NEWSROUND 2/7/2010

Five Ukrainians charged in human trafficking ring in US

Five Ukrainians were charged in Washington with running a human trafficking ring that forced migrants to clean US chain stores such as Target and Walmart. The victims, mainly young Ukrainians, were subjected to rape and other physical violence, slave-like conditions, debt bondage (ranging from 10,000 to 50,000 dollars) and extortion of relatives in Ukraine. One worker was threatened to have her nine-year-old daughter placed into prostitution to pay off family debt.

Diplomats above the law on human trafficking

Foreign Office figures reveal an extraordinary crime spree carried out by embassy workers under the cloak of diplomatic immunity. In the most worrying cases, envoys from Saudi Arabia and Sierra Leone were accused of human trafficking. Under the 1961 Vienna Convention, foreign officials are protected from prosecution in their host country – effectively putting them above the law reportedly for crimes as heinus as molesting an 11 year old girl. Unless their home country agrees to waive their immunity, there is not much the British government can do. Is it time to renegotiate the terms of diplomatic immunity?

Six Arrests in Telford child-sex ring inquiry

Six arrests have been made in connection with a child-sex ring involving teenage girls in Telford. Five men and a woman are allegedly part of a gang which groomed girls aged between 13 and 15 for sex with other men. The case involves the sexual exploitation of nine teenage girls but officers believe there could be up to 40 victims and urged parents to watch for the warning signs of grooming. The whole investigation began because local people came forward with their concerns about unusual behaviour in their communities.

Economic Downturn Fuels Human Trafficking

Twelve more countries are on the US watch list this year for failing to combat trafficking, as the recession makes workers more vulnerable to exploitation. The economic downturn is adding a new dimension to the global problem as workers desperate for income will accept increasingly onerous conditions or fall prey to international cheap-labor rings. This has led to an increase in the number of developing world countries either overlooking rising incidents of trafficking and bondage, or failing to enforce laws they’ve passed to curb the problem.


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