Congratulations to WRI Women

SOLIDARITY WITH FOREIGN WOMEN FORCED INTO PROSTITUTION

Congratulations to Patsy Sorensen, a WRI woman from Belgium, for her work with foreign women brought into Belgium who are forced into prostitution. She was awarded the national Ribbius Peietier Fonds Prize for her work, which she has persisted In despite threats from sex traffickers. Patsy helped to establish Payoke, a center for prostitutes in Antwerp, which gained national recognition in late October when King Baldwin of Belgium visited. He spoke with former prostitutes from the Philippines, Morroco, Poland and Russia, who had been brought into Belgium under false pretences. The King was concerned that Belgium Is becoming a center, for the traffic in women. .A national discussion on the issue began on March 8, 1991, when a Moroccan woman brought a legal complaint against the men who forced her into prostitution.

As a result of the visit, a Parliamentary commission will be created in Belgium to Investigate the situation and to look into increased punishment for those who profit from the sex trade. Both Payoke and Le Nid, a center for prostitutes in Brussels, will receive financial support from the government and there is talk of a special department within the police to handle such cases.

“The main aim is setting up networks,” said Paula D’Hondt, the Belgian Commissioner of Migrant Affairs, who accompanied the King during the visit. “It is important that we educate women in developing countries about the criminal practices of traffickers in women.”

WRI WOMAN ELECTED PRESIDENT

Joanne Sheehan, a WRI Council member and a staff member of the War Resisters League’s (US) New England office, has been elected President of the Institute for Community Economics (ICE). ICE works with community-based groups across the US to create and preserve permanently affordable housing. It offers technical assistance and low-interest loans to local nonprofit housing groups. Keep up the good work, Joanne!