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European Resource Center

Trafficked fishermen appeal case dismissal

Cambodian plaintiffs in a Thai human trafficking case have appealed a provincial court’s judgment dismissing charges against two suspects.

The 11 Cambodian plaintiffs were rescued last year after allegedly having spent months working up to 22 hours a day on a Thai fishing boat.

Ranong Provincial Court threw the case out in March against skipper Ruengchai Pewngam and fishing dock owner Somchai Jettanapornsamran, arguing that the victims were aware that they were going to work on a fishing boat, and that they could have resisted their captors.

Nishkhan Usayapant, case manager of Human Rights and Development Foundation’s Anti-Trafficking Project, said the plaintiffs filed an appeal on Thursday.

“The plaintiffs realised that they were deceived into working on a boat only when they were already on the boat, being told they were being transported to the fish processing factory,” she said. “They had no choice but to stay and work on the boat involuntarily.”

Moreover, the appeal argues they were allowed to leave the boat only when someone replaced them and that their documents were seized when returning to shore.

So Vandy, deputy chief of the National Police’s Anti-Human Trafficking Department, said that the Thai government was seeking extradition of Cambodian broker Em Samnang, who allegedly trafficked the workers.

“Cambodia has the arrest warrant. We [will] try to find him,” he said.


Six child labourers rescued

Kota: Six child labourers were on Tuesday rescued from Dhabas in Dabi mining area of Bundi district while two other siblings, forced to engage in bonded labour were reunited with the family.

Six child labourers were rescued from the Dhabas in Dabi mining area of the district, told Kaniz Fatima, circle in-charge, anti-human trafficking cell, Bundi. The children were forced to work under unhygienic and filthy conditions over hours and were paid very less, she said adding one of the rescued children is from Madhya Pradesh while other are from Rajasthan.

Similarly, in another case, an 11-year old girl Pooja and her eight-year-old brother Santosh were reunited with their mother, the CI said. The siblings were forced to work as bonded labourers by a woman identified as Suman Sharma (60), a resident of Keshoraipatan town of the district. The brother was on July 22 rescued from Ramganj Balaji area after he had managed to flee from his employee Sharma's home.


Europol: 107 arrested in Europe-wide human trafficking probe

The European Union’s Law Enforcement Agency,Europol, on Monday said 107 people have been arrested as part of a Europe-wide investigation into human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

“In an operation led by Austrian police and involving law enforcement agencies from 22 EU states and third parties, investigators targeted organised crime groups trafficking vulnerable individuals for the purpose of sexual exploitation,’’ Europol said in a statement.

According to the statement, the nationalities of the victims and suspects indicate the prevalence in the EU of trafficking networks from Nigeria, South America and Eastern Europe.

However, the investigation was vast in scale. “More than 125,000 people in over 4,000 locations, among them red-light districts, brothels and massage parlours, were checked during its course,’’ it said.

Europol said that “special attention” was paid to online advertisements featuring victims of sexual exploitation.


Council of Europe calls on Bosnia and Herzegovina to improve protection of child victims of trafficking

In a report published today, the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) welcomes the legislative changes that have been made since the publication of its first report on Bosnia and Herzegovina in May 2013. The introduction of the criminal offence of human trafficking in the criminal codes of the Republika Srpska, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Brčko District ensures that human trafficking is criminalised consistently throughout the country. GRETA also commends the introduction of legal provisions concerning the non-punishment of victims of trafficking for offences committed as a result of being trafficked, as well as the establishment of the right of victims to be granted a recovery and reflection period pursuant to the new Law on Foreigners.

The enlargement of the composition of the four Regional Monitoring Teams co-ordinating anti-trafficking activities by including labour inspectors and staff of mental health centres and day centres for children is another positive development noted by GRETA, along with the adoption of the 2016-2019 National Action Plan against Trafficking in Human Beings.

However, despite the progress achieved, a number of issues continue to give rise to concern. The majority of identified victims of human trafficking in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been children. GRETA urges the authorities to strengthen their efforts to prevent child trafficking, including by strengthening the role and capacity of social work centres to play a proactive role in alerting other relevant authorities to possible cases of human trafficking and exploitation.

