Newscast Media WASHINGTON—U.S. legislation signed into law March 7 renews and strengthens an almost 20-year-old law designed to prevent and respond to violence against women, but the 2013 version reaches beyond the U.S. population to the world at large in an attempt to prevent marriage of children under 18. Child marriages usually take place in the Middle East, India and in Africa.
The new provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) direct the secretary of state to develop and implement a plan to prevent child marriage, promote empowerment of girls at risk of early marriage, and target countries where a high prevalence of child marriage is known to occur.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that more than 140 million girls will become child brides in the years ahead. The rate of child marriage accounts for more than 14 million marriages annually, or 39,000 young girls who are forced into a premature marriage each day.
International studies of the practice show that early marriage affects a woman’s entire future, her health and her potential. Early marriage usually ends a girl’s education, blocks her opportunity to develop vocational skills, increases her risk of becoming a victim of violence, and exposes her to pregnancy before she has fully matured.
Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois was instrumental in the initiatives against child marriage in the VAWA.
Child marriage is “the root cause of many of the world’s most pressing development issues — HIV/AIDS, child mortality and abject poverty,” said Durbin in a statement released through his Washington office. Inclusion of child marriage provisions in VAWA put the issue squarely before the public and international partners, he said.
“It is the policy of the U.S. government to end child marriage around the globe. These important steps will change the lives of millions in some of the world’s forgotten places,” Durbin said.
The advancement of women and girls is a central element of U.S. foreign policy under the Obama administration. The ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues within the State Department plays a leading role in advancing this issue in foreign policy forums.
The advocacy group Girl Up, sponsored by the U.S.-based U.N. Foundation, also celebrates the inclusion of the international provisions in the VAWA and claims some of the credit. Tens of thousands of U.S. girls communicated their opposition to child marriage to lawmakers through this organization — a testament to the power of youth voices — said Girl Up campaign head Melissa Hillebrenner.
“This is an amazing victory for girls, but only a start in the battle to end child marriage,” Hillebrenner said. “It is going to take a concerted voice of grass-roots advocates, [nongovernmental organizations], the [United Nations], and champions like Senator Durbin and Representatives McCollum and Schock to root out this practice and give girls a chance to reach their full potential.”
UNICEF reported in a recent news release that some parents agree to wed a young girl to another family simply to reduce household need, or because of an attractive dowry offered by the groom’s family.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—Of all the stories that Newscast Media covers, we especially put an emphasis on stories that involve human trafficking, and have been leading the fight to expose this grotesques practice. On January 3, we also front-paged the article, “ICE busts sexual exploitation ring open with 120 victims involved.”
Our mission at Newscast Media is to speak out against oppressed innocence and we are glad the president has also thrown his weight behind this fight and promises to “combat this scourge”, by dismantling trafficking networks and strengthening sanctions on governments that allow human trafficking to occur.
The White House released Barack Obama’s proclamation of January 2013 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and as always, Newscast Media gives credit where credit is due. We therefore wish to commend the president for his bold and pragmatic approach in his condemnation of human trafficking, and for the January 2013 proclamation month.
“As Americans, we have long rejected such cruelty. We have recognized it as a debasement of our common humanity and an affront to the principles we cherish. And for more than a century, we have made it a national mission to bring slavery and human trafficking to an end,” Obama said.
“Our commitment to stopping human trafficking does not end at our borders. As a leader in the global movement to combat this scourge, the United States has renewed sanctions on governments that harbor the worst offenders. We have partnered with groups around the world to help men, women, and children escape their abusers…We have aided others in addressing modern slavery’s root causes, and encouraged
nations across the globe to pass comprehensive anti-trafficking laws, enforce them rigorously, and care for survivors,” Obama added.
*Click here to read Obama’s full proclamation from the White House.
Despite the mainstream media’s unwillingness to cover human trafficking stories because they cannot be sensationalized, we are pleased that the policy-makers are paying regular attention to this Web site, and are responding accordingly.
Below are some of the highlights of stories Newscast Media has covered, to expose human trafficking — from the earliest to most recent stories:
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents during an international operation aimed at rescuing victims and targeting individuals who own, trade and produce images of child pornography, identified over 120 victims of child sexual exploitation.
Of that number, 44 children were directly rescued from their abusers and 79 were identified as either being exploited by others outside of their home or are now adults who were victimized as children.
HSI launched Operation Sunflower in November 2012 to commemorate the one-year anniversary in which the identification of a sunflower-shaped highway road sign led to the rescue of an 11-year-old girl in Kansas. Operation Sunflower was executed through the first week of December 2012, but victim identification and rescue efforts continue under HSI’s Operation Predator.
