Monday, June 29, 2009

Very Young Girls - Watch the Film on Netflix Streaming July 7-14

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.

Int'l: Economic Crisis Worsens Human Trafficking Problem

Editor's note: We're proud that our Executive Director here at Captive Daughters, Sandra Hunnicutt, is quoted in this article. Go to the full article to see her quote.

Washington Informer
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...


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day: Give It Up For the Daughters

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...


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2009 U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report Released Today

Trafficking in Persons Report 2009

Date: 06/16/2009 Description: Trafficking In Persons Report 2009 cover. © State Dept Image

"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
The report is available in PDF format as a single file [PDF: 22 MBGet Adobe Acrobat Reader]. 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)

Rome: Religious Women Conference on Human Trafficking

ROME, ITALY -- Women Religious [sic] from around the world will begin meeting in Rome today (Monday, June 15) to discuss the issue of human trafficking.

The three-day event has been organised by the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) and by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Fr Hernandez Sola, OAR, bureau chief at the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life said: "The problem of human trafficking represents a new form of slavery of the twenty-first century, one that offends the dignity and freedom of many women and minors, but also of youths and adult men, most of them from poor countries."

"These new forms of poverty remind us that religious life is, by vocation, called to play a prophetic role in society and the Church today. A new conception of charity must carry consecrated life to the new frontiers of evangelisation, and to the new forms of poverty, among the most serious of which is the loss of personal dignity"...


Cyprus: Press Release Announcing Dissatisfaction with Government Handling of 'Artiste Visas'

PRESS RELEASE 6-11-09 -- The Cyprus Women’s Lobby (CWL) expresses its deep concern at the policy measures taken by the Government in the fight against trafficking in women for sexual exploitation, particularly in relation to the entry visas for women to work in high risk establishments.

The CWL has been informed that despite the announcement by the Ministry of Interior regarding the abolition of ‘artiste’ visas on the 1st November 2008, the renewal of such visas have continued to take place, at least until recently. However, it is not known how and why these visas were renewed, neither has it been made public what the new procedures are and under what criteria new visas can be issued. In addition, it is not clear what body currently examines and evaluates applications for entry and residence permits for third country nationals who are ‘creative and performing artists and supporting staff’. Finally, if such procedures exist, it has not been made public to what extent they are being implemented by the relevant authorities.

The Cyprus Women’s Lobby wants to believe that the purpose of the new policy and the consequent abolition of the ‘artiste’ visa is the combating of the unacceptable phenomenon of trafficking in women for sexual exploitation and not simply a declaration made in order to silence and appease the unrelenting criticism and pressure that has been exercised on the Cyprus Government by NGOs, the media, as well as European and international organizations.

Unfortunately, however, the current practices of the relevant government authorities do nothing to convince us that the government is handling the issue of trafficking in women for sexual exploitation with the necessary urgency, political will, and requisite sense of responsibility. Trafficking in women is a violation of fundamental human rights and not simply a procedural matter or a question of appeasing the local and international criticism against Cyprus.

A resounding example of the current handling of the issue by the authorities is the recent case of
attempted murder of a migrant woman from the Dominican Republic, who was a recognized victim of trafficking in human beings. To our great surprise the Government, within the framework of its efforts to ‘reintegrate’ victims of trafficking, granted this woman a permit to work as a domestic worker for a convicted rapist and murderer (of another woman) who later attempted to kill her! This action by the Government raises a number of questions that are directly linked to the rights of women-victims of human trafficking and the non-existence of state mechanisms for the protection, integration, and psychosocial support of victims as well as to the lack of control mechanisms and proper criteria for the granting of employment permits to women third-country nationals.

The answers to these questions as well as the disclosure of the procedures, criteria, and regulations for the implementation of the new policy on the issuing of entry permits for creative artists and performers from third-countries will be indicative of the policy and practice of the government but also of its real intentions on the critical issue of combating trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation. In the 21st century and as a member of the European Union, the urgent need for transparent procedures both in decision-making stage and the implementation stage, as well as the continued consultation and cooperation with NGOs on issues such as trafficking in women is self-evident.

