2.4 Billion People Still Live on Less Than $2 a Day

UN 2011-17“(Oct 17th was) the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and in his message, the (United Nations) Secretary-General calls on the world to recommit to act together against extreme poverty. He notes that despite reaching the Millennium Development Goal target of halving the number of people living in poverty, some 2.4 billion people still live on less than $2 a day.” For more info, click here.

Child Prostitution Runs Rampant in India

By Human Rights Society’s Asia-Pacific Ambassador, Stephanie-Mai Lowe, Nov. 11, 2014—
“The issue of child prostitution and other forms of trafficking in India has been widespread throughout a number of media outlets in the Asia-Pacific region this year. Examples in the news can be seen here, here, and here.

India has relatively relaxed laws on prostitution. While the exchange of sex for money remains legal (The Immoral Trade (Suppression) Act), organised activities, such as running brothels or acting as a pimp, are illegal.

Despite criminalization, brothels are extremely common in most of the country. The biggest regions for prostitutions include Sonagachi in Kolkata, G.B. Road in New Delhi, and Kamatipura in Mumbai. These areas contain hundreds of multi-story brothels, with approximately 11,000 prostitutes in Sonagachi alone.

Underage prostitution remains a great issue as well.  It is believed that over one million prostitutes are underage; many of the girls have been trafficked internally from within India, or brought from regions such as Nepal. In fact, an Indian government report released earlier this year stated that around half a million children have been abducted and forced to work as prostitutes in India (source).

Other sources state that at least 67,000 children in India went missing just between 2013 and 2014, and that almost half of these were underage and forced into prostitution.

Indian authorities have a poor record of tracking down children who go missing. It is estimated that approximately one in every three children who goes missing becomes completely untraceable.

But what is it that makes children of this part of the world so vulnerable?

  • Many of Indian victims of human trafficking come from very poor and marginalized communities within the country.
  • India does not have a very precise/comprehensive legal structure that is able to deal with human trafficking and enforce applicable legislation.
  • Indian authorities do little to link up child trafficking with cases of child labour, cases of abduction, or child marriages (despite the Indian act known as The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006).

India serves as a source, a transit, and a destination region for human trafficking. It serves as a source country in the sense that many Indians are trafficked both internally and across borders to work as prostitutes, or into forced labour — up to 12.66 million children used as forced labour (source). This has been seen especially within Middle Eastern nations such as the United Arab Emirates, in which there have been a number of reports of Indians who have been subject to slave-like conditions. They are drawn to the construction industry which is booming in the area, but then fail to receive pay, have their passports confiscated, and are told they must pay off the debt that has been accrued by their recruitment costs.

The issue of human trafficking in India is a multi-dimensional problem. There are a number of factors at play that makes it difficult for Westerners to understand the extent of the problem. This ranges from a history of colonialism (the British were involved in setting up trafficking rings), to severe inequalities between men and women, and severe poverty.

As a result, we should look into a number of measures rather than one clear-cut solution.

  • We need to look into how we can help India develop into a more sustainable country, while fostering equality among its people, in hopes of reducing the disparities that have forced people to accept risky job opportunities or sell off their children.
  • We need to provide advice and research on how to make legal institutions more effective and enforce legislation that prevents women, men, and children from being subject to the current shocking conditions.
  • Furthermore, we need to use education to bring the population up overall and realise that such behaviours are not okay – that while we, as westerns, cannot press our culture upon others, slavery is not okay anywhere and universal human rights do exist. Education helps people to see and compare their culture to others, but what’s more is that it empowers individuals. It provides them with the tools that help them to avoid the sticky cycle of poverty that often exposes them to traffickers.
  • We should also assist in providing employment. Children are treated as slaves in a number of ways in India in order to meet wWestern needs, whether it is weaving rugs for our living rooms, or sewing the $5 T-shirt we bought from the supermarket, and so on. We need to find ways of changing this by cutting off the demand that we’ve created.

I recently met a representative from the organisation FreeSet at a human trafficking conference in Otago, New Zealand. Freeset is a fair trade business that provides jobs to women who have managed to escape the sex trade. It trains them to sew, and in doing so, provides them with the skills and confidence they need for a safe and secure lease on life. Along with FreeSet, we believe dealing with the roots of the issues will strongly contribute towards the abolishment of the modern slave trade in the future of our world.”

