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Combating Prostitution, Human Trafficking In Iraq

Commissioners Inquire of
Administration Efforts to Combat
Prostitution, Human Trafficking in
Post-Conflict Iraq

May 13, 2003

Eight Members of the United States Helsinki Commission have written to Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage requesting information about State Department efforts to ensure that U.S. contractors do not participate in prostitution or human trafficking-related activities in Iraq or elsewhere, citing similar problems in the OSCE region.

The letter inquires about the Administration’s efforts to fight the emergence of prostitution and human trafficking industries in post-conflict Iraq spurred by an influx of international personnel from the United States and other countries.

Signing the May 2 letter were Helsinki Commission Co-Chairmen Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) and Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Ranking Member Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD), Commissioners Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI), Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Rep. Joseph R. Pitts (R-PA) and Rep. Robert B. Aderholt (R-AL).

“The need for a strategy to prevent the emergence of prostitution and human trafficking in post-conflict Iraq is manifested by the experiences in post-conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo,” the Commissioners wrote. “In both areas, prostitution and human trafficking were allowed to develop and thrive due to the arrival of large numbers of multi-national personnel involved in post-conflict reconstruction and peacekeeping.”

“The United States and the international community failed to address these issues at the outset in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo and, as a result, today continues to struggle against the organized crime elements that control these industries,” the Commissioners added. “Such a scenario must not be allowed to develop in Iraq. Please provide us with information regarding the steps being taken to ensure that prostitution and sex trafficking industries will not develop in Iraq in response to an influx of international civilian and military personnel from the United States and other countries.”

The full text of the letter is available on the Helsinki Commission’s Internet web site at

The United States Helsinki Commission, an independent federal agency, by law monitors and encourages progress in implementing provisions of the Helsinki Accords. The Commission, created in 1976, is composed of nine Senators, nine Representatives and one official each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.

– 30 –

234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Co-Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Ben Anderson

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