“The sexual abuse of young children, often at the hands of people they trust, is a particular wrong,” said ICE Director John Morton. “Whenever our investigations reveal the production and distribution of new child pornography online, we will do everything we can to rescue the victim and prosecute the abuser even if takes us years or around the world to do it. A relentless fight against child exploitation is the only answer.”
HSI and partner law enforcement agencies arrested 245 individuals during the operation, which took place Nov. 1 to Dec. 7. Of the 123 victims, 110 were identified in 19 U.S. states.
Of the 123 victims identified during Operation Sunflower: five were under the age of 3, nine were ages 4 to 6; 21 were ages 7 to 9; 11 were ages 10 to 12; 38 were ages 13 to 15; and 15 were ages 16 to 17. Twenty-four of the victims identified are now adults who were victimized as children. Seventy were female and 53 were male.
Now, the public’s help is being sought with any leads that can help provide clues in several cases and rescue more victims.
“We applaud our partners at ICE for their worldwide work in identifying these victims of child sexual exploitation and for helping to remove these children from extremely dangerous situations,” said NCMEC CEO John Ryan. “We know that there’s more work to be done. Anyone could know these victims, not knowing that they’re being harmed. They could be your neighbors’ children, your child’s classmate, or even your own child. We thank Director Morton and everyone at ICE for their strong commitment to rescuing the most vulnerable of victims.”
Newscast Media –We’ve all heard the cliche, “Nice guys finish last,” at least in the education sector, that seems to be very true. Schools are now hiring sexual offenders as school teachers and employees, and when these predators abuse little children as young as kindergartners, they simply get a slap on their wrist. All this information has been published in a new government report.
Even in an environment that attracts sexual predators, one would think that schools would take background checks and police reports seriously, but that isn’t necessarily true. In 15 cases where schools hired people with a history of sexual misconduct, 11 abused children and in six instances, the sex offenders used their new jobs to abuse more children, the Government Accountability Office report stated.
The report shows that 232 child molesters claimed they abused 17,000 victims, sometimes never being caught. There are law abiding teachers with high standards and values who cannot get jobs because they have squeaky clean backgrounds, yet these schools won’t hesitate to hire people with questionable and tainted backgrounds.
The psychological explanation is that those who tend to uphold certain standards and pursue excellence in their endeavors, whether it is in the business sector, education or even law enforcement, create an atmosphere where the mediocre by-standers feel pressured to step up their game. This happens through impartation. When those in positions of authority are comfortable with the status quo, they don’t want to be challenged to evolve, so they tend to frown upon those who pursue excellence.
However, when an individual has blemishes and questionable character, for some strange reason such individuals tend to be favored over those who play by the rules. This is because it empowers those in authority to know that these individuals have known weaknesses, which makes them feel better about themselves, knowing that they are in the company of others who have much greater weaknesses than themselves, and are prone to being manipulated or exploited by those very same people in authority.
Two people can commit the same crime. One could be a career criminal, while the other has committed the crime for the first time, yet the habitual criminal gets winked at, and the first-timer is severely punished. All you have to do is take a look at Wesley Snipes and Charlie Rangel. Both didn’t pay taxes, yet one went to jail, and the other who committed a more serious crime got to keep his job in Washington and no jail time.
With examples like the ones below, one has to question the judgment and state of mind of those in authority who oversee the employees involved in the incidents that were uncovered and published in the report. The study found:
A Connecticut public school district compelled a teacher to resign after he accessed pornography on a school computer. Although the school district reported the abuse to child protective services, a district administrator told another Connecticut school seeking a reference that they would rehire the teacher “without reservation.” A second Connecticut school district also compelled him to resign, but his separation specifically directed all inquiries from future employers to the superintendent and agreed that he would provide a letter of recommendation. This school district also provided him with positive
references. He was eventually hired by a third Connecticut school district, where he was convicted of sexually assaulting two students.
An Ohio teacher forced to resign a previous job for “inappropriate” conduct with
female students was called an “outstanding teacher” by the school superintendent and was later hired in a nearby district where he was convicted of sexual battery of a sixth-grade girl.
A registered sex offender in Texas was hired by several schools in Louisiana. He is currently wanted by police for having “sexual conversations with a student.”
An Arizona school’s rush to fill an opening resulted in skipping a criminal check of a teacher convicted of sexually abusing a child. The teacher was later convicted for having sexual contact with a student and had videos of nude, underage girls in his possession.
A Florida public school allowed an individual who was convicted of having sex with an underage male to work as a volunteer coach without a criminal history check, even though school policy provided that volunteers would be subject to such checks. He was eventually arrested for having sexual contact with a student on one of the school’s sports teams. The list goes on in this 44 page government report.
The study found no federal laws regulating the employment of sex offenders in public or private schools and widely divergent laws at the state level, especially with regard to requirements and methods for conducting criminal history checks on employees. http://www.newscastmedia.com/child-abusers.html