BY DEBRA FRIEDMAN
TIMES OF TRENTON
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith has gone to Moscow to address his concerns over human trafficking in Russia.
Smith (R-4th Dist.) is the author of America's first anti-trafficking law, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protect Act.
"Russia has made progress toward stopping the flow of trafficked persons -- mostly women and children -- in and out of their country by criminalizing human trafficking," Smith said in a statement is sued by his office. "But more work remains to be done and the greatest gap in their approach remains their ability to protect traffic victims."
Smith is in Moscow to encourage the Russian legislature to bolster their existing laws. Smith has visited the Angel Coalition Trafficking Victim Assistance Center in addition to offering guidance to Russian lawmakers on how to more effectively enhance their anti-trafficking legislation.
The assistance center coordinates Russian and international rescue and repatriation efforts for trafficking victims, according to Smith's office.
"Victims assistance programs and shelters provide essential support, rehabilitation and recovery services for victims of trafficking," Smith said in the release. "They are a vital part of any comprehensive plan to end human trafficking and it is imperative that the U.S. and other nations continue to support their efforts."
According to Smith, Russia is a source, conduit and destination for men, women and children trafficked for various purposes. In the case of women and children, they are almost always used for sexual exploitation in nations in the Middle East, Western Europe, Canada, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and the United States, he said.