Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Western New York Working to Halt Human Trafficking

From WBFO:

LEWISTON, NY (2008-05-15) Western New Yorkers were shocked in December when a police sting closed down several massage parlors operating a sex slavery business. But members of the local human trafficking task force say no one should be surprised. Members of the task force and others gathered Wednesday to begin educating the public on who is being victimized and what is being done to stop it.

About two hundred people showed up bright and early for the conference at Niagara University. They settled in with hot coffee and pastries ready to hear about the legal fight to halt the estimated $16 billion human trafficking industry. But they were woken up quickly to the very human side of this dark business.

Toronto journalist Victor Malarek spent two years interviewing victims in several countries. And he did not flinch from telling people exactly what he found out -young girls, tortured and living in fear.

Malarek recounts these and other horrifying realities in his book, The Natasha's: Inside the New Global Sex Trade. He said people need to open their eyes to what is happening all over the world to young women and girls.

Hundreds of thousands are taken to other countries and forced to work as sex slaves. He said some are lured from desperation to other countries with false promises of a legitimate job and a better life.

And many are sold into slavery by those who are supposed to protect them. Malarek said orphanages in Russia are prime suppliers of some of the youngest victims.

From WBDO:

And officials say no one is paying much attention to them when they show up in our neighborhoods either. The December sting revealed that eleven Asian women were held as sex slaves in some of Western New York's most unsuspecting suburbs.

Amy Fleischauer is coordinator for Trafficking Victims' Services at the International Institute in Buffalo. She said the community ca not pretend it is not happening here.

She said the Buffalo Niagara region is a prime spot for human trafficking. Partly because of its border location, she said the region serves as a pass through and training ground for Toronto and New York city. But she said there is also plenty of demand right here, not only for sex slaves, but for all kinds of slave labor, from agricultural to domestic.

And she said the victims are not necessarily foreign born - some are United States citizens, and include women, girls, men and boys.

Read the full article

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