Category Archives: Indentured Servitude

DHS Blue Campaign: ICE Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons

The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is responsible for enforcing a wide range of crimes related to border security, including conducting domestic and international investigations on human trafficking, child sex tourism, and forced child labor. Continue reading

Book Review: Enslaved: The New British Slavery

 Reposted from the blog:” A Passion To Understand”  http://passiontounderstand.blogspot.com

The year 2007 may have marked the bicentenary of the abolition of slavery but the reality is that many people around the world are living in conditions of forced labour or slavery.  In her book Enslaved: The New British Slavery, Rahila Gupta gets in contact with five modern day slaves and convinces them to share their stories. These are heartbreaking and shocking tales that expose the hidden and invisible world of modern day slavery. All of these testimonies were obtained in England so this is not simply a “third world problem” that we can sweep under a rug; it is happening in our neighbourhoods. Continue reading

Being Social For Social Justice

By MGJack

Do you Blog, Twitter, Facebook or MySpace for social justice? Would it not be great to go to just one place and add your post just once and it goes everywhere you have a social presence? I have come across an up and coming service called Hubze that will do just that for you. Please read how Hubze could really help you spread the word about your social justice cause .

What is Hubze?

Just imagine this. Would it not be great to have only ONE place you had to go online to be social? Right now many of us have to perform the overwhelming task of signing onto and posting to all our social networking sites. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FriendFinder, Ning and all these other social networks…and the truth is…it is a lot of work. I mean should social networking not be fun and easy to do so we in fact do it. Add to that the fact that many of us use social networking as a business application promoting our business and building are brands.

How do we fix this? Enter Hubze. Hubze plans to simplify your life by giving you a platform where you only have to go to ONE place to enter any content. One place to blog, update, share, chat, email, market and search. One place to simplify your online life.

Hubze is not going to be just another social network. Hubze is not going to be just another online marketing system. Hubze is going to be the ONE STOP SHOP you need! And at Hubze simplifying your online life is only the beginning.

Hubze is all about what it’s founders call “Elegant Organization” This concept allows you to bring all of your social interactions into one place. Twitter, Facebook, Direct Matches, Linkedin, BetterNetworker, Myspace, etc. and post to all of them at the push of a button from one single platform. The Hubze MeCard is only the tip of the iceburg here and will be the first of many other services to come. Recently Hubze let out of the bag that they will provide a service that will allow anyone to customize the look and feel of there Facebook page similar to the customization folks enjoy in MySpace. The HubzeCard will always be a free service for all who sign up. For more information on Hubze and to get the HubzeCard service free go to: www.hubze.mgjack.com  for full details. You must be invited by another Hubze member like me so Click and join for FREE.

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Chocolate Paves the Path to the Dark Side

by Angela Longerbeam

When the Easter Bunny visits your house this year, will he be complicit with the slave trade? Before delivering treats to more fortunate children, did he hop on over to Africa’s Ivory Coast and make sure trafficked children weren’t harvesting his cocoa? That Easter Bunny. We love him, but he sure is a slacker sometimes. 

News has swirled around for awhile now regarding labor practices in the chocolate supply chain. In spite of signing the Cocoa Protocol back in 2001 and thereby promising to move toward slave-free chocolate production, companies like Hershey seem to be okay with kids farming their cocoa. It is heavy labor in and of itself, unsuitable for children, and made infinitely more exploitative with no pay and a daily serving of abuse. They either support these labor practices directly, or else they support it indirectly, by looking the other way. 

Eating chocolate is bliss, and so, of course, is ignorance. 

The demand for transparency and ethical business practices have surfaced through petitions and organized boycotts. Fair trade chocolate brands are becoming more prevalent and popular all the time. But we, as concerned consumers, only have as much knowledge on the subject as chocolate companies allow -– and no company in its business-sensed mind is going to make itself look bad. 

That’s why a journalist from Denmark, Miki Mistrati, has gone undercover to see what’s really happening on the Ivory Coast’s cocoa farms in a new documentary called The Dark Side of Chocolate.  

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Human Trafficker Gives Rare Video Interview

by Amanda Kloer

If you’ve had an interest in the issue of human trafficking and modern-day slavery for any period of time, you probably have wondered, “How can one human being actually enslave another? What’s going through his or her head?” Now, here’s your chance to know. A South African NGO has filmed a former human trafficker who lured girls and women from Thailand to South Africa with the promise of high-paying jobs and then forced them into prostitution. Check out his story in his own words, with more after the jump. Warning: contains graphic descriptions of violence.

This man might not be your stereotypical trafficker, in part because he seems to have had a change of heart about what he was doing, but his descriptions of the trafficking process are incredibly complex. It starts with false promises, includes enforcement of corrupt police and the graphic physical and psychological abuse that goes on. It’s a very brutal reality described in the starkest of terms.

