Don't join any of these group ISIS, Al Qaida, Al Shabab and Boko haram these are human traffickers

Friday, April 29, 2011

Walk-a-thon raises awareness
Jean Miller, left, participates in the "Trafficjam" walk-a-thon on Saturday.
Photographer: Jason Teakle

Published: Sun, 24 Apr 2011 by Jason Teakle
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Deb Johnston walked to help give victims of human trafficking their lives back.
"Victims are stripped of their identity and freedom," said Johnston, spokesperson for the local branch of Canada Fights Human Trafficking. "We provide victim services to integrate them back into their community."
About a dozen people participated in the Canada Fights Human Trafficking "Trafficjam" walk-a-thon, which took place at the Brantford Tourism Centre on Saturday. Similar Trafficjam walks were also held across the country.
Johnston said Canada Fights Human Trafficking also works to raise awareness about the problem of human trafficking within Canada's borders. The organization provides hosing, medical care, language courses and other services to help integrate victims into society.
"Two years ago, human trafficking did not exist as an issue," she said. "We work to educate law enforcement, social service agencies, schools and the legal community."
Johnston said victims of human trafficking in the past were often referred to as "street youth lured into prostitution."
"Now, we are talking about human trafficking and there is a national response," she said.
Jean Miller said she participated in Saturday's walk-a-thon because she felt the need to help give victims a voice.
"As an Aboriginal woman, it bothers me that many human trafficking victims are Aboriginal," she said. "We are speaking up for those who can't speak for themselves."
Participant Lisa Zanetti said victims are often vulnerable because many do not speak English or French.
"This is an issue of dignity, worth and justice," Zanetti said. "It is a privilege to do this."

Walking to end trafficking
  • Sarah McGoldrick|
  • Apr 24, 2011 - 9:22 AM|

Walk on. Many came out to stretch their legs during the Canada Fights Human Trafficking 5k walk fundraiser held at Square One Mall on Saturday. Photo by Claudio Cugliari
“I am not for sale.” That was the message from participants in traffickjam, a national walkathon put on by Canada Fights Human Trafficking (CFHT). Walkers departed from the Square One parking lot last night, drawing attention to the issue as they made their way through the surrounding community.
The mission of the walk was the raise funds to support and rescue individuals who have been victims of human trafficking in Canada and to raise awareness about the cause.
CFHT works across the country to help victims through various rehabilitation programs. They provide rescue services, food, emergency housing and connections to resources to help victims get their lives back.
CFHT works with police organizations across the country to help track and locate women who have been sold into the sex trade and help them escape.
In recent years, Canada has become a haven to human traffickers due to the lack of legislation preventing and prosecuting the act.
Unlike in the United States, where a conviction can lead to a lengthy prison term, no such penalty exists in Canada.
In 2008, 25-year-old Imani Nakpangi of Toronto received just five years for trafficking two young girls ages 14 and 15. When credited for time served he ended behind bars for less than two years in total. He made more than $400,000 selling the girls as prostitutes.
In 2003, Private Members Bill C-268 was introduced in the House of Commons, calling for minimum sentences and tougher prosecution of offenders. It remains before the Senate.
CFHT Special Events Coordinator Mara Bajak said many young girls and women end up in the sex trade after they are kidnapped or tricked into thinking they will be working as housekeepers or nannies.
“They are shipped from different countries and when they get here, their passports are taken and their families threatened with violence,” said Bajak.
She added many children who are kidnapping victims in Canada end up in the sex trade industry. According to the RCMP, from 800 to 1,200 people are trafficked in and through Canada every year. The average age of a girl who is sold within Canada is 4-10.
If more men understood the nature of the sex trade industry, Bajak said, they would be less likely to participate.
Iwona Lukasik of Mississauga, a mother of three girls, was a participant in the walk. She first heard about the event through a friend who has been involved in volunteering with the organization for several years.
She said the event has very personal meaning to mothers who know what it’s like to worry about their daughter’s safety.
“As a parent, it is important to make sure your kids know what is happening in their communities,” said Lukasik, who added she encourages families and schools to discuss the issue of personal safety and self protection. “It could so easily be your children.”
More information about CFHT and human trafficking in Canada can be found at

