Human Trafficking
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Trafficking of Women

Facts that relate to the trafficking of women and children in the United States and Canada

Facts to consider:

· Trafficking is first and foremost a human fights issue because it involves slavery-like treatment of women.

 · Trafficking is also a multi-faceted issue that involves crime, economics, migration, labor, health (both public and private), and victim’s assistance for victims of violent crimes.

· Though trafficking in women is a long-standing issue globally, it is relatively new for U.S. policymakers. In essence, trafficking in women is the use of force and deception to transfer women into situa­tions of extreme exploitation.

· Examples include Latvian women threatened and forced to dance nude in Chicago; Thai women brought to the U.S. for the sex industry, but then forced to be virtual sex slaves; hearing-impaired and mute Mexicans brought to the U.S. enslaved, beaten, and forced to peddle trinkets in New York City.

· In recent major trafficking cases, there have been reports of trafficking instances in at least 20 different states, with most cases occurring in New York, California, and Florida.

· Primary source countries for the U.S. appear to be Thailand, Vietnam, China, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, and Czech Republic. Women have also been trafficked to the U.S. from Philippines, Korea, Malaysia, Latvia, Hungary, Poland, Brazil and Honduras.

· Traffickers move women and children into the U.S. using a variety of ports of entry. Major ports of entry are: Los Angeles, Hous­ton, New York’s JFK, Chicago’s O’Hare and the San Francisco Interna­tional Airport.

· In Canada, traffickers have flown into Toronto and Vancouver and transported the women overland to the U.S.

· Trafficking to the US is likely to increase given weak economic conditions and few job opportunities in the countries of origin, low risk of prosecution and enormous profit potential for the traffickers, and improved international transportation.

·  A review of the trafficking cases shows that the penalties appear light, especially when compared to sentences given to drug dealers, and do not appear to reflect the multitude of human rights abuses perpe­trated against the women. In the U.S., the statutory maximum for selling anyone into involuntary servitude is only ten years per count, whereas the statutory maximum for dealing in 10 grams of LSD or distributing a kilo of heroin is life.

· In Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada an Immigration and Naturalization Service investigator reports that a group of Canadian pimps, calling themselves the West Coast Players, are actively involved in trafficking Canadian teenagers to Los Angeles for the sex industry.

· Profits in the trafficking industry provide a major source of income for the crime rings. In most of the major recent trafficking cases in the U.S., the traffickers made anywhere from one to eight million dollars in a period ranging from one to six years. Traffickers charge the women inflated prices for securing the alleged jobs, travel documentation, transportation, lodging, etc. To increase profits, the women are kept in poor, crowded conditions.

· It is common for trafficked women to be charged to buy their passport back. The fee is usually around $900 for women from the newly independent states of central and east Europe.


Prepared by: S. Cathy Arata, SSND


 “International Trafficking in Women to the United States: A Contemporary Manifestation of Slavery and Organized Crime” by Amy O’Neill Richard,   November 1999 Center for the Study of Intelligence

 The Shalom Global Peace and Justice director for the SSND Milwaukee Province is Tim Dewane.
 He can be contacted via the information given below.

 Tim Dewane
 School Sisters of Notre Dame
 13105 Watertown Plank Road
 Elm Grove, WI, 53122-2291
 (262) 787-1023


School Sisters of Notre Dame


March, 2002


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