Tuesday, May 29, 2007

June Hiatus

Dear Readers of Captive Diaries:

We will be on hiatus for the month of June, and there will be no articles posted during this period.

In the meantime, why not check out our website CaptiveDaughters.org to learn more about sex-trafficking and what you can do to make a difference.

Look for us to return in July, and happy beginning of summer to everyone!

Sarah & Captive Daughters

Syria: Iraqi Refugees Turn to Sex Trade

Ben Stechshulte for The New York Times

At Al Rawabi, an expensive nightclub in Al Hami, customers can drink imported Scotch, smoke water pipes and watch a show featuring young Iraqi woman gyrating to a 10-piece band on a garishly lighted stage.

MARABA, SYRIA— Back home in Iraq, Umm Hiba’s daughter was a devout schoolgirl, modest in her dress and serious about her studies. Hiba, who is now 16, wore the hijab, or Islamic head scarf, and rose early each day to say the dawn prayer before classes.

But that was before militias began threatening their Baghdad neighborhood and Umm Hiba and her daughter fled to Syria last spring. There were no jobs, and Umm Hiba’s elderly father developed complications related to his diabetes.

Desperate, Umm Hiba followed the advice of an Iraqi acquaintance and took her daughter to work at a nightclub along a highway known for prostitution. “We Iraqis used to be a proud people,” she said over the frantic blare of the club’s speakers. She pointed out her daughter, dancing among about two dozen other girls on the stage, wearing a pink silk dress with spaghetti straps, her frail shoulders bathed in colored light.

As Umm Hiba watched, a middle-aged man climbed onto the platform and began to dance jerkily, arms flailing, among the girls.

“During the war we lost everything,” she said. “We even lost our honor.” She insisted on being identified by only part of her name — Umm Hiba means mother of Hiba.

For anyone living in Damascus these days, the fact that some Iraqi refugees are selling sex or working in sex clubs is difficult to ignore.

Even in central Damascus, men freely talk of being approached by pimps trawling for customers outside juice shops and shawarma sandwich stalls, and of women walking up to passing men, an act unthinkable in Arab culture, and asking in Iraqi-accented Arabic if the men would like to “have a cup of tea.”

By day the road that leads from Damascus to the historic convent at Saidnaya is often choked with Christian and Muslim pilgrims hoping for one of the miracles attributed to a portrait of the Virgin Mary at the convent. But as any Damascene taxi driver can tell you, the Maraba section of this fabled pilgrim road is fast becoming better known for its brisk trade in Iraqi prostitutes...


Monday, May 21, 2007

CA: 3 Indicted on Child Prostitution Charges

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- Three people are accused of taking two underage girls from Phoenix to San Diego for prostitution.

One of the accused men was in federal court Tuesday defendants in downtown San Diego.

Uawndre Larue Fields (at left), dressed in a white jumpsuit, went before a magistrate judge during the afternoon.

According to the federal indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, Fields is facing two counts of child sex trafficking and two counts of interstate transportation of a minor for prostitution.

The FBI said that agents, acting on a warrant, arrested Fields on Wednesday night.The indictment states that Fields and two other defendants, Depaul Brooks and Julia Margarite Fonteneaux, recruited a pair of underage girls and took them across state lines to engage in prostitution in April of 2006...


Special: Janice Raymond, Risking Her Life to Fight Sex Trafficking

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND -- Janice Raymond is about to receive a major award for her outstanding contribution to the war against people trafficking - but she is not a popular woman. Hate mail and death threats are part of her everyday life, and such is the uprising of sheer malevolence towards her from all parts of the world that she cannot give out her address or telephone number for fear it will appear on the internet. Even having her photograph taken is a risk.

Nevertheless, this extraordinary woman is a shining light and an outstanding inspiration to thousands. Fighting to protect women and children from sexual exploitation is her life's work, and she is not about to stop now. Dr Raymond is co-executive director of the Coalition Against the Trafficking of Women (CATW) and professor emeritus of Women's Studies and Medical Ethics at the University of Massachusetts, and she is in Glasgow for the first time to receive, at Glasgow City Chambers tomorrow evening, the Zero Tolerance International Woman Award, one of a series of awards launched last year by the Scottish charity to recognise those women working to prevent violence against women.

Raymond, who is half Irish, was pivotal in bringing about a new UN definition of trafficking that embraces the often ambiguous concept of consent in order to protect all victims of trafficking - including children, who are, she says, "becoming much more of a market"...


