RYDER CUP: SEX TRAFFICKING WARNING
The increase in trafficking around major sporting events has led to an increased risk of women and children trafficked to Wales for the sex trade for the Ryder Cup golf tournament in Newport from 1-3 October. A new report called “Knowing No Boundaries” said that Greece had licensed a large number of additional brothels in the months leading up to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, and mega-brothels were installed near the German football stadia during the football World Cup in 2006. It is thought other countries’ experiences illustrate the need to act “decisively and immediately” to combat human trafficking in Wales.
The report also recommends dedicated funding to tackle trafficking (possibly through money confiscated from trafficking gangs), a campaign to raise awareness of the problem, and specialised training for those on the “front line”. There are plans for a people’s forum, where citizens, politicians, practitioners etc can discuss the issues. There is already a single point of contact and senior officer in place in each of the four Welsh forces who is a dedicated work lead in the area of trafficking.
NYC COMMUNITY AWARENESS: “YOU CAN RUN BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE”
Mayor Bloomberg launched a campaign on Thursday that placed dark silhouetted figures at bus stops throughout New York City to stir a response in the community. They represent the tens of thousands of people illegally trafficked within the US each year. The “Let’s end Human Trafficking” public education campaign (http://www.nyc.gov/html/endht/html/home/home.shtml) will play a critical role in raising awareness on human trafficking, encouraging New Yorkers to report it and letting victims know that help is available. It follows a state human trafficking law in 2007, which has given law enforcement something to work with on a local level.
With the help of this campaign, there is more emphasis on community involvement; but public awareness demands public activism. Activist Jonathan Walton says the public must take the extra step by engaging the deeper social issues that lead to abuse and exploitation. They need to reduce isolation and connect people with resources. With sex trafficking typically resulting in deep shame and degradation for the victim, it is more difficult to create a platform for activism and abolition. The message is still clear: “You can run but you can’t hide”. Only time will tell if Bloomberg’s efforts will be successful.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN DISASTER ZONES: Best Practice for Haiti’s “Restaveks”
The last year saw a multitude of natural disasters disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable – migrants, job seekers, or poor families – making them primary targets for exploitation; but does relief work address the issues? Haiti was ranked a special case due to government dysfunction and the severity of on-the-ground circumstances. Under the restavek system, poor, mostly rural families send their children to wealthier families in the cities whom they think will provide the children with food, shelter and an education, in exchange for a little work. Sadly, this dream is often a nightmare for these children. Most trafficking cases are found among the estimated 225,000 restaveks, mostly girls between 6 and 14 working excessively with no pay or education. Dismissed runaways make up a large proportion of street children and fall easy prey to gangs who trap them in prostitution or petty crime.
Some key lessons learned are that interventions should start in the emergency phase of disaster response (to reduce the number of gaps traffickers can later exploit) and target the most vulnerable and displaced. Also, definitions matter: The key concern under the Palermo protocol is not whether someone has been moved, but if they are in compelled service. Focusing on movement alone results in mis-deployment of resources to borders, compromising internal enforcement and undercutting local organizations’ pre-disaster anti-slavery efforts.
NEW BBC DOCCUMENTARY “WORKING LIVES- HUMAN TRAFFIC”
Launched last weekend, this series will take a look at cross border trafficking between Mexico and the USA focussing on what it’s like to be a modern day slave. Episodes will feature domestic servitude, forced labour in the garment industry in India, child labour in Malawi and child brides in Egypt as well as an exclusive interview on Suzanne Mubarak’s global campaign. The next episode will uncover the underworld of child exploitation lurking beneath tourism’s glossy glamour, with stories of young victims who have fallen into the hands of traffickers revealed, and those battling against a trade which has come to plague generations.
Episodes of the series will be shown on Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 29th May at 01.30 GMT and repeated Saturday at 08.30 GMT and Sunday at 14.30 and 20.30 GMT. For brief information on the series:
Promo spot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffM18GSP5MM
MAFIA STYLE RING FUNDED BY DRUGS, GUNS & HUMAN TRAFFICKING BUSTED IN SPAIN
Assets linked to the Christy Kinahan-led international drugs cartel in Brazil alone are worth an estimated €500 million- more than treble the value of all cash and assets seized by the Criminals Assets Bureau in Ireland since the bureau’s inception over a decade ago. Details that are emerging from Spain since yesterday reveal that Kinahan is at the head of a mafia-style operation with assets worldwide funded by drug trafficking, money laundering, gun running and even human trafficking.
Sixty properties frozen in Spain are valued at about €150 million by authorities. There are other properties in Ireland, England, Dubai, South Africa and Belgium. Some of the nine Irish suspects where arrested on Tuesday morning. It is believed that the international investigation being led by Spain and the UK has identified a network of about 30 companies set up or controlled by the gang for laundering and investment purposes.