GLOBAL NEWSROUND 04/06/10
CORRUPTION IN MEXICO: IMMIGRATION AGENTS CHARGED WITH TRAFFICKING
13 former Mexican National Migration agents are pending trial on human-trafficking charges. They were arrested in March at Cancun airport for allegedly belonging to a ring that brought Chinese into the country via the Beijing-Italy-Cuba-Cancun route. The Caribbean resort city of Cancun is a popular tourist destination, and the entry point for illegal Cuban immigrants bound for the US. Corrupt agents and officials such as former Cancun Mayor Gregorio Sanchez are involved in these crimes with a number of cases of illegal immigrants escaping custody or being rescued by armed groups.
IMMIGRATION PROBE TARGETS TRAFFICKERS IN ORGANISED MARRIAGE
More than 100 potential victims of human trafficking have been identified by immigration officers, according to an annual report in Ireland. An operation started last year by Garda National Immigration Bureau led to inquiries into over 300 incidents of organised “marriages of convenience” between asylum seekers to boost their chances of being allowed to stay in the country. The operation has pinpointed a group of people suspected of arranging the marriages for a fee.106 potential trafficking victims have been identified so far and in one investigation five people were arrested for alleged involvement in sexual exploitation.
SINGAPORE HAVE EYE ON NEW HUMAN TRAFFICKING ROUTE
Singapore Police and Immigration have become aware of a new trafficking route – via Changi Airport and into Malaysia – to smuggle Afghans to Indonesia and Australia. This comes soon after Malaysian marine police reportedly captured 10 Afghans in a boat chase. The usual route smugglers take is to bring in illegal victims through Kuala Lumpur Airport before sneaking them into Indonesia and on to Australia. The detained Afghans had destroyed their identification papers and passports, making investigations more difficult but we are assured “appropriate measures” are now in place to address this issue.
SOMETHING FISHY IN THAI INDUSTRY
Human trafficking in Thailand’s fishing industry has worsened with up to 138 cases reported last year – three times more than 2008. Since the fishing industry suffers from a severe shortage of workers – 10,000 and worsening- human traffickers see it as an opportunity to make money by deceiving those from border countries to work in extremely harsh conditions. Although local politicians and officials have a hand in human trafficking, police are not brave enough to charge them under the anti-trafficking in Persons Act 2008, as it is not properly enforced. This calls on related state agencies to deal with the problem; but these do not work well enough in practice. There are concerns of displacing the problem to other areas and not addressing demand.
OVER 230 HUMAN TRAFFICKING RINGS IN VIETNAM
3190 women and child victims of human trafficking have recently returned home; 40% of them rescued. At a conference reviewing the five-year implementation of a scheme to assist victims in 2005-2010, it is reported 2532 are now being provided with mental assistance and health check-ups with another 1037 being financed to learn a trade to re-join the community. The Vietnam Women’s Union says most Vietnamese women and children sold to China had to work very hard, suffer sexual abuses, and are forced to work as prostitutes. After returning to Vietnam, many have mental disorders, social or incurable diseases, and infertility. Police report over 3600 human traffickers and 235 human trafficking rings operating in Vietnam.
RUSSIA CUTS SUPPORT FOR TRAFFICKING VICTIMS
Russia has been accused of blocking support for its many victims of sex trafficking by closing foreign help-centres despite calls to ratify an EU convention on the problem. The majority of people trafficked to the EU either come from or via Russia, where there are now only two victim support centres and no separate law specifically targeting human trafficking -a sub clause of the criminal code. Valeria, 19, thought she was going to start a new life in Abu Dhabi as a waitress but was imprisoned there in a room with eight other women, forced to have unprotected sex with up to 30 men a day. Russian authorities gave no help to find her. Potential victims should be made aware of what could happen. A landmark ruling in the European Court of Human Rights recently damned Russia’s ability to protect victims from trafficking.