Friday, December 30, 2011

The Deported: 42 Get Sent Back From Greece, End Up In Jail

Forty-two people were deported from Greece for attempting to enter illegally. Upon their arrival at Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) on Saturday, they were taken into custody by Federal Investigation Agency's Anti-Human Trafficking Circle (AHTC) officials. AHTC Gujranwala officials also arrested some deportees and shifted them to Gujranwala jails for further investigations. According to officials, a majority of the deported belonged to Gujrat who were trying to slip into Greece when they were caught by coast guards at a shipping port and detained for illegal entry. "They used the Iran-Turkey route and were travelling with the help of a human trafficker," said FIA immigration shift in-charge Khubaibullah Baloch. … An FIA official added that the deported were mostly from rural areas, uneducated and manipulated by traffickers.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

21 Kidnapping Victims Rescued In Nuevo Laredo, Mexico

Three men are behind bars after authorities rescued 21 Central American immigrants from a stash house in Nuevo Laredo. It all happened at a home in the Colonia Solidaridad. Mexico's Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA) reports that soldiers were out on patrol when they spotted armed men outside the building. The men tried to flee but were caught. Authorities found 21 immigrants from Guatemala and Honduras inside the home. Four of the immigrants were women.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Suspected Jamaican Human Trafficker Nabbed At US Embassy In Kingston

The lives of 17 Jamaican children in the United States may be in danger after they were adopted and shipped off to that country by a woman the local police believe may be part of a major human trafficking ring operating between both countries. Local police, with the help of US law enforcement officials, are currently trying to track down the children, aged between five and 16. Detectives believe that more than the 17 children could well have been victims of the illicit trade. The human trafficking scheme was uncovered last week after the woman — a 53-year-old resident of Pleasant District in Bog Walk, St Catherine — was arrested by the Flying Squad at the United States Embassy in Kingston where she had presented forged documents in an effort to secure a US visa for a 16-year-old girl whom she had recently adopted. Detectives believe that the woman had been operating the scheme for about two years before she was arrested.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Human Trafficking Expert Pens "This is Our Story"

Miami native and Florida State University law professor Wendi Adelson isn't in the law game just for the money. At Sweat Records on Dec. 27, she'll present This Is Our Story, her novel about human trafficking that draws on her experience and knowledge as a public interest lawyer.

She writes about two child victims of trafficking -- Rosa and Mila -- exploring their journey as they are caught in a life of domestic servitude and commercial sex exploitation. Together with their immigration lawyer, Lily, the young women fight an unjust system.

Cohosted by Emerge Miami and Sweat Records, This Is Our Story is meant to encourage awareness of human trafficking and the circumstances suffered by its victims. Adelson says she also hopes to prove that public interest law is a viable career choice for "people who want to do good in the world."

Public interest lawyers devote their careers to "helping a child with asthma petition her landlord to remove mold from her building; assisting an abused immigrant woman with self-petitioning for her immigration status; advocating for a disabled adult to receive certain benefits from social security, etc," Adelson says. But involving more lawyers in the field of public interest law is just one part of the solution. At the end of the day, Adelson says, educating people about human trafficking is the best step to take toward ending these crimes.

This isn't the first time Adelson, a Miami native and graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, has written about this issue. She also blogged about her experiences representing victims of human trafficking at the prominent blog Ms. JD, and regularly speaks to her students about these issues in her well-regarded seminars.

"Instead of internalizing my clients' traumas, too paralyzed by their pain to move forward, I have felt empowered by my ability to be part of their solution," Adelson writes. She wants to encourage others to empower themselves, too, and together end the human trafficking crisis. Awareness is the first step toward activism.

Adelson will be reading from her novel, signing books, answering questions, and screening a short film she uses in her seminar on human trafficking. The event is on Tuesday, December 27 at 8pm at Sweat Records; it is free and open to the public. Books will be sold at $15.