One of the most interesting parts of the interview was that they were able to anticipate law enforcement raids and simply move the girls to another place. Finding human trafficking victims is incredibly difficult for this exact reason. I have to wonder if this ability to detect and then evade inspection by the police is a common phenomenon among traffickers, or if it was this man in particular who was just highly skilled.

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Seven Doctors and a Nurse Enslaved in Venezuela

by Amanda Kloer

There is a common stereotype that those who fall victim to modern-day slavery are uneducated, unskilled, or maybe just not that bright. Well, that’s about as true as saying all women who are raped are slutty or all men get cancer are smokers. Sure, some people end up in trafficking situations because of a lack of education or desperation to gain financial resources. But trafficking victims can also be intelligent and well-educated. Take the recent case of seven medical doctors and one registered nurse who were trafficked from Cuba to Venezuela where they held in debt bondage in exchange for oil given to Cuba. Medical professionals trafficked? Yes, it happens.

The scheme was apparently part of the “Oil for Manpower” deal which Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez entered into in 2000. The deal was that Cuba would send trained professionals to work in Venezuela in exchange for heavily subsidized oil. The important point that the manpower be voluntary, however, seems not to have made it into the deal. Continue reading

STOP THE TRAFFIK:Take Part in START FREEDOM

START FREEDOM a campaign for young people

Stop The Traffik

A global campaign for schools and young people who will become aware of the issues surrounding human trafficking and realise the power to make a difference. Please go to www.startfreedom.org and download the Start Freedom resources. Teachers, there are great resources here to discuss this important world wide issue in the classroom.

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Child Trafficking Rings Kidnapping Haitian Kids from Hospitals

by Amanda Kloer

UNICEF has confirmed that at least 15 Haitian children have vanished from areas hospitals in the days since the earthquake, and they suspect those children — and more — are falling victim to child trafficking rings.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, thousands of children are separated from their families, with many not knowing whether their parents and guardians are still alive. And while humanitarian organizations can confirm children who go missing from hospitals and group homes, huge numbers of children remain on the streets, unaccounted for, just waiting to be picked up by traffickers.

A number of child protection organizations have come together to ask would-be parents not to apply to adopt Haitian children. Since the earthquake, the number of adoption applications for Haitian children has soared from 10 per month to 150 in a three day period. One U.S. adoption agency claimed it has already received over 1000 applications for children from Haiti. Child advocacy groups are concerned, however, that a bump in adoptions of Haitian children will only encourage child traffickers to abduct children and pass them off as orphans, hoping to make a tidy profit from their sale. While Western families trying to adopt Haitian children likely mean well, they may encourage child trafficking within the country. If you are considering adopting a Haitian child, please consider donating instead to a child protection organization working in Haiti.

But the children disappearing from hospitals may be on the road to a more sinister fate than life in the U.S. in a loving and stable home. Before the earthquake, Haitian children under 15 made up 45 percent of the population. With such a large number of poor youth, may children found themselves victims of sexual exploitation, forced domestic servitude, and forced labor. And as the chaos subsides and international aid moves out, the number of children victimized by traffickers will only increase. If the Haitian economy is too broken to support demand for maids or commercial sex, the children will likely be shipped to the Dominican Republic or other nearby countries, including the U.S.

Haiti is not a unique situation; human trafficking usually increases after natural disasters. In 2004, in the wake of the massive tsunami which struck Asia, thousands of children were left vulnerable. Human trafficking in that region saw a significant upswing. And the next major natural disaster will be the same. But for now, you can help the children of Haiti by supporting the organizations linked to above and not requesting to adopt a Haitian child right now.

Photo credit: Matt Drigdenberg

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ICE participates in Human Trafficking Awareness Day in South Florida

Reposted From: ethiopianreview.com

MIAMI – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Homestead Police Department (HPD), the Miami Dade Police Department (MDPD), and the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Florida (SDFL) participated in Monday’s national Human Trafficking Awareness Day to inform members of the community about the horrors and the prevalence of human trafficking and how to report it to law enforcement.

“ICE is committed to working with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to inform our communities that this 21st century form of slavery exists in this day and age throughout the country and law enforcement is dedicated to rescuing victims and holding traffickers accountable,” said Anthony Mangione, special agent in charge of ICE’s Office of Investigations in Miami. “Because this heinous crime is extremely well-hidden, we need to help educate members of the public about human trafficking, and encourage them to keep alert for possible human trafficking victims.”

On Jan. 11, as part of Human Trafficking Awareness Day, special agents and victim advocates of ICE’s Office of Investigations in Miami along with officers and detectives of the HPD, MDPD, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office SDFL held an informational forum presented to school staff and counselors, parents and middle and high school students that are part of a Miami Dade’s Public School Program located at the Redland Housing in Homestead, Fla. Additionally, ICE special agents and HPD officers conducted outreach to farm and day laborers by giving out brochures and informational materials on human trafficking at labor drop-off and pick-up locations in downtown Homestead. Students also had the opportunity to participate in a leadership and rock climbing wall at the school. Councilman Elvis R. Maldonado is sponsoring and supporting this event on behalf of the City of Homestead.

