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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

South Africa's lesbians fear 'corrective rape'

Noxolo Nkosana  
Noxolo Nkosana says she was attacked because she is lesbian
Lesbian South Africans are living in fear as rape and murder become a daily threat in the townships they call home.
Noxolo Nkosana, 23, is the latest victim of a series of violent attacks against lesbians.
She was stabbed a stone's throw from her home in Crossroads township, Cape Town, as she returned from work one evening with her girlfriend.
The two men - one of whom lives in her community - started yelling insults.
"They were walking behind us. They just started swearing at me screaming: 'Hey you lesbian, you tomboy, we'll show you,'" Ms Nkosana tells the BBC.
Before she knew it a sharp knife had entered her back - two fast jabs, then she was on the ground. Half conscious, she felt the knife sink into her skin twice more.
"I was sure that they were going to kill me," she says.
Dying in silence Many lesbians have died in such attacks - 31 in the last 10 years, it is reported.

Start Quote

It is a warped sense of entitlement and a need to protect their manhood”
Lesego Tlhwale Behind the Mask
In April, Noxolo Nogwaza was raped by eight men and murdered in KwaThema township near Johannesburg.
The 24-year-old's face and head were disfigured by stoning, and she was stabbed several times with broken glass.
The attack on her is thought to have begun as a case of what is known as "corrective rape", in which men rape lesbians in what they see as an attempt to "correct" their sexual orientation.
The practice appears to be on the increase in South Africa.
More than 10 lesbians per week are raped or gang-raped in Cape Town alone, according to Luleki Sizwe, a charity which helps women who have been raped in the Western Cape.
Many of the cases are not reported because the victims are afraid that the police will laugh at them, or that their attackers will come after them, says Ndumie Funda, founder of Luleki Sizwe.

Start Quote

When someone is a lesbian, it's like saying to us men that we are not good enough”
Thulani Bhengu, 35
"Many of them just suffer in silence," she says.

"The cases people read about in the media are not even the tip of the iceberg. Lesbians are under attack in South Africa's townships every day."
Reports of police ridiculing rape victims abound in the gay community.
"Some policemen in the township mock you saying: 'How can you be raped by a man if you are not attracted to them?' They ask you to explain how the rape felt. It is humiliating," says Thando Sibiya, a lesbian from Soweto.
She says she knows two people who reported rapes but then dropped their cases because of their treatment by the police.
'Un-African' Some trace the root of the problem to pockets of traditional African society that have not accepted homosexuality - especially among women.
"African societies are still very patriarchal. Women are taught that they should marry men, anything outside of that is viewed as wrong," says Lesego Tlhwale from African gay rights group Behind the Mask.
"It is seen as un-African for two women to marry. Some men are threatened by this and then want to 'fix' it," she adds.

The Eudy Simelane case

Activists protest during the murder case of Eudy Simelane
  • The practice of "corrective rape" made world headlines in 2008 when Eudy Simelane, a former South African international women's footballer was gang-raped, beaten and stabbed 25 times in the face, chest and legs in KwaThema township.
  • One of four alleged attackers pleaded guilty to rape and murder and was sentenced to 32 years in jail. Another pleaded not guilty, but was convicted and given a life sentence. Two others were acquitted.
She notes that the women who have been killed in South Africa so far have been described as "butch lesbians" - a slang term used to describe lesbians with a masculine or manly appearance.
"They are threatened by these kinds of lesbians in particular. They say they are stealing their girlfriends. It is a warped sense of entitlement and a need to protect their manhood."
South Africa is the only African country to have legalised homosexual marriage, and one of only 10 in the world. The constitution specifically forbids discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
But on the ground, prejudice remains common.
On the streets of Johannesburg, it is easy to find men who support the idea of "corrective rape".
"When someone is a lesbian, it's like saying to us men that we are not good enough," Thulani Bhengu, 35, tells the BBC.
Very few cases of rape against lesbians have ever resulted in convictions.
No-one knows how many of the more than 50,000 cases of rape reported in South Africa each year are committed against gay women, because the victim's sexual orientation is not recorded.
Defiance But after the murder of Ms Nogwaza - and a petition signed by 170,000 people around the world calling for an end to "corrective rape" - the justice department has begun to listen.
It is in the process of setting up a team to develop a strategy for tackling hate crimes against gay people, and is considering introducing heavier sentences for offences where the victim's sexual orientation is a factor in the crime.
Ms Nkosana is afraid that she might be attacked again, but says she will not be "forced back in the closet" - made to pretend that she is a heterosexual.
"They made me a victim in my own neighbourhood but I won't let them win," she says. "They can't stop me from being who I am."
But despite her defiant attitude, Ms Tlhwale says many South African lesbians are deeply worried.
"Everyone is scared," she says. "We have seen an increase in attacks against lesbians in recent months. Everyone we speak to is afraid that they might be next."

Related Stories

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Al Jazeera World: Staying Human

Witness: Daughters of the Brothel

AL Jazeera Witness
Naseema was born into and lives in one of India's most
infamous brothels but is now working to free trafficked 
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2011 10:40


Filmmaker Gautam Singh explains how he came to make Daughters of the brothel.

India's handwritten magazines have long fascinated me. But while researching the subject
for a blog, I came across one in particular that stood out. Jugnu is a 32-page monthly magazine 
that has been written and published by the sex workers of the Chaturbhuj-sthan brothel in Bihar,
near the border with Nepal, for the past 10 years.

