napawf on human trafficking

The National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF) recently released Rights to Survival & Mobility: An Anti-Trafficking Activist's Agenda, a new report highlighting the disproportionate impact of human trafficking on Asian and Pacific Islander women and girls. U.S. Department of Justice says that human trafficking is the third most profitable underground enterprise, rivaling the drug and arms trade, and the largest group of persons trafficked into the U.S. are from East Asia and the Pacific.

According to a press release I received from NAPAWF, this is an extremely critical time to discuss the impact of human trafficking on API community, especially in light of the pending reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2007, HR 3887, offers extended protections for foreign domestic workers but also attempts to transform anti-trafficking legislation to prostitution legislation. Specifically, HR 3887 expands the Mann Act—a federal law that prohibits the transportation of persons across state lines for the purpose of prostitution—to include prostitution activity within states, and calls prostitution "sex trafficking."

Essentially, this creates a new federal prostitution crime and identifies all prostitution as "sex trafficking," even if force, fraud or coercion is not present. Currently, local and state authorities are responsible for handling prostitution arrests, but with the new definition the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division would be responsible for investigating and prosecuting all of these cases. The concern is, if this happens, there's a strong possibility that real trafficking cases—especially those that do not involve sex—will get lost in the shuffle.

Obviously, this is an issue that NAPAWF takes very seriously. To learn more, visit the NAPAWF blog. And download the report Rights to Survival & Mobility: An Anti-Trafficking Activist's Agenda as a PDF here.

And if you really want to learn more, NAPAWF will be hosting a teleconference media briefing on Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 12pm PST/3pm EST to discuss the contents of the report and provide NAPAWF's analysis of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2007, HR 3887. RSVP at mnguyen@napawf.org by Friday, May 23rd. Conference Dial-in Number: (616) 597-8000, participant access code: 361684#.

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