Las Vegas: Brothel Bust in Million $ Neighborhood

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- Metro vice officers raid an alleged brothel in a million-dollar neighborhood overnight. And tonight, police are investigating whether the women inside may be victims of human trafficking.

On the heels of a lengthy prostitution investigation known as "Operation Doll House," Metro vice officers have raided 10 suspected brothels in the last few weeks. They tell the I-Team that the one last night in a half-million-dollar home appears to be the largest operation.

Metro investigators said that when they searched the house near Rainbow and Oakey, they found a suspected prostitute and "john" engaged. The home, they say, had all the hallmarks of a brothel -- a bed in every room, condoms, timers and lots of cash. Passports found inside indicate the men and women all came from Asia. Police arrested two people on prostitution charges..


Scotland: Educating Boys on Prostitution

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND -- Young men in Scotland must be targeted in the fight against prostitution, according to a leading American feminist.

Janice Raymond (left), an executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, wants schoolboys to be educated about prostitution in an attempt to shape male attitudes towards pornography and sexual exploitation from an early age.

She said: "Young men are more aware of the issues, including prostitution and exploitation, and we need them to engage with our work.

"Men are part of the problem, not prostitution on its own."

Ms Raymond was speaking in Glasgow on Saturday night at the awards ceremony for Zero Tolerance, the anti-domestic violence charity, where she collected the International Woman Award...


Thursday, May 17, 2007

US Gov: Trafficking + Int'l Military Organizations

Fact Sheet
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Washington, DC
February 22, 2007

Trafficking in Persons (TIP) is modern-day slavery, a crime that is brutal, dehumanizing and a multi-dimensional threat to international security. Human trafficking is linked to organized crime, undermines peacekeeping efforts, and is incompatible with military core values. Any nation serious about ending human trafficking must begin by ensuring that its own uniformed employees lead by example by helping combat modern-day slavery at home and abroad.

Historically, profiteers of both labor and sex trafficking have targeted international military organizations. Labor traffickers sometimes try to exploit military contract opportunities. Sex traffickers often prey on individual peacekeepers and servicemen with solicitations of commercial sex. While the vast majority of military personnel conduct themselves honorably, a number of recent trafficking in persons cases have occurred in connection with international military organizations.

Typically, commercial sex sellers conduct activities, such as pimping or maintaining brothels, in districts frequented by service members. These activities also provide cover for sex trafficking - the recruitment or use of, especially women and girls, for commercial sexual exploitation.

Where prostitution is legal or tolerated, there is a greater demand for human trafficking victims and, typically, an increase in the number of women and children trafficked into commercial sex slavery. Of the estimated 800,000 people trafficked across international borders annually, 80 percent of victims are female, and up to 50 percent are minors. Hundreds of thousands of these women and children are abused in prostitution each year, including many who are used in prostitution near military bases.

Peacekeepers and service members who engage in commercial sexual exploitation put themselves at risk of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, which jeopardizes the readiness of their unit.


India: Tackling Sex Trafficking Through "Maid Ban"

NEW DELHI, INDIA -- India will ban women under 30 from emigrating to work as domestic help in the Gulf and parts of Africa and Southeast Asia in a bid to curb sex trafficking, a report said Tuesday.

The move came after Renuka Chowdhury, the minister for women and children, said that overseas domestic workers had complained of being pushed into prostitution after their employers had seized their passports.

A ban will be "imposed on granting emigration clearance to women below 30 if they are seeking employment as housemaids," Chowdhury, who recently returned from Kuwait, was quoted by the Times of India as telling parliament.

An exception will be made for women who return to India on leave from their jobs and who wish to return to their employers, the ministry for Indians working abroad said.

Some 17 countries will be covered by the ban, which was aimed at halting the trafficking of women for prostitution, the newspaper reported...


India: 35% of Prostitutes Enter Trade Before Age 18

NEW DEHLI, INDIA -- Of 2.8 million prostitutes in the country, 35.47% entered the trade before the age of 18 years, Minister of state for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury informed the Rajya Sabha today.

“The study on girls/women in prostitution in India, conducted between 2002-04, reports that there is a growing trend in the number of prostitution in the country. The study estimates that there are 2.8 million prostitutes in the country of which 35.47% entered the trade before the age of 18 years”, she said in a written reply.