Senior Mumbai Cop Moved After Sex Trade Raid

A senior inspector of Versova police station in India was transferred following the recent raid on a prostitution racket by the Social Service Branch (SSB) of the city police. Senior police inspector Sharad Borse, who is presently on leave, has been ordered to move to the Local Arms Division (LAD) at Naigaon. … The raid took place at a Mhada colony in Versova. More than 23 women were rescued, while 13 pimps were arrested under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (PITA). Police constable Arvind Kadam from the Versova police station was found to be at the location of the raid and was subsequently suspended. Officials stated that it is normal for senior police officials to be transferred if there is a raid by special teams like the SSBin the area of their jurisdiction. Sources reveal that Borse had gone on leave just a couple of days prior to the raid. A similar raid had taken place in July, when Borse was again on leave.

Monday, December 26, 2011

People Smugglers Stood To Earn $1M From Tragic Voyage in Australia

The people smuggling syndicate that organized the vessel which sank off the coast of East Java could have made as much as $1 million from the venture. About 250 people were on the boat that capsized and, according to testimony from survivors, the Iranians that made up most of the human cargo paid $7000 each while the Afghans paid about $4500. Assuming the average amount paid was $5000, the venture would have grossed about $1.25 million and, Senior Commissioner Budi Santoso, the head of Indonesia's people smuggling taskforce, said the overheads for the syndicate would have been surprisingly low.… Commissioner Budi said that, from his experience, the crew would be paid about 20 million rupiah each [$2,200]. That's the equivalent of almost a year's salary for a poor Indonesian fisherman, and significantly more than they used to receive. There were six crew on the boat, including the captain, who would have made at least double the amount the underlings earned. Even so, it's unlikely the total bill for the syndicate would have exceeded $100,000.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Florida Jury Deliberating In Boom Boom Room Case

Jurors deliberated for 2 1/2 hours in the case of a man charged with recruiting eight underage girls to become prostitutes at an Oakland Park brothel called the Boom Boom Room. The jury hadn't reached a verdict by 5 p.m. and will return Tuesday to decide James "Red" Mozie's fate. Mozie, 34, is charged with eight counts of child sex trafficking, one count of conspiring to commit child sex trafficking and one count of producing child pornography. Prosecutors said he recruited girls as young as 13 to strip, give lap dances and have sex with customers at a house in an industrial section of the city. They also said he required many of the girls to go through what he called "orientation," which included having sex with him. If convicted of just one of the trafficking charges, Mozie could face up to life in federal prison.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Florida Detectives Focus On Human Trafficking

In Tallahassee, police investigators learned new ways to handle cases of human trafficking. It's a serious problem in Florida. The state is ranked third in the nation in the number of human trafficking cases. Terry Coonan of the FSU Center for the Advancement of Human Rights says many young women, including runaway U.S. citizens and immigrants, are forced into prostitution. "Once they arrive are told, 'You owe a smuggling debt of $5,000 or $20,000 or $40,000 and until you pay that off in forced prostitution, we own you.' Often the "we" is an organized crime group, Russian, Asian, Latin American," Coonan said. Coonan says Florida's economy is riddled with human trafficking. … But it's not always sex trafficking. The girls are also exploited in labor trafficking for job sectors that rely on cheap labor.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oceanside Man Gets 30 Years For Sex Trafficking Of 17-Year-Old

A 41-year-old Oceanside man was sentenced in federal court Monday to 30 years in prison after being convicted of forcing a 17-year-old girl into prostitution. Maurice Lerome Smith set up Internet ads offering sex with an underage female, according to testimony. He would drive the victim to motels, require her to meet a daily quota, and then keep the proceeds, often as much as $1,200 a day. Smith first met the teen while she was walking in San Diego, forced her into his car, beat her with a belt and raped her, according to testimony at a three-day trial. When she balked at prostitution, he threatened to kill her and warned that her body would be found "in pieces in the trunk." Smith, who had previously been convicted on state charges of assault and conspiracy to kidnap a child, was convicted in federal court under a statute concerning the sex trafficking of children through violence and coercion.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Go Google!

