Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nigeria: Curbing Child Sex Trafficking

NIGERIA - The act of child trafficking in Nigeria and West Africa in general, has become a common phenomenon, which involves young boys and girls on the average age of 15 years. Majority of them are girls. 60 to 80 per cent of them are sent to Italy for sex trade and the common route is the west coast of Nigeria to Mali, Morocco, Spain or west coast of Nigeria to Libya and Saudi Arabia. It has been estimated that about 15 million children are engaged in child labour in Nigeria and 40% of them are at the risk of being used for entertainment, pornography, armed conflict, rituals and forced labour.

It has been revealed that traffickers lure children to leave their homes promising them education and training abroad, though due to poverty some go willingly. Sometimes officials at borders and traffickers conspire to smuggle children out for selfish interest.

Ignorance and poverty are central reasons some parents allow their children to be taken away from them for menial jobs. Parents with large families also willingly give out their wards to strangers for money to enable them cater for the rest of the family...


Russia: Pop Star Promises to Help Sex Slaves

Valeriya with her envoy diploma

GENEVA -- Pop star Valeriya says she is drawing on her experience as a battered wife and "slave" to help migrant workers break free of sexual exploitation and forced labor in her homeland.

Valeriya last week was formally named as goodwill envoy for the Russian Federation on behalf of the International Organization for Migration, an agency she has teamed up with for the past year to combat human trafficking.

"I meet and talk to these people," the blonde 40-year-old told a news briefing. "I am not a professional psychologist, but I am sure I can help people with my own experience as an ex-victim of slavery. I suffered a lot of domestic violence."

"I was forced to work for a man, my [former] husband, who treated me like a slave. So I feel I know the subject maybe even more than many others and am ready to help people with all my heart," she said.

Valeriya -- who only goes by her first name -- has sold 100 million CDs. She is entering the British music market, where she has been dubbed the Russian Madonna, with an English version of her album "Out of Control."

Her anti-trafficking clips already appear on Russian television, and she plans to dedicate some of her concerts around Europe next year to raising public awareness of the problem...


Scotland: New Amnesty Research Suggests Modern-Day Slave Trade Extends Across Scotland

New research published today (20 August) suggests that people trafficking - the modern-day equivalent of the slave trade - is occurring around Scotland.

The "Scotland's Slaves" briefing paper, launched today by Amnesty International, The brings information from the police, local authorities, support services and voluntary organisations for the first time and presents the most comprehensive picture to date of the extent of people trafficking in Scotland.

"Scotland's Slaves" will be launched by Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen at an event in the Scottish Parliament, as part of the 2008 Festival of Politics. Findings include:

· During 'Operation Pentameter 2', Scottish police forces raided over 50 premises in Scotland: 59 people were dealt with as victims of trafficking and 35 suspects were arrested
· The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) estimate that Scotland has 13.5% of the UK's trade in human beings (despite having less than 10% of the population)
· Cases of trafficking have been found in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dumfries and Galloway, Falkirk, Grangemouth, Stirling and Tayside
· Victims from Lithuania, Slovakia, Nigeria, China, Estonia, Somalia, Thailand, Guinea and Russia have been found in Scotland...


NYT Editorial: Taking on the Traffickers

NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL - The Federal Trafficking and Victims Protection Act of 2000 was an ambitious attempt to rescue women and children who are smuggled into the country as sex slaves and to step up prosecution of the pimps and traffickers who drive this ghastly business. It has fallen short on both counts.

The law is now up for reauthorization, and Congress must strengthen it and extend protections and services to victims born in the United States.

The legislation provides federal funds to local trafficking task forces made up of prosecutors, law enforcement officials and social service groups. The social service groups are supposed to help identify victims and then provide them with the guidance and support they need to rebuild their lives.

According to federal estimates as many as 17,000 people — most of them women and children — are brought into this country and forced to work in brutal and inhumane conditions, often as prostitutes. The 42 federally funded task forces that have been set up have only been able to identify a small fraction of those victims.

There are many reasons for this. Traffickers are experts at moving people around without being detected. They also train the women they exploit to fear the police. The task forces are often understaffed, with too few investigators to do the job effectively. That needs to change if the country is going to get at this problem...


S. Africa: Protect Women Forced to Sell Sex

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - Moves to legalise the sex industry that suggest women voluntarily choose prostitution as a viable profession should be vociferously opposed, a multinational conference focusing on the impact of the 2010 World Cup on trafficking of women and children was told.

