Friday, October 1, 2010

Trafficking of Women by Men Across the Americas and in the Caribbean: slavery, trafficking, prostituion, and pornography don't have distinct political or experiential boundaries



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Some of what is below is in Spanish but most is in English. All that follows is from *here* @ libertadlatina.org and *here* @ ipsnews.net.
Noticias de Septiembre, 2010
September 2010 News




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We present full bilingual coverage of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking

Added: Sep. 26, 2010
Mexico
Dr. Raquel Pastor, the Academic Secretary of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, in a photo from an earlier anti-trafficking press conference
Condena unánime contra migración forzada y aumento de trata en AL
Pronunciamiento del II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre trata

Puebla, Puebla - Con una condena a las autoridades de Puebla, México y Latinoamérica, que han reprimido a aquellas personas que se atreven a denunciar y combatir el delito de trata, y a la masacre de los migrantes centroamericanos ejecutados hace unas semanas en San Fernando, Tamaulipas, concluyó aquí el II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas: Migración, Género y Derechos Humanos.

Raquel Pastor, Secretaria Académica del Segundo Congreso y representante del Centro de Estudios Sociales y Culturales Antonio Montesinos AC de México, al dar lectura al pronunciamiento precisó que las y los integrantes al evento condenan “los hechos que violentan los derechos humanos, la migración forzada, el aumento de casos de trata en la región”.

Demandamos, dijo, las investigaciones correspondientes exhaustivas para que los crímenes de Tamaulipas, no queden en la impunidad y sean restituidos los derechos de las familias de las víctimas.

De igual manera dijo, “condenamos también los actos represivos y de persecución en contra de aquellas personas que se atreven a denunciar, como los que llevan a cabo algunos gobernantes en Puebla, México y Latinoamérica para acallar y encubrir la vulneración de los derechos de las niñas víctimas de explotación sexual...

Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking concludes with a unanimous call for an end to forced migration and slavery in Latin America

Puebla city in Puebla state – The Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking ended four days of events today by condemning government authorities in Puebla State [Mexico], Mexico itself as well as governments across Latin America for repressing those persons who have dared to speak up, combat and report cases of human trafficking. In addition, the Congress also deplored the recent massacre of 72 Central and South American migrants in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

[Dr.] Raquel Pastor, the Academic Secretary of the Second Congress and a representative of the Antonio Montesinos Center for Social and Cultural Studies of Mexico, declared that the participants in the Congress protest “denounce ongoing events that violently deny human rights, including forced migration and the increase in human trafficking cases in the region.”

We demand, she said, exhaustive investigations into the massacre in Tamaulipas, so that this crime does not remain unchallenged, and so that the rights of the victim’s families are restored.

In equal measure, Dr. Pastor stated, “we also condemn the acts of repression and persecution that have been taken against those persons who have dared to report trafficking cases, such as those that have occurred that have been perpetrated by government officials across Latin America, including in Puebla state, Mexico [see the Lydia Cacho case], in their efforts to cover-up and silence the sexual exploitation of girl victims.

Dr. Pastor underlined the fact that the participants in the Congress are speaking-up to cause the nations of Latin America to reform and modernize their criminal justice systems, so that the definition-of and persecution-of trafficking crimes become focused on protecting the dignity of girls, boys, adolescents and women.

Dr. Pastor asked that academic investigations be undertaken with the participation of civil society and government entities to allow for the development of a body of knowledge about trafficking, as well as to support the development of public policies and protocols that will result in actions and criminal investigations that focus on those who suffer as victims of human trafficking.

We demand that nations address the proposals and the body of experience that non-governmental organizations bring to the table, and that they adopt the best practices that NGOs have developed in the field of preventing, and attending to the victims-of human trafficking. We especially call-upon Chile and Paraguay to pass laws against human trafficking, given that they are the only nations in Latin America not to have done so.

The Congress also expressed its support for organizations in Puebla and Tlaxcala states, who have developed the Agenda for the Protection of Women and Girls Against Human Trafficking in both states, and who demand punishment for public representatives and government officials at any level, who have benefited from human trafficking activities.

The creation of the Latin American Observatory in Regard to Human Trafficking was announced, with the goal of creating a common center that will allow for the analysis of anti-trafficking efforts being carried out across the nations of the region. The Congress will also create a web site, a system of statistical indicators, as well as create a space to allow for dialog and reflection among participants before and after each Congress.

The Third Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking will take place in Lima, Peru in 2010. The themes will be: “Access to Justice and the Restitution of Rights.”

Oscar Castro Soto, director of the Ignacio Ellacuria Human Rights Institute at the Ibero-American University in Puebla, stated that some 600 persons attended the Second Congress. Two hundred fifty presentations were make by subject matter experts, and 7 sessions by keynote speakers were presented.

Elizabeth Muñoz Vasquez
CIMAC Women's News Agency
Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010
Haiti

Haitian Women at Increased Risk of Trafficking

Puebla, Mexico - The January earthquake that devastated Haiti put women and girls in the poorest country in the hemisphere at an increased risk of falling prey to people trafficking, activists and experts warn.