About the author:
Steph-Mai is originally a British Citizen who moved to New Zealand at the age of 16. New Zealand is a country with a small population, recognised as one the least corrupt places in the world and possibly the best example for what human rights should look like on an international scale. Steph-Mai believes living in such a great country has given her the tools and ideas to try and help combat issues in less fortunate regions of the world. After completing her Bachelors Degree in Politics at the University of Otago (NZ) in 2013, she is currently finishing a Masters Degree in International Studies with a dissertation focusing on the link between human sex trafficking and the deployment of peacekeepers. Steph-Mai has travelled to a number of countries to further her knowledge in human rights, including Poland, which provided her with an opportunity to meet people researching the trafficking industry in Eastern Europe. She has helped raise awareness about human trafficking issues in New Zealand by helping to organise awareness events, creating the Human Trafficking in NZ website, and being cited in a number of national blogs. For more info on Steph-Mai: LinkedIninfo(at)humanrightssociety(dot)org.

Video Shows ISIS Fighters Trading Women

From CNN.com
“A newly released video seems to show ISIS fighters bargaining over the price of Yazidi women. Lynda Kinkade reports.”

Watch the video by clicking the link below: http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2014/11/06/pkg-kinkade-isis-yazidi-women-trade.cnn.html

Sweden’s Prostitution Solution: Why Hasn’t Anyone Tried This Before?

By Marie De Santis, for Women’s Justice Center, http://www.justicewomen.com—
“In a centuries deep sea of clichés despairing that ‘prostitution will always be with us’, one country’s success stands out as a solitary beacon lighting the way. In just five years Sweden has dramatically reduced the number of its women in prostitution. In the capital city of Stockholm the number of women in street prostitution has been reduced by two thirds, and the number of johns has been reduced by 80%. There are other major Swedish cities where street prostitution has all but disappeared. Gone too, for the most part, are the renowned Swedish brothels and massage parlors which proliferated during the last three decades of the twentieth century when prostitution in Sweden was legal.

In addition, the number of foreign women now being trafficked into Sweden for sex is nil. The Swedish government estimates that in the last few years only 200 to 400 women and girls have been annually sex trafficked into Sweden, a figure that’s negligible compared to the 15,000 to 17,000 females yearly sex trafficked into neighboring Finland. No other country, nor any other social experiment, has come anywhere near Sweden’s promising results.

By what complex formula has Sweden managed this feat? Amazingly, Sweden’s strategy isn’t complex at all. It’s tenets, in fact, seem so simple and so firmly anchored in common sense as to immediately spark the question, “Why hasn’t anyone tried this before?””

For the rest of the original article, please click here.

PROS + CONS OF LEGALIZING PROSTITUTION FORUM IN SEATTLE

FEATURED EVENT

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.26.17 AMPROS + CONS OF LEGALIZING PROSTITUTION
To learn both views and more from local Seattle experts on the positions of legalizing prostitution, decriminalization, and the human rights issues in this provocative topic.

DATE: 11/18/14

TIME: 5:15 PM (DOORS OPEN @ 5 PM)

LOCATION: RONALD GEBALLE AUDITORIUM @ UW PHYSICS-ASTRONOMY BUILDING A102

MAP

COST: FREE

INVITE OTHERS ON FB

PANELISTS

  • MAGGIE MCNEILL | Former Sex Worker, Writer, Commentator & Media Consultant on Sex Work, and Staff at Sex Workers Outreach Project
  • SAVANNAH SLY | Former Sex Worker, Sex Workers Rights Advocate + Volunteer Sex Workers Outreach Project
  • CHERRY SMILEY | Co-founder of Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry
  • ANE MATHIESON | UW Grad student in Social Work, Staff at The Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS), Co-founder of UW student group Fourth Wave Feminists
  • PETER QUALLIOTINE | Co-founder at Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS) and Director of OPS’ Men’s Accountability program
  • CHELSEA MOORE | UW Grad student of Political Science and Teacher’s Assistant in Law, Societies & Justice Dept.
  • STEVE HERBERT, PHD | UW Professor in Dept. of Geography + Law, Societies, and Justice Program
  • DAKOTA BLAGG | Moderator, UW student in Law, Societies & Justice + Intern Human Rights Society

ORGANIZED BY HUMAN RIGHTS SOCIETY + CO-SPONSORED BY FOURTH WAVE FEMINISTS

For more info, email us at info(at)humanrightssociety(dot)org

IRAN: Blasted on Human Rights Ahead of UN Hearing

By Jonathan Wachtel for FoxNews.com on October 31, 2014
“On the eve of Iran’s defense of its human rights record Friday before a key United Nations panel, a lawyer for the woman executed in the Islamic Republic over the weekend for allegedly killing her attempted rapist accused the regime of widespread torture and murder.

