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Monday, February 4, 2013

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

In Limpopo, the system fails a young girl of thirteen who should be at school, but is sold off as a child bride to a 57-year-old sangoma, a traditional healer, by her struggling single mother of five to pay off supposed mounting bills. Child marriage continues to plague South Africa as in this case where the young child's rights are not protected by the courts who let off the sangoma once it was learned that the family had consented to the marriage.

China's child abduction by traffickers hard to curb leading officials and parents to social media
Despite authorities cracking down over the past two decades, child abduction is tough to eliminate. Officials claim the problem has become less prolific, but given the inconsistencies of data reporting, this is hard to substantiate. But Deng Fei, a Beijing-based journalist and prominent campaigner on behalf of victims and their families, believes the number of children being abducted is decreasing. Social media may have helped to reduce the crimes as in recent years, parents and activists have been using websites and microblogs to share information about cases and draw public attention to child abduction. Their efforts put pressure on the police, who have responded such as Chen Shiqu, the police official in charge of anti-trafficking, who has an account on Sina Weibo, one of China’s most popular microblog services. His account has 3.4m followers.

Syrian Refugee Women Exploited for Marriage
Lina Al Tiby, a Syrian activist living in Cairo, runs a support network for Syrian women refugees; helps them adapt to life in Egypt; and tries to persuade them not to allow poverty to push them into sex work or unwanted marriage. Arriving in Egypt with little more than the clothes they are wearing, some Syrian women see marriage as the only means of survival. "Egyptian men tell Syrian women they will marry them to help them and their families, but… can’t these men help Syrian women without marrying them?" said Al Tiby.

Eliminating human trafficking from the global business landscape
Businesses may unknowingly be associated with the crime of human trafficking when their suppliers, subcontractors, or partners supply materials or products that have been produced by trafficked persons. “In today’s globalized world, the risks of human trafficking in supply chains are significant throughout economic sectors and affect all States,” says Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons...Ezeilo recommends that all global businesses commit themselves to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and become signatories to the UN Global Compact. Ezeilo also urges businesses to exercise due diligence and conduct a risk assessment for their entire production chain in order to eliminate risks of human trafficking in their operations.

U.S. Agents Rescue Sex Slaves Through Data Fusion
Data-mining is proving a key tool for U.S. law enforcement to free sex slaves and to convict human traffickers involved in the $32 billion industry. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have rescued sex slaves by using software that identifies geographic locations by syncing financial transactions, phone records and other discordant data, ICE officials said at a Symposium to address immigration-related crime to technology companies; senior federal officials; and actress Mira Sorvino, the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador to combat human trafficking. Angie Salazar, an ICE section chief who investigates human smuggling and trafficking, confirmed that ICE was able to find victims of trafficking by using data to look for trends. Palantir, a data company that assists many U.S. intelligence agencies, helps ICE with investigations by flagging individuals and organizations.

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