JANUARY IS NATIONAL SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING PREVENTION MONTH.
On January 4th President Obama proclaimed January as the national slavery and human trafficking prevention month. He released a statement acknowledging the modern forms of slavery still exist and recommitted to combating human trafficking locally and globally working with law enforcement agencies, private and nongovernmental organisations around the world. President Obama made it clear that the victims of human trafficking have many different faces and can be found in diverse settings, yet what remains a constant is their being denied ‘basic human dignity and freedom’. The proclamation also pointed out the importance of protecting the victims and prosecuting traffickers. The national slavery and human trafficking prevention month promotes community involvement and education around America but also more globally. According to President Obama the responsibility lies with the governments but also with all of us to ensure we are playing a part within our communities.
Many communities are getting active. For example, In Sacramento, California there are currently art, music and film nights being held to raise awareness. 125 volunteers showed up to start special training in the area, and signatures are being gathered to ensure all law enforcement agencies undergo human trafficking awareness training. (http://www.news10.net/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=72771&catid=2).
In Pasadena, a group of activists (Oasis USA) are promoting the 27 blocks campaign, walking a block for every million people being held in slavery as a consequence of human trafficking. (http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/stopping_traffic/8257/)
Make sure you get involved with the STOP THE TRAFFIK projects this month. For more information go to http://www.stopthetraffik.org or you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
EUROPEAN COURT RULES CYPRUS AND RUSSIA HAVE BROKEN HUMAN TRAFFICKING LAWS
Following the death of Oxana Rancheva in Cyprus in 2001, the European Court of Human Rights has found both Russia and Cyprus in violation of article four of the European Convention on Human Right prohibiting forced labour and slavery. Cyprus was also ruled as having breached articles protecting the right to life and the right to liberty and security. Oxana Rancheva entered Cyprus from Russia in March 2001 on an ‘artiste’ visa to work in a cabaret. The manager tried to have her detained as an illegal immigrant when she tried to quit, but the authorities did not find any evidence to support detention. Rancheva was foun dead on the same night, having fallen from her balcony trying to escape. An inquest at the time found no criminal liability for her death. Her father took the case to the ECHR, where it was decided that Cyprus did not provide a proper framework to combat human trafficking and that the authorities had reason to suspect human trafficking and did not act on it. Russia was also found as not having done enough to investigate how and where Rancheva was recruited.
The ‘artiste’ visa was abolished in Cyprus in 2008 after growing pressure from the international community and NGOs.
AZERBAIJAN NEUTRALISES 21 CRIMINAL GROUPS ENGAGED IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING.
Azerbaijan’s interior ministry revealed 80 human trafficking cases recorded in 2009. According to these figures 21 criminal groups active in human trafficking have been neutralized and 91 victims have been found and helped; 54 trafficking victims have been offered shelter and legal representation. According to Imran Najafov, deputy chief of the department for combat against human trafficking 2009 has been a very important year for them; changes were made in the laws concerning the definition and regulation of ‘victims’ and work has been put into their national programme. In association with international organisations 54 regions and cities in the country were educated on human trafficking, and police officials underwent training on recognizing and dealing with victims of trafficking.
POVERTY IN KENYA LEADS TO INCREASE IN TRAFFICKING
The large amount of unemployed youth trying desperately to leave impoverished and crowded areas like Eastleigh in Nairobi has created a strong trafficking network. Research by the International Organization for Migration in the target regions of Kenya found that poverty and the search for livelihood are factors that make people vulnerable to trafficking In Eastleigh, economic and conflict refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Kenya are sold all over the world. It is believed that more than 50 people are being sold every day, atleast 5 people on each of the 10 daily bus routes between Garissa and Nairobi. According to a US State Department 2009 Report Kenya is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children. Anti-trafficking NGOs say corrupt police and bus drivers are an integral part of the trafficking procedure. http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/837336/-/vos1ge/-/