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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Rowing Against Slavery Spreads The Word

Peter Gadiot explains Rowing Against Slavery’s attempt to set a world record for rowing across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to Antiqua. The current record is 33 days, so their goal is to cross in 32 days. But the real goal of the journey to help raise awareness about modern slavery.

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5 Million Brazillian Workers Underage – Deep Brazil

child labor and slavery in Brazil

One hundred and eleven years after Brazil abolished slavery, the number of workers deprived of their freedom is still huge. They raise cattle, produce charcoal, sugar cane or timber. Some of them, most undocumented Bolivians, work in basements of small apparel factories in São Paulo and other metropolis.

According to the latest official statistics, the country also counts at least 1.2 million young workers between the ages of 5 and 13 – even if Brazilian law forbids those under 14 to work. If you add teens up to 18 years-old, you will have more than 5 million underage Brazilians in the market place. A huge percentage of them receive no salary.

This number includes teens “adopted” informally to work as housekeepers and submitted to very long hours. It also includes many sexual workers. Brazil’s highway police recently identified more than 1,800 truck stops around the country where minors offer sexual services .

A report released in September by the US Department of Labor, aiming to shed lights on “exploitative working conditions in the production of goods” in 77 countries, concludes that there is fair evidence that several Brazilian industries are responsible for perpetrating these irregular labor practices.

Brazillian Government Is Taking Action.

But the report also acknowledges that the government “has taken an exemplary, multifaceted approach to the elimination of child and forced labor”. It has “improved its legislative framework, enforced these laws effectively, established targeted action plans to combat child labor, forced labor, and trafficking in persons”, among other initiatives.

Last October, Brazil and a few other countries signed an agreement to work together to eradicate child labor by 2020, with the support of the International Labor Organization.

The Brazilian government also created the so-called “Dirty List” (Lista Suja) of forced labor cases, including the names of companies and property owners who use workers under forced labor conditions. In my former job, as a Social and Environmental risk analyst for Banco Real, one of the main financial institutions in the country, we wouldn’t offer credit to companies included in the Dirty List without promoting extensive auditing of their labor conditions and verifying their compliance to a series of laws.

There are, in fact, evidences that all these federal initiatives are pretty effective.

Between 2003 and 2008, almost 27 thousand people submitted to forced labor were released. Child labor has been steadily declining (in the early nineties, there were around 8 million under age workers in the country). One of the reasons is that the Brazilian economy and middle class are growing. Many families that had to find their kids a job now afford to keep them in school.

It is still not good enough. Civil society and the government have to increase their engagement in this combat against labor practices that are both shameful and deeply rooted.

Republished with permission. Originally posted as 5 Million Workers Underage by  Deep Brazil.

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The Shaniya Davis Tragedy Brings Child Trafficking Into Media Spotlight

It’s unfortunate that it takes a  tragic death, like that of Shaniya Davis,  to bring the issue of child trafficking in the United States into the light of mainstream media scrutiny. Evidence has surfaced that perhaps her mother sold her for sex to pay off a drug debt. But the only thing that makes this case truly unique is Shaniya’s age.

“Lois Lee, the founder and president of the non-profit Children of the Night, said drugs are often involved when mothers are found to have sold or traded their children. But the trafficking of a 5-year-old is ‘very rare,’ Lee said. ‘And very rare that they would call it trafficking.'” – ABC News

“While there are no numbers on how many young children are trafficked by their own parents, there are about 100,000 minors trafficked in the United States each year”.  – ABC News

Shaniya is one of 100,000. That number should shock you. It shocks me and it’s not the first time I’ve seen it. So while I applaud Shaquille O’Neal for stepping up to pay for Shaniya’s funeral. More people with means need to attach themselves to the fight against child sex trafficking, the most hideous form of child slavery. And more needs to be done to combat it.

I wish I had some answers. Unfortunately, stories like Shaniya’s leave me with only questions.

And anger.

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A Capacity For Cruelty Is Never Justified

I caught up with Jean Robert the next day and ask him – “in the end, does this all happen because of poverty?” He is adamant. “No, no, no. Poverty doesn’t explain how one human being can treat another this way,” he exclaims.

via Anderson Cooper 360: Blog Archive – A capacity for cruelty is never justified « – Blogs from CNN.com.

