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Cassandra Clifford
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

2013 State Ratings on Human Trafficking Laws

The Polaris Project has rated all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 10 categories of laws that are critical to a basic legal framework that combats human trafficking, punishes traffickers and supports survivors. 39 states passed new laws fighting human trafficking in the past year and as of July 31st they were rated (Tier 1). The states of New Jersey and Washington have perfect scores, meaning that they have governmental laws the fulfill all 10 categories and large improvements have been made to Arkansas, Wyoming, Mississippi, and New Jersey. Ratings are showing that 32 States have passed significant laws to combat Human Trafficking and should continue to take additional steps to improve and implement its laws(Tier 1), 11 States and DC have passed numerous laws to combat human trafficking (Tier 2), 6 States have made nominal efforts to improves laws to combat human trafficking and should take major steps{Tier 3) , and 1 state has not made legal effort to enact a basic legal framework to combat Human Trafficking and should actively work to improve Laws.
Read More. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

Legal Blow for Families of Slain Nepali Laborers
U.S. court rules that lawsuit against defense contractor KBR over alleged trafficking & death of 12 Nepali men will go to trial in 2014 - court dismisses some claims against KBR but others will proceed. Supreme Court precedent leaves little legal ammo for the families of Nepali laborers who were executed after a defense contractor allegedly trafficked them into Iraq, a federal judge ruled. Ramchandra Adhikari is the lead plaintiff in the 2008 action alleging that U.S. military contractors duped 13 Nepali men into indentured servitude. With promises of a $500 monthly salary, many of the men allegedly believed they would be working at a luxury hotel in Jordan. When they learned that they were actually on their way to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq, the large brokerage fees they owed allegedly kept the men from turning back for home, according to the complaint.

South African Bill helps tackle human trafficking
The Western Cape has seen a spike in the number of people freed from the clutches of human traffickers over the past few months. The introduction of specialized units focusing on human trafficking syndicates in the Western Cape has seen at least 13 cases being investigated, eight of which are in court. And nine women or girls have been rescued in the past two and a half years, according to police. But despite these strides, there have been no convictions to date. At the end of last month, the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill was signed into law, giving the country for the first time a statute dealing specifically with human trafficking. It carries a maximum penalty of R100 million or life imprisonment, or both, if convicted. Until now, the law dealing with trafficking has been fragmented.

N.J. Sex Trafficking Law Trips on Speech Grounds
 New Jersey cannot enforce a new human-trafficking law that opponents say would criminalize the indirect publication of sex ads depicting minors, a federal judge ruled. In a federal complaint filed June 26, the Internet Archive claimed that New Jersey's Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection, and Treatment Act "would impose an intolerable burden on free speech." "Because of its vague and expansive language (e.g., 'indirectly' 'causes' 'to be displayed' an 'implicit offer'), the law could be applied to any web site that provides access to third-party content, including user comments, reviews, chats, and discussion forums, and to social networking sites, search engines, Internet service providers, and more," the nonprofit digital library claimed. Village Voice Media's Backpage.com LLC moved for a preliminary injunction the same day, and the two suits were later consolidated.

Anti-slavery group calls for boycott of 2022 Qatar World Cup
Evidence is increasing of forced labor in the Qatari construction industry responsible for building the World Cup infrastructure for 2022, Aidan McQuade, the director of Anti-Slavery International told EurActiv. “If that is borne out I think it would be an extremely sad state of affairs,” he said. “It would be a dreadful pity and an enormous shame on all of us if we are prepared to participate in a world cup that has been brought to us by slavery.”

Monday, August 19, 2013

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

Human Trafficking Fighters Improve Rating for Wyoming
 The leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery lauded the state of Wyoming on Wednesday for finally adopting a law to combat the practices. The Polaris Project lifted its Wyoming rating from zero to tier two, with four being the highest, as a result of the legislation signed into law by Gov. Matt Mead last winter. Wyoming became the final state to adopt a statute outlawing human trafficking. Federal authorities previously had prosecuted such cases in Wyoming.

Trial Date Set in Sex Trafficking Case. 
A federal judge in Wichita has scheduled an October trial for three people charged in a sex trafficking scheme linked to Asian massage parlors. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren on Wednesday issued an order scheduling an Oct. 15 trial for Gary H. Kidgell; his wife, Yan Zhang; and employee Xiuqing Tian. They are accused of conspiring to recruit women from around the country to come to Wichita to work at massage parlor, then coercing them into prostitution.

