Tag Archives: child slavery

Child Slavery In The Wake Of The Earthquake In Haiti

I was sent a link to this video, Helping Haiti’s Child Slaves, this morning via email. I’ve seen it before and even linked to a longer version of it in A Capacity For Cruelty Is Never Justified.

But in light of the recent earthquake in Haiti, it seems more urgent than ever that the world be aware of the plight of  a segment of the restavec (French: rester avec – one who stays with) population in Haiti. What is evident from the video clip is that, in today’s world, some restavec are indeed treated as slaves. But what is also evident is the complexity of the problem in light of the cultural differences that exist between countries. And it’s not just between the USA and Haiti. My wife just returned from Kenya with Mothers Fighting For Others, where the people she met could not believe we DIDN’T beat our children with a cane. And while I agree with the conclusion that “a capacity for cruelty is never justified,” it is also true that “child labor is an unfortunate consequence of poverty and it’s attending miseries.” It’s a complex issue.

Not All Child Labor Should Be Considered Child Slavery

If we’re to address the issues that surround child slavery in developing countries like Haiti, we must not look at them through the myopic lens of our own culture. I’m neither an economist or a sociologist, but, as I read more and more, it is painfully clear to me that sometimes what I would love to be a “black and white” issue is incredibly gray. There are no simple answers. My perspective is one of a myriad. So, I encourage you to read this post by The Haitian Blogger for a different viewpoint. Warning, it’s a long post. Clear out some time to digest it properly.

One thing I know for sure – the earthquake in Haiti is not going to make the task any simpler.

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Human Trafficking of Children in the United States Fact Sheet

Contrary to a common assumption, human trafficking is not just a problem in other countries. Cases of human trafficking have been reported in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and some U.S. territories. Victims of human trafficking can be children or adults, U.S. citizens or foreign nationals, male or female.

According to U.S. government estimates, thousands of men, women, and children are trafficked to the United States for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. An unknown number of U.S. citizens and legal residents are trafficked within the country primarily for sexual servitude and, to a lesser extent, forced labor.

via U.S. Department of Education.

In addition to a list of resources and publications, the Human Trafficking of Children in the United States Fact Sheet for Schools (pdf) also answers the following questions:

  • What Is Human Trafficking?
  • What Is the Extent of Human Trafficking in the United States ?
  • How Does Human Trafficking Affect Our Schools?
  • How Do I Identify a Victim of Human Trafficking?
  • How Do I Report a Suspected Incidence of Human Trafficking?
  • How Does the United States Help Victims of Human Trafficking?
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Make Someone Aware Of Human Trafficking Today

Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. What can you do? Change.org has a great post detailing 40 Ideas for Action on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day: From Facebook to Legislation.

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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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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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Fighting Child Sexual Slavery

The scope and magnitude of human trafficking is growing to epidemic proportions. Efforts directed at public awareness campaigns and victim support are useful, but they don’t address the source of the problem: The Demand. – Global Centurion

This is the worst form of child slavery. Global Centurion is “dedicated to eliminating child sex slavery by focusing on investigation, arrest, prosecution, and conviction of the predators and perpetrators.” Please go visit their website to learn more about this non-profit organization.

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A Powerful Statement

Weak children need strong laws. – The International News

And if the laws are to be changed to defend those who can’t defend themselves, our voices must be clear and loud in support of ending forced child labour, slavery and trafficking.

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Moved by Love146

This is a video you simply must watch from Love146.org.

Read the Love146 Blog.

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