Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

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Commodification of Children



Out Of Money? Sell Your Daughter

Haytullah Gaheez, Jewish World Review, February 16, 2005

[accessed 18 January 2011]

Zeva's eyes filled with tears as the 10-year-old's father took her by the arm and handed her over to the man from whom he had borrowed 50,000 afghanis, or about $1,000.  "I cannot pay you in any other way. Take my daughter," said Gul Miran, 42, a farmer in Nangarhar province.

Like many other farmers in Afghanistan, Gul Miran had planned to pay back the loan with the proceeds from his crop of poppies, which would eventually be turned into heroin. But as part of its stepped-up effort to combat the drug trade in the country, the government had ploughed under his fields, and Gul Miran was left with nothing.

"I accepted the girl in return for my loan," said Haji Naqibullah, who had advanced Gul Miran the money. "We had an agreement. He would (pay me back) regardless of whether his crops were wiped out by the weather or by the government.

"In a year or 18 months I will marry her off to my youngest son," he said. "He is 19 years old and has been married to his first wife for two years but has not had a child yet."




For Albanians, It's Come to This: A Son for a TV

Nicholas Wood, The New York Times, Durres, Albania, November 13, 2003

[accessed 18 January 2011]

Fatmira Bonjaku's husband is in jail, accused by the police of selling their 3-year-old son to an Italian man in return for the television set that six other children watch in the family's dimly lighted room. The police also say her husband had plans to sell their newest born, whom she is breast feeding.

Over the past 12 years, since the collapse of Stalinism here, a substantial trade in children has established itself in Albania, Europe's most impoverished and long most isolated country.




Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 26 January 2011]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Traffickers used a variety of methods to acquire victims. In many cases victims were lured by promises of legitimate employment. In other cases acquaintances, friends, and family members sold the victims or received payment for helping deceive them. Young children, the majority of them girls, were often "pledged" as collateral for loans by desperately poor parents; the children were responsible for repaying the loan and the accumulating interest. Local traffickers covered specific small geographic areas and acted as middlemen for larger trafficking networks. Organized crime groups, employment agencies, and marriage brokers were believed to have some degree of involvement



Costa Rica

Child Trafficking Network Arrested in Costa Rica

Claire Saylor, Costa Rica News, March 4th, 2008

[accessed 9 September 2014]

The judge was said to be facilitating the sale of the minors who were obtained either illegally or purchased from poor and indigenous families who did not want the children for around $50 each, for a portion of the profits. They then sold the children for an estimated $10,000. The group would contact pregnant women in free clinics who could not afford the children and then have them put up for adoption.



Costa Rica

Child smuggling is good business - official

South African Press Association SAPA & Agence France-Presse AFP, Guatemala City, September 24 2003

[accessed 30 January 2011]

Guatemala City - A recently-busted child smuggling ring charged handsomely for children sent to prospective United States and Japanese parents, say investigating prosecutors.

Ringleaders charged US couples up to $80 000 (about R568 000) for a child, and Japanese couples around $40 000 (about R284 000), say the government prosecutors who are looking into 85 cases from the past two years.




Easy prey for traffickers

Yampier Aguiar Durañona, Journalism student, Granma International, February 2, 2005

Click [here] to access the article.  Its URL is not displayed because of its length

[accessed 10 June 2013]


ON July 23, 2004, Aguas Ocaña, Honduras’ first lady, announced that the government was preparing a lawsuit against the US organization Orphans Overseas for offering an Internet network selling Honduran children for $11,500 each. "No one can or should sell our children," she added.

In an interview with the national HRN radio station, Ocaña affirmed that in 2003 the government had rejected a request from the US organization to operate in the country because it did not meet the legal requirements.

"The company is now publicizing itself on the Internet as an adoption agency operating in Honduras and what it is offering is the sale of Honduran children," she stressed.




Selling Brides: Native Mexican Custom or Crime?

Ioan Grillo, Time/CNN, San Juan Copala, Feb. 01, 2009,8599,1876102,00.html

[accessed 20 February 2011]

The case centers on an alleged marriage arrangement that went sour involving Marcelino de Jesus Martinez, his 14-year-old daughter and her suitor, Margarito de Jesus Galindo, 18. Galindo had agreed to pay Martinez for his daughter's hand in marriage, according to Greenfield police. According to the cops, the total cost was $16,000, one hundred cases of beer and several cases of meat.

In the neighboring market town of Juxtlahuaca, Maria Bautista sees the practice as coercive and barbaric. "It's like a form of slavery. They buy their women and then treat them like their property," says Bautista, a single mother with her own business. Bautista has a Triqui father and Mixtec Indian mother, but she speaks only Spanish and follows few of the old traditions. She cites the cases of many older men who came back minted from working in the U.S. and who bought themselves several young wives.

