Tuesday, December 4, 2007

UK: Britain Cracks Down on Sex Trafficking

UNITED KINGDOM - Joanne is not her real name. She wants to remain anonymous. She says that when she left her war-ravaged home in Rwanda, she thought life would get better.

"It felt like a new chapter, a new life, a new beginning and I was desperate for that," she said.

The man who smuggled her into Britain had other plans.

"He forced himself on me, then he started bringing different people to gang rape [me]. He'll be [he was] paid in the process," she added.

Joanne says her entire family died in Rwanda's civil war of the 1990's and she had no one to help her. Leaving seemed like a good solution, but when she finally made it to Britain in 2000, another nightmare began.

"My first thought was to escape, but to where? I wanted to kill myself, but didn't have the means to do that. I wish I had died with my family," she said.

Joanne is one of thousands here in Britain who have been sold into modern-day sexual slavery.

British government research suggests that 4,000 women involved in the illegal sex trade may have been brought to the country for that purpose, and the number may be twice that.

Authorities say they are tightening controls in a new crackdown in hopes of surpassing previous efforts to curb and eliminate the trade.

In operations last year, police freed 84 women and teenage girls from brothels and massage parlors and made over 200 arrests. Detective Chief Superintendent Nick Kinsella, head of Britain's Human Trafficking Center, says the focus must increasingly be on the gangs that run the trade...


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