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Pornography, Prostitution And Child Sex Trafficking: An Interview with Patrick A. Trueman

On May 14, 2009, Patrick A. Trueman and I sat down to discuss what we both agreed was the most evil form of slavery – child sex trafficking. Our meeting took place in Washington, D.C at a small table in the restaurant of The Washington Marriott. It seems fitting in retrospect. A few miles away and 144 years earlier, on February 1, 1865, Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, abolishing slavery in the United States of America.

We are all taught that slavery in the United States officially ended that day. It didn’t.

patrick_truemanPartrick Trueman is the former Chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Criminal Division, U. S. Department of Justice. Mr. Trueman has spent over 2o years in the battle against child sex trafficking and has some very strong opinions about the correlation between pornography, prostitution and the child sex trade. You may agree or disagree with his conclusions, but when you finish listening to this conversation, you will not be able to argue that you are unaware of how pervasive child sex trafficking is right here in the United States of America. This is a very frank conversation. If you are easily offended or are simply not ready to open your eyes to this issue, don’t bother clicking on the links below. If you are ready to get a more complete understanding of child slavery in America, please make the time necessary to fully digest the two clips of audio that follow.

Intro to Patrick Trueman’s history with child exploitation & child sex trafficking. (4:30)

The next piece of audio represents the rest of the recorded conversation. It is almost 50 minutes long. I had originally wanted to chop this up into several parts. I posted a small excerpt, 60 Seconds On Child Trafficking, a few days after our time together and had delayed posting the remainder until I could spend the time necessary to do intelligently split the conversation. In listening to it again, I realized this would be a mistake. Each piece of this conversation needs to be heard in it’s the context. There are some very sensitive issues that could easily be misinterpreted otherwise. So, while I realize that 50 minutes is a significant time investment, I am certain you will find the conversation as enlightening as I did.

Pornography, Prostitution And Child Sex Trafficking: An Interview with Patrick A. Trueaman. (49:39 this may take a few moments to start)

Your comments are welcomed. If you’ve found value in this, please spread the word on Twitter.

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Interview With Shelley Seale

This morning I had the extreme pleasure of doing a live video interview with Shelley Seale, author of The Weight Of Silence: Invisible Children Of India. Unfortunately we ran into some audio issues and decided not to present her full screen during the session and this resulted in the recording from that conversation only capturing my side of the conversation. Trust me when I tell you that my side of the conversation was NOT the most interesting side!

While this is extremely unfortunate, I’m gives me a reason to schedule another time to do an interview with Shelley.  Next time we will do the video interview in the evening when more people can show up and listen live. In addition,  I’ll use my own recording tools to make sure we get it all.

Shelley, thank you so much for your time this morning and for the wonderful gift that The Weight of Silence is!

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How Can We Truly Honor Those Who’ve Died For Our Freedom?

It would honor our fallen heroes most this Memorial day if everyone living and working in the United States of America was actually free. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Shelley Seale, a guest writer here on StopChildSlavery.com, has written an excellent review of a new book called The Slave Next Door. In her review she asks the question, “When did the U.S. government last use slave labor to build something? 1776? 1865?”

According to The Slave Next Door, the answer is 2003.

As I sit here today, enjoying the freedom paid for by the blood of brave young American men and women and honoring their memory, I can’t help but be saddened. As Shelley put it:

In The Slave Next Door we find that slaves are all around us, hidden in plain sight: the dishwasher in the kitchen of the neighborhood restaurant, the kids on the corner selling cheap trinkets, the man sweeping the floor of the local department store. In these pages we also meet some unexpected slaveholders, such as a 27-year old middle-class Texas housewife who is currently serving a life sentence for offences including slavery.

Weaving together a wealth of voices—from slaves, slaveholders, and traffickers as well as from experts, counselors, law enforcement officers, rescue and support groups, and others—this book is also a call to action, telling what we, as private citizens, can do to finally bring an end to this horrific crime.

Take a few moments to go read Shelley’s excellent review.

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