United States

United States: Stop FGM in the United States: Support the Girls Protection Act

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2010 May 24

Female genital mutilation is a centuries-old harmful traditional practice that affects up to 140 million women and girls around the world. It is considered a severe human rights violation and the World Health Organization classifies the practice as a reflection of deep rooted inequality between the sexes and an extreme form of discrimination against women. FGM involves the removal of various parts of female genitalia and is carried out across Africa, some countries in Asia and the Middle East, as well as in locations where FGM-practicing immigrants reside, including the United States.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to your representative urging them to support H.R. 5137. TAKE ACTION!

Letters: 

[add address]

Dear

I am writing to express my deep concern about the common situation where girls are taken to their countries of origin to be subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is a centuries-old harmful traditional practice that affects up to 140 million women and girls around the world. It is considered a severe human rights violation and the World Health Organization classifies the practice as a reflection of deep rooted inequality between the sexes and an extreme form of discrimination against women. FGM involves the removal of various parts of female genitalia and is carried out across Africa, some countries in Asia and the Middle East, as well as in locations where FGM-practicing immigrants reside, including the United States.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated in 1997 that over 168,000 girls and women living in the US have either been, or are at risk of being, subjected to FGM. A 1996 federal law prohibiting the practice of FGM within the US did not address the risk of girls removed from the country, sometimes to their parents’ countries of origin, to be subjected to FGM.

I am aware that new legislation, the “Girls Protection Act” (H.R. 5137) co-sponsored by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) aims to close this loophole and strengthen the 1996 federal law. The Crowley-Bono Mack extraterritoriality amendment or “vacation provision” introduced on 26 April 2010 would make it illegal to transport a minor girl living in the US out of the country for purposes of FGM. I urge you to support H.R. 5137 and take this critical step toward reaffirming that FGM, in all its forms, is a human rights violation. I also urge you to support the implementation of culturally sensitive awareness-raising, education and outreach programs to protect girls living in the US from FGM. I thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely

 

United States: Sex Tourism: Big Apple Oriental Tours Acquitted of State Criminal Charges. Federal Action Needed to Prosecute G.F. Tours and other U.S.-Based Sex Tour Operators

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2009 May 1

In 1996, Equality Now launched a Women’s Action campaign calling for the prosecution of Big Apple Oriental Tours (BAOT). At the time, the company was advertising a twelve-day trip to the Philippines for sex tourists at the cost of $2,195, which included transportation, airfare, hotel room, and the ability of the sex tourist to “select your companion upon arrival in Angeles City” in a commercial sex transaction that would be brokered by a BAOT representative at the customer’s request.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the new U.S. Attorney General and call on him to prosecute Gunter Frentz, the owner/operator of G.F. Tours, and other sex tour operators for knowingly and openly transporting individuals to other countries with the intent of engaging in prostitution in violation of the Mann Act and Travel Act. Reiterate that sex tourism is a criminal act that exploits and harms women, and very often children, while it supports a multi-billion dollar industry in human trafficking. Urge the Attorney General to clarify to all federal prosecutors that the Department of Justice policy is to prosecute U.S.-based sex tour operators.

Letters should be addressed to:

U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20530, USA
Fax: + 1 202-307-6777
E-mail: AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

Sample letter

Women's Action 12.1: December 1996
Women's Action 12.2: March 2004
Women's Action 12.3: October 2005
Women's Action 27.1: October 2005

 

Urgent Alert: United States: Urge your Senators and Congressperson to co-sponsor the International Violence Against Women Act

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2010 Jul 5
Update Date: 
2010 Nov 17
Update: 

*re-issued November 2010 for passage this year*

Equality Now supports the International Violence Against Women Act (HR 4594/S 2982) in order to achieve a more comprehensive, multi-sectoral, and coordinated response to violence against women that is not only more efficient, but also a wise investment. The I-VAWA would:

 

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION HERE or use the sample letter below.

Letters: 

Dear [Senator][Representative]

I am writing to voice my support for the International Violence Against Women Act (HR 4594/ S 2982).

Globally, it is estimated that one out of every three women will be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused over the course of her lifetime, with rates of domestic violence reaching up to 71% in some countries. Somewhere a woman is raped, beaten, killed by her husband, trafficked or forced to trade sex for food every day.

I believe that efforts to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls should be a top priority in U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance programs. Not only is violence against women and girls a gross human rights violation, it is also a public health epidemic and a barrier to solving global challenges such as extreme poverty, HIV/AIDS, armed conflict and terrorism.

The International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) supports innovative programs, which have been shown to effectively decrease acts of violence and support survivors. Many of these programs help women and girls do things we so often take for granted: go to school, earn an income to take care of their families, collect food or water without fear of rape and bring perpetrators of abuse to justice. I-VAWA will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of existing U.S. foreign policy to end and respond to violence against women and girls around the world.

When implemented, I-VAWA would help put an end to the fear, pain and suffering experienced by countless women and girls globally. Please use your leadership role to help facilitate the progress of this important legislation through Congress.

