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Report cites Korean women as major group of trafficking victims in U.S.

All Headlines 01:37 June 07, 2007

WASHINGTON, June 6 (Yonhap) -- Korean women accounted for a large number of victims of sex trafficking in the United States during fiscal year 2006, the latest report by the U.S. Department of Justice said.

The annual report, submitted to Congress late May, said the U.S. government provided emergency assistance to more than 100 Korean women in New York, New Jersey and Washington.

It did not give country-by-country statistics on the number of victims.

Some trafficking victims are granted "continued presence," allowing them to legally reside in the U.S. when they are potential witnesses in the investigation or prosecution. According to the report, South Korea, Mexico and El Salvador were countries with the highest number of victims to be given such temporary stay permits.

The permits were granted to victims from 24 nations.

South Korean officials here said trafficking rings involving Korean women were getting bigger and more sophisticated in their operations, and U.S. investigators were granting more temporary permits to secure more witnesses and conduct deeper probes.

"Some of those that obtain this status are victims of other kinds of labor abuse, not just sex trafficking," one official said, speaking without giving his name.

The U.S. report also outlines U.S. activities to combat trafficking, including having civilian organizations reach out to prevent abuses and help women.

A group called the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking was awarded US$75,000 to specifically help Korean and Russian victims of sex trafficking. Another group called "Tapestri" was given $75,310 to help Korean, Latino and Brazilian communities create an anti-trafficking outreach program, the report said.

The government added Korean, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese languages to its public awareness materials distributed to seek out the victims, it said.

A major case cited involving Koreans was in New York, where 18 search warrants and 31 arrest warrants were executed at brothels throughout the northeastern U.S. states.

ldm@yna.co.kr
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