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Monday, October 1, 2012

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

Obama rails against 'modern slavery' of trafficking 
US President Barack Obama has decried human trafficking as "modern slavery", while outlining new measures to tackle the problem. He called trafficking an "outrage", in remarks to an annual global forum organized by ex-President Bill Clinton. International efforts were needed to help more than 20 million trafficking victims, said Mr Obama. As he spoke, the White House unveiled steps to stop trafficking in government contracting, including overseas. The administration's executive order also announced new training programmes for prosecutors, police officials and immigration judges, among others. In Tuesday's speech to the Clinton Global Initiative, Mr Obama said that human trafficking "must be called by its true name: modern slavery". Victims included abused workers who toil for little pay, boys who are turned into child soldiers, and girls sold into the sex trade. "It is barbaric and it is evil and it has no place in a civilised world," Mr Obama said.
Uzbek government breaks promise to end child labor in cotton fields
Uzbekistan’s prime minister pledged last month to end child labor in the country’s cotton fields. But as the harvest season gets under way, human rights activists say children as young as 13 are being put to work under grueling conditions, despite extreme measures to recruit adult labor. “Every year, from the beginning of the first days of September, the entire country is immersed in a cotton hysteria,” said Hakim,a human rights activist based in Tashkent, who asked his last name not be used for fear of persecution. “Urban residents are in a panic looking for a way to escape slavery and not be sent to work.”

Fact Sheet: Executive Order Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts
 More than 20 million men, women, and children worldwide are victims of human trafficking.  Companies around the world are taking steps to eliminate the potential for trafficked labor in their operations and supply chains, and President Obama is committed to protecting vulnerable individuals as government contractors and subcontractors perform vital services and manufacture goods procured by the United States.  As the largest single purchaser of goods and services in the world, the U.S. Government has a responsibility to combat human trafficking at home and abroad, and to ensure American tax dollars do not contribute to this affront to human dignity.

India slowly confronts epidemic of missing children
 They are boys like Irfan, drugged and abducted at the age of 9 by two men on a motorbike as he walked home one day after playing with friends. “It was living hell these past two years, trying to figure out where we could find him,” said his father, Iqbal Ali. “I used to run a biscuit bakery, but from the day he disappeared, I got so caught up trying to meet politicians, police and people who claim to do magic to get children back, that I had to shut down my bakery. I had no time for it.” More than 90,000 children are officially reported missing every year, according to data compiled and released late last year by leading children’s rights group Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which showed the problem was far greater than previously thought. Up to 10 times that number are trafficked, according to the group...It is an epidemic that, until a few years ago, remained unreported and largely ignored by the authorities. 

Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation Becomes Law
Some 65,000 children were lured into the sex trade in California between 2009 and 2010, yet only 13 people were ever sent to prison human traffic during that time. Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation to help prevent sex trafficking crimes involving minors in California. Authored by Senator Mark Leno, D-San Rafael, and signed into law Monday, the bill gives prosecutors new tools to help ensure that criminals who are convicted of sex trafficking crimes are denied access to the resources, equipment, and cash flow that would allow them to operate and commit future crimes.

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