- The Washington Times - Monday, January 23, 2006

Ethiopian trafficking

The Ethiopian ambassador insists his government strongly endorses U.S. efforts to combat human trafficking, although his African nation remains a major source of women and children sold to international sex rings or into forced labor in Arab countries.

Ambassador Kassahun Ayele praised President Bush for signing the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act earlier this month.

“The government of Ethiopia joins the United States and other countries in fighting the scourge of human trafficking,” the ambassador said. “We will do everything in our power to put an end to prostitution — one of the worst forms of slavery.

“While these conditions are ‘unspeakably evil,’ as President Bush put it so clearly, they become even more heinous when people are dragged across international borders against their will.”

The latest State Department Human Rights Report cited Ethiopia as a “source country for women, children and to a lesser extent men trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced domestic and commercial labor.”

The report noted that 20,000 to 25,000 Ethiopians are sold annually, mostly to the Persian Gulf states and Lebanon.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz of Pakistan, who meets Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and addresses the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Heritage Foundation in separate appearances. He meets President Bush tomorrow.

• Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini of Italy, who meets Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

• Judge Victor Babiuc, former defense minister of Romania and former president of the Romanian Chamber of Commerce, who holds a 2 p.m. press conference at the National Press Club.

• Paul J.J. Welfens, president of the European Institute for International Economic Relations at the University of Potsdam, Germany. He addresses the Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Tomorrow

• Darrell Bricker of Canada’s Ipso-Reid Corp., who participates in a panel discussion on the Canadian elections at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

Wednesday

• Hans Blix, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who addresses the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

• Luo Xiaopeng, director of the Center for Poverty Alleviation at China’s Guizhou University. He joins a panel discussion on labor conditions in China, hosted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Thursday

• Mark Durkan, leader of Northern Ireland’s Social Democratic and Labor Party, and Alasdair McDonnell, deputy leader. They hold a 1 p.m. press conference at the National Press Club.

• Brian Loughnane, federal director of the Australian Liberal Party, who addresses the Hudson Institute.

• Magdy Martinez-Soliman of the Democratic Governance Group of the U.N. Development Program, who discusses U.N. reforms at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

• Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan, who holds a 2:45 p.m. press conference at the Voice of America to discuss the war on terrorism and democratic reforms in Pakistan.

Friday

• A Canadian delegation comprising Andrew Cohen of Carleton University; Jason Kenney, a Conservative Party member of Parliament; and John Wright of the Ipsos-Reid Corp. They discuss the Canadian elections in a briefing hosted by the Canadian Institute and the Canadian American Business Council.

• Hossein Hafezian of Iran’s Center for Scientific Research and Middle East Strategic Studies, who briefs the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on Iran’s relations with Persian Gulf nations.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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