HUMAN TRAFFICKING/SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
The End Users/The Clients of Forced Prostitution and Trafficking are equally responsible and as guilty as the Traffickers.
This post focuses on the End Users/The Clients of Trafficked Victims, who have been forced into Prostitution and Sexually Exploited. It is important to recognize that the End Users/The Clients are actually responsible for fuelling the market in human flesh and forced prostitution in the first place and the treatment of victims by traffickers.
End Users/Clients Have No Conscience...............
End Users/The Clients are equally guilty of kidnap, enslavement, imprisonment, psychological abuse, physical torture, intimidation, threats, blackmail, enforced abortions, forced unprotected sex and STD transmission, degradation, deception and lies, violence and rape........even Murder. End Users/The Clients have also helped fund other criminal activities such as the drugs and weapons trade, which the traffickers are also sometimes engaged in.
The End Users/the Clients clearly hold an attitude of Indifference towards Sexually Exploited Victims as well as Other Actions Involving Force and Coercion.End Users/Clients have No Conscience...............
This post focuses on the Balkans for the sole reason that a major conflict recently took place in the region. This conflict has played a pivotal role in the escalation of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. It is also useful to note how local attitudes towards women and children have contributed to the growth in Human Slavery and Forced Prostitution in this region as well.
WHAT HAVE VICTIMS BEEN SUBJECTED TO?
I have extracted various references to Forced Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation in the Balkans from two reports, in order to provide a picture of the actual experiences of victims as well as some of their testimonies. The following Two Reports were used :
The (CPTT) Changing Patterns and Trends of Trafficking in Persons in the Balkan Region
Assessment carried out in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Province of Kosovo (Serbia and Montenegro), the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Moldova - July 2004 - by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been used.
Amnesty International's (AI) Kosovo (Serbia and Montenegro): "So does it mean that we have the rights?" - Protecting the human rights of women and girls trafficked for forced prostitution in Kosovo.
(CPTT Page 10) .............the victim was trafficked by force, kidnapped or sold by his/her family........
(CPTT Page 55) Victims of forced prostitution are often subjected to psychological and/or physical torture (threats, humiliation and degradation, beatings and rape) by their traffickers.
(AI)Trafficked women are repeatedly subjected to psychological abuse. This can include intimidation and threats, lies and deception, emotional manipulation and blackmail, in particular threatening to tell their family back home about the true nature of their work.
(AI)Women who have been trafficked also suffer from long-term stress, exhaustion and anxiety, as well as damage to their self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. An IOM study found that a significant number of trafficked women also developed conditions including acute stress reaction, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. - A General View of the Psychological Support and Services Provided to Victims of Trafficking, IOM Kosovo, September 2003. See also The Health Risks and Consequences of Trafficking in Women and Adolescents. Both studies note that insufficient research has been carried out into the psychological trauma that trafficked women suffer as a result of their experiences.
(AI) the majority of trafficked women were forced to have unprotected sex, with only 40 per cent "occasionally" using condoms. - UNICEF, UNOHCHR, OSCE/ODIHR, Trafficking in Human Beings in Southeastern Europe, 2002, p. 96.
(AI) Amnesty International is also aware of reports that trafficked women have been subjected to enforced abortions. - See for example, "Si u dhunua Shqipja 22 vjeçare?", Kosovarja, 1-15 May 2003.
(AI) "A friend introduced me to a woman in Chiinu, she offered me a job abroad and said she would prepare a passport for me, for free. I asked if the job was sex related and she promised that it was not." - 24-year-old trafficked woman from Moldova. Lies and Deception
(AI) "I was beaten and I was forced to have sexual intercourse... if we were not willing, they just beat us and raped us." - Woman trafficked into Kosovo.
(AI) "Even in cold weather I had to wear thin dresses ... I was forced by the boss to serve international soldiers and police officers ... I have never had a chance of running away and leaving that miserable life, because I was observed every moment by a woman." - Internally trafficked Albanian girl, aged 12.
