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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.”

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