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

Monday, October 21, 2019

INTERVIEW-New anti-trafficking chief slams 'abysmal' global conviction levels

by Christine Murray | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 10 October 2019 14:06 GMT
Valiant Richey, senior European security official is urging states to invest more in combatting a crime that affects millions of people By Christine Murray
LONDON, Oct 10 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Global prosecution and conviction levels for human trafficking are "abysmal", a senior European security official said on Thursday, urging states to invest more in combatting a crime that affects millions of people.
Governments are not devoting enough resources to tackling the crime, Valiant Richey said in his first interview since taking charge of anti-trafficking at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), a security watchdog.
"No country is winning on human trafficking right now," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
"What we're seeing is a fairly abysmal level of prosecution and convictions across the OSCE."
Almost 25 million people around the world could be trapped in forced labour, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates, from construction and agricultural workers to sex trafficking victims.
That compares to between 4,000 and 5,000 human trafficking convictions a year across the OSCE, which has 57 member states in North America, Europe and Asia with a combined population of more than 1 billion people, Richey said.
The global movement to stop trafficking and modern-day slavery was boosted by United Nations agreements that came into force in 2003 known as the Palermo Protocols.
Since then, most countries have passed an anti-human trafficking law, trained some authorities and provide some services, Richey said.
"It's a great example of international law helping to spur a response, the problem is that it's not working, we haven't solved the problem."
Richey, a former U.S. prosecutor, was this month appointed Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings at the OSCE, running a team of 15 people.
He said he would focus next year on drawing attention to levels of investment in prosecuting human trafficking, which he said were vastly outstripped by money devoted to efforts to stop drug trafficking.
Governments around the world carried out 11,096 trafficking prosecutions in 2018 and won 7,481 convictions, according to estimates compiled in the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report by the U.S. State Department.
Prosecutions have risen since 2012, but hit a peak of 19,127 in 2015, the data shows. Governments identified 85,613 trafficking victims in 2018, up more than 80 percent from 2012, the report said.
Some civil society groups working to combat human trafficking have raised concerns about heavy-handed law enforcement causing harm, particularly for migrants who are deported, or sex workers imprisoned.
In recent years, Britain has sent home or aided the return of dozens of trafficking victims to hotspots including Albania, Nigeria and Vietnam despite the risk they could be targeted again.
Richey said his team had worked on guidelines to help authorities identify migrant victims of trafficking and get them assistance regardless of whether they cooperated with police investigations.
He said he did not think the answer was to stop prosecuting people.
"We can't take that position," he said. "The level of impunity is really grossly outweighing the implementation of these laws right now."
(Reporting by Christine Murray; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit

After decades of slavery in California, Filipina tastes freedom at 82

Human TraffickingSurvivor Stories

Nanay Fedelina was enslaved for 37 years in southern California, made to work for free for generations of a family that kept her as a domestic slave. Now 82-years-old, she is finally free.
Fedelina hails from Tacloban, Leyte in the Philippines, and she initially came to the US on a tourist visa in 1981. Yet she was then trafficked into domestic slavery, forced to work for free for a family for decades. Her employer confiscated her passport, making it difficult for her to flee.
Authorities became aware of Fedelina’s case when she suddenly collapsed at a hospital when she was caring for her employer. Concerned hospital staff contacted the FBI, which found that she was a victim of human trafficking and had fainted because she had not been given food to eat for two days.
Fortunately, with the help of an organization called the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC), the FBI rescued Fedelina from her employer’s home in 2018, helping her find a home care facility to stay in Los Angeles that would cover her daily needs.
GMA News reports:
Fedelina’s employer pleaded guilty to forced labor, said Consul General Adel Cruz from the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles.
But the elderly woman had no intention of sending her employer to prison, even as this person deprived her of freedom for so many years.
“It’s poetic justice,” Cruz said.
“The judge wanted to put the old employer behind bars but the old employer is just two years younger than her, Nanay Fedelina requested otherwise, that she would not be jailed.”
In fact, the 82-year-old did not want to file charges against her employer’s daughter or any member of any family she served, Cruz said.
The elderly employer ended up facing probation in an assisted living facility and paid Fedelina $101,000 in restitution.
Her case has prompted the Philippine consulate to coordinate more closely with officials and Filipino-American organizations on how to identify, rescue, and protect human trafficking victims.
Cruz hopes Fedelina’s case will also send a message on safe migration to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
“I would just like to warn our kababayans not to blindly believe in promises especially if it’s too good and, should they wish to seek employment abroad, make sure that they go through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration so they become documented workers.”
Cruz added that the Philippine consulate had never seen a case of modern slavery as “grave” as Fedelina’s.
“Being made a slave for 37 years, that’s a lifetime already,” said Cruz.
“For us, this is one very emotional case because, at this day and age, especially here in the United States, you wouldn’t even think that there would be people who would do this.”
Read more:  After decades of slavery in California, Filipina tastes freedom at 82

Cyntoia Brown-Long: "It took many, many years" to realize she was a victim

Survivor Stories
Cyntoia Brown-Long’s story gained national attention this year when she was granted clemency after spending 15 years behind bars for killing a man who hired her for sex when she was only 16-years-old.
In August Brown-Long was finally released from prison, and she recently spoke to CBS News about how it took several years for her to realize that she was a victim of trafficking after realizing how her ‘boyfriend’ took advantage of her vulnerability.
“I was in my late twenties when I actually realized that I was a trafficking victim,” said Brown-Long. “For so long, you know I had thought, ‘No, they said that I was a teenage prostitute. I knew what I was doing.'”
“You know there’s a certain element where you’re just vulnerable because you’re a child your mind is just naturally impressionable in that way,” she said. “But it was like, why was it just so easy for this man to come along and in the space of a few weeks I was doing these things?”
I thought I was doing something for someone I figure was my boyfriend and that wasn’t necessarily the truth.”
CBS News also reported on her message to her victim’s family:
After Brown-Long was granted clemency, the family of her victim released a statement. It read, in part: “our hearts are broken because we feel Johnny never got to defend himself. We never got to be a voice to him.”
Brown-Long said she understands their pain because “grief doesn’t care about what the situation was.”
“I completely understand how they feel,” Brown-Long said. “This was somebody’s son, it was someone’s brother. If you lose someone, grief doesn’t care about what the situation was.”
“Especially in the justice system, it’s such an adversarial process,” she added. “Many times, both the defendant and the victim’s voices are left out of it. So, I think there are many things that are left unsaid. Many things that people would like to say.”
Brown-Long said she would “absolutely” be willing to sit down with Allen’s family. “If they would ever want to have a conversation then I’m open to that,” she added. “But so far I haven’t received any kind of word that they would be open to that.”
Upon being released in August, Brown-Long married recording artist J. Long. She said she received letters from around the world while she was in prison, but Long’s notes stood out.
“Well aside from the fact that he is very fine,” she said with a laugh. “[His letter] really spoke out to me in a way that I can’t describe.” His letters of support included the hashtag #FreeCyntoia2017 many months before her case gained worldwide attention.
“I really feel like I live with my best friend,” she added.

Read more: Cyntoia Brown-Long: "It took many, many years" to realize she was a victim