Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Pop icon video raises awareness of trafficking

Ukraine's female pop icon Ruslana is using her celebrity for for a very good cause.

A big "Brava" to her for putting out this video and raising awareness of the scourge of human trafficking.

The lack of comments at the video site drove home to me that human trafficking, especially for purposes of sexual exploitation, is one of the few remaining "taboo" topics in today's society.

Perhaps that's because it so clearly illustrates the barbarity of contemporary society ... and the reality that despite being more liberal, we are not really as advanced a society as we may like to think.

Cross-posted at the Nash Holos blog.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More on Ukraine baby murders

Here is another one of the rare articles on the babies murdered in Ukraine for stem cell "research" and some rather dubious beauty treatments for affluent westerners.

The plastic bag looks as if it contains meat. But then a right leg is taken from it and placed surgically on the morgue table, followed by the left one. Then the torso. The head follows, a gaping cavity where the brain used to be.

But it is only when the gloved hand of the pathologist examines the tiny fingers of a baby aged about 30 weeks that the full horror of what I am witnessing sinks in.

This shocking scene was captured on video at post-mortem examinations carried out on behalf of Ukrainian mothers who claim their babies were stolen from them at birth.

[Some] 300 families ... believe their healthy babies were ... taken at birth to have their organs and stem cells harvested ... [for treatments to, among other things] reverse the effects of ageing. ...

... the Council Of Europe is now carrying out its own investigation ... The wall of silence is crumbling. And it may yet reveal a very ugly side to the global beauty business. ...

Full article here.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Whistleblower in baby murder investigations sacked

World Net Daily reports that an investigator looking into stem-cell trafficking in Ukraine has been fired. Very disturbing. But equally disturbing is, I think, the lack of any focus on those who create the demand that drives this "market." Would the affluent west perhaps be a tad too squeamish to look closely into the mirror?

In the midst of growing interest in reports of a gruesome stem-cell and human-organ black market that traffics in newborn babies taken from their mothers, an investigator looking into the matter has been sacked 'for political reasons,' she says, because she was getting too close to the truth. ...

The Council of Europe is scheduled in February to investigate allegations that newborn babies have been killed to provide stem cells and internal organs. ...

Officials will focus on the role, if any, played by Ukranian research centers and maternity hospitals in the international trade in stem cells. An earlier investigation in 2004 was dropped for lack of firm evidence, but the latest charges have caused the case to be reopened.

Full article here. (H/T Kiev Ukraine News Blog)

This Telegraph article corroborates that report, but suggests the babies may have ended up being adopted in the West. Maybe. Or, maybe not.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ukraine babies killed for stem cell trade

According to this BBC News Report, new-born babies in Ukraine are being killed to harvest stem-cells for international traffickers.

There is a trade in stem cells from aborted foetuses, amid unproven claims they can help fight many diseases. But now there are claims that stem cells are also being harvested from live babies.

The BBC has spoken to mothers from the city of Kharkiv who say they gave birth to healthy babies, only to have them taken by maternity staff.

In 2003 the authorities agreed to exhume around 30 bodies of foetuses and full-term babies ... [the Council of Europe] describes a general culture of trafficking of children snatched at birth, and a wall of silence from hospital staff upwards over their fate.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Journalist Urges More Enforcement of Laws Against Human Trafficking

How long will the powers-that-be, and well as ordinary people, ignore the need for action, as this article illustrates?

Victor Malarek, a well-known investigative journalist, spoke at the U.S. Department of State [recently about] the global problem of trafficking in women, calling it “a disaster of epic proportions.”

Malarek, author of the book
The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade, was introduced by Ambassador John Miller, director of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and senior adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on human trafficking.

Human trafficking, according to Malarek, continues to flourish unabated because laws already on the books in most countries are not being enforced. He acknowledged that the sex trade “won’t go away,” but he said minimizing it should be a top priority of all nations.

... Malarek had especially harsh words for the “deceptive mantra” of those in favor of legalizing prostitution, saying that in countries where prostitution is legal, organized crime has grown more powerful and human trafficking has increased. ...

In countries where women have access to “real jobs that don’t require them to shed their clothes,” Malarek said, local brothel owners rely on traffickers to keep their brothels stocked with prostitutes from other countries such as Russia, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine.

Nor does legalized prostitution control the spread of HIV/AIDS... There is nothing, he said, to protect the women from the men who use them.

“Tolerance is a dangerous game,” Malarek said. “The decriminalization crowd is a pack of wolves in sheep’s clothing.” The only way to tackle the problem, he said, is “to go after the men who demand the women.”

... Malarek emphasized that trafficking is “a huge human rights abuse” and that dignity for women should be a top priority. According to State Department statistics, about 600,000 to 800,000 people -- mostly women and children -- are trafficked across national boundaries each year. This figure does not include the millions trafficked within their own countries. ...

Read entire article here. Some good links to other sources there as well.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Docs target inappropriate advertising - about time!

A doctor's group in the US has made the brilliant observation that advertising influences attitudes in children, and has come out with a call for the government to do something about it.

Inappropriate advertising contributes to many kids' ills, from obesity to anorexia, to drinking booze and having sex too soon, and Congress should crack down on it, the American Academy of Pediatrics says. The influential doctors' group issued a new policy statement in response to what it calls a rising tide of advertising aimed at children.

Rising tide? Have these guys been operating in a vacuum during the last 40 or so years?

... These pervasive ads influence kids to demand poor food choices, and to think drinking is cool, sex is a recreational activity and anorexia is fashionable, the academy says. Interactive digital TV, expected to arrive in a few years, will spread the problem, allowing kids to click on-screen links to Web-based promotions...

Well, duh. But it's pretty naive to expect the U.S. government to take on the big money ad agencies, the big money businesses who shell out big bucks for the ads, and the lawyers paid to look after big-money interests. The backlash against the docs is already starting.