It should be noted that the Cyprus Women’s Lobby welcomes and agrees with the new policy and the abolition of the ‘artiste’ visa but at the same time retains reservations because we believe that it does not give comprehensive solutions to the issue of trafficking in women for sexual exploitation. In our view, the combating of trafficking in women cannot succeed with isolated and sporadic measures such as this. The complexity and dimensions of the problem demands a holistic and comprehensive approach with specific policy measures and procedures. The most important factors that need to be taken into account in formulating such a policy are the criminal networks for trafficking women and girls, the continued operation of high risk establishments, the demand for sexual services, the complete ignorance of the public regarding the conditions of exploitation these women live under and, finally, the critical question of
inequality between women and men which underlies the treatment that they subjected to and the violation of their human rights.

To this day, the existing laws, policies, and measures in Cyprus in relation to the issue of trafficking in women for sexual exploitation do not incorporate a gender perspective, even though women make up the overwhelming majority of victims. With regard to the issue of demand for sexual services and how this sustains trafficking in women, the Government has not made any effort to reduce such demand through the sensitization of those that buy sexual services. It should be noted that Cyprus has signed and ratified
the Council of Europe Convention for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, which refers specifically to measures to combat demand for sexual services and the promotion of gender equality in two separate articles (6 and 17 respectively).

The Cyprus Women’s Lobby calls on the Government to:
• Immediately disclose the procedures, criteria and regulations for the implementation of the new policy on the issuing of entry permits for creative artists and performers from third-countries.
• Proceed directly with the implementation of the new policy that was announced in November
2008 with regard to the entry, employment, and residence of creative artists and performers and
supporting staff from third-countries;
• Urgently review the policy for the entry and employment of migrant women third country nationals that work in establishments considered high risk for trafficking and sexual exploitation.
• Proceed with the formulation of a comprehensive policy package for combating trafficking in
women for sexual exploitation, taking into account all the dimensions and factors that support
trafficking, incorporating a gender perspective and aiming at the sensitization of all relevant
stakeholders, social partners, and society at large.

* The Cyprus Women’s Lobby is an umbrella network of 16 women’s organizations and NGOs, and is a full member of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL), the largest non-governmental women’s organisations in the European Union, representing approximately 2000 organisations in 30 European Countries. Working with its members at national and European levels, the EWL’s main objective is to fight for gender equality and to ensure the integration of
a gender perspective in all EU policy areas.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mexico: 'Blood Wires' Over the Border

MEXICO - The bleeding body of Mexican immigrant Javier Resendiz Martinez was the first thing police noticed when they raided the bungalow on North 63rd Avenue here four years ago after reports of gunshots.

Soon afterward, however, they found payment logs of more than 100 wire transfers to Western Unions in the border town of Caborca, Mexico -- which state and federal officials cite as evidence that the financial services company and other money transmitters are used by Mexican crime syndicates to help facilitate the smuggling of people into the United States.

Arizona Atty. Gen. Terry Goddard said human smuggling has become a $2-billion-a-year business in his state alone, thanks in large part to what he calls "blood wires," the payments from family members, friends and employers to smugglers via Western Union and other companies.

Goddard and other Arizona officials have not accused Western Union of a crime. But in interviews and court documents they say the company consistently has rejected requests for cooperation, undermining efforts in Arizona to go after the crime cartels that control much of the increasingly violent trade in humans, drugs, weapons and laundered cash from their havens in Mexico.

Western Union spokesman Daniel Diaz called Goddard's accusations "erroneous and inflammatory."

The Colorado-based company works cooperatively with law enforcement agencies around the world to identify and prosecute illegal activity, said Peter Ziverts, its vice president for anti-money laundering. He said Western Union had instituted numerous reforms to detect illegal wire transfers, including far more aggressive oversight of its thousands of independent money-store operators...


Italy: Victims of Trafficking Need More Than Words

PALERMO, ITALY - A flawed political and economic order that has failed to create effective migration policies is behind the rise of trafficking in persons and the difficulties in tackling it effectively, leading campaigners say.