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 1956 (ITPA) supplemented by the Indian Penal Code prohibits trafficking in human beings including children for purpose of prostitution and lays down severe penalties for traffickers, she said.

The ITPA is being further amended providing for more stringent punishment for trafficking in persons including children, Chowdhury said adding her ministry conducts advocacy, awareness generation, sensitization programme for prevention of child trafficking...

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT LiveMint.com (A Wall Street Journal Publication)

Special: Should Prostitution be Legal? New Website Explores Pro's + Con's

USA -- Should Prostitution Be Legal? ProCon.org Investigates the Selling of Sex With New Website

The D.C. Madam, 5 murdered women in Ipswich, and Hawaii House Bill 982 have aroused interest in the question of whether prostitution should be legalized.

ProCon.org launched its 10th website today, Prostitution ProCon.org, to bring much-needed clarity and balance to the debate over prostitution.

The world's oldest profession is treated as just another job in countries like New Zealand, where it is legal. Other countries, such as Iran, consider it a crime punishable by death. Prostitution is illegal in the United States, except in one state, Nevada, which permits individual counties to decide for themselves whether to legalize prostitution. So far, 11 counties have opted for legalization.

To help unravel the pros and cons of legalizing prostitution, ProCon.org examines all the surrounding issues, including: human trafficking, AIDS, brothels, red light districts, rape, violence, slavery, economics, religion, morality, and more.

Prostitution ProCon.org features over 200 expert sources from Presidential hopefuls Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton to Ann Landers, Heidi Fleiss, Susan B. Anthony, and the ACLU.

The Managing Editor, Kamy Akhavan, remarked on the project:

"The issue of legalizing prostitution comes up in debates year after year. When we tried to learn more about the issue, we found inaccurate data, biased presentations, hard-to-follow academic reports, and a general lack of reliable information on which to base an informed opinion. We were frustrated by the lack of info, and we thought that most people probably felt the same way. After 6 months of full-time research, we completed our Prostitution ProCon.org website. It is free, fair, and easy to use. Finally."

Some featured content areas include: -- Top 10 Pros and Cons on Prostitution -- Federal, State, and Nevada County Laws on Prostitution -- Comparison of Prostitution Laws in 26 Countries Strange but true facts that appear on our website include: -- In Japan, prostitution is illegal, but selling oral sex is legal. -- In Sweden, selling sex is legal, but paying for sex is illegal. -- Medieval lawyer Johannes Teutonicus defined a prostitute as a woman who has had sex with more than 23,000 men...


NY: Agreement Reached on Anti-Trafficking Law

NEW YORK -- Agreement Reached on Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation

Governor Eliot Spitzer, Lieutenant Governor David Paterson and legislative leaders today announced an agreement on legislation that will combat the trafficking of human beings. The legislation makes Sex Trafficking and Labor Trafficking felony-level crimes and provides access to state social services for trafficking victims.

The United States Department of State has estimated that between 18,000 and 20,000 people are trafficked into the United States each year for forcedlabor, involuntary domestic servitude, or sexual exploitation. New York is known to be a frequent port of entry for such activity. Trafficking also originates domestically, and both types of trafficking frequently involve children.

To fight these forms of modern-day slavery, New York now joins the federal government and 24 other states that have enacted anti-human trafficking legislation. Under the legislation, traffickers who advance or profit from prostitution activity by compelling, inducing, deceiving or forcing their victims into prostitution activity can be convicted of the class B felony of Sex Trafficking. Traffickers who exploit workers using similar types of coercive activity can be convicted of the class D felony of Labor Trafficking.

Under the new legislation, victims of trafficking who are not otherwise eligible for social services, either because they are not United States citizens or because they are foreign nationals who have not yet been certified as eligible for federal assistance programs, can now receive social service assistance from the state. These services include case management, emergency temporary housing, health and mental health care, drug addiction screening and treatment, language and translation services, and job training. They also include coordination with the federal government to obtain special visas that allow the victims in the United States to testify against the traffickers, eventually becoming eligible for refugee status.

The new legislation also provides for the following:

* Creation of an interagency task force to coordinate implementation of the new law, collect data on trafficking, and recommend best practices for training and community outreach to help law enforcement, social service providers, prosecutors, defense attorneys and the general public to recognize trafficking situations. The Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) has already begun training for prosecutors and law enforcement agencies.
* Clarifying in statute that knowingly selling travel-related services to facilitate prostitution - a business known as "prostitution tourism"- is the class D felony of Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree.
* Suppressing the demand for prostitution by elevating the lowest-level patronizing a prostitute crime from a B to an A misdemeanor.

