Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

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Official Complicity


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US: 17 Governments Complicit in Human Trafficking

Voice of America VOA News, 19 June 2012

[accessed 20 June 2012]

The U.S. State Department says 17 countries are doing almost nothing to fight human trafficking and may be complicit in such crimes.

In its annual human trafficking report, the State Department calls those 17 nations countries of origin, transit, or destinations for such crimes as sex slavery, forced labor, and recruiting child soldiers.

The 17 countries the State Department calls the worst human trafficking offenders are Algeria, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Kuwait, Libya, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Suriname, Syria, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

The report says a number of other countries do not fully comply with U.S. law, but are making significant efforts to comply.




Church slams daily human trafficking and authorities’ complicity

Mathias Hariyadi, AsiaNews, 09/19/2007

[accessed 13 February 2011]

Migrant women abducted by criminal gangs, drugged and then put to work in prostitution rings under false identities, often with complicity of corrupt local officials and police officers is but one typical aspect of human trafficking in Indonesia.




Libya’s “UN-Human” Rights Record Oil money trumps slavery and human rights in UN Election

Tommy Calvert, Jr., Chief of External Operations, American Anti-Slavery Group, January 29, 2003

[accessed 18 February 2011]

Many of you are aware of the plight of southern Sudanese who are enslaved in Sudan. Most of you are probably not aware that some of these slaves end up in Libya and are sold into bondage. The Libyan government has not put a stop to these practices and, with Libya's dismal human rights record, we are hardly surprised.

Not only does Libya have a long record of supporting international terrorism but Libya has also terrorized its own people through torture, persecution of political opposition, suppression of workers rights, and arbitrary prison detainment of innocent people considered a threat to the state.   How can a nation that does not actively prevent the sale of slaves be permitted to chair the UN Commission on Human Rights?




Human trafficking in the Maldives?

Maldives Dissent, March 8, 2009

[accessed 20 February 2011]

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives has in its latest report slammed the country's treatment of migrant workers, warning that the practice of bringing a person in for one job and making them work on another may amount to human trafficking.   Migrant labourers pay as much as 2,000 US Dollars to agents to get into what they think is the lucrative Maldives labour force, only to be hoodwinked into lesser jobs, lesser pay and appalling working conditions. What is even more disturbing is that it is now almost certain that Maldivian government officials and employment agents have profited from this exploitation.

But the dispossessed labourers found themselves in a place that couldn't have been more different to their dreams. Without proper documents they were unable to report to the police and susceptible to exploitation and extortion by unscrupulous Maldivians.




Slavery: Mauritania's best kept secret

Pascale Harter, BBC News, Nouakchott, 13 December 2004

[accessed 17 April 2012]

In answer to the Mauritanian government's assertion that slavery no longer exists in Mauritania, Mohamed recites the names of the family members he left behind in slavery. "If I tell you their names, can you count them?" he asked shyly. There are eight members of his immediate family still living as slaves, and Mohamed tells me there are many more in Mauritania. It is difficult to know how many though. International human rights organisations such as Amnesty International are prevented from entering the country to conduct research. "Not only has the government denied the existence of slavery and failed to respond to cases brought to its attention," says Amnesty, "it has hampered the activities of organisations which are working on the issue, including refusal to grant such organisations official recognition."

Boubakar Messaoud and other members of SOS Slaves have been imprisoned and harassed by the authorities for their anti-slavery campaign. It seems the government has little interest in really wiping out slavery. Meanwhile, slavery remains Mauritania's best kept open secret.




Government officials behind record rise in Moldova organ trade

Karen Ryan, The Tiraspol Times & Weekly Review, Chisinau, 23/Feb/2007

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

[accessed 8 September 2011]

There are villages in the Southern region of Moldova where almost all the inhabitants sold organs in order to escape the extreme poverty they live in. The "commerce" goes on with the agreement of the Chisinau authorities, DPA reports.




Shameful Investigation Into Sex-Trafficking Case

Amnesty International, Index Number: EUR 70/001/2005, Date Published: 1 February 2005

[accessed 26 February 2015]

[accessed 16 June 2017]

The government of Montenegro must re-open as a matter of priority a high-profile sex-trafficking case in which Montenegrin politicians, judges, police and civil servants are implicated, Amnesty International said in a letter to the Minister of the Interior of Montenegro. The Moldovan woman in the centre of the case alleges that Montenegrin politicians, judges, police and civil servants had tortured and raped her and other East European women who like her had been trafficked and held as sex-slaves.



North Korea

An Auschwitz In Korea

Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe, February 8, 2004

[accessed 29 August 2011]

Nor is it breaking news that North Korea operates a vicious prison gulag -- "not unlike the worst labor camps built by Mao and Stalin in the last century," as NBC News reported more than a year ago. Some 200,000 men, women, and children are held in these slave-labor camps; hundreds of thousands of others have perished in them over the years. Some of the camps are so hellish that 20 percent or more of their prisoners die from torture and abuse each year. The dead can be of any age: North Korea's longstanding policy is to imprison not only those accused of such "crimes" as practicing Christianity or complaining about North Korean life, but their entire families, grandparents and grandchildren included.