Critics of advertising restrictions say it's a free-speech issue. ...

Of course they do. But still, while demanding change won't bring it about completely, at least it's a start.

Last year, the Institute of Medicine agreed that evidence suggesting that TV ads contribute to childhood obesity is compelling and said industry should market healthy foods to kids. And in September, the Federal Communications Commission said it will study potential links between TV ads and rising rates of obesity in U.S. children. The food industry has started to respond.

This is good news. But how long will it take for an advocacy group to lean on the entertainment industry? Might be a while. As they say in the advertising world, sex sells. It's an even bigger cash cow than food, and there doesn't seem to be much public concern over the escalating encroachment of porn into every aspect of advertising.

Full article here.

Researcher at Alberta university jailed for child porn

This is the calibre of people in our universities, influencing future generations ...

A British researcher with the University of Lethbridge has been sentenced to 15 months in an English jail ... Robin Phillips pleaded guilty last month to four charges including taking indecent images of children and possessing indecent images of children. Phillips is a British astrophysicist who worked as manager of a research project in Lethbridge.

No doubt this low-life was highly-paid for his "research"... courtesy Canadian taxpayers. And yet said taxpayers quietly fork over their hard-earned dollars, with barely a whimper much less a demand for some sort of accountability. Is that apathy, complacency, or both?

Story here.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

U.N. official urges Ukraine to strengthen efforts to combat children trafficking

This article quotes a UN official taking Ukraine's government to task.

I remain concerned at the low rate of prosecution and sentencing of traffickers, authors of child pornography and other crimes against children," said Juan Miguel Petit, a U.N. official in charge of the world body's efforts to stop child prostitution, child pornography and other crimes against children.

Petit said that the government should strengthen its efforts to combat the problems.

And isn't that just a classic case of blaming the victim?

Ukraine remains a primary source for men, women and children trafficked to Europe, the Middle East and Russia for sexual exploitation and forced labor, according to international experts. Low salaries and high unemployment force thousands of Ukrainians to seek employment abroad, increasing their vulnerability to exploitation, they say.

Why doesn't the UN insist the EU let Ukraine join so the Ukrainian economy would be able to support its population? Then maybe its women and children wouldn't be so "vulnerable." But no. Instead he calls for an impoverished country to create:

... a separate juvenile justice system, naming a special ombudsman on children's rights and setting up a national commission to protect children rights ...

And the money to pay for that will come from where, exactly?

Why doesn't the UN suggest that "destination' countries foot the bill for developing countries to "strengthen their efforts" in combatting human trafficking? Countries like, say, Britain, Germany, Thailand, Turkey, Israel, Canada, the US, and every other country in the "developed" world where trafficked people end up being exploited. Some of those destination countries are, um, UN members.

Oh, wait. That probably wouldn't go over well. In those countries, pornography is highly profitable ... and the media is doing its best to transform sleaze into a glamour industry and lend it respectability. Can't be annoying the avid consumers creating the demand driving the odious "sex trade" now can we.

Much easier to just create good optics by asking the impossible of those who haven't sufficient resources to even object.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Forum to examine New York's response to human trafficking

The Center for Global Affairs at NYU, The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and Vital Voices Global Partnership, in commemoration of the United Nations International Day for the Abolition of Slavery announce:

Human Trafficking: A Global Challenge in Our Own Backyard

What is human trafficking?

The State Department estimates that there are between 600,000-800,000 people trafficked across country borders throughout the world each year.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that there are cases of human trafficking originating in 127 countries for exploitation in 137 countries.

This special event will examine the response to human trafficking in the New York region within the global context and feature leaders who call on all of us to act on this worldwide challenge - as diplomats, government officials, educators, businesspeople, and members of our respective communities.

Thursday, November 30, 2006
6pm - 8pm
New York University

Pre-registration will be required as seating is limited. Registration information and event details will be announced in November.

Featured Panelists Include:

NICHOLAS KRISTOF- Pulitzer Prize Winning Columnist, The New York Times (featured speaker and moderator)

RUCHIRA GUPTA- Vital Voices Global Leadership Council Member and Executive Director, Apne Aap Women Worldwide (India)

THE HONORABLE CAROLYN MALONEY- United States Representative, 14th District, New York City

AMBASSADOR JOHN MILLER- Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, United States Department of State

MARILYN CARLSON NELSON- CEO and Chairperson, Carlson Companies

JULIA ORMOND- Actress and UN Office on Drugs and Crime Goodwill Ambassador for the Abolition of Slavery and Human Trafficking

For more information, please e-mail Wenchi Yu Perkins.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Upcoming Forum on Human Trafficking

Every year up to 900,000 people are trafficked across international borders
Most are forced into the sex "trade"
80% are women

Stop the Slavery!
A Forum on Human Trafficking

Saturday, November 4, 2006
9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

In the Library at ‘YHO’
145 Evans Avenue (at Islington)
Etobicoke, ON

This forum will further expose this terrible crime, and build national support for the Private Members Motion on this issue, to be introduced by Joy Smith, MP for Kildonan-St. Paul

Keynote speaker:
Joy Smith, MP - Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul (Manitoba)

Julie Meeks - Human Trafficking Coordinator, RCMP
Irena Soltys - HUHTC Anti-Trafficking Initiative
Orysia Sushko - National President - Ukrainian Canadian Congress

This FREE forum sponsored by:
Ukrainian Canadian Women’s Council, Toronto Branch
Ukrainian Canadian Congress (National)

For more information:
Irena Patten - 416-767-8134
Orysia Sushko - 905-572-9626

Industry fights anti-porn law

This Wired News article makes me despair that business will ever redeem itself. Being self-employed, I am of course pro-free enterprise. But I find it disgusting that so many "enterprises" want to be free of social responsibility, as does the detestable and self-serving ACLU.