"Updating and enhancing our human-trafficking laws to adequately punish the perpetrators of these unspeakable crimes and sufficiently support victims is critically important," said Governor Spitzer. "New York is finally joining the ranks of other states in ensuring that those who exploit
innocent people and children and cause extreme suffering are subject to strict punishment under state law."

Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson said: "This legislation does more than protect victims and punish perpetrators. This law sends a clear message to those who suffer this form of modern-day slavery: you are not at fault, you can start over, and you are not alone. Empowering victims by providing access to services for which they might otherwise be ineligible gives them a real chance to overcome their hardship."

Speaker Sheldon Silver said: "Human trafficking is an international scourge that defies human decency. As a society, we are all diminished when human suffering goes unchecked. This agreement sends a crystal, clear message to those who prey upon the innocent: this abhorrent, criminal behavior simply will not be tolerated in New York State. I commend the determined efforts of Assembly Codes Committee Chair Joseph Lentol, bill sponsor Jeffrey Dinowitz and Assembly member Amy Paulin in bringing this agreement to fruition. The Assembly expects to move swiftly to ensure this bill becomes law so that victims are protected and criminals receive harsh punishment."

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said: "Human trafficking is nothing more than modern-day slavery. The Senate has passed human trafficking legislation unanimously for three years in a row. This legislation will punish the despicable people who engage in human trafficking and provide assistance and support to the victims. I congratulate Senator Frank Padavan who has championed this issue for five years for his work in reaching this agreement."

Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm A. Smith said: "The agreement we've reached will not only increase penalties for those who commit the heinous crime of human trafficking, but will also help the victims, who often have no where to go and no one to turn to when they have been rescued. This measure will give them an opportunity to rebuild their lives and regain their dignity."

Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco said: "This is a good law. Unfortunately this sick practice does exist in the shadows and dark corners of some places in New York. It needs to be exposed. Those responsible need to be severely punished and victims need to be protected and rehabilitated."

Michael E. Bongiorno, Rockland County District Attorney said: "I am glad that the New York State District Attorneys Association was able to work with Governor Spitzer, the state legislature and victim advocate organizations to draft human trafficking legislation. It may be difficult for the average citizen to comprehend, but even in this day and age there are people who are forced into prostitution or labor servitude. This law will provide law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to successfully investigate and prosecute human trafficking cases."

Executive Director of Equality Now Taina Bien-Aimé said: "Equality Now and the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition are delighted to learn that New York State is soon to adopt a strong anti-trafficking law. This bill would not have been possible without the extraordinary leadership of Governor Eliot Spitzer and his deeply dedicated staff, as well as the vision and commitment of Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. Among other provisions, the New York State bill comprehensively addresses the prosecution of traffickers and the protection of its victims, elements that will make it a model law and the strongest state anti-trafficking legislation in the Nation."

Chairperson of the Downstate Coalition for Crime Victims Susan Xenarios said: "The Downstate Coalition for Crime Victims supports comprehensive NYS human anti-trafficking legislation which not only criminalizes this heinous act but also addresses the services needed for victims and the training needed for law enforcement and service providers. This bill is the culmination of the collaborative efforts of criminal justice, law enforcement and victim rights organizations in NYS. We applaud the Governor and the state legislature for respecting the urgency and moving quickly on this bill."

Tenn: Human Trafficking Cases Tied to Nashville

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE -- At least three separate houses of prostitution that Metro Police have shut down this year were located in the same apartment complexes that were targeted in a Memphis FBI investigation that last year led to indictment of 12 individuals on federal human and sex trafficking charges.

The alleged leader of what the federal government maintains was a multi-state human trafficking and prostitution ring was also based in Nashville, according to court records.

Federal officials — including Nashville FBI officials — continued Tuesday to refuse to comment on what they described as an ongoing investigation into possible human trafficking in Nashville...

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT NashvilleCityPaper.com

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Las Vegas: Where's the Promised Help for Prostitutes?

Trafficking lawyer and law professor, David Thronson, is concerned about the deportation status of the prostituted women rounded up during Operation Dollhouse last month.
He says: "We don't know where they are."

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - On Sunday, April 22, Metro Police held a news conference at 3 a.m. to reveal the results of a two-year-old federal and local investigation into a prostitution ring.