Google puts $11.5 million toward US coalitions devoted to fighting labor and sex slavery
By Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO — Tech giant Google announced Wednesday it is donating $11.5 million to several coalitions fighting to end the modern-day slavery of some 27 million people around the world.
In what is believed to be the largest-ever corporate grant devoted to the advocacy, intervention and rescue of people being held, forced to work or provide sex against their will, Google said it chose organizations with proven records in combating slavery.
“Many people are surprised to learn there are more people trapped in slavery today than any time in history,” said Jacquelline Fuller, director of charitable giving and advocacy for Google. “The good news is that there are solutions.”
The Washington-based International Justice Mission, a human rights organization that works globally to rescue victims of slavery and sexual exploitation, was chosen by Google to lead the efforts.
It will partner with Polaris Project and Slavery Footprint and a handful of smaller organizations for the multi-year effort to rescue the enslaved, push for better infrastructure and resources for anti-slavery enforcement agencies overseas, as well as raise awareness here in the United States and help countries draft anti-slavery legislation.
“Each year we focus some of our annual giving on meeting direct human need,” Fuller said. “Google chose to spotlight the issue of slavery this year because there is nothing more fundamental than freedom.”
Gary A. Haugen, president of the International Justice Mission, said the coalition would focus on three initiatives: A $3.5 million intervention project to fight forced labor in India; a $4.5 million advocacy campaign in India to educate and protect the vulnerable; and a $1.8 million plan to mobilize Americans on behalf of the millions currently at risk of slavery or waiting for rescue around the world.
The remaining $1.7 million will go to several smaller organizations working to combat slavery.
“It’s hard for most Americans to believe that slavery and human trafficking are still massive problems in our world,” said Haugen. “Google’s support now makes it possible for IJM to join forces with two other leading organizations so we can bring to bear our unique strengths in a united front.”
Those leading the U.S. efforts will meet in Washington on Wednesday to kick off the joint initiative. The project will focus on improved legislation to protect vulnerable children and adults in the United States, as well as a push for more accountability and transparency in the U.S. supply chain by retailers and manufacturers to make sure their products are “slave-free.”
The trafficking of women for the sex trade is common in big American cities. Some illegal immigrants find themselves forced to work in sweatshops, in private homes as domestic servants or on farms without pay under the threat of deportation.
The new effort will launch new initiatives that ordinary Americans can take to help abolish modern-day slavery, such as understanding how their own clothing or smartphones might contain fabrics or components manufactured by forced labor.
“Whether it’s by calling the national human trafficking hotline, sending a letter to their senator, or using online advocacy tools, millions of Americans will be able to use their voices to ensure that ending this problem becomes a top priority,” said Bradley Myles, executive director of Polaris Project.
Google.org — the philanthropy arm of the Silicon Valley firm — announced the anti-slavery effort as part of its $40 million in end-of-year giving that brings its charitable donations to more than $100 million in 2011. The grants will also support science, technology, engineering and math education; girls’ education in the developing world; and the use of technology for social good.
Justin Dillon, the founder of Slavery Footprint, said the Google grant would allow the movement to move from “anecdote and emotion,” to tangible action that could make a dent in history.
“Having a company like Google recognize the value of our work marks a major turning point for the anti-slavery movement,” said Dillon, whose nonprofit gives consumers some tools to determine whether slaves were used in the making of their goods and teaches them to use social media to sound off about slavery and engage with corporations about their supply chains.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Go Broward!

I feel so proud of my hometown/county when I see the fantastic work that the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition is doing. My hats off to Adriane Reesey and team!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Twice-Victimized of Sexual Assault

An article that all who work with victims of trafficking should keep in mind. Let me amend that: this is so prevalent, we all need to remember what Jane Brody discusses here!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Shining Light on the Role of Drivers in Prostitution

Sofia, a sweet-voiced and cherubic 24-year-old, was one of the lucky ones: She managed to escape much of the suffering shared by the millions of sex workers trafficked throughout the world, and even saw two of her traffickers forced out of the country and back to Mexico.

Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Sofia, a sex-trafficking victim who uses a pseudonym, will testify before City Council committees on Wednesday.

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But the young woman said she still feels that complete justice has eluded her, because the drivers who ferried her from john to john, her de facto bosses, remain at large.