Girls Like Us: The Hidden Story of Human Sex Trafficking in America

(Photo: HarperCollins).
Teenage girls forced to work as prostitutes under the thumb of violent pimps and traffickers—that's something that only happens in faraway places like Cambodia and the Philippines, right?
Sadly, no. Right here in the U.S., countless young girls and women are forced to sell their bodies on street "tracks" and in hotel bedrooms every year, from Oakland to Atlantic City.
A new memoir from Rachel Lloyd, herself a survivor of the commercial sex trade, underscores just how widespread—and heartbreaking—America's sex trafficking problem really is.
Lloyd's book, Girls Like Us (HarperCollins, 2011), is a powerful and haunting page-turner. She describes her own escape from the world of stripping and turning tricks to founding New York's Girls Education and Mentoring Service (GEMS), which has helped countless girls break free from "the life."
From its opening scene of an 11-year old describing being pimped by her 29-year-old boyfriend, to Lloyd's own "epiphany" that got her out of "the life" for good, Girls Like Us holds the reader in, daring apathy.
Lloyd spoke to TakePart about how individuals can get involved to help organizations like hers and end human trafficking in America.
TakePart: Can you give us an idea of how prevalent this is across America?
Rachel Lloyd: I think, frankly, that is one of the hardest things to do because it's an underground population. Because this isn't the group that's going to come forward in a research study. The best kind of numbers that are out there come from a University of Pennsylvania study, which isn't a count of how many, but of how many young people are at risk—and I think that's probably an undercount.
But they're talking about 200,000 to 300,000 young people in this country are at risk for some kind of commercial sexual exploitation. There have been a couple of other studies that estimate that a couple hundred thousand young people are involved in the commercial sex industry. We know that last year we served 330 girls and young women [at GEMS] who either are or have been involved in the commercial sex industry—99 percent of whom have been under the control or a pimp/trafficker. And I think, every week, it is disturbing and stunning how many different parts of the country are having arrests.
What do you tell people when they say "this doesn't happen here in the U.S?" How do you explain to them how these girls get caught up in "the life?"
The thing we try to help people recognize is that you don't have to be from another country to feel like you don't have options in this one. There are a huge amount of young people—boys and girls—who are growing up in our country who don't feel like they have viable options for their future. So when you don't feel like you have options and somebody comes along and presents you with something that looks like an option—looks like love, looks like care, attention, a home, and those are the things you don't have right now, and are missing out on—that can be fairly easy to lure someone in.
When we begin to help paint a picture of what it's like for a 13-, 14-, or 15-year old girl who has been, generally, sexually abused at home, or physically abused at home, who has run away or who is in the foster care agency, with a real lack of family support, and an adult man whose sole focus in life is making money off of girls, when he comes along and he begins to tell her that he loves her and he will be there for her, it's not that hard to see how those next steps take place. What I'm seeing already with the book, and what we've seen with the film I produced a few years ago—Very Young Girls—is how many people, particularly women, are able to say 'Oh my goodness, I was so young at 13, 14, or 15, and an adult man at that point could have told me anything, because he was grown and I wasn't.' When there's a predatory adult on the scene, it's not that hard to lure someone into the sex industry. Particularly when that kid has already experienced trauma and violence and abuse
What are you hoping will come about from putting this book—and your story in particular—out to the public?
You know, in the beginning I was really reluctant to use my story. I'm already pretty public about my experiences and have dealt with that over the last decade, and wasn't sure if I wanted to put additional information out there. But ultimately I could write about my own story better than the girls' stories, and I felt like if that could be helpful in any way to people as an entry way into understanding what it's like for a girl or a young woman, then it was worth it. My hope is that people were able to connect on a very human level—that there's real empathy and compassion—not just on an academic understanding of "ok this is happening here," but a real "oh this could have been me, this could have been my daughter, these are girls who are real, as opposed to a statistic or a story in the news."
What steps have been taken by lawmakers and policy makers are encouraging to you, and what more needs to be done to make your job of helping these girls even easier?
The shift in people's cognizance and understanding of the issue, and ultimately people's compassion—I mean neither GEMS nor any other agency can be in every place—so knowing that the girl who walks into the ER or the girl who is in a local junior high school now and is struggling with this, or the girl who does come into contact with law enforcement, all those professionals are sensitive and have empathy and treat that girl with compassion and respect and connect her to some kind of services and support. That is how we begin to change this issue. If we can talk about this and be frank about who's doing the buying, on this issue, and have frank conversations with men about buying sex and what that means to girls and young women in the sex industry, the more we can put this issue out there and be honest about what's happening, the more we can address it.
I wonder if you could share a brief success story, one that can highlight why organizations like GEMS are important and can change lives?
Honestly, I could give you a hundred stories. I was just on Facebook this morning, and a girl who we served on and off from 12 up to 20 [years old] is now in college, has a 3.7 GPA. I mean, this is a girl who was trafficked all over the country from the age of 12. She was being sold out in Las Vegas, in Atlantic City. I mean this kid has had guns in her face, and has experienced some really brutal violence, and is doing phenomenally well. She just got picked to be on the debate team. She has worked at GEMS, and is just a great role model for her peers.