Salon.com, Nerve.com and other plaintiffs backed by the American Civil Liberties Union are suing over the 1998 Child Online Protection Act. They believe the law could restrict legitimate material they publish online -- exposing them to fines or even jail time.

Of course. Their commercial interests are more important than the well-being of children, especially if they can be exploited. These "good corporate citizens" wouldn't exactly come out and admit that, but if penalties were removed then they would be free to do just that, wouldn't they? And if they position themselves, rather than the children, as victims they just may have a shot at winning their case.

The Justice Department argues that it is easier to stop online pornography at the source than to keep children from viewing it.

Nice to see that someone has some sense, and isn't afraid to say so. But it would be nicer yet if their actions showed that they really meant it.

The law, signed by then-President Clinton, requires adults to use some sort of access code, or perhaps a credit-card number, to view material that may be considered 'harmful to children.' It would impose a $50,000 fine and six-month prison term on commercial Web site operators that publish such content, which is to be defined by 'contemporary community standards.'

It has yet to be enforced, however...

BC Premier's reply to message re "Bully" video

Yesterday I got this very nice reply from Premier Campbell (well, ok, the Premier's Office) in response to an email I sent about that stupid "how to be a bully" video game:

Thank you for your letter regarding the video game entitled “Bully.”

I am sharing a copy of your letter with the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, the
Honourable John Les. I have asked that Minister Les, and his staff, include your views in any future discussions on the matter of the effects this type of product may have on young British Columbians.

Again, thank you for writing. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts on this very important issue for our society

So, fine. That's all very nice and everything, but I sort of feel like I've just been patted on the head.

It irks me that the matter ends with "young" British Columbians. Youngsters who become expert schoolyard bullies today will one day enter the adult sphere, and assume positions of authority. Who's to say whether or not they will have "grown out" of the mindsets and attitudes acquired during the course of gaining their expertise?

I would not be one bit surprised if the company that produced this abomination got tax breaks and other "leg-up" programs available to business.

In which case, it would seem that "business is business" is the MO locally and globally when it comes to the commercialization of vice, be it video games, human trafficking, or pornography (euphemistically referred to as "adult content" by its promoters and profiteers).

We can only hope that this issue will go under the Minister's Solicitor-General hat and not just the Public Safety hat. If the government does nothing else, it should at least ensure that our tax dollars are not being spent promoting and supporting "industries" and companies that create and market sleazy and inhumane products and services.

Monday, October 23, 2006

AIDS epidemic in Ukraine

This Homemakers.com article illustrates the heartbreaking consequences of trafficking in drugs and humans, and the courage of a group of women determined to fight back.

Rampant drug abuse and sex trafficking have made Ukraine the site of Europe's worst AIDS epidemic ...

In 1991, just five years after the catastrophic Chornobyl nuclear explosion, Ukrainians gained independence from oppressive Soviet rule ... It didn't take long for criminal networks to flood the country with illegal drugs, readily available through the porous borders of Central Asian countries that connect the heroin fields of Afghanistan with Ukraine. ... The crime rings also [lured millions of desperate and unemployed women] into the sex trade via bogus job offers and sold [them] into slavery in Turkey, Russia, Germany and other countries.

... today Ukraine is not only battling drug and human trafficking epidemics but also an escalating HIV epidemic. ... A recent United Nations AIDS report predicted that by 2010, six per cent of Ukrainians will have HIV. (In Canada the rate is 0.3 per cent.) ... Ukrainian women account for 40 per cent of those infected, and without access to antiretroviral drugs, these women are at risk of having babies born with HIV, too.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Trafficking Alert newsletter

Vital Voices has introduced a slight change to its newsletter Trafficking Alert.

The October 2006 issue includes a section entitled, “Other Women’s Rights Issues” which contain articles on issues such as violence against women, domestic violence, and HIV/Aids.

Vital Voices has just recently completed a training program on Domestic Violence Prevention and Anti-Trafficking for Russian leaders. This week-long training not only gave the delegates ... an opportunity to learn about US anti-trafficking and domestic violence prevention efforts, it also gave their American colleagues a chance to gain knowledge of the current status of women in Russia and their leaders’ innovative work. This training was also in commemoration of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Vital Voices recently returned from China and the Russian Far East to identify emerging women leaders who strive to make a difference for women and girls in their countries. ... They strive to elevate the visibility of these women’s issues, and most importantly, to change society’s behavior and attitudes towards women and girls in China.

In the Russian Far East, two Vital Voices’ alumnae, inspired after receiving their training in 2005, worked with their state government to organize an Asia Pacific regional forum on human trafficking to bring awareness and build political will in addressing this global scourge.

Around the world, anti-trafficking initiatives are on the rise.

A Printable Version of the Trafficking Alert is available here.

To subscribe to the Trafficking Alert, please go here.

Depths of depravity

According to this CBC report, a Vancouver company has produced a "How to be a bully" video game ... which the US parent company is marketing as 'brutally funny."

Ah yes, vice and violence. Those are the great Canadian values such corporate citizens promote. And of course, it's all in good fun, so why not make a buck at it.

After all, they and their customers truly, sincerely and vehemently believe that, as this article puts it, what is dumped into a kid's head hour after hour, day after day, year after year, could not possibly have behavioral consequences. No siree, the defenders of such depravity will tell you that game players are all very sophisticated and every single one of them knows it's "just a game."

So, there you have it. Harmless fun and a nice wholesome activity for the whole family.

OK then, what's next? A "How to be an international rapist and human trafficker" video game, maybe?

Oh right. We don't need a game for that. It's already a big money-maker.

(Cross posted at the Nash Holos blog.)

