Tuesday, December 29, 2009
From the security of her Tel Aviv office, Yedida Wolfe dials a number at the bottom of a newspaper advertisement that reads, in Hebrew: "Looking for young liberal women for easy work at great pay!!" The phone is answered by a man named Yossi. He explains that the type of work was sex; Yedida would get to choose with whom, how often, and under what conditions.
"You will have complete control," Yossi tells her. The pair arrange a time to meet.
Wolfe is the Executive Director of the Task Force on Human Trafficking (TFHT). She chose the advert at random from dozens of others just like it that appear daily in a major classifieds supplement published across Israel's major cities.
Until 2007, thousands of women each year were trafficked into Israel for sex, mostly from the former Soviet Union. They were subjected to violence, rape, and public auctions, and forced to have sex with up to 20 men per night, often without any pay.
NGOs and government officials, however, achieved a measure of success two years ago in liberating and rehabilitating the foreign women, frequently identifying them via their missing papers. Many of those saved from the sex trade were subsequently replaced by Israeli women...
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT Haaretz.com
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS - The figures are devastating. At any one time on the Internet it is estimated there are around three quarters of a million predators searching for sites featuring child pornography. The UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Najat Maalla M’jid (at left) in a report to the latest session of the Human Rights Council says, “there is more and more child pornography on the Internet, becoming what is today a very profitable business, with a worldwide market value estimated at billions of dollars.”
Statistics for cyber child pornography are difficult to find but in her report M’jid points to estimates that over a three year period between 2001 and 2004 the number of sites carrying child pornography nearly doubled to around 480,000. Estimates of the number of children who are victims vary hugely, from ten thousand to 100,000. Pornographic images of children, from babies through to teenagers are posted on the web. Figures cited in the report estimate nearly 20 percent of individuals possessing child pornography had images of babies and children aged under 3 and more than 80 percent had images of children aged between 6 and 12.
The report says most producers of pornographic images of children are known to the victims, in fact more than a third are family members and more than a third of those found guilty of possessing child pornography live with children. More than half of those in possession of child pornography have access to children at home, at work or in their social environment.
The Special Rapporteur draws attention to the life-long consequences of child pornography for the victims themselves. The internet images which will never disappear “compound the consequences of the child abuse, affecting the victims’ recovery and the delivery of services available to them”, she says...
The 2009 Annual Report provides an overview of the activities, achievements and challenges of the Special Representative Eva Biaudet's entire three-year term in office. It sets out the agenda that has guided the Special Representative work from 2007-2009, building upon the Platform for Action described in the 2007 Annual Report.
English (1.73 MB)
Thursday, December 10, 2009
“Our main objective is to help promote discrimination-free societies and a world of equal treatment for all,” says the High Commissioner who this year will mark Human Rights Day in South Africa.
She encourages people everywhere - including the UN family, governments, civil society, national human rights institutions, the media, educators, and individuals - to seize the opportunity of Human Rights Day 2009 to join hands to embrace diversity and end discrimination.
The realisation of all human rights - social, economic and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights – is hampered by discrimination. All too often, when faced with prejudice and discrimination, political leaders, governments and ordinary citizens are silent or complacent.
Yet everyone of us can make a difference. You are encouraged to celebrate Human Rights Day by advocating non-discrimination, organizing activities, raising awareness and reaching out to your local communities on 10 December and throughout 2010...
The report was compiled with support by UNIFEM, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, which allotted resources for research on the subject. SAWA conducted research and interviews for the study in the beginning of 2008, but for a variety of reasons has only now been published. The report, which is titled "Trafficking and Forced Prostitution of Palestinian Women and Girls: Forms of Modern Day Slavery," was released in conjunction with the "Global 16-day Campaign to Combat Violence Against Women."
The report claims that women are trafficked from different areas of the West Bank, in particular urban areas, as well as from the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem. Women from Eastern Europe who are sold into the sex trade in Israel are also occasionally brought to the West Bank, where they work in designated apartments. There are a number of legally registered hotels and cleaning companies that offer "double services," which include sexual services for men...
At an early age, the girl became one of hundreds, maybe thousands, of Native American children and women forced into prostitution in Minnesota, falling under the radar of social services, the community, and the media.
“If it was a bunch of white, blonde hair, blue-eyed girls, believe me, there would be an end to this,” said Vednita Carter, executive director of Breaking Free, a St. Paul-based nonprofit serving women involved in prostitution.
In September, the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center became the first organization in the state to release a report about the widespread trafficking of Native women. The agency hopes its effort will draw attention and funding to Native victims of sexual exploitation.
Advocates say the report’s findings cast little doubt that the situation has already become a crisis. In a sample of 95 Native women seeking services from the resource center, 40 percent reported being the victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
Sixty percent of the women surveyed entered prostitution or pornography before the age of 18. And about one-fifth had been sexually exploited before their thirteenth birthday. When the girls become adults, the exploitation often continues. They remain in prostitution, but the law often no longer views them as victims, but as criminals.
The 126-page report, called Shattered Hearts, written by esearch scientist Alexandra Pierce, focuses on women who live outside of reservations. The report compiles statistics, identifies flaws in the legal system, draws parallels to the historic exploitation of Native people, and makes dozens of suggestions about how to address the problem. Pierce incorporated the Resource Center’s own studies, interviews with social service workers, and available government data...