Related Stories: Demi and Ashton's New Campaign Against Sex Trafficking

Alicia Keys - Superwoman

Death in the Desert Pt3 (Wagalla massacre in Wajir)

Death In The Desert Pt2 (Wagalla massacre in Wajir)

Death in the Desert Pt1(Wagalla massacre in Wajir,)

Leaders in the past regimes blamed for atrocities committed during the Wagalla massacre in Wajir, in the ongoing Wagalla massacre hearings in North Eastern being conducted by Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC). The committee has collected views from victims of the Wagalla massacre.

Children Defiled in Kiambu

Salafis call for Islamic state, prosecution of Coptic Pope

Fri 29 Apr 2011
<p>مئات السلفيين يتظاهرون، رافعين لافتات تطالب بعودة كاميليا شحاته، وذلك عقب آدائهم صلاة الجمعة بمسجد النور بالعباسية، 29 أبريل 2011. سيطر السلفيون والشيخ حافظ سلامة، قائد المقاومة الشعبية بالسويس، علي مسجد النور، للمرة السابعة علي التوالي، وقاموا بمنع الشيخ أحمد ترك، إمام المسجد، من صعود المنبر، لإلقاء خطبة الجمعة، بالرغم من الإجراءات الأمنية المُتخذة.</p>
Photographed by أحمد المصري
Thousands of Salafis staged three protests in Cairo after Friday prayers to highlight the ten demands they announced during protests in Alexandria Sunday.
They staged the first protest in front of Fateh mosque in Ramses Square, the second in front of Noor mosque in Abbasseya, and the third on Ramses street.
Their demands include the prosecution of the Coptic Pope and the release of  two priests' wives believed to have converted to Islam and rumored to be detained by the church and the inspection of churches and monasteries. They also want a dispute between Sheikh Hafez Salama and the Ministry of Religious Endowments resolved.
Hundreds of Salafis protested in front of Noor mosque supporting Salama amid a noticeable police and military presence.
Thousands of Salafis who said they are members of the "Coalition Supporting New Muslims" protested in front of Fateh mosque, calling for the prosecution of the Coptic Pope over the alleged detention of the priests' wives, Camelia Shehata and Wafa Constantine.
Protesters called for an Islamic state and stressed that they would not leave the area around Noor mosque until their demands are met.

CBS reporter Lara Logan describes sexual attacks


By Kelly Kennedy, USA TODAY

Handout file photo shows CBS correspondent Lara Logan in Cairo's Tahrir Square moments before she was assaulted.'--PHOTO:REUTERS

WASHINGTON — Two months after a brutal attack during the protests in Cairo, CBS reporter Lara Logan says "there was no doubt in my mind that I was in the process of dying." And despite the horrific ordeal, Logan plans to return to reporting in trouble spots.
"I am so much stronger," she says in a release from CBS News, marking her first public statements since the repeated sexual attacks by a mob in Cairo. Logan, who has returned to work, will tell her story on CBS' 60 Minutes this Sunday.
She hopes her story will help others who have been sexually assaulted, especially other female journalists.
On Feb. 11, Logan was in Cairo covering the city's celebration of the regime change in Egypt. She was conducting interviews in Tahrir Square when she became separated from her crew and was sexually and physically assaulted by a mob.
"I thought not only am I going to die, but it's going to be just a torturous death that's going to go on forever," Logan said. In an interview with The New York Times, she said her clothes were "torn to pieces," and that "for an extended period of time, they raped me with their hands."
A group of Egyptian women and soldiers rescued her.
Logan has spent much time covering conflicts, including Iraq and Afghanistan, which are often hostile environments for Western women.
"Lara Logan is an extremely talented, courageous journalist," says Alicia Shepard, an ombudsman at NPR. "Her gender should have nothing to do with whether she should cover a war. It should be up to Lara Logan."
"Covering war, conflict and political upheaval all entails possible physical danger, and we have to be more careful," says Hun Shik Kim, who covered Iraq and now teaches at the University of Colorado. "We used to be considered neutral observers, but the level of hostility toward foreign journalists is quite high."
Logan said she does not intend to give any more interviews about the attack.
"I don't want this to define me," she told the Times.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