Apart from the odd hour, the case was noteworthy because it would be the first major test of the Anti-Trafficking League Against Slavery (ATLAS), a federally funded group formed this year to protect women brought to the United States against their will or through deception.

More than two weeks later it remains unclear where the 25 women swept up in the case are - physically or legally.

But at least one partner in the newly formed league said the women were not given the help they needed, pointing to a failure in its freshman effort.

The women captured in the sting allegedly were working as prostitutes, while seven people, mostly men, ran the business, according to authorities. Most of the men and women came from Asia.

The anti-trafficking league's work rests on coordinating law enforcement agencies, often the first to come across foreign women forced into prostitution, with different social services and immigration law agencies.

The idea is to gain the women's trust, offer them food and shelter and interview them about how they came to the U.S. If it is determined that they might be victims of human trafficking, they are led through the process of applying for a special visa that allows them to stay in the U.S. and build new lives.

But the one member of the league with expertise in the issue of immigration law - David Thronson, one of the founders of the UNLV immigration law clinic - was never contacted to help determine the status of the women in the recent bust or to advise them of their rights.

Additionally, Metro officials stated in newspaper accounts and interviews that the women would be deported, only to be contradicted later by other members of the league quoted in the press as saying the women would not be deported.

Other contradictions and unanswered questions make this initial attempt at springing the group into action less than a success...


India: Nearly 3 Million Prostitutes

NEW DELHI, INDIA -- India's minister for women and child development said Tuesday the country has an estimated 2.8 million prostitutes and the number is rising.

Renuka Chowdhury presented a study on "Girls-Women in prostitution in India" to the lower house of Parliament. She said more than one-third of Indian prostitutes entered the profession before age 18, the Press Trust of India reported.

She told lawmakers her ministry runs homes to provide shelter, food, clothing, counseling, rehabilitation and other facilities to victims of commercial sexual exploitation. She said another project is being implemented to combat trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation.

READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE AT United Press International

Monday, May 7, 2007

N. Carolina: Legistlation Targets Human Trafficking

North Carolina State Representative Ellie Kinnaird
is sponsoring bills to defeat sex trafficking in her state

NORTH CAROLINA - A woman was locked in a house for two years as a servant. Another woman was held in a hotel and made to prostitute herself.

Both cases unfolded in North Carolina, say legal-aid lawyers and advocates for the poor.

Human trafficking, a practice that some call modern slavery, is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world. The State Department estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 people a year are trafficked over international borders.

North Carolina is home to some of the victims, as well as the perpetrators.

For years, the crime has been unknown and rarely prosecuted. Victims, most of whom are foreign, are often deported when they are found, and their traffickers are never investigated, according to advocates for the workers. Many in North Carolina, including state Rep. Ellie Kinnaird, are working to bring human trafficking into the spotlight.

"These are not illegal immigrants," said Kinnaird, an Orange County Democrat. "These are kidnap victims. They are refugees. We've got to train police to probe, to investigate further."

Last year, Kinnaird sponsored legislation that made human trafficking a crime for the first time in North Carolina. Until then, it could only be prosecuted by federal officials. Now, she is sponsoring a bill that would pay for training for law enforcement and services for victims, such as shelter and legal representation...

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT MyrtleBeachOnline.com

The IOM Handbook on Direct Assistance for Victims of Trafficking

The IOM Handbook on Direct Assistance for Victims of Trafficking


Description: International Organization for Migration (IOM) has had some 13 years of experience in implementing counter-trafficking activities and has provided assistance to over 14,000 victims of trafficking in all regions of the world. With a growing number of organizations, especially local NGOs, now providing or intending to provide assistance to victims of trafficking, IOM would like to share its experience and lessons learned. This Handbook summarizes and systematizes this experience. IOM recognizes that each victim is unique and requires and desires different assistance. As well, the nature of trafficking is different around the world and is ever evolving, requiring changing responses. Therefore this Handbook is not meant to provide a single methodology for the provision of assistance to victims of trafficking, but to offer suggestions and guidance, based on IOM’s many years of experience. IOM hopes that it will be helpful to all organizations providing such assistance to victims, but especially for organizations who are just beginning to develop victim assistance programmes and can benefit from IOM’s experiences. This Handbook provides guidance and advice necessary to effectively deliver a full range of assistance to victims of trafficking from the point of initial contact and screening up to the effective social reintegration of the individuals concerned.