Monday, October 16, 2006

yahoo removes ads, but does it do right with other sites?

Well, it looks like yahoo has taken all "sponsors" off my broadcaster's site. The E-Poshta list, which has 9000 subscribers, has had a similar experience.

So it's a good thing those disgusting ads are gone from our respective sites. But I can't help but wonder if the nice fellow who cleaned them up and promised to clean yahoo up was over-ruled by higher management who may not want to lose the revenue for those ads.... which in all probability is quite significant.

I suspect that yahoo is just blocking all ads to our sites altogether, figuring the old "out of sight, out of mind" adage applies.

Unfortunately, to a large extent it does. Because to make a bigger issue of it, I'd have to visit some rather unsavoury sites to check up on them, which I absolutely don't want to do. (I don't want a trail of such sites on my computer.)

So all I can do is content myself that there's a chance I've made a point to some of the folks at yahoo. If they are continuing to place those ads, they now know that at the very least, there is a possibility those women in the ads aren't there because they want to be.

And I can only hope that between us, we may have caused a few (otherwise decent) men to give second thought to engaging in "anonymous" sex and thus slowed down, however imperceptibly, the growing demand for porn and prostitutes.

In the end, though, I realize that what I've done and could possibly do to thwart human flesh peddlers and their patrons is so heartbreakingly little.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Dumb and dumber

Reading this FOXNews story didn't exactly make me feel proud to be Canadian.

[An] Ottawa couple is selling individual self-help book jackets sporting comical titles — and they're hoping readers with an active funny bone will help themselves...

Among their eccentric offerings are ... 'How to Make Your Mother a Porn Star' ... [and] "How to Murder a Complete Stranger … and Get Away With It".

Isn't that ever hilarious.

Maybe someone should send this tasteless, tactless and clueless couple and their retailer a copy of The Natashas . I'd be interested to see what kind of book jacket they would suggest for it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

yahoo promises to do right

Well, my encounter with yahoo groups is proof of what "squeaky wheels" can accomplish.

The offending ads are gone from my site and other groups I belong to. In fact, yahoo promised the moderator of another Ukrainian list similarly saddled with those ads that not only are they removing the ads from our respective sites, but from all of yahoo groups entirely.

The moral of this story is that everyone can do something to stop this scourge, however little. As they say, every little bit helps.

Someone said that evil happens when good men (and women) do nothing. So while we can't stop the traffickers, or even block a lot of internet traffic, we can stop them from trying to legitimize their so-called "trade" by insinuating themselves amongst decent folk and masquerading as innocuous "dating and escort services."

We can do it simply by deciding not to turn a blind eye to such attempts, and doing whatever we can to re-stigmatize sleaze. By and large, horny young (and old) guys prowling for porn and prostitutes don't think much about the the women they're screwing, or viewing ... much less whether or not they are trafficked. But regardless of whether or not they care, they need to be made aware that someone does.

This little victory is, of course, just a drop in the bucket. But if, as the Ukrainian saying goes, a drop of kerosene can spoil a barrel of honey, I imagine the reverse can be true as well.

So maybe a congratulatory note of thanks to yahoo would be in order.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

blog of interest

Check out this blog: StopSexPredators

It has an interesting point to make about hypocrisy in the media frenzy surrounding the Senator Foley scandal in the US ... namely that if the media had cared a whit and been doing its job, this would all have been exposed ages ago.

yahoo apologized

Well, it seems I was a tad impatient with yahoo... they seem to be making good on my complaints:


Apologies for the inappropriate ads on your group.

Our ad systems are entirely automated and sometimes these systems make mistakes: both in terms of what sponsors are allowed to buy ads and what groups these ads are paired with. We rely on users like you to let us know when these types of mistakes are made.

In any case we are now taking action to remove these ads from your group (we are just getting to this email now, so if one of the ads stopped appearing earlier it was just a coincidence). It usually takes 12-24 hours for these changes to fully propagate through our systems, so you may continue to see these ads for that long. If they continue after that, please let me know.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

- [name deleted]
Yahoo Groups Team

I have to give the guy credit for this very polite reply to my rather [er] strident complaint. I'm not sure if he got the entire message, tho, so I sent him this:

Thanks, [name deleted]. I appreciate your attention to this matter.

If you're at all interested in why I was so incensed about these innocuous-looking ads, check out this book: The Natashas: The New Global Sex Trade by Victor Malarek. It's available at Amazon and you could also get it at the local library (perhaps on interlibrary loan).

These "companies" are not as innocent as they look. They live off the avails of prostitution, and they trade in human misery.

Thanks again for cleaning these disgusting ads off my site.

Best regards.

So, that's done then. I fully expect those ads never to appear on my list-serv again.

I do sincerely hope yahoo also considers it a mistake to allow such "sponsors" to buy ads on their service. I'm not, however, as confident about that.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Yahoo is very well named

Well, yahoo took the offending sponsor off my list-serv, but I had to complain again. Here's what I said:

I sent you a message this morning asking you to remove this sponsor [URL deleted] ... which you did and for which I thank you.

However, you have since replaced it with two more just like it.

Are you people daft?

I STILL do not want my site to be associated in any way with a "company" that even remotely appears to solicit customers for the purposes of prostitution! Especially with women who are likely victims of human trafficking.

Can you understand that? No "mail order brides" or "inter-dating" or "sexy singles" or any such service, PLEASE!

These are the offending sites:
[URLs deleted]

Please remove them immediately. You have put one there which is radio related. That is perfectly fine. I actually welcome respectable sponsors.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take better note of the type of companies you promote.

No more sleaze, please!

I use yahoo groups because it is convenient and easy. However, my webhosting company offers the same service, and if this sleazy sponsorship continues I will switch, and take as many yahoo groups subscribers as I can with me.

