Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Lecture Resources


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Disappearances – Children & Adults



Campaign under way to raise awareness of child trafficking

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, KABUL, 24 February 2004

[accessed 24 February 2015]

According to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), human trafficking - particularly child kidnapping and abduction - were identified as one of the most serious rights violations in recent months in Afghanistan, despite improvements in the situation of children in the war-weary country.

AIHRC said that although exact figures were hard to come by, in the last five months of 2003 over 300 complaints had been received from the families of children who had disappeared. "The commission is aware that many children are flown to Gulf countries, in particular Saudi Arabia, for labour purposes," the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said on Sunday, quoting AIHRC.




Human Rights in Belarus

Foreign Affairs, Canada, Updated 2004-03-24

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 4 September 2011]

BACKGROUND - Lukashenko continues to repress those who are critical of the President and his administration. Several prominent figures critical of the President have disappeared including former Interior Minister Yury Zakharanka, opposition leader Viktar Hanchar, businessman Anatol Krasousky, and Dmitry Zavadsky, a caeranman with Russia's ORT television. Professor Yury Bandazhevsky, a fierce critic of the Belarusian authorities' reaction to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, remains imprisoned and is in poor health. However, journalists Viktor Ivashkevich, Pavel Mazheyka, and Mikola Markevich, who had previously been arrested and sentenced to hard labour for slander, were freed in 2003.

Belarus was classified as the only "not free" country in Europe in a recent survey by New York based NGO Freedom House.




Aboriginal women fair game for predators amid public indifference

Jim Bronskill and Sue Bailey, The Brooks Bulletin, Ottawa, 18 Sep 2005

[accessed 27 January 2011]

Untold scores of society's most vulnerable members - young native women - have gone missing across the country only to be forsaken by a jaded justice system and neglectful media. The death and disappearance of aboriginal women has emerged as an alarming nationwide pattern, from western serial murders to little-known Atlantic vanishings. Grim statistics and anecdotal evidence compiled by The Canadian Press suggest public apathy has allowed predators to stalk native victims with near impunity.




iAbolish Country Report: Chile | The American Anti-Slavery Group

[Last access date unavailable]

COUNTRY BACKGROUND - Slavery has a legacy in Chile. In the 1980s, during the former dictatorship, "dignity colonies" were operating. These were clandestine camps where many of the desparecidos (the 'disappeared' people) were sexually exploited and trapped in a system of forced labor. These were only recently discovered. The kinds of slavery that exist in Chile today also hardly receive any immediate media attention.

THE PROCESS OF ENSLAVEMENT - Chile is a destination for Bolivian minors who are lured into the country under false pretenses and promises of higher wages in a country economically more stable than Bolivia. Chile is also a country where human traffickers facilitate and promote the movement of people from Asia to American cities, such as Los Angeles and Houston, for the purposes of debt bondage and sexual exploitation.




China police crack human trafficking ring: report

Agence France-Presse AFP, Beijing, Jul 13, 2008

[accessed 28 January 2011]

Police have arrested 18 people suspected of kidnapping children and women in southwest China and trafficking them across the country, state press reported Monday.  Eight victims, including one child who was kidnapped and sold only seven days after being born, were rescued, the Beijing News said.  Police began investigating the crimes when several children in Yunnan province began disappearing in May, the report said.

Trafficking of women and children remains a problem in China with many sociologists blaming the nation's "one child" family planning policy for fuelling the crime.  Under the policy, aimed at controlling the world's largest population of over 1.3 billion, people who live in urban areas are generally allowed one child, while rural families can have two if the first is a girl.  This has put a premium on baby boys, while baby girls are often sold off as couples try for a male heir.



El Salvador

El Salvador: Where are the "disappeared" children ?

Amnesty International, Index Number: AMR 29/004/2003,  28 July 2003

[accessed 24 February 2015]

Thousands of people disappeared in El Salvador during the armed conflict that shattered the country between 1980 and 1991. Hundreds, probably thousands, of them were children. Their families have been looking for them, as experience has shown that many are alive but unaware of their circumstances and identity. Government authorities are not helping.

