The Global Persecution of Women
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Dilip Ganguly, “Landmark Judgment on Bangladeshi Women Trafficking to India,” AP Worldstream, 8 May 2001.
In Dhaka, Bangladesh, a judge has sentenced a man and a woman to 20 years of hard labor for trying to smuggle five teenage Bangladeshi girls to India for prostitution. The case is expected to influence trafficking in Bangladesh, an issue that has been raised by the UN.
There is great demand for underage Bangladeshi girls in brothels in India because they are believed to be free of STDs and AIDS. The Indian Association for the Rescue of Fallen Women estimated that there were 8 million brothel workers in India in 1992. In Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, 10,000 to 15,000 girls and women are trafficked across the border to India, according to Radhika Coomaraswamy, the coordinator of the UN Human Rights Commission on Violence Against Women. International agencies believe that 100,000 to 200,000 women from Nepal are also engaged in forced prostitution in India and increasingly in South Asia and the Middle East, she said.
Joe Friesen, “Anger greets sentences for couple's sex crimes. Pair held teen girls as sex slaves,” Globe and Mail, 15 Nov. 2006.
WINNIPEG — Lynnette Traverse listened in stunned disbelief yesterday as a Manitoba judge told her she would be free in a matter of hours despite having been convicted of one the province's most shocking sex crimes.
Her mouth agape, she threw her hands up to her face, and then looked over at her co-accused, Terry Ladouceur, who smiled back at her.
As the convicted couple were led from court in shackles, members of the victims' families exploded in anger, shouting "Pig" at a grinning Mr. Ladouceur, and uttering threats against Ms. Traverse.
The pair, who have been compared to Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo, were found guilty of abducting and sexually assaulting girls of 12 and 13 years old and holding them as sex slaves.
Ms. Traverse was described in court as an active participant in the sexual assaults who held one young victim by the shoulders while Mr. Ladouceur raped her. She played no part in the abduction, but was guilty of forcible confinement, the judge said.
She was sentenced to four years in prison, but was granted two-for-one credit for the two years she had spent in pretrial custody. The Crown had been seeking a sentence of six to eight years.
Mr. Ladouceur was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but Mr. Justice Gerald Jewers of the Court of Queen's Bench gave him only three years' credit for two years in pretrial custody, based in part on his "somewhat appalling bad behaviour" in prison.
The Crown had sought a sentence of 16 to 18 years in his case. The judge said neither of the accused had a significant prior criminal history, which mitigated against a longer sentence.
"There's a large disparity between what the Crown asked for and what the court imposed," said Crown lawyer Jill Duncan.
"Certainly, with the male accused, he got a significant period of incarceration.
"With the female, unfortunately she's a free woman today.
"When you read in particular the psychological report of one of the young girls, her life has been devastated.
"The irony of course is that she will have to pay for this with her whole life."
Mr. Ladouceur, 34, and Ms. Traverse, 25, lived together in a house in Winnipeg's Point Douglas neighbourhood.
The first assault occurred in 1999, on a girl who was 13 at the time. The initial indictment said the assaults were repeated, although only one count was proved in court.
The victim, now 20, eventually became pregnant with Mr. Ladouceur's child.
Her life subsequently spun out of control through acts like drug use and prostitution, and the baby was eventually seized by Manitoba's child and family services division.
The second victim was 12 when she was assaulted in the spring of 2004.
In a medical report filed in court, one of the victims said Mr. Ladouceur used to stalk her on her way to school.
She even tried taking circuitous paths to avoid him and would often skip class, pretending she had slept in.
"It's unfathomable the damage that this girl has undertaken," Ms. Duncan said.
"What his lordship found was that the young woman was twice abducted off the street, one where she was actually thrown in the trunk of the car.
"She was taken to the house, she was bound, she was violated in every way that a young girl can be violated."
The medical report says the episodes lasted several days.
In one case, the girl was tied with plastic strips at the ankles and wrists and raped by Mr. Ladouceur while Ms. Traverse held her down. She was also given drugs and alcohol.
A social worker's report filed in court describes the devastation wrought on the victim, now 14.
It says she feels depressed, isolated and has difficulty trusting adults.
It also says she wishes she had not come forward, and blames herself for the subsequent deterioration of her family. She was placed in foster care, but is often missing.
The report notes that the girl "articulates having no hopes, no dreams, no plans and no wishes. She says she doesn't care what happens to her, always adding she just wants to live at home." T
he report continues: "She continues to put herself at considerable risk by going AWOL, using drugs, being beaten up and associating with street people. As of this writing I do not know where she is."
As they waited for yesterday's sentencing to begin, Mr. Ladouceur and Ms. Traverse chatted amicably while sitting in the prisoner's box.
