Thousands of Haitian children work as slaves
As many as 225,000 children in Haiti live and work as unpaid domestic servants, the first study to closely examine the issue concluded.
The existence of these arrangements are not new, but the scope is larger than previously thought, a new study by the Pan American Development Foundation found. The foundation conducted the largest field survey of human rights violations in Haiti.
Forced labour and rape, the new face of slavery in America
Figures from the State Department reveal that 17,500 people are trafficked into the US every year against their will or under false pretences, mainly to be used for sex or forced labour. Experts believe that, when cases of internal trafficking are added, the total number of victims could be up to five times larger. And increasing numbers of trafficked individuals are being transported thousands of miles from America’s coasts and into heartland states such as Ohio and Michigan.
107 slave laborers freed in Mexico City
Mexican authorities have freed 107 indigenous people who officials say were being held as slave laborers in a Mexico City factory disguised as a drug rehabilitation center.
Dozens arrested in China baby trafficking ring
Police in Shanghai said today they had cracked a major child trafficking ring following the arrest of 47
‘Human fat traffickers’ arrested
Police in Peru have arrested four suspected members of a gang that allegedly killed people to steal their body tissue and fat.
The authorities are searching for several more suspects. The group allegedly sold the body fat to be used in cosmetics in Europe.
Israel’s sex trade booming
Human trafficking in Israel rakes in more than USD billion a year, findings in annual parliamentary survey show
By Miri Hasson
Published: 03.23.05, 12:44 /Israel News
Thousands of women are being smuggled into Israel, creating a booming sex trade industry that rakes more than USD one billion a year, a parliamentary committee said on Wednesday.
The Parliamentary Inquiry Committee, headed by Knesset member Zehava Galon of the left-wing Yahad party, commissioned the report in an effort to combat the sex trade in Israel. Findings showed that some 3,000 and 5,000 women are smuggled to Israel annually and sold into the prostitution industry, where they are constantly subjected to violence and abuse.
The report, issued annually, said some 10,000 such women currently reside in about 300 to 400 brothels throughout the country. They are traded for about USD 8,000 – USD 10,000, the committee said.
The U.S. State Department ranks Israel in the second tier of human trafficking around the world, saying the Jewish State does not maintain minimal conditions regarding the issue but is working to improve them.
Israel passed a law in 2003 that would allow the state to confiscate the profits of traffickers, but watchdog groups say it is rarely enforced.
Most foreign prostitutes in Israel come from Ukraine, Moldova, Uzbekistan and Russia and many are smuggled in across the Egyptian border.
The committee found that the women work seven days a week for up to 18 hours every day and that out of the NIS 120 paid by customers, they are left with just NIS 20, while the rest of the money is passed on to their traders.
The prostitutes face constant threats of abuse and murder, the report said, and Israeli law does little to help them. Delays in trial dates and prolonged hearings force the women to remain exposed to violence for more than a year until they are called in to provide testimony, and courts rarely collect early testimonies, as permitted by law.
To help combat the problem, the committee recommended that the state prosecutor’s office refrain from making plea bargains with sex traders. It also advised to raise the threshold of punitive measures and pushed for financial compensation for sex trade victims. Source
A living hell
Thousands of sex slaves bought and sold each year face danger, threats, violence; run-aways dealt with quickly: one home in Moldavia firebombed; Tel Aviv exhibit explores ‘women as chattel’
By Miri Chason
Published: 03.18.05, / Israel News
TEL AVIV – Several dozen women have successfully escaped the grip of pimps that have turned their lives into a living hell. These women live in a secret shelter in Tel Aviv until they testify against their former pimps, then they are deported to their countries of origin.
Thursday, some of them went public as part of a new exhibition in Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station, sharing the harsh details of their experiences.
The exhibit, called “Over the Road”, focuses on the public’s approach to women as chattel. It is intended to be a harsh protest against the underground brothels that continue to flourish despite legislation banning them.
Thousands sold each year
The women say the exhibit is primarily intended to reach the customers of their former bosses – the individuals who keep the business rolling along.
Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of women, men and children are sold each year. In Israel, 1,000-3,000 women are sold annually, all for the sex industry.
Volunteers from the Center to Help Foreign Workers and the Clinic for the Fight Against Women Trafficking at Hebrew University have collected many testimonies of victims of women trafficking and documented the way in which they were brought to Israel.
K., from Russia, worked on Erlinger Street in Tel Aviv. She says her boss would “fine” his workers “for everything—if I asked to have
a shower between customers, if I went out without permission. At first we had enough food, but after a while it they said it was too expensive. We barely had enough soap—and during the dirtiest time of my life.”