Home to about 10,000 women and children, the whole area - named after the Chaturbhuj-sthan
temple, which is located inside - is essentially one large brothel. Historians believe it was first 
established during the Moghul era. Prostitution has become a family tradition there - passed down
from generation to generation.
Intrigued, I contacted the magazine and as more details emerged about this extraordinary publication
and the women behind it, I realised that this story was
much bigger than a blog.

The magazine had been set up by a group of sex workers led by one girl - Naseema. Born into 
Chaturbhuj-sthan, Naseema was abandoned by her mother and raised by a woman she calls her
'grandmother'. Although not actually related to her, this woman used the money she earned as 
a prostitute to raise Naseema and send her to school. Naseema became the first girl in the brothel's
300-or-so-year history to receive an education.
When she returned to Chaturbhuj-sthan it was not to sell her body. With the help of local banks,
Naseema established small industries inside the brothel - making candles, matchsticks, bindis 
and incense -
offering many prostitutes an alternative form of employment. And she set about persuading 
the sex
workers to send their children to school. Now almost every child in Chaturbhuj-sthan is in

More than 50 former prostitutes now work with Naseema, who taught them how to read 
and write.
As well as running the magazine - which is sold across India and also sent to subscribers 
elsewhere -
Naseema and the other women work to prevent others 
being trafficked, mainly from neighbouring Nepal and Bangladesh, into prostitution. In the 
last year 
alone, they have been able to send at least 20 new girls safely back home.
But their work has brought them many enemies; the most feared being Rani Begum. As chief 
of the brothel, Begum's finances have suffered a blow as a result of Naseema's activities.
Her thugs have publicly harassed and beaten Naseema and the other women who work with her.
Naseema has also
had to fight pimps, as well as some police officers and clerics who were unhappy about her work.

With a clearly identifiable hero, a suitably sinister villain and plenty of action guaranteed as they
off against one another, I felt I had come across a story worthy of a novel. I was hopeful that we 
produce a perfect film, but shooting inside a brothel was never going to be easy. I deliberately chose 
a very small crew of just three people so that we might remain as invisible as possible. We used 
a Canon 7d camera. Its small size and light weight meant that we were able to move quickly from 
place to the next - something that was to prove useful when Begum's thugs were sent to threaten us.

Before starting the shoot, I met Begum, hoping that this would reduce the likelihood of any problems 
arising at a later point. About 65 years old, she lives in a huge mansion inside Chaturbhuj-sthan. 
and courteous, she sought to portray herself as somebody running a kind of welfare institute for 
destitute girls and referred to her brothel as a 'social heritage'. A former dancer herself, she stressed
that every girl in the brothel is taught classical music and dance.

Begum grew less friendly when I started questioning her about Naseema and her work, but 
nevertheless promised not to trouble us as long as we filmed indoors. One day, however, while 
eating lunch, some men came to tell me that Rani Begum wanted us to leave. We eventually had 
to call the local policeto enable us to complete our shoot.

For me, the most emotional scene in the film is when we meet Roma. A 19-year-old Bangladeshi
Roma thought she was coming to India to marry a friend of her brother-in-law. She was rescued
from the brothel by Naseema and taken to live in a government shelter. But her family still refuses 
to allow her to return home for fear that she will give them a bad name. We were able to watch the 
heartfelt telephone conversation between Roma and her family as she pleaded with them to take  
her back.

And then there is the story of Boha Tola - a red light area in the neighbouring Sitamarhi district that 
was burnt down when local government officials conspired with villagers to eradicate it. Unofficial 
sources say that at least 100 women, men and children went missing as a result of the fire. As they 
were never officially registered by the government, no effort was made to find out what had 
happened to them.

Naseema and some of the other women recorded the incident on their mobile phones and gave me 
the footage to use exclusively in the film. They told horrifying tales of gang-rape, children being thrown
onto fires and police brutality. Some of the women from Chaturbhuj-sthan went on hunger strike to 
show their solidarity with the people of Boha Tola, but the hunger strikers and their supporters were
all put in prison.

Now 32 years old, Naseema is an amazing character who is proud to call herself "a daughter
of  the brothel".

Fight against human trafficking loses

The international fight against human trafficking - from abuses of migrant workers to organised prostitution networks - lost ground in the past year, the US State Department reported.

The number of countries failing to comply with international standards to prevent human trafficking almost doubled to 23, according to the State Department's "2011 Trafficking in Persons" report released yesterday.
The problem of modern trafficking may be entrenched, and it may seem there is no end in sight, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement accompanying the report. "But if we act on the laws that have been passed and the commitments that have been made, it is solvable."
Thailand, along with China and Russia, has been ranked in an average category, which cited each country's promise of improvement in light of "significant" numbers of victims and a failure to show increased efforts to "combat severe forms of trafficking".
As many as 27 million men, women and children are "living in a state of modern slavery", Clinton said.
Since many countries have adopted antitrafficking laws, the issue increasingly is one of enforcement, she said at a State Department ceremony honouring 10 "heroes" in the fight against such abuses.
Clinton, while citing advances in countries such as Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates, said the overall number of prosecutions worldwide "has remained relatively static".
Eleven countries have dropped into socalled Tier 3, those with the poorest record of fighting trafficking, joining 12 nations previously listed in that category under guidelines set by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
One country, the Dominican Republic, was elevated from the lowest category because of improvements in its prevention measures.
Altogether 117 nations have committed to fighting human trafficking in accordance with the United Nations' Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, passed by the General Assembly on November