We'll see what transpires tomorrow.

second query to Yahoo

I tried another angle, and found a place that deals specifically with sponsors, links, etc. So I just sent yahoo this message:

I do not want my site to be associated in any way with a "company" that even remotely appears to solicit customers for the purposes of prostitution.

These women may well be victims of human trafficking, as a large percentage of prostitutes are, especially in that part of the world.

At any rate, this kind of sleaze is not what I expect from yahoo. Please remove this advertisement immediately.

Police break up Ukraine-Cyprus sex trafficking ring

Once, the Zaporizhian Sich was a headquarters for brave men who defended Orthodox Christianity, tried to free Ukrainian men, women and children from serfdom, and protected them against intruders (mostly from the Ottoman Empire) raiding Ukraine for slaves .

Today, this is what it's come to:

Authorities arrested the director of a local firm that enticed women to travel to and work as dancers in the Middle East. ...

One of the victims [said] that her passport and return ticket were confiscated ... while she was in Cyprus. The woman phoned back to Zaporizhya and filed a complaint against the female director of the firm. If convicted, the director faces up to twelve years behind bars. The firm has reportedly been in operation for the past two years.

At least, the culprit is facing the consequences. (Interestingly, and perhaps ironically, the Cossacks didn't allow women in the Sich.) Maybe, given that so many traffickers get off scott free, there is a tiny remnant of the old Cossack moral strength left in Zaporizhya.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

low wages primary cause of human trafficking in Ukraine: NGO

Ukraine's Channel 5 reports that according to an NGO study ...

Low wages are one of the primary causes of trafficking of Ukrainians abroad.

... in the early 1990s, lack of jobs was the primary reason Ukrainians were so willing to leave the country. Today, the jobs are in place but wages are too low...

Thus far this year, authorities claim to have thwarted nearly 300 attempts at trafficking of Ukrainians abroad, primarily women.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Yahoo a commercial pimp?

I moderate a list-serv on yahoo and just today noticed that one of the "sponsors" they put on this group's "free" web site looks for all the world like a human trafficking outfit.

Here's the ad:

Ukrainian Women - InterDating - InterDating - VIP Club. Luxury introduction tours to Kiev, Ukraine. Quality services for upscale men to meet Ukrainian women of exceptional beauty and intelligence.

Here's what I sent to Yahoo:

I strenuously object to this "sponsor" on my group's website.

I do not wish my list to be associated in any way with a company that solicits johns to sexually (ab)use women who are more than likely trafficked.

How you could possibly condone this??? Please remove them from my list-serv, and please assure me that yahoo is not a commercial pimp.

We'll see what kind of response I get.

UPDATE: Two days later, still no response from yahoo. Usually there's something. I'll send it again.

Economist article on human trafficking in Odessa

The Economist recently published another chilling look at the realities of the human slave trade from the perspective of the trafficked:

A hub of the modern slave trade

THE ex-slaves are easy to spot among the passengers disembarking from the Istanbul ferry at Odessa. As other women wobble merrily away up the Potemkin steps, the victims of human trafficking look hungry, carry little luggage and, in winter, shiver in their summer clothes.

Odessa grew rich in the 19th century by exporting Russian grain. These days one of its main trades is in flesh. The city is a collecting hub for women from across the former Soviet Union who, unbeknown to them, have been snared by traffickers. From Odessa and elsewhere in Ukraine they are conveyed west to Europe and east to Russia, or south to Turkey and the Middle East. Twice a week ferries from Istanbul bring back those, often ill and pregnant, who have been deported by the Turks.

Entire article here.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Petition raises awareness in Germany

A susbcriber to e-POSHTA, a mailing list on Ukrainian topics, wrote in to thank readers for their stand against prostitution at the World Cup in Germany.

Some weeks ago (many of) you signed a petition related to sex trafficking and the World Cup which took place in Germany last month. I am writing to let you know that we appreciate your help and that our petition contributed to a global outcry against sex trafficking with particular attention directed to the German government.

A few weeks ago, we delivered the names of all 34,000 people from all over the world who signed our petition criticizing the government for not cracking down on this awful situation of prostitution at the World Cup. We did not get a response from the German government; we didn't really expect one. But we did get notes of thanks from Germans who were outraged at the developments related to the World Cup. You will be pleased that our campaign also contributed to demonstrations in front of more than one German government facility around the world.

I say, well done and many thanks.
All the best,
Austin Ruse

President C-FAM

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Japanese businessmen arrested for trafficking

Four Japanese businessmen have been arrested for trafficking in young women from Russia and Ukraine to work in nightclubs, according to this article....

Takashi Mori, 58, Koji Akagawa, 48, and two accomplices from Osaka sent false documents to the Japanese consulate in Khabarovsk, in Russia's Far East, with a request that visas be issued to a group of specialists for a period of training at one of the city's professional schools. A group of young Russian women entered Japan shortly after April 7.

The investigation established that this and other groups, totaling 40 women, rather than taking courses were employed as hostesses at local restaurants and nightclubs.

It is insidious how these scumbags can make themselves look legitimate. Even worse is the incredible payola that makes it worth the risk.

What a very unflattering reflection of human nature... that men so routinely abuse women for the sake of sexual gratification.

Monday, July 31, 2006

CBC Documentary on trafficking

On Sunday, July 30, CBC's Newsworld aired a documentary called Sex Slave$. It originally aired back in December but IMHO they can't repeat it too many times.

And also IMHO, every sex offender should be made to watch this documentary, as should every patron of pornography and prostitution. Although, sadly, I suspect it might not have as much of a (positive) impact as most decent people would hope.

Sending a thank you to CBC for airing and producing it would be in order, and takes only a minute.

Activists who care about this travesty might also want to contact CBC and enquire about purchasing a copy and arranging screenings for their local communities.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

not exactly an ideal career opportunity

This article illustrates the glass ceiling in the sex "trade."