(AI) "Eventually I arrived in a bar in Kosovo, [and was] locked inside and forced into prostitution. In the bar I was never paid, I could not go out by myself, the owner became more and more violent as the weeks went by; he was beating me and raping me and the other girls. We were his ‘property’, he said. By buying us, he had bought the right to beat us, rape us, starve us, force us to have sex with clients." - Moldovan woman, single parent, 21 years old.
(AI) "If I refused [to have sex with clients] I was threatened. He was pointing the gun to my head, and he was saying.. ‘If you don’t do this in the next minute, you will be dead’. He has the gun, he was just saying do this or you will be dead." - NGO interview, woman trafficked into Kosovo.
(AI) "Following repeated abuse by her husband, culminating in threats to stab and kill her, a Romanian woman with three children fled her husband, and temporarily took her children to her parents’ house. Her husband’s cousin - who was aware of her situation - told her that he knew someone who was organizing trips to Germany. Hoping that she might be able to find a job in Germany with the help of an aunt living there, she agreed to go. En route, she found that she had been sold, and was trafficked to Kosovo."
(AI) Women are taken, usually in small groups, to "trading houses" in hotels and private apartments around Belgrade, Panèevo and Novi Sad, and also in Montenegro. There they are paraded in front of potential buyers, often being forced to strip before being sold to their new "owner".
(AI) "First they would put us to get undressed, and to be only in underwear, to look at us and see how we are looking. If you are looking OK, and they [like you], they will buy you. We were like a rag, just like a cloth." - A trafficked woman’s account of being "bought".
(AI) "They put us in a line, standing up, and then they sit in an armchair and look at us, choosing one of us."
(AI) "You will not know who bought you. They will just come and tell you that you must get ready because you [have to] leave." - Women trafficked into Kosovo describe being sold.
(AI) A journalist who visited a "trading house" near Belgrade confirmed these reports. He also observed a man bidding for a woman while talking to the purchaser via mobile phone. (65) AI interview, September 2003.
(AI) Deprivation of liberty - "..the majority of women are held against their will in conditions you wouldn’t keep an animal in", former Head of TPIU.
(AI)Trafficked women are seldom allowed any freedom of movement outside the establishments in which they work. They are confined either by threats and coercion, or by being locked in.
(AI) "We worked from 9am to 11pm. After that he said, ‘You do what you like’, but we were locked. When we asked to go out he said, no, that we had to be here. We slept in a room together, me and another girl. All the windows had bars. He didn’t ever beat me; it was just psychological threats. We were coerced in that way; I couldn’t go out." - Romanian woman trafficked into Kosovo.
(AI) At a trial in Gnjilane/Gjilan (Kosovo) in 2002, a trafficked woman testified that she had been kept in a cellar, where she slept at night and serviced clients during the day. Food, drink and a bucket for use as a lavatory were brought down to her. She only left the cellar when she was driven by the defendant to meet clients. - Verdict, N.F., 15 May 2002, Gjilan/Gnjilane District Court.
(AI) Before I was sold to the bar in Prizren, I was held in an apartment in Gjilan for four days and I was raped by the guards several times."(79) Moldovan woman aged 21.
(AI) Trafficked women and girls may be raped in transit and many are then subsequently repeatedly raped by their owners, who use rape as a means of control and coercion.(85)
(AI) A Moldovan woman trafficked to Pejë/Peæ testified in investigative proceedings that when she had refused to work as a prostitute, the defendant beat and raped her, reportedly to teach her what would happen if she did not do what she was told.(86) - See OSCE Department of Human Rights and Rule of Law, Kosovo, A Review Of The Criminal Justice System, 1 September 2000 - 28 February 2001, pp. 58-9; the defendant was subsequently sentenced to three years and six months’ imprisonment on three counts of rape, and intermediation in prostitution; he was released pending appeal.
(AI) "She had sex 2,700 times in less than one year; she was subjected to group sex; sex at gunpoint;[she] earned 200,000 Deutschmarks [for the traffickers], she was truly victimised." - AI interview with international prosecutor, March 2003.