Stop Human Trafficking App Challenge

USAID Impact >> Human Trafficking

Sarah Mendelson, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance
When was the last time you used your mobile phone to look up an address, stream a video clip, or play a game? Now think about the last time you used your mobile phone to support human rights, raise awareness for a cause, or contribute to sustainable development. What would the world look like if we spent as much time using our cell phones to contribute to development as we do watching YouTube or sending email? What new tools could be developed—or new uses for existing technology found—to solve some of the world’s most pressing development challenges?
Our new Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance—launching later this summer—will devote expertise and resources to tackle these very questions, paying particular attention to marrying innovation and the challenge of protecting against and preventing human rights abuse.
With USAID Forward, an ambitious and transformative reform agenda that changes the way the Agency does business, USAID is leveraging the capabilities of our partners and challenging development professionals, countries, and communities to create new relationships that leverage technology and development to deliver real results.  “Stop Human Trafficking App Challenge” is just one of the ways USAID is fostering creativity in technology and development.
1. Get the Breif 2. Video Your Idea 3. Upload to Enter - Click here to learn more about the contest. Stop Human Trafficking App Challenge.  $15,000 grand prize, $10,000 first place, plus a trip to the Clinton Global Initiative in New York -  Photo from istockphoto copyright Torian Dixon

In partnership with the Demi and Ashton Foundation (DNA) and NetHope Inc. (a consortium of international humanitarian organizations and major technology companies), USAID announced the Stop Human Trafficking App Challenge in Russia on June 14, 2011. The aim of the challenge is to develop the most effective mobile technology application to combat trafficking in persons in Russia. Russia is a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking.  A 2008 benchmark survey supported by the Ford Foundation suggests that 8 out of 10 young Russian women think that human trafficking is a very serious issue, and that tens of thousands of Russian women who were trafficked at one point in their lives are living today in Russia.  It is time we all did more to address their needs. The contest aims to raise awareness of sex and labor trafficking and help civil society organizations mobilize to provide services to survivors.
Contestants from Russia and across the region, including diaspora communities, have until August 8, 2011 to submit entries. The technology application that wins the Grand Prize will be implemented in Russia through a pilot project with a domestic anti-trafficking organization. The Grand Prize winner will also receive $15,000 and travel expenses to the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York. The First Prize winner will receive $10,000 and travel expenses to CGI.
Stakeholders from Russia and the wider region—including Russian anti-trafficking organizations, international nongovernmental organizations, technology companies, and the public—will have the opportunity to judge the submissions based on their usefulness in preventing trafficking, raising awareness, providing services to survivors, innovation, ease of use, and potential for large-scale application.
Check out USAID’s IMPACT blog this week for more stories about USAID TIP programs around in the world in support of the Department of State’s eleventh annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report release.
For further information, or to enter the contest, please visit the Stop Human Trafficking App Challenge. This site is also available in a Russian version.
For further information on USAID’s work on Trafficking in Persons, please visit:

Human Trafficking Report: 'Obama Playing Politics,' Says World Vision

The Christian Post > World|Tue, Jun. 28 2011

By Alex Murashko | Christian Post Reporter

Christian humanitarian organization World Vision had some harsh words against the Obama administration soon after it released its latest report on the human trafficking epidemic Monday.

World Vision and other organizations had previously expressed concern about the risks of improperly implementing an automatic downgrade provision that would demote countries which have not made progress in combating human trafficking. Congress introduced the automatic downgrade provision when it reauthorized the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in 2008.

The concerns over the provision were expressed in a letter sent to the White House administration in March. Other than acknowledging the receipt of the letter, the concerns were ignored, say World Vision officials.

"The Obama administration is playing politics with the lives of children around the world,” said Robert Zachritz, World Vision’s director for advocacy and government relations. “Now, those of us in the anti-trafficking community are gnashing our teeth because we realize what we hoped for, simply has not happened."

However, there are some positive aspects to the government’s latest efforts in combating human trafficking and child slavery, Zachritz told The Christian Post. “The legislation is making a difference, and as the Secretary of State said yesterday, we are bringing the issue to the governments of other countries attention,” he said. “Having the law is the first step. The second step is implementation and accountability.”

The U.S. State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report included an update on Uzbekistan. The country remains on the Tier 2 Watch List due to failure to eliminate the state-sponsored practice of forced child labor in the cotton industry. “Trafficking" as defined in the report includes any form of coerced labor.

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The automatic downgrade to a Tier 3 level did not occur with Uzbekistan, even though the country was on the Tier 2 Watch List for more than two consecutive years and did not improve its practices. The State Department defended its decision to not downgrade Uzbekistan by stating in its report that the country “has a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is devoting sufficient resources to implement that plan.”

Zachritz said the U.S. government’s decision to give Uzbekistan a waiver and not a downgrade is just one of many examples of misuse of the tax payers' money.

“It's easier for them to issue useless waivers that they'll never enforce than to actually confront global leaders on this critical issue,” he said. “There comes a time when you should not use the waiver. Sometimes you need to get the government (of other countries) attention and hold people accountable.”

The report cited nearly two dozen countries for not meeting basic standards to stop human trafficking. Among the worst offenders were the Republic of Congo, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Iran. It also listed countries that are known to have child soldiers in its militaries. This list includes four countries that received presidential waivers in 2010. The fact that the same countries are listed that also received waivers last year shows the administration has failed to engage these countries in a meaningful way to end their use of child soldiers, World Vision stated.

The State Department report also included an evaluation of the United States’ own efforts to fight trafficking, which World Vision commends.