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Please sign this petition to the Canadian government asking them to enact and enforce better anti-trafficking laws: SIGN PETITION HERE
FROM BBC RADIO - Can mobile phone operators tackle prostitution?
The Mayor of London is asking mobile phone companies to help crack down on prostitution and trafficking in the run up to the Olympics. Research shows that incidents of trafficking ahead of the Athens Olympics rose by nearly 100 per cent. The men behind the sex trade still advertise prostitutes’ services by dropping cards containing mobile numbers into the city’s phone boxes. Now City Hall wants to see an agreement between mobile operators and the police that would see the cards removed and the numbers disconnected. Is it a good idea and will it work? Jane is joined by the Deputy Mayor of London with responsibility for policing, Kit Malthouse, and by Diane Martin, Chair of Lambeth Multi-Agency Prostitution Strategy Group. LISTEN TO THE RADIO SHOW AT BBC.co.uk
Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan is getting heat from activists against human trafficking after a remark last week that he doesn't object to the idea of a legalized "co-op" brothel in the city.
The Committee Against Human Trafficking called on anti-human trafficking activists across the country to swamp Sullivan's office on Tuesday of this week with letters, faxes, emails, packages and phone calls.
The campaign aimed to show the link between the normalization of prostitution and increased human trafficking, and called on Sullivan to oppose legalizing brothels.
The proposal for the brothel came from a group of Vancouver prostitutes who believe legalized brothels would help protect sex-trade workers when visitors flock to Vancouver for the Winter Olympics in 2010.
Big sporting events such as the Olympics and the World Cup soccer tournament are known to generate an increase in prostitution, which in turn leads to a rise in human trafficking...READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT TheEpochTimes.com
Togolese teenager Awawou had overcome the toughest of childhoods to build an education for herself. After years of hard work, and against all the odds, she was about to sit her school exams when she learned she was not eligible because she did not have a birth certificate.
Her parents had died when she was small and she had not been registered at birth. It took Awawou a year of running errands to earn the $10 (£6) she needed to buy the certificate and sit her exams. Now, aged 18, she hopes to become a dressmaker.
Awawou is one of half a billion children who are estimated to be without a birth certificate. It is thought that at least 51 million of the babies born each year are not registered.
Without registration, it is difficult, if not impossible, to gain access to vital services such as health care, education and welfare support, says child rights organisation Plan International.
It also denies them the possibility of voting or getting legal aid.
Children without any record of identification are more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse such as human trafficking and prostitution, being forced into under-age marriages or into becoming child soldiers, the organisation adds...
Figures are impressive and, at the same time, shameful for the civilized world of 21st century: according to data from the United Nations through the UN.GIFT programme managed by UNODC/UNDD (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), 161 countries are reported to be affected by human trafficking by being a source, transit and/or destination country. The majority of trafficking victims are between 18 and 24 years of age but an estimated of 1.2 million children are trafficked each year. During the time they are victims of trafficking the 95% experience physical or sexual violence, the 79% are trafficked for sexual exploitation and the 18% are trafficked for forced labour.
Traffic in human beings is a serious and complex problem. It is estimated that by 2010, human trafficking will be the No. 1 crime worldwide, ahead of arms trade and drug trafficking. That is the reason why it requires international collaboration, but specially needs effective measures to combat and deter it, to achieve its final eradication. .
DNA - Prokids Programme was set up in 2004 by the University of Granada (Spain) to fight against human trafficking in cooperation with the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, in the USA, and with the contributions of financial institutions such as BBVA, Fundación Botín (Banco Santander) or CajaGRANADA. Its objectives are:
- 1.To identify the human trafficking victims and return them to their families (reunification), or to the place where they are best protected.
- To hamper traffic in human beings thanks to identification of victims
- To gather information on the origins, the routes and the means of this crime (police intelligence), key elements for the work of police forces and judicial systems.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Almost 1,600 agents and officers took part in the raids, which followed investigations in 36 cities, according to the FBI, local law enforcement agencies and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Included in the arrests were 60 suspected pimps, according to the FBI and local police officials.
Authorities say the youngest victim was 10.
In Southern California, two children were rescued in Riverside, and four adults were arrested, said Laura Eimiller, an FBI spokeswoman. Four suspected customers of child prostitutes were arrested in Orange County.
"It is repugnant that children in these times could be subjected to the great pain, suffering and indignity of being forced into sexual slavery for someone else's profit," Assistant Atty. Gen. Lanny A. Breuer said in a statement. He added that the latest raids show that "the scourge of child prostitution still exists on the streets of our cities."
The sweep, dubbed Operation Cross Country, is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, started in 2003 to address child sex trafficking in the U.S.
The initiative has rescued nearly 900 children; led to the conviction of 510 pimps, madams and their associates; and seized $3.1 million in assets, according to the FBI...
They had sex, and he soon became her boyfriend. Then one day he threatened to kick her out if she did not have sex with several of his friends in exchange for money.
She agreed, fearing she had no choice. "Where was I going to go?" said Nicole, now 17 and living here, just down the Interstate from Medford. That first exchange of money for sex led to a downward spiral of prostitution that lasted for 14 months, until she escaped last year from a pimp who she said often locked her in his garage apartment for months.
"I didn't know the town, and the police would just send me back to the group home," Nicole said, explaining why she did not cut off the relationship once her first boyfriend became a pimp and why she did not flee prostitution when she had the chance. "I'd also fallen for the guy. I felt trapped in a way I can't really explain."