I thank you for your attention.

Sincerely yours,

 

United States : G&F Tours--A Call for Law Enforcement to End Sex Tourism

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2005 Oct 1

"Do you need an innocent in need of seduction or a raw nymphomaniac whore? ... Do you like it nice or nasty?  … Maybe you've heard stories about sample blow jobs…?  It's all true!" (G&F Tours website)

What You Can Do: 

Please write to U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. and call on him to prosecute Gunter Frentz, owner/operator of G&F Tours, for knowingly and openly transporting individuals to other countries with the intent that they will patronize prostitution in contravention of the Mann Act and the Travel Act.  Point out that effective measures to combat sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation require a focus on and suppression of the demand side of the industry, including sex tourism, as the U.S. Government has recognized in its Trafficking in Persons National Security Presidential Directive of 2003 and its annual Trafficking in Persons Report.  Urge the Attorney General to clarify to all federal prosecutors that the activities of sex tourism companies fall within and constitute a violation of federal law, and to ensure that the Department of Justice takes action to shut down all sex tour companies operating from the United States.  Please also write to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, let him know that G&F Tours has recently relocated to Forth Worth and ask him to take immediate action to shut down Gunter Frentz’s sex tour operation.

U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20530, USA
Fax: +1 202-307-6777
E-mail: AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

U.S. Attorney Richard B. Roper
U.S. Attorney's Office-North District of Texas
Dallas Division
Earle Cabell Federal Building
1100 Commerce Street, Suite 300
Dallas, Texas 75242-1699, USA
Fax: +1 214-767-2898

Hawaii: Legislation Passed to End Sex Tourism and Hold Sex Tour Operators Accountable

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2004 May 1

In an unprecedented move to combat sex tourism, the Hawaii State legislature passed HB 2020, an Act relating to prostitution, which the Lt. Governor signed into law, as Act 82, on May 19, 2004. The Act makes it a felony offense, with a sentence of up to five years in prison, to sell or offer to sell travel services for the purpose of engaging in prostitution and authorizes suspension or revocation of a travel agency registration for engaging in these acts.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to Hawaii State Representative Marilyn Lee, the main sponsor of Act 82. Congratulate her on the success of her initiative to facilitate the prosecution of sex tour operators. Urge her to encourage legislators in other states to do the same. Please also encourage your own legislators to pass a law specifically criminalizing the activities of sex tour operators using Hawaii’s legislation as an example. The full text of the legislation is available on-line.

State Representative Marilyn B. Lee
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 421
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
USA
Tel: +1 808-586-9460
Fax: +1 808-586-9466
E-mail: replee@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Hawaii: Legislation to End Sex Tourism and Hold Sex Tour Operators Accountable

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2004 Mar 1

Q: Is it true I could have sex with two girls at the same time?
A: Definitely YES!! That's the difference between spending $75.00 to $150.00, and having a FANTASTIC time!!! You can have as many as you can fit in your room.

—from Frequently Asked Questions on Video Travel's Ultimate Asian Sex Tour website.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the Majority and Minority leaders of the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives asking them to support the proposed legislation prohibiting sex tourism (HB 2020 in its current form). Note that the passage of this legislation will simplify the prosecution of sex tour operators like Melvin Hamaguchi and could serve as a model for other states. Welcome the State of Hawaii’s efforts to eradicate sex tourism, and remind the legislators that sex tourism contributes to the trafficking of women and girls. Letters should be addressed to:

Senate Majority Leader Colleen Hanabusa
21st Senatorial District
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 214
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
USA
Phone: +1-808-586-7793
Fax: +1-808-586-7797
Email: senhanabusa@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Senate Minority Leader Fred Hemmings
25th Senatorial District
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 221
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
USA
Phone: +1-808-587-8388
Fax: +1-808-587-7240
Email: senhemmings@Capitol.hawaii.gov

House Majority Leader Scott K. Saiki
22nd Representative District
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 438
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
USA
Phone: +1-808-586-8485
Fax: +1-808-586-8489
Email: repsaiki@Capitol.hawaii.gov

House Minority Leader Galen Fox
23rd Representative District
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 318
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
USA
Phone: +1-808-586-8520
Fax: 1+808-586-8524
Email: repfox@Capitol.hawaii.gov

United States: The Role of Military Forces in the Growth of the Commercial Sex Industry

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2006 Mar 1

A major step towards the establishment of a zero-tolerance policy with respect to solicitation of prostitution by U.S. military personnel was taken on 14 October 2005, when U.S. President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13387, which amends the Manual for Courts-Martial to specifically enumerate “patronizing a prostitute” as a violation of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). U.S.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to U.S. President George W. Bush, welcoming Executive Order 13387 specifically enumerating “patronizing a prostitute” as a violation of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Urge the President and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to strictly enforce this provision, noting that patronizing prostitution feeds the global demand for sex trafficking and noting reports that the law is not being effectively enforced. Urge President Bush and Defense Secretary Gates to institute a zero-tolerance policy on the solicitation of prostitution by U.S. military forces around the world.