As prostitution has shifted off the streets and into hotels and apartments, the drivers who transport prostitutes have emerged as some of the industry’s most powerful players. Sofia, who uses a pseudonym because she fears retribution from traffickers, said that when she was enslaved as a prostitute, her drivers organized her schedule, drove her to appointments and took half of her earnings before she turned over the remainder to her pimp.

“They are more important than the pimps because they’re the ones who decide everything,” Sofia said softly in Spanish. Her words were translated by a counselor and a lawyer from Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit group that works with domestic violence victims. “I want all of them in jail, or back in their countries. I don’t want to see them working like this.”

On Wednesday, Sofia will testify, from behind a screen, before a joint hearing of the City Council’s Transportation and Women’s Issues Committees, on two pieces of proposed legislation that would penalize drivers who knowingly transport prostitutes.

The first proposal, introduced by Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, would raise the fines on drivers who knowingly transport trafficking victims, and would direct the Taxi and Limousine Commission to add training for all its drivers on the subject of sex trafficking.

The second bill, introduced by Councilman James Vacca and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, seeks to punish those who operate unregistered cars as liveries, with misdemeanor charges, fines and possible prison time, noting that many of the drivers fail to register with the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

“Who would have thought that black cars or livery cars were going to become a point in the issue of sex trafficking?” said the Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, who noted that this would be the Council’s fourth hearing on sex trafficking this year. “We have to hit every way we can to crack down on that effort.”

David S. Yassky, the chairman of the taxi commission, said he wanted to work with the City Council without adding costs for drivers. He suggested that the agency could issue a pamphlet about sex trafficking.

“I don’t know if we need full-blown classroom instruction on this particular topic,” Mr. Yassky said. “We would like to do what we can at the T.L.C. to make sure that car services, livery bases are not participating in reprehensible human trafficking.”

Reporting of sex-trafficking cases seems to be growing more frequent. Lori Cohen, a senior staff attorney with the Anti-Trafficking Initiative of Sanctuary for Families, said that the number of victims it advised had jumped to 293 in the 12-month period that ended June 30, compared with 85 in the previous 12 months.

Sofia estimates that she worked with 70 drivers, who brought her to 5,000 clients. Clients often found drivers’ phone numbers in advertisements placed in newspapers or on cards handed out on the street. When business was slow, her pimp would give her a list and have her call the drivers directly. Her drivers took more of her earnings if she did not finish her appointments within 15 minutes, she said.

Sofia said that the drivers rarely spoke to her, except when they tried to recruit her away from her pimp. “They promised us a better life,” Sofia said. “I know a lot of girls who said they left the pimp they were working with. In the end they just worked for the driver.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chocolate Just Got Even More Appealing

Nestle 'to act over child labour in cocoa industry'

The BBC's Humphrey Hawksley travelled to Ivory Coast and found children using machetes to hack open cocoa pods

Related Stories

Global food giant Nestle says it has taken a major step to end child labour on cocoa farms supplying its factories.

The firm, one of the world's largest chocolate producers, says it is going to work with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) on tackling the problem.

The FLA is set to examine Nestle's cocoa supply chains in Ivory Coast in January, the firm said in a statement.

Critics ask why it has taken Nestle so long to act if it knew children were involved in its cocoa production.

Nestle and the world's other biggest chocolate producers signed a cocoa protocol - an international commitment to end child labour in the cocoa industry - 10 years ago.

Analysis

During my visit to Ivory Coast earlier this month, it was easy to find child labour and difficult to see substantive measures to prevent it.

The sight of children carrying machetes or pesticide equipment is common throughout the country's cocoa belt.

More than 800,000 children there are believed to do some form of cocoa-related work. I found a group walking along a muddy path towards trees where bright yellow cocoa pods hung ready for harvest.

Silently, the children squatted down and started work. They wore torn and grubby shorts and T-shirts. There was no laughter or play.

On their legs were scars from machete injuries. There was no first-aid kit around or any protective clothing.

One - a 12-year-old - said his parents lived far away and he had not seen his family for three years.

The trafficking and selling of children is still commonplace. The Nestle announcement came within days of the report being broadcast.

Earlier this year, a report commissioned by the US government found that the chocolate industry's funding since 2001 had "not been sufficient" and it needed to do more.