The Hidden Victims of Human Trafficking

by Nisha Varia
June 29, 2011

Countries looking for concrete ways to tackle the scourge of human trafficking should quickly sign on to the ILO convention on domestic work and make the necessary reforms to be in compliance. Those that do might avoid the embarrassment of being highlighted again in next year's TIP report as a country that has allowed modern-day slavery to flourish in its backyard.
Nisha Varia, senior women's rights researcher
Being forced into domestic servitude is one of the most common forms of human trafficking. Yet it remains one of the most invisible, including meager media coverage and law enforcement efforts. On June 27, the US State Department released its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, an annual ranking of how well -- or how badly -- countries around the world are doing to fight modern forms of slavery. The report is a sobering litany of horrific abuses, including against domestic workers, and the faltering efforts of many governments to stop these crimes.
I have spent several years trying to raise the profile of domestic workers' rights in Asia and the Middle East. While migrant domestic workers can have kind employers and good work experiences, I have interviewed hundreds of women who have endured hellishly long working hours without rest, been forced to work months or years without pay, were starved, beaten, or burned with hot irons, or suffered routine humiliation and were locked up in the homes where they worked.
A landmark treaty adopted less than two weeks ago may help to change that, however. On June 16, members of the International Labor Organization (ILO), including governments, trade unions, and employers' groups from around the world, created the first legally binding global labor standards for domestic work, requiring the same types of labor protections for domestic workers that other workers get. This treaty makes huge strides in recognizing the valuable services provided by nannies and housecleaners, and establishing the legal measures required to prevent labor exploitation and trafficking into domestic servitude.
Many of the worst offenders in this year's TIP report are not a big surprise. They include countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Lebanon where it's common for households to employ immigrant women as live-in nannies and housekeepers but where these workers are left out of coverage by labor laws and basic protections such as freedom to leave the workplace on days off. Should they even get a day off. The countries that send these workers are not far behind in the rankings, including Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. They have yet to effectively rein in the middlemen who recruit women from villages, deceive them about the conditions of work abroad, and extract huge recruitment fees that leave them indebted.
All of these countries, despite early opposition from some of them, voted in favor of the new ILO convention on domestic work. The treaty tackles areas where weak government action has often opened up the door to abuse, such as exempting domestic workers from child labor laws, a hands-off approach to responding to workplace violence in private homes, inadequate regulation of live-in domestic work, and poor monitoring of recruitment agencies.
There is a long road from adopting such standards to integrating them into national laws and enforcing them on the ground. But the very recognition of domestic workers as "workers" protected by labor laws -- rather than helpers, servants, or second-class "members of the family" -- narrows the space for abuse by heightening visibility, access to legal remedies, and shifts in attitudes.
Countries looking for concrete ways to tackle the scourge of human trafficking should quickly sign on to the ILO convention on domestic work and make the necessary reforms to be in compliance. Those that do might avoid the embarrassment of being highlighted again in next year's TIP report as a country that has allowed modern-day slavery to flourish in its backyard.

US State Dept human trafficking report

The situation has been made worse in Thailand by the integration of victims into the country's economy - similar, in fact, to the United States

Download and read the full US State Department's "Trafficking in Persons Report 2011" (discussed in today's Bangkok Post editorial below) here.

Photo above of illegal migrants from Burma being smuggled into Thailand hidden in a truck by human traffickers.

Click button to listen to Human Trafficking Report and rightclick to download

EDITORIAL: A poor record on trafficking (29/06/2011)

The US State Department's annual report on human trafficking once again gives Thailand a black eye. But it also recognises the scope of this worldwide problem, and gives credit for the few steps taken in recent years to combat slavery and exploitation.

The US report, once again signed and strongly supported by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, minces few words. It highlights problems which have been known for years in the country.

Many countries, including some of our close neighbours, criticise and dismiss the annual US report. They would be better off to examine its contents more carefully and perhaps take quicker, more efficient action to protect the victims of this problem.

The 3,400 words detailing mostly negative statements about the country start with an intentional shock effect. "Thailand is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children who are subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking." This is neither new nor arguable. The news pages of this newspaper can attest to that. An estimated million or more illegal migrants are in the country. Many were smuggled out of their homeland and into Thailand by cross-border gangs. Similar criminal groups feed the voracious appetite for the sex industry: foreigners into Thailand, and Thai women to other countries.

The US report illustrates how human trafficking has become part of the country's business. Trafficked migrants are employed as seafood processors, garment makers and domestic help.

A special part of the Tuesday morning report focused specifically on the fishing industry. A paper entitled "Slavery and Food Security" recounted stories, familiar to some, of Burmese and Cambodian fishermen hijacked or lured into slave-like conditions for months at a time. Again, the report is clear that Thailand is not the only country doing this.

The problem with Thailand, from Washington's perspective, is that officials talk a lot about fighting human trafficking but achieve minimal success at best.

Corrupt police and the slow justice system may be part of the problem, as Mrs Clinton's report alleges. But the real problem is the lack of impetus and support for fighting this modern-day slavery from the government itself

A 2008 law provides stiff jail sentences for convicted human traffickers. Police claim that they investigated 70 cases of trafficking last year, most of them for forced prostitution and labour. Few reached the prosecutors.

Prosecutors picked up the ball and filed charges in 79 cases, but few have reached court. The US report profiles a case where police rescued 12 Uzbek women forced into prostitution in Bangkok. Their female Uzbek controller was arrested, but quickly obtained bail and is once again involved in pimping activities.

It is not possible to overstate the difficulties of fighting human trafficking. The situation has been made worse by the integration of victims into the country's economy - similar, in fact, to the United States.

