News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday September 19th 2019

Human trafficking rife in the US says prof

Helen Stacy, Stanford Law School.

The USA’s implementation of their human trafficking policy was slammed by a Stanford University professor speaking in Cape Town yesterday.

Speaking at the University of Cape Town, Helen Stacy, professor of the Human Rights Law program at Stanford, described how human trafficking has become another arm of the global drugs and weapon trade and is far more brutal than the public imagined.

“You can sell a drug once, a gun once, but you can sell a person over and over again,” said Stacy.

She said human traffickers in the US supplied immigrant workers, adoption fraud, organ harvesting, marriage brokerage and the sex trade.

There were an estimated 300 million trafficked people worldwide but figures were tenuous as they were based on what is reported by victims, and many victims were too afraid to speak out, she said to the small audience in attendance.

She said the US has a visa system in place for victims of human trafficking. A ‘T’ visa allows them to stay in the US for three years on the proviso that the victim testifies against their trafficker. Only 150 of a possible 500,000 such visas were issued each year as it was complicated and difficult for victims to apply for this visa. The prosecution rate is small as it is focused on victims giving individual testimony that concentrates on the individual perpetrators rather than breaking the web of human trafficking ultimately responsible for crimes against them.

“Of our 50 states, 43 treat trafficking as a felony, 20 have trafficking policy in place, eight have declared prostitution legal in licenced brothels, six have laws which govern marriage brokerage and five have travel brokers. It’s a patchwork quilt, there is no blanket regulation,” said Stacy.

“Even those states of ours who do have policy regarding human trafficking find that their regulations are highly under constructed. There is no understanding of a woman’s choice or place. She is either an angel or a whore.

“Governments hate regulating male access to sex. They prefer instead, to regulate female sexuality. Their focus is on the regulation of the supply side and not the demand side.”

Stacy believes that Barack Obama is likely to see another term as President but had unfortunately not fulfilled his elective promises of better healthcare, better education and the shutdown of Guantanamo Bay amongst others, so she believes those undertakings would be his primary focus rather than combating human trafficking.

“But a President can only last for two terms so I am hoping we will see Senator Clinton in the White House after him. I believe that she will tackle the issues we are talking about here – Women’s Rights, Trafficking and Migration. Until then, I hope we will see a youth driven grass roots movement exposing these issues for what they are. Kids take things viral these days and their focus is now on human trafficking.”  – Kate Gerber

Tags: Barack Obama, Helen Stacy, Stanford University, University of Cape Town

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