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Reuters- U.N Says Asian Trafficking

Subject: Reuters- U.N Says Asian Trafficking In Humans Could Worsen

U.N. Says Asian Trafficking In Humans Could Worsen
07:31 a.m. Nov 03, 1998 Eastern

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Asia's economic crisis could increase the numbers of
women and children sold into Asia's sex industry, the United Nations said

Adrianus Mooy, executive secretary of the UN's Economic and Social
Commission for Asia and the Pacific, said that amid rising unemployment and
poverty, new approaches were needed to deal with trafficking in human
beings. ''Strategies to combat trafficking in women must confront the
trans-boundary and international nature of the activity,'' he told a
regional conference on trafficking in women in Bangkok.

Victims of trafficking in Asia came from countries like Myanmar, China,
Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh
and Nepal, the conference was told by speakers.

Saisuree Chatikul, the chairman of the Thai Senate Committee on Women, told
the   meeting many governments and officials underestimated the scale of the

``In Thailand, in our experience, judges need to be informed of the
seriousness of trafficking as a crime,'' she said, adding that too often
prison sentences for such offences were reduced to suspended terms.

``Laws in some countries are good laws. However there is a lack of strict
enforcement,'' she said.

``Enforcement officers may not consider trafficking one of their priorities
or, in some  cases, may be corrupted and traffickers not brought to

Saisuree called for training programs for police and immigration officers,
lawyers, judges, health officials and social workers and for the amendment
of some laws. People abducted, or forced or lured across borders with false
promises, should be treated as victims and not simply dealt with as illegal

``The amended laws should also embrace the need to arrest, prosecute and
heavily  penalize those abusers involved in trafficking,'' she said.

Saisuree said bilateral agreements were needed to help victims of
trafficking and attempts should be made by countries to harmonize relevant

The conference was held as part of wider meeting on crime control. Three
similar regional meetings on crime are to be held before the end of
February: in Beirut for West Asia, In Kampala for Africa and San Jose for
Latin America.

The meetings are to provide input for the 10th Congress on the Prevention of
Crime and Treatment of Offenders due to be held in Vienna in April 2000.