Whatever the motives of Mrs Clinton and the US government, however, their report is a public service, reminding Thais and the government of the terrible abuses going on.

There never will be a successful fight against this slavery-type scourge without involvement from the top. The country already knows that the next prime minister will launch yet another war on drugs. Similar or even greater efforts should go into a campaign to crack down on the worst human trafficking gangs.

(Source: Bangkok Post, EDITORIAL, A poor record on trafficking, 29/06/2011, link)

Venezuela condemns US human trafficking report

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela has condemned a U.S. State Department report that lists the country among those failing to combat human trafficking.
Venezuela's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that the government will begin an investigation to "determine the responsibility" of U.S. Embassy officials in preparing such reports. It said such work would go beyond the normal diplomatic functions for which U.S. Embassy officials are accredited.
The statement came a day after the U.S. State Department included Venezuela among 23 nations that it said are failing to meet minimum international standards to combat human trafficking.
The State Department said that some Venezuelan women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking and forced prostitution, and that Venezuela is also a transit country for people from other countries who may be subjected to sexual exploitation and forced labor.
The Foreign Ministry said President Hugo Chavez's government "repudiates the hypocritical attitude of the government of the United States."
"That country holds the world record of trafficking in people, especially people from Latin America whose fundamental rights are violated systematically by authorities," the Foreign Ministry said.
Chavez has long been embroiled in tensions with Washington. Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said earlier this month that relations with the U.S. are frozen and that Venezuela sees no possibility of improving them.
Relations have grown particularly strained since the State Department imposed sanctions last month on the state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA for shipping fuel to Iran.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

US human trafficking report: Israel has room to improve

The Jerusalem Post

PHR-Israel release statement in response to report, say it reinforces grave failures of the Israeli government to defeat human trafficking.

  Israel has been designated a 'Tier 2' country in US State Department's annual Trafficking in Person's Report.

This ranking is reserved for countries that do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but are making significant efforts to do so.

Knesset c'tee worried by disbandment of Sa'ar police unit

The non-profit organization Physicians for Human Rights - Israel (PHR-Israel) released a statement Tuesday in response to the report.

The statement says that the report reinforces the grave failures of the Israeli government to fully address and defeat human trafficking. They are pleased that the issue of how migrants that arrive from Egypt are dealt with has been raised.

PHR-Israel also said that they hope that Israel will provide more assistance to refugees and victims of human trafficking under this renewed pressure from its most powerful ally.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a letter opening the report "We must ensure that our efforts continue to address all forms of trafficking, whether for sex or labor, internal or transnational, or affecting men, women, or children. We must prevent this crime by forging partnerships that will hold source countries responsible for exploitative recruiting and ensure that destination countries employ vigorous victim identification efforts and forcefully prosecute traffickers."

According to the report, "The Israeli government made sustained progress in preventing trafficking in persons over the reporting period."

Measures the government has taken to help prevent trafficking include well-coordinated inter-agency work, several investigations and prosecutions of human traffickers, and an amendment to the Foreign Workers Law in November 2010, which authorizes inspectors to enter and inspect a private household where migrant workers are employed.

The Israeli government also posts an annual summary of their anti-trafficking efforts on the Internet and holds a Knesset meeting to discuss each years' report.
However, in its criticism of Israel, the report said that although it "continued law enforcement actions against sex trafficking and continued to make strong prevention efforts, the government continued to take inadequate steps to identify and protect labor trafficking victims and prosecute and convict labor trafficking offenders in the reporting period."
In addition, the report is critical of Israel's treatment of migrants arriving from Sinai, saying that Israel needs to strengthen victim identification and accord trafficking victims full protections and medical treatment.

It also states that Israel should "cease practice of immediately returning migrants back to Egypt (“hot returns”) without determining if they were trafficking victims in the Sinai."

As a country with a high level of immigration, Israel is also a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The report states that "low-skilled workers from Thailand, China, Nepal, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, and, to a lesser extent, Romania, migrate voluntarily and legally to Israel for temporary contract labor in construction, agriculture, and home health care provision.

Some, however, subsequently face conditions of forced labor. According to the Ministry of Interior, organized Bedouin groups keep migrants captive in the Sinai with an unknown number of them forced into sexual servitude or labor to build homes and serve as domestic workers. Some women from the former Soviet Union and China are subjected to forced prostitution in Israel, although the number of women affected has declined since the passage and implementation of Israel’s 2006 anti-trafficking bill."

Cops free Aizawl girl from sex trade racket in Mumbai

June 22, 2011 | TNN
AIZAWL: A Mizo girl, who was forced into flesh trade after being promised a job, has been rescued by Mizoram Police in Mumbai. The girl was promised a job with a handsome salary by a person whose identity is yet to be ascertained, police said. "She called her parents in Aizawl as soon as she escaped. They in turn notified CID officials of Mizoram Police," an officer said. After getting the news, the officials rushed to Mumbai and took the girl in...

Human trafficking victims inspire others with their courage tales

Indrani Basu, TNN Apr 6, 2011, 06.17am IST
NEW DELHI: Fatima, a victim of human trafficking, was married into a family in Forbesganj in Araria district in Bihar when she was only nine years old. Her mother-in-law allegedly ran a brothel in their house, something that was beyond her comprehension. She managed to run away to Nepal, where her parents lived, thrice, but there was no escaping her predicament. Each time she was sent back. "I cried because I wanted to play like other children. My aunt's advice might have been harsh but it was the stark truth. She told me that either I should fight my fate or simply die. That's when I stopped running away and started confronting reality," said Fatima in the first regional meeting of sex trafficking survivors that took place in Delhi on Tuesday.
Fatima now helps run the Kasturba Gandhi Girls Hostel in Araria funded by the Bihar government as part of their 'Education for all' programme. The hostel provides shelter to about 50 girls — daughters of scheduled caste farmers and human trafficking victims. The girls are vulnerable and run the risk of being forced into flesh trade. They are sent to school till class VIII.