A UN-appointed human rights advocate had already prepared a voluminous account of Tehran’s egregious transgressions, including persecution and imprisonment of religious minorities, alarming numbers of executions and systematic disregard of due process by Saturday, when Reyhaneh Jabbari, a 27-year-old woman who had spent the last seven years in prison, was hanged. Jabbari became an international symbol of the regime’s brutality, with the UN and rights groups such as Amnesty International decrying her death sentence. Jabbari’s execution served to punctuate this week’s hearings, including the independent forum in Geneva on Thursday and a procedure today before a UN Human Rights Council panel.”

For the rest of the original article, please click here.

Why Foreign Aid Organizations Should Pay More Attention to Human Trafficking

By Nina Easton for Fortune.com on October 31, 2014—
“The term “slavery” has lately re-entered the media vocabulary—with reports of the terror group ISIS selling off captured non-Muslim girls as slave-brides and Nigeria’s Boko Haram kidnapping school girls.

So for my latest installment of the iTunes podcast “Smart Women, Smart Power,” broadcast from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, I brought together two women who have spent much of their lives fighting what they call “modern day slavery”—Holly Burkhalter of the International Justice Mission and Sarah Mendelsohn, director of CSIS’s human rights initiative.

They painted a chilling picture of enslaved children from India (where Kailash Satyarthi just won the Nobel Peace Prize for rescuing 70,000 kids) to Lake Volta, Ghana, where – as Burkalter notes—“boys can be bought for just $150.”

The children are as young as 5. “The owner who bought and sold these kids [said] you don’t want to have the older kids because they eat too much and are harder to control,” she noted. “Most had almost no clothes on, they were terribly skinny and had distended stomachs. There were terrified and did not speak.”

On a personal level, Burkhalter’s decades-long work seeing humans inflict horrors on other humans led to a spiritual crisis, followed by a spiritual journey, and a book about her religious conversion—Good God, Lousy World, and Me: The Improbable Journey of a Human Rights Activist from Unbelief to Faith.

Sex slavery and human trafficking hasn’t been a high priority for donors or foreign aid organizations. But Mendelsohn said she sees that changing, with the United Nations leading an international effort.”

For the rest of the original article, please clic here.

Tougher Police Tactics Stinging Sex Buyers to Get Rid of Demand

Originally published on The Seattle Times by Sara Jean Green on October 15, 2014—
“In a trio of musty-smelling motel rooms on Pacific Highway South, a group of cops made four arrests in quick succession — two businessmen in button-down shirts, a college student who swung by after class and a man in his 50s who paid double to “party longer” with a woman he thought was a prostitute.

Then a lull: For nearly an hour and a half, the cellphones of two undercover Seattle officers, in body-hugging clothing and heavy makeup, went silent.

Finally, one of the officers, wearing five-inch heels and a cleavage-revealing shirt-and-skirt combo, stepped into the bathroom to take a call. “Someone’s here,” she called out to her fellow officers a few minutes later.

A 40-year-old Auburn man walked into her shabby motel room and handed over $80. He then shrugged out of his jacket, skinned off his T-shirt and popped open his pants. Moments later, he was in handcuffs.

The man, a level 3 sex offender who had served prison time for attacking two prostitutes, would end up being their biggest catch of the night.

Last month, the group of Seattle cops — a couple of sergeants, a handful of detectives and the two undercover officers, or UCs — headed south to teach seven Des Moines officers how to run a “hotel op,” an Internet sting designed to catch men who buy sex. Nine men were arrested that night.

Since June, Seattle police and six other King County law-enforcement agencies have been conducting similar stings as part of a program Prosecutor Dan Satterberg is to publicly announce on Wednesday morning. The grant-funded, national program called “The CEASE Network” is aimed at holding men accountable for fueling the demand side of the sex trade — and at deterring them by increasing their risk of getting caught.

CEASE, an acronym for Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation, got its official start in Boston, Denver and Seattle earlier this year, with seven more cities — including Portland, Chicago and Phoenix — set to launch their own initiatives later this month.”

For the rest of the original article, please click here.