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Cassandra Clifford
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

27 million live in slavery 
In her unveiling of the annual human trafficking report, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton revealed that up to 27 million people are living in slavery around the world.  Fortunately, the report also showed that governments are becoming more aware and beginning to instigate tough new laws and programs to help victims.  Only 33 countries complied fully with laws in place to end human trafficking, but five countries moved up from the bottom blacklist including Venezuela and Myanmar.  According to the report, the countries "took a number of unprecedented steps to address forced labor and the conscription of child soldiers..."  A total of 29 countries have been upgraded to a higher ranking, which means, according to Ms Clinton, "governments are taking the right steps."

Wal-Mart supplier accused of forced labor
A group of immigrant workers has recently gone on strike in an effort to get Wal-Mart to drop its contract with Louisiana-based seafood company, CJ's Seafood.  Headed by Ana Rosa Diaz, one of the workers from Mexico on a H-2B work visa, the group claims that CJ's Seafood forced them to work 24 hours without overtime pay, locked them in the facility and threatened physical violence to prevent people from taking breaks.  "Our boss threatened us and our families...," says Diaz.  The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) has verified the claims and the company is now under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Government rescues 106 would-be trafficking victims 
The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) in the Philippines has rescued some 106 persons who were being smuggled overseas this month.  85 of the rescuees were saved on board the ML Kadrina between the boundaries of islands.  "We intercepted 150 persons who were on board.  But only 65 were officially declared on the ship's manifest," says Vice President Jejomar Binay.  10 other persons were saved after they caused a scene to catch IACAT agents' attention in an airport terminal.  As of right now the Philippines is in the Tier 2 status in this year's Global Trafficking in Person's Report.

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