Further, GRETA calls on the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to improve the identification of victims of trafficking and the provision of adequate assistance to them, regardless of the victims’ co-operation with the investigating and prosecuting authorities. As regards in particular child victims of trafficking, the report highlights the need for ensuring long-term monitoring of their reintegration and a proper risk assessment before returning children to their parents.

GRETA also urges the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to adopt measures to facilitate and guarantee access to compensation for victims of trafficking from the perpetrators or the State. In addition, the report underlines the need to set up a comprehensive statistical system on measures to protect and promote the rights of victims of trafficking.

The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings entered into force in Bosnia and Herzegovina in May 2008.  This report is the second assessment of the implementation of the Convention by this member country.


Thai ex-model charged with human trafficking after selling 16-year-old for sex

'She was involved in the division of funds for the purchase of sexual services,' says Major General Suntiyit Tavorn

A former Thai underwear model has been charged with human trafficking after she allegedly sent undercover police officers photos of a 16-year-old girl she claimed was a prostitute.

Alisa Jaidee, 32, was arrested at Suvaranbumi Airport in Bangkok earlier this week and accused of selling the teenager for sex online.

The legal age of consent in Thailand is 18 years old.

She had allegedly sent dozens of other images of young women to undercover police who were posing as paedophiles.

Investigators said the ex-Maxim model had arranged for the teenager to have sex with the policeman for 15,000 baht (£342) using the messaging app, Line.

She then planned to give the girl 7,000 baht (£160) and keep 8,000 baht (£183) for herself, police said.

Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Suntiyit Tavorn told The Sun that Jaidee had been “uncooperative” and had tried to throw away her phone at one point.

The investigation “had found that the accused had a clear role in the activity” he said, adding: “She was involved in the division of funds for the purchase of sexual services.”

She has now been charged with “procuring a girl aged under 18 for a sex service and promoting an underage girl’s lewd act for payment or other benefits”, he said.


Workers rescued from Thai boats in Malaysia

The Cambodian embassy in Malaysia has repatriated 14 Cambodian fishermen who fled a Thai boat and are believed to be human trafficking victims, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

In a statement released yesterday, the ministry said the 14 fishermen fled their Thai fishing vessel when the boat docked in Malaysia’s Sarawak state.

Aged between 19 and 44, the victims are from Kampong Thom province’s Sandan district.

“All of them were cheated by brokers to work on the fishing boat when they made the move to Thailand in 2016,” the statement said. “They returned home by air on Sunday.”

Dy Thehoya, programme officer for the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ efforts in urging embassies abroad to assist and rescue Cambodian workers must continue.

“We assume the conditions of the workers on the Thai boats were akin to slavery,” Mr Thehoya said. “But I have rarely seen Thai owners who were involved in human trafficking imprisoned for their crimes.”

He added that the Foreign Affairs Ministry should pressure Thai authorities to crack down on these types of criminals.


Large Criminal Network For Human Trafficking Dismantled in Specialized International Operation

A large-scale joint investigation, led by the Spanish National Police  in cooperation with the Bulgarian police, and supported by Europol and Eurojust has resulted in the dismantlement of an international organised crime group involved in trafficking young Bulgarian women to Spain for the purpose of sexual exploitation. As a result of the investigation, 34 individuals were arrested (26 in Spain and 8 in Bulgaria) and 13 victims of sexual exploitation safeguarded, reported Europol.

A joint investigation by the Spanish National Police and the Bulgarian Police, with the support of Europol and Eurojust, has led to the dismantlement of a criminal network of Bulgarian origin involved in human trafficking. The network aimed at taking control of the prostitution industry in the Malaga cities of Torremolinos and Marbella (Spain).

In a coordinated law enforcement action, 34 suspects were arrested (26 in Spain and 8 in Bulgaria) and 13 victims of sexual exploitation safeguarded. In total, 36 searches were carried out (21 in Málaga, Spain, and 15 in Bulgaria) that resulted in the seizure of EUR 50 000 in cash, 12 luxury watches and a significant amount of drugs.  Judicial authorities also ordered the seizure of 6 properties and 18 vehicles, some of them luxury ones, as well as the freezing of numerous bank accounts.

Read more: Large Criminal Network For Human Trafficking Dismantled in Specialized International Operation

Malaysia taken off US human trafficking watchlist

PETALING JAYA: While Malaysia remains in Tier 2 of the United States annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, it has been taken off the watchlist.

