November 8th, 2013
11:55 AM ET

A goat, a pig and saving children from slavery in Nepal

By Gena Somra

Nepalgunj, Nepal (CNN) – At first blush, one could mistake 88-year-old Olga Murray, a petite white-haired woman with a thousand megawatt smile, as something other than what she is: a passionate force to be reckoned with.

She may be tiny, but don't be fooled. Murray is a powerhouse.

The sun is blazing, the heat daunting, but as she walks through a remote area of Nepalgunj nestled along the Indian border, infamous for being the "hottest place in Nepal", Murray shows little sign of discomfort.

She is energized. And it is the work she has done here she says, that is one of her proudest achievements.

In this tiny corner of the world, far from the trappings of modern life, Murray's Nepal Youth Foundation has rescued more than 11,000 girls from the practice of "Kamlari" and the life of indentured servitude it brings.

FULL POST

November 5th, 2013
08:58 PM ET

Virtual girl traps sex predators

She called herself Sweetie and when she went online, 20,000 men from around the world contacted her and 1,000 of them offered her money to perform explicit acts. But Sweetie wasn't a young schoolgirl, she was a computer-generated image and now those men are being investigated by child protection authorities.

Topics: In The News • Solutions • Technology
October 18th, 2013
11:52 AM ET

Two years trapped in U.S. sex slavery

Slavery is all over the world, not just developing countries. The film "Eden" is based on Chong Kim's story as a sex slave in U.S. Here she tells Becky Anderson how members of the public stood and did nothing when she tried to run away, and how she plotted her eventual escape.

October 18th, 2013
11:12 AM ET

I was trafficked by my boyfriend

 

Sophie Hayes' love story started out like so many Hollywood rom-coms. He was a man she knew and trusted, and who knew everything about her, what made her laugh and cry and what her favorite song was. He was there for her when she had bad days, a quick phone call away in times of trouble. She was just a normal girl and he a normal guy.

But this love story turned into a horror story on a holiday with the man she had grown to love. Forced to work on the streets as a prostitute, emotionally isolated, miles from her British home, suffering mental and physical abuse, rape, and torture.

FULL STORY
Topics: In The News • The Traffickers • Voices
10. Bangladesh
October 17th, 2013
10:01 AM ET

Global Slavery Index: Report shames India, China, Pakistan

A report claiming to be the most comprehensive look at global slavery says 30 million people are living as slaves around the world.

The Global Slavery Index, published by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation, lists India as the country with by far the most slaves, with an estimated nearly 14 million, followed by China (2.9 million) and Pakistan (2.1 million).

The top 10 countries on its list of shame accounted for more than three quarters of the 29.8 million people living in slavery, with Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh completing the list.

 

FULL STORY
September 18th, 2013
01:09 PM ET

Exploited boys are too often failed

Editor’s Note: Steven Procopio is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. He helps male victims of childhood abuse including a focus on public health, HIV, and homelessness. He is also is a faculty adviser at the Boston University School of Social Work macro practice department.

I recently met with a 15-year-old named Brian - his name has been changed to protect his identity - who had a family history of domestic violence and drug abuse. He also had a desperate need for money - money that he planned to use to escape his abusive home.  He found his opportunity online. Brian learned that he could make money selling “Skype sex."

Desperate and in need, Brian started to sell his underage body on the Internet and fell victim to the seedy industry that is the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).

Buyers usually resort to manipulation of their vulnerable victims with grooming activities such as purchasing clothing, cell phones, gifts, and other products as a way of seducing them into a relationship.

Often, these manipulative activities give the impression to the victim that they are "loved" and "cared for” in ways their biological families may not have been able to demonstrate. This manipulation often keeps victims in the industry for many years.

Brian’s parents eventually found out about his online activity, and instead of disapproving and finding a way to protect him from this exploitation, they feared it was indicative of their son’s sexual orientation, which they did not accept, and kicked him out of his home. FULL POST

August 8th, 2013
10:04 AM ET

Rescued children shouldn’t be in handcuffs

Editor’s note: Francesca L. Garrett is a long-time victim’s advocate and Executive Director of the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio.