DCCC club sheds light on human trafficking

Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch
Aubrae Collins, Charlotte Division Program Director for Traid Ladder of Hope, talks about modern-day slavery, human trafficking, Wednesday at Davidson County Community College. Collins said that human trafficking is second only to illegal arms dealing among criminal activity.
Published: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 4:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 4:10 p.m.
Did you know that every minute two children are trafficked for sexual exploration? Or that North Carolina is one of the states with the largest number of slaves?
For more information about Triad Ladder of Hope or human trafficking, go to
Those were some of the statistics presented Wednesday at Davidson County Community College where the topic of human trafficking was addressed.
The Alpha Omega Club sponsored the event and invited the Triad Ladder of Hope to bring awareness and share information.
“Human trafficking is prevalent in North Carolina,” said Katherine Barton, president of the Alpha Omega Club. “The more people that know about it, the more people we can help and find. I think it went really well. I don't think it's something people realize is happening. They don't see it happens here, and it could be our next-door neighbor.”
In a burgundy shirt with white words that read “Slavery Still Exists,” Aubrae Collins, program director with Triad Ladder of Hope, told the students there were so many issues that tied into human trafficking. She started with the basics of telling them that human trafficking is a modern form of slavery.
“It is kidnapping, transferring, sale or recipient of an individual by force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of sexual exploitation or exploitation for forced labor,” she read off of a PowerPoint presentation. “A study says there are more people in slavery today than in history. It's a process when someone is retained, kidnapped or harbored.”
Collins broke down the two types of human trafficking — labor, such as domestic situations, sweatshops, factories and restaurants, and sex trafficking, which include massage parlors, strip clubs and escort services.
Most of the victims are 12 to 14 years old. Eighty percent trafficked into the United States are women and children. More than 50 percent of child pornography websites originate from the United States, and over 200,000 youths are victims of commercial exploitation within the United States, Collins said.
To tie everything into North Carolina, Collins said the state is among the top five for human trafficking. The reason is because of all the interstates, military bases, large immigrant populations and ports on the coast.
“You hear about it happening in other countries,” she said. “This happens to our own children in our own country. We need to reach these girls before they are runaways and picked up by these men.”
She even noted that it's hard to say what the scope of the problem is because it is a hidden crime. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, human trafficking is tied with arms dealing as the second-largest criminal industry in the world and fastest growing, Collins said.
She said that the U.S. State Department estimated that 12.3 million adults and children are forced into prostitution worldwide. Collins also noted that according to statistics sex trafficking generates $8 billion annually, and domestic/industrial/agricultural slavery makes $32 million.
Most importantly, Collins told how victims are recruited, which could be through acquaintances, a family member, word of mouth, fake employment agencies, newspaper ads and abduction. The predators can be business owners, men, women, truck drivers, neighbors and government officials.
“Anyone can be a predator,” Collins said. “There are approximately 800,000 to 900,000 victims annually trafficked across international borders worldwide. Among them are thousands of teenage girls and others as young as 5 years old.”
The Triad Ladder of Hope is a faith-based nonprofit organization that was created to eradicate the exploitation, sale and enslavement of men, women and children. 
“There is hope,” Collins said. “There's a lot you can do. Be informed and share what you learn. Know the red flags and what to look for. A lot of people don't know what's going on.”
The organization also provides awareness, rescue and restoration assistance and re-entry into society. Sandra Johnson, president and founder of the organization, said it's important for people to know that human trafficking is the fastest-growing crime in the U.S.
“You can come in contact with a victim every day and not know it,” she said. “We want to bring awareness. There's a lot of ways the community can be involved. We encourage everyone to learn about this issue because there are more people in slavery today.”
Deneesha Edwards can be reached at 249-3981, ext 213, or at

Eleven jailed for trafficking women abroad

Eleven jailed for trafficking women abroad
One hundred and thirty women are victims in the case, among them citizens of Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Moldova and Russia.

Moscow, April 26/ 2011(Interfax) - The Moscow District Military Court has handed down guilty verdicts to a group, suspected of kidnapping women and smuggling them abroad for sexual exploitation, and sentenced them to five to 19 years in jail.

Lt. Col. Dmitry Strykanov of the foreign military intelligence directorate (GRU) got 12 years in a high security prison and lost his rank.

The same court earlier found 11 of the 13 suspects in this case guilty.

But the court found charges of organizing a criminal group, brought against Strykanov, unproven, and named Igor Slearev and Avi Yanai as the group's leaders.

Yanai and Slesarev got the longest terms, respectively 18 and 19 years, in a high security prison, plus a fine amounting to 600,000 rubles each of them will have to pay.

Of the eleven convicted criminals two got suspended sentences, including Anna Stoyan who was granted a five year period of probation, and Igor Vlad, who got a five-year suspended sentence.

Some of the victims' lawsuits have been granted and they will get more than 2 million rubles in damages, in all.

Through deceit the criminal group drew women and smuggled them to Europe and the Middle East, where they were forced to engage in prostitution, according to the Prosecutor General's Office.

In early May, Russian military investigators in cooperation with foreign colleagues detained an organizer of the criminal group in Moscow, who was taken into custody.

Charges of organizing a criminal group and human trafficking were brought against Strykanov, Vlad, Valery Belov, Yury Frolov, Vadim Stoyan , Oleg Chaikin and Slesarev.

