Newscast Media WASHINGTON—April has been declared National Child Abuse
Prevention Month by President Barack Obama.
In his proclamation, Obama said we all have a role to play in preventing child abuse
and neglect and in helping young victims recover. From parents and guardians to
educators and community leaders, each can help carve out safe places for young
people to build their confidence and pursue their dreams.
“I also encourage Americans to be aware of warning signs of child abuse and neglect,
including sudden changes in behavior or school performance, untreated physical or
medical issues, lack of adult supervision, and constant alertness, as though preparing
for something bad to happen,” Obama said.
Just this very day, a verdict in Delaware was rendered in a child rape case where the
perpetrator walked, while the victim who was raped at the age of three, suffers.
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 BERLIN—Traffickers have kidnapped, tortured, and killed refugees,
most from Eritrea, in eastern Sudan and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, according to dozens
of interviewees said Human Rights Watch. Egypt and Sudan have failed to adequately
identify and prosecute the traffickers and any security officials who may have
colluded with them, breaching both countries’ obligation to prevent torture.
The 79-page report, “‘I Wanted to Lie Down and Die:’ Trafficking and Torture of
Eritreans in Sudan and Egypt,” documents how, since 2010, Egyptian traffickers have
tortured Eritreans for ransom in the Sinai Peninsula, including through rape, burning,
and mutilation. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>
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 MOSCOW—Russian police said Monday that they have broken up a
trafficking ring in Moscow that forced women from the former Soviet country of
Moldova into sexual slavery.
Six Moldovan women were freed and one 45 year-old Moldovan man arrested as a
result of the operation, according to a police statement.
“After arriving in the Russian Federation, the group put [the women] in flats or houses
in the Moscow region, took their documents and, with threats or beatings, forced
them to work as prostitutes,” the statement said.
Police said the women were recruited in Moldova, a small landlocked country
sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania, with the promise of jobs in Russian cafes
and bars. Moldovans do not need visas to enter Russia.
Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, with more than 25 percent of its population
living below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.
Source: Ria Novosti
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 BANGKOK—Local authorities and American Evangelicals are currently working on reduction of sex trafficking in Thailand. But, some sex industry workers say they haven’t been trafficked, and are calling for a stop to the measures. Twenty-eight-year-old Mai has been a sex worker in Chiang Mai for a decade now. Originally from Burma, she previously worked as a domestic helper, a dishwasher, and baker but says none of these jobs allowed her to make as much money as she does now.
“There are good and bad things to any job,” she says. “When I came to do sex work, I realized this is a job that gives me enough income to really look after my family and move ahead in life. I was not tricked into it and I don’t see myself as a victim.” CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media ROME—Following a wish expressed by Pope Francis, the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and of the Social Sciences, together with FIAMC (World Federation of the Catholic Medical Associations) are organizing a preparatory workshop on 2-3 November 2013 in the Casina Pio IV (or Villa Pia) in Vatican City, to examine human trafficking and modern slavery, in order to establish the real status quo and an agenda to combat this heinous crime.
For example, natural sciences today can provide new tools that can be used against this new form of slavery, such as a digital registry to compare the DNA of unidentified missing children (including cases of illegal adoption) with that of their family members who have reported their disappearance.
“No one can deny that the trade in human persons constitutes a shocking offense against human dignity and a grave violation of fundamental human rights and is an accelerator of criminal wealth creation in this new century,” the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and of the Social Sciences, Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo said.
“The Second Vatican Council already stated that slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children, and disgraceful working conditions where people are treated as instruments of gain, constitute a supreme dishonor to the Creator,” he added.
The Vatican also said that each year, it is estimated that about 2 million people are victims of sexual trafficking, 60% of which are girls. Human organ trafficking reaches almost 1% of that figure, thus affecting around 20,000 people who are forced or deceived into giving up an organ (liver, kidney, pancreas, cornea, lung, even the heart), not without the complicity of doctors, nurses and other medical staff, who have pledged to follow Hippocrates’ oath Primum non nocere instead. But these chilling figures “represent only the tip of the iceberg, as criminals generally go to great lengths to prevent the detection of their activities”.
Some observers speculate that, within ten years, human trafficking will surpass drugs and weapons trafficking to become the most profitable criminal activity in the world.
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 PARIS—France has recognized modern-day slavery as a new crime punishable by up to 30 years in jail. Previously, courts were only able to convict suspects on other charges, such as taking advantage of vulnerable people, that carry lighter sentences.
The bill, unanimously adopted by France’s upper house, the Senate, last Thursday, means that anyone holding people against their will and making them work for free, will face between seven and 30 years in prison.
Romana Cacholi, head of advocacy with London-based Anti-Slavery International, told Radio France Internationale that his organization welcomes France’s tough stance. Almost 21 milllion people around the world are currently victims of forced labor, according to the International Labour Organisation.
French anti-slavery campaigners receive more than 200 reports of enslavement per year but believe that it is much more widespread, because it happens in private, often within families.
In France the majority of victims are minors from west Africa, according to Sylvie O’Dy, head of the Committee Against Modern-Day Slavery in France.
“They hope to find a better life in France,” she explained. “They are vulnerable and most of the time, have no clue about our country or our laws. They are therefore easy prey for unscrupulous people.”
The group will now be helping to train the police and legal teams to identify victims of slavery.
Source: Radio France Internationale
Newscast Media LOS ANGELES—A Saudi princess has been charged with human trafficking for allegedly forcing a Kenyan woman to work at her house against her will. On Wednesday, Meshael Alayban, 42, identified as a Saudi princess, was reportedly arrested and charged for keeping a 30-year-old Kenyan woman at her house in the US state of California.
According to Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, Alayban was charged with one count of human trafficking. Alayban was arrested after the Kenyan woman told a passenger on a bus she was traveling on that she was a victim of human trafficking. The passenger then helped the woman contact the police.