An Australian brothel owner was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday for keeping five Thai women as sex slaves.

Not that this woman doesn't deserve her fate, but why aren't they able to catch, prosecute and jail men "with prior convictions" who ruin the lives of far more than five women and treat them even worse?

... the women were brought from Thailand to the southern city of Melbourne with the promise they would be able to work legally in the sex trade and send money home to their families. Prostitution is legal in Australia in limited circumstances. ... Ms. Tang had faced a maximum sentence of 25 years in jail, but the judge said he took into account her lack of prior convictions and the fact that the women were well fed.

Perhaps lawmakers consider that if they're "well fed" then things must be looking up for sex "trade" workers, and they just need a good strong union to improve conditions in other "workplaces" ... such as those Victor Malarek describes in his book The Natashas: The New Global Sex Trade.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Rogers hypocrisy

So Rogers has launched a PSA Campaign to Combat Online Sexual Exploitation. What good corporate citizens.

Rogers Communications will continue its support of Cybertip.ca's national awareness campaign about online sexual exploitation, by producing two Public Service Announcements for television that aim to raise awareness for Cybertip.ca.

Wonder if Rogers will be running the PSAs during their "adult entertainment" offerings?

Uh, probably not.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Ukraine's SBU liquidates human trafficking channel

Ukraine's Security Service, Kherson Department, detected and liquidated [an] illegal channel for human trafficking from Ukraine to Turkey ...

Article and discussion here .

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Canada pledges assistance for victims of human trafficking

Stop The Trafficking Coalition applauds the recent announcement by the office of the Honorable Monte Solberg, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, regarding the federal government's adoption of new measures to help victims of human trafficking in Canada.

Canada as an international leader has long needed to demonstrate its deep commitment in treating human trafficking as a crucial and serious human rights issue. While Canada has ratified the U.N. Protocol to Prevent, Punish and Suppress Trafficking in Humans, and has taken the laudable step of passing amendments to the criminal code (Bill C-49), protection of victims of trafficking has , until now, been largely either over-looked or not addressed in terms of definitive constructive planning and commitment.

The victims, often women and children, have for the most part been deported to their country of origin, without proper medical and psychological rehabilitative assistance. It is time that Canada take responsibility for those we have victimized. It is also Canada's responsibility to be an international leader in stopping human trafficking by actively working with other countries to find solutions to this abuse of human rights, both in prosecuting the perpetrators and assisting those innocently victimized.

The proposed guidelines for "Assistance for Victims of Human Trafficking" were outlined this morning during a conference call, chaired by Ben Perrin, Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister for Citizenship and Immigration, Monte Solberg. Participants included government representatives and various non-governmental organizations, including Stop The Trafficking Coalition (STT).

Stop The Trafficking Coalition looks forward to future collaboration and work with the CIC and all those committed to putting these new measures into practice: government and law enforcement bodies as well as non-government organizations, social and immigration service organizations, and grass roots community volunteers.

Irena Soltys
Co-Chair, Stop The Trafficking Coalition

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Free training program on human trafficking in Illinois

Illinois Regional Institute for Community Policing,
Illinois Fraternal Order of Police,
Illinois Law Enforcement Education Foundation

Training Opportunity
Human Trafficking Awareness
May 8
Illinois State Police Academy
Springfield, Il

A June class will also be at ametro-east Illinois location and day to be announced

Presenter(s): Specially trained Instructors will be from the Illinois State Police and the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights.

Description: The course curriculum will present issues relative to: modern-day slavery involving the exploitation of persons for commercial sex and forced labor; the global problem and its multibillion-dollar industry; recognizing the U.S. as a country of destination for human trafficking; the laws relative to the crime; the need for interagency cooperation; and the application of the community policing tactics of partnership building and problem solving.

Students will learn about:
  • Introduction to human trafficking;
  • Legal overview
  • Investigative considerations
  • Victim service providers
  • Immigration issues
  • Interagency cooperation
  • Engaging the community
To register for this FREE presentation, Sheriff and Police Departments, and other interested organizations, should contact Sue Patterson at (217) 206-6029, or email her at spatt1@uis.edu. You may also fax your request to (217) 206-6063. Seating will be limited for this training class.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

German government biggest friend of human traffickers and pimps

This travesty illustrates that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

As many as 40,000 additional women are expected to be added to the approximately 400,000 prostitutes in Germany's sex industry. German authorities are rushing to accommodate the trade in women by facilitating the construction of mega-brothels and 'sex huts.' Moreover, cities hosting the [World Cup] games will issue special permits for street prostitution, creating a virtual partnership with brothel owners, pimps and traffickers.

In 60+ years the German government hasn't come very far from the days it was forcing women to breed Aryans and bringing slave labourers into the country. Obviously, governing elites in that country have learned little, if anything, from history.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

George Washington University hosts play and panel discussion on human trafficking

The online student paper of Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD reported that on April 22, the George Washington University (GW) hosted a play exposing the harsh truth of human trafficking, followed by a panel discussion with experts.

The evening focused on informing the audience about sexual slavery, which annually forces 700,000 women and children into prostitution ... The presentation included a portion of the play 'Becoming Natashas,' a dramatization of the book The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade by Victor Malarek.

According to Samantha Healy, a member of Shared Hope International, human trafficking occurs for various reason in Eastern European nations, but the most common condition tends to be economic disparity. ... The actors feel that the play has been widely accepted and beneficial to raising awareness on human trafficking.

Full article here.

For more information on the campaign to stop sexual slavery, visit Shared Hope and Human Trafficking.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Child sex abuse investigator gets naked on radio

According to WFTV and the Miami Herald, a Florida child sex abuse investigator went on the vile Howard Stern radio program and removed all her clothes so Stern and the rest of the show's cast could assess her body.

