Pubdate: Wed, 23 Feb 2000
Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Copyright:  Dayton Daily News 2000
Author: Paul Shepard ,Associated Press


Over 50,000 Women Enter The U.s. As Sex Slaves Each

WASHINGTON--With as many as 2 million women worldwide forced into
sexual slavery, the sex trade seems to have replaced narcotics as the
favored illegal trade activity, White House officials told at a Senate
hearing Tuesday.

Harold Koh, assistant Secretary of State for democracy, human rights
and labor, said international criminals are moving away from "guns and
drugs" to marketing women.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., who chaired the hearing, spoke of meeting
some women victims during recent travels to Asia and called the trade
"the greatest manifestation of slavery in the world today."

"They are told they will be taking a job as a nanny ... Then they are
taken across a border and held against their will," he said.

"We are only beginning to learn the methods of this industry,"
Brownback said. "Two-thirds come back with AIDS or tuberculosis. They
basically come back to die."

A woman called Inez and disguised to protect her identity testified
that she was forced into a life of sexual slavery in the United States
by traffickers in her native Mexico.

She said she was duped by men who promised her work at a restaurant
but said she owed them a "smuggling fee" of $2,500 that she had to pay
off by selling herself to men.

"We worked six days a week and 12-hour days," she said. "We mostly had
to serve 32 to 35 clients a day."

Solid numbers on the scope of the problem are hard to come by, but
best estimates show at least 50,000 women brought into the United
States annually for forced labor, officials said.

A breakdown of international borders and expansion of trade are among
the factors fueling trafficking, said Teresa Loar, director of the
President's Interagency Council on Women.

Feeder countries for the slave trade include Ukraine, Albania, the
Philippines, Thailand, Mexico and Nigeria, according to officials.

Frank E. Loy, Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs, said the
Clinton Administration approach has focused on preventing the trade
from getting established, protection and assistance for victims and
prosecution of traffickers.

Loy said the administration has stopped short of pushing for economic
sanctions against offending nations, however, because that would
curtail efforts to build an international effort to combat the problem.

Bills aimed at curbing trafficking have been introduced in the House
and Senate.
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MAP posted-by: Allan  Wilkinson