Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of State is developing a campaign to promote the prevention of child marriage as a main principle of U.S. foreign and development policy, in keeping with a law passed in March 2013.
Policy development experts in this area explained to a Washington audience July 31 why the prevention of child marriage is critical to improving the status of women and advancing prosperity in the developing world.
“Ending this practice is not just a moral imperative, but a strategic imperative,” said Rachel Vogelstein of the Council on Foreign Relations, “because it has broad implications for U.S. foreign policy goals.”
Vogelstein is a former adviser in the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues and the editor of a recent publication, Ending Child Marriage: How Elevating the Status of Girls Advances U.S. Foreign Policy Objectives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that by 2020, 50 million girls will have married under the age of 15.
Research clearly shows that early marriage ends a girl’s education. Girls without education don’t become productive, high-value workers who contribute to increasing their community’s prosperity. Without education, they aren’t aware of good nutrition and health habits, and this affects the children they bear, data show. They are more likely to be victims of gender-based violence, and more than twice as likely to be beaten by their husbands as older women, according to one survey.
For those well-documented reasons, the need for U.S. attention to prevention of child marriage has taken on new importance in the State Department’s annual evaluation of human rights practices worldwide and in action plans at the U.S. Agency for International Development.
“The strategy is first and foremost about changing attitudes,” said Caren Grown, USAID’s acting senior coordinator for gender equality and women’s empowerment. The USAID vision aims to “change the attitudes of community elders, of parents, of men, of religious leaders, of key stakeholders in the population.” Grown said U.S. efforts must align with locally based initiatives to convince communities that child marriage perpetuates poverty and inhibits national development by denying opportunities for girls and the children they’ll bear.
Governments may come to recognize the adverse consequences of the practice, even when it occurs in rural or isolated areas or among certain ethnic or religious groups. For example, the average age of marriage in Bangladesh rose by about eight years as industries expanded and increased the need for a capable labor force, influencing social norms on child marriage, research showed.
Findings like that, Grown said, can influence an economic development strategy to create a skilled and educated workforce “that gives women and men opportunities that actually could be an important catalyst here.”
While the strategy is still being evaluated, Grown said, it appears to be a promising initiative for changing social perceptions on the value of daughters. The World Bank is conducting similar programs in sub-Saharan Africa that show promise for discouraging child marriage.
In Ethiopia and Tanzania, USAID and partners are working through existing health assistance programs to help married teenage girls with family planning and counseling. Noting the new U.S. foreign policy directive on the issue, Vogelstein cited a building momentum to reduce the practice of child marriage. More than 250 nonprofit organizations are working on the issue around the world, she said.
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”.
by Stoyan Zaimov
Newscast Media ATLANTA—The End It Movement, a coalition of organizations fighting to end human slavery, led by Pastor Louie Giglio of Passion City Church in Atlanta, has posted a powerful new video showcasing a group of sex slaves being driven around a transparent bus, prompting shocked reactions from onlookers.
“We are here to shine a light on slavery. No more bondage. No more sex trafficking. No more child laborers. No more, starting now,” the End It movement says. “Slavery still exists. We want every man, woman and child to know that there are 27 million men, women and children, just like them, living in the shadows, working as slaves, in 161 countries, including our own.”
END IT Movement Anti-Slavery/Human Trafficking Video
A man posing as one of the kidnappers shouts at the captives, as the people looking at the truck react with disbelief, shock and confusion.
“Every year, women are trafficked to major sporting events to be sold as sex slaves,” reads the side of the truck driving through the city.
While the truck with the sex slaves is a staged re-enactment, the responses from the onlookers are real – the movement says that the footage was filmed “at a national sporting event in Atlanta, Ga., on the weekend of April 6th.”
The End It Movement held its “Shine a Light on Slavery” day on April 9, where tens of thousands of people across America participated by marking or wearing the symbolic red X, the group’s logo, and encouraged others to find out more about human trafficking and what they can do to help.
“Then people have to ask – ‘what is this?’ At that point, we as a nation can raise our voice in honor of the 27,000,000 slaves. The hope of the movement [is] for everyone to know. Indifference is NOT an option,” Masi Willis, project manager of the End It Movement, previously shared with The Christian Post. The video ends with the question: “If you could see it, would you end it?”
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—April was declared Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month by Barack Obama, as he reminded the nation that sexual violence was an affront to human dignity that cannot be tolerated and calls on Americans to offer their support to survivors of such crimes.
The proclamation reads:
In the last 20 years, our nation has made meaningful progress toward addressing sexual assault. Where victims were once left without recourse, laws have opened a path to safety and justice; where a culture of fear once kept violence hidden, survivors are more empowered to speak out and get help.
But even today, too many women, men, and children suffer alone or in silence, burdened by shame or unsure anyone will listen. This month, we recommit to changing that tragic reality by stopping sexual assault before it starts and ensuring victims get the support they need.
Sexual violence is an affront to human dignity and a crime no matter where it occurs. While rape and sexual assault affect all communities, those at the greatest risk are children, teens, and young women. Nearly one in five women will be a victim of sexual assault during college.
For some groups, the rates of violence are even higher — Native American women are more than twice as likely to experience sexual assault as the general population. Moreover, we know rape and sexual assault are consistently underreported, and that the physical and emotional trauma they leave behind can last for years.
With Vice President Joe Biden’s leadership, we have made preventing sexual violence and supporting survivors a top priority. Earlier this month, I was proud to sign the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which renews and strengthens the law that first made it possible for our country to address sexual assault in a comprehensive way. The act preserves critical services like rape crisis centers, upholds protections for immigrant victims, gives state and tribal law enforcement better tools to investigate cases of rape, and breaks down barriers that keep lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender victims from getting help. It also expands funding for sexual assault nurse examiner programs and sexual assault response teams, helping states deliver justice for survivors and hold offenders accountable.
Just as we keep fighting sexual assault in our neighborhoods, we must also recommit to ending it in our military—because no one serving our country should be at risk of assault by a fellow service member.
Where this crime does take place, it cannot be tolerated; victims must have access to support, and offenders must face the consequences of their actions. Members of our armed forces and their families can learn more about the resources available to them at 1-877-995-5247 and www.SafeHelpline.org.
All Americans can play a role in changing the culture that enables sexual violence. Each of us can take action by lifting up survivors we know and breaking the silence surrounding rape and sexual assault. To get involved, visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/1is2many.
Together, our nation is moving forward in the fight against sexual assault. This month, let us keep working to prevent violence in every corner of America, and let us rededicate ourselves to giving survivors the bright future they deserve.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2013 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. I urge all Americans to support survivors of sexual assault and work together to prevent these crimes in their communities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.
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.”