Ms. WATSON. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution. I would like to thank the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) for introducing this resolution, congratulating South Africa for its first two successful convictions of human trafficking. These convictions demonstrate South Africa's commitment to protecting the vulnerable within its borders.
While important progress has been made, the resolution also urges the government of South Africa to take further steps to prevent human trafficking by enacting a more comprehensive anti-human trafficking law, pursuing its Child Protection Strategy, prioritizing enforcement during the World Cup, educating all relevant government officials about the problem, and providing rehabilitative care for those who are freed from forced labor in the sex industry.
In May of 2004, South Africa was awarded the coveted World Cup Tournament, which is going on there today. Recognizing the nexus between major sporting events and crime, particularly prostitution, the South African government placed a high priority on public awareness and the anti-trafficking law. As the preparation for the soccer tournament got underway, the country's sex industry was simultaneously gearing up for the large influx of visitors and the trafficking of women, girls, men, and boys
into city brothels to meet the expected demand.
Mr. Speaker, after ridding itself of the hateful apartheid system, South Africa has been on a relentless drive to modernize its laws and make sure they protect their citizens and punish offenders. In spite of the many achievements since throwing off the burden of apartheid, the country, like others, is plagued by many ills that confront the rest of the world, including human trafficking. Because of daunting economic problems throughout Africa and its own endemic rural and urban poverty, South
African cities are an attractive place for bad characters, including human traffickers and drug dealers.
South Africa must confront both sides of the problem, as it is both a source and a destination for trafficking persons. People from impoverished areas throughout Africa are brought into the country to provide sexual services and all kinds of menial labor for little or no pay. Young boys are made to beg on the streets or work on farms while young girls are forced into domestic servitude or the illicit sex industry. At the same time, traffickers often target South Africans themselves, sending them
off to Europe or the United States as laborers or domestic servants.
Mr. Speaker, the Government of South Africa has invested in law enforcement, community education, and international cooperation to stem the tide of trafficked persons. African countries collectively are taking the crime of trafficking seriously. Last week, the African Union announced that it is establishing an AU Commission initiative against trafficking. This new campaign, announced on the Day of the African Child, will help ensure that member states are adopting and properly implementing international
protocols to eliminate trafficking.
To eradicate human trafficking--to find and free those who are living in shackles, to prevent vulnerable and marginalized people from falling captive to those who would commodify human life--is a challenge that must be shared by all governments. That is why I urge my colleagues to support this resolution and join me in recognizing the progress that South Africa is making.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I am so honored to yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health and the author of this resolution.
Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. I thank my good friend, the ranking member, for yielding, and thank her for being one of the cosponsors of the resolution, along with Carolyn Maloney and Kay Granger and others in this body. This is a bipartisan resolution that we present on the floor today.
Mr. Speaker, while the World Cup is a joyous and unifying event watched the world over, it comes at a very high cost for many women and children trapped in sexual slavery in South Africa. Going on right now, the World Cup is drawing an estimated 2.7 million local spectators and up to 500,000 visitors to the country. It is an honor and an economic boon for South Africa, but it is also a threat to vulnerable women and children--a threat that the government of South Africa is and must continue to
Major sporting events, Mr. Speaker, and conventions that attract large numbers of people in the United States or abroad have been proven to result in an increase in the demand for commercial sexual exploitation. Pimps and traffickers jump to respond to the demand by trafficking women and girls for prostitution to events such as the World Cup.
We have seen examples of this in stories coming out of South Africa in the media over the last several months. One taxi driver covered in a story proudly advertised his ``Red Light Tour'' which includes strip bar hopping and guidance to prostituted women less likely to be HIV-positive. He, like so many in the sex industry, is hoping to cash in on sexual tourism accompanying the World Cup. Sindiswa was just 17 years old, and according to Time magazine, didn't make it to the games. Forced into
prostitution at 16 after leaving her impoverished village on a bogus promise of a job, she died of AIDS complications in January of this year.
Mr. Speaker, according to the U.S. Department of State, where prostitution is legalized or tolerated there is a greater demand for human trafficking victims and nearly always an increase in the number of women and children trafficked into commercial sexual slavery.
In preparation for the World Cup, the Government of South Africa, to its credit, commissioned a comprehensive study of human trafficking within its borders and discovered that trafficking victims were brought in from all over the world--not just from neighboring countries where poverty and porous borders make women and children particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Law enforcement in Cape Town, for example, where some of the games are played, has been closely monitoring and tracking human
trafficking. Over the last few months, Cape Town law enforcement noted a sudden increase in women arriving with falsified immigration documents from Asia, and they [Page: H5274]
saw a sudden drop in the age of girls working the streets. I applaud Cape Town for its vigilance, as these were signs that criminal syndicates with the means and certainly the capacity were trafficking women and girls to the World Cup.
