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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sarandon urges U.S. law on child sex traffic victims

By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon launched a campaign on Friday to urge U.S. lawmakers to protect, instead of prosecute, children who become victims of sex trafficking.

She wants Americans to sign a petition lobbying lawmakers to stop the prosecution of child sex trafficking victims as prostitutes. According to the "Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People" campaign only New York, Connecticut and Washington state have laws to protect child trafficking victims.

"It can be changed," Sarandon said. "It's really important that the public be educated."

The petition is part of a broader campaign by the U.S. branch of End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT), The Body Shop and the Somaly Mam Foundation, run by former Cambodian child sex slave Mam, to end child trafficking.

"We have a lot of minds to change, we have a lot of work to do here in the United States to make sure these kids are offered assistance and protection -- not a jail cell when some pimp recruits them at 12-years-old," said Carol Smolenski, ECPAT-USA executive director.

The U.N. children's agency UNICEF says that about 1.2 million children a year are trafficked for cheap labour and sexual exploitation. ECPAT-USA says 300,000 U.S. children are at risk of being forced into the sex trade and U.S. citizens account for 25 percent of child sex tourists globally.

"Not that many people know that this is not just an issue that affects children in other countries. There are hundreds of thousands of American children who are sexually exploited and trafficked right here in the United States," Smolenski said.

The Body Shop has raised more than $1.5 million in the past year through sales of a special hand cream and tote bags for ECPAT-USA and the Somaly Mam Foundation, which run shelters in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

"It's easy to go to the brothel and save the girl. Five minutes you can save them, no problem. but make your five minutes 10 years to (help them) recover," said Mam, who last year rescued a four-year-old girl from a brothel in Cambodia.

Sarandon became involved in the Somaly Mam Foundation after meeting Mam at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy in 2006 when the pair participated in the opening ceremony. Sarandon then helped Mam set up her foundation in the United States.

"It's not just an emotional thing, she understands what these girls need and I know that the money is being well spent," Sarandon said. "It speaks to me so personally as a mother."
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Vietnam, Thailand, & Cambodia Niche Luxury Travel Operator to Exhibit at 2010 ITB Asia

Hanoi, Vietnam, July 31, 2010 --( Asia’s largest dedicated leisure and MICE supplier, Luxury Travel ( will exhibit at the 2010 ITB Asia from Oct 20-22, 2010 in Singapore.

In addition to meeting with key partners and golf agents from around the world, Luxury Travel will launch several golf tours at the show as well as unveil new strategic hotel and golf course partnerships.

Information on these new tours, courses, and properties will be made available to ITB Asia show attendees.

This is the time third time, Luxury Travel shows at ITB Asia.

Hung Nguyen, Huong Pham and Ha Pham will be in attendance along with a company representative who exemplifies the traditional Vietnam smile and luxury service mind-set found through the region.

They would like to have the chance to meet all outbound golf tour operators with interest in opening up or expanding their Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia golf tour offerings.

Please make an appointment or visit the Luxury Travel booth at ITB Asia to learn more about these exciting new destinations and opportunities.

Contact Luxury Travel at if you need any additional information.
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