From Foster Care into Sex Trade. 
Every year, federal and state governments pour millions of dollars into combating sex trafficking through local and federal law enforcement agencies. But the emerging link between the child welfare system and child sex trafficking in the United States underscores the need for a new tactic, one that addresses the social origins of child sex trafficking.At the end of July, the FBI’s Innocence Lost initiative, the wing of the agency tasked with addressing domestic child sex trafficking, conducted its annual three-day Operation Cross Country. During these 72 hours, federal agents across the country “recover” juvenile victims from sexual exploitation and arrest their exploiters. This year, the agency boasts that it saved 105 children and arrested 152 pimps. According to U.S. law, anyone under 18 and involved in the sex trade is considered sexually trafficked.
Kansas Anti- Human Trafficking Efforts Gain Attention.
Kansas is earning national recognition for its efforts to combat human trafficking. An annual report from the "Polaris Project" puts Kansas in the top group of states in fighting human trafficking crimes. The report ranks Kansas in a tie for 11th-best overall. Last year, the state ranked in the bottom third. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt credits a new state law for the jump. Enacted earlier this year, it increases services for human trafficking victims and strengthens support for enforcement of anti-human trafficking laws.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

Loyola Professor studies Modern-Day Slavery in New Orleans.
New Orleanians have always had a relaxed attitude about many things other cities deem illegal. But what happens when such cultural acceptance is extended to really serious issues like prostitution like Storyville back in the day or what is now called human trafficking. On this week's Notes from New Orleans Sharon Litwin talks with Laura Murphy, Assistant Professor and Director of the Modern Slavery Research read Project at Loyola University about where New Orleans stands on the issue of human trafficking.

Thailand arrest suspect leader in Human Trafficking Case.
Ko Myo, a 42-year-old Myanmar national, was shot and captured at a rubber plantation in southern Surat Thani during a raid by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and local police. The raid follows mounting international concern over the trafficking of Myanmar migrants in Thailand's lucrative fishing industry, one of several sources of human slavery in the country that could trigger U.S. sanctions. It also follows a Reuters investigation published on July 17 that found human smugglers selling some Rohingya Muslims into slavery on Thai fishing boats. Thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar in recent months after violence with Buddhists, who follow the country's majority religion.

Child Labor around the Globe.
Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by 154 countries, child labor is prohibited. But despite this, child labor is not only massively used in the factories, but is also becoming more common. According to the International Labor Organization, in developing countries about 250 million children have to work. It is reported that there are 153 million working children in Asia, 80 million - in Africa, and 17 million - in Latin America. "Many of them work under the conditions that are dangerous to their physical, mental and emotional development," human rights activists report. For example, children are involved in activities such as slavery, prostitution and pornography, participation in armed conflicts, as well as working in mines, agriculture and construction.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

Former Child Trafficking Victim Now Mentors Others
Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines. Sheila White grew up in a troubled home. She was abused and ended up in foster care as a teenager. Not long after that, feeling low and confused, she met a man who soon became her pimp. During the years she was forced into sex work, White was exposed to extreme violence. But, she explains, some victims have a hard time leaving their exploiters. Read More

Human trafficking: Suburbs' dirty little secret
While other 7-year-olds were playing with dolls and going to summer camp, Amy was being prostituted on the streets of Texas, Virginia, and Oregon. By her grandfather. "It's happening right under everyone's nose," said John Kelleghan, special agent in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Investigations in Philadelphia. The scale of the problem is huge - and it's not just a big-city problem. Unlike cities, where trafficked girls often are visibly on the streets working as prostitutes, in the suburbs, the problem is more discreet, said Kate Keisel, director of the national nonprofit Polaris Project's program in New Jersey. Trafficked women in suburbia are offered up for sex in ads on Internet sites. They often work in brothels advertised as "massage parlors." Read More

New French Laws Bans Mondern Slavery
France has recognized modern-day slavery as a new crime punishable by up to 30 years in jail. Previously courts were only able to convict suspects on other charges, such as taking advantage of vulnerable people, that carry lighter sentences. The bill, unanimously adopted by France's upper house, the Senate, on Thursday, means that anyone holding people against their will and making them work for free, will face between seven and 30 years in prison. Almost 21 million people around the world are currently victims of forced labor, according to the International Labor Organisation. French anti-slavery campaigners receive more than 200 reports of enslavement per year but believe that it is much more widespread, because it happens in private, often within families. Read More.

Modern-day slavery: Mira's story
Last week marked a key date in the history of slavery. The full emancipation of all slaves was legally granted on August 1, 1838, with the abolition of the apprenticeship system, which replaced slavery. The apprenticeship system meant slaves still had to work for their previous masters for a very low wage. Although full emancipation was granted 175 years ago, slavery isn't an issue just confined to the past. Certain characteristics distinguish slavery from other types of human rights violations, according to the Anti-Slavery human rights organisation. A slave is forced to work through mental or physical threat and is owned or controlled by an employer - usually through mental, physical or threatened abuse. They could be dehumanized treated as a commodity, physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom of movement.  Read More.

Human smuggling - modern day slavery
Human trafficking is a horrific crime that subjects its victims to modern day slavery – forced labor – for little or no pay. According to the U.S. State Department, as many as 27 million men, women and children worldwide remain trapped as slaves by traffickers who strip away their dignity and basic human rights by preying on their vulnerabilities and exploiting them for involuntary labor and compulsory prostitution services. This horrendous crime touches victims across the globe – and right here in Texas. Read More.