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European Resource Center

Cuba Fights Human Trafficking Better Than Most Countries: UN

This U.N. offical said Cuba’s socialist health care, education and social security systems help reduce vulnerabilities that can lead to trafficking.

United Nations Special Rapporteur Maria Grazia Giammarinaro on Friday praised Cuba’s efforts to prevent and address human trafficking, which she said is less of a problem there compared to other countries.

Giammarinaro is the first rapporteur from the U.N. Human Rights Council to travel to Cuba since 2007. She spent five days on the island investigating government practices against human trafficking and other social issues.

Summing up her findings at a press conference in Havana, Giammarinaro lauded Cuba’s approach to dealing with the root causes of human trafficking.

“There is political will in the country to deal with these issues and, in addition, the authorities consider it of great importance,” Giammarinaro said. “In this country I can say that vulnerability factors are less significant than in other countries, where deep social inequalities or situations of complete destitution create desperate citizens drawn to traffickers’ promises of a better life abroad.”

Despite claiming that “much remains to be done,” she said Cuba’s free health care, education and social security systems help reduce vulnerabilities that can lead to trafficking.

Giammarinaro is expected to make official recommendations to the Cuban government which advocate for improving laws that address human trafficking, prostitution and sexual abuse, Prensa Latina reports.

In 2016, 2,174 suspected cases of child sexual abuse were reported last year on the island, the Cuban Ministry of the Interior announced in a report released this week. The figure represents 0.09 percent of the total population of 2.6 million children in Cuba, which is much lower in proportion to most Latin American countries.

Cuba’s approach to prostitution resembles that of Nicaragua, where sex workers are integrated into government and civil society instead of being criminalized. In 2015, for example, Nicaragua’s Supreme Court of Justice asked members of a sex workers collective if they wanted to work as judicial facilitators in Managua, Economy reports.

Now, the sex workers are accredited and have licenses signed by the Supreme Court of Justice to mediate small conflicts in their communities, which include problems between relatives and neighbors.

In Cuba, where prostitution is not illegal, the government offers sex workers education scholarships, career training and trade skills so as to avoid getting caught in sex trafficking rings.


Groups work to address human trafficking

If you have bought a shirt made in Asia or a lower price tomato at the supermarket, or have eaten at a restaurant that seems to have an extremely high employee turnover rate, you may have encountered one of the many forms of human trafficking.

The shirt may have been made in a slave labor factory, the tomato picked at a farm using forced immigrant labor, and the restaurant could use similarly indentured workers, said Marion County Sheriff’s Office Detective Zachary Hughes during a recent human trafficking presentation at First Presbyterian Church of Ocala.

Hughes said human trafficking is defined as the use of force, fraud or coercion to compel a person, including minors, into servitude in commercial sex or labor. He said it often is the crime of choice because the victims — who Hughes also calls survivors — can be used over and over rather than being sold once, like a bag of drugs or a gun.

He called the crime a “community issue” and not a “dirty little secret” anymore.

Read more: Groups work to address human trafficking

Two arrested in Kuwait for human trafficking

Police raid apartment and free two women from Sierra Leone who were held captive by two men from Uganda

Manama: Security authorities in Kuwait have freed two women from Sierra Leone and arrested two men from Uganda for human trafficking.

The case emerged when the police received a tip-off about women being held by two Ugandans in an apartment in Salmiya, a district in the capital Kuwait City.

An investigation was launched and after securing a legal warrant, the police raided the flat where they found two Sierra Leoneans in a terrible state physically and morally, Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reported on Thursday, citing a security source.

The police also found bank notes, plane tickets and visa forms for several Africans.

The two women said that they were taken from their home country in West Africa to neighbouring Guinea overland after showing the authorities documents they were on their way to the Senegal further north.

The victims spent two weeks in Guinea before they ended up in Kuwait after promises from the Ugandans that they would be offered good positions and salaries of KD600 each.

However, the Sierra Leoneans were told in Kuwait that they would work as domestic helpers and when they refused, they were held inside the apartment, the source added.

“The two women were taken to an asylum centre to receive proper health care following the humiliations and pains they suffered from the two Ugandans and which lasted about one month since they were taken out of their home country and moved to Guinea then to a flat in Kuwait,” the source said.

“Investigations have revealed that the two Ugandans were trafficking in humans in partnership with accomplices in both Uganda and Guinea. They will be referred to the competent authorities for legal action.”


London human trafficking: how the women recover

London police arrested 78 suspects during Project Equinox, a massive investigation focussed on John stings

Social service agencies in London are helping 18 women face a new and uncertain future after they agreed to leave the sex trade as part of a major police investigation into human trafficking.

London police arrested 78 suspects during Project Equinox, a massive investigation that focussed on John stings that started in October.

The women, who ranged in age from 15-55, were taken to a safe place to begin their recovery from a life of poverty, violence and in some cases, addiction.

Each woman has unique needs, but emergency housing is the first service provided for anyone without a home, explained Shelley Yeo, assistant executive director at Anova, an organization that provides shelter and support to victims of sexual violence and abuse.

"Sometimes when police are involved or other supports they might be able to provide a hotel or a motel or something like that while they're trying to find them some permanent housing," she said. "It's not ideal, but there would be supports available to them while they're going through that process."

Yeo says although a range of support services are available, choice is critical when it comes to what a victim of sexual exploitation wants to do next.

"Hopefully some transitional housing could be available as well," she said. "Hopefully (they get) some permanent housing with supports attached, some counselling would be offered, that type of thing."