Contemporary Forms of Slavery in Pakistan

Human Rights Watch/Asia, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 95-77876, ISBN 1-56432-154-1, July 1995

[accessed 15 December 2010]

SUMMARY - Millions of workers in Pakistan are held in contemporary forms of slavery. Throughout the country employers forcibly extract labor from adults and children, restrict their freedom of movement, and deny them the right to negotiate the terms of their employment. Employers coerce such workers into servitude through physical abuse, forced confinement, and debt-bondage. The state offers these workers no effective protection from this exploitation. Although slavery is unconstitutional in Pakistan and violates various national and international laws, state practices support its existence. The state rarely prosecutes or punishes employers who hold workers in servitude. Moreover, workers who contest their exploitation are invariably confronted with police harassment, often leading to imprisonment under false charges.



Solomon Islands

Lure of Logging Creates Another Headache

Alfred Sasako, Islands Business International IBI


[accessed 11 September 2011]

[accessed 16 February 2018] – page 48

As if this is not enough, the lure of logging has created another problem. It is new and growing and is proving to be a headache for the country’s policymakers.   In logging camps dotted across the nation, a new generation of children fathered by foreign loggers is growing. Mothers are often under-age girls with little or no education at all.   A girl’s marriage to foreign loggers was often pre-arranged by parents who knew the foreigners had families back in Malaysia or in the Philippines and that one day they would leave.   Other young girls were often “trafficked” into logging camps often by operators of prostitution rings.

What many parents do not realise is that the number of children being born and left behind in the Solomon Islands by loggers is on the rise.   “These children simply have no one to look after them in terms of clothing, feeding and schoolling them,” I was told in Honiara recently.   “It’s a generation of fatherless children left behind by loggers who have gone back to their countries after they’ve destroyed our forests.




Amnesty Web reality check

Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall, BBC News, 5 February 1999

[accessed 1 January 2011]

Amnesty International has hit back at a fake site lauding the human rights achievements of Tunisia by creating a new Website to counter the claims. has "nothing to do with Amnesty International," the new site says. "It was created by supporters of the Tunisian government in an attempt intentionally to mislead the public.  "It is yet another example of the extent to which the Tunisian authorities are prepared to go in order to hide the reality of their human rights record.




Statement on the Conviction of Gulnaza Yuldasheva in Uzbekistan

Counselor for Public Affairs Christopher Midura to the Permanent Council, United States Mission to the OSCE, Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), US Dept of State USINFO, Vienna Austria, July 19, 2012

[accessed 4 August 2012]

[accessed 9 July 2017]

The United States expresses its concern today over the case of Gulnaza Yuldasheva in Uzbekistan, after a court in the Tashkent region sentenced her on July 10 to two years in prison on questionable charges. According to reports received by our embassy in Tashkent, Ms. Yuldasheva turned to police to investigate claims of official involvement in trafficking in human beings and subsequently became the target of what appears to be an effort to silence her for her efforts to expose corruption involving public officials.

Ms. Yuldasheva has alleged the involvement of high-level police and local government officials from the city of Chinoz in a trafficking ring that sold people into human slavery in neighboring countries. By Yuldosheva’s account, in early 2011, two of her brothers, along with two other men, were sent to Kazakhstan with promises of good work and high salaries. Upon reaching their destination, however, it is alleged that their passports were taken away, and the men were forced to work 15-hour days with only a single loaf of bread for sustenance. After several months, the men managed to return to Uzbekistan and revealed the ordeal to their sister, a human rights activist. Ms. Yuldasheva first raised the issue with government officials in May 2011 and began to conduct her own investigation to gather evidence against those involved. When she persisted in that case, she apparently became the target of police, ultimately leading to her arrest in April 2012 on an allegation that she tried to extort money from a bus conductor. Her explanation was that she accepted compensation from him after he intentionally broke her mobile telephone, a matter apparently unrelated to her brothers’ difficulties.

From accounts we have received, the court proceedings were conducted behind closed doors and human rights activists were not allowed into the courtroom to observe or testify on Ms. Yuldasheva’s behalf. According to her lawyer, Shoira Muhammedova, the charges were fabricated and unsubstantiated.




Reports of Rape and Torture Inside Zimbabwean Militia

Michael Wines, The New York Times, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, December 28, 2003

[accessed 17 January 2011]

For Ms. Siyangapi's secret was not merely her own. Her appearance was also testimony to one of the least documented — and most brutal — practices of the military enforcers of Zimbabwe's authoritarian government, enforcers from whom she now has to hide. Ms. Siyangapi told listeners that month that she had been abducted from a Bulawayo street market in November 2001 and forcibly enrolled in the National Youth Service, a ragtag, government-run paramilitary group formed three years ago by the government to stifle growing political dissent among Zimbabwe's civilians.  Her duties, however, were not political: during her nine-month stay in a training camp and later at a paramilitary base, she said, she was raped almost nightly, sometimes several times a night, by some of the hundreds of young male conscripts there.  To the extent she had proof, she offered it to the crowd: a 6-month-old baby girl named Nocthula, or Peace.  "At night, they removed the globes from the light sockets," Ms. Siyangapi, 22, said in an interview at a hide-out in South Africa, to which she fled after escaping Bulawayo in July. "Sometimes there were 10 boys. They didn't leave until 3 a.m. If you cried, you were beaten."

Amnesty International documented cases of rape within the Youth Service in a report released in April. The Amani Trust, perhaps the most active human rights group currently in Zimbabwe, has estimated that as many as 1,000 women are being held in Youth Service camps as sexual servants. The trust, an affiliate of the International Council for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture, assists victims of political violence.

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