Most of the estimated 1.6 million children who run away each year return home within a week. But for those who do not, the desperate struggle to survive often means selling their bodies...
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT NYTimes.com
Fully 95 per cent of trafficking victims were females made to work as prostitutes, and most came from Southeast Asia.
Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor responded to the report from the Australian Institute of Criminology by saying much was being done to combat people trafficking from Asia and the Pacific.
"Australia has adopted a whole-of-government response to people trafficking which includes a national policing strategy and specialist police investigation teams, enhanced visa arrangements, a victim support program and regional cooperation efforts," Mr O'Connor said in a statement.
The report said not enough was known about trafficking and more research was required.
"It is widely recognised in crime statistics that a significant number of incidents go unreported," the report said.
"Once a crime is reported to authorities, further legal and non-legal considerations result in fewer cases being investigated. "This process of attrition also applies to trafficking cases, few of which are thought to reach the attention of authorities due to low rates of reporting and the hidden nature of this type of crime."
Between 2004 and 2008, 34 people were charged with trafficking offences but of them only seven were convicted...
'It is time for the EU and its Member States, to examine the factors that make them attractive all over the world for trafficking in women for sexual purposes', declares Colette De Troy, EPACVAW Director. 'The EU must recognise that its tolerance for the prostitutional system in Europe, coupled with the persistence of historically unequal power relations between women and men, leads to an amplified acceptance of men's use of and control over women's bodies and therefore an increased intensity of male violence against women'...
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME (UNODC), VIENNA, AUSTRIA - In the run up to EU anti-trafficking day (18 October), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has issued a report showing that trafficking in persons is an under-detected crime in Europe.
The report, based on UNODC's Global Report on Trafficking in Persons (launched in February 2009), says less people (1 in 100,000) are being convicted for human trafficking in Europe than for rare crimes like kidnapping. Only 9,000 victims were reported in 2006 – around 30 times less than the total estimated number. "Perhaps police are not finding the traffickers and victims because they are not looking for them", said the UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa.
The report shows a high degree of internal trafficking, both domestically within European countries and regionally within the European Union (predominantly from South-eastern to Western Europe). At the same time, European victims represent just a fraction of the total number of victims detected in Europe. Recent trends show a steady decline of flows from
traditional sources, and a marked increase in victims from China and Central Asia.
Most identified victims of human trafficking in Europe are young women, trafficked for sexual exploitation. Around 10% of trafficking victims in Europe are children. There are also detected cases of men in forced labour, like construction and agriculture. "Lives should not be for sale or for rent on a continent that prohibits slavery and forced labour, and prides
itself on upholding human dignity", said Mr. Costa.
Most of the prosecuted traffickers are locals, predominantly men. Where foreign traffickers are present, they are often of the same nationality as the victims. Curiously, for a crime where most victims are women, the number of prosecuted female offenders is higher for human trafficking than for other crimes. "We need to better understand why people traffic their kin, and why women exploit other women", said the head of UNODC.
On a positive note, the report shows that in the past six years since the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children came into force in December 2003, most European countries have criminalized trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labour.
It also highlights the progress that has been made to improve collection of data on human trafficking within the European Union.
READ THE FULL 25-PAGE REPORT: TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS: ANALYSIS ON EUROPE (opens as PDF)
Naina, a teenager rescued from a brothel in Bihar by my organization, Apne Aap Women Worldwide, once told me: "As long as there are customers, there will always be other little girls that can be bought." Naina is right. India has witnessed an alarming rise in the sex-trafficking of women and girls in recent years.
On May 13, 2009, the Home Secretary of India said in a seminar organized by the Central Bureau of Investigation that there are 1.3 million prostituted children in India right now. Most of them are girls. The National Human Rights Commission of India has stated that the average age of entry into prostitution for young girls is now between nine and twelve.
The fact that the numbers of the trafficked are going up and the ages coming down displays the failure of those government and non-government strategies which only focus on HIV/AIDS management and half hearted rescue operations combined with shelters for victims. These ignore the root cause, which is the demand for women and girls for sexual exploitation. Even the Sept. 19 Ministry of Home Affairs advisory to state governments on combating human trafficking falls short of asking for higher arrests and convictions of buyers and traffickers, though it recognizes that "trafficking in human beings, especially of women and children, is the fastest growing organized crime and an area of concern."
Demand for trafficked people -- from end-users (buyers of prostituted sex) to traffickers who make a profit off the trade (the recruiters, transporters, pimps, brothel owners, money lenders, etc., who form the intricate chain in the organized criminal networks) -- has become the most immediate cause for the expansion of the trafficking industry. But the existing outdated law, Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956, (ITPA), does not address it adequately.
Apne Aap Women Worldwide has been campaigning to have ITPA amended. This survivor-led campaign is seeking to penalize buyers and traffickers. If the numbers of convictions against buyers and traffickers go up, the cost of human trafficking will become untenable. Increased convictions will also restore a sense of justice to the survivors of prostitution.
Countries like Sweden have gone after the traffickers by bringing them to book, confiscating their illegal assets created out of trafficking, making them compensate for the damages and penalizing end-users (buyers of prostituted sex). This has seen a significant decrease in trafficking. In 1999, it was estimated that 125,000 Swedish men bought about 2,500 prostituted women one or more times per year, before the law came into force. By 2002, this figure had fallen to no more than 1,500 women.