According to the domestic worker, she was hired in Kenya in 2012. She added that her passport was taken from her after she arrived in Saudi Arabia.
The Kenyan woman was forced to work long hours, while being paid less than agreed upon. She was also not allowed to leave the house.
“This is not a contract dispute,” said Rackauckas. “This is holding someone captive against their will.”
She likely will be the first person prosecuted in Orange County under California’s Proposition 35, which raised the penalty of human trafficking after voters approved it last November, according to NBCLosAngeles news.
A $5-million bail has been set for Alayban. She has also been required to submit to GPS monitoring. The Saudi princess has also been banned from leaving the country without prior authorization.
Orange County prosecutors identified Alayban as one of the wives of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud. She faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted of human trafficking.
Source: Islam Times
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, D.C.—At the White House Forum to Combat Human Trafficking April 9, the Obama administration released its latest plan to combat a practice that has been called modern-day slavery and to provide help for its victims. In his remarks at the forum, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the new strategic plan will better coordinate the efforts of U.S. federal agencies in dealing with a crime that enslaves an estimated 27 million victims worldwide.
“Attorneys, analysts, researchers, investigators,and law enforcement officials are coming together as never before to study the latest trends in human trafficking,” Holder said. “Over the next five years, this plan will enable us to reinforce our relationships with nongovernmental allies — and build public-private partnerships. It will lead us to develop innovative new strategies for identifying, assisting and seeking
justice on behalf of those trapped in some form of slavery, bonded labor or forced prostitution.”
U.S. officials said the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking will take anti-trafficking efforts to a new level. Holder added that the plan will increase support for legal and victim service providers.
According to the attorney general, the plan sends “a strong message to anyone who would prey on their fellow human beings: that, in this country, human trafficking will not be tolerated. Our commitment to moving aggressively in identifying and prosecuting human traffickers — and supporting those who bring help and healing to victims — has quite simply never been stronger.”
The plan also calls for new public-private partnerships that will provide cutting-edge technology tools to aid law enforcement’s efforts to bring traffickers to justice, as well as new online applications to help link victims with much-needed services. According to the White House announcement, leading technology companies have partnered with advocates and survivors to develop new applications to reach trafficking victims online and on their phones and to link them with services in their community.
The plan also calls for a free legal services network for trafficking victims. The Department of State is establishing a public-private partnership with New Perimeter, LLC, a nonprofit organization established by the law firm DLA Piper designed to increase the availability of pro bono legal services to combat human trafficking. The partnership will use the “3P” framework of prosecuting traffickers, protecting survivors and preventing victimization.
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—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 BEIJING—Due to the cultural belief Chinese hold that people who lose their organs in this life will have them replaced in the next life, the main source of harvesting organs is executed prisoners, according to Radio Deutsche Welle.
“The actual number of executions is a closely guarded state secret,” says John Kamm, the head of the US-based non-profit Dui Hua Foundation.
“However, in recent years to some extent the curtain has been raised somewhat by officials or scholars who have access to the real numbers and earlier this year we did get some indication as to the number of people executed in 2011 – approximately 4000.”
Organ harvesting is a very lucrative business because the organs can be sold on the black market in Asia. It can also lead to human trafficking.
“It’s a bit of a cultural taboo,” explains Kamm. “The Chinese traditionally believe that when they leave this world and enter the next they have to be in possession of all their organs. So the number of people who have been willing to donate organs is very small.”
Five years ago, the government ruled that organs from executed prisoners could only be given to family members. And recently it said that it would phase out the practice of using executed prisoners’ organs by 2015 completely.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is asking students to come up with new and innovative ways to end modern slavery. USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah announced the Campus Challenge to Counter Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) on October 11 at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.
Across three phases and through the USAID website ChallengeSlavery.org, the C-TIP Campus Challenge is designed to increase global awareness about trafficking, inspire activism among students and scholars at colleges and universities worldwide and generate new, creative ideas and solutions to stop human trafficking and help the 20.9 million people around the world are enslaved in sex or labor exploitation, USAID said.
During the first phase from October 11 to November 28 at ChallengeSlavery.org, students will have the opportunity to participate in discussion groups on various trafficking subtopics, host online conversations, and crowdsourcing issues that will frame the problems to be addressed in the next phase.
The contest phase, from November 28 to January 8, 2013, will be open for applications from U.S. and international students proposing innovative technological solutions to advance trafficking-in-persons prevention and protection.
From January 9, 2013, to January 30, 2013, the ChallengeSlavery.org community will be invited to rate the proposals and provide suggestions on how submissions can be improved. On February 1, 2013, USAID will announce the semifinalists and in the following three weeks, semifinalist proposals will be judged by an expert C-TIP and technologist panel. The winners will be announced at the end of February and will be invited to share their proposals with donors, C-TIP and technology professionals.
Included in the implementation of the USAID’s 2012 C-TIP Policy, and building on President Obama’s speech at the Clinton Global Initiative, USAID policy and programs place a heightened emphasis on innovation, technology and empirical research to help prevent trafficking and provide assistance to victims, USAID said.
USAID said it is partnering with Not for Sale, Slavery Footprint, Free the Slaves and MTV Exit on this project to maximize efforts and inspire millions of people already working on the issue and invite new activists to the cause, ultimately, strengthening the movement to return freedom to the millions of people robbed of their dignity every day.
The report represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it. The U.S. government uses the TIP report to engage foreign governments in dialogues to advance anti-trafficking reforms and to combat trafficking and to target resources on prevention, protection and prosecution programs.
In addition, USAID programmed $163.3 million in C-TIP activities in 68 countries and regional missions between 2001 and 2010 and continues to work around the world.