Sunday, September 28, 2008

World Vision on Child Trafficking in India

This is a video released by World Vision International, a relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. 

The video is entitled Your right to love, freedom and protection: Child slavery and trafficking in India.

Total Ban for Sex Soliciting and Curb-Crawling

From the Guardian:

By Nicholas Watt
September 22,2008

Kerb-crawling and soliciting for prostitutes on the streets are to be outlawed as part of a wide-ranging tightening of the law, the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, annnounced yesterday.

Warning of the "blight" of prostitution, Smith outlined a three-point plan at the Labour conference that will:

· Remove the requirement that only persistent kerb crawlers and men who solicit on the street can be prosecuted. An alternative requirement for kerb-crawlers - that they act "in a manner that is likely to cause annoyance to people in the neighbourhood" - is also to be removed. The changes will mean that kerb-crawlers and men soliciting sex on the street can be prosecuted after a first offence.

· Give new powers to councils and the police to close down brothels for at least three months if prostitutes are being run by a pimp or have been trafficked. At the moment, police can only close brothels if there is anti-social behaviour and if Class-A drugs are involved.

· Change the law so that men can be prosecuted if they pay for sex with women who are exploited - "controlled for another person's gain", as Smith said. Currently, police can only pursue a prosecution if they can prove that the women did not consent to sex, which means they have to compile evidence of rape.

The home secretary also announced that communities will be given more say in lap-dancing clubs opening in their areas. Smith criticised the Tories for sending delegates to their conference in Birmingham next week a £10 voucher to visit such a club. "I want to know what the Tories have to say for themselves," she said.

Smith announced the new measures on prostitution after a six-month government review into prostitution that focused on how Sweden and the Netherlands deal with the problem.

Read the full article

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Three Charged in Sweden Human Trafficking Case

*This article never specifically mentions why this is a case of human trafficking and NOT smuggling. The journalist never specifies what actions qualified the crime as human trafficking and in doing so blurs the line between human trafficking and smuggling which are two fundamentally different actions.

From The Local:

September 25th, 2008

Three men have been charged for arranging to have 49 foreign citizens smuggled into Sweden.

The human trafficking victims were allegedly taken across the European continent through Denmark and then over the Öresund bridge to Skåne in southern Sweden.

The suspects are said to have cooperated with accomplices in France, according to charges filed on Thursday in Malmö District Court.

The victims who asked for help to enter Sweden each paid 10,000 kronor ($1,515) to the smugglers.

The men are charged with organizing and carrying out human trafficking.

Two other men were also charged with the latter crime.

According to the charges, the men are suspected of conducting their human trafficking operations in cooperation with several different groups, including with a man who has already been convicted in Denmark, as well as another man not included in the charges.

The charges cover seven separate instances of human trafficking which took place between February 13th and June 16th of this year.

One of the men is also charged with serious forgery crimes. At his home police found a USB-memory stick with digital images of Arabic-language identity papers bearing official stamps.

Read the full article

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Human Trafficking in Colorado

Monday, September 22, 2008

More from the Freeze Project

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Chance for a New Life

Thursday, September 18, 2008

From the OSCE:

Joint UN-OSCE meeting aims to intensify fight against money laundering and human trafficking in the Mediterranean region

LARNACA, 18 September 2008 - Helping Mediterranean countries strengthen their fight against money laundering and human trafficking and improve their co-operation in prevention efforts was the goal of a meeting that started in Larnaca today.

The two-day event is jointly organized by the OSCE, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the government of the Republic of Cyprus.

The meeting aims to inform government officials from the Mediterranean region on international standards in building an effective system to fight money laundering and human trafficking and how to better co-ordinate the fight against both crimes.

The meeting, the first of its kind, aims to help countries implement best international practices to protect their populations, meet their international obligations and improve regional and international co-operation.

"Individual countries cannot fight the double threats of money laundering and human trafficking alone," said Bernard Snoy, Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities. "Criminal groups thrive on evading detection by moving from country to country, playing the various agencies against each other. This requires co-ordinated actions by financial intelligence units and law enforcement agencies of the countries concerned."