Mr. Ladouceur, his black hair swept back in a ponytail, draped a tattooed arm over the back of the box, while Ms. Traverse, wearing small, round spectacles, whispered to him.
Although the couple appeared surprised that Ms. Traverse would be freed yesterday, they had plotted in their prison letters to spend as much time as possible in pretrial custody.
In a letter to Ms. Traverse dated June 24 this year, Mr. Ladouceur ran through a detailed plan to attempt to delay sentencing until May of 2007.
On the day of the sentencing hearing, he wrote, "just refuse to come to court."
In circumstances like that, the judge would then have to issue an order to force her out of her cell, and new court dates would have to be established.
She could also fire her lawyer, imposing delays that could cut their time in prison by as much as a year.
In a postscript, Mr. Ladouceur said: "This letter won't self-destruct when you're done reading it, so you'll have to destroy it so we don't get obstruction charges."
The letter also reveals intimate details of their relationship.
Mr. Ladouceur talked of buying a house in the country, away from nosy neighbours, and did some soul-searching that would not sound out of place on a TV talk show.
"Why the charges? Why the conviction? Maybe it was to bring you and I back together. We had a lot of good times you and I.
"I don't know how things got so mixed up."
He went on to write: "We lost our together time," and "We stopped working on ourselves."
He concluded by saying he wants to start a rock band, and wonders whether Ms. Traverse could be the lead singer, like eighties female rockers Pat Benatar or Joan Jett.
Both Ms. Traverse's and Mr. Ladouceur's names will be included in the national sex-offender registry.
As well, both are prevented from seeking jobs that involve working with children.
"Sentences Inadequate," Globe and Mail Editorial, 15 Nov. 2006.
It is one of the worst cases of sexual assault that the Winnipeg police have ever handled. But yesterday, to the dismay of the victims' families, the unrepentant perpetrators were given astonishingly mild sentences. Terry Ladouceur, 39, who was convicted on eight charges including kidnapping and sexual assault, received seven years in prison in addition to his two years in pre-trial custody. His common-law wife Lynnette Traverse, 25, was given a sentence that equalled her time in pre-trial custody -- so she was released.
It is no wonder that Canadians express frustration with the judicial system's all too frequent inability to make the punishment fit the crime.
As the court was told, the Winnipeg duo began their depredations in 1999, offering alcohol and marijuana to neighbouring youths. A 12-year-old relative testified that she was held as a "sex slave" for several months. She said that she was tied to a bed and raped by Mr. Ladouceur while Ms. Traverse watched. Police found a cache of pills and plastic ties hidden in the couple's house to support her claims. Doctors found marks on her wrists and evidence of "multiple and frequent sexual activity."
A second victim told the court she was lured to the house, raped repeatedly by Mr. Ladouceur and left pregnant. As prosecutor Jill Duncan told Mr. Justice Gerald Jewers late last month: "These crimes. ... it's hard to describe anything mroe horrific than what they did. It can only be described as evil."
Because of their deeds and their conduct in custody, Ms. Duncan asked for severe sentences. She noted that, in an intercepted letter, Mr. Ladouceur urged Ms. Traverse to refuse to leave her cell for the sentencing hearing. He would do the same. That way, he argued, their eventual sentences would be reduced because time in pre-trial custody counts as double time. The two have also been involved in numerous jail incidents. Ms. Duncan asked for 16 to 18 years for Mr. Ladouceur and six to eight years for Ms. Traverse. Judge Jewers opted for lesser sentences. Now Ms. Traverse is free.
There is something wrong when people who abuse children in violent crimes, scarring their souls forever, receive such relatively light jail time. Mr. Ladouceur will likely be able to apply for full parole after he has served one-third of his sentence. How can any community feel truly safe when such egregious offenders are back on the street so quickly.
The sentences do not reflect the damage to the victims or the horror of the community. For the sake of justice, the Crown should appeal them.
Martha Buckley,"Baltic girls forced into sex slavery," BBC News, 28 Nov. 2005.
Five Albanian pimps have been convicted of sex trafficking offences after a trial at Southwark Crown Court. The inquiry was triggered by an investigation into the trade by the BBC's Six O'Clock News.
On 31 October 2004, a 16-year-old Lithuanian girl made what was probably the biggest mistake of her young life when she agreed to go on a trip to the UK with a group of new friends.
Instead of the few days of fun she had been promised, she ended up being sold into prostitution in an ordeal that was to last for months. A missing persons hunt sparked by her disappearance eventually led police to a series of west London brothels and a gang of Albanian people traffickers.