Human trafficking victims and survivors from India, Nepal, the Philippines, as well as, advocates from Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia attended the meeting, which was organized by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific and Apne Aap Worldwide.
According to Central Bureau of Investigation ( CBI) figures, there are currently three million human trafficking victims in India — 1.2 million of them are children. National Human Rights Commission ( NHRC) figures indicate that the average age of those who fall victim to human trafficking is between nine and 13 years. There has been a staggering rise in the number of persons involved in human trafficking in the country — the figure has increased 17 times in the past decade.
A human trafficking survivor from the Philippines, Alma Bulawan, said, "I was coerced into the trade by my brother in Olangopo near a military base. Iwas employed as a waitress in a bar and was forced to entertain the guests. Our manager would let us turn down a customer." Alma now runs a dropin centre for women in prostitution in the Philippines. "I started working as an organizer even though the salary was a pittance as there were so many women around me who were suffering. I did not want others to meet the same fate that I did because of the absence of a support system," she said.
The message that was hammered home was that both the survivors and support organizations against human trafficking were stoutly opposed to any bid to legalize prostitution. "We want the section 5 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act to be made more stringent so that the buyers of sex are given punishment and the section 8 of the Act, which punishes women workers who are actually victims, to be deleted. We need to focus on punishing the buyers and pimps and provide assistance to the victims," said Ruchira Gupta, founder of Apne Aap Worldwide.


2 arrested for human trafficking


TNN Jun 27, 2011, 02.04am IST
CHANDIGARH: UT police has rescued 14 children and has arrested two persons on charges of human trafficking from ISBT-17 on Saturday night.
The kids belong to Gaya district of Bihar and were being taken to Manali for labour in apple orchards and in houses. They were to work on a monthly wage of Rs 500 each.
Accused were identified as Durja of Ladakh and Amka Manji of Beldari village in Bihar. 11-year-old son of Manji's sister was also among the rescued children. Durja, who is settled in Manali, had paid Rs 300 in advance to the parents of the kids who belong to Charki and Beldari villages of Gaya.

The fight against human trafficking: Moving toward a decade of delivery

Published: Monday, Jun. 27, 2011 - 6:44 am
Last year I met a group of young girls in Cambodia living in a shelter for survivors of human trafficking. They wanted the same things we all desire for our children: the opportunity to live and learn in safety, to grow up free to fulfill their God-given potential. But for these girls, those basics seemed nearly insurmountable. They had already endured traumas that defy description and shock the conscience.
A decade since the United Nations adopted the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, there are more slaves living in the world today than at any point in history. The story of those girls in Cambodia, and the many others like them around the world, should serve as a call to action for us all. It's time to redouble our efforts and renew our resolve to end this scourge once and for all.
The United States has made combating human trafficking a priority at home and around the world. It devastates communities, undermines the rule of law, tears families apart, exploits the most vulnerable in society, and offends our most fundamental values.
Fighting slavery is part of who we are as a nation, but this crime affects us all individually as well. When we eat produce that was picked by enslaved hands, when we buy clothes stitched in sweatshops by unpaid workers, when we look the other way on street corners where prostitutes are forced to sell their own bodies, consciously or unconsciously, we all contribute to this crime. We must also all contribute to stopping it.
Over the last 10 years, governments around the world have joined this struggle. To date, more than 120 countries have adopted anti-trafficking laws consistent with the U.N. Protocol, which established the 3P Paradigm of prevention, prosecution, prevention. That progress has been reflected in the State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report, which assesses government efforts to curb sex and labor trafficking.
This week we are releasing a new report ranking 184 countries and territories. It finds that we are at a critical moment in this struggle. The last 10 years have been a decade of development in which governments have made promises, forged partnerships, and put in place new legal mechanisms to make meaningful progress combating human trafficking. Yet despite this progress, worldwide the number of prosecutions has leveled off, victim identification is inadequate, and protection services are weak.
We cannot allow the momentum of the past decade to slow. Instead, it should be accelerated.
That's why going forward, the measure of success for government action - including our own - cannot merely be whether legal frameworks and protection mechanisms exist, but whether those tools are being implemented effectively and are making a real difference for trafficking victims and survivors.
To live up to those promises, the next 10 years need to be a decade of delivery.
That means governments everywhere must improve their efforts to combat all forms of trafficking, whether for sex or labor, domestic or transnational, affecting men, women, or children. Criminal justice and law enforcement organizations should not only enforce existing anti-trafficking laws, but refine their methods to fight modern slavery in order to keep up with an evolving understanding of the crime.
Partnerships among governments can improve our ability to combat exploitation in all its forms, whether by cracking down on fraudulent recruitment practices in source countries, screening migrant populations for potential victims, or aggressively prosecuting those who hold individuals in compelled service. Recent developments in supply chain monitoring will allow governments to work with the private sector, so that consumers can know whether the goods and services they buy come from responsible sources. Around the world, governments and non-government organizations are innovating and collaborating on new practices to protect victims and punish their abusers. But that knowledge must be coupled with action.
This is a crime that affects every nation, including the United States, and every government must take responsibility for stopping it. In countries with well established rule of law, it is not enough to assume the legal system will just take care of this problem. We must take proactive steps in identifying victims, delivering justice, and providing survivors the support and protection they need. At the same time, those in developing countries cannot plead limited capacity as an excuse for an anemic response. We have seen that political will, creative solutions, and strong partnerships can help fill the void left by a lack of resources.
The story of those girls in the Cambodian shelter is heartbreaking, but it should also give us hope. Their experience shows how effective law enforcement, comprehensive protection measures, and the commitment of good people can bring victims out of the horror of slavery and help them live healthy and productive lives. The United States is committed to this goal. We will do our part to move from the decade of development to the decade of delivery. But we can't do it alone. For the millions of people who toil in the shadows, unseen and unheard, all of us must make this effort a priority.
Hillary Clinton is the U.S. secretary of state.
This essay is available to McClatchy-Tribune News Service subscribers. McClatchy-Tribune did not subsidize the writing of this column; the opinions are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of McClatchy-Tribune or its editors.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Number of Afghanistan refugees has doubled in 2011


