January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The presidential proclamation serves, in part, to remind us that 150 years after our nation abolished the practice of legally enslaving others, the cruel practice exists today in the form of forced labor and sex trafficking.
This modern-day form of slavery continues in our own back yard in South Florida. In an effort to combat this problem, in 2007, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Florida’s Southern District created a specialized section to handle these cases. Since then, our office has achieved remarkable success working with federal and state agencies to increase the number and impact of human-trafficking prosecutions: More than 50 cases and 89 offenders have faced federal charges since the unit was created.… Seguir leyendo »
Feminists across Western Europe are sounding the alarm. Prostitution, they claim, has become today’s “white slavery,” with ever more women from Bulgaria and Romania, Africa and Asia being forced, tricked or seduced into selling their bodies.
But in doing so, these activists are creating a schism in the movement, between those who see prostitution as another form of male oppression and those who see it as a possible means of female empowerment.
Much of the debate is centered in Germany, where prostitution is legal. As a result, the German author Alice Schwarzer said, the country has become “an El Dorado for human traffickers, a paradise for johns from all over the Continent,” who come in busloads to frequent the new “mega-brothels” in Cologne, Munich or Berlin.… Seguir leyendo »
Nepal may be known for natural beauty and Mount Everest, but there is a dark side to this small, picturesque country. Women and girls are being bought, sold and smuggled across the Nepal-India border. Although reliable data on the scope of the issue is difficult to gather, Unicef reports that as many as 7,000 women and girls are trafficked out of Nepal to India every year, and around 200,000 are now working in Indian brothels.
I traveled to Nepal last spring to document the growing problem of sex trafficking and unsafe migration, spending the majority of time in Katmandu and along the Nepal-India border.… Seguir leyendo »
U.S. federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for three Somalis convicted of murdering four Americans whose yacht was captured by pirates in the Indian Ocean off Oman in 2011. Although nearly two dozen Somali pirates have now been convicted in U.S. courts, these three men are the first to potentially face the death penalty.
Against the backdrop of the U.S. trial, a largely unknown and underreported humanitarian tragedy caused by the brutality of pirates is unfolding: Unlike the Americans killed by pirates after negotiations for their release failed, the crews of many smaller ships, known as dhows, operating in the Indian Ocean often end up as slaves, never to return to their homelands because their Indian, Pakistani or Iranian owners cannot afford to pay their ransom.… Seguir leyendo »
Thirteen-year-old Anjali didn’t just pack her bags and run away to the circus, she signed a 10-year contract with a circus master after fleeing from long hours of domestic servitude in Nepal. Taken to India, she then endured years of appalling and dangerous working conditions for no pay. A British charity helped Anjali finally say goodbye to the circus.
Anjali’s story is not the same as other victims, but there are disturbing similarities: threats, sexual and labor exploitation, often cruelty, sometimes brutality. (To read Anjali’s story, please go to UNODC’s 2013 publication, Hear Their Story. Her name was changed to protect her identity.)
Despite her terrible experiences, Anjali is one of the fortunate ones.… Seguir leyendo »