"The phenomenon has become much more visible since the earthquake, with the increase in the forced displacement of persons," said Bridget Wooding, a researcher who specializes in immigration at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

"There is huge vulnerability to a rise in human trafficking and smuggling," she told IPS.

The Dominican Republic and the United States are the main destinations for Haitian migrants. The figures vary, but there are between 500,000 and 800,000 Haitians and people of Haitian descent in the U.S. and between one and two million in the Dominican Republic.

Women in Haiti "are exposed to forced prostitution, rape, abandonment and pornography," Mesadieu Guylande, a Haitian expert with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC), told IPS.

The situation in Haiti was one of the issues discussed by representatives of NGOs, experts and academics from throughout the region at the Second Latin American Conference on Human Smuggling and Trafficking, which ran Tuesday through Friday in Puebla, 130 km south of Mexico City.

The 7.0-magnitude quake that hit the Haitian capital on Jan. 12 and left a death toll of at least 220,000 forced tens of thousands of people to live in camps...

"We have evidence of a growth in trafficking and smuggling of persons, which is reflected in the increase in the number of children panhandling in the streets of Santo Domingo, for example," said Wooding, co-author of the 2004 book "Needed but Not Wanted", on Haitian immigration in the Dominican Republic.

The author was in Port-au-Prince when the quake hit.

Even before the disaster, some 500,000 children were not attending school in Haiti, a country of around 9.5 million people, Guylande said.

Since 2007, there have been no convictions in the Dominican Republic under Law 137-03 against trafficking and smuggling, passed in 2003, according to the U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report 2009.

As a result, the State Department reported that the government of the Dominican Republic "does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking" and put the country on its Tier 2 Watch List.

In Haiti, things are no different. Although the government ratified the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, in force since Sept. 29, 2003, it has failed to implement its provisions in national laws.

"The penal system is fragile and the judiciary is neither independent nor trustworthy, a situation that works in favor of traffickers," Guylande said...

Emilio Godoy
Inter-Press Service (IPS)
Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010
Mexico

Puebla, entre los estados que más producen pornografía infantil, informa una ONG


México ocupa el primer lugar de América Latina en la producción y distribución de pornografía infantil, principalmente hacia Estados Unidos, España y países de Oriente Medio, señaló ayer Mayra Rojas Rosas, representante de la Organización Infancia Común, durante el Segundo Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas que se realiza en la Universidad Iberoamericana.

Los estados con más casos de trata infantil, puntualizó, son: Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Guerrero, Quintana Roo, Veracruz, Distrito Federal, Tlaxcala y Puebla. “La gente cree que sólo son fotos o que sólo es un video, pero eso daña y los daña para siempre porque a veces son relaciones reales y otras simuladas, pero esos niños están siendo trastocados en su integridad y están siendo sometidos a una serie de experiencias que no tiene que sufrir un niño o un adolescente”, declaró.

Puebla – among the states with the highest rate of producing child pornography – NGO

Mayra Rojas Rosas, director of the non-governmental organization Common Infancy, declared at the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking that Mexico occupies first place among Latin American nations in the production and distribution of child pornography. She added that most of these illicit materials are destined to be sold in the United States, Spain and in Middle Eastern nations.


Rojas Rosas added that the states with the highest levels of child porn production are Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Guerrero, Quintana Roo, Veracruz, the Federal District [Mexico City], Tlaxala and Puebla. “People think that it is only a video, but it damages the lives of the victims forever. Some of the scenes are simulated, and some are real, but the integrity of these children is being disrupted. They are being subjected to a series of experiences that no child or adolescent should have to suffer.

During a press conference on the subject, Rojas Rosas lamented the fact that human trafficking is being transformed into a business that is larger and more easily sold than narcotics. In response, she said, the only way to fight this crime is through cooperation and a demand that the problem be made ‘visible.’

“We are not talking about a problem of persecution here. We are talking about the need to engage in construction. We must change legislation, generate spaces to provide integral attention to the victims of trafficking, so that they are given a chance to develop a different type of life. The state must assume part of the responsibility, because at times, due to presumed acts of complicity and omission, we have had problems,” said Rojas Rosas.
In a separate press conference, Helen Le Goff, a representative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mexico, called upon authorities to investigate and castigate trafficking cases based upon their own sources of information, without waiting for a formal complaint to be filed by a victim (victim complaint initiation is generally required by Mexican law before a police investigation may be initiated).

During her presentation at the Congress, Le Goff mentioned that studies conducted by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) estimate that each year, 20,000 persons are victims of human trafficking, principally in tourist cities and in frontier regions. Most victims are illegal immigrants, who have migrated from 13 nations, including Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Le Goff, “In addition to the 60% of victims who experience labor trafficking, an additional 40% were victims of sex trafficking.”