"It’s the same greed, the same lack of regulation, the same lack of government action that is causing forced labour and that caused the global financial crisis," Roger Plant, head of the special action programme to combat forced labour at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) told an International Conference on Trafficking in Persons in Palermo, Italy.

The conference, organised by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) May 21-22 assessed progress made ten years after the United Nations adopted the Palermo Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its two protocols on trafficking and smuggling.

The protocols have been ratified by more than 100 countries, and have provided many valuable juridical instruments, but there is poor implementation and insufficient data collection by individual states, making monitoring by international organisations arduous.

"We have national legislations, ratification, shelters, national action plans, but any impact?" Richard Danzinger, head of the IOM’s counter-trafficking unit asked the audience. "We have no clear numbers, but estimates haven’t changed, and the definition of trafficking is so complex that it can be interpreted in many ways, depending on government policies or ideology."

Hampering cooperation are also different legal cultures that have led to disagreement over key concepts of exploitation, trafficking or smuggling.

Danziger went so far as to question the relevance of distinguishing between victims of trafficking and migrants in general. "Just about any woman who came from North Africa to Europe has been abused in some way. Maybe she was not trafficked, but should that make a difference?" he asked.

Some claimed that the Palermo Protocols had helped. "Before the Protocols the ILO was only looking at the issue of forced labour imposed by states, while we know that 80 percent of forced labour is done by private interests," Plant told the conference...


Spain: Voodoo and Forced Prostitution

MADRID, SPAIN, May 22, 2009 - The Spanish police say they have broken up a human trafficking ring that forced Nigerian women into prostitution by threatening them with voodoo curses.

The police said Thursday that they arrested 23 people this week in raids in several Spanish cities after a Nigerian woman in Seville claimed she was a victim of the ring and reported its activities to the police in February.

The traffickers lured their victims with promises of a better life in Europe and took them to a voodoo priest before departure, the police said in a statement. The traffickers then smuggled them to Spain, where they told the victims they had to become prostitutes to repay a hefty debt for their journey or face the wrath of voodoo spirits.

Musikilu Mojeed, a journalist for the Nigerian online newspaper who has written about voodoo and human trafficking, said voodoo, known in Nigeria as juju, was a fairly common tool of intimidation used by traffickers.

Women were taken to a voodoo shrine and made to swear before a priest that they would never reveal the identities of the traffickers, he said. The priests took pieces of fingernails or hair from the women as part of the ritual.

“People here are very scared of the power of voodoo, so the traffickers tell the victims that if they do anything funny they will invoke voodoo,” Mr. Mojeed said in a telephone interview.

“They fear death, illness, any misfortune the priest tells them,” he added. “If the priest tells them they will get smallpox, then they believe they will catch smallpox.”...


Cyprus: Trafficking in Women for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation

The Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies has received funding from the Global Fund of Women to carry out a research project entitled “Investigating the demand side of trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation”.

The aim and objectives of the research is to examine the demand side of trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation in Cyprus in order to first, identify the factors linked to the demand for sexual services and second, to examine the buyers/ clients’ perceptions and attitudes towards women in prostitution and possible victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. The project will further examine the general perceptions and attitudes of Cypriot men and women towards women in prostitution and possible victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

This project is a follow up to a research project carried out with the support of the National Machinery for Women’s Rights entitled “Mapping the Realities of Trafficking in Women for Sexual Exploitation in Cyprus”. The main aim of the project was to gain and share awareness, knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon of trafficking in women in Cyprus for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The project was carried out using a gender-sensitive, feminist perspective.

Download the Final Report of the research project:

To view the Executive Summary of the Final Report:

Executive Summary EN

Executive Summary GR

MIGS has also implemented awareness raising campaigns on trafficking in women with funding from the National Machinery for Women’s Rights. These include information leaflets and posters with the aim to inform and sensitize the public and relevant stakeholders on trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual and labour exploitation. MIGS also published awareness raising flyers to increase awareness and knowledge among potential buyers of sexual services on trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

MIGS has also prepared a Reference Guide on Trafficking in Women and a Website Guide on Trafficking in Women.

For more information please contact MIGS at + 357 22 351 276, ext. 115 or

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

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