In running this campaign, Apne Aap Women Worldwide has come up against some entrenched interests. Ironically, this opposition has included many HIV/AIDS management projects that work in red-light areas and hire pimps and brothel managers as "peer educators" to gain easy access to the brothels for the purpose of condom distribution. They turn a blind eye to the little girls and adult women kept in a system of bondage and control, who cannot say no to unwanted sex let alone unprotected sex. In fact a representative of the National AIDS Control Organization once told me: "If the brothels didn't exist, where will we distribute the condoms?"...
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Captive Daughters has teamed up with New Media International to promote their new feature-length film, Victory Day. Purchase your tickets (info below) from CaptiveDaughters.org and you will be supporting our non-profit, as well as supporting independent film!
PREMIERE: The movie will premiere in Los Angeles, California, at Laemmle's Royal Theater on November 5 at 7:30pm. The gala premiere includes pre-screening champagne, caviar and gourmet Russian chocolates. The film will be followed by a Q&A with speakers, coffee, tea, cake and cognac. Tickets are $100 and are available for purchase at CaptiveDaughters.org.
SHOWINGS: From November 6 - 12, Victory Day will be shown at Laemmle Music Hall in Beverly HIlls with 27 shows over 7 days. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at CaptiveDaughters.org.
ABOUT VICTORY DAY
Steeped in intrigue and sabotage, VICTORY DAY is a one-of-a-kind achievement, a modern drama-thriller played out against the beautiful and brutal landscapes of Eastern Europe and Russia from the 1990's to the present.
Sam Cassels (Sean Ramsay), a firebrand journalist with a short fuse has just been expelled from Russia, the adopted homeland that he loves, for punching out the Minister of Finance at a press conference.
Retrenching in Prague, Cassels soon finds that his troubles are only just beginning as he discovers that a Russian Oligarch (Milan Kolik), a man, in Cassels' eyes, clearly guilty for the wars and economic ruin of his country, is unbelievably close at hand. Raging for retribution, exposing the Oligarch - Igralski (Kolik) who is yet unpunished and un-denounced, becomes a suicidal fixation.
Photographing a street prostitute (Natalie Shiyanova) being abused and beaten by sex-slave traffickers, Cassels is drawn deeper into a world entwined with the shadow of the Oligarch. Rescuing her brings the key to a mission that will push him to the very edge of sanity and revenge!
Shot in Russia, the Czech Republic and Australia, the producers of VICTORY DAY have created an aesthetically stunning window into the momentous jolting changes of modern Russia...an insightful story that enchants as much as it reveals.
Directed by: Sean Ramsay
Screenplay by: Sean Ramsay, David Fellows, Tony Weston
Director of Photography: Eric Krambeck BKS
USA - 2009 - 99 minutes
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Prostitution is again making headlines after the daily newspaper El Pais published pictures of prostitutes and their clients having sex on the street at night in a Barcelona tourist neighbourhood.
Barcelona had become increasingly lax in applying a 2006 municipal ordinance which stipulated fines of up to 750 euros (1,050 dollars) for sex workers or their clients, critics complain. The ordinance was aimed at eradicating such practices from central districts.
Associations representing local residents or the prostitutes themselves urged a legalization of the trade, describing it as the only way to guarantee prostitutes adequate working conditions.
The city, however, only deployed more police to chase the sex workers off the streets in the Raval neighbourhood...
Friday, September 18, 2009
"Fatal Promises" features interviews with Kevin Bales, Gloria Steinman, Emma Thompson and others.
FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO FatalPromises.com
A cloak of invisibility now surrounds the sex trade, with criminals operating in a "hidden world" in which women are marketed over the internet, according to the support group Ruhama.
Ireland has become "firmly enmeshed in the global sex trade", the group, which aids women sexually exploited for commercial purposes, has warned.
It also fears more people may get involved in prostitution due to the downturn.
During 2007 and 2008, its newly published report stated there were 341 women directly assisted by the group, including 100 women trafficked into Ireland specifically for prostitution, the majority from Nigeria.
Six of the women were under the age of 18; some were as young as 15 at the time they were lured into prostitution...
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT Independent.ie
"It was terrifying but I knew I had to do sexual things or they would have killed me," the Irish woman said. About a decade after she stopped working the streets, Christine went to Ruhama, a support group for prostitutes, for help as she was still suffering. She is one of the hundreds of women who seek the help of the organisation each year.
Ruhama, which is marking its 20th anniversary, launched its biennial report for 2007 and 2008 in Dublin yesterday.
Christine shared her success story along with advice to other women, as she now begins her final year of university studies and prepares to be married.
"I would say to anyone considering prostitution, do not do it. It affects your whole life and the sadness never goes away. If one feels they are being made to go into prostitution by a family member or a boyfriend, go to the police...
Gerardine Rowley, spokeswoman for the organisation, which supports women working in prostitution, said the increase in on-street activity was probably attributable to the economic crisis.
"There has been an increase in this kind of prostitution, which is a new emerging issue, a factor of which may be increasing poverty."
At the publication yesterday of Ruhama's biennial report, which covers 2007 and 2008, there were also calls for the criminalisation of men who use prostitutes.
Ms Rowley said of the increase in street prostitution over past months: "We know from experience a significant factor leading women into prostitution can be poverty. Some women in dire financial trouble may see no other option."
Outreach workers were seeing some women back on the streets who had left prostitution in the 1990s. "We do have women who come to us struggling and saying, 'We don't want to go back but we have debts and the bills have to be paid'."
