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Report Finds That Raids Are Not an Effective Tool Against Human Trafficking
Date:1/9/2009

Calls on Obama and Biden to Develop Alternative Approaches

NEW YORK, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report concludes that so-called "rescue" raids are not an effective way to stop trafficking in persons and in fact can be counter-productive.

The report from the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center, released just in time for the National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness on January 11, summarizes findings from interviews with 46 people with experience of such raids, including service providers who have worked with hundreds of trafficking victims, law enforcement personnel, and 15 immigrant women who have been trafficked.

The National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness was established in 2007 by a Senate Resolution sponsored by President-Elect Barack Obama.

"Sixty percent of immigrant women interviewed who were trafficked into sex work had been arrested, some as many as ten times, for prostitution-related offenses without ever being identified as trafficked," said Dr. Melissa Ditmore, primary investigator for the report. "Predictably, Latina and Asian women were more likely to have been arrested than Eastern European women."

"Service providers added that very few trafficked people come to them as a result of raids," Ditmore said. "Rather than being 'rescued' by raids, many women who have been trafficked come forward on their own, with help from people they know -- sex workers, clients, fellow immigrants, anyone who steps in to help."

The study found that raids can be counter-productive to anti-trafficking efforts by further traumatizing, intimidating and sometimes violating the rights of people who have been trafficked, making them less likely to seek help. As one service provider said of one of her clients, "[She] was pulled out of a trafficking situation in such a way that she will never trust law enforcement or government and barely
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SOURCE Urban Justice Center
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