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 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 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
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, 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 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.