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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Modern Slavery News Round Up

Gang members charged with trafficking suburban teens
Federal prosecutors have charged five alleged gang members with trafficking teenage girls into prostitution in suburban Northern Virginia, according to an FBI affidavit. The five men are allegedly members of the Fairfax, Va.-based Crips, the notorious Los Angeles gang. They are said to have recruited girls as young as sixteen by approaching them at high schools, metro stations and media sites such as Facebook, complimenting them on their looks and promising them money. Once recruited, they would use drugs and violence to force them into prostitution. "Many of the victims in this case were girls from good homes...they lived at home with their parents," says Neil MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Crips may have solicited more than 800 girls and this incident marks the sixteenth case of human trafficking in the Eastern District of Virginia in the last year.

Senegal: protect children from forced begging
It is estimated that 50,000 children, between the ages of 5 and 14 are forced to beg each day on the streets of Senegal, says a coalition of Senegalese civil society organizations. These children are sent by their parents to receive a Quranic education, but others have twisted this practice into a form of economic exploitation. In 2005, the Senegalese government enacted legislation in 2005 that criminalized forced begging, but little has been done to enforce these regulations. Mamadou Wane, spokesman for the Plateforme pour la protection et la promotion des droits humains (PPDH), proclaims "there is an urgent need for the new government to enforce laws protecting children from violence, no matter who is responsible for committing it." The upcoming International Labour Conference in June will provide President Sall with the opportunity to formulate a plan.

Educated Central Asian girls forced into prostitution
At least 6 highly-educated girls were trafficked from the Central Asian Region, such as Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, into Pakistan. They say they are doctors who were lured into accepting jobs in Pakistan with the promise of earning ten times more than they could in their home country. However, once they arrived, the "recruiter" snatched their documents and threatened to kill them if they tried to report them to the authorities. Lutfullah, First Secretary at Uzebekistan's embassy says "usually females come to the embassy...claiming that their passports and traveling documents were lost...but we need certain proof before issuing such doucuments." Based on reports, Pakistan is a destination for men, women and children from Central Asian countries, Bangladesh and Iran who are subject to forced labor and prostitution.

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