Table of Contents : Preface* Security and Personal Safety* Screening of Victims of Trafficking* Referral and Reintegration Assistance* Shelter Guidelines* Health and Trafficking* Cooperation with Law Enforcement Agencies* Appendices

Number of Pages : 356
Language : English
Format : Softcover
Year : 2007
ISBN / ISSN: 978 92 9068 371 1


Ecuador: Two Men Prosecuted for Trafficking

Ecuador - Two young Ecuadorian men have received stiff jail sentences for human trafficking in the capital, Quito, with the case representing only the second successful prosecution of traffickers in the country.

The judge handed down a 12-year sentence to a 19 year-old male and a six-year term for his 18-year-old accomplice.

The judicial authorities have confirmed that they are currently trying to get convictions on 160 cases of human trafficking.

Working with the Public Prosecutor's Office, the Child Welfare Police and the International Labour Organization (ILO), IOM provided protection and assistance to the victims and their families through its Global Emergency Fund. The assistance included transportation, lodging, medical, legal and psychological support for the victims and their relatives during the trial in Quito.

The victims, both girls, were 13 and 15 years old when they left their homes in a small town in Pichincha Province with their boyfriends who put them to work in the sex industry.

They said they were in love and left home hoping to marry and have children. During their ordeal, the girls were sexually, physically and verbally abused. They were given food and shelter, but this was deducted from their earnings.

The victims testified against the accused but are still struggling to accept that they were abused and exploited by the men they loved and trusted...

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT International Organization for Migration

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Captive Daughters' New Book Available Now!

Captive Daughters is pleased to announce that Pornography: Driving the Demand in International Sex Trafficking is now available for purchase!

Two years in the making, the book contains a diverse collection of essays by today's leading academics and activists in the anti-sex trafficking and anti-pornography community.

The link between sex trafficking and pornography is explored and defined by these contributors: Anna Agathangelou, Esohe Aghatise, Janine Benedet, Julie Bindel, Vednita Carter, Michelle Dempsey, Gail Dines, Annalisa Enrile, Melissa Farley, Ken Franzblau, Rus Ervin Funk, Robert Jensen, Christopher Kendall, Catharine MacKinnon, Neil Malamuth, Eileen Pitipan, Diana Russell, Chris Stark, Chyng Sun and Rebecca Whisnant.

Edited by David E. Guinn, he comments on the book:
“The 21st century is witnessing a curious dichotomy: activists becoming energized in their efforts to combat the horrors of the growing trafficking in women and children for purposes of sexual exploitation, while pornography and prostitution grow exponentially in profitability and social acceptance. Few recognize the contradiction in these trends, the ineluctable connections between pornography and prostitution that create the demand that trafficking victims fulfill.”

"Now, Pornography: Driving the Demand in International Sex Trafficking fills the lacunae. The authors resist the gentrification of pornography and prostitution while confronting its role in trafficking."
Order the book today at a 15% discount at Xlibris.com

For more information, please see: captivedaughters.org/book

Legalizing Prostitution: A Solution? N. Kristof Opines

NICHOLAS KRISTOF for The New York Times - A number of you have commented on my blog that the way to address prostitution is to legalize it and encourage unions of sex workers, thus empowering prostitutes and enabling sensible regulation and health outreach programs.

In the context of countries like India and Cambodia where I've written about sex trafficking, that would be a bad mistake. Let me explain why.

There may be a sound argument for legalization and sex worker unions in Brazil and South Africa, perhaps even China. My sense is that in those countries many women genuinely choose to be prostitutes because of economic pressures or opportunities. But in India, I have yet to find a single woman who made that choice - every single one of them first entered after being forced by a trafficker, her parents, or her husband. Later, after they had been prostituted, some continued to sell their bodies voluntarily. But the initial entry into prostitution was invariably coercive.

That means that if you validate the red light districts, then the new entrants will continue to be trafficked into it. And in India we have had something of an experiment, in which the legalization model has failed.

In the effort to combat AIDS, a union was established of prostitutes in Shonagachi, a red light district in Calcutta (one of the places in my video reporting of a year ago). The union, DMSC, purports to represent prostitutes and to dignify sex work, and it argues that it's important to empower the women by offering them respect and acknowledging their choice of occupations.

A DMSC brochure, for example, states: "Like other entertainment workers of the world we use our brain, ideas, emotion and sex organs, in short, our entire body and our mind to make people happy. As entertainment workers, we seek governmental recognition and fulfillment of our just professional demands."

