Newscast Media WASHINGTON—United Nations child rights experts today hailed a new
treaty that allows children to complain directly to the world body about alleged
violations of their rights.
The treaty, known as the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the
Child on a Communications Procedure, entered into force today – three months after
Costa Rica became the 10th country to deposit its instrument of ratification.
“Today marks the beginning of a new era for children’s rights,” said Kirsten Sandberg,
Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child; Marta Santos Pais, the
Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Violence against Children; Leila
Zerrougui, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed
Conflict; and Najat Maalla M’jid, UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child
prostitution and child pornography. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media ROME—Representatives of the Catholic, Anglican and Muslim worlds gathered for the first time ever in the Vatican press office on Monday for the launch of a Global Freedom Network aimed at eradicating human trafficking by the end of the decade. Philippa Hitchen went along to witness this historic event:
The groundbreaking agreement to work closely together across the different faith communities was signed by Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo on behalf of Pope Francis.
The Argentinian bishop is chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences which brought together a broad coalition of anti-trafficking experts for a workshop last November. He was joined by New Zealand Archbishop David Moxon, director of the Anglican Centre here in Rome and representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See.
Also on hand to sign the founding declaration was Dr Mahmoud Azab, representing the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, one of the most important centers of Sunni Islam located in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.
By mobilizing the world’s major faith communities, this new Network hopes to bring an end by 2020 to what Pope Francis has dared to call a crime against humanity. Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo:
“It’s not politically correct to call this modern slavery a crime against humanity but
we want to arrive at that in national and international law….”
Statistics show some 30 million men, women and children are currently caught in the clutches of human traffickers and that figure is believed by many to be just the tip of the iceberg. Organizers of this Global Freedom Network are hoping to touch the hearts of all believers to help put an end to this exploitation which they call a shameful affront to our common humanity.
Source: Vatican Radio
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The Obama administration, as part of its commitment to fight human trafficking, has produced the first Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States. The five-year plan, released this month, lays out a path for increased collaboration among more than 15 U.S. federal government agencies.
The plan defines human trafficking as a crime that involves the exploitation of a person for the purpose of compelled labor or a commercial sex act.
Sex trafficking, which is part of human trafficking, is a federal crime and is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a [commercial] sex act in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.
While it is difficult to measure the magnitude of human trafficking, the International Labour Organization estimates that more than 20 million men, women and children are victimized by forced labor and sex trafficking worldwide, including the United States.
Many of these victims are lured with false promises of well-paying jobs or manipulated by people they trust. They are forced or coerced into prostitution, domestic servitude, or other types of forced labor.
“While there is no defining characteristic that all victims share, traffickers frequently prey on individuals who are poor, vulnerable, living in an unsafe situation, or are in search of a better life,” the report says. “Whether made to work in agriculture, a factory or a strip club, forced into commercial sex, or abused in a home as a domestic servant, [U.S.] federal law recognizes these people as victims of human trafficking.”
Although the plan focuses on combating human trafficking in the United States, President Obama, in designating January 2014 as “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month,” called upon the international community to join forces in ending this scourge.
“Because modern-day slavery is a global tragedy, combating it requires international action,” Obama said in his proclamation.
Dismantling trafficking networks and aiding victims are only part of the work that needs to be done by the United States and the international community, Obama said.
Newscast Media NEW DEHLI—Despite India’s rapid economic growth, millions of its
citizens live in slave-like conditions, according to a new index. Economist Ravi
Srivastava attributes this to a lack of political will to enforce existing laws.
CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media VATICAN CITY—The scourge of human trafficking and the continued tension in the Middle East were the focus of Pope Francis’ concerns in discussions with the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Serbian native Vuk Jeremic.
Mr Jeremic later went on to meet with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti respectively Secretary of State and Secretary for Relations with States.
A statement issued following the ‘cordial’ meeting reads:
“A number of issues of mutual interest were discussed in particular the resolution of international conflicts through peaceful means, with specific reference to the Middle East, and the serious humanitarian emergencies caused by them. In this context the importance of reconciliation between the various communities that make up society and respect for the rights of ethnic and religious minorities was recognized. The problem of human trafficking was also dwelt upon as well as the plight of refugees and migrants.
With regard to the present global economic crisis, reference was made to the role that the UN General Assembly could assume in programs for the sustainable development agenda after 2015, which respects the environment and at the same time is capable of reducing the distance between rich and poor.
Today’s meeting confirmed the Holy See’s appreciation for the central role of the Organization in the search for the common good of humanity. Mention was made of the contribution that the Catholic Church also makes, with the means proper to and in accordance with her identity, in favor of the promotion of integral human dignity, peace and a culture of encounter, hoping that those values can always inspire the General Assembly’s debates and deliberations”.
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.”