The Canadian Review of Policing Research (2005)

ISSN: 1710 6915


Peter Kratcoski, Lucille Kratcoski and Dilip Das 1

Peter C. Kratcoski is Emeritus Professor and Lecturer, Kent State University, Lucille Kratcoski is the recorder of symposium proceedings for the International Police Executive Symposium(IPES), and Dr. Dilip K. Das has recently moved from the Department of Criminal Justice, East Carolina University of North Carolina, to Grambling University in Louisiana. Peter Kratcoski can be reached at and Dilip Das at or

The Eleventh International Police Executive Symposium was held at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Pacific Training Centre in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada from May 16 - 20, 2004. It was hosted and sponsored by University College of the Fraser Valley, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Abbotsford Police Department, the Vancouver Police, and the Justice Institute of British Columbia. The theme of the symposium was “Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children”. During the symposium, police practitioners, government officials, academics and researchers from 43 countries, from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and South America, made presentations at the sessions and took part in formal and informal discussions in a variety of settings. Several themes emerged from the papers and oral presentations given by the speakers, and from the subsequent discussions among the 100 participants. These included:

  • Development of mechanisms to reduce and eliminate the physical and sexual abuse of women and children is complex
  • This type of victimization is found in many criminal activities, including organized crime, drug trafficking and abuse, violation of immigration laws, extortion, trafficking in human beings and various forms of violent crime
  • The solutions will require short-term and long-range strategies
  • The actual amount of crime occurring in each country that is related to the victimization of women and children is unknown, but it is believed to far exceed the official statistics.

Conditions and circumstances that contribute to victimization of women and children

Although all of the speakers at the symposium reported that problems of criminal exploitation of women and children occurred in their countries, the scope and nature of the problems differed and were directly related to the characteristics of the various countries or specific circumstances that increased the problems. These included:

  • Cultural traditions
  • Economic conditions (poverty, unemployment)
  • Catastrophic events (war, famine, floods)
  • Government tolerance for the violation of human rights and exploitation of women and children
  • Corruption within the government or the police
  • Lack of resources to combat the criminal organizations involved in these victimizations
  • Acceptance of victimization and a fatalistic view of the future
  • Discrimination against minorities and lower socio-economic groups
  • Government and police administrative policies that tend to give these problems a low priority, and offer few resources or options for victim assistance
  • Lack of communication and cooperation among government agencies, the police, and social agencies for developing strategies to assist these victims
  • The existence of sophisticated criminal networks that use technological tools to avoid detection
  • Weak legislation that made prosecution and conviction of the victimizers very difficult, or legislation with adequate provisions for prosecution that was not enforced
  • Lack of cooperation from victims caused by fear of the police, distrust of the justice system, fear of being arrested and prosecuted, fear of retaliation from their victimizers or other persons involved in illegal activity related to the victimization, economic dependence of the victims’ families upon the proceeds of the illegal activity, or a fatalistic attitude that nothing will be done to change their lives.

Policies and strategies used to combat victimization of women and children

Existing policies and strategies, or future actions recommended by the speakers, were closely related to the specific forms of victimization that were the most troublesome in their own countries. These responses to the problem can be categorized in terms of those that were set up to address a specific internal problem, and those that were designed to combat problems that were seen as international or even global in scope. The approaches can also be categorized as short-term programs that address immediate concerns, such as providing assistance to those victimized, and long-term responses that may require the passage of new legislation, development of international agreements and multi-agency cooperation, or programming that addresses the root causes of the victimization of women and children within a particular nation.

For both the short-term and the long-term solutions, all of the speakers agreed that the operational response had to be multi-agency and that it should include government and non-governmental agencies. They reported that experience has shown that the role of non-governmental organizations cannot be overemphasized. These organizations can provide assistance to the victims in situations where the government appears unconcerned, and, through pressure groups, they can be instrumental in the drafting and enactment of new legislation or the development of new policies within government and law enforcement agencies.