She also said the more desperate a woman was to make money, the more likely she was to engage in "high-risk behaviour".
"We know men put pressure on women for unprotected sex."
A significant proportion of the 341 women helped by Ruhama in the two years covered by the report had been trafficked here for prostitution. The greatest proportion are now coming from Africa, particularly Nigeria...
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT IrishTimes.com
IRELAND - Ireland's underground sex industry is being fuelled by technology as vulnerable young women are forced to work as prostitutes from apartments, Ruhama said today.
The charity said it is harder to reach victims of the sex trade as criminals hold them captive in flats and houses all over the country.
Over the last two years 341 vulnerable women who have been forced into prostitution have been supported by Ruhama. Volunteers believe that number is just the tip of the iceberg, with hundreds more trapped in covert underground operations.
Director of Ruhama Kathleen Fahy said ten years ago prostitution was very visible on the streets of Dublin.
"Today we are dealing with a predominantly indoor and more covert sex trade," said Ms Fahy. "Many women involved in prostitution are controlled by criminals. They are beaten, afraid and see no way out. These criminals now operate in a hidden world and use modern technology to control and market the women."
In its biennial report for 2007-2008, Ruhama revealed 100 women it helped were victims of trafficking, the majority from Nigeria. Six of those were aged under 18 years when they were brought in to Ireland and forced to have sex with men...
UNITED NATIONS - Human trafficking is likely to escalate because the global economic crisis has fueled its major causes -- poverty, youth unemployment, gender inequality and the demand for cheap labor, the U.N. investigator on trafficking said Thursday.
In a report to the General Assembly, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo expressed "concern that trafficking continues to thrive'' because these root causes are not being sufficiently addressed and "potential victims become more desperate to escape their unfavorable situations.''
Ezeilo, a human rights lawyer and professor at the University of Nigeria who was appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council job in August 2008, also expressed concern that trafficking victims are sometimes deported "without a sufficient period for recovery and reflection.''
People who are trafficked should not be detained, charged, prosecuted or summarily deported, she stressed...
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT MiamiHerald.com
Thursday, September 3, 2009
They are the first to be charged under an international law-enforcement operation that targets U.S. citizens who travel to Cambodia for illicit sex. They could face 30 years in jail for each victim.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- Three American men who are suspected of traveling to Cambodia to molest children have been charged in federal court as part of a new initiative aimed at cracking down on the child sex tourism business there, authorities said Monday.
Ronald Gerard Boyajian, 49, of Menlo Park, Calif.; Erik Leonardus Peeters, 41, of Norwalk; and Jack Louis Sporich, 75, formerly of Santa Monica and currently living in Sedona, Ariz., were arrested by Cambodian police in February, authorities said. They were recently expelled from the country and arrived Monday at LAX in the custody of U.S. immigration officials.
The three men, all previously convicted of sex offenses in the United States, were charged here in absentia earlier this year with traveling overseas for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors, a charge that could bring up to 30 years per victim, authorities said.
They are the first to be charged under an international law-enforcement operation dubbed "Twisted Traveler," specifically targeting American sex offenders who travel to Cambodia, a country that one U.S. immigration official said was "the world's ground zero for child sex tourists."
"These types of cases are disturbing not only because young, defenseless children were victimized in unspeakable ways," U.S. Atty. Thomas O'Brien said at a news conference Monday. "But also because the defendants went to such lengths to engage in their dark activities overseas."...
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT LATimes.com
WATCH THE NEWS REPORT AT KTLA.com
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
LUBUMBASHI, CONGO -- Bijou, 16, speaks in a soft, low voice as she paints a grim picture of what life is like for a young girl living on the streets of Lubumbashi, the second largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC.
On her first day away from home, men older than her but also living on the streets shaved her head and ripped her clothes off. These “big brothers”, as she calls them, also tortured her by putting melted plastic bags on her skin and then raped her.
“This continued until all the men had had me,” she recalled. “This is the baptism ritual. It happens to everyone who is new.”
Bijou was then sent out on to the streets to earn money as a prostitute. When she returned, she says she was beaten up and the money taken from her.
She was only 11 when she began this way of life.
Many hundreds of girls are forced to live this way across the city, where poverty and unemployment are rife. Family life has often broken down and divorce has increased in the wake of two wars in the 1990s, which has led to many children leaving home or being thrown out.
The exact number of street children in the city is not known, but a 2006 study by Lubumbashi University suggested a figure of nearly 17,000. Lubumbashi has an estimated population of around 1.2 million.
Since then, the global financial crisis has exacerbated the widespread poverty and unemployment in the country...
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT Institute for War & Peace Reporting
GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA -- A white sheet covers another victim of Guatemala City's violence in District 16.
Jocelyn was shot dead while walking home. She was only 17-years-old.
Her family has no idea why she was killed. Her murder, like so many others in this country, will probably remain unpunished.
Situations like this one have become regular in Guatemala as violence against women - termed "femicide" - continues to increase.
The savage methods being used by street gangs in their fight against each other are now being used against women.
Gang-related violence has increased sharply here in recent years, amid an increase in drug-trafficking activity.
But while the murder rate cuts evenly across both sexes, women's groups point out that females are often killed simply because of their gender.
In 2007, more than 700 women and girls were murdered...
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT AlJazeera.net
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - Eaves is a London-based charity that provides high quality housing and support to vulnerable women. They also carry out research, advocacy and campaigning to prevent all forms of violence against women.
