UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is reported to have declared war against people-traffickers. Probably shocked by the dimensions and the cruelty of the sex-slave trade run by gangs of ethnic-Albanian criminals in the Balkans and in his own country, Blair has vowed to press for new laws next year.
The revelations were made by Telegraph reporter David Harrison, who went to Macedonia and witnessed the desperate young women brought there to be turned into sex objects. Harrison is not the first journalist to see and write about the horrible scenes of bewildered young women. The misery of those kept captive and tortured in underground hideouts is well known to the international law-enforcement community and to the general public.
It would be superfluous to describe the beastly treatment of these helpless girls. It suffices to say that every cruel thing a normal person could imagine – and worse – is inflicted on these young women. In the Nov. 27 Weekend Telegraph, Harrison says that the clueless young women would see the light of the day only when taken to a customer, usually in a motel room above the hideout. Desperately poor, they would be lured into these traps with promises of employment. Once away from their homes, the naive or hopeless would be tortured mercilessly until brought into a state of total submission to their captors. Afterward, they would be sold as slaves for as little as $2,000.
Without forgetting these victims for a single moment, I believe we need to prod Harrison to concentrate his future articles on the most effective methods that can put an end to this evil, rehabilitate the victims and bring the perpetrators to justice. Harrison is in a position to inform and mobilize a large segment of the British and international public to support needed administrative and political action.
Both of these lines of resolute response to medieval savagery are easy to follow and ample measures can be implemented if there is a will for it. The political will may be expressed by passing appropriate resolutions in the parliaments of as many countries or states as possible. The best way is to initiate the passing of resolutions as it is done in the US at state or federal level.
Executive action by a head of government does not need any legislature: A leader can include a war on the slave trade within the universally declared War on Terrorism and target it thusly, as the trade’s profits are likely a primary source of terrorists’ income.
Knowing this, why does each day present new and ever more disturbing reports about this plague? I believe it is because of European attitudes. Let me elaborate.
Macedonian authorities can not tackle the seemingly simple problem. First of all, a computerized, lightning-fast, thorough checkup on the official entrypoints into the land must be established. Then the borders (especially with Kosovo and Serbia) must be heavily patrolled to prevent or minimize illegal crossing. Both measures may be costly for Macedonia, for the European Union, the expense would be minor. Brussels, the EU’s capital city, must get involved.
The European Commission can allocate funds for those measures. Then Europol, the EU law-enforcement arm, can begin a mop-and-broom operation to eradicate sex-slavery nests and bring the culprits to justice. Even if the Macedonian police can and would like to do it (which may be questionable), the nation should not lead the operation.
Some sort of EU-mandated, armed-police effort in the tradition of Amber Fox or Proxima needs to be established and mobilized. Such an arrangement can prevent tensions from arising between Macedonian and Albanian ethnic communities. Europol can request a sort of training mission for a special unit (with a lot of British agents) for anti-terrorist urban action).
Eventually, such a “once-only” unit may with time become a body of “federal marshals” situated in the Hague under Europol control. Since the Hague is the seat of the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and the International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia, it is only logical to add this sort of “euro-marshals” as a law-enforcing hand of the European Commission, the presidency, the courts or whatever.
In my view, the government will be glad to have a big stick in the form of “EU-marshals” to use against the branches of internationally organized crime active in various European countries. This week, Tony Blair, presiding over the EU until the end of December, said that police and security services’ powers were “not sufficient.”
The Telegraph and David Harrison can press for the reporter’s initiative to explore the feasibility of such an experimental European special police unit. After establishing the Euro, the army, why not some sort of a symbolic pan-European police flying squad? Most of the 25 member-states will benefit from that. And Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Croatia and Macedonia, the nations wanting to join the Union, will have to accept and fulfill another requirement before earning full EU membership.
Strangely enough, half of these EU-aspiring nations are infected with this human trafficking. That is one of the burning questions of Europe now. The slave trade is a grave disease – its devastating effect on humanity makes the bird-flu look like chicken pox in comparison. It must be stopped.