Ruth Pojman, Deputy Co-ordinator of the Office of the Special Representative on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, added: "Anti-trafficking policies need to address factors such as the demand for cheap, socially unprotected labour and sexual exploitation. They also must focus on the economic costs of trafficking and disrupt the traffickers to create an environment where trafficking is less likely to happen in the first place."

They both said the OSCE was ready to offer assistance to the governments of the region, if requested, to help develop legislation, mechanisms, institutions and procedures to be able to effectively fight both money laundering and human trafficking.

More than 100 officials from more than 20 countries in the Mediterranean region took part in the meeting. Experts from international organisations such as the Council of Europe, the European Commission, Europol, the International Organisation on Migration and the International Chamber of Commerce, as well as state agencies, institutes and universities from Cyprus, France, Switzerland and the United States took part in the meeting.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Shocking Story

By Ayesha Ahmad
September 14, 2008

The UK media has recently covered two instances of human trafficking.

Police Raids

The first story reported a series of raids involving over 50 polices forces across England and Wales. Some 500 people were arrested and almost 200 people including women and children were, as the newspaper reported, “released”.

The next day the story had disappeared from the media despite the enormous scale of the police operation. The operation was conducted to crack down on human trafficking, but the perspective is still that the way to do this is blaming the trafficked rather than the traffickers.

What happened to the men, women and children who were released? One can only assume that they were deported. And upon returning home, there may be no emotional reunion with their family; instead, these people who had already endured so much exploitation and abuse are sometimes and not uncommonly placed straight back into the hands of the traffickers linked to the gang masters in the UK that were imprisoned.

Imprisonment of trafficking victims or even traffickers does not erase the “debt” that will have issued to each trafficked victim. This is a debt that either has to be repaid in money or death. Returning a trafficked victim to their home country is only a continuation of their journey, the journey that they were enticed into with the prospect of providing a “better life” for their family.

Forced Labor

The second story in the media recently reported a shocking murder trial of four men who were part of a trafficking gang in Wales, UK. All four men were found guilty of manslaughter following the death of a Vietnamese man. The report describes how the 44 year old was dumped in a hospital with severe head injuries. A large police operation followed his subsequent death, tracing back to the perpetrators and revealing the following chain of events.

After entering the country illegally via the Ukraine and entering the UK in the back of a lorry, the trafficked man was provided work in an illegal cannabis factory. Two months later he was accused of using the produce and tortured before being left at the hospital entrance.

The focus of the police operation concentrated on prosecuting those responsible for the man’s death, yet no charges were made against them for trafficking. In fact, the issue of trafficking was entirely bypassed except for mentioning the illegality of the victim in the country.

Again, the traffickers are not viewed as responsible for trafficking people, which brings attention to an apparent
societal lack of comprehension of the vulnerability rendered by poverty and war that allows traffickers to deceive or coerce their victims. The first step in changing the opinion of society, including that of the media and how the media portrays human trafficking, must stem from distinguishing between the traffickers and the trafficked in terms of vulnerability and violation.

In the above two examples, both parties were viewed as criminals. This approach has got to change.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

American Express Members Project: End Human Trafficking

From the Earth Times:

September 12, 2008

A unique hybrid
for-profit/non-profit social venture led by Charleston-based Lulan Artisans was selected as one of the Top 25 projects for the 2008 American Express Members Project. Entitled End Human Trafficking: Sustainable Livelihoods, they hope to garner enough votes by cardholders in the next two weeks to fund this initiative.

In many parts of Southeast Asia, women have few options in gaining
employment. Thousands are trafficked and lost into prostitution every year. Lulan Artisans, an expert in micro-enterprise luxury textiles, is ready to expand their successful model to build weaving centers and train 6000+ artisans in Southeast Asia.

This project is focused on economic stability and development by investing
in infrastructure, training and development for future weavers. They will build 50-80 persons weaving centers and provide fiscal support for five years. Each group will have control of the center and act as an affiliate business enterprise.