As part of Eaves, the Poppy Project was formed to research, educate, campaign and train to prevent sex trafficking and assist women exiting prostitution. Their latest publication is entitled:
Click the above title for a PDF of the full report: An exploration of servile marriage and the ways in which it overlaps with trafficking and violence against women and girls, especially those brought to the UK.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
WORLDWIDE -- In the 19th century, the paramount moral challenge was slavery. In the 20th century, it was totalitarianism. In this century, it is the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape.
Yet if the injustices that women in poor countries suffer are of paramount importance, in an economic and geopolitical sense the opportunity they represent is even greater. “Women hold up half the sky,” in the words of a Chinese saying, yet that’s mostly an aspiration: in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos. There’s a growing recognition among everyone from the World Bank to the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to aid organizations like CARE that focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. That’s why foreign aid is increasingly directed to women. The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution.One place to observe this alchemy of gender is in the muddy back alleys of Pakistan. In a slum outside the grand old city of Lahore, a woman named Saima Muhammad used to dissolve into tears every evening. A round-faced woman with thick black hair tucked into a head scarf, Saima had barely a rupee, and her deadbeat husband was unemployed and not particularly employable. He was frustrated and angry, and he coped by beating Saima each afternoon. Their house was falling apart, and Saima had to send her young daughter to live with an aunt, because there wasn’t enough food to go around...
WATCH AN AUDIO SLIDE SHOW AT NYTimes.com
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT NYTimes.com
ORGANIZATIONS HELPING WOMEN IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AT NYTimes.com
Thursday, August 13, 2009
A poll of 1,255 people for campaign group Ecpat UK and the Body Shop found one in 10 did not know that children are trafficked into the UK.
The survey also found that 22% admitted buying fake DVDs or visiting brothels, which can perpetuate child trafficking.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre identified some 325 potential victims in 2007 to 2008.
The Home Office said the hidden nature of the trade in children made it extremely difficult to estimate the scale of the problem.
'Hard to spot'
The study showed 34% of people believe trafficked children end up in foreign countries, not in Britain.
However, a government Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) report in April found that victims had come to the UK from 52 different countries...
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT BBC.co.uk
Monday, August 10, 2009
The CENTER FOR WOMEN POLICY STUDIES (CWPS), as part of their US PACT (US Policy Advocacy to Combat Trafficking) program feature an interactive US map with state trafficking laws, task forces and more on their website.
CHECK OUT THE MAP HERE
Blood Into Gold is the compelling new song from Peter Buffett featuring Akon, pinpointing the issue of human trafficking and slavery. The poignant video, produced by UNICEF, is a powerful visual representation of the songs message, utilizing moving images and video from around the world that depict the severity of this issue. As a complementary advocacy tool to the song, the hope of the video is to call attention to the issue and inspire others to help bring an end to the atrocities associated with human trafficking.
CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO - The streets of Juarez are swallowing the young and pretty.
Monica Alanis, an 18-year-old college freshman, never came home from her exams. That was more than four months ago.
Hilda Rivas, 16, was also last spotted downtown. That was 17 months ago.
Two dozen teenage girls and young women have gone missing in this violent border city in the last year and half, stirring dark memories of the killings of hundreds of women that made Ciudad Juarez infamous a decade ago.
There is no clear evidence of wrongdoing or links among the cases, which have been overshadowed by a vicious drug war that has killed more than 2,500 people in Juarez since the beginning of 2008. But relatives of the young women say it is highly unlikely that they would have left on their own.
Monica Alanis' parents say she was seldom late returning from the campus. That day in March, Olga Esparza says she called her daughter to find out why she was three hours late. Monica reassured her: "I'll be home later."
Desperate family members have hung missing-person banners and taped fliers to telephone poles all over the city in hope of getting leads on the whereabouts of loved ones. They've checked hospitals and combed dusty canyons in the impoverished fringes of the city. They've badgered state investigators, but complain that authorities have no solid leads to explain why so many young women would drop from view at once.
"There is no theory. There is no hypothesis," said Ricardo Alanis, Monica's father, his voice thin with pain. "They don't have anything concrete after four months."
The vacuum has prompted parents to envision their own disturbing story lines. Several say they believe their daughters have been seized and forced into prostitution, perhaps in the United States, by the same criminal bands that have turned this border city into the bloodiest front in the drug war...
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT LATimes.com
Away from the security of ther family, Roathanak misses home, even though she shares her small bedroom with five other girls. On a good month, she can earn $68 with maximum overtime and bonuses, and sends $30 of this back to her family. With basic living expenses costing over $30, there is barely enough money for her to eat well, let alone buy books.
Roathanak is just one of about 300,000 young women working in garment factories in and around Phnom Penh. Clothing manufacture is an important industry in Cambodia, generating income for this developing country and providing employment for the daughters of poorer families.
Precious Girl is an affordable quarterly magazine which aims to be a blessing to these vulnerable young women. It is designed to encourage and inspire its readers and impress on them a sense of their immense value. Most Khmer magazines for young women are expensive, celebrity-laden and morally questionable, but Precious Girl is invariably wholesome and uplifting.
The glossy, full-colour pages are packed with health and beauty tips, creative ideas, inspirational stories and practical help for girls facing real-life dilemmas. The factory worker's photos, comments and letters are also printed - the only stars in this magazine are the readers themselves!
