Join the National Day of Action to End Child Sex Trafficking in America

by Amanda Kloer

At least 100,000 American children are forced into prostitution each year, right here in the U.S. You can help make that number zero by uniting your voice with thousands of people from across the country to demand an end to child sex trafficking and pass landmark legislation which will keep traffickers off the streets, punish those who buy sex with kids, and protect victims.

On November 17, the National Coalition to End Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking is organizing a National Day of Action to pass the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act. Right now in the U.S., there are only a handful of shelter beds for the thousands of children who are being removed from prostitution each year. This legislation will mean more young domestic sex trafficking survivors will have access to the shelter and restorative care services they need. It will also increase resources for law enforcement to arrest and prosecute the traffickers and predators who victimize our children. 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

Well-Made Campaign Seeks to End Hiring Traps

by Amanda Kloer

Well-Made, a new campaign from Verite, focuses on one of the root causes of labor exploitation and slavery: hiring traps aimed at migrant workers. Hiring traps are a common way for people to end up in human trafficking. But human trafficking can be prevented by tracing supply chains back to hiring traps and exploitative hiring practices.

What is a hiring trap? Basically, it’s a situation where a labor recruiter uses some combination of deception and coercion to lure a worker into an exploitative work situation. Hiring traps and deceptive hiring practices are used by recruiters to lure workers into unfair or exploitative labor. Sometimes the job offers involve outright lies, and sometimes just omission of key details (like substandard living conditions). You can read some examples of hiring traps here.

If hiring traps are the problem, the Verite’s Well-Made Campaign has an answer. The initiative focuses on giving companies and investors the tools to trace supply chains back to the labor recruiters who are often behind hiring traps. Addressing these fair hiring issues at their root can help address many of the labor exploitation issues which show up in product supply chains. Migrant workers and contract workers are particularly vulnerable to labor broker abuses. Companies can solve a number of their labor compliance issues by monitoring the practices used to recruit and place workers in their supply chain. Continue reading

Another Sex Trafficking Ring Comes Tumbling Down

by Maia Blume

Success! A small but rapidly growing mom-and-pop shop prostitution ring operating out of the Boston area and New York has been busted. Five people (three in Massachusetts and two in New York) were just arrested on multiple charges relating to forced prostitution and trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

The group has been operational for over five years, running brothels out of roughly 11 apartments in the greater Boston area. They would post ads on Craigslist and in newspapers in Massachusetts, New York, and California seeking Asian women to move to Boston to work as escorts (in a few instances, the women were in the country illegally). These traffickers were so aggressive in wanting to expand their business and grow their brothels, that they spent over $13,000 in one seven month period placing ads in just one local newspaper in Boston … who knows how much they spent in total! Once here, the women were picked up from a local bus station, distributed amongst the group’s apartments and forced to have sex for money. If they were not complicit, the ring leaders, Hong Wei, known as Ms. Chen, and Jing Liang Chen, known as Mike, would threaten to harm their families. Continue reading

Buy a North Korean Woman for Less Than a Used Car

by Amanda Kloer

The global recession has affected China like every other country in the world. But despite a dip in the Chinese economy, at least one imported product remains affordable there: North Korean women. In China, a woman can be imported from North Korea for about $1500, less than the price of a decent used car. And the business of trafficking women from North Korea to China is booming.

Korea estimates that anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 people from North Korea are currently living in China. Of those, about 80% are women. And of the women, almost 90% have been trafficked at some point or are currently victims of trafficking. For the most part, these women are trafficked into marriages. The one child policy in China has created a generation where men greatly outnumber women and Chinese wives are hard to come by. So Chinese men who want to get married are forced to look elsewhere. Some try to meet foreign women through legitimate means. But others just buy a wife from North Korea and have her shipped over, like an imported wine. Or rather, a piece of imported meat.

Sex trafficking is also going strong, serving the Chinese men who are looking to get laid rather than married. Sometimes, women are offered jobs in the Chinese tech industry. Those jobs turn out to be stripping for Internet webcasts and/or forced prostitution. North Korean women who are forced into prostitution face even more risks than those forced into marriages, because if caught, they face additional punishments back home.

Both the forced marriages and the sex trafficking are leading to a generation of Chinese-Korean children without a clear home. The children of trafficked women and their husbands or johns often end up not just homeless, but stateless as well. Usually, this happens when the Korean mother is caught in China without proper documentation and deported to North Korea, often to prison or a labor camp where she can’t bring the child. If the Chinese father doesn’t take responsibility for the child, then the kid ends up an orphan which no parent or country able and willing to take care of him or her.

The cross-border trafficking of women from North Korea to China has become an epidemic in the truest sense to the word. It’s spreading farther into both countries than the border region and infecting thousands of women. It’s even affecting a new generation of children, living without a family or a country to call home.

Photo credit: benjamin_mercadier

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Why Are iPad Factory Workers Killing Themselves?

by Amanda Kloer

A growing string of worker suicides and attempts has plagued a Chinese factory operated by Foxconn, the China-based tech company that produces, among other products, the new Apple iPad. In the past month, four employees at a single factory have attempted suicide, and 11 workers have killed themselves since 2007. And perhaps even more telling, all four of the most recent attempts have taken place at the factory. What is happening to these workers that is causing so many to turn to suicide?

The Longhua-based factory where workers are jumping off the roof in growing numbers is huge. It’s actually the single largest assembly base for consumer electronics in the whole world. They employ and house around 300,000 workers on their massive compound. And when I say massive, I mean massive — a Foxconn consultant once turned up at the wrong entrance, and had to drive for 30 minutes to reach the next closest one. Foxconn, the company who runs this and other factories, is famously secretive and one of the least transparent companies in the world. In addition to the iPad, they also make products for some of the world’s leading electronic companies, including Sony, HP, Amazon, Nokia, Motorola, Nintendo, Microsoft, Dell and Cisco. Basically, if you own a computer, phone, iPod, Wii, Kindle, or printer, chances are it came from Longhua.

That means if there is something rotten in the state of Longhua, it’s not just affecting one company or a small percentage of consumers. It’s affecting almost every major electronics producers and millions, if not billions, of consumers who use their products. With such a volume of business at stake, Foxconn has a vested interest in making sure any pesky human rights issues at the factory don’t leak out or interfere with production. Perhaps that’s why they didn’t investigate the suicide of a worker last July, who jumped to her death after an iPhone prototype she was in charge of went missing. And perhaps that is why they’ve either refused to comment on the recent string of suicides, or brushed them off as the result of domestic disputes.

Continue reading

Holocaust Remembrance Day: Never Forget

By Michelle

The horrors of the Nazi Holocaust shocked the conscience of the world. Hitler’s machinery of mass murder methodically led 12 million civilians to their death, and, upon his demise, sparked a revolution in international law and politics that forever changed the landscape of our global systems — even if actual implementation of the new norms remains lagging.

Today, on the Israeli holiday of Yom HaShoah, the world pauses to commemorate the six million Jews lost to the Nazi’s campaign of hatred. Events, small and large, are scheduled today and tomorrow throughout the world, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is holding a week-long “Days of Remembrance,” which this year honors the Allied soldiers who liberated the Nazi death camps at the end of World War II, and were among the first to uncover the sheer brutality of Nazi rule. As General Dwight D. Eisenhower remarked after a visit to Buchenwald: Continue reading