Le Goff concluded by stating that the the IOM is launching a campaign called “No más trata de personas” [No more Human Trafficking] in the cities of Ciudad Juarez and Tapachula. The project is being developed in collaboration with the the CNDH. The project’s goal is to educate the public about the risks of irregular migration and human trafficking.

Arturo Alfaro Galán
La Jornada de Oriente
Sep. 24, 2010


Human Trafficking Still Widespread, U.S. Included

By Matthew O. Berger

WASHINGTON, Jun 14, 2010 (IPS) - Ten years ago, the U.S. State Department issued its first annual review of governments' efforts to combat human trafficking. Monday, the report included the U.S.'s own struggles with the problem for the first time.

The U.S. was ranked highly for its response to human trafficking abuses, but the report also acknowledged the extent of the country's role in trafficking activities.

"I was very pleased to see the report rate the U.S. for the first time. Mentioning the U.S. as a source, destination and transit country was a courageous move," said Brad Myles, executive director of the Washington-based Polaris Project, which works to identify and provide services to trafficking victims in U.S. cities and internationally.

Myles said the report did a thorough job of describing U.S. response efforts, but that he would like to see expanded descriptions of "all the forms and types of human trafficking networks" that exist in the country.

"The United States takes its first-ever ranking not as a reprieve but as a responsibility to strengthen global efforts against modern slavery, including those within America. This human rights abuse is universal, and no one should claim immunity from its reach or from the responsibility to confront it," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in releasing the report Monday.

The 10th annual report was also commended by experts for avoiding the politicisation that had coloured previous years' rankings, where some countries that oppose certain U.S. policies were ranked worse than some trafficking experts felt they should be.

"The current [U.S.] administration seems to have depoliticised the rankings," said Kevin Bales, founder of the nonprofit Free the Slaves. He pointed to Saudi Arabia as an example. "Now, Saudi Arabia is in Tier Three. I think this is an important statement that [the report] isn't about who pays our bills or where our oil comes from - this is about human trafficking."

The report divided countries into three tiers, ranking them from Tier 1 - those countries that fully comply the minimum standards laid out in 2000's Trafficking Victims Protection Act - to Tier 3, which includes countries that do not fully comply with those standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.

The countries in Tier 3 face the possibility of sanctions. They include Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Iran, Kuwait, Mauritania, Myanmar, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

The report also drew praise for emphasising the variety of trafficking abuses that exist.

Kay Buck, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, was "very pleased to see this emphasis on forced labour issues in the report".

But, she said, at the same time "we want to avoid what has happened in the past where there is a 'pendulum swing' and we stop talking about other types of slavery like sex slavery."

Both the report and NGOs emphasised that despite the 10 years that have elapsed since the first Trafficking in Persons report and the United Nations' adoption of the Palermo Protocol on human trafficking, the anti-trafficking movement is still quite young and much remains to be done.

Worldwide, the State Department estimated there are 12.3 million adults and children in modern-day slavery - including forced labour, bonded labour and forced prostitution. That means just under two people in a thousand are victims of human trafficking. In Asia and the Pacific, that percentage rises to three out of every thousand people.

Yet, says the State Department, there were only 4,166 successful prosecutions of traffickers in 2009.

This points to a problem recognised by both NGOs and Washington - current resources and actions are falling far short of fully addressing the extent of human trafficking and the slavery it results in.

"Resources have increased just minimally since 2003 despite increases in victims certified to receive funding," said Buck. "What we hope is that the U.S. will follow its own recommendation in the report and increase funding, including long-term, comprehensive care for victims."

The report says that 49,105 trafficking victims have been identified worldwide, 59 percent more than 2008, the last time this number was reported.

There also remain serious questions as to how best to aid victims once they are identified and how to encourage them to seek assistance if possible.

In sex trafficking, for example, "services for survivors are as rare as programmes that address the demand for their victimization. And if they are found, women are repatriated as a matter of first instance, or are locked in 'shelters' that look more like prisons than the safe haven that a survivor needs," said Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca, who directs the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

"Particularly, immigrant victims are harmed because victims must cooperate with law enforcement," and immigrants may fear deportation or imprisonment.

"We still have a long way to go in terms of removing the barriers preventing victims from coming forward. They still fear for their own safety and the safety of their family back home," said Buck, adding that victims usually "really want to move on with their lives" rather than relive their experiences through activities like being subpoenaed.

CdeBaca emphasised that progress has been made. Globally, "116 countries have enacted legislation to prohibit all forms of trafficking. This last year saw more victims identified, more services provided, and more traffickers convicted than any year in history," he said.

But, he added, "enslaving someone still carries too little risk. Remediation, fines, or warnings are too small a price to pay – those who would profit by stealing freedom should lose their own."

Toward this end, last year's 4,166 successful trafficking prosecutions represent a 40-percent increase over 2008. But 62 countries have yet to convict a trafficker under the laws laid out by the Palermo Protocol and 104 still lack laws or regulations to prevent victims' deportations.

Twenty-three countries moved up a tier the rankings in the 2010 report while 19 countries were downgraded.

(END)


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