Global News 08/02/2011

Zimbabwe

“They put you on the phone and beat you up while your relatives are listening.” Established, organised criminal gangs specialising in human trafficking, known locally as Omalaitsha, have flourished under President Mugabe. Working in conjunction with the Guma Guma gang, which is described as “a brutal network of border control thugs”, the Omalaitsha traffik young women from Zimbabwe to South Africa where they are forced into sexual slavery. Encouragingly, the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) has been engaged in some really important work in the area. They’ve put up billboards warning Zimbabweans of the dangers of migration, and set up a reception centre for survivors. Read more…

US

Controversy rarely seems to stray far from Scientology. It’s been reported that the FBI are investigating the Church of Scientology over allegations of human trafficking. The accusations against the organisation appear to centre on the ‘Gold Base’ centre in the Californian desert. There have been claims that ‘punitive re-education’ programmes have involved involuntary detention and forced labour. Although it’s only just entered the public domain, the investigation has been ongoing for over a year. The full article is relatively light on facts and evidence, and rather heavy on ‘claims’ and ‘accusations’ – but it is encouraging that authorities are taking allegations of human trafficking seriously. Read more… 

Somalia

It’s a sad fact that there’s often a lot more money to be made from war than there is from peace. Men, women and children in war-torn Somalia are falling victims to traffickers in huge numbers. Lured by the promise of jobs and a better life in South Africa and Kenya particularly, victims are often being subjected to sexual abuse. The Somali transitional government is calling upon Kenya to cooperate in efforts to bring those behind the operation to justice, and to ensure that those discovered without appropriate legal documents are recognised as victims. Read more…

UK

Hundreds of people are set to propose to UK Prime Minister David Cameron this Valentine’s Day. For each card sold by Special Someone, another will be sent to David Cameron asking him to hold to his commitment to tackling the trade in people and opt in to the revised EU Directive on Human Trafficking. Last May, when the Coalition Government formed, they promised to make tackling human trafficking a priority. But the UK is currently one of only two EU member states that are yet to opt in to the directive – an agreement which offers better protection to child trafficking victims, greater powers to prosecute traffickers and protection for victims in criminal proceedings. 

Proceeds from the cards will support the work of anti-trafficking agencies, including STOP THE TRAFFIK. Read more…

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