(AI) It also includes holding them in conditions which Amnesty International considers may amount to inhuman or degrading treatment: "We lived on the second floor, [all the] girls in one room. The bar was situated on the first floor. Our owner fed us with liver sausage, fish and bread. We didn’t get money. They didn’t buy us any clothes. If I refused to work they beat me. When I was ill, I got no help. It was very cold there." (91) Ukrainian woman trafficked to Kosovo.
(AI) Trafficked women in Kosovo reported being held in unhygienic, overcrowded and stressful conditions, with no opportunity for privacy. Many women have to sleep and live in the same room in which they work, often with others. Physically exhausted by the long hours and the number of clients they are forced to have sex with, women also report being deprived of food:
(AI) "We received one hamburger and one yoghurt a day"; "We had to share four hamburgers and a packet of cigarettes between eight girls". - Women trafficked into Kosovo.
(AI) Right to health - "I felt sick, and was coughing a lot. I had a terrible headache and fever. ... I was lying in bed and almost fading, when the owner’s son came into my room and I was beaten badly by him. As a result, I suffered grave bodily injuries. I stayed in bed for three months. Except for other injuries, he broke my hand too. All the time I spent in bed, he repeatedly exploited me." - Internally trafficked Albanian woman, aged 21.
(AI) Other women report paying off one debt, only to be faced with another, in a cycle of debt-bondage from which it is almost impossible to escape. "I learned that I was sold to a pimp for 2200 DM (€955). The money he had spent on me I had to work off. When I worked the sum, the pimp sold me to Kosovo for 1750 DM. I never went to anyone for help because I had no opportunity to move. I worked at night with a [guard] only 15 feet away at all times. I was locked up in a room during the day. If I had had the chance, I would have tried to find the Red Cross for help." - Ukrainian woman trafficked first to Serbia and subsequently to Kosovo.
(AI) "We suffered very much during the war. Our house was burned. We have experienced so much terror in [R.] during the deportation too. Immediately after the war ended, my father married me to my sister's brother-in-law. I didn't love him. After some time there, I left his house, beaten up and mutilated. It was dark. I asked for help in the asphalted street in the village. A driver stopped by, he took me in his car, and he promised to help me and then drove me to the city ... I was sent to a café bar and handed over to the owner of that place. All the time I was there, I was repeatedly exploited and raped. Afterwards, the owner sold me to the place where I was later rescued by the police, seven months after. Every time I asked to be freed, the owner used to tell me that I didn’t work enough, claiming that I could only earn DM300 for my services, while he bought me for the price of DM1,500." - Internally trafficked woman, aged 19.
(AI) "After a while one of the guys [who had kidnapped and raped her] took me by car to Albania. They brought me to another motel and left me there... for another month. They... raped me several times... One night I was taken away to another city. They put me in a speed boat of desperate people and sent me to Italy... They locked me in an apartment. The next day they told me that I had to work for them - on the street. I refused, began shouting... They beat me a lot; they told me that if I refused they’d kill me and my family back in Kosovo .... I was so afraid. I was in Italy illegally. I couldn’t ask for help." - 16-year-old Kosovar Albanian, trafficked at the age of 14 to Italy.
(AI) "Many men and young men raped me, young and old, local and international ... We were about 20 persons in that house. Only two were from Moldavia and all the rest Albanian." - Internally trafficked Albanian girl aged 17.
SOME (BUT NOT ALL) OF THE END USERS...
UN Kosovo police arrested for sex trafficking
ISN SECURITY WATCH (01/09/05) - Three UN police officers and four foreigners have been arrested for involvement in human trafficking in the UN administered province of Kosovo.
Amnesty International (AI) says the presence of international peacekeepers in Kosovo has been fuelling the sexual exploitation of women and encouraging trafficking. The human rights group claims that UN and NATO troops in the region are using the trafficked women and girls for sex, and that some have been involved in trafficking itself. Girls as young as 11 from Eastern European countries are being sold into sex slavery, according to Amnesty International.