Down in the state capital of Oaxaca, state human rights commissioner Heriberto Garcia also chastised the custom. "Buying and selling a woman is a clear violation of her rights," he says in his office decorated with leather-bound law books. "And a young teenage girl does not have the experience to make these decisions." Oaxaca state law permits marriage of women at 14 and men at 16.

Mexican officials have long tolerated arranged marriages, Garcia concedes, adding that he doesn't know of any cases of prosecutions. But he says he will also propose to amend a "Treatment of People" law to include an article that makes bride-selling a criminal act. Such action is opposed by many who see indigenous traditions as a virtue of Mexico's cultural diversity.




Street Life

BBC World Service, 1st July 2000

[accessed 21 February 2011]

SLAVE TRADE - The neglect of Morocco's street-children is just the tip of the iceberg of Morocco's child crisis. Across the kingdom, I encountered dozens of children treated as commodities, just as the slave trade of old.  'Parents are raising their children for sale,' says Bashir Nzaggi, news editor with the respected Moroccan newspaper, Liberation. 'They send them to work in the towns, and never see them except to collect their pay-packets.




Thai families partners in child sex trade - Border area's products are drugs and daughters

Andrew Perrin, San Francisco Chronicle, Mae Sai, Thailand, February 6, 2002

[accessed 16 August 2012]

When Burmese migrant Ngun Chai sold his 13-year-old daughter into prostitution for $114, his wife, La, had one regret -- they didn't get a good price for her.

"I should have asked for 10,000 baht ($228)," La Chai said. "He robbed us."

She was angry that the agent who bought her eldest child, Saikun, in 1999 took her to Bangkok, some 460 miles away, rather than a nearby city as promised. It did not concern La Chai that Saikun would be forced to have sex with as many as eight men a day.

With prices varying from $114 to $913 -- the latter figure equal to almost six years' wages for most families -- parental bonds in impoverished households are easily broken. In fact, child prostitution is so established that many brothel agents live in the village, and are often friends or relatives of the family from whom they buy the children.




Babies bred for sale in Nigeria

Agence France-Presse AFP, Enugu Nigeria, Nov 09 2008

[accessed 13 December 2010]

Neighbours were suspicious of the daytime silence at the maternity clinic that came to life only after nightfall, though never suspected its disquieting secret -- it was breeding babies for sale.  But recent police raids have revealed an alleged network of such clinics, dubbed baby "farms" or "factories" in the local press, forcing a new look at the scope of people trafficking in Nigeria.  At the hospital in Enugu, a large city in Nigeria's south-east, 20 teenage girls were rescued in May in a police swoop on what was believed to be one of the largest infant trafficking rings in the West African country.

The doctor in charge, who is now on trial, reportedly lured teenagers with unwanted pregnancies by offering to help with abortion.  They would be locked up there until they gave birth, whereupon they would be forced to give up their babies for a token fee of around 20 000 naira ($170).  The babies would then be sold to buyers for anything between 300 000 and 450 000 naira ($2 500 and $3 800) each, according to a state agency fighting human trafficking in Nigeria, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (Naptip).




Uganda: Increased Insecurity in Karamoja

James Karuhanga, Senior Researcher, Great Lakes Centre for Strategic Studies GLCSS, 13 November 2006

[accessed 2 January 2011]

The harsh weather and climatic limitations make livestock maintenance difficult both to the Karamojong and the neighboring tribes. They have to walk long distances, disregarding national boundaries, with their animals in search of pasture for grazing and water. This search for water and pasture has resulted in tribal fights and a culture of cattle rustling coupled with the Karimojong’s natural belief that all livestock around them belongs to them, which heightens the inter-tribal clashes.

This is enforced by the fact that cattle are used as a “bride price” and the raids are a symbol of strength and manhood in the tradition of the community. In addition, there are continual reports of Karimojong children sold at weekly cattle markets in Kotido, Moroto and Nakapiripirit districts.

The alarming report reveals that child abuse is on the increase in the sub-region as desperate Karimojong parents sell their children, especially girls, to raise money to maintain the remaining members of their families.




Human rights activists shed light on trafficking practices

Alejandra Martinez/The University of Texas-Pan American, October 31, 2010

[accessed 17 April 2012]

Like Adefolahan, Temba, an activist from Zambia, spoke about what her country is doing to battle human trafficking.  She mentioned that the act of trafficking is highly feminized in Zambia, meaning that women and young girls are the main targets. Ironically, women are also the primary recruiters.

She added that the main types of trafficking women fall victim to include forced marriages, domestic work, and child laundering. This last one is when women, especially young girls, are impregnated repeatedly and forced to give up their children for adoption.

"We're also seeing cases of trafficking in families… fathers and uncles selling children," she said. "A father attempted to sell his 10-year-old son for $200. Also an uncle attempted to sell his nephew for $6,000."

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