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Monday, September 17, 2012

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

WWII-era "comfort women" seek apology
Filipina women forced into sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers during World War II, otherwise known as "comfort women," are seeking an apology from the Japanese government and a place in the history books of Japan and the Philippines. "Many lost their minds, many died, and many did not recover from fear," said Lita Vinuya, 81. "Look how well Japan has recovered since the war. Surley, they can afford to spare us a little bit of compensation."

India to punish employment of children under 14
Proposed changes to India's child labor laws would mate out prison terms of up to three years, in addition to substantial fines, to anyone who employs children under 14. About 28 million children under 14 are working, chiefly in agriculture, according to UNICEF. the government has "recognized that the long term benefits of education are far more consequential than the short-term gains of child labor," said A.K. Shiva Kumar, an economist with the National Advisory Council.

 Human Trafficking: a misunderstood global scourge
 Sex trafficking has become an American cause célèbre. But does it divert attention from the broader human trafficking issue of modern-day slavery? During a diplomatic visit to Calcutta, India, in may, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stopped at a shelter for young women and girls. It was not an ordinary shelter, but one with a specific mission - a mission Ms. Clinton wanted reporters to broadcast to Americans back home. It was a shelter established to help human trafficking, an international crime that Clinton and other international players have  called one of the world's largest and most pressing human rights concerns. It was also, primarily, helping girls who'd been trafficked for sex.

"I was constantly at risk of rape or murder," says Leah Albright-Byrd while walking in a public park near Century City in Los Angeles. "I have a friend who was killed as a result of being exploited." When she was in eighth grade, Leah started living on the streets in Sacramento, California. She quickly became a victim of what law enforcement officials now call "human trafficking." "It was a very traumatizing experience," she says. "I ran away from home at the age of 14." Almost immediately, she says, a pimp found her and began selling her for sex on the Internet throughout the state of California.

In new report, Human Rights Watch calls on President Morsi to combat human trafficking in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, calls Sub-Saharan African migrants main victims. Ina report entitled 'Egypt: End Sinai Nightmare for Migrants,' HRW highlights the plight of African migrants, especially Eritreans who are often detained by human-trafficking networks while on their way to next-door Israel. Human Rights Watch has documented the trafficking of the mostly sub-Saharan migrants and human seekers in Sinai, who are tortured and sexually assaulted to press their relatives for ransom," the report reads.

Four men face human trafficking charges after allegedly trying to smuggle an American family Canada. Police say Emmaneal Stanley Omoghan, Felix Omoghan, Seth Lazore and Oren Lazore snuck five people then taken aboard a boat and skipped across the St. Lawrence River. Two adults and three children were said to be on board.

The government's repatriation program for overseas workers in strife-torn Syria has uncovered rampant cases of human trafficking. The Inter-Agency Council Against (Iacat) said about 80 percent of the 1,800 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) brought home from the MIddle East country as the civil war there heightened were victims of human trafficking. Most of them were from the provinces of Maguinadanao, Basilian and Sulu in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Ruby Ramores, Iacat executive officer, said.

A former clique leader of MS-13 in Maryland pled guilty today for his role in a gang-run juvenile prostitution ring. Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Washington Field Office; and John P. Torres, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Washington made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Anthony J. Trenga.

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