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NATO Bans Sex With Trafficked Women

9 July 2004 -- NATO yesterday said its troops who have sex with women who may be victims of human trafficking will be punished.

A NATO statement released on 8 July says the alliance has a "zero-tolerance policy" regarding trafficking in human beings and that extends to troops who procure the services of women sold into sex slavery.

The guidelines were adopted by leaders of the 25 member states and were backed by 21 others -- including Russia, Ukraine, and Sweden, countries that have joined NATO peacekeeping missions.

The guidelines state: "NATO staff will not engage in trafficking in human beings, including for the purpose of sexual exploitation, nor will they facilitate it."

The agreement follows accusations from human rights groups that NATO peacekeepers and civilian staff working for international organizations had fueled the growth of sexual slavery in the Balkans.