Among liberals in the U.S. and India alike, that model has been treated respectfully. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and CARE have both shown support for that approach as a way to fight AIDS. I have lots of respect for both the Gates Foundation and for Care, and they do fantastic work around the globe--but in this case I think they've made a mistake.

The argument in favor is "harm reduction" - a sex worker union makes it easier to hand out condoms and educate women about AIDS. That's true to some extent, but the latest data we have actually show a rising degree of HIV among young prostitutes in Shonagachi. The data aren't good, but they don't demonstrate to me that the model works. In contrast, there is a health outreach model in Cambodia that really does reduce HIV and STD, through regular check-ups, without legitimizing the brothels and protecting them from raids. That's the direction to go in.

More broadly, many of the prostitutes from Shonagachi have told me that DMSC is just a front for the brothel-owners, a way of protecting them from raids and harassment. Likewise, the trafficking of young girls and forced prostitution seems as flagrant as ever in Shonagachi. That's also the judgment of two people whose anti-traffickng work I admire: Ruchira Gupta and Urmi Basu. Both live in Calcutta and see Shonagachi up close, and both oppose the legalization model. So even if DMSC achieved a mild reduction in HIV infection levels -
which it apparently hasn't - it comes at the expense of legitimating trafficking and modern slavery.

I'm particularly swayed by an argument of Ruchira's, based on the contrast with Bombay. Traditionally, the red light districts of Bombay and Calcutta have both been enormous, and Calcutta has DMSC while Bombay has in recent years seen more raids and harassment of brothels. The upshot is that Shonagachi is as big as ever and seems to have as much trafficking and more HIV than ever, while Bombay's red light district has shrunk dramatically. There still are some brothels in Bombay's red light district, but only a fraction of the number
there used to be.

Some skeptics say that the raids have only pushed prostitution out of Bombay's red light district and hidden it among neighborhoods throughout the city, making it more difficult to control trafficking and AIDS. There may be some of that. But if NGO's have trouble finding the brothels than customers do as well. And most estimates are that total prostitution in Bombay has come down a great deal because of the harassment.

In contrast, DMSC seems to legitimate a red-light district that is completely enmeshed with criminal gangs, trafficking and forced prostitution. The validation from DMSC probably makes it easier for police to take bribes from brothels to look the other way, and harder to order up raids and aggressive police coverage. So, quite apart from morality, it seems to me that Bombay's record comes out better than Calcutta's. Maybe legalization and sex worker unions can reduce HIV in Africa and Brazil where forced prostitution is less of a problem, but it doesn't work in India.

The model in the West that seems to have worked best is Sweden's, which involves decriminalization for prostitutes themselves, but seeks to crack down on pimping and on the demand side. By arresting customers, the Swedish model undermines the economics of prostitution, and it seems to have reduced the trafficking that one sees in the Netherlands and Germany.

Fundamentally, I think these kinds of disputes about legalization are a distraction in countries like India. Both left and right in the States do good work on trafficking, but the two sides can't even agree on what to call the issue. The left tends to refer to sex work and sex workers, to avoid stigmatizing people they want to work with. The right tends to use terms like
prostitution and prostitutes, to avoid euphemisms that validate such work.

One reason more hasn't been accomplished in the campaign against human trafficking is that the issue has become so polarized in the U.S. There's immense distrust and much less cooperation than one might expect. But the one thing everybody should be able to agree on is that whether or not prostitution should be legal for 18-year-olds who are on their own, it is appalling for 13-year-olds to be imprisoned in brothels and forced to sleep with customers.
And that is what is going on in countries like India.


US: Brothel Bust Uncovers Huge Sex Slavery Ring

Sun Im An arrived in the United States in the mid-1980s from her native South Korea, uneducated, alone, with only a light grasp of English.

Several years later, she turned to prostitution to support herself and her young son, said her lawyer, Francisco Celedonio of New York City.

But it was her foray into the sex trade that eventually led to her arrest, Celedonio said.

In August 2006, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said they uncovered a network of brothels, masquerading as massage businesses, that stretched from Rhode Island to Washington, D.C., and included York County (PA), where women were kept as sex slaves.

ICE agents arrested nearly 40 brothel owners, operators, transporters and money handlers during the sweep.

An was among those arrested - criminal complaints filed by two U.S. Attorneys' offices in New York stated she was the owner and operator of Good Natural Spa, which was in the 4700 block of West Market Street in West Manchester Township.