US Lawmaker Pushes Travel Industry Anti-Trafficking Drive in Ukraine

WASHINGTON, June 13 (RIA Novosti) – A US lawmaker is promoting a campaign to train the global travel industry to recognize potential human trafficking victims, a drive that included a recent workshop in Ukraine for aviation workers on how to identify potential trafficking victims and alert authorities.

“We are all responsible for ending this dehumanizing crime, but the fact is airline, hotel and transportation professionals are in a unique position to identify potential victims to get them help they need,” US Rep. Chris Smith said this week at an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conference in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.

The workshop in Kyiv on Monday instructed flight attendants, custom officials, airport police, airline representatives and other aviation sector employees on “how to spot both victim and perpetrator and what next steps need to be taken,” Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, told the conference.

“Flight attendants are in the unique position – especially on long flights – to observe a potential trafficking in progress and then call a trafficking hotline or inform the pilot to radio ahead so that the proper authorities intervene as they deplane,” he said.

Smith proposed the creation of a new OSCE trafficking hotline that could “assist victims anywhere, anytime.”

A 2012 report by the International Labor Organization estimated that there are around 20.9 million victims of forced labor around the world at any given time. That figure includes 4.5 million victims of sexual exploitation, 98 percent of whom are women and girls, according to the report.

The US State Department last year designated Ukraine as a so-called “Tier 2” country in its 2012 global human trafficking report, a classification reserved for countries it says do not fully comply with the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act but “are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance” with the law.

The report designated Russia as a “Tier 2 Watch List” country, meaning Washington considers it country making strides to comply with US anti-trafficking laws but which features a “significant” rise in the number of victims of severe trafficking.


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