Category: Human Trafficking

HUMAN_TRAFFICKING_8705943Trafficking in persons is estimated to be one of the top-grossing criminal industries in the world (behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking), with traffickers profiting an estimated $32 billion every year.

So what can be done to end this scourge? A recent report from the Heritage Foundation recommends an oft-overlooked solution: adopting policies that promote economic freedom.

A close examination of human trafficking and the principles of economic freedom—especially strong rule of law—reveals the robust connections between these two desirable societal outcomes, notes the report. Nations with the highest economic freedom also tend to rank high in meeting the standards for combatting trafficking.

Another factor where economic freedom lowers trafficking is in creating sustainable alternative employment opportunities:
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Enticed by the promise that their children could go to school in America, numerous Guatemalan parents paid to have their children smuggled into the U.S. No one knows how many made it across the border, but some of the children were detained by immigration official and transferred to the custody of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Once in the hands of the federal government, the children should have been safe. Instead, the HHS gave at least a dozen children over to human traffickers.

One group of children was sent to Marion, Ohio where they were forced to work at egg farms for six or seven days a week, twelve hours per day. According to a U.S. Senate report, the children were forced to undertake such tasks as de-beaking chickens and cleaning chicken coops.

The minor victims were also forced to live in trailers owned by the traffickers. Some of the housing was found to be “unsanitary and unsafe, with no bed, no heat, no hot water, no working toilets, and vermin.” If the kids didn’t work hard enough, the traffickers would threaten the victims and their family members with physical harm, and even death. One of the traffickers assaulted a boy and then called the victim’s father and threatened to shoot the father in the head if the minor victim did not work.
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tkIt sounds like the plot of a Hollywood production: Nuns dressing up as prostitutes to infiltrate brothels and rescue woman and children from sexual abuse. But the organization of religious sisters called Talitha Kum, which translated from Aramaic means “arise child” (Mark 5:41), is real—and they’re expanding across the globe.

Talitha Kum, also known as the International Network of Consecrated Life Against Trafficking in Persons, is a network within the International Union of Superiors General which originates from a project implemented in collaboration with International Organization for Migration and funded by the U.S. Government’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

John Studzinski, an investment banker and philanthropist who chairs Talitha Kum, said the network of 1,100 sisters currently operates in about 80 countries but is expanding to apply their unusual approach to 140 countries:

Studzinski said the religious sisters working to combat trafficking would go to all lengths to rescue women, often dressing up as prostitutes and going out on the street to integrate themselves into brothels.

“These sisters do not trust anyone. They do not trust governments, they do not trust corporations, and they don’t trust the local police. In some cases they cannot trust male clergy,” he said, adding that the low-key group preferred to focus on their rescue work rather than promotion.

“They work in brothels. No one knows they are there.”

The sisters were also proactive on trying to save children being sold into slavery by their parents, setting up a network of homes in Africa as well as in the Philippines, Brazil and India to shelter such children.

He said the religious sisters of Talitha Kum raised money to purchase these children.

“This is a new network of houses for children around the world who would otherwise be sold into slavery. It is shocking but it is real,” he said.

Studzinski said the network of religious sisters, that was in the process of expanding, also targeted slavery in the supply chain with sisters shedding their habits and working alongside locals for as little as 2 U.S. cents an hour to uncover abuses.

Read more . . .

(Via: Gene Veith)

Relatives of a Palestinian woman, who medics said was killed in an Israeli air strike, mourn during her funeral in Khan YounisA year ago this month, Islamic State (also known as IS, ISIS, or ISIL) began a systematic program of capturing women and girls for the purposes of rape, forced marriage, and sexual slavery. Yesterday, the New York Times brought renewed attention to the war crimes in an article examining how IS enshrines a theology of rape.

Here are five facts you should know about how IS views and justifies the practice of sexual slavery: 

1. IS considers rape of sex slaves to be a form of worship — In the New York Times article, a Yazidi girl was was enslaved by IS claims:

“Every time that he came to rape me, he would pray,” said F, a 15-year-old girl who was captured on the shoulder of Mount Sinjar one year ago and was sold to an Iraqi fighter in his 20s. Like some others interviewed by The New York Times, she wanted to be identified only by her first initial because of the shame associated with rape.

“He kept telling me this is ibadah,” she said, using a term from Islamic scripture meaning worship. 

2. IS has an eschatological justification for sex slavery   
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sex-workers-rightsAmnesty International, the human-rights watchdog organization, voted Tuesday to support the decriminalization of “sex work” at its Dublin-based International Council Meeting. This was in spite of the fact that anti-human trafficking organizations around the globe pushed for just the opposite.

Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse,’ Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary-general, said in a statement.

Shetty called it “a historic day” for the organization. Equality Now, an organization that works against female genital mutilation and human trafficking, released a statement regarding Amnesty International’s decision:

Amnesty International today has voted to adopt a policy that seeks to decriminalize all aspects of the commercial sex industry in the name of protecting the human rights of people in the sex trade. In doing so, it has ignored the clear links between prostitution and sex trafficking that it says it opposes, as well as the incompatibility of the commercial sex trade with gender equality, human rights and international law. It has ignored survivors of the commercial sex trade who repeatedly called on the organization to rethink its position based on their experiences and to adopt a policy that seeks to curb, rather than facilitate, the commercial sex trade.

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A Romanian girl, now in a shelter, bears the "brand" of her trafficker

A Romanian girl, now in a shelter, bears the “brand” of her trafficker

UPDATE: More on Romania and Human Trafficking

Where are the young women, the girls of Romania? If they are not hidden, they are trafficked. That is a harsh reality in a country of harsh living.

Stefania is 18 and a rarity. She still lives in a rural home with her father, in a ramshackle house with no electricity. She dreams of going away “somewhere” for an education and is resolute that she will never take money from a man.

Then there is Christina. Nightly, her mother would prepare her daughter for her night of work: feeding her, setting out her clothes and condoms. Christina – who has since disappeared – has been supporting her family since age 14 by prostitution.

According to the U.S. State Department’s 2014 “Trafficking in Persons” report, one-third of Romania’s trafficking victims are underage girls. (more…)

tip-logoThere are more slaves today than were seized from Africa in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In fact, there are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history, with an estimated 21 million in bondage across the globe.

Modern-day slavery, also referred to as “trafficking in persons,” or “human trafficking,” describes the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.

Every year since 2011, the State Department releases the annual Trafficking in Persons Report, a congressionally mandated report that looks at the governments around the world (including the U.S.) and what they are doing to combat trafficking in persons through the lens of the 3P paradigm of prevention, protection, and prosecution.

Countries are ranked in tiers based on trafficking records: Tier 1 for nations that meet minimum U.S. standards; Tier 2 for those making significant efforts to meet those standards; Tier 2 “Watch List” for those that deserve special scrutiny; and Tier 3 for countries that fail to comply with the minimum U.S. standards and are not making significant efforts. As Reuters explains,
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