Global News 13/01/2011

Ohio, US

The manager of Starbucks in Cleveland, Ohio said he was unaware of what was going on.

Staff swiping a few dollars from the till for themselves? Giving their favourite customers and extra marshmallow? Customers writing graffiti on the toilet door?

No – on all three counts.

He was unaware that when a man, woman and 16-year old girl sat down at one of his tables last month, they weren’t just there for coffee.

The man: Eric Tutstone, the seller.

The woman: a madam at a local brothel, the buyer.

The 16-year old girl: a trafficked girl who was about to change hands for $300.

For anyone in any doubt that the trade in human beings affects your city, your neighbourhood, your local coffee shop…. Read more


“I knew no-one but my masters. I belonged to them and that seemed normal to me.”

The sheer ‘normality’ of forced labour and domestic slavery in Mauritania is almost literally breathtaking. In 2007 a law was finally passed criminalising slavery, but no measures have been taken to ensure that it would be implemented. An NGO working in the region has estimated that nearly a fifth of Mauritania’s total 3.1 million population are currently enslaved. The fact that the buying and selling of people into slavery is just so ‘normal’, and even practiced by the authorities themselves, is a real barrier to the law’s effectiveness.

This news story from Mauritania tells of six anti-slavery activists who are set to go on trial for ‘attacking security forces’ whilst protesting outside a police station. Read more

Alaska, US

Former Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, was once quoted blundering “Women across the globe deserve the same rights that American women enjoy. Including the freedom for sex trafficking”.

Presumably (we hope) she meant freedom from sex trafficking – a forgivable mistake. But the more significant blunder was that, had she taken a closer look at her own home state, she would’ve found that many Native Alaskan women and girls don’t actually appear to have that freedom.   

In fact, the practice of luring young women away from their isolated hometowns and forcing them to work in the Anchorage sex industry is rife. Read more


A young woman from Uzbekistan who was trafficked to India to be sexually exploited has been rescued and taken to a safe house. According to this news story, she was hired out to tourists in the popular Goa area. Although police arrested the two tourists she was found “in a compromising position” with, the individuals responsible for trafficking the woman haven’t been identified yet. It’s a reminder that as well as protecting victims and prosecuting culprits, it’s also hugely important to curb the demand for trafficked services or products – whether it’s sex, chocolate or anything else that could be tainted by trafficking. Read more


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