Sunday, May 4, 2008

UK: Target the Demand Side to Stop Trafficking

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - Would the hundreds of men who paid to have sex with "Alicia" have cared if they knew she was being held captive by a trafficker who raped her and pimped her, and that she was infected with HIV?

"I don't think they would have come back. If they really knew," says the Rwandan woman, who was brought from Africa to a south London apartment and forced to have sex while her captor collected her earnings.

"But it's not their concern at the end of the day: you've paid your money, and you got what you are paying for," she told Reuters, asking that a pseudonym be used in place of her name for fear those who exploited her would track her down.

The rise of international sex trafficking is causing many countries to rethink their laws on prostitution and re-examine legal frameworks that for decades have treated the purchase of sex as a social nuisance or "victimless crime".

Norway's government proposed last week to fine or jail clients of prostitutes for up to six months in a bid to stamp out human trafficking, saying the rule would apply to its citizens in Norway and abroad.

British government research shows that during 2003 there were an estimated 4,000 victims of trafficking for prostitution in Britain. The figures have risen at least threefold since 1998, according to Home Office figures...

READ THE FULL FEATURE AT Reuters.com

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