Precious Girl is run by a young vibrant team of local Christian girls. In producing this magazine, they want to celebrate the richness of the factory worker's lives and encourage thousands of girls like Roathanak to find meaning and happiness within.
CHECK OUT PreciousGirl.co.uk
Friday, August 7, 2009
Photographer Mimi Chakarova spent seven years delving into the world of sex trafficking in Eastern Europe, even going undercover to document the situation. The result is an intimate multimedia portrait of these women's lives.
EASTERN EUROPE - Jenea saw 50 customers a day the year she worked in Turkey.
She wasn't a bank teller or a hairdresser.
Jenea was one of the estimated 1.39 million people trafficked each year into the sex trade industry, according to the Geneva-based International Labor Organization.
She is also one of the subjects of an intimate multimedia portrait series by photojournalist Mimi Chakarova called "The Price of Sex: Women Speak."
For the seven-year-long investigative series, Chakarova delved deep into the murky world of sex trafficking, interviewing dozens of women--and even posing as a trafficked woman herself. The result is a handful of profiles, narrated through photography, video and audio, which paint a picture of what these women must endure.
Chakarova, in conjunction with the Center for Investigative Reporting, based in Berkeley, Calif., brought these stories to the public in May of this year. They launched www.priceofsex.org, a Web site that unites these women's stories with resources on the issue, allowing people to take action, donate or learn more.
Over the course of the project, Chakarova estimates that she spoke with up to 50 women from Eastern Europe who had been trafficked. At times, her subjects were so traumatized that she could not bring herself to continue interviewing...
WATCH JENEA'S STORY ON PriceOfSex.org
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT WomensENews.org
Friday, July 31, 2009
In 2006 Shared Hope International received a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to perform field research on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST)—the sex trafficking of American children. The National Report is the culmination of ten field assessments conducted in targeted locations in the United States, providing a comprehensive understanding of child sex trafficking across America. This unprecedented report reveals the starling reality that American children are being recruited from our neighborhoods and sold on our streets!
The National Report found misidentification of victims to be the primary barrier to properly addressing America’s trafficked children. Consequently, this misidentification often leads to the criminalization of victims, barring them from receiving proper treatment and care. In fact, in nearly every location American child victims of sex trafficking are being arrested for the crime committed against them while their abusers walk free. In addition, the study found a severe lack of appropriate protective and therapeutic shelters. Finally, the National Report emphasizes that although buyers are a critical in addressing the issue of child sex trafficking, buyers most often escape criminalization.
Click the link below to download more information:
Programme to Support the Development of Transnational Referral Mechanisms (TRM) for Trafficked Persons in South-Eastern EuropeIn order to ensure comprehensive and effective assistance and protection for victims of trafficking, experience has shown that institutionalised co-operative frameworks, including all concerned state and non-state actors, are indispensable. Such frameworks should focus on the process management of individual trafficking cases and cover the entire sequence of case measures, from identification, assistance and protection, participation in and support during legal proceedings and legal redress, to return/resettlement and/or social inclusion of the victims in their destination-, origin- or third country...
READ MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAM AT ICMPD.org
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME - Thousands of women are continually trafficked from West Africa to Europe in a multi-million dollar criminal industry.
The women come from Nigeria and to a lesser extent Sierra Leone, Ghana, Cameroon and Guinea. They are usually taken to Italy, as well as the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and other countries. With an estimated value of between $152 million and $228 million annually, the market sees a yearly inflow of between 3800 and 5700 women. It is estimated that West African trafficking victims comprise about 10 per cent of the forced sexual labour pool in Western Europe.
Research shows that known traffickers themselves are Nigerian (mainly from the federal state of Edo) who reside both Nigeria and in destination countries. In both Europe and Africa, detected traffickers are more likely to be women (referred to as madams) than men. Men are often involved in supervising the travel, but, increasingly, they are also exploiters or recruiters. The growing involvement of men appears to be associated with growing levels of violence in the business.
The modern European market for trafficked women from West Africa began in Italy in the 1980s and in the Netherlands in the early 1990s. Women of the Edo ethnic group from Benin city in Nigeria (colloquially known as "Binis") began to migrate to Europe in search of work, and found a market for sexual services. They began to recruit other women from their region, fronting the money for travel and creating a system of debt bondage that evolved into human trafficking...
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT UNODC.org
LINK TO FULL 103 PAGE REPORT "Transnational Trafficking and the Rule of Law in West Africa: A Threat Assessment"
The investigation, the work of the state University of Nuevo Leon and funded by the National Science and Technology Council, focuses on the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women in northern Mexico, the study coordinator Arum Kumar told Efe.
The investigators found, for example, that in Monterrey, capital of Nuevo Leon and a leading business hub, most sexually exploited women are brought by gangs from other regions under the false pretense of getting them jobs.
“We’re finding that those who entrap the women take photos to their villages showing that Monterrey is a first-world city, they show women pictures of the metropolitan municipality of San Pedro Garza and tell them that they can work there for a salary of between $50 and $100 a day,” Kumar said.
Once the women get to the city of their destination and find they are being duped into working in brothels, most of them decide to return home – at which time they are threatened and submitted to all kinds of physical, sexual and psychological violence to make them stay.
Monterrey, the biggest city in northern Mexico, is one of the most frequented destinations of sexual tourism thanks to its proximity to the United States, the study found...
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT Latin American Herald Tribune
Friday, July 17, 2009
Her journey at age 18 from an Albanian village to a London brothel, where she said she spent five years working as a prostitute, began with a gold engagement ring, the promise of a better life abroad and — like many before her — a speedboat trip to Italy under the cover of night.
