Tuesday, September 15, 2009

UN Report: Human trafficking likely to rise because of global economic crisis

UNITED NATIONS — Human trafficking is likely to escalate because the global economic crisis has fueled its major causes — poverty, youth unemployment, gender inequality and the demand for cheap labor, the U.N. investigator on trafficking said Thursday.
In a report to the General Assembly, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo expressed concern that trafficking "continues to thrive" because these root causes are not being sufficiently addressed and "potential victims become more desperate to escape their unfavorable situations."

Ezeilo, a human rights lawyer and professor at the University of Nigeria who was appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council job in August 2008, also expressed concern that trafficking victims are sometimes deported "without a sufficient period for recovery and reflection."

People who are trafficked should not be detained, charged, prosecuted or summarily deported, she stressed.

"Often, victims of trafficking ... have suffered severe trauma of a physical, sexual or psychological nature and require an enabling environment and the specialized services provided by trained personnel to trust, feel safe to talk about their victimization to, and assist law enforcement officials," Ezeilo said.

She expressed concern that governments are not paying adequate attention to the identification of women, children and men trafficked for sexual exploitation and cheap labor, and to measures to protect and assist them.

Only 24 of 86 countries that responded to a questionnaire she sent in 2008 indicated that those issues were a priority in the fight against human trafficking.

Overall, Ezeilo said, less than 30 percent of trafficking cases — both internally and across borders — are reported to officials.

"Trafficking for purposes of labor exploitation is likely to escalate, particularly during the current global economic crisis and in the light of increasing poverty caused by massive unemployment and the tendencies of employers to use cheap labor in order to cut costs and maximize profits," Ezeilo said.

Ezeilo reported on visits to Belarus, Poland and Japan and said each country needs to do more to identify and help victims.

She said the scale of human trafficking in Poland has been aggravated since it joined the European Union, with the country becoming both a transit and destination country for labor exploitation, prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation.

Japan remains a destination country for many victims of human trafficking, the vast majority for prostitution, Ezeilo said.

While the Japanese government has been working on legislative and administration reforms to address the problem, it still does not have adequate procedures to identify victims or shelters to house them.

She commended Belarus for its practice of compensating trafficking victims and establishing a training center on human trafficking and migration. But she said the country needs to improve assistance to victims and address the root causes of trafficking.

Original story from Fox News

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dugard story one of many stories of sex slavery in America

By Mike Masten
President, Project Exodus

People all around the United States were horrified earlier this week when it was discovered that Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy had been keeping South Lake Tahoe resident Jaycee Lee Dugard captive and in a cage for 18 years in their Antioch backyard.

Garrido, a registered sex offender, kidnapped Dugard in June 1991 as she was walking to her bus stop in her South Lake Tahoe neighborhood. Dugard was 11 years old at the time.

According to reports, Garrido and his wife Nancy had kept Dugard in a shed hidden in a "backyard within a backyard" and had even fathered two children with the girl. Garrido and his wife have since been charged with kidnapping and rape.

Rightfully so, the Garrido story has been extremely disturbing for the majority of Americans, arousing feelings of sickness and deep anger at such an immoral injustice. However, even as disturbing as the Garrido story is, for modern day abolitionist it is not unique.

According to The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking published by Shared Hope International, at least 100,000 American juveniles victims of domestic minor sex trafficking annually. This number does not include the tens if not hundreds of thousands of children trafficked into the United States from overseas annually.

What these numbers show us is clear: while particularly disturbing, the Garrido case is only one of hundreds of thousands of similar cases happening in the United States at the moment.

So why don't we know about this? Why aren't alarms being sounded from every steeple and bell tower? Why isn't society up in arms about the other 99,999 victims of child sex trafficking in the United States?

One reason may be that there is a massive denial of the issue in the American public. This can be clearly seen in how the Garrido case is being handled. According to the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the crime of human trafficking is defined as:
A. The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act where such an act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age, or
B. The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
In the Garrido case, not only was Dugard held against her will and never allowed to leave the property, but she was also forced to commit sexual acts against her will and at a young age. For abolitionists, this is a clear case of domestic minor human trafficking. To the public however, it is not.

Instead of calling what happend to Dugard as it is, ie slavery, the Garrido case has been labeled a "kidnapping and rape" incident. While these charges are of course quite serious on their own, they fail to name the true nature of the crime.

By charging Garrido and his wife with kidnapping and rape instead of with domestic minor sex trafficking, not only are authorities making this incident out to be an isolated event, they are also continuing to deny the fact that the same thing is happening to an additional 99,999 children as well.

The result? America will be horrified and stirred up at "the most evil man of the moment" but eventually will go on living their happy peaceful lives thinking he is locked away, ignorant of the fact that, in reality, Garrido is really only one of hundreds of thousands of sex offenders doing the same thing to American children all across the states.

Sadly, Garrido is just the tip of the iceberg. How many more Jaycee LeeDugards will we have to find before we finally realize it?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sex trafficking ring taken down in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES--A sex trafficking ring involving teenage girls has been broken up and four Guatemalan women have been sentenced to multi-decade prison terms.

Federal prosecutors say the impoverished victims from Guatemala were lured to the Los Angeles area and forced into prostitution. Some were forced to have sex with as many as thirty men a day or face beatings if they tried to escape.

Thom Mrozek in the U.S. Attorney’s office says international sex trafficking is new in Southern California.

“We don’t know how prevalent this activity is. We have a human trafficking task force that is active throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties and the Inland Empire working with local law enforcement to determine if there are any victims out there, how quickly we can spring into action and take these women out of their misery.”

Sentencing of the four women and a man ends a two-year investigation that began in the MacArthur Park area of Los Angeles.

Original story from Inland News Today