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.