Global News 20/12/2010

China

In the shadows of the skyscrapers and shopping malls that mark China’s economic transformation, homelessness is increasingly rife. You’d think that homeless shelters would be integral to tackling this growing problem – but reports from Beijing suggest that one such shelter has been exploiting the very people it claimed to be supporting.
11 residents of the homeless shelter were sold by the owner to a remote chemical factory. The victims, many of whom were mentally disabled, were subjected to forced labour. They were unpaid, and appallingly treated.
This isn’t the first time that homeless men, women and children, often with mental disabilities, have been sold into slavery. In 2007, more than 1000 people who had been living on the streets were found to have been enslaved and maltreated at brick kilns in the northern province of Shanxi. Read more…

Germany

Cross-border human trafficking operations are often dependent upon stolen or counterfeited documents to transport their victims from one country to another. But German embassy staff appear to have been making life a lot easier for these organised criminal gangs.
Local staff in German embassies in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia are reported to have regularly taken substantial bribes to issue visas – sidestepping the formal security procedures. The German Foreign Ministry is quoted as admitting the system was “irregular, abused and corrupt”. More importantly, police suspect that human trafficking networks bringing young women to Germany to work in the sex industry are likely to have been the beneficiaries. Read more…

Gabon

Police have rescued more than 140 children, some as young as 6 years old, who had been trafficked into forced labour in Gabon. Although the details provided by Interpol are relatively sketchy at this stage, the children were recruited from 10 different countries and forced to work in local markets. 44 people were arrested over the course of the 3-day operation. Perhaps most significantly, though, this is the first operation of its kind in Central Africa. Gabon’s commitment to continue its anti-human trafficking work will hopefully prompt other Central African countries to follow suit. Read more…

Uzbekistan

An international human trafficking ring, allegedly operated by the Uzbek mafia in conjunction with Russian and Thai criminal gangs, has been uncovered by police in Bangkok. A raid on an apartment in the city unearthed 12 young Uzbek women who had been lured to the country on false pretences, then forced into prostitution and robbery. The victims were controlled with violence and threats to their family back home. It is reported that the women were forced to drug their clients so the gang could rob them when they passed out. Read more…

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