Posts tagged with: Human trafficking

PowerBlog readers will have noticed a strong, and from my point of view justified, negative reaction here to Elise Hilton’s Aug. 11 post titled, “The Lost Girls of Romania: A Nation of Sex Trafficking.” Commenters referred to the post as offensive and poorly researched. As editor with overall responsibility for the PowerBlog, I want to address the many comments we’ve received that take issue with Hilton’s characterization of Romania and Romanian women.

Before we go any further, I want to note that anyone who writes regularly for publication will invariably make errors of fact and error of analysis. In a long career in journalism and other editorial work, I certainly have made my share. The responsibility of the writer and editor is to be accountable to readers and correct the record when needed.

This post missed the mark. It should not have relied on a single Al Jazeera article to make assertions that in Romania “women and girls have virtually no rights.” What’s more, the sweeping generalization that in Romania if women “are not hidden, they are trafficked” is patently untrue. I’ve been to Bucharest, a beautiful European capital, and this statement does not describe what I saw there. I’ve also been blessed to get to know many Romanian families who worship at my Greek Orthodox parish and have found them to be unfailingly kind, hospitable and productive. Romania is an overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian culture, but has significant populations of Roman Catholics and Protestants and small numbers of Muslims. As for the Church, Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Daniel has been unequivocal in his condemnation of human trafficking. The following is from a statement he made in 2009: (more…)

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.

(more…)

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…)

courtesy of CNN

courtesy of CNN

Human trafficking victims get moved frequently. It’s one way their traffickers can keep control over them – the victims often have no idea where they are. They can be transported by bus, train, 18-wheelers, and planes. Could you spot a victim? More importantly, would you know what to do?

CNN’s Freedom Project has the on-going mission to end modern day slavery. They’ve given a list travelers can look for.

1. The person traveling is poorly dressed. (Now, I realize, given the state of our national dress code, which seems to be pajama bottoms and a hoodie, this might be a tough one.) The clothes the person is wearing may be too large or too small. The clothes may be completely “out-of-sync” with their destination: too warm or too cold. A young person may be dressed very provocatively. (more…)

htOne of the challenges that survivors of human trafficking face is that they often are unable to prove their identity. Traffickers take away driver’s licenses, visas, passports, even student I.D.s in order to control their victims.

In Australia, the Immigration Department is working to help trafficking victims by developing a special visa for trafficking victims (male and female) and their families who wish to remain in Australia. The old visa system, critics said, stigmatized victims.

Victims will now be able to stay on a temporary visa or a permanent witness protection visa, with an assistance notice from the Attorney-General’s Department, rather than a criminal justice stay certificate.
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Jenny Stanger, national manager of the Salvation Army’s Freedom Partnership, said the criminal justice stay visa had made it difficult for victims to find work, with some clients’ job interviews ending once they told their prospective employers the name of their visa. (more…)

A Filipino neighborhood just after Typhoon Haiyan

A Filipino neighborhood just after Typhoon Haiyan

I’ve read and heard a lot of horrible stories about human trafficking. Every time I think I’ve heard the worst, I find another one that horrifies me. This one certainly falls into that category:

According to a news outlet in the Philippines, girls in the countryside were lured away from their home with the promise of studying in Manila, and almost abducted into a life of human trafficking—by women dressed as Catholic nuns.

In a very twisted way, this makes sense. In the heavily-Catholic Philippines, there would hardly be a more trusted figure to young children than a Catholic nun. (more…)

Blog author: ehilton
Thursday, June 11, 2015
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Children forced to fight for Boko Haram

Children forced to fight for Boko Haram

Boko Haram, the militant Islamist group in Nigeria, is infamous for kidnapping girls. Last year, everyone from Wall Street to Hollywood got in on the [ineffective] #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign after Boko Haram kidnapped dozens of Christian school girls.

But what about the boys?

Boko Haram has a pseudo-military arm. Which means they need soldiers. And they can’t recruit legitimately. That means they kidnap boys.

Many are themselves victims of terror: child soldiers, abducted from their families and forced to join the ranks of the “holy” warriors. Although it is hard to know exactly how many, nongovernmental agencies estimate they number at least in the hundreds. (Some estimates suggest fully 40% of fighters are children.) The group has published videos of training camps where children, called the “Cubs of the Caliphate,” are trained to fight.

(more…)

Warehousing of children, summer 2014

Warehousing of children, summer 2014

The summer of 2014 saw an overwhelming amount of children making their way, illegally, across the southern U.S. border. Thousands of children and adolescents overwhelmed the Border Patrol and social service agencies. Are we gearing up to see the same type of event this summer? It’s beginning to look that way.

We are not nearly at the numbers we were last year, but it looks like we are in the opening stages. We had two groups equal a little over 70 in one hour today. These were women and children,” said Agent Cabrera. “We’ve also seen a lot of children traveling alone.” (more…)

out-of-businessNo one is interested in vying for the worst human trafficking record, but Asia would certainly be in the running. Yet, today’s Business Insider claims that Asia is getting out of the human trafficking business; can that be true?

As usual, the truth is more nuanced than a headline allows. It may be that the traffickers and smugglers are getting craftier, but it is also true that global pressure has caused traffickers in Myanmar and Thailand to – at the very least – pause their “business as usual.” Myanmar, with its horrible track record on human rights towards the Rohingya (a Muslime ethnic minority), suffered greatly in the world press as it became known that thousands of trafficked people have been caught at sea, unable to come ashore and in miserable conditions. (more…)

my fair ladyAs I wrote here a couple of weeks ago, nail salons across the country are under scrutiny for abusive labor tactics and human trafficking. New York City has taken a hard look at this issue (thank goodness!) and is considering implementing some not-so-well-thought-out policies. Included in this are:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo invoking “emergency measures,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) citing federal legislation on product safety she’s introduced and of course New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio presiding over a “day of action.” The left-leaning Economic Policy Institute declares nail salon abuses a function of “national policy failures.”

This approach wants to crack down on salon licensing, shutting down those that are not toeing the line. But will this really help the women being overworked and underpaid? William McGurn doesn’t think so. He also thinks Audrey Hepburn – My Fair Lady – has some answers. (more…)