Thursday, December 9, 2010

Woman from Maiti Nepal Named CNN "Hero of the Year"

Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- A woman whose group (Maiti Nepal) has rescued more than 12,000 women and girls from sex slavery has been named the 2010 CNN Hero of the Year.

Anuradha Koirala was chosen by the public in an online poll that ran for eight weeks on CNN's Anderson Cooper revealed the result at the conclusion of the fourth annual "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute."

"Human trafficking is a crime, a heinous crime, a shame to humanity," Koirala said earlier in the evening after being introduced as one of the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010. "I ask everyone to join me to create a society free of trafficking. We need to do this for all our daughters."
Koirala was introduced by actress Demi Moore, who along with her husband, Ashton Kutcher, created DNA, The Demi and Ashton Foundation, which aims to eliminate child sex slavery worldwide.

"Every day this woman confronts the worst of what humanity has to offer," Moore said of Koirala. "She says, 'Stop. Stop selling our girls.' By raiding brothels and patrolling the India-Nepal border, she saves girls from being sold into the sex trade, where they are being repeatedly raped for profit, tortured and enslaved...


Dec 10: Freedom Friday

Freedom Fridays

In the time it takes you to read this email, as many as twenty vulnerable people somewhere in Asia will be sold into slavery: a victim of human trafficking. Sold into a factory to work 7 days a week, 14 hours a day. Sold onto a fishing boat for years of cruel mistreatment. Sold into a brothel to experience horrific violence and abuse.

None are paid for their work, and none are free to leave.

This is slavery.

How can you help?

December 10th, 2010 is Human Rights Day. To mark this day, do something that over 20 million people living in slavery today cannot do:
buy some freedom.

On 10 December, we are asking companies to either donate US$10 per staff member and buy them some freedom or give your employees a chance to buy some freedom for themselves.

Making freedom work in your organization.

You decide what form that freedom takes and who in your organization participates.

For some, US$10 might buy freedom from the computer for an hour or maybe a day. For others, it may buy a staff member out of a meeting or free him from photocopying. It is up to your organization to decide what works. Each person freed with your donation will be contributing to the fight against human slavery in Asia.

Check Out Some Creative Freedom Campaigns

Every bit counts.

Your US$10 per staff member donation will be part of a regional effort to stop slavery.

Donations can be used for something as powerful as safe transport for a victim of trafficking to a shelter, removing the risk of being caught and re-sold; something as simple as safe migration messaging that can prevent a person from being trafficked in the first place; or something as potent as moving a trafficking case through the courts to ensure that a criminal gets the punishment he deserves.

Whether you're 1 person, 50 people, or 5000 people, your contribution counts.

The funds raised on 10 December will be used by the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) and the international partners and NGOs they work with to combat human trafficking, rescue and rehabilitate victims of slavery, and break down the trade in human lives.



Need to understand the issue better?

Go to UNIAP's website.


Visit one of UNIAP’s partners, MTV EXIT and take a minute to watch this music video that highlights the issues of modern day slavery.

Thanking you in anticipation of making this heroic decision.

Jude Mannion,
Robin Hood Foundation Asia
021 434 464

Matt Friedman
Regional Project Manager,
The United Nations Inter Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP)

Swedish Inst: Targeting the Sexbuyer

From the Swedish Institute: A new publication on human trafficking and prostitution has been released - Targeting the sexbuyer. The Swedish example: stopping prostitution and trafficking where it all begins is written by Kajsa Claude. The publication is available in English, Russian, Spanish and Turkish (all open as PDFs)

NYT: A Woman. A Prostitute. A Slave.

Nicholas Kristof, New York Times -- Americans tend to associate “modern slavery” with illiterate girls in India or Cambodia. Yet there I was the other day, interviewing a college graduate who says she spent three years terrorized by pimps in a brothel in Midtown Manhattan.

Those who think that commercial sex in this country is invariably voluntary — and especially men who pay for sex — should listen to her story. The men buying her services all mistakenly assumed that she was working of her own volition, she says.

Yumi Li (a nickname) grew up in a Korean area of northeastern China. After university, she became an accountant, but, restless and ambitious, she yearned to go abroad.

So she accepted an offer from a female jobs agent to be smuggled to New York and take up a job using her accounting skills and paying $5,000 a month. Yumi’s relatives had to sign documents pledging their homes as collateral if she did not pay back the $50,000 smugglers’ fee from her earnings.

Yumi set off for America with a fake South Korean passport. On arrival in New York, however, Yumi was ordered to work in a brothel.

“When they first mentioned prostitution, I thought I would go crazy,” Yumi told me. “I was thinking, ‘how can this happen to someone like me who is college-educated?’ ” Her voice trailed off, and she added: “I wanted to die.”

She says that the four men who ran the smuggling operation — all Chinese or South Koreans — took her into their office on 36th Street in Midtown Manhattan. They beat her with their fists (but did not hit her in the face, for that might damage her commercial value), gang-raped her and videotaped her naked in humiliating poses. For extra intimidation, they held a gun to her head...