Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Documentary: 'Playground' - Child Exploitation in the USA

Documentary produced by George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Steven Soderbergh and Libby Spears that focuses on the shocking amount of child sexual exploitation within the United States.

To learn more about this documentary, please visit: TheNestFoundation.org

Israel: Traffickers Target Israeli Girls to Replace Foreign Sex Slaves

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL -- At the start of the new century, Israel found itself with an unexpected and unwanted reputation - as a destination hotspot for sex trafficking. The government took significant measures against this phenomenon, but the success in stamping out the import of women for sex has led to a new problem.

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...


Internet: Child Exploitation Flourishes in a World Without Borders

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...


OSCE New Publication on Trafficking

OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) has released a report entitled: An agenda for change: Implementing the platform for action against human trafficking.

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.

Full version
English (1.73 MB)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Today is International Human Rights Day

UNITED NATIONS - “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. These first few famous words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights established 60 years ago the basic premise of international human rights law. Yet today, the fight against discrimination remains a daily struggle for millions around the globe.

“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...


Israel: Flourishing Palestinian Sex Trade Exposed in New Report

ISRAEL - Young Palestinian women are being forced to into prostitution in brothels, escort services, and private apartments in Ramallah and Jerusalem, including areas inhabited by Jews, according to a report released Wednesday (12-9-09). The Palestinian organization SAWA (All Women Together Today and Tomorrow) published the paper, the first of its kind, urging Palestinian society to break its silence over its sex industry.

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...


US: Trafficking of American Native Women is Widespread

MINNESOTA - Three decades ago, the relatives of an eleven-year-old Native girl in Minnesota forced her to have sex with a man in exchange for alcohol. The story was not front-page news. It was not the subject of a feature-length film with a happy ending. No one intervened. But when she turned eighteen, the police started paying attention. She was arrested and convicted over twenty times for prostitution. Her parents’ addiction became her own, and she entered treatment dozens of times.

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...