Nestle, in its statement, said the "cocoa supply chain is long and complex" - making it "difficult for food companies to establish exactly where their cocoa comes from and under what conditions it was harvested".

The firm said the FLA would send a team of independent examiners to Ivory Coast - where Nestle buys most of its cocoa - to map the supply chain.

The results of its assessment will be published next year and will guide future operations there, the firm said.

"Child labour has no place in our supply chain," said senior Nestle executive Jose Lopez.

"We cannot solve the problem on our own, but by working with a partner like the FLA we can make sure our efforts to address it are targeted where they are needed most".

'Moral obligation'

The US government-backed report by Tulane University, published in March, found that more than 1.8 million children in West Africa were involved in growing cocoa.

Earlier this month, the BBC's Humphrey Hawksley travelled to Ivory Coast and found children using machetes to hack open cocoa pods to extract the beans.

One boy told him that he had been sent by his father to the farm to work, and had not seen his family for three years.

Gilbert Kone Kafana, Ivory Coast's minister for labour and social affairs, said there was a "moral obligation" on chocolate companies to help rebuild the country ravaged by years of civil war.

"We need to build roads, schools, hospitals and social centres; anything that would allow Ivory Coast to progress," he told the BBC.

"This development is necessary for farmers to have a good life, and it is in the interest of the industry to work with us."

Friday, December 9, 2011

China Children?

China children rescued in swoop on traffickers

Chinese state television footage of the arrests

Related Stories

Police in China say they have rescued nearly 200 children after uncovering two child-trafficking gangs.

More than 600 people were arrested in raids in 10 Chinese provinces.

A BBC correspondent in Beijing says the staggering numbers in the investigation reveal the scale of the country's child-trafficking problem.

Critics blame China's one-child policy and lax adoption laws, which they say have created a thriving underground market for buying children.

Thousands missing

The Ministry of Public Security said 178 children had been rescued in the joint investigation. It did not give their ages and said they were being cared for while officials sought to trace their parents.

The ministry described the crackdown as "one of the biggest victories for anti-trafficking".

A statement said 5,000 police had co-operated for six months before arresting suspects last week.

"Police departments will continue to crack down on child trafficking and ensure that involved children are kept out of the reach of buyers," the statement said.

It appears police stumbled on one trafficking gang while investigating a road accident in the southern province of Sichuan in May.

Links were found to at least 26 other trafficking gangs in China, the statement said. A second gang was uncovered in August in the south-eastern province of Fujian.

The BBC's Michael Bristow in Beijing says it remains unclear how many more cases remain undiscovered.

Our correspondent says many people blame China's one-child policy because it creates a demand for children - particularly boys.

Families may also buy trafficked women and children to use as extra labour and household servants, as well as brides for unmarried sons.

Clear data is hard to obtain but correspondents say thousands of children are snatched from their families each year and sold in China. Despite government efforts to counter it, child trafficking is a growing problem.

Greater freedom of movement that came with China's economic reforms is thought to have made it easier for trafficking gangs to operate.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Technology and the Future of Child Sex Trafficking

Wanted: Technology Breakthroughs to Fight Child Sex Trafficking

Posted by Samantha Doerr
Public Affairs Manager, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit

There are few online crimes more heartbreaking than technology-facilitated crimes against children, which is why Microsoft is working with experts to advance innovation to combat them, including aresearch effort on child sex trafficking being introduced today by danah boyd and Rane Johnsonof Microsoft Research and the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit. Through Microsoft’s previous work, we have found that research and creative collaborative efforts can have a meaningful impact on crime, and we believe the same can be true in the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Microsoft Research has released today an outline of fifteen different aspects of the child sex trafficking process fueled by U.S. demand where technology might play a role. We welcome readers to review this framework and provide feedback as we drive for scientifically sound research to understand and disrupt the problem. Also, to kick off deeper exploration of the dynamics already identified, we are issuing a $150,000 request for proposals on two of the fifteen processes – a) the role of technology in the advertising and selling of victims for exploitation and b) the purchase of victims by “johns”.