For more effective short-term responses, it was recommended that the police become more focused on the criminals perpetrating the victimization and less focused on the criminal activity of those who are victimized, which might involve prostitution, illegal immigration, or involvement in violations of child labour laws. The speakers reported that the cooperation of citizens, the police, the judiciary, health agencies, and labour regulatory agencies gradually leads to increases in the willingness of those who are victimized to cooperate with the police, and provides valuable information that can lead to the arrest and prosecution of kingpins within the crime organizations. The development and utilization of modern, sophisticated technological equipment, coupled with the use of highly-trained practitioners, as demonstrated by the programs at the Justice Institute of British Columbia, enhance the likelihood of apprehension and prosecution of perpetrators of various types of victimization offences.

Several speakers referred to the “push-pull” explanations for the criminal exploitation of children (both male and female) and adults. The “push” factors that lead to victimization include lack of opportunities, economic deprivation, desire to escape political upheaval, family break-ups, and wishes to avoid a similar life of victimization in their present surroundings. The “pull” factors include a desire for material goods, promise of a better life, avoidance of a menial work position, promises of marriage and security, or entrapment by organized crime. Long-term solutions are beyond the scope of police agencies. For some countries, it may take several generations before economic and political stability reach the point where all citizens are provided a reasonable standard of living. Until this occurs, the problems will continue.

The specific crime problems experienced by each country and the mechanisms used to address the problems are related to the country’s role in the exploitation process. In “push” countries, the authorities must be aware that undesirable economic and social conditions may enhance the opportunities for victimization and induce the victims to cooperate with their victimizers in the initial stages of the victimization process. Programs in these countries must focus on improving the quality of life and educating citizens regarding the methods used to entrap women and children into lives of servitude. Countries on the transit routes for trafficking of victims being transported to their final victimization destinations face a different set of problems. These countries must give special attention to border controls and enforcement of legislation designed to target organized crime. In the countries that are the targeted locations for victimization, law enforcement agencies must concentrate on enforcing existing laws or develop new policies to curtail the actual criminal activity (child pornography, prostitution, violations of child labour laws, smuggling, violence against women and children).

Legislation and international agreements

Speakers from all of the countries represented at the symposium reported that the problem of criminal victimization of women and children has been addressed through enactment of new legislation and cooperative agreements with other countries. The effectiveness of this legislation is highly dependent on several factors. These include:
the will of the government and the police to enforce the legislation, the resources available, and appropriate training of the police on how to enforce the new legislation through police policies and strategies.

Long-term strategies must be based on sound intelligence and demonstration of some understanding of the causes of crimes against women and children. Many speakers emphasized the importance of having research data and theory to guide legislative changes and the implementation of crime prevention policies. It is here that academics and police practitioners have a common ground for cooperative ventures. Other speakers suggested that police priorities and the deployment of resources must be changed and that existing legislation designed to eliminate discrimination against women and children and promote their interests must be enforced. 

Exploitation of children in the workplace

The criminal exploitation of children in the workplace is of special significance, since most countries of the world, regardless of their economic status, are directly involved in this activity. Billion dollar industries that contract with suppliers of child labour to produce goods in sweatshop conditions are just as involved as those responsible for recruiting the children, bribing public officials to ignore what is going on, and forcing them to work in substandard conditions. Multi-faceted international agreements involving a variety of governmental agencies are needed to halt this activity. The mass media and academic researchers can play important roles in bringing this matter to public attention.

International Police Executive Symposiums: an important vehicle for cooperation and information dissemination

At the close of the Eleventh International Police Executive Symposium, it seems appropriate to reflect on the ways in which the subject matter of each meeting has complemented and expanded the information gained from previous symposia. In Spain, we explored the problems of policing in developing democratic societies; in Japan, ways to combat organized crime were examined (Higuchi, 2004); in Poland, it was concluded that corruption in government and within the justice system reduces the effectiveness of crime prevention efforts; in the Netherlands and later in Bahrain (Al-Khayyat, 2004), it was demonstrated that a pro-active crime prevention police strategy, coupled with community policing, could lead to the type of community-police cooperation required for effective law enforcement. In India, the most effective ways to deal with public order crimes were explored (Jafa, 2004; Kelso, 2004), and in Austria the development of international and global agreements to combat crime was discussed (Edelbacher, 2004). The special International Police Executive Symposium meeting held in German focused on the utilization of research in police practice (Harnischmacher, 2004). The executive summaries of these meetings, the special issues of Police Practice and Research: An International Journal developed from these meetings, and the edited books that were published or are currently being prepared using papers from these meetings have helped to build a substantial knowledge base on the many facets of policing that is invaluable to police practitioners and academic researchers. The information made available at the Eleventh International Police Executive Symposium will be an important addition to this base and should prove very useful to those committed to understanding and addressing the problem of criminal victimization of women and children. 

