead, a single powerful voice like the media, which is everywhere, can be helpful. We organized this seminar to correct the perception of the people that the media is insensitive towards such an issue," said Archana Tamang, member of the UNIFEM, South Asia region.

Women trafficking can be disguised as migration or commercial sex. But what starts as a journey to some unknown destination ends with drastic situation and malpractice like prostitution.

"The media persons from Nepal and India are committed to tackle the trafficking issue. Media can play a pivotal role in society by highlighting this issue and then pressurising the government by putting it in right manner. Through such means the government can be forced to implement a law soon in this regard. The co-operation between Nepal and Indian journalists is commendable. The Nepalese media received positive response from their Indian counterparts to stop this practice. A common declaration was made to form a consent among journalists here, which can be later used as guideline. Some guidelines have been formed, which we will discuss further. This is just the beginning," said Mukul Tripathi, a local journalist.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

World Cup Has Small Impact on Sex Trade

With the World Cup set to end this weekend, many employed in Germany's legal sex trade report that the expected increase in business was far less than expected as fans seemed to have soccer on their minds more than sex.

German news service Deutsch Welle reports that:
Criticized for not taking the problem of sex trade trafficking seriously enough, a new report shows there has been no marked increase in human trafficking related to the sex trade during the World Cup.

The predictions that as many as 40,000 women would be forced to work as prostitutes during the World Cup did not materialize, according to a report released Tuesday by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Swedish development agency Sida.

"We have so far not seen any marked increase in human trafficking from eastern European countries to Germany during the World Cup," Swedish IOM spokesman Fredric Larsson told the AFP news agency.

German police confirmed that prostitution, which has been legal in Germany since 2002, did not rise considerably during the month-long soccer tournament.

"Before the World Cup there were rumors circulating about a large rush of prostitutes," Cologne city spokesman Jürgen Müllenberg said. "But neither legal nor illegal prostitution has significantly risen."
Additionally, Chinese-English news service reports that:
The foyer in Berlin's biggest brothel sports beer flagons shaped like soccer balls and its big screen theater showed live World Cup matches--but for all the anticipation, the tournament has not led to the huge spike in business the German sex industry had hoped for.

The news may come as a relief for those who fretted increased demand could lead to more trafficking of women forced into prostitution--and it hasn't been received all that badly at the brothels either.

Artemis, which opened in September near Berlin's Olympic stadium with an eye on World Cup business, had been expecting as many as 500 customers per day. The actual number of men has been about half that. Still, the business has been steady and--more importantly--none of the fears of soccer hooligans descending upon them has come to pass either.

"We're really happy," said manager Vanessa, who would only give her first name. "There was no stress here--all soft and easy, thank God--though it's not over yet."

New Law Allows Victims to Sue Traffickers

Yesterday, the CBS affiliate in Chicago reports that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has signed the Illinois Predator Accountability Act, which allows victims of trafficking, pimping and the sex trade to sue their abusers for civil damages, according to a release.

The law, which became effective upon the governor's signing Monday, covers only those acts perpetrated after the enactment of House Bill 1299 -- meaning the survivors who worked more than a year advocating for the new law do not personally benefit by its provisions, according to the release from the Governor's office.

Friday, June 9, 2006

US Dept of State's Trafficking in Persons Div. Releases 2006 Report

The US Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Person (TIP) released a new report this past Monday detailing the global trafficking epidemic, US funds delegated to combatting trafficking and outlining 12 nations that risk government sanctions for failing to adequately fight human trafficking.

The 2006 report, "Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000: Trafficking in Persons Report" details this form of modern-day slavery. Ambassador John Miller remarked of the report:
Here we are in the 21st century and we're talking about slavery. Wouldn't this be a shock to our abolitionist ancestors who thought they finished the job back in the 19th century.

Yes, the slavery is different in some ways. Back then it was state-sanctioned slavery based primarily on color. Today it's not based primarily on color and it's not state-sanctioned, although sometimes governments look the other way. But the tricks of the slave masters are still the same: deception, fraud, beating, kidnapping, rape. And the challenge of modern-day slavery extends into every country in the world, including the United States of America.
The reports places countries into one of three "Tiers" based on their ability and success at combatting trafficking. Tier 1 includes countries that are actively fighting sex trafficking; Tier 2 is comprised on those countries that are doing something to fight trafficking, but need to do more; while Tier 3 is made up of countries that have failed to adequately address the trafficking within their countries. Additionally, a "Tier 2 Watch List" has been introduced that includes countries that are in danger of slipping down to Tier 3.

Twelve countries comprise Tier 3 and risk sanctions imposed against them by the US government: Belize, Burma, Cuba, Iran, Laos, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zimbabwe

Sex Slaves Auctioned at London Airports


The BBC News Online has created a new section specifically focusing on sex trafficking and forced labor called Slavery in the 21st Century including graphs, statistics and victim's stories.

This week, the BBC reports that London's Heathrow, Gatwick and Sanstead airports are busy locations not just for travelers, but also for sex slave auctions:
The CPS [Crown Protection Services] said traffickers were trading sex workers as soon as they arrived in the UK from countries, including states in eastern Europe.

"Brothel keepers are bidding for women destined for prostitution," it said.

Meanwhile the Sunday Telegraph reported hundreds of children as young as six are brought to the UK yearly as slaves.

A CPS conference on Monday is to discuss airport crime, and its director in west London, Nazir Afzal, said: "Criminal activity at the UK's airports is on the increase.

"We are now seeing 'slave auctions' being held in public places at airports where brothel keepers are bidding for women destined for prostitution."

One auction had taken place outside a coffee shop in the arrivals hall at Gatwick Airport, the CPS said. Others were believed to have been staged at Heathrow, Stansted and other UK airports, it added.