Site to monitor global slave trade

U.S. State Department 1999 Country Reports for East Asia

The State Department is sponsoring a Web site to draw attention to international crisis of trafficking in people — mostly women and children.

The site, to be called the Trafficking of Persons Information Center, will be designed, developed and maintained by a Washington, D.C.-based agency under a sole-source contract from State.

The Academy for Educational Development is a non-profit organization that operates development programs in the United States and overseas, according to the academy's Web site (www.aed.org).

No one at the State Department could be reached Tuesday to discuss the planned Web site. An academy official deferred comment to the U.S. Agency for International Development, which will be the nonprofit's immediate contact for the site.

Linda Leonard, a program officer at USAID, also was not available for comment.

Under the deal, academy researchers will compile data on the trade and post monthly updates. The focus will generally be on trafficking and anti-trafficking laws within eastern Asia and the Pacific region. It will also look at legislation, international agreements, ongoing negotiations to punish trafficking, meetings, conferences and workshops.

Under the terms of the sole-source contract with the Academy for Educational Development, the trafficking site will have to be accessible to government, nongovernment and international organization officials throughout eastern Asia and the Pacific.

According to the State Department's 1999 country reports for eastern Asia, trafficking in people — particularly women and children - is a problem in China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. In most cases, according to the State Department, the victims are forced into prostitution.

The trafficking site will be based on a prototype created by the Global Technology Corps, a State Department program that links public, academic and private organizations with U.S. embassies to promote social and cultural programs through information technology.

For example, Apple Computer Inc. contributed 10 iMacs to a Bosnian school last year under an arrangement crafted by Global Technology Corps.

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