Some were taken to orphanages and other institutions, others were held at military bases or kept in the houses of the soldiers and their families. Yet others were put up for adoption (both within the country and abroad). These are the disappeared children of El Salvador, whose families have been searching for them ever since.




Mask project combats human trafficking

Sally Kalson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 05, 2006

[accessed 20 February 2011]

A number of U.S. companies built plants there to take advantage of low-cost Mexican labor after the 1993 passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Since then, more than 400 women and girls have been raped and murdered in and around the city of 1.4 million people. Countless more have disappeared, presumably into the underworld of global human trafficking, where they are forced into prostitution or other forms of modern-day slavery.




Agenda Item 9: The human rights situation in Mexico

UN Commission on Human Rights, Fifty-fifth session, Palais des Nations, Geneva, 22 March 1999

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

The human rights situation in Mexico continues to deteriorate. Different United Nations’ bodies specialized in the protection of human rights , as well as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States , have confirmed this worrisome trend. Mexico occupies first place for reports of deaths during detention received by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions and third place for cases of disappearances presented before the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, according to their most recent reports. Similarly, the 1998 report issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) stated that the practice of illegal detention in Mexico constitutes a serious situation of human rights violations due to its systematic character. Likewise, the Committee Against Torture concluded in 1997, that torture is systematically practiced in Mexico, especially by judicial police, and more recently, by members of the Armed Forces under the pretext of combating subversive groups and drug-trafficking. The Special Rapporteur on Torture confirmed that torture is frequent throughout much of the country.




Forensic Team Tracks Disappeared Peruvians as Fujimori Returns to Face Justice

Marga Lacabe, AdvocacyNet, News Bulletin 122, Lima, Peru and Washington, DC, October 3, 2007

accessed 24 February 2015]

A Peruvian team of forensic scientists is insisting that the Peruvian government hand-over authority to civil society to locate and identify thousands of Peruvians who went missing during two decades of internal conflict.

EPAF has documented more than 13,000 disappearances – almost 4,000 more than the estimate of the 2003 Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission – and warned that the number will continue to rise.

Mr Baraybar said that most of the missing had been kidnapped by the Peruvian security forces, which used disappearances in their counter-insurgency operations and even wrote the practice into manuals.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission estimated in 2003 that more than 69,000 Peruvians had died in the violence and at least 8,500 had disappeared. According to the Commission, most of those missing were poor, Quechua-speaking Indians. Almost half lived in the Department of Ayacucho.



Trinidad & Tobago

Where Are the Missing People?

Peter Richards, Inter Press Service News Agency IPS, Port Of Spain, 6 Jan 2009

[accessed 1 January 2011]

[accessed 5 October 2016]

When 15-year-old Devika Lalman left her home a few days before Christmas to buy school supplies for the new academic term, her parents had taken all the necessary precautions to ensure her safety.   The mother of the Form Three student said she had also given her daughter a cell phone, but all calls to that phone have gone unanswered and the daughter has not been seen since.

"Almost all the women who disappeared left behind a pattern. Their cell phones were switched off. We also heard that they were transported from one house to another before being shipped out."   The Sunday Guardian newspaper, which carried out its own investigation, said that the "clandestine local trade, which operates through a well-organised network and is supported by several powerful agencies, is linked to an international human trafficking ring".   The paper said that children were being sold for as much as 34,000 dollars and adults for half that amount.   "They are mostly used as sex slaves and sometimes for slave labour. Sometimes, they are used to make pay-offs in the drug trade," the paper said, noting that the trafficking also includes young women who were being brought into the country from Venezuela, Colombia and Guyana.

"We recognise that legislation is critically important at this point because without proper legislation, which is really one of the handicaps in the social areas, we could not possibly move forward in terms of consequences for human traffickers," said the party's deputy leader, Dr Sharon Gopaul McNicol, a clinical psychologist.   She told a news conference that most of the human trafficking "takes place in small boats where people are drugged and shipped off to other countries, primarily those countries that people don't speak English so there is little chance of the victims being able to get away without much difficulty."


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