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Monday, December 12, 2011

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

Human Rights Watch pressures Yemen on child brides
After an agreed resolution to Yemen’s months of political unrest, Human Rights Watch is pressing its campaign against child marriage in the country. The organization is calling on the Yemeni government to ban marriage for girls under 18, noting that the arrangements often pair them with much older men, affecting the brides’ health and denying them a chance at education.

School system aims to aid India’s female Dalits
Sister Sudha has launched dozens of schools catering to marginalized girls and women in India’s poorest areas in a bid to promote literacy and knowledge about sanitation, reproductive health and basic human rights. India’s Dalits, the untouchables at the bottom of the country’s caste system, number about 170 million and make up the overwhelmingly majority of landless, bonded-laborers.

Ireland: Law criminalising employers over forced labour considered
The Labor Party is examining British legislation on forced labor with a view to preparing a specific law to criminalize offending employers in Ireland. Joe Costello TD said the party was examining legislation passed in the U.K. in 2009, which made it an offence to hold a person in slavery or subject them to forced labor. “The Labor Party has passed it to our legal advisers with a view to preparing legislation to deal with the loopholes in the present system,” Mr Costello said. Gráinne O’Toole, workplace and project leader with the Migrant Rights Center, said that over the past six years it had dealt with 160 cases of forced labor in Ireland, but said this was “the tip of the iceberg.”

Clinton Orders Review of Visa Program
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has ordered an "extensive and thorough review" of a foreign exchange program that has been used by U.S. businesses as a source of cheap labor and exploited by criminals to import women to work in the sex industry. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee's immigration subcommittee also has been gathering information on the J-1 visa, which was created in 1963. More common than sex trade abuses is shabby housing, scarce work hours and paltry pay. In August, dozens of workers protested conditions at a candy factory that packs Hershey chocolates in Hershey, Pa., complaining of hard physical labor and pay deductions for rent that often left them with little money.

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