In the 2017 report that was released on Tuesday night, Malaysia was taken off the watchlist as the Malaysian Government was deemed to have made significant efforts to eliminate trafficking.

"The government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore, Malaysia was upgraded," said the report which is released by the US State Department annually.

It said the Government had expanded trafficking investigations, prosecutions, and convictions.

The report added that officials had strengthened enforcement of the law prohibiting passport retention and convicted 17 employers for unauthorised retention of passports, compared with zero convictions during the previous year.

It also said that the Government had established a new interagency law enforcement taskforce to galvanise coordinated anti-trafficking operations, where 17 officers from seven agencies were assigned and trained on investigative tactics.

The Government had also approved an updated national action plan spanning 2016-2020 and allocated sufficient resources towards its implementation, the report added.

Malaysia was in the Tier 2 watchlist for the past two years after moving up from the Tier 3 blacklist in 2015.

Countries in Tier 2 are considered nations that do not fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act's (TVPA) minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to meet those standards.

The Tier 2 watchlist is similar to Tier 2, but with three additional criteria, including the failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts and where the number of victims is significant or increasing.

The report said that Malaysia is considered to be a destination and, to a much lesser extent, source and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and women and children subjected to sex trafficking.

Tenaganita programme director Aegile Fernandez said that Malaysia's jump was expected as the Government had made efforts to improve the situation, such as ensuring higher convictions and making more arrests.

She, however, added that the Government could do much more to handle the problem of labour trafficking especially.

The TIP report is the US government's principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking.

The US State Department places each country onto one of three tiers based on the extent of their governments' efforts to comply with the "minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking".


China Is Among Worst Human Trafficking Offenders, State Dept. Says

WASHINGTON — China is among the world’s worst offenders for allowing modern slavery to thrive within its borders, according to a strongly worded State Department report released Tuesday.

In its annual assessment of global efforts to end human trafficking — with an estimated 20 million people remaining in bondage around the world — the State Department dropped China to the lowest tier of its ranking this year, as it did with the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo.

Those three nations joined 20 others already in that lowest designation, including Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela.

The report found that prosecutions for various forms of human trafficking — which include sex trafficking, including of children; forced and bonded labor; domestic servitude; and the unlawful use of child soldiers — dropped by nearly a quarter between 2015 and 2016, the first time the world had seen such a significant drop in recent years.

“Ending human trafficking is among the top priorities of the Trump administration,” Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a key adviser, said in an event held Tuesday morning at the State Department to formally release the 17th annual report on the issue.

Ms. Trump singled out child sex trafficking. “On a personal level, as a mother, this is much more than a policy priority,” she said.

She joined Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson to release the report, and he spoke with a passion rarely displayed during his early tenure in public office.

“It is our hope that the 21st century will be the last century of human trafficking,” he said.

Read more: China Is Among Worst Human Trafficking Offenders, State Dept. Says

Teen exposes human-trafficking syndicate in Vryheid

The teen says she was thrown into a room where a number of other young women were also being held against their will.

A teenage victim of human trafficking managed to escape the clutches of her captors, and alerted police to the chilling possibility of a syndicate operating in the area around Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal.

Police have not yet been able to locate the house in which the teen was being kept, and are therefore unable to free the other women being held captive, possibly to be sold into forced labour or sexual exploitation, Vryheid Herald reported.

The 18-year-old woman, who managed to get away, told police she had been abducted while walking alone near Bhekuzulu Primary School, where she was grabbed and dragged into a silver Ford Bantam by three unknown men.

The three are said to have stopped next to her and pulled her into the car without a single word. They then drove in the direction of West End Supermarket.

A jersey was pulled over her face, and they drove on for what seemed like half an hour.

They finally arrived to an area she did not recognise, and she was thrown into a room where a number of other young women were also being held against their will.

The women in the room informed her that they were in the KwaMachanca area in Mondlo.

The teen fortunately escaped captivity, and reported the incident to the Vryheid SAPS last week.

One of the men has since been arrested. The other two are still at large. It is believed that the three may be operating as a syndicate to sell the women they keep, and a human trafficking case is being investigated.



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