Thursday, March 30, 2006

Central Europe Univ Professor Assesses International Sex Trafficking Policy

THE BALKAN REGION (click to expand)

In an artcle posted yesterday in Syracuse University's student newspaper, The Daily Orange, Katie Dunn reports on Nicole Lindstrom's recent trip to the Balkan region where she researches sex trafficking and international policy. Lindstrom is a former SU student, and now a professor at Central Europe University in Budapest.

Lindstrom's assessment of international sex trafficking policy and how it is not doing enough to fully combat the practice is right on. She suggests that scouring brothels, bars and red light districts is not sufficient; that the majority of victims are hidden away in private apartments or isolated areas. She says:
"While governments do have these high-profile, sort of macho raids, they're really missing where [trafficking] is happening. And that's in private places."
Lindstrom also points out that defining sex trafficking as a migration problem further impedes the fight against it. International communities develop shelters to intercept these victims of trafficking, and then send them back to their original country of origin. But, says Lindstrom:
"Women avoid (these shelters) like the plague and go underground. Then governments like to smile and say, 'A-ha! We've done what you've told us to do, and that's to stop trafficking,' but the declining numbers really indicate a weakness in the collection of data."
She presents the shocking fact that more than 50% of deported trafficking victims will fall into the hands of another trafficker when returned to their country of origin. Her suggestions, then, for improving international policies on sex trafficking? Loosening visa rescrictions is one idea:
"[Loosening visa requirements] becomes more feasible for women to pursue employment in the West. And it makes trafficking much less profitable for the trafficker."
For more information about Nicole Lindstrom: see her profile and CV here.

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