Yanai had been convicted twice in Haifa, Israel. Israeli police are investigating several cases in relation to Yanai, including on counts of trafficking in humans and fraud, the Prosecutor General's Office said.

One hundred and thirty women are victims in the case, among them citizens of Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Moldova and Russia. Most of the women were sold to Israel, Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, Holland and the United Arab Emirates.

Read more:

Never ending controversy

 Thursday, 28 April 2011 at 16:03
Sometimes the search for information about human trafficking produces the most bizarre results. For example: On the website of the Aboriginal Woman’s Action Network (AWAN), an organization, which tries very hard to protect Aboriginal women and children from being trafficked into the sex industry in Canada, the top Google ads advertise “Pretty Chinese Girls” or “Asian Singles for Dating”, thus driving home two points:
1.    The global aspect of human trafficking

2.    The controversy about legal prostitution.

AWAN strongly opposes legalized prostitution and puts forward this argument: A harm-reduction model that claims to help prostituted women by moving them indoors to legal brothels, not only would not reduce the harm to them, but would disguise the real issues. . . Those promoting prostitution rarely address class, race, or ethnicity as factors that make women even more vulnerable. . . . Although many well-meaning people think that decriminalization simply means protecting prostituted women from arrest, it also refers, dangerously, to the decriminalization of johns and pimps. In this way prostitution is normalized, Johns multiply, and pimps and traffickers become legitimated entrepreneurs”

AWAN condemns the lack of police response, another global feature regarding human trafficking. The message also is universal: These women are not worthy of protection.
At the core of the matter is the fact that too many people regard prostitution as “voluntary”, too many men think women want to be in the sex industry. This assumption is by itself wrong. Do men ask prostitutes if they work out of there own accord? Are they even interested to know?
But how can anyone believe that minors and children are in the sex industry voluntarily? How sick would it be to even think that? And how sick is it, not to report child prostitution.
As far as human trafficking is concerned there is no point in waiting till the controversy about legal prostitution will be solved. It hardly will. To change the police response, to change the attitude in any given society is a more viable concept.


If your are interested in the situation in the US go to:

Sex assaults Llandaff verger Colin Adams sentenced

Llandaff Cathedral  
The Church in Wales said Colin Adams had abused his position of trust
A verger has been given a 12-month suspended sentence for sex attacks on a teenage chorister at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff 20 years ago.
Colin James Adams, 58, was at the cathedral in the 1990s when the 16-year-old boy became a server.
A Cardiff Crown Court jury found him guilty by majority verdicts of three indecent assaults but cleared him of five other charges.
Adams was a verger in Newcastle-upon-Tyne when arrested in January 2010.

Start Quote

You deliberately abused your position of trust to the complainant, your rector and the Church In Wales itself”
Judge Patrick Curran QC Sentencing Adams
The court was told his victim, now in his 30s, came forward to say Adams first sexually assaulted him on a visit to Southwark Cathedral in London.
He told the jury: "He would put his arms around me to give me a thank you hug for all I did and started giving me little things - books and things to stimulate my interest.
"Every chance he had he would try to get closer - feeling and groping me.
"He asked me to go on trips, saying he could take children for £1 on his family railcard.
"He started to get more touchy-feely and then more physical."
'Dreadful memories' Adams was a verger at the Cathedral Church of Saint Nicholas in Newcastle when he was arrested for the offences.
The court heard that the victim had lived with "dreadful memories" for years before finally finding the courage to make a complaint to the police.
Adams was found guilty by majority verdicts of three indecent assaults, and cleared of four similar charges and one of a serious sexual offence.

Start Quote

We deeply regret that someone employed as a verger abused his position of trust and caused such physical and mental harm to a young person”
Church in Wales
As well as the suspended prison sentence, he was ordered to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.
Judge Patrick Curran QC told him: "You deliberately abused your position of trust to the complainant, your rector and the Church In Wales itself.
"You have lost your good character, your job, any prospect of employment and your home.
"You are in many ways a broken man facing a bleak future."
A Church in Wales spokeswoman said later: "We deeply regret that someone employed as a verger abused his position of trust and caused such physical and mental harm to a young person.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Immigration Lawyer Michael Wildes defends Human Trafficking Victim

High profile human trafficking case heads to court

Homeless Documentary

intellectual homeless woman

"Hidden Homeless" Homeless in Rural America

The hidden homeless of Las Vegas

Hong Kong: capital of domestic slavery

Largest Human Trafficking Case

Watch the video here.

