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Linda Smith (U.S. Congress 1994-98) Speaks at Congressional Hearing on International Violence against Women

by Staff
October 21, 2009
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WASHINGTON, ( -- On Wednesday October 21 the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight will hold a hearing on the many forms of violence against women. Shared Hope International President and Founder Linda Smith (U.S. Congress 1994-98) has been invited to speak on the issue of sex trafficking -- an extreme form of violence against women.

Sex trafficking dynamics vary from country to country, but there are certain underlying themes existing in all trafficking markets: the demand for sexual services and the vulnerability of girls and women to traffickers. Linda Smith will share stories from her experience working with survivors of sex trafficking around the globe to illustrate that from the brothels in Mumbai, India to popular intersections in Washington, D.C., women and girls are sold for sex and victimized serially by the men that buy them.

The hearing on Wednesday will feature panels that include Co-chair of the Women's Caucus, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), actress Nicole Kidman, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Goodwill Ambassador, Breakthrough Founder and Executive Director, Mallika Dutt, and the U.S. State Department Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, Melanne Verveer.

A media availability will be hosted by Delahunt and Kidman in Room 2200 of the Rayburn House Office Building where members of the media can ask questions to hearing panel speakers.

Before founding Shared Hope International (SHI), Linda Smith served as a U.S. Congresswoman from Washington State. While still a member of the U.S. Congress, Linda Smith traveled to Falkland Road in Mumbai, India - one of the worst brothel districts in the world. The hopeless faces of desperate women and children forced into prostitution compelled Linda to found SHI. Linda has created a revolutionary model for restoration, building partnerships with local groups to provide homes and shelters where women and children can live with no time limit. SHI has also partnered with U.S. government agencies to research trafficking in the United States.

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