British woman arrested in case of human trafficking ; helped two Lankans fly to UK on fake passports

A British woman, arrested with three other UK nationals in a case of alleged human trafficking, had helped two Sri Lankans fly to the UK with fake passports in January, the Times of India reported.

The police quoted by the report said that Julie Ann Warner (36), a tourist guide, has confessed that she became a carrier after meeting a Sri Lankan agent, Logorajan, six months ago.

Warner and three other Britishers were arrested at Sahar airport on March 15 for allegedly helping four Lankans migrate to the UK, using forged passports.

Senior inspector of Sahar police station, BT Mukhedkar, said that the UK nationals were "not cooperating" in the probe.

The police said that agents wanted in the case had demanded Rs17 lakh each from the Lankans to help them reach the UK with fake passports which identified them as the four arrested UK nationals.

The Lankans, on reaching the UK, planned to surrender before the authorities there, and claim that they had flown there due to a threat to their lives from Lankan Tigers, and hoped "to get political asylum there".

Public prosecutor Neeta Masarkar said that the fake Indian passports had fake immigration stamps. Counsel for the British nationals, Prabhakar Tripathi, said that his clients were victims as the agents had duped them.


Trafficking in children on the rise, says new UN report

New York, Nov 25 (JEN) One in three known victims of human trafficking is a child, and girls and women are particularly targeted and forced into modern slavery, according to the 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, released on Monday by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna.

“Unfortunately, the report shows there is no place in the world where children, women and men are safe from human trafficking,” said UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov.

“Official data reported to UNODC by national authorities represent only what has been detected. It is very clear that the scale of modern-day slavery is far worse,” he added.

The situation is particularly bad for girls and women. According to the report report, girls make up 2 out of every 3 child victi And together with women, they account for 70 per cent of overall trafficking victims worldwide.

In some regions – such as Africa and the Middle East – child trafficking is a major concern, with children constituting 62 per cent of victims.

Read more: Trafficking in children on the rise, says new UN report

Human trafficking growing problem

Human trafficking isn’t just a big-city problem. It’s a problem just about everywhere.

According to Federal Bureau of Investigation crime reports, Ohio ranks fifth among all states in total reported human trafficking cases. Toledo has been identified as the fourth-highest ranking city in the nation.

“I think it is a big issue because we have vulnerable kids,” Sister Mary Kuhlman, director of Sisters in Shelter, said. “Wherever there are drugs, there is trafficking. It’s not as big of a problem as big cities that have access to the highway like Findlay, Lima and Toledo, but it is happening in our own backyard.”

Read more: Human trafficking growing problem

Slovakia helped 36 victims of human trafficking

NGOs and international organisations offered a specialised programme to trafficking victims; most women came from the Košice Region, most men from the Banská Bystrica Region.

Last year Slovakia offered support and protection to a total of 36 victims involved passively in human trafficking, the Interior Ministry informed. The aid was offered through a specialised programme in 2016, the Sme daily wrote on February 17, adding that it was two non-governmental organisations and one international organisation that offered it.

Female victims on decline

A total of 21 victims were included in the special programme in 2016, while other have remained from previous years, Michaela Paulenová of the ministry informed. The data stem from the ministry’s Information Centre statistics on the fight against human trafficking.

Last year, the number of female victims declined by one half – only four new women were included, while the remaining four-fifths represented male victims. Their number (17) has not changed considerably compared to 2015.

Of the women, three came from the Košice Region, while the most males – four – came from the Banská Bystrica Region.

Totally, almost one half (i.e. ten) of the victims were from these two regions. Paulenová opined that this is a long-term, persisting phenomenon. Thus, the Interior Ministry will continue to further focus on the central and eastern part of the country when doing preventive measures.

Most male victims (11) were trafficked for forced labour; of these, three were children.

In female victims, sexual exploiting prevailed (two). The remaining females were victims of forced labour and forced marriage.

"More than half of the victims were exploited in the UK,” Paulenová added, as cited by Sme.


Indian nun says enough to children victims of human trafficking

Sister Gracy Rodrigues, an Indian nun and member of the Asian Movement of Women Religious Against Human Trafficking, will not be idle before the cry of children victims of human trafficking. In an essay, Rodrigues calls on everyone to put an end to this modern day form of slavery.

MUMBAI, India - Every two minutes, a child is prepared for sexual exploitation.

For Sister Gracy Rodrigues, an Indian nun with the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity (the Canossians), the calls for help by children who are victims of human trafficking can no longer be ignored.

“Today in every corner of the society and the country we hear the cry of the children, ‘I am not safe’,” Rodrigues wrote in an essay titled ‘Children they are, not slaves.’

Rodrigues is a member of the Asian Movement of Women Religious Against Human Trafficking (AMRAT), a network of 52 religious congregations who collaborate to find solutions and put an end to this modern-day form of slavery and exploitation.

Read more: Indian nun says enough to children victims of human trafficking

7 out of 9 human trafficking cases in January were forced marriage

7 out of 9 human trafficking cases committed in January were forced marriage with Chinese nationals.

In January, human trafficking victims were taken from ethnic inhabited areas and there were 7 cases of forced marriage with Chinese nationals, one forced labour and one case of prostitution.

The human trafficking victims were from Bago, Shan State, Mandalay, Kachin State and Kayah State. Three cases were committed in Bago Region, three cases in Shan State, one case in Mandalay Region, one case in Kachin State, and one case in Kayah State.

A news report released by Information Ministry says 11 out of 16 human trafficking victims were rescued and 9 out of 19 accused were arrested with the remaining 10 accused still on the run.

Currently, human trafficking victims are being given protection and counselling services by Social Welfare Department under Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.



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