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Cassandra Clifford
Executive Director and Founder of BTFF

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

South Sudan sides 'recruit 9,000 children to fight' More than 9,000 child soldiers have been fighting in South Sudan's brutal civil war, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has said. Both the army and rebel forces had recruited the children, she said. Ms Pillay said South Sudan faced the threat of a famine, but there was an "apparent lack of concern" on the part of its leaders. She was speaking at the end of a visit to South Sudan, where the conflict has displaced about a million people.

  Nigeria girls' abduction: Protest march in Abuja
Hundreds of mainly women protesters have marched through the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to press for the release of 230 schoolgirls abducted by militants two weeks ago. The government should, if necessary, negotiate with their captors to secure their release, a protester said. The Islamist group Boko Haram has been blamed for abducting the girls from their school in Chibok, Borno state. Boko Haram has not yet made any response to the accusation. The group, whose name means "Western education is forbidden" in the local Hausa language, has staged a wave of attacks in northern Nigeria in recent years, with an estimated 1,500 killed in the violence and subsequent security crackdown this year alone.

Sex trafficking in your backyard
Minnesota brings many things to mind — open prairies, 10,000 lakes and Midwestern values. Yet even in America's heartland, the most wretched of crimes, human trafficking, is a growing menace. Last year, the FBI identified Minnesota as one of the nation's 13 largest centers for child sex trafficking. The Women's Funding Network says that monthly, about 200 adolescents are sold for sex there through the Internet and escort services. In 2011, Minnesota courts had nearly 400 trafficking-related convictions.

Human trafficking victim shares her story
Amanda Dobyns said her mother traded her for drugs when she was younger. “She owed her drug dealer several thousand dollars and he told her you can either give me your daughter or pay me the money you owe me,” Dobyns said. It happened when Dobyns was only 13 years old. “Anytime she wanted a fix she would just trade me to him and get her drugs and he and multiple men would rape me,” Dobyns said.

  New Hampshire: Human trafficking bill moves to House The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee unanimously passed a comprehensive human trafficking bill Tuesday, setting the stage for floor action next week. The bill is considered a significant step forward for New Hampshire, which has been lagging behind other states in establishing laws against those who engage in sex and labor trafficking. "This bill contains big advancements that are super important," said Amanda Grady Sexton, public policy director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. In a national ranking of state sex trafficking laws, the national anti-trafficking organization Polaris Project placed New Hampshire third from the bottom.

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