By Padmananda Rama and Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr
June 25, 2011 -- Updated 2227 GMT (0627 HKT)
Click to play
Afghans flee their country
  • 91,000 have fled their homes in Afghanistan this year, Refugees International says
  • Refugees make tent cities out of discarded objects like sheets and tarps
  • Obama plans to withdraw 33,000 troops from Afghanistan within the next 15 months
  • State Department says U.S. is committed to Afghanistan's long-term stability
Washington (CNN) -- They are the faces of civilians caught in the crossfire in Afghanistan. Facing internal conflict, the number of people fleeing their homes in Afghanistan has more than doubled compared to this time last year, says Refugees International, an advocacy group for displaced persons.
"In the first five months of 2011, we have more than 91,000 people fleeing their homes. And this is in comparison to last year at the same time period when there was 42,000," Refugees International advocate Lynn Yoshikawa said.
"They are living in cramped corridors ... sharing homes, living outside in tents. They have a lot of difficulties with breathing conditions, very limited access to medical facilities to address the problems. A lot of it is chronic," said Yoshikawa.
Yoshikawa visited tent cities across Afghanistan earlier this year with her colleagues, taking photos of the refugees' living conditions and sharing them publicly for the first time with CNN.
Some tent cities are made of whatever discarded objects are nearby.
Some tent cities are made of whatever discarded objects are nearby.
In describing the makeshift camps, Refugees International representatives say some were situated along major roads within Afghanistan's capital of Kabul, thrown together with discarded objects such as old cars, plastic tarps and torn sheets.
The humanitarian group warns that Afghans continue to be driven from their homes by coalition air strikes and special forces raids.
"There is still a lot of displacement happening and it's not being properly addressed," said Yoshikawa. "The military isn't reporting people that they see displaced from their military operations. That prevents humanitarian agencies from going to respond because often these are areas inaccessible because of these high levels of conflict."
A child plays in a cardboard box at one of the tent cities.
A child plays in a cardboard box at one of the tent cities.
Gen. David Petraeus, outgoing Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, has long said the military tries to be as careful as possible.
A U.S. State Department's spokeswoman said Friday that despite President Obama's announcement to withdraw 33,000 troops from Afghanistan within the next 15 months, the United States is committed to Afghanistan's long-term stability.
"We do continue to support efforts internally in Afghanistan to ensure that refugees are well managed," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
A displaced woman and child make their home at a tent city.
A displaced woman and child make their home at a tent city.
"With regard to the larger question of security in Afghanistan ... our goal is not to allow more insecurity but continue to transfer increasing security to the Afghans. Refugees and other folks who need protecting we have in mind as this strategy evolves with Afghans gaining more strength."
Yet questions remain about the extent of corruption within Afghanistan's security forces, including local police, who Refugees International says are now also driving Afghans from their homes.
"We talked to displaced people who said the Afghan local police, which are supported by U.S. military... are extorting money from people, demanding taxes, using their power to abuse civilians. They've also been implicated in allegations of murder and torture in these communities," explained Yoshikawa.

Afghan government officials have often said they are already trying to improve their security forces. Nuland says the United States is working closely with Afghans to ensure there are "good human rights standards" and "anti-corruption standards"
Refugees International says larger humanitarian concerns remain, with many displaced families fearful of returning home after fleeing violence.
The group says that many of those critical local police units, tasked with protecting Afghan residents, are now so corrupt that they should not be funded until strict recruiting and discipline standards are met.