She went on the progam not once, but twice, with her police detective husband, who talked about his sex life and gave Stern a t-shirt and a replica of his badge.


There's a straw poll on the Miami Herald site asking whether or not she (and, presumably, her husband) should be disciplined. So far the majority of those voting don't think she should.

What a great society that hires such people to "serve and protect," pays huge sums of money to promote perversion, and makes it highly profitable to do so.

Friday, April 07, 2006

ABA-Africa recruiting for four positions

The American Bar Association’s Africa Law Initiative (ABA-Africa) is a public service project that provides assistance in support of legal reforms in Africa.

Currently, ABA-Africa is recruiting for the following positions:

Country Director/Anti-Trafficking Advisor for a Four Year Anti-Trafficking Program in Nigeria

The ideal candidate for the Anti-Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Advisor is a senior legal professional with demonstrated success in the area of criminalprosecution, including sex crimes and domestic violence, as well as rule oflaw programming and management in Africa. The Anti-TIP Advisor will haveprimary responsibilities in developing programmatic synergies between Government Entities, NGO’s and the donor community. To this end, the Anti-TIP Advisor will:

· Develop work plans
· Assist in the design and implementation of training resources
· Trainings in country participants
· Provide oversight of technical specialists
· Provide financial oversight of program; and
· Engage program partners and the donor community.
*Candidate is required to have relevant Africa-based experience.

To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, and 3 references to abaafrica@abanet.org
No phone call accepted.

Country Director/Human Rights Advisor for Liberia

ABA-Africa is currently seeking a Senior Attorney to provide leadership in the development of two legal aid centers in Liberia. The two centers will promote a culture of human rights in Liberia, provide human rights education training and coordinate the training of community based mediators. One center will provide legal aid to the accused. Another center will provide support for victims through legal aide, health awareness and promoting access to the law. The Senior Attorney will:

- Develop and conduct on-going training
- Provide oversight of technical specialists; and
- Ensure effective partner and donor coordination.

To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, and 3 references to abaafrica@abanet.org
No phone call accepted.


DC –Based Staff Attorney

The Staff Attorney’s principal activities will include day-to-day oversight, program and grant management, responding to inquiries from donors and partners regarding program activities as well as identification of new opportunities to provide additional support and collaborations. The Staff Attorney will oversee the work of the ABA-Africa Program and Finance Associate, in-country staff as well as the work of the ABA volunteer members and sub-grantees.

The Staff Attorney will be charged with ensuring that program activities remain consistent with program and grant objectives. The Staff Attorney must also pay close attention to other organizations in the region and in the countries to ensure program activities are complementary and notredundant. The Staff Attorney should have a law degree with at least five years experience in international development and rule of law programs in Africa. He/she should have spent time working in Africa or working on programs in Africa. Their experience should include program development, training, proposal writing as well as program and grant management, and fundraising.

The Staff Attorney should be able to work independently and have a working knowledge of the political and legal systems in Africa. Special understanding of challenges to program implementation especially in post conflict situations is paramount to this position. Up to date knowledge of major donors’ rules and regulations is required.

*French and Arabic language skills preferred but not required.
*A fair amount of travel is required for this position.

To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, and 3 references to abaafrica@abanet.org
No phone call accepted.


DC-Based Program and Finance Associate

The Program and Finance Associate provides programmatic, financial, and administrative support to attorneys on international technical legal assistance projects. This includes assistance with project development (including preparing detailed budgets and research for grants proposals) and implementation; processing of expense reports, grant budget analysis, tracking and preparation, and maintaining contact with overseas personnel regarding programmatic and financial matters; planning and staffing of meetings, drafting correspondence, and maintaining files.

The Program and Finance Associate is responsible for assisting the Director and Staff Attorney in coordinating activities in the program specific countries and for assisting the Director and Staff Attorney in coordinating the activities of other non-country specific projects. The ProgramAssociate is responsible, together with the Director and Staff Attorney, for monitoring all aspects of the programs in the countries under his/her supervision, including the substantive content of specific projects;c ommunications with representatives overseas; relaying of research requests and providing other support for the ABA- Africa representatives overseas; and communications with U.S. Government and Foreign Embassy personnel.

The Program Associate should have an undergraduate degree with a background in international and cross-cultural relations, and knowledge of the region, including history, politics and geography. Candidate should have at least two years of related work experience and strong written, interpersonal and organizational skills.

To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, and 3 references to abaafrica@abanet.org
No phone call accepted.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Call for Papers on trafficking


"Anti-Trafficking, Human Rights, and Social Justice"
Special issue for Wagadu, Journal of Transnational Women's and Gender Studies. SUNY Cortland.

This special issue of Wagadu, Journal of Transnational Women's and Gender Studies aims to explore the life experiences, agency, and human rights of the women who are involved in a variety of activities that are characterized as "trafficked" terrains in a deterritorialized and reterritorialized world, in order to shed light on the complicated processes in which anti-trafficking, human rights and social justice are intersected.

While previous studies have highlighted popular discourses, national and international policies, and the victimization and struggles of the trafficked women, few studies have centered on the stories of the migrant subjects themselves to offer a critical reading of the recent competing definitions of trafficking and the complex ways in which the intertwined configurations of gender, race, ethnicity, and nationality complicate the contemporary hegemonic discourse on trafficking.

This special issue will fill this lacuna through theorizing and conceptualizing the intersecting discourses on anti-trafficking, human rights, and social justice from the perspectives of the transnational migrant populations. Specifically, this issue will include articles that will rearticulate the trafficking discourses away from the state control of immigration and the global policing of borders, and reassert the social justice and the needs, agency, and human rights of migrant and working communities.

