Global news round 17.09.09


clip_image002 Dutch police hunt fugitive human trafficker

Notorious human trafficker, Saban Baran, has escaped while on temporary release from prison in the Netherlands, following the court’s decision last week to allow him to visit his family. Turkish-born Baran had served only one year of the seven and a half year sentence dealt to him after being convicted of leading a notorious gang that forced over 100 women into prostitution. The gang is known to have ‘branded’ women – tattooing their gang mark onto them – and is accused of forcing women to have cosmetic surgery and abortions whilst working as prostitutes in various Dutch cities, including Amsterdam. Public criticism of the court’s decision was further fuelled following the revelation that judges were given evidence prior to his release suggesting he would attempt to flee, perhaps to Turkey. International authorities have been alerted.


clip_image002[1] Romanian human traffik gang intercepted by police

A Romanian gang based in Bacau, Eastern Romania, has been dismantled by police and three members face charges for trafficking 25 people to Spain. They are known for targeting poor people in rural areas of Romania. The police are in the process of identifying both victims and other gang members.



North America

clip_image002[2] Three people face charges in Edmonton with Western Canada’s first alleged case of human trafficking

Six are arrested in Edmonton after the police and Canadian Border Services Agency followed a tip off about a suspected brothel. Three of the women arrested, one lady from Beijing the other two from Fiji, are believed to be victims of human trafficking. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said that the charges against the suspected traffickers are the first to be made in Western Canada. The story of the women is not unfamiliar – responding to adverts about work in the massage industry they were tricked, their documents were taken, they were forced to work 24 hours a day – but this case raises the profile of human trafficking in an area where many are unaware of the local relevance of this crime. The trial is scheduled for late September.


clip_image002[3] Trial in New Jersey for a Togolese Woman charged with human trafficking

Human trafficking is back on stage in New Jersey. Afolabi, originally from West Africa, faces charges of running a human trafficking operation following revelations earlier this year that young women were forced to work in her salons in Newark and East Orange for up to 14 hours a day. It is believed that twenty girls aged between 10-19 years old were smuggled to New Jersey from her home town of Togo with promises of employment, and instead were coerced with threats and physical violence to work for her. Husband and son of the accused have both pleaded guilty in conspiracy to commit forced labour, but Afolabi’s defence rests on claims of cultural misunderstandings. She faces up to twenty years if found guilty of forced labour (As I read this I am literally screaming ‘CULTRAL MISUNDERSTANDING yeah WHATEVER’ at the screen)


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