A comprehensive resolution sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton) to create trafficking-free communities was approved today by lawmakers from 57 counties meeting in Berlin.
“Women and girls are disproportionately affected by human trafficking,” Smith said. “Women and girls account for 99 percent of trafficking victims in the commercial sex industry and 58 percent in labor trafficking—this is simply unacceptable in any community.”
Smith is the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCEPA) annual session, which is made up of lawmakers from 57 counties. He has served on panel, more commonly known as the Helsinki Commission, since 1983.
The Smith resolution, called “Implementing Trafficking-Free Communities” is based on effective best practices developed in the United States that demonstrates that the implementation of multiple best practices at the same time results in a substantial reduction of trafficking in a community annually. Citing a study by the International Labor Organization, Smith says 16 million people are exploited in labor trafficking and 4.8 million are victims of sex trafficking.
“A whole of community approach entails multi-sectoral efforts, including simultaneous action by schools, police, non-governmental organizations, law enforcement, shelter services, businesses, houses of worship, and media,” said Smith. “When representatives of various government and civil society groups and professions come together, for example on a Task Force that meets regularly, and for a strategy that is integrated, victims win, and traffickers lose.”
The Smith resolution seeks to create join task forces, train people in contact with victims, establish unified trafficking hotlines, and depress the practice of sexual tourism by known sex offenders traveling to Europe, to the United States, and elsewhere, through the maintenance of registries of individuals who have previously committed sex crimes against children and sending and receiving alerts on traveling offenders.
“My resolution tracks the progress we have made against trafficking, as well as charts the way forward,” said Smith.