Some of the topics of investigation may include: a critical analysis of the conflation of trafficking with sex work in international and national discourses and its effects on migrant women; effects on the vulnerable population as a result of the anti-prostitution policy and a denial of human rights of sex workers; suggestions of more effective anti-trafficking interventions that will ameliorate social justice and human rights of the migrant populations; the sociocultural effects on the migrant population as a result of the global and national laws against trafficking, immigration and smuggling; the debate between the recognition of women's human rights to migrate and work as sex workers and the anti-trafficking policy that classifies sex workers as trafficked victims and slaves; a critical analysis of the global anti-trafficking policy and the root causes for the undocumented migration and employment; the relationship between the human rights of the vulnerable population and the state approaches to trafficking; the effects upon the migrant population as a result of the ways in which the state and international policies define "trafficked persons" and "undocumented migrants." the complicated intersections of forced and voluntary labor and migrations at the national and international level.

Please send abstracts (75 words) in English and complete essays (approximately 5,500-7,500 words) by August 1, 2006. Submissions should be sent electronically in MLA or APA format to mailto:zhengt@cortland.edu
State University of New York
College at Cortland P.O. Box 2000
Cortland, NY 13045
Office phone number: 607-753-2478
Fax: 607-753-5973
Email: zhengt@cortland.edu

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

More than 60 trafficked women detained

[On 14 Feb 2006] Kyrgyz security forces on Tuesday removed dozens of young women from a plane in the southern city of Osh set to transport them to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), allegedly for sexual exploitation. ...

Some detained girls from Uzbekistan ... said that they had been offered jobs as cooks and waitresses in the Gulf state. "I was going to work as a cook in a restaurant there," Zalina, an 18-year-old from the central Uzbek city of Samarkand, said, wiping her tears away. Many of the Uzbek women detained were from Samarkand and said they were going to Dubai to take up "an invitation from a sister living there."

However, some appeared to have no illusions about what lay ahead of them. "I knew that I would be making money there, perhaps through sex work, but I don't have any choice. I am an orphan, with no job and no means to survive," said Olesia, 20, from the eastern Uzbek city of Ferghana.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Central Asia is a growing region of origin for human trafficking, with women mainly going to the Gulf states. The main country of origin is Uzbekistan, given that it has the largest population in the region.

Full article here.

Friday, March 31, 2006

2005 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Canada

2005 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Canada

(See section: Trafficking in Persons)

Although the law prohibits trafficking in persons, there were reports that persons were trafficked to, from, and within the country.

On April 14, Vancouver police brought the first case under IRPA against the owner of a massage parlor who was charged with two counts of human trafficking for bringing women into the country under false pretenses and coercing them into prostitution. The case was pending at year's end.

... During the 12-month period ending in February, authorities charged at least 31 individuals under the criminal code with trafficking-related offenses and obtained 19 convictions.

The country was a destination and a transit point to the United States for women, children, and men trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation, labor, and the drug trade. In its February 2004 assessment, the RCMP indicated that 800 persons were trafficked annually into the country, and 1,500 to 2,200 persons were trafficked from the country to the United States.

More here.

2005 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Ukraine

2005 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Ukraine

(See section: Trafficking In Persons)

The country remained a point of origin for internationally trafficked men, women, and children. The main destinations were Turkey, Russia, West and Central Europe, especially Poland, and the Middle East. ... South Korea, Japan, Nigeria, and Liberia.

Ukraine was also a destination country for individuals trafficked from former Soviet republics and South Asia. ... mothers trafficked their underage children and forced them to beg. There were also reports that both women and men were forced to work in agriculture ... men were mainly trafficked as construction workers and miners. Children who were trafficked across the border or within the country were forced to provide sexual services, engage in unpaid work, or beg. The overwhelming majority of trafficking victims were women, who were used as sex‑workers, housekeepers, seamstresses, and dishwashers. Trafficked women were also used to bear children for infertile couples. ...

... one 1 of every 10 persons knew someone in their community who has been trafficked.

... approximately five to seven million citizens lived and worked abroad, many without legal protection, and were therefore potentially vulnerable to traffickers.

Traffickers used a variety of methods to recruit victims... Traffickers often presented themselves as friends of other friends and deceived the relatives of potential victims. Most of the traffickers were members of organized crime groups.

Corruption in the judiciary and police continued to impede the government's ability to combat trafficking. Local officials reportedly aided organized crime groups involved in trafficking ... local police and border guards received bribes in return for ignoring trafficking.

... investigations of human trafficking revealed abuses of power by governmental officials responsible for issuing passports. ... The low number of prosecutions of government officials for such activities raised questions about whether the government was willing to take serious disciplinary action, especially against high-level officials.

More here.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Victor Malarek speech on human trafficking uploaded

Henry attended a recent trafficking conference in Montreal and has made an mp3 recording of Victor's speech.

It is in two parts. You can download them here and here.

Note: with a dial up connection, it will take more than an hour to download each file.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Symposium on Canada's response to human trafficking

International Human Rights Program & The Global Anti-Trafficking Working Group presents Ben Perrin, Executive Director of “The Future Group” and U of T Law Alumnus

“Falling Short of the Mark”: Canada’s Inadequate Response in the Fight against Human Trafficking

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
12:15 – 2:00 p.m
Flavelle House – Room FLA
78 Queen's Park

The Future Group's international study entitled "Falling Short of the Mark" evaluates the record of various developed countries in protecting victims of human trafficking. Why did Canada get a failing grade? Come and find out at a presentation by the study's main author, and learn about how U of T law students helped out.

In addition, short film “Svetlana’s Journey” will be screened. Winner of the “Best Short Subject” award at the Hollywood Film Festival 2005, it depicts the true story of a young girl who is lured into the sex trade in Bulgaria.

A light lunch will be provided.

More information about The Future Group here.