The role technology plays in both facilitating and fighting most forms of cybercrime is fairly well understood. For example, the online distribution of child pornography is reasonably well analyzed, and valuable new technology tools like PhotoDNA are emerging to help fight it. Sadly, the same is not true for human trafficking. The world has only barely scratched the surface in driving deeper understanding of the role that technology plays in facilitating modern-day slavery, let alone exploring ways that technology might be able to help fight it.

Dedicated members of law enforcement, NGOs, academia and governments worldwide are making a significant impact in this fight, but as we’ve learned in other areas of cybercrime, once technology is involved in a crime, there is also a unique and valuable role that technology experts and researchers can play to combat it. There has been some early momentum on this, with specialists from a variety of backgrounds coming together to drive progress.

In the U.S. for example, Polaris Project, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,DNA Foundation, Shared Hope, GEMS, University of Southern California, Dartmouth College, Attorneys General Rob McKenna and Kamala Harris, police departments from states like Washington and California, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Lexus-Nexus and many others are already engaging in thought-provoking and interesting possibilities. Internationally, there have been great efforts to use technology for law enforcement and corporate training, victim services, awareness and more. But so much more can be done.

There are many forms of human trafficking other than child sex trafficking – adults can also be victims of sex trafficking and labor trafficking is a significant problem – and by no means is all child sex trafficking driven by U.S. demand. This research effort aims to start somewhere with a scope that was immediately actionable, and we are hopeful that as we continue to drive deeper connections between academia, technology, advocacy, law enforcement and governments in this area, we will see new advancements never before possible in the fight against trafficking as a whole.

This problem can be complicated and daunting, but there are many reasons why we are so optimistic in the fight. We know that law enforcement today reports that gangs and organized crime increasingly get into the child sex trade because it may be less risky to traffic children than drugs, and because child traffickers’ ‘inventory’ is reusable, whereas drug inventory is not. It’s a sad phenomenon, but it also demonstrates that child sex trafficking shares the same weak point we exploit with most other forms of cybercrime DCU works on– it’s a business fueled by the promises of money and profit for criminals. While we may never wipe out trafficking completely, if we can drive up the costs and risks of ‘doing business’, we can make it a much less appealing business for traffickers.

I am incredibly lucky to get to work every day with smart, passionate leaders in this field around the world. Whether in our work to combat child exploitation or other cybercrime, we have seen firsthand how public-private partnership efforts combined with technical and legal innovation aimed at disrupting the heart of criminal operations serve as a powerful force against crime. Although the problem of trafficking is unique in many ways, I truly believe that kind of change is possible.

In recent months, I’ve had the humbling opportunity to meet women who were once young girls rented out in the sex trade and who have since transformed their lives, becoming influential leaders in a variety of fields. These survivors have not let their victimization define them, but appear to have taken their experiences as a source of strength that is part of who they are today. It is these women, and the thousands of victims of trafficking, both male and female around the world, who serve as a daily inspiration of what is possible.

For more information about what you can do to help, please visit the links from some of the organizations mentioned above. Most importantly, if you or someone you know suspect a trafficking situation, report it to appropriate authorities. In the U.S., Polaris Project runs a national hotline where any tips can be sent to 1-888-3737-888. If you are a researcher in the field, I also strongly recommend you check out the Microsoft Research site for more information about this effort as well as USC’s recent report Human Trafficking Online: The Role of Social Networking Sites and Online Classifieds.

Lastly, for anyone simply interested in staying up to speed on this and other efforts to combat digital crime, I welcome you to follow the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit on Facebook and Twitter, where we will continue to share information on breaking advances and news in the field.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

China arrests 600 in child trafficking bust

BEIJING: Chinese police have busted two huge child trafficking rings that spanned 10 provinces, arresting more than 600 suspects and rescuing 178 children, the government said Wednesday.

Child abductions and trafficking are rife in China, despite repeated police crackdowns -- a problem that many experts blame on the nation's strict "one-child" policy and lax regulations on adoption.

The public security ministry said in a statement that police in the southwestern province of Sichuan had chanced on clues that a child trafficking gang was operating there when dealing with a traffic accident in May.

