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