Papers presented

Al-Khayyat, M.A.R. (2004). “Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children in the Kingdom of Bahrain”.

Aruna, Olufunke Justina. (2004). “Area Boys in Lagos State: an Exploratory Study of Miscreants in a Nigerian City”.

Asiwaju, Kemi. (2004). “The Challenges of Combating Trafficking in Women in Nigeria”.

Azaola, Elrena. (2004). “The Criminal Sexual Exploitation of Children in Mexico”.

Azonhoume, Antoine. (2004). “Criminal Exploitation (Abuse) of Women and Children in Benin”.

Balasuriya, Mahinda. (2004). “Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children. Sri Lanka”.

Cheng, Mark Ming-Chwang. (2004). “ Taiwan”.

Edelbacher, Maximilian. (2004). “Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children: an Austrian Perspective”.

Elion, Jean-Etienne. (2004). “Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children: Case of the Republic of Congo”.

Erokhina, Ludmila D. (2004). “Trafficking in Women in the Russian Far East”.

Folami, Olakunle Michael. (2004). “The Upsurge of Child Labour in Contemporary Nigeria”.

Gultekin, Recep & Ali Ozdogan. (2004). “Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children: Turkey Case”.

Harnischmacher, Robert F.J. (2004). “Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children in Germany”.

Haye, Abdul Qadir. (2004). “An Introduction to the Criminal Justice System of Pakistan”.

Higuchi, Haruhiko. (2004). “Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children in Japan”.

Hughes, William. (2004). “A United Kingdom Operational Perspective on the Trafficking of Women and Children”.

Jafa, Yateendra Singh. (2004). “Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children: India”.

Kamara, Brima Acha. (2004). “Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children: Sierra Leone”.

Karimi, Vicky. (2004). “The Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children: Domestic Workers in Kenya”.

Kelso, Chandrika M. (2004). “Trends in Child Labour in India: Behavioural, Social, and Policy Implications”.

Lalic, Velibor. (2004). “Trafficking in Women and Children with the Purpose of Forced Prostitution-Bosnia and Herzegovina Case Study”.

Luga, Victor P. (2004). “ Philippines: Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children”.

Magagula, Isaac Mmemo. (2004). “Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children in Swaziland”.

Melrose , Margaret, David Barrett, & Alan Marlow. (2004). “The Flesh Trade in Europe: Trafficking in Women and Children for the Purpose of Prostitution”.

Minkang, Gu. (2004). “Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children in China”.

Moses, Agbonkhese S., Olufunke J. Aruna, & Michael Folami. (2004). “Trafficking of Women and Children in Nigeria: Slavery in the Modern Era”.

Mtimkulu, Lindiwe. (2004). “Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children: a South African Perspective”.

Murray, John (2004). “Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children and the Important Role of Community Policing”. Australia.

Ndolo, Gabriel O. (2004). “Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children: the Kenyan Experience”.

Paul, John & Michael Birzer. (2004). “The Militarization of the American Police Force and its Impact on the Victimization of Women and Children: a Critical Assessment”.

Rošić, Marijo. (2004). “Criminal Exploitation of Women and Children in the Republic of Croatia”.

Su-Huan, Wang & Chang Ching-Li. (2004). “A New Milestone in Multi-Disciplinary Criminal Case Processing – the Taiwan Experience”.

Swanepoel, Ansie & Rita Judeel. (2004). “From Victim to Survivor”. Zambia.

Tavcer, Scharie. (2004). “The Trafficking of Women for Sexual Exploitation: the Situation from the Republic of Moldova to Western Europe”.

Thapa, Govind Prasad. (2004). “Criminal Investigation of Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation: Nepal Experiences”.

Wells, Melissa. (2004). “Defining Child Pornography”. United States.

Wilson, Deborah G., William F. Walsh, & Sherilyn Kleuber. (2004). “Trafficking in Human Beings: Training and Services among United States Law Enforcement Agencies”.

End Notes

1. Help received from Jessica Carroll, graduate assistant to Dr. Dilip K. Das, in the preparation of this manuscript is gratefully acknowledged.