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
United States of America
Fax: +1 202-456-2461
E-mail: president@whitehouse.gov

Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
United States of America
Fax: +1 703-697-8339
http://www.dod.gov/faq/comment.html

Please also write to South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun and Minister of Justice Chung Soung-jin, thanking them for the efforts to create a new legal framework that recognizes and protects victims of prostitution while holding those who exploit them accountable.  Urge them to ensure that the new laws are strictly enforced.

President Roh Moo-Hyun
Office of the President—Cheong Wa Dae
1 Jongno-gu
Jongo-Gunsejong-no
110-050 Seoul
Republic of Korea
Fax: +82 2-770-0344
E-mail: webmaster@president.go.kr

Minister Chung Soung-jin
Ministry of Justice
Building #1
Gwacheon Government Complex
Jungang-dong 1, Gwacheon-si, Kyunggi-do
Republic of Korea
Fax: +82 2-503-1641
E-mail: webmaster@moj.go.kr

United States: The Role of Military Forces in the Growth of the Commercial Sex Industry

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2003 Jun 1

In March 2002, Fox Television broadcast an undercover investigative report documenting the participation of U.S. military forces stationed in South Korea in the commercial sex industry.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to U.S. President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and urge them to institute and strictly enforce a zero-tolerance policy prohibiting the solicitation of prostitution by U.S. military forces around the world. Note the link between prostitution and trafficking, which has been recognized by the U.S. Government. Explain that support for the commercial sex industry perpetuates the abuse of women and undermines efforts to combat sex trafficking. Letters should be sent to:

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
United States of America
Fax: + 1 202-456-2461
E-mail: president@whitehouse.gov

Mr. Donald H. Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
United States of America
Fax: +1 703-697-9080

Sex Tourism: Big Apple Oriental Tour Operators Re-Indicted for Promoting Prostitution

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2005 Oct 1
Update Date: 
2008 Nov 3
Update: 

In 1996, Equality Now launched its Women's Action campaign calling for the prosecution of Big Apple Oriental Tours, a sex-tour company based in New York State.  The campaign focused on shutting down Big Apple Oriental Tours and securing a criminal prosecution for Barabash and Allen for promoting prostitution under New York State law.  Big Apple Oriental Tours was effectively shut down in 2003 by a temporary restraining order obtained by the New York State Attorney General in a civil lawsuit.  After a first criminal indictment, an appeal, a second criminal indictment and second appeal, the criminal case has been referred back to the Dutchess County Court for trial (for more information on the background of the case and law please see Women’s Actions 12.1 and 12.2).

On December 26, 2006, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York upheld the dismissal of the charge of promoting prostitution in the third degree but reinstated the charge of promoting prostitution in the fourth degree against the Big Apple Oriental Tour operators.  Equally important, the Appellate Division dismissed Barabash and Allen’s remaining arguments as "without merit" including that their sex tour operations are not subject to promoting prostitution charges in state courts because of lack of jurisdiction.  Barabash and Allen will now have to stand trial, facing up to one year of imprisonment if convicted.  The trial date has been set for 7 January 2009. 

Members are requested to ask new New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who replaced Eliot Spitzer, to continue to pursue the case vigorously. (Letters may be sent to the same address and fax number listed below.  Please also send a copy to Equality Now.)

Norman Barabash and Douglas Allen, the owner/operators of New York-based sex tour company Big Apple Oriental Tours, have been indicted for the second time by a Dutchess County Grand Jury for promoting prostitution in violation of Article 230 of the New York Penal Law.  Mr. Barabash and Mr. Allen were arraigned on 8 August 2005, pleading not guilty, at the Dutchess County Courthouse in Poughkeepsie, New York.  If convicted, Mr. Barabash and Mr. Allen could face up to seven years in prison.   

What You Can Do: 

Please write to New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, commending him for his leadership in continuing to pursue the case against Big Apple Oriental Tours for promoting prostitution through sex tourism.  Express your hope that his action will set an example for and encourage his colleagues around the country to take legal action against other sex tour operators in the United States.

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo
The Capitol
Albany, NY 12224-0341, USA
Fax: +1 518-402-2472

Sex Tourism: Big Apple Oriental Tour Operators Indicted for Promoting Prostitution

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2004 Mar 1

On 27 February 2004, following a year-long investigation by the New York State Attorney General, Norman Barabash and Douglas Allen, the owner/operators of Big Apple Oriental Tours were indicted by a grand jury for promoting prostitution, in violation of Section 230.25 of the Penal Law of the State of New York.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, commending him for his leadership in upholding the law and mobilizing long overdue law enforcement efforts to stop Big Apple Oriental Tours from promoting prostitution through its sex tours. Express your hope that his action will set an example for and encourage his colleagues around the country to fully prosecute all sex tour operators promoting prostitution from the United States.

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer
The Capitol
Albany, NY 12224-0341 USA
Fax: +1-518-402-2472

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