Gunilla Ekberg, of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, on Wednesday told 80 delegates from six continents that all paid-for sex was in fact a form of violence.

The three-day Cape Town conference is highlighting the 2010 World Cup as an important opportunity to develop a response to violence against women generally, but more specifically to the trafficking of women and girls.

Conference host and director of the Masimanyane Women's Support Centre, Lesley Ann Foster, said it was necessary to actively develop and enforce effective legislation which would offer safety and security to victims of trafficking and reduce the vulnerability of women and children.

Ekberg told the delegates that any country wishing to call itself democratic was obliged to put in place laws and policies to close down legal and illegal brothels, and to strongly enforce those laws in a bid to target the root cause of prostitution, men who buy sex and human traffickers...


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Nigeria: More Graduates Now Prostitutes

NIGERIA - An ugly trend is manifesting in the Nigerian social circle: more graduates of tertiary institutions are going into the illicit trade of prostitution.

A LEADERSHIP Sunday survey carried out in the nation's Federal Capital Territory, FCT, has revealed that many young women who have taken to prostitution as a means of livelihood actually went through the four walls of universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. It was also revealed that most of these schools of higher learning have become breeding grounds for these young ladies who cut their teeth in the act of satisfying the lecherous tendencies of the menfolk for a fee. The students combine the primary assignment of studying to gain a certificate with perfecting the art of prostituting. Once out of school after graduation, these ladies plunge themselves headlong into the business widely described as the oldest profession...


Thursday, August 14, 2008

NYT Editorial: Prostitution and Prevention

NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL - Child prostitution, a large and growing problem across the United States, is especially severe in tourist and convention cities. Atlanta, for example, has been identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as one of 14 American cities with the highest rates of child prostitution. Georgia’s lawmakers, religious groups and juvenile justice advocates are taking this issue very seriously, but they may miss an important opportunity unless they focus on programs that have a lasting impact on the lives of Georgia’s most vulnerable children.

State lawmakers will be tempted to ratchet up penalties for the crime of child prostitution and declare the problem solved. But Georgia already has very tough laws in this area. Like the rest of the states, it needs to significantly expand treatment programs for sexually exploited children. And even more important, it needs to broaden community-based prevention programs that spot and help troubled children before they end up selling their bodies on the streets.

A report earlier this year by the Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic at Emory University estimated that hundreds of children were being used as prostitutes throughout Georgia. They come from troubled families and often have histories of truancy. They typically run away from home after being sexually abused.

Once on the street, they face increased risks of being battered or killed. They are also likely to experience drug addiction or psychiatric disorders and contract — and spread — diseases. They may eventually recreate their personal disasters in the lives of their children...


Dubai: Slavery's New Mecca

Men and women interact in a bar in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Friday, Oct. 19, 2007. Dubai has transformed itself from a trading village to the Persian Gulf's financial and tourist hub with lower .

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - To enter Dubai's most notorious brothel, the Cyclone, I paid $16 for a ticket that the bursar stamped with the official seal of the Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing. Prostitution is illegal in Dubai, whose laws are rooted in Islam, with penalties ranging up to death. But the stamp was only the first of several contradictions in a place of slavery for women that one well-travelled British monger referred to as "Disneyland for men."

One sign read No Soliciting; another read No Camouflage in the Disco Area. In the club, no less than 500 prostitutes solicited a couple dozen prospective clients, some Western servicemen among them.

An Indian living in London owned the place, and had not updated the decor in a decade, as if taste would reduce the charm and thus deter tourists. I walked over to the bar, and two Korean girls, who looked no older than 15 and claimed to be sisters, approached me...


WA: Human Trafficking Increasing Worldwide

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - Human trafficking crimes are increasing around the world but remain misunderstood and seldom prosecuted, underscoring the need for a more targeted response by government and private industry, panelists said during a legal conference Monday in Seattle.

Although the public often perceives trafficking as children forced to work in the sex trade overseas, the problem also involves domestic servitude and other forms of modern-day slavery in the U.S.

Trafficking occurs not just in foreign lands but on "the next street over," said Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna.

He moderated a panel of the Conference of Western Attorneys General, which continues through Wednesday.

"It's the third-largest and fastest-growing crime worldwide (because it combines) high profit and low risk," said Bradley Myles, deputy director of the Polaris Project, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that works to combat human trafficking internationally.

The organization often hears about American-born pimps, he said, as well as about immigrants from Central and South America and Asia who are forced or coerced to work in mom and pop operations, nail salons, farms and garment factories...