Then in August, police in the southeastern province of Fujian discovered the existence of another gang involved in widespread child trafficking.

After a long period of evidence-gathering, more than 5,000 police officers from 10 different provinces across China launched a joint offensive on November 30, arresting 608 suspects.

They rescued 178 children, who have now been placed in welfare agencies, in what the statement called "the biggest victory yet for anti-trafficking" operations.

It did not say how old the children were, or whether they had been reunited with their parents.

Lax adoption rules for childless couples in China have led to a thriving underground market for kidnapping, buying and selling children.

Many academics also blame the problem on the nation's strict "one-child" policy, which has put a premium on baby boys, as many families want a male heir.

As such, some parents who are unable to have a son or want a second child opt to buy one, and baby girls are also sometimes sold on to traffickers.

Authorities have repeatedly launched crackdowns on trafficking, but scandals keep emerging.

Police said in July they had freed 89 children in a crackdown on trafficking launched this year, arresting 369 people in the operation.

In November, police in the eastern province of Shandong also broke up a human trafficking gang that bought babies from poor families and sold them on for as much as US$8,000.

And in 2007, in a scandal that shocked the nation, authorities found that thousands of people had been forced into slave labour in brickyards and mines across the nation.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nepalese Passport Problems in India

Passengers holding Nepalese passports might now have to carry an authorization letter from the Nepalese embassy to prove that their passport is genuine, if they are travelling through Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA). The arrest of five girls with fake Nepalese passports from Delhi airport has prompted Delhi Police to ask Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) to take necessary action to stop trafficking of Nepalese girls to gulf countries through India. Sources in Delhi Police said that agents are now using India as transit point by sending girls to gulf countries on fake Nepalese passports.… Delhi Police arrested five girls, all aged between 20-25, who were trying to travel to Jeddah on fake passports. The girls were scheduled to travel with AI 991. "During interrogation they revealed that they had given R80,000 to agents who arranged passport for them. The photographs pasted on bio-data page [were] replaced with original ones," the officer added.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Forced Prostitution in Borneo

Three Rescued After Being Forced Into Prostitution : After suffering for three months, three Indonesians who were victims of human trafficking were rescued by police following the arrest of five suspects at Ranggau Phase 2 housing area on Sunday.… Four local suspects (one of them a woman) and a foreigner were nabbed. District police chief Deputy Superintendent Bukhori Saffai said all three victims, aged 19 to 32 years old, were forced to have sex with the suspects in the last three months. Bukhori said an employment agency had brought the three from Indonesia to be employed in a neighboring country, but they ended up being sent to Limbang for prostitution.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bar Operators Charged For Exploiting Minors in the Philippines

She was hired as a bar girl to entertain customers of a KTV bar in Ubay town, northeastern Bohol. But 16-year-old Mia (not her real name) was also good for "take out" by customers who pay her P1,500 [$34] for sex. Mia, a native of Bohol, and seven young Cebuanas were rescued by operatives of the Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RATF) last Oct. 21. Four persons were arrested for allegedly exploiting the minors aged 15 to 17. Charges of qualified trafficking were recently filed against the accused's live-in partner, their "trustee," and the cashier before the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City. … Surveillance operations were earlier made by law enforcers to confirm the alleged sexual exploitation of minors inside a KTV bar in the place. … The eight girls were rescued and turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Central Visayas

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Prostituted Child Speaks Out

Child Sex Slavery Survivor Tells Her Story [Arizona]: People gathered to raise awareness about a growing problem in our country and in Arizona, and it's not a problem people want to even think about. A group of churches started what they call Campaign 13. It got that name because the average age of a child entering child prostitution in Phoenix is 13 years old. Members of Campaign 13 and the Phoenix Police vice squad held a meeting, hoping to make valley residents aware that their children could be at risk. … [C]hild sex slavery survivor Carolyn Jean Jones…said she was coerced into a lifestyle of sex and drugs -- a lifestyle that children in Phoenix are falling victim to. … The group teamed up with the Phoenix vice squad and found that children are being targeted at malls – and even in high schools. And the group says tourism is putting Arizona kids at risk.