To build the centers Lulan's partner is Architecture for Humanity, a
non-profit organization based in San Francisco that brings professional design, development and construction expertise to communities worldwide. Architecture for Humanity was recently recognized by the 2008 National Design Awards and profiled on CNN.

The project will use local materials to create inventive, off-the-grid
weaving centers and also train the community to build and develop these into thriving facilities. These centers will utilize hybrid solar, rainwater collection and natural ventilation. Designs will be 'open sourced' for anyone to replicate through Creative Commons licensing on the Open Architecture Network. This way innovation is shared and more communities benefit.

By actively empowering local weavers through a phased ownership plan and
providing fair wages, Lulan Artisans also supports their artisans' families with education, housing support, and healthcare. Lulan fuses contemporary design with centuries-old techniques. By respecting the local holistic approach and using all-natural materials they honor the growth cycles, traditions, and regional specificity of the artisans.

More info on this project

Monday, September 08, 2008

Filipinos Sell Kidneys to Survive

Donors are paid $2000-$3000...

Via Youtube

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Stop Human Trafficking Symposium in Washington D.C.

Slavery was abolished a century and a half ago in the United States, but unfortunately this shameful crime lives on, destroying the lives of millions of people, mostly women and children who are forced to work as the equivalent of unpaid prostitutes.

Human trafficking, as it is now called, is a border crime, with up to 800,000 people sold across international borders every year, and up to 17,500 brought into the U.S. alone, according to Department of State estimates. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is involved in fighting this crime. We frequently work with our sister agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and reinforce the efforts of many other agencies in the U.S. government, as well as non-governmental organizations.

CBP has focused many of our resources toward assisting the victims of human trafficking and fighting the perpetrators of this crime, but we want to do more. That is why we, together with ICE, are hosting a one-day joint symposium on the subject. It will be held on September 9, at the J.W. Marriott, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20004.

For more information

Register here

Thursday, September 04, 2008

India's Child Flood Victims Vulnerable to Traffickers

From Radio Australia:

September 4, 2008

Human traffickers are targeting vulnerable children in India's flood-effected Bihar state.

Radio Australia's Karon Snowdon reports it appears to be going largely unchecked as authorities struggle to handle evacuation and relief operations.

The director of the New Delhi-based Save the Children Movement, Kailash Satyarthi, says Bihar is notorious.

"The trafficking of children from those districts were quite rampant even in the past," he said.

His volunteers in a town in Bihar rescued six children aged about 10 from a man taking them to West Bengal.

Once there, they would have been sold into forced labour in tea shops or possibly prostitution.

Kailash Satyarthi says he has asked for urgent action to protect children but with authorities fully engaged in rescue efforts, criminals are freer to operate.

"The trafficking is not (the authorities) priority.

"Unfortunately the army personnel and the police could not go to those remote areas where the traffickers have gone," he said.

Mr Satyarthi says traffickers are taking advantage of the human tragedy of the floods.

He says the children will are kidnapped for the purpose of forced labour, beggining and even prostitution.

Read the full article

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

ICE Trafficking PSA

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery

Pre-order from Amazon

Child Soldiers in Burma

From Human Rights Watch:

Throughout Burma (Myanmar), children as young as eleven are being forcibly recruited into Burma's national army, the largest user of child soldiers in the world. Without their parents' knowledge or consent, they are sent to military training camps where they are routinely beaten, and brutally punished if they try to escape. Once deployed, they may be forced to fight and/or carry out human rights abuses against civilians, including other children.

Burma's armed opposition groups also recruit children. Some groups accept children who volunteer in order to avenge past abuses by Burmese forces against their family or community or because they have been displaced from their homes by fighting. Others forcibly conscript children. Although some groups claim to keep children in non-combat roles, many participate in combat, sometimes with little or no training.

Burma: World's Highest Number of Child Soldiers

Monday, September 01, 2008

PSA with Emma Thompson for UNGIFT

A PSA with Emma Thompson for UNGIFT running on CNN International:

Call & Response Trailer # 1