Category Archives: Middle East

Kuwait Taking Steps To Counter Human Trafficking

The Kuwait Times is reporting that the embassy of Netherlands in Kuwait is sponsoring a three-day workshop about fighting human trafficking to be held, coincidentally, on Monday, the same day the United States is observing National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

“The workshop aims to help the State of Kuwait to benefit from increasing Kuwaiti employees’ qualifications by offering the required training in this regard,” Iman Ereiqat, the officer in charge of the IOM’s regional office, told the Kuwait Times. Source: New steps to counter human trafficking.

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Silence Over. The Victims Need Our Voices.

I’m unable to sleep.

girl stonedIt is 4:30 AM and I’ve been lying in bed since 3:45 AM trying to shake the images of a girl being stoned to death for dating a man from another religion.

I spend some time each day Stumbling on the Internet. The habit leads to amazing discoveries. Most of those discoveries I’m enthusiastic to share. Last night it lead to one of the most disturbing videos I’ve ever seen. And I considered NOT talking about it. It was just too graphic and disturbing.

But after my one day of silence to honor victims of senseless violence, it’s time to SHOUT.

The video was captured on a cell phone camera, grainy and pixelated in most parts. It began playing the moment I landed on the page, so my eyes were distracted from the poorly placed warning and the headline about the content was small and obscured. The scene was a crowded street in the Middle East. Men are shouting and the camera is moving wildly. A few seconds into the video, I realized I was watching something barbaric and hit the pause button.

I didn’t ask to be on this page. So, I scrolled through the video using the scrub bar, silencing the chants, trying to dull the visual. Then I thought, “force yourself to watch this. Don’t turn away because you are uncomfortable. You’ve been doing that for 45 years.” So I watched it in full.

I WILL NOT link to the video. The images in this post were captured a few moments ago. They are all I can show without feeling like I am glorifying the crowd’s actions. They are all I can show without sensationalizing a women’s brutal death. Words elude me. And yet I’m compelled to write.

How can I hope for an end to child slavery when entire cultures still treat women this way. It’s all related. It’s all connected. We can’t end one without ending the other. The video was a harsh awakening to just how vast our cultural differences are. How sheltered I am here in the United States. How much I don’t understand. How badly I need to do more than talk.

Robots Replace Child Slaves

An article on Netscape popped up in my newly established slavery rss feed today. It appears to be an article that was published in December, so I’m not sure why it popped up today. But I’m glad it did. The full article can be found here.

“Until last year, hundreds of children were recruited into the centuries-old Arab sport of camel racing because of their low weight and height, which meant the camels could run faster.”

“However, in June 2005 the UAE issued a law banning the use of children under the age of 18 from racing camels. Violators face jail terms of up to three years and/or a fine of 50,000 dirhams (US $13,670). To date, 1,077 child jockeys have been repatriated, mainly to Pakistan. Other source countries for camel jockeys in the UAE included Bangladesh, Mauritania and Sudan.”

Now word comes that these new “robot jockeys” are all the rage.

“The robot is cheaper. It costs between 500 and 2,000 dirhams [US $136 to $545] and there are no other costs like salary, food and clothes,” said Abdullah Moubarek al-Muhairi, head of the camel racing association at Watbah, the main camel racing track in the capital, Abu Dhabi.

“There is also no danger. Before, some of the children used to fall off and injure themselves, but now we don’t have this worry,” al-Muhairi told IRIN at the track.

Here is a link to more detail on the story.

One excuse for slavery down, many to go.