Jurors at Southwark Crown Court heard how the girl was "tricked" into leaving her home in a village near the town of Siauliai after being befriended by a young man.
He introduced her to a group of his "friends" in a nightclub, who invited her to join them on an exciting "sports" trip to London, all expenses paid.
After forging a permission letter from her parents, the men took her to Sheffield and handed her over to a gang who took her ID card - which clearly showed she was only 16.
This group sold her on again to a group of Albanian pimps - the four Demarku brothers - Flamur, 33, Agron, 21, Bedari, 21, and Xhevair - and Izzet Fejzullahu, 32.
They told her she would have to work as a prostitute to cover the money they had paid for her and took her to a house in Pears Road, Hounslow - one of a string of brothels in the west London suburb.
I asked what I was really there for. They laughed and said: 'Prostitution'. I burst into tears. I said I don't want to do that and that I wanted to go home
Victim of gang, aged 19
Under the working name "Veronica from Italy", she was forced to sleep with as many as 10 men a day and earning her pimps around £800 a day - of which she received nothing, despite being promised a share.
The brothels operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week - with the "girls" allowed one day off a week.
According to one witness, the brothel in Pears Road alone took between £3,000 and £18,000 a day. The rent for the property was only £1,000 a month.
The gang were making huge profits and several of them drove around in new Mercedes cars.
"Veronica" was allowed occasional phone calls home but was too frightened and embarrassed to tell her mother what was really going on.
The gang occasionally sent the family £100 or so, which the prosecution argued was intended to make them think their daughter was doing well abroad.
But the family remained worried and began searching for her, with the help of a Lithuanian missing persons TV show.
A team from the BBC's Six O'Clock News, who were investigating the sex trade, flew to Lithuania and interviewed her family.
Clues led to London
The BBC team alerted the Metropolitan Police after the money transfers gave a clue that she might be in London.
The Met was already aware of the Pears Road brothel and visited it on 16 December 2004.
She was not there but a notice advertising "new beautiful ladies at very good prices" gave a phone number, which led to another brothel in nearby Kingsley Road.
Police raided it the same day and rescued "Veronica", who was interviewed and then flown back to Lithuania to be reunited with her family.
But, suspecting she was not the only trafficked woman working against their will, they placed the gang under surveillance.
Series of raids
Over the next four months they found five houses in Hounslow, Isleworth and Feltham which were being used as brothels with at least five girls in each.
Undercover officers posed as clients to gather evidence against the pimps and to try to identify women in need of help.
In April 2005 they carried out a series of raids, seizing documents relating to Lithuanian women, evidence of money transfers, menus of sexual services and many thousands of pounds in cash - in one case £30,000 was found at a single address rented by the gang.
Among them was another young woman from Siauliai, a 19-year-old student who had been a virgin before she was sold to the gang.
Like "Veronica" she had been tricked into coming to the UK by a young man who befriended her before feeding her a "string of lies" about a nice house and a bar job.
She was met at Heathrow by Fejzullahu and Agron Demarku and driven to one of the brothels.
Giving evidence from behind a screen, she told the court:
"The girls were walking around in nightdresses and then a man walked in, a client, and I asked what I was really there for.
"They laughed and said: 'Prostitution'. I burst into tears. I said I don't want to do that and that I wanted to go home.
"But I was told I wouldn't leave before four months because I would have to work off a huge amount of money paid for my journey."
'Sold like cattle'
The gang gave the girls little or no money and kept them in the brothels mainly through fear, occasionally selling them on to other traffickers "like cattle", prosecutors said.
Michael Holland, prosecuting, said although the gang did not resort to physical violence, the girls were cowed into submission partly by threats and partly by their predicament - strangers in a foreign country, without their passports, unable to speak the language, understand their rights or even be sure where they were.
Fejzullahu and the Demarku brothers told the women who were trafficked from abroad they had to work to pay off their purchase price after which they would be allowed a share of their earnings.
By this time, the prosecution said, most would be "broken" - too ashamed and worn down by degradation to go home and resigned to a life of prostitution and being forced to work for their "owners".
Fejzullahu and three of the Demarku brothers were found guilty of trafficking and prostitution offences on Tuesday. They will be sentenced, along with Xhevair Demarku - who pleaded guilty before the trial, on Thursday.
Last month three sex traffickers who had run a similar prostitution ring in Sheffield, and had dealings with the Demarku brothers, were jailed. Tasim Axhami, from Kosovo, was found guilty of rape and jailed for 21 years. Emiljan Deqirat, from Albania, was given 16 years for sex trafficking offences, and Vilma Kizlaite, a Lithuanian, was sentenced to 11 years for false imprisonment.
The Global Persecution of Women