Demi Moore sees plight of sex slaves

Nepal's Stolen Children

Actress Demi Moore partners with CNN Freedom Project for a compelling documentary. A passionate advocate for victims of human trafficking herself, Moore travels to Nepal to meet 2010 CNN Hero of the Year Anuradha Koirala and some of the thousands of women and girls Koirala’s organization has rescued from forced prostitution. Premieres Sunday, June 26 MORE DETAILS & TIMES
Kathmandu, Nepal (CNN) - Dawn breaks in Nepal, a nation whose natural beauty brings tourists from across the globe.
Sun glints off the Himalayas and in the ancient capital, Kathmandu, trekkers gear up for a day of sightseeing and adventure.
Amid the beauty is devastating poverty which provides fertile ground for one of man’s horrors – human trafficking and sexual slavery.
Nepal is a major hub for traffickers luring girls into brothels in India with promises of well-paid - or at least better paid - jobs.
Fighting the traffickers is a small, dedicated band whose limited resources are stretched.
They work with border guards trying to stop women being taken across the border, and in India’s red light districts rescuing women from prostitution, and in Nepal’s villages educating girls about the dangers.
Today is one of hope. Tulli is returning to her home village after being abducted into sexual slavery for several weeks and another six months at a halfway house after her rescue.
She is excited but nervous at how the villagers will treat her because sometimes the shame is directed at the trafficked, not the trafficker.
She was rescued by the Maiti Nepal organization and has spent time readjusting in the group’s halfway house while efforts were made to bring her traffickers to justice.
Maiti Nepal - which translates roughly to mean Mother’s Home - is run by CNN Hero winner Anuradha Koirala, who has made it her mission to help thousands of rescued women.
For this report movie star Demi Moore traveled from Hollywood to Nepal with CNN to see how the group works and how it can help her own organization The DNA Foundation, which works with girls forced to work in the U.S. as prostitutes.
At the Maiti Nepal complex Tulli is packing her bag as other girls pray or eat breakfast while others are busy sweeping.
Tulli gets to say goodbye to her best friend in the facility and jumps into a minivan for the six-hour drive into the mountains to her home village.
For parts of the journey, the road is the same one where she first met the man who trafficked her into India. It’s also the same road that has her favorite tea restaurant.
Koirala said the town was particularly bad for trafficking because it's a key stopping point for buses heading to Kathmandu. She explained traffickers are able to lure girls with promises, drug them and spirit them away.
Koirala said: "Tulli was looking after her brother's shop in the village and one day she met a man who said it's better in a bigger place and he said I will find you a better job.”
She went into town to buy supplies for the shop and did not return.
"At first they (her family) thought she was in the relative's house and they looked there and could not find her.
"Then afterwards they knew she had disappeared somewhere. They didn't tell anyone, they just waited and then later they got the message that she had been trafficked."
Despite knowing where Tulli was, it took the help of two volunteer groups and would be months before she was ready to make the return home.
Maiti Nepal also operates at 10 of the 26 border crossings with India, trying to identify suspicious travelers and stopping girls from being trafficked out of the country, which is about the size of Greece or the U.S. state of Tennessee.
Its uniformed border guards work with, but separate from, the border police and Koirala says every day, on average, they intercept 20 girls at risk of being trafficked. All of the Maiti Nepal guards are rescued sex slaves.
Koirala said: "They watch every girl and they watch the men as well and every vehicle. As soon as they catch someone, (one) takes the boy and (another) takes the girl and they cross-question them. If after questioning they find what they are saying is not true they hand over the boy to the police station and they take the girl to the transit home."
But the odds are stacked in favor of the traffickers. Maiti Nepal estimates it has rescued more than 12,000 women in its 20-year history. That's about the same number of Nepalese women and girls believed to be trafficked to India each year.
The Maiti Nepal guards interrogate travelers looking for inconsistencies - is that old man really the young girl's grandfather; is that woman really taking her daughter for a family reunion? - and suspicious signs that could identify a trafficker.
The police officers who largely take a back seat during the questioning will respond when Maiti Nepal guards believe they have found a trafficker but police Inspector Birenda Godra said they simply don't have the resources themselves to actively look for offenders.
Koirala said: "Cooperation between the police and Maiti Nepal has always been very good ever since 1994. Officially there are 26 borders between Indian and Nepal. Sometimes we have problems with police but you can't put them all in the same basket."
Godra said the biggest problem was not having the manpower to properly work the 2,500-kilometer (1,700-mile) border which Nepalis and Indians can cross without a passport or ID card.
Tulli was one of those shipped across the border and taken to Kolkata. Delhi and Mumbai are other popular destinations for traffickers.
She spent about six weeks at the brothel and says was forced to have sex with up to 20 men a day, before getting up the courage and the chance to try to escape.
Knowing she was taking a huge risk, Tulli asked a Nepalese client to help get word to her brother in Nepal. He agreed to make the phone call and then the brother, with Maiti Nepal's help, traveled to Kolkata to help rescue her.
Maiti Nepal put the family in touch with an Indian group called Rescue Foundation, which joined Indian police in an operation to free Tulli.
Almost every rescued woman spends time, like Tulli has, at Maiti Nepal's Kathmandu facility, receiving counseling and training.
It also helps build legal cases against the traffickers and has a school for about 300 children – some of whom were trafficked with their mothers, some of whom were rescued from living rough on the streets.
And there's a separate hospice building, about 12km north of Kathmandu, which looks after survivors with HIV.
Gita's story is depressingly familiar. She was an orphan lured to India by the false hope of finding her parents.
Koirala said Gita spent two years in a brothel before being rescued and she's been at Maiti Nepal for the seven years since her rescue - living with HIV because condoms were not allowed in the brothel.
Gita said: "Sometimes I think it's just hopeless. Then at other times I think Maiti Nepal is there and they are teaching me a craft then I think I can survive with."
Women in both centers also have to learn to live with the mental scars left by their ordeals.
Now Tulli is ready to return home. She says she knows her family will treat her kindly but she does not know about the wider community.
At 3,500 meters (11,500 feet) above sea level the view from the cluster of metal-roofed shacks is breathtaking.
Although emotions run high, Tulli's reunion with her parents maintains the traditional, respectful formality of her culture, and her brother thanks Koirala for bringing Tulli home.
But among those waiting is a small girl - Tulli's daughter - who has not seen her mom for several months.
Tulli no longer holds back and the tears flow as she holds her daughter.
Tulli is one of the lucky ones - rescued and now home with her family - but Koirala's crusade is to protect the thousands of other girls who will fall prey to the traffickers every year. Her work never stops.

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