So many women, men and children had been trafficked abroad to work as prostitutes, forced laborers or beggars that the Albanian government three years ago barred all Albanian citizens from using speedboats, the favored transportation used by traffickers to get people out of the country.
This drastic measure, coupled with stricter border controls and revenge killings of traffickers by victims’ families, had a significant effect, reducing trafficking by more than half and all but ending Albania’s role as a major transit point for people trafficked to Western Europe from eastern and southern parts of the Continent, say experts who follow trafficking...
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT NYTimes.com
Friday, July 10, 2009
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME - The early identification of trafficked persons is a prerequisite for their recognition as victims and, consequently, their access to assistance and protection. Persons who are likely to be in contact with victims (such as the police and justice officials and staff of health and social services) should receive training in order to enable them to identify victims and to be sensitive to their needs. This is especially significant for those who may come into contact with victims of trafficking who are without the resources of citizenship in the destination State and are thus especially vulnerable.
It is crucial to enlist the cooperation of all persons and groups that come into contact with victims of trafficking, such as border guards, police and immigration officers, doctors, medical and social workers, housing and agricultural inspectors, and staff of organizations concerned with the rights of immigrants, women and victims, as well as refugee protection and asylum organizations. Proper training can help these various individuals to identify trafficked persons in order to refer them to victim support organizations. A network of professionals and agencies should be involved in the identification of potential victims and should work together in order to protect victims and ensure a referral network without gaps...
LINK TO THE FULL HANDBOOK AT UNODC.org
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
The 55 women's funds in the report increased their giving by 24 percent between 2004 and 2006, compared to a nearly 15 percent rise in foundation giving overall in that same time period.
"Accelerating Change for Women and Girls" looks at giving patterns and trends among larger private and community foundations and funds that invest in organizations and programs led by women and focused on social change...
Read the full article at WomensENews.org
Monday, June 29, 2009
Gems Girls presents "Very Young Girls" a heartfelt and heartbreaking documentary about young girls in the prostitution business in the United States. The film, originally airing on Showtime, will debut on Netflix instant streaming and DVD on July 7-14.
A young boy works 12-hour days packing mud bricks in Liberia
INTERNATIONAL: The global economic crisis has made people more vulnerable to human trafficking, according to the ninth annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) released by the State Department on Tue., June 16.
Ambassador Luis C de Baca, director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, called the report a “global snapshot of the modern slavery problem.” He added that “poor people are more likely to be fooled by traffickers offering the lure of a better life.”
Included in the report are harrowing tales of the victims. They include stories such as an Indian couple who were bonded laborers at a rice mill for more than 30 years and the story of a woman trafficked from Nigeria through Ghana to Italy, where she was forced to have sex with more than 25 men a day.
Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world and its victims are forced into labor or sexual exploitation. In the TIP report, countries that don’t comply with minimum standards to combat human trafficking receive a Tier 3 ranking and may be subject to U.S. sanctions...
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT WashingtonInformer.com
Sunday, June 21, 2009
PEDRO C. MORENO for the HUFFINGTON POST - No, I am not necessarily talking about your own daughter who I assume you are taking care of, but those daughters that are called Paraya Dhan which means "somebody else's property," those daughters who fetch water all day, those daughters who may be 9 or 10 years old but have to be mothers to their younger siblings, or are given in marriage before puberty to older men, daughters who are not in school because are not considered worthy of an education but instead are used, abused, mutilated and trafficked.
This Father's Day, this Centennial of Father's Day, why not give up our day, as fathers, and focus on the centuries-old plight of girls such as those in India, in Benin, in Guatemala, in Yemen, who suffer day in and day out. Our own daughters' dignity is upheld when we support those other daughters who are less fortunate. Conversely, when those girls abroad are treated as objects or animals, our own daughters' dignity is diminished. Ultimately, all of them are our daughters...
READ THE FULL POST AT HuffingtonPost.com
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
"The ninth annual Trafficking in Persons Report sheds light on the faces of modern-day slavery and on new facets of this global problem. The human trafficking phenomenon affects virtually every country, including the United States. In acknowledging America’s own struggle with modern-day slavery and slavery-related practices, we offer partnership. We call on every government to join us in working to build consensus and leverage resources to eliminate all forms of human trafficking."
--Secretary Clinton, June 16, 2009
The report is available in PDF format as a single file [PDF: 22 MB]. Due to its large size, the PDF has been separated into sections for easier download: Introduction; Country Narratives: A-C, D-K, L-P, Q-Z/Special Cases; Relevant International Conventions. To view the PDF file, you will need to download, at no cost, the Adobe Acrobat Reader.
-06/16/09 Remarks at Release of the Ninth Annual Trafficking in Persons Report Alongside Leaders in Congress; Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State; Benjamin Franklin Room ; Washington, DC
-06/16/09 Ambassador CdeBaca's Remarks at Release of the 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report; Luis CdeBaca, Director ; Washington, DC
-PDF Version: Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2009
-Introduction (PDF) [5071 Kb]
-Country Narratives: A-C (PDF) [4074 Kb]
-Country Narratives: D-K (PDF) [3889 Kb]
-Country Narratives: L-P (PDF) [4036 Kb]
-Country Narratives: Q-Z and Special Cases (PDF) [3868 Kb]
-Relevant International Conventions (PDF)