'Old Spice' Star Joins Fight Against Human Trafficking

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pakistani court upholds gang-rape acquittals

AL Jazeera Central & South Asia
All but one of six suspects freed in case of Mukhtaran Mai, a woman who allegedely was gang-raped in name of "honour".
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2011 11:46

Since going public regarding her ordeal, Mai (right) has become one of Pakistan's most prominent rights activists [EPA]
Five men accused of gang-raping a Pakistani woman in 2002 under orders from a village council have been acquitted by the Supreme Court of the country, their lawyer says.
Abdul Khalique, the sixth suspect in the case, had his life sentence upheld, Malik Saleem, the defence lawyer, said on Thursday.
The rape of Mukhtaran Mai in 2002 drew international attention after she decided to speak out about her ordeal, defying Pakistani norms.
She alleged that she had been gang-raped on the orders of a village council in the name of "honour" in Muzaffargarh district. The gang-rape was to be punishment because her brother - who was 12 years old at the time - had been judged to have offended the "honour" of a powerful clan by allegedly having an affair with one of its women.
Following the judgement, Mai said she had "lost faith" in the legal system, and she was now worried that the acquitted men would harm her.
Saleem said the five were acquitted because of the lack of eyewitness testimony.
The five men will now be freed once their paperwork is complete, he said.
The Supreme Court, to which Mai had appealed in 2005, was upholding a previous verdict issued by the Lahore High Court. Asked if she would appeal the verdict, Mai said she would take a decision after consulting her lawyers.
"I'm disappointed. Why was I made to wait for five years if this decision was to be given?" a sobbing Mai told the Reuters news agency.
Human rights activists in the country criticised the verdict shortly after it was issued.
'Did not receive justice'
In July 2002, police had submitted a chargesheet against 14 suspects in an anti-terrorism court. That court found six suspects guilty, sentencing them to death, and acquitted the remaining eight.
After that verdict was appealed, the Lahore High Court's Multan bench, acquitted five of the suspects, and commuted Khalique's sentence to life imprisonment.
"I did not receive justice today, hence I have left my fate in the hands of God," the Dawn newspaper quoted Mai as telling journalists.
"The release of the suspects has put my life in grave danger," she said.
Mai's courage in defying centuries-old customs won her human rights awards and made her a role model for many women in Pakistan. She used her fame to gather donations from the government and private citizens, which she then used to run a school for girls in her village.
She has vowed not to shut down her school.
"Life and death are in the hands of Allah ... I will not shut my school and other projects," she said.
Rights group condemnation
Human Rights Watch, a New York-based rights group, expressed dismay at the court's decision, saying that the attack on Mai had taken place "in full public view and the perpetrators were publically identified".
"Today's verdict by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the Mukhtaran Mai case reflects poorly on the Supreme Court," Ali Dayan Hasan, HRW's South Asia researcher, said.
Hasan said that HRW was particularly concerned about Mai's safety, and has called on the government to ensure her protection.
"This is a setback for Mukhtaran Mai, the broader struggle to end violence against women and the cause of an independent, rights-respecting judiciary in Pakistan," he said.

Traffickers exploit Myanmar's poor

Zambian: 'I was a captive choirboy'

AL Jazeera Americas
Former slave from Zambia struggles to draw attention to the modern day trade.
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2007 12:43 GMT

Kachepa was taken to the US to sing for the Zambian Boys Choir [Al Jazeera]
Two hundred years since slavery was abolished in Britain, a Zambian is trying to draw attention to the modern day trade in human beings.
Captured by rogue missionaries, Given Kachepa, was brought as a boy from his home in Africa to the United States and made to sing in a choir to make money for his captors.
Now, Kachepa is a young man with a mission: to put an end to modern day slavery.
"I've made it a goal of mine to do anything I can to fight human trafficking," he told Al Jazeera.
His message to people who don't believe slavery still exists is "look at me", he says.
Lured by false promises
Modern slavery
Al Jazeera looks at slavery in the 21st century:

  • Liverpool bears marks of slavery

  • Agents fleece Bangladeshi migrants
Growing up an orphan living in crushing poverty in Zambia, Kachepa was taken to the United States at the age of 11 after his family were told that he would be given an American education while raising money for good causes.
He was part of a Zambian Boys Choir that performed for churches and Christian organizations all over the US.
Kachepa said: "We sung four to seven concerts a day, going to churches and schools, parks, any avenue we could find to sing.

"And the advertisement was we are building schools in Africa. So people were willing to give a lot of money."

Global enterprise

The group's organiser, an American preacher named Keith Grimes, promised the choirboys the money they raised would go to build schools and help their families in Zambia, and their educations would be paid for.

"The modern contemporary slave trade dwarfs the historic Atlantic slave trade"
Ethan Kapstein, Centre for Global Development
But it was all a lie - the money, estimated at over a million dollars, was never used for those purposes.

Kachepa said: "My family was supposed to be getting money for food, I was supposed to be getting an education in the United States and when all of those are not happening, at the age of 11, what are you supposed to do?"

