Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

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Deception of Parents



Inside the slave trade

Johann Hari, The Independent, 15 March 2008

[accessed 21 January 2011]

They are promised a better life. But every year, countless boys and girls in Bangladesh are spirited away to brothels where they have to prostitute themselves with no hope of freedom.  This is the story of the 21st century’s trade in slave-children. My journey into their underworld took place where its alleys and brothels are most dense - Asia, where the United Nations calculates 1 million children are being traded every day. It took me to places I did not think existed, today, now. To a dungeon in the lawless Bangladeshi borderlands where children are padlocked and prison-barred in transit to Indian brothels; to an iron whore-house where grown women have spent their entire lives being raped; to a clinic that treat syphilitic 11-year-olds.

She comes into the room swaddled in a red sari, carrying big premature black bags under her eyes. She tells her story in a slow, halting mumble. Sufia grew up in a village near Khulna in the south-west of Bangladesh. Her parents were farmers; she was one of eight children. “My parents couldn’t afford to look after me,” she says. “We didn’t have enough money for food.”  And so came the lie. When Sufia was 14, a female neighbour came to her parents and said she could find her a good job in Calcutta as a housemaid. She would live well; she would learn English; she would have a well-fed future. “I was so excited,” Sufia says.  “But as soon as we arrived in Calcutta I knew something was wrong,” she says. “I didn’t know what a brothel was, but I could see the house she took me to was a bad house, where the women wore small clothes and lots of bad men were coming in and out.” The neighbour was handed 50,000 takka – around £500 – for Sufia, and then she told her to do what she was told and disappeared. htcp



Burkina Faso

Children saved from 'slavery'

Agence France-Presse AFP, Ouagadougou, 2004-05-08

[accessed 24 January 2011]

The traffickers had managed to win the confidence of the children's parents by convincing them that the youngsters were to be taken to Mali to study the Qu'ran, a police officer told reporters.

Many Muslim children from Burkina Faso undergo religious studies in neighbouring country.

The official daily Sidwaya reported that the real fate of such victims, snatched in several provinces in Burkina Faso, was to work on agricultural plantations during the day and left to forage for their own food at night.




Trafficking in children in Denmark

Red Barnet, Save the Children Denmark, Annual Report, 2003

[Last accessed 1 February 2011]

Children are sold to Denmark from impoverished countries to participate in crime, prostitution or both.

They come to Denmark from poor Eastern European countries such as Rumania and Albania. Their families cannot offer them a future. And one day, a stranger might come by, "I can give your child a better life in Western Europe." And the child goes along. The child is possibly sold to a ringleader, transported over borders under the cover of darkness. The offer of a better life turns out to be a life on the streets. Perhaps in Copenhagen. The children are schooled in crime. The path to prostitution can be short. And the road back home very, very long.




Written statement from Anti-Slavery International for agenda item 13 of the provisional agenda

UN Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights, 56th Session, Geneva, 20 March- 28 April 2000

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

[accessed 5 September 2011]

Traffickers promise good money and training in order to persuade the parents to send their children abroad. However, after the children arrive in Gabon neither the child nor their parents are paid for the work they do. The children interviewed in Gabon often told harrowing stories of their journey from Bénin to Gabon and many complained of bad working conditions and being deprived of food once they arrived. Over half of the children interviewed said that they had been beaten by their employers

Even where children are rescued from these conditions, they are likely to encounter feelings of alienation from their own family and culture and must undergo a long and difficult task of reintegration.



GHANA-GAMBIA: Sex slave children trafficked by Ghanaian fishermen

Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Banjul, 26 February 2004

[accessed 24 February 2015]

According to the Gambian National Intelligence Agency, the girls were smuggled into the country without official papers to work as sex slaves for their Ghanaian masters.

Ceesay confirmed this. She said the girls were forced to “satisfy the sexual desires of older men” and some were working full-time as prostitutes within the 5,000-strong Ghanaian community.
The Gambian authorities said that the girls were also made to work long hours smoking fish and selling gari, a popular Ghanaian staple made from cassava. Some boys smuggled into the Gambia were made to work as fishermen.

Meanwhile, their masters’ own children went to school and had all their usual domestic chores, like washing their school uniforms and even cleaning their shoes, done for them by the trafficked children.

The trafficked children told Gambian officials they had been forbidden to contact their parents at home.

Reports of child slavery are common across West Africa. Impoverished parents are often duped into sending their children with the traffickers on the pretences that the child will be given a better life, or education with a host family oversees.

Sometimes parents are told that the child will work as a domestic for rich folk and will be able to send back remittances to ease the family’s grinding poverty.

The promises soon vanish into thin air. Many parents never see or hear from their children again.




A barbaric trade in human misery right on our doorsteps

Chris Bond, Yorkshire Post, 15 November 2007

[accessed 18 February 2011]

"One of the first victims we helped in the UK was a 15 year-old Lithuanian girl who found herself in Sheffield where she managed to escape her trafficker and turned up at a police station."  Her case shows how unsuspecting young victims are lured from their homes into a nightmare world of brutality and rape.

"She was phoned up by someone and asked if she would like to sell ice cream for the summer in London and was told she would earn about £300."  The traffickers signed a consent form and her parents, believing it was a good opportunity, approved the trip.  "She was flown to Gatwick and sold in a coffee shop from one trafficker to another for £3,000, her passport was taken off her and sold for £4,000.  "Later the same night, she was taken to a flat and brutalised and raped, and from that moment on she was forced to act as a prostitute."




Child Prostitution worsens in Cities

Pilirani Semu-Banda, Nation Online, Jun 04, 05

[accessed 17 April 2012]

She said for Blantyre, the children are picked from their parental homes in Zomba, Thyolo, Nsanje and Chiradzulu after brothel owners pay some money to parents of the children. “They give the parents K1,000 and tell them that the children will be employed in restaurants,” said Mtisunge. She said older girls are ordered to teach the children “ways of pleasing men”.

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