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Network for Peace through Dialogue

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Confronting Modern Slavery: Prosecuting Sex Traffickers: A Dialogue to Generate Action

On April 24, Network for Peace and three other organizations designed a meeting to mobilize action to combat sex trafficking. They were Anglican Women's Empowerment, the International Institute on Peace Education, and the National Peace Academy. The meeting took place at Marymount Manhattan College.

Experts in international, national, and state/local law were invited to present essential information on aspects of anti-trafficking laws as they now stand. Dorota Gieryccz addressed international law, Tanya Henderson national law, and Laura Russell state and local law.

Following the presentations, facilitators from the organizers and eight other organizations led the 70 participants in small groups to brainstorm action ideas. A partial list of their ideas can be found on page 3.

The additional groups supplying facilitators were Interfaith Center of New York, Nomi Network, World Council for Curriculum and Instruction, Peace and Justice Studies Association, New York Coalition of Religious Congregations to Stop Trafficking of Persons, National Council of Churches, and the JPIC Committee, 2013 Dorota Gierycz briefly discussed the Palermo Protocol, signed in 2000 by 147 nations, including the U.S. It is the only international instrument defining human trafficking. In order to be considered as trafficking, coercion, such as physical abuse, psychological pressure, or bla ckmail must be proven. Besides trafficking of women and children for commercial sex, traffickers exploit labor and conspire in organ harvesting.

Tanya Henderson discussed national legislation which can be used to prosecute trafficking. She recommended consulting the Polaris Project website to keep abreast of legislation requiring advocacy. She said that it is important to address root causes underlying trafficking, such as poverty, armed conflict and military bases.

Laura Russell pointed out that locally, it is not the big networks to look for, but clusters of three or four girls who have bonded with the trafficker. In order to address the "demand" for commercial sex, she recommended an approach like Sweden's. There the law eliminates arrests of prostituted people and penalizes traffickers and buyers.

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All Photos Courtesy of Kara Flannery

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