New Policy to Combat Trafficking in Persons

New Policy to Combat Trafficking in Persons

The Obama Administration today announced the release of a new comprehensive policy to combat trafficking in persons, the buying and selling of women, children and men for forced labor or prostitution. Exact numbers are difficult to know, but more than a million women and girls are currently in sex slavery throughout the world, often kidnapped or sold by desperately poor families, when they are only 10 or 11.

These girls are typically raped and beaten until they are broken enough to work as prostitutes, some are killed or die from HIV/AIDS acquired from men who think sex with a virgin will cure them of AIDS. Women and children are also frequently kidnapped and sold for other forms of forced labor, leading to the common description of trafficking as "modern-day slavery."

Futures Without Violence staff member Leiana Kinnicutt recently returned from India with the Move to End Violence Initiative, where she had a chance to meet with some trafficking victims who were working as prostitutes in Sonagachi, a red-light district of Southern Kolkata. Chronicled here, are the heart-breaking stories of some of the women who discussed the decision to send their daughters away to shelters or boarding schools as they neared adolescence out of a desperate desire to protect them from also being forced into prostitution.

"It breaks your heart," Kinnicutt said. "You realize just how linked trafficking and violence against women are to one another. Yet, even after knowing these women's tragic stories I remain amazed at the dignity these women maintain and how hard they are willing to fight to ensure others don't have to endure what they've suffered."

Futures Without Violence President Esta Soler praised the strategy released today. "USAID Administrator Shaw, Ambassador Lou CdeBaca and Secretary Clinton all deserve enormous praise for this urgently needed strategy," Soler said. "The commitment of this Administration to fighting trafficking and all forms of violence against women and girls is unprecedented."

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