Kachepa had become caught up in the modern day trans-national slave trade - a global criminal enterprise that touches virtually every country on earth.

The UN and US State Department estimate 800,000 slaves are trafficked every year.

Ethan Kapstein, of the Centre for Global Development, said: "The modern contemporary slave trade dwarfs the historic Atlantic slave trade. The Atlantic slave trade brought to north America in total 500,000 Africans over its entire history. Compared to that, we are talking almost a million people a year."

Modern slaves

Most modern day slaves are women and children - the most vulnerable members of society.

They perform backbreaking labour on farms or in sweatshops, toil as domestic servants or sex workers.

Kapstein said: "what we estimate is that the slave trade brings in something like $10bn a year."

The UN estitames 800, 000 slaves are
trafficked every year [Al Jazeera]
Kachepa now lives in Texas with his American guardians, Sandy and Deetz Shepherd, who took him in after the fraudulent choir scheme was broken up by US immigration authorities. He and most of the other boys received special visas reserved for trafficking victims.

He's finally getting that college education and he speaks out against human trafficking, in the media and in any public forum he can find.

Kachepa said: "I believe God used that whole thing to get me to this point and what I have to do now is carry on telling people about human trafficking [and] telling them there is a problem, and the problem needs to be fixed."

Kachepa said: "I was used, and it's not just me. There is a ton of people out there who are being used. And if you don't believe it, look at me."
Al Jazeera

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Australia's 'toxic' asylum issue

A Sri Lankan asylum seekers stands on a boat intercepted by Indonesian authorities en route to Australia 
Illegal arrivals are few in comparison to skilled and sponsored migrants, but have caused wide concern
Holed up in the dark stinking hull of a wooden fishing boat, Amalan, a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee, made a "nightmare" voyage to Australia.
The 29-year-old had paid people-smugglers $15,000 (AU$16,600; £9,600) to help him escape his country's brutal civil conflict.
The smugglers had promised him a short journey across the Indian Ocean. In the end he spent 30 days at sea.
Three people out of the 76 crammed on the rickety vessel died during the crossing.
"There were no facilities on board, no safe place. We just sat. People fell ill with fever, vomiting and diarrhoea."
Food and water ran out in the final few days, Amalan says; they eked out just enough for the children.
Amalan's experience is not unique. Thousands of Asian asylum seekers like him have attempted to reach Australia's shores - sparking a fierce debate that is now a major election issue in Australia.
Tough stance So far during 2010 Australian authorities have stopped 82 boats carrying 3,934 asylum seekers - an increase of more than 1,000 on the total figure for 2009.
The country's Department of Immigration says more than 2,000 are being processed on Christmas Island, an Australian territory. The rest are in detention centres on the mainland.
The illegal arrivals have caused anxiety, stoked by alarmist tabloid headlines and opposition calls to "stop the boats".
Construction Camp on Christmas Island, where unaccompanied minors, women and families with children are held (Courtesy of Amnesty International)  
Human rights groups say arbitrary long-term detention can lead to mental health problems
Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard has sought to appear tough on the issue.
During the tenure of the former, conservative, government, Ms Gillard condemned as a "costly and unsustainable farce" the so-called Pacific Solution: sending asylum seekers to neighbouring Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
But her proposed alternative - to set up a processing centre in East Timor - sounds remarkably similar.
Her rhetoric is slightly different in that she wants the burden of accepting refugees to be shared by other countries in the region. She has sold the idea as a "regional protection framework", saying: "The purpose would be to ensure that people smugglers have no product to sell."
But Ms Gillard's plan is already in serious doubt after East Timor's parliament voted in July to reject it.
Opposition Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott has been quick to jump on the government's vulnerability, promising a return to the Pacific Solution.
"I have a simple message to the Australian people - if you want to stop the boats you've got to change the government," he said, unveiling his own immigration policy on the heels of Ms Gillard's.

Australia Population Figures

  • Current population about 21.5 million
  • About one in four Australians were born overseas
  • Annual skilled/sponsored migrant intake: 168,700
  • Most new migrants come from New Zealand, Britain, China and India
  • Annual humanitarian (refugee) intake: 13,750
  • Labor government report forecasts a population of 36 million by 2050
Analysts say the issue is a toxic one for the government, and has been muddied by being linked to immigration and population growth.
"There is some public confusion... these different issues have become confused - the number of boat arrivals is so miniscule that it is irrelevant to population growth," says political analyst Martin Drum of the University of Notre Dame in Western Australia.
A significant number of Labor party voters are sympathetic to the plight of asylum seekers, he says, but suggests there are also swing voters in key marginal constituencies, which puts the government in a difficult situation.
"At the heart of this issue is the notion of control; political parties define the problem as 'border protection', painting asylum seekers as a threat - this is what makes voters nervous.
"Rather than put the facts out there, political leaders pander to this sentiment and by doing so they legitimise it," he says.