N. says her pimp used the women for bartering. “If he wanted vegetables from the supermarket, he would ‘give’ one of the girls to a worker in exchange for the vegetables. He bartered us for food, jewelry and other things.”
Y., from Moldava, says she was forced into sado-masochism. “Customers would beat us. They had special instruments. They would drip hot wax all over my body and force me to do painful, degrading things. Of course they enjoyed it—they paid extra for it.”
One woman, also from Moldava, said she received no wages for her services. “(My boss) told me he bought me for 50,000 shekels, and that I had to ‘return’ the money (by working for free) before I could start to earn wages. They also made me pay 50 shekels a day for food and condoms”
N., from Ukraine, worked on Peretz Street in Tel Aviv, explains why women don’t run away. “We all dreamt of escaping, but they even managed to steal the dream from us after someone did leave. A week after she disappeared, her family’s home in Moldava was firebombed.”
She says they were given one rest day per month: the first day of their period. “The first day we could take off. The rest of the time I was having my period, I had to use a diaphragm to prevent bleeding. But I had to continue taking customers.”
Nowhere to run
“We had nowhere to run,” says H. from Ukraine. “The door was always locked, bars on the windows, and there was a closed-circuit TV in each room.
“And even if you managed to get out—where would you go? What would you do? Several customers were police officers, and other cops would check our visas and leave. So who would we have turned to for help? Source
Canadian Jewish Tribune reports on massive sex slave trade in Zionist entity
June 29 2007
Trafficking in women a worldwide epidemic, Malarek says
Up to – 10,000 trafficked women in Israel and more than 280 brothels in Tel Aviv alone
MONTREAL – Calling human trafficking one of the greatest human rights abuses of our time, Canadian journalist and social activist Victor Malarek addressed the Jewish community at a Montreal synagogue last Thursday.
Promoting a book he has written on the subject, Malarek said destitute Third World and Eastern European females as young as 12 are tricked into leaving their homelands with promises of wealth and prosperity in the West, as well as Israel. Instead, they are sold into the sex trade by organized crime, gangs, pimps and brothel owners.
“Newspaper ads from modelling and employment agencies promise exciting jobs, but the women are duped,” Malarek told the Jewish Tribune. “They must submit, or they are raped, beaten and tortured. There are between 5,000 and 10,000 trafficked women in Israel and more than 280 brothels in Tel Aviv alone. It is a human rights issue the Jewish community knows about. They have a voice and they must use it.”
The United Nations has cited human trafficking as an international crime generating more than US $12 billion worldwide. More than 800,000 people are trafficked annually, forced into prostitution and threatened with death should they attempt to escape the clutches of their captors. Canada is both a means of access to the United States, as well as a final destination for approximately 2,000 women each year.
“Governments should be held accountable,” said Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, who also addressed the crowd. “It is a very serious problem in Israel, and Canada has been inadequate in the protection of victims of trafficking. It is a global slave trade.”
As the previous federal justice minister, Cotler aided in the implementation of several bills addressing the protection of vulnerable individuals, yet he openly admitted there have never been any prosecutions made for human trafficking. He focused on raising the public’s awareness of trafficking as a method to prevent what he called the fastest rising criminal industry in the world today. Responding to an audience member’s question, he said the problem of mistakenly granting Canadian visas to people who should not obtain them is “an issue for the immigration department.”
As customers’ demands for slave trade workers who do not have HIV or AIDS increases, the age of victims proportionally decreases. UNICEF has determined that approximately 1.7 billion children are victimized annually. Ironically, Malarek didn’t realize the gravity of the situation until he personally witnessed how many young girls were trafficked into Kosovo to service troops sent by the United Nations.
“There is both national and international indifference,” said Malarek. “The public looks at the victims with apathy or scorn and foreign women are not the priority of most governments. Governments are complacent because the sex industry brings in money.”
Cotler noted that governments must work together in prosecuting oppressors while protecting their victims. He said the RCMP is part of an international trafficking unit that reflects cooperation among a number of governments. Human trafficking should be a priority on international policy-making agendas, he added, and complimented the United States on taking the lead in exercising what he called moral leadership.
“Most people don’t know how big this problem is,” said Larry Sakow, who attended the public event. “As a Jew, I am upset about the trafficking in Israel. It is surprising that Jews have gotten into it and are making money.”
Victor Malarek’s book, The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade, is currently available.
Source: Canadian Jewish Tribune
Sex slavery and Israel’s failure to fight the growing trade
Last year, the United Nations named Israel as one of the main destinations in the world for trafficked women, according to the BBC.
November 29 2007
Israel has also been named as an offender in the annual U.S. State Department‘s Trafficking in Persons (Tip) report, which condemned the Jewish state for not fully complying with the “minimum standards” to eliminate sex trafficking.