Human trafficking is a tragic, serious cross-border crime, and ICE is the lead U.S. federal government agency responsible for investigating and dismantling human trafficking organizations. It is estimated that 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked around the world each year. These victims are trafficked into the commercial sex trade, and into forced-labor situations throughout the world. Many of these victims are lured from their homes with false promises of well-paying jobs; instead, they are forced or coerced into prostitution, domestic servitude, farm or factory labor, or other types of forced labor.

The greatest challenge in combating human trafficking is victim identification. Surprisingly, many people are unaware that this form of modern-day slavery occurs every day in the United States. Victims may end up in a foreign country; are often unable to speak the language, and have no one to advocate for them. Traffickers often take away the victims’ travel and identity documents. They tell their victims that if they attempt to escape, their families back home will be either physically or financially harmed.

ICE is asking for the public’s help to remain alert to recognize and identify victims of modern-day slavery who are in our midst. They are domestic servants, sweat-shop employees, sex workers and fruit pickers who were lured here by the promise of prosperity. Ultimately, they are forced to work without pay and are unable to leave their situation. ICE is committed to giving them the help they need to come forward and help us end human trafficking with vigorous enforcement and tough penalties. As a primary mission area, ICE has the overall goal of preventing human trafficking in the United States by prosecuting the traffickers, and rescuing and protecting victims.

In 2008, the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force (SFHTTF) was created. The task force is housed in the ICE Office of the Special Agent in Charge Miami and consists of agents and officers of ICE, FBI, State Department-Diplomatic Security, Miami Dade Police Department, Homestead Police Department, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. The SFHTTF investigates all instances and allegations of human trafficking in the South Florida region which includes cities as far south as Key West and as far north as Fort Pierce.

Additionally, the SFHTTF works closely with non-governmental and social service organizations in its human trafficking efforts. These organizations routinely forward information regarding potential victims and trafficking networks to the task force for investigation. The task force works with organizations to provide training to other law enforcement agencies and conduct outreach to other governmental agencies, such as foreign consulates, for the purpose of identifying potential victims that they may encounter at the local consulate offices.

(Source: ICE)

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How Haiti’s Quarter Million Slaves Will Survive The Quak

BY AMANDA KLOER

What has been a slow crisis of poverty and enslavement for almost 250,000 child slaves in Haiti, known as restaveks, turned into an immediate crisis this week with the brutal 7.0 earthquake that hit the country. Mere hours after the news of the devastation in Haiti broke, America and countries around the world saw an outpouring of aid from international organizations and individuals. Groups have organized drives for everything from donations to shoes to volunteers.

But as we all get that warm and fuzzy feeling from helping our neighbors in their time of great need, it’s important to remember that millions of Haitians needed aid before this earthquake, and they’ll continue to need it long after the media fervor has died. And those with the greatest need will be the enslaved restaveks.

Restaveks are a huge part of Haitian society and the economy. They are usually children from extremely poor families who are sent away to work as domestic servants in wealthier homes. The children aren’t paid for their work, but provided shelter and a sometimes meager meal supply. In the best case scenarios, families will send their restavek children to school. But restaveks often work long days performing a variety of household tasks for nothing more that a meal or two a day. Two-thirds of restaveks are girls, and they are extremely vulnerable to rape and sexual abuse from the families who house and control them. The life of a restavek child in Haiti often varies between bleak and hopeless, and many children never successfully leave their slave conditions.

Restaveks are also the least likely to benefit from the tide of international aid washing onto Haiti’s shores, though they might be the ones most in need of it. A restavek’s hunger and wounds take a distant backseat to those of their employer. And some restaveks are not officially registered with the Haitian government as people.

While it’s impossible to predict the exact long-term effects of a natural disaster of this magnitude on a country where the poverty is so immense and the enslavement of millions of children is a common and socially-accepted part of life, I feel comfortable predicting that even more children will become restaveks. And while life will get significantly harder for everyone, restaveks will be hit the worst.

If you’re interested in helping the people of Haiti, Change.org’s Michael Jones lists some great resourceswhere you can donate, and in some cases volunteer, to help relief efforts. In addition, I’d like to add a couple resources that will directly aid the restavek population of Haiti, including The Restavek Foundation and Free the Slaves, which works in Haiti.

But as you donate money, feel empathetic, and think about ways to help Haiti this week, remember that long after the buildings are rebuilt, Haiti will still be a country built on the slavery of children. And for the restaveks, every day they are not free is another disaster.

Photo credit: Lucas the Experience

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