By Francesca Garrett, Special for CNN

The girl on the news is wearing pink flip flops.  An oversized plaid shirt hides a figure that has barely begun to develop. According to the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act, as a minor who has been forced to perform a sexual act for money she is a victim of sex trafficking. Yet under prostitution statutes in most states she has also committed a criminal offense - and now she is in handcuffs.

About three-quarters of  the children rescued last week by the Federal Bureau of Investigation through Operation Cross Country VII live in states that afford them no legal protections from prostitution charges.

Some could face up to two years in juvenile detention, others, thousands of dollars in fines (pdf). Many may also be charged for possessing the cocktail of drugs that traffickers use to create dependency and compliance in the children they sell. And though the FBI is likely to afford special leniency to those rescued in the sting, without change, the same may not hold true for the children arrested on the streets in the coming months and years. FULL POST

July 30th, 2013
01:54 PM ET

FBI crackdown nabs pimps, rescues children

The FBI's latest crackdown on child prostitution revealed a dark underside of society growing through Internet sites that provide pimps easy access to johns in hotels, motels, at truck stops and just about anywhere else.

A U.S.-wide operation over the weekend resulted in 150 arrests, with 105 children between the ages of 13 and 17 rescued, according to Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division.

It was the largest such sweep to date, he said, with 28 searches and 129 seizures of cash, drugs, vehicles and firearms.

FULL STORY
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Topics: In The News
July 15th, 2013
10:30 AM ET

Fighting forced labor helps women beat poverty

By Guy Ryder, Special for CNN
Editor’s Note: Guy Ryder is the Director-General of the International Labour Organization. This week it is launching The Work in Freedom program, an initiative funded by the UK Department for International Development which aims to help 100,000 women and girls from Bangladesh, India and Nepal who are in forced labor in countries including Lebanon, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and India.

Across the planet, about one in every seven of us lives in extreme poverty, having to survive on less than $1.25 a day. Every day, they and the millions more living just above the poverty line struggle to have enough to eat, and dream of a better life and of earning enough to provide for their families.

Geeta Devi was one of these people. The 32 year-old mother of two from Nepal had been struggling to support her children and, like millions before her, made the difficult decision to leave her family behind in search of better work. Geeta, whose real name is being withheld to protect her safety, left her home believing she had secured a job through a local recruitment agency to work in a hospital in Lebanon.

When she arrived in Beirut, the man who collected her at the airport told her that she would actually be employed as a domestic worker in his house.

Geeta had used her meager savings to travel abroad and now had no money to fly home. And so she was forced to accept the job. What followed was an all too familiar story of exploitation – no wages, physical and psychological abuse, loss of contact with family and restriction of movement. FULL POST

July 11th, 2013
06:02 PM ET

Saudi princess charged with human trafficking

A woman identified as a Saudi Arabian princess has been accused of holding a domestic servant against her will at her condominium in Irvine, California.
Meshael Alayban, 42, faces one felony count of human trafficking. Court details released Thursday say Alayban is one of the wives of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud.

FULL STORY
June 19th, 2013
04:40 PM ET

U.S. downgrades Russia, China for anti-trafficking efforts

Russia and China were downgraded to bottom tier nations for their efforts to fight human trafficking, by a U.S. government report.

In the State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, China and Russia were relegated to Tier 3 - the lowest of four rankings which names countries whose governments do not fully comply with minimum anti-trafficking standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.

The classification includes countries like Iran, North Korea and Zimbabwe, and Tier 3 countries are open to sanctions from the U.S. government. FULL POST

Topics: In The News • TIP Report • Uncategorized
June 19th, 2013
03:02 PM ET

Agents racing to save girl had one blurred clue

Federal agents watched in horror as an unknown male in an internet photo appealed for stomach-churning advice - how to rape the child beside him. And as the clock ticked, their only clue to track the pair down was a blurred road sign.

FULL STORY
Topics: In The News
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