Mr. Speaker, as you may be aware, I offered the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, and its reauthorizations in 2003 and 2005. Our most recent TIP report, which is mandated by these laws, ranks South Africa as a Tier 2 country--a country that does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.
And so on behalf of my colleagues and I, we offer this resolution, H. Res. 1412, to congratulate South Africa for the steps it has taken--its first two major trafficking convictions and increased law enforcement activity, especially--in this all-important fight against human trafficking. We offer H. Res. 1412 today to underscore the urgent need for further action and trafficking funding prioritization by the Government of South Africa. Of course, that admonishment should go to each and every
one of us, including the United States.
While South Africa does not yet have in place a comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, it does have legislation that offers increased protection to children. It is my sincere hope that all levels of relevant government officials will be aware of their responsibilities under the anti-trafficking provisions of the Sexual Offenses and Children's Acts and the Children's Amendment Act of 2007, and that these will be fully funded and implemented by the Government of South Africa. As we all know
as lawmakers, if the law goes unenforced, it is, frankly, not worth the paper it is printed on. That goes for any parliament's or congress' law. They need to implement this--and do so faithfully.
Mr. Speaker, law enforcement must be particularly vigilant in protecting children during the World Cup through an expanded law enforcement presence and raids in areas where exploitation is occurring. Trafficked women and children rescued during the games must be given special rehabilitative care in order to prevent the trauma that they have suffered from defining them and condemning them to a life of further exploitation and abuse. Aggressive prosecution of the traffickers is also a must, as
organized crime will always gravitate towards whatever activity is most lucrative and least risky.
Moreover, as this resolution points out, it is our sincere hope that South Africa will follow up with prosecution of any soccer fans or other tourists caught exploiting women and children. The buyers of trafficking victims are responsible for this human misery, for without demand, these women and children would not be slaves.
I believe that the games are just the beginning for South Africa in its fight against human trafficking. We have seen tremendous investment of resources, will, and anti-trafficking momentum from nongovernmental organizations and faith-based organizations in the lead-up to the games. Cape Town Tourism, International Union of Superiors General and the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army, Red Card 2010 Campaign, and the Tshwane Countertrafficking
Coalition for 2010 are just a few of those who have stepped up to combat this modern day slavery.
South African citizens have been widely warned about the dangers of human trafficking, and many have volunteered in the fight. Human trafficking is in the public eye now, and it is time for the Government of South Africa to purge it from its cities and anywhere else that it is found. I thank my good friend for yielding and urge Members to support the resolution.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I thank the gentleman from New Jersey, and we are blessed to have such a human rights activist on our committee and, indeed, in the entire House of Representatives. Thank you so much, Mr. Smith.
Mr. Speaker, the bill before us, House Resolution 1412, recognizes the efforts to date of the South African Government to fight human trafficking while urging sustained and expanded efforts for the future. According to the State Department's 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report: ``South Africa is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and forced commercial sexual exploitation.'' Further, South Africa ``does
not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.''
As the 2010 Trafficking Report recognizes and this resolution reaffirms, South Africa has, in fact, made notable progress in confronting human trafficking. The recent conviction by the Durban Municipal Court of two individuals on trafficking-related charges is particularly significant and merits recognition. Still, we have a long way to go, Mr. Speaker. Concerns over trafficking in South Africa have been heightened with the commencement of the FIFA 2010 World Cup games which are being held at
newly erected stadiums throughout the country. The massive influx of workers to build these stadiums and other infrastructure, high rates of domestic unemployment, the arrival of millions of spectators and gaps in law enforcement capacity have provided an ideal operating environment for traffickers.
Criminal networks and street gangs are already known to operate child prostitution rings in the country's major cities where child sex tourism is on the rise. These same cities, including Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg now boast major soccer stadiums capable of drawing between 40,000 to 95,000 spectators each. The confluence of criminality and opportunity created by the World Cup has presented major challenges for the South African Government. Unfortunately, these challenges will endure long
after the cup has been awarded.
This resolution urges the South African Government to engage in an aggressive, sustained, and effective campaign to fight the scourge of trafficking. It urges the government to adopt the pending Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons bill and enforce relevant elements of the Sexual Offenses and Child Justice Acts. It urges the government to adopt additional measures to protect vulnerable children and other potential victims from sexual and labor exploitation. It urges the government
to prioritize anti-trafficking law enforcement, particularly during the World Cup games. And, lastly, it encourages the government to prosecute tourists engaging in commercial sexual exploitation. I strongly urge our colleagues to support this timely and important resolution.
With that, Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from California (Mr. Royce), the ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade.