Exposing 'human trade'
- By Bryant Jordan
- Sep 18, 2000
U.S. State Department 1999 Country Reports for East Asia
The State Department is going online to help fight the international trafficking
of human beings.
Under a contract it expects to issue within the next few weeks to an
international education organization, State will fund a Web site to help
victims of human trade as well as the countries where it is occurring.
The site will include links useful to governments and non-govern-mental
organizations combating the trade in human beings — including migration
laws, laws on human trafficking, sources of help for victims and possibly
examples of trafficking prosecutions that resulted in convictions.
Although the site will focus on Asia and the Pacific, it will also include
human trafficking laws from other countries — essentially serving as a template
for countries wanting to adopt or strengthen such laws, said David Zwei-gel,
the senior technology adviser to State's Global Technology Corps.
Global Technology Corps (global-tech corps.org), established by State
last year to bring electronic communications to Bosnia, was directed by
the department to build a Web site that would address ways to prevent trafficking,
protect victims, reintegrate victims into society and prosecute traffickers,
The site, to be called the Trafficking of Persons Information Center,
came out of a March conference in Manila, Philippines. It is just the beginning
of an online initiative against trafficking.
"It's an interesting prototype that came out of the area meeting" in
Manila, a State official familiar with the program said, speaking on background.
"If it's successful, we'll look at replicating this around the world."
In most cases, victims of trafficking are women, who are often captured
and sold into prostitution. "It's an unfortunate thing. In certain cultures,
women are not highly respected. The same with children," Zweigel said. "If
it's a matter of the family eating or the family not eating, sometimes the
wrong decision is made."
According to State's 1999 country reports for east Asia, trafficking
in people — particularly women and children — is a problem in China, Cambodia,
Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
The site will include contact information for embassies and links to
nongovernmental organizations involved in combating human trafficking, he
The site may also include examples of Web-based employment ads that
are fronts for the trade, and possibly information to "educate "Johns'" — clients of prostitutes — to recognize when a woman or girl has been sold
or traded, Zweigel said.
The actual site, which is expected to be up within nine months, will
be designed and managed by the Academy for Educational Development, a Washington,
D.C.-based nonprofit organization involved in domestic and overseas programs.
State and academy officials would not discuss the Web site because the
two sides are still working out contract terms, spokesmen said.