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Chaman Shah Nasiri
I was on sleeping pills most of the time - taking the pills was the only thing I could control ”
Chaman Shah Nasiri Afghan refugee detained under Pacific Solution
Australia has a current annual intake of 13,750 asylum seekers under its humanitarian programme.
Of those, 6,000 are refugees from overseas referred to Australia for resettlement by the UN's refugee agency - for example Iraqis in Syria or Burmese in Thailand.
The other 7,750 places are allocated as part of its special humanitarian programme. An example would be a foreigner living in Australia whose wife overseas was at risk of human rights abuse.
Those entering Australia illegally by boat or plane take the places of those who could otherwise be granted asylum under this programme.
From here comes the term "queue jumper": onshore arrivals often portrayed by politicians as less deserving, according to Graham Thom, Amnesty International Australia's Refugee Co-ordinator.
But some have no choice other than to flee persecution, Mr Thom says.
"The notion that the country is being swamped is a nonsense. The figure of 13,750 will not change; there is in fact an enormous amount of control.
"We do have the capacity to deal with the arrivals and we are obliged under the UN Refugee Convention, to which Australia is a signatory, to make a humanitarian response."
Human rights groups have deplored as "appalling" and "absurd" the Labor and Liberal proposals to move the processing of refugees to East Timor or back to Nauru.
They say there is no evidence to support politicians' assertions that offshore processing centres act as a deterrent to would-be asylum seekers.
Instead they say it is counter-productive, setting a poor example to other Asia-Pacific countries that it is ok to turn the boats around.
Interrogation The Liberals have used the significant drop in boat arrivals under the Pacific Solution as justification for their policy to re-open Nauru.
But Elaine Pearson, head of Human Rights Watch Asia Division, says the figures from 2002 to 2008 are misleading.
"The figures do not document how many boats were turned away. Of those that were sent to Nauru, many of the refugees ended up in Australia eventually - the route was just more traumatic and expensive."
BBC Graphic
Human rights groups are also concerned by the current government's decision to suspend the processing of Afghan refugees for six months, saying that long-term arbitrary detention can lead to people breaking down.
A three month suspension of the processing of Sri Lankans was recently revoked.
Amalan, who was granted refugee status this year and is now settled in Sydney, says he was lucky to have spent only 10 months on Christmas Island.
"It's a kind of prison. Immigration and other security agencies put us through at least two interviews a week, questioning us over and over about smugglers and terrorist links.
"Many people are suffering depression and having to take medication to cope. This is one way to block out the trauma but it is not a solution," he said
The Australian Department of Immigration said it was not able to comment on these issues given that campaigning was under way.
Comment was sought from the office of Immigration Minister Chris Evans, but there was no immediate response.
With both major parties in apparent agreement that boat people should be processed elsewhere, the ballot box battle may simply come down to who talks toughest on asylum.
Amalan's name was changed to protect the identity of his wife and child, who remain in Sri Lanka.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Ex-council legal chief spared jail over child porn

Andrew Laycock  
Andrew Laycock was head of legal services at Hertfordshire County Council
A former council head of legal services who admitted using child pornography has been spared jail.
Andrew Laycock, of Hertford, previously pleaded guilty to possessing more than 5,700 indecent images and 17 counts of making indecent images of children.
At St Albans Crown Court, Judge Andrew Bright QC sentenced the 58-year-old retired Hertfordshire County Council officer to 26 weeks in prison.
Giving him credit for his plea, he suspended the sentence for two years.
Laycock, of Mandeville Road, was given a two-year supervision order and must attend an internet sex offenders treatment programme.

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He admitted the fantasies involved children as young as seven or eight”
Prosecutor Peter Shaw
Prosecutor Peter Shaw told the court that police armed with a search warrant raided the home Laycock shared with his wife and two stepsons on 22 June last year.
Laycock's computer was analysed and found to contain illegal images, mostly of girls aged between 10 and 14.
In a police interview, Laycock confessed that he had been attracted to children for decades.
"He said he had interacted with other adults on MSN messenger and had talked to other adults about having sex with children," said Mr Shaw.
"He admitted the fantasies involved children as young as seven or eight."
Dee Connolly, defending, said Laycock had taken the advice police gave him at the time of his interview and attended courses at the Lucy Faithful Foundation.
It aims to rid people of their addiction to child sex abuse images.
Laycock worked at Hertfordshire County Council until October 2009.
It is not thought he committed any offences while at work, the Crown Prosecution Service has said previously.
Judge Bright told Laycock: "You built your reputation up as a lawyer and have rightly lost it as a result of what you were secretly doing."

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