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Monday, August 15, 2011

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

Senegal child bride works to end practice
Former teen bride Fatou Diakhate has become a community leader rallying against child marriage in Senegal, where an estimated 43% of girls are married before turning 18. Diakhate, who was married at 13 and bore 12 children, lobbies to convince village leaders to endorse an end to the practice.

New Law to Help Sex Trafficking Victims Rebuild Their Lives
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced approval of a bill that enables trafficking victims convicted of prostitution to expunge their records. Criminal records are seen as creating additional harms to trafficking victims particularly because of their impact on access housing, employment, education, immigration status and parental rights. The bill also creates a new filing timeline for victims of sex trafficking because they often endure years of abuse at the hands of traffickers and customers before they are able to seek help. The changes go into effect on January 1, 2012.

Child marriage condemns millions of girls to poverty
Ten million girls under the age of 18 are married every year, with the rates of child marriage above 70% in countries such as Chad and Mali, according to child-rights advocates. Child marriage directly impacts efforts to reach Millennium Development Goals on poverty, education, health and gender equity, advocates warn.
Korean Housekeeper Says Employer Enslaved Her

Korean immigrant Oak-Jin Oh, 60, has accused her former employers of keeping her as a prisoner in their homes in Queens, New York, for 12 years and forcing her to work under threat of death, according to a civil suit recently filed in Manhattan's federal court.

18 Human Trafficking Victims Rescued; Suspects Arrested
Authorities in Zamboanga City rescued 18 human trafficking victims on Monday. Suspects Rodolfo and Gloria Pasaylo were presently detained at the city police office at the time of the writing. None of the 18 victims had agreed to file charges at the time, and if no charges are filed within 36 hours the suspects must be released. After initial contact with police, the victims were transferred to the Department of Social Welfare and Development IX.

In Congress, a Bid to Make US Firms Take Steps Against Modern-day Slavery
House Representative Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) has introduced a bill to require any company earning more than $100 million worldwide to provide details of their anti-slavery efforts through two sources; annual Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) filing, and the company website. Some companies are already voluntarily making such disclosures, including Hewlett-Packard, which has audited 681 of its 1,200-some production supply sites and posted details from the inspections to its website. The US Chamber of Commerce has not yet taken a public stance on the federal bill, although the California Chamber of Commerce had opposed a similar state measure that was approved in 2010.

Ontario Police Get Anti-Trafficking Funds
The Halton, Ontario police department has received grant funding for efforts to curb human trafficking in the area. The funds will go toward special investigations targeting the sex trade, increased surveillance of suspected human trafficking activities and officer training. Police services in nearby Niagara, Peel, Windsor, Hamilton and York Region received similar grants, as did the Ontario Provincial Police.

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