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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

US officials to look into abuse of Dominican sugar workers
The U.S. government will look into allegations of abuse against Dominican sugar workers.  Rev. Christopher Hartley, an advocate for the rights of Dominican sugar workers, alleges that the leaders of the sugar industry used forced labor and trafficked workers.  He also claims that they work in hazardous conditions without adequate benefits.  Hartley calls this investigation a "magnificent" first step towards addressing this abuse, especially since the U.S. buys 200,000 tons of sugar every year. The Office of Trade and Labor Affairs has 180 days to review and report on the charges.

Two-fifths of UK trafficking victims are male, survey reveals
According to a survey made by the Salvation Army, more than two-fifth, or 41%, of adult victims of human trafficking in England and Wales helped by the organization are male.  This statistic sheds new light on the crime, where popular conception believes it almost exclusively affects women.  Within six months in 2011 the Salvation Army and its subcontractors provided housing, counseling, medical care and translation services to 112 women and 78 men who arrived from all over the world including Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and some even with the UK.

Attorney General highlights efforts to fight trafficking
Attorney General Eric Holder promised a zero tolerance policy approach to human trafficking violations to a crowd in Little Rock Arkansas.  Over the past three years there has been a 30 percent increase in prosecutions, with a record 120 defendants charged this year.  Holder attributed to this increase to a heightened collaboration between the divisions of the Department of Justice and the FBI and US Attorney's offices.  "Human trafficking victims are often hiding in plain sight," stressed Holder.  Trafficking has become a thriving economy for criminals within the borders of the US and around the world.

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