(CPTT Page 32) ALBANIA - The average policeman’s salary is around 200 euros per month. ..... police officers and airport staff were arrested because of their involvement in trafficking in persons, together with personnel of an airline company. The Prosecutor’s Office has recently opened judicial inquiries into criminals involved in trafficking where there are indications of involvement by corrupt police officers. Intelligence also suggests that some police officers either accept money or prostitutes’ sexual services from traffickers, in exchange of protection.
(CPTT Page 45) BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA Trafficking - Most clients are local but, according to information received from some victims and from criminal sources supported by intelligence, in some areas of BiH especially those close to military bases, the most frequent customers of trafficked victims have been foreigners and in particular NATO and Stabilisation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (SFOR) members. For example near the NATO’s Eagle Base, there are a dozen night bars and the most frequent customers are SFOR members.
(CPTT Page 84) MACEDONIA - Organized Crime Groups - One factor contributing to the expansion of trafficking since 1999 is demand resulting from the presence of thousands of NATO troops and other international and non-governmental organizations installed during and after the Kosovo crisis. However, most clients are Macedonians (of all ethnicities) and it should be noted that, even before the arrival of the international community, FYROM provided a sizeable market for the “services” of trafficked victims. Trafficking to FYROM can be traced back to the early 1980s, when numerous groups of “exotic dancers” from Bulgaria, the Ukraine and Russia performed in nightclubs in the Skopje area. These women were in fact victims of the trade at the time, according to information obtained from various sources.(CPTT Page 84) Trafficking of Albanian Men and Boys for Prostitution A worrying new phenomenon is the trafficking of Albanian men, predominately juveniles, for homosexual exploitation. Recent international investigations carried out in Italy revealed that this is a visibly growing trend in Western Europe, including countries such as Germany, France and Spain. Few months ago, a police operation carried out in Florence, Italy, revealed a significant number of juveniles exploited for homosexual prostitution including Albanian boys. ..................The traffickers use the social taboos associated with homosexual rape as a way to control the victims.
(AI) "The problem is that nobody considers the need of brothels in the German [KFOR] contingent. The Americans and the French and others, who however, have their army brothels. I am not trying to say that the prostitutes have to come over from America or France but the brothel can be rented for a certain period of time and stay under units’ control."- Interview with German KFOR soldier, Inge Bell Archive.
(AI) Evidence of the involvement of KFOR troops in the trafficking of women in Kosovo has been documented from early 2000. Repeated allegations have been made against members of the Russian KFOR contingent, both as users of trafficked women, and in the trafficking of women - either directly or with the assistance of Serb traffickers. As early as 2000 Russian KFOR troops were allegedly involved in bringing Moldovan and Ukrainian women - allegedly disguised in Russian army uniforms - into the Russian base at Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje. A Hungarian NGO working with trafficked women "reported that Russian KFOR was involved in bringing in women for sex work... They [the trafficked women] believed their clients were KFOR soldiers, NGO staff, OSCE staff and quite a few locals. The KFOR would take off their insignia and identifying badges, and the Americans would say they were ‘Russians’." - NGO Salamon Alapitvany, quoted in No Safe Place, p. 77.
OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION - Some Web Links including Blogs
UN Kosovo police arrested for sex trafficking (1 September 2005) - http://www.isn.ethz.ch/news/sw/details.cfm?id=12681
Trafficking in Women – Website Guide - The aim of this guide is to provide a comprehensive list of websites which deal with the subject of trafficking in women. It is addressed to students, researchers, policy makers, scholars and/or anyone interested in such issues.
Organized Crime in the Western Balkans - Trafficking in Drugs, Weapons and Human Beings - The HUMSEC project. http://www.humsec.eu/cms/fileadmin/user_upload/humsec/Workin_Paper_Series/Working_Paper_Anastasijevic.pdf
The Human Trafficking Project - A blog dedicated to raising awareness of human trafficking and exploring innovative solutions to combat the issue -http://traffickingproject.blogspot.com/Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation - A Deeper Look at Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation within the US and abroad - http://www.abolishhumantrafficking.com/
The Global Sociology Blog - http://globalsociology.edublogs.org/