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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

Australia proposes changing slavery laws
Australian Attorney General Nicola Roxon proposed new legislation to Parliament Wednesday that would broaden the definition of slavery. Existing slavery laws mostly protect Asian women who are brought to Australia to work as sex slaves, but this amendment would also include organ trafficking and forced marriage. This would protect the growing number of men and women being exploited in other industries. "A common factor of contemporary slavery...is the misuse and abuse of power," Roxon told Parliament. There are already penalties for these crimes, but these new laws would increase police powers to investigate.

Trafficking victims allowed to find work
In a change of policy, five Indian nationals who were victims of human trafficking have been allowed to remain in Malaysia as part of the Home Ministry's policy on exploited workers.  Where the previous policy used to be deportation, workers placed in shelter homes can now take up employment once they are released.  "Victims protection and rehabilitation is one of the crucial elements in the global efforts to combat human trafficking," proclaims Deputy Home Minister Datuk Lee Chee Leong.

Oklahomans work to stop human trafficking
Oklahomans are discovering that human trafficking, which is often viewed as a Third World problem, is in their own state.  Oklahoma is a crossroads for traffickers because of the intersecting interstates it contains. Victims are usually identified after being caught on an offense such as curfew or loitering and then they will eventually confess to being involved in trafficking.  According to Ben Lacaze, a member of the Oklahoma City Police Department vice unit, "there are really no signs that someone is involved in trafficking," he says. "It's all through interviews and contact that police find out if someone is involved."

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