According to Canadian journalist and social activist Victor Malarek, “newspaper ads from modeling and employment agencies promise exciting jobs, but the women are duped… They must submit, or they are raped, beaten and tortured. There are between 5,000 and 10,000 trafficked women in Israel and more than 280 brothels in Tel Aviv alone. It is a human rights issue the Jewish community knows about. They have a voice and they must use it.”
With the promise of a job and better economic and social conditions, women are driven to slavery and sold in auctions that take place in nightclubs and bars. Afterwards they are pimped, beaten and isolated. Several trafficked women are subjected to degrading human auctions, where they are stripped, examined and sold for $8,000-$10,000.
- “They sold me- just sold me!”
The BBC interviewed one of the trafficked women in Israel, who gave her name as Marina. She is now hiding in a small house in northern Israel because she is wanted by the Israeli authorities for being an illegal immigrant and by the criminal gangs who lured her to Israel to sell her into prostitution.
“When I was in the Ukraine, I had a difficult life,” said Marina, who came to Israel in 1999 at the age of 33 after answering a newspaper advertisement offering the opportunity to study abroad.
“I was taken to an apartment in Ashkelon, and other women there told me I was now in prostitution. I became hysterical, but a guy started hitting me and then others there raped me.
“I was then taken to a place where they sold me – just sold me!” she said, recalling how she was locked in a windowless basement for a month, drank water from a toilet and was deprived of food.
Although Marina managed to escape, she is still suffering from the physical and mental scars that she endured during her captivity.
Like Marina, several other women — most from the former Soviet republics — are trafficked into Israel legally on the false promise of jobs and better economic conditions. Recent figures show that from the beginning of the 1990s to the early years of 2000, an estimated 3,000 women a year were trafficked to Israel.
- “Israel did absolutely nothing”
Although prostitution in Israel is legal, pimping and running a brothel are not. However, the law isn’t enforced, and several brothels masquerading as massage parlours, saunas and internet cafes could be seen on the streets.
In Tel Aviv’s Neve Shaanan district for instance, a brothel is located outside the local police station!
The absence of anti-trafficking laws in Israel means that such inhumane activity is unchecked.
“During the first 10 years of trafficking, Israel did absolutely nothing,” said Nomi Levenkron, of the Migrant Workers’ Hotline, an NGO which helps trafficked women and puts pressure on the state to act.
“Women were trafficked into Israel – the first case we uncovered was in 1992 – and not much really happened,” she said. “Occasionally traffickers were brought to trial, but the victims were arrested as well, they were forced to testify, and then they were deported.”
Rachel Benziman, the legal advisor to the non-profit Israeli Women’s network, agrees, explaining how difficult it is to find witnesses. “It’s not a problem of finding the right section in the criminal code. It is more a problem of finding the women who will testify”, Benziman said, according to Reuters.
What’s more shocking is that, since 1994, no single woman has testified against any trafficker. Many say this could be attributed to the fact that although women are the victims, trafficked women are the ones usually arrested as illegal immigrants, while the men who brought them to Israel, who are usually Israeli, are not.
- “The supply of victims has not gone down”
According to NGOs, trafficking was made a crime in Israel in 2000, but the punishments were lenient and law enforcement was poor. Authorities only began to act after fierce criticism from the U.S. and the threat of sanctions. In an effort to fight sex slavery, Israel tightened its borders, launched investigations into suspected traffickers, and handed down stiff jail sentence to traffickers.
The opening of a shelter for trafficked women in north Tel Aviv in 2004 also marked a change in the way the state perceived the victims. There are some 30 women at the Maggan shelter – most from former Soviet states, but also five from China.
“When they come here they are in a bad condition,” said Rinat Davidovich, the shelter’s director. “Most have sexual diseases and some have hepatitis and even tuberculosis. They also have problems going to sleep because they remember what used to happen to them at night… It’s very hard and it’s a long procedure to start to help and treat them.”
Police say their actions have led to a significant drop in the number of women now being trafficked into Israel for sex – hundreds, rather than thousands, a year.
But campaigners say increased police activity had an adverse effect as traffickers have been forced to become more discreet, making the practice more difficult to detect.
“We’ve been keeping tabs on trends, in terms of, for instance, prices of exploitative services,” said Yedida Wolfe, of the Task Force on Human Trafficking.
“Those prices have not gone up, which leads us to believe that the supply of victims has not gone down.
“While government officials are saying that their efforts have drastically cut the number of victims in the country, the NGOs on the scene really don’t feel that’s true.” Source
Added January 2010
Added April 4 2010