Modern day slavery is a high-tech crime. Criminals use many methods to lure and traffic their victims, including websites and games. Investigators and police in San Francisco give an insight.
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.
By Roger-Claude Liwanga, Special for CNN
Editor’s note: Roger-Claude Liwanga is a human rights lawyer from the Congo and visiting scholar at Boston University. He worked for The Carter Center as a legal consultant, where he developed a training module to train Congolese judges and prosecutors on the protection of children against trafficking for economic exploitation in the mines. He is also the co-founder and executive director of Promote Congo, and is currently directing and producing a short documentary, “Children of the Mines,” which will be launched shortly in Boston. He writes in his personal capacity.
While the world was celebrating the International Day Against Child Labor on June 12, children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were hard at work in the country’s artisanal mines. Out of two million people working in the DRC’s artisanal mines, 40 percent of them are children.
Six months ago, I met a boy I will call Lukoji in the mine washing site of Dilala near the DRC’s Kolwezi city.
When I first saw him, the seven-year- old was sifting and washing heterogenite, an ore rich in cobalt and copper minerals. He told me: “I began working in the mines when I was five”. He works along with his two brothers who are 12 and 13 years old.
Lukoji only works in the afternoon because he goes to school in the morning. Unlike him, his siblings are school dropouts and work all day in the mine from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lukoji’s brothers abandoned school because their unemployed parents were unable to pay the school fees for all of Lukoji’s siblings.
Seventy-five percent of children surveyed in the DRC’s artisanal mines are dropouts. The DRC’s Constitution guarantees a free elementary education; but this constitutional provision is ineffective and there are almost no schools in many of the remote mining areas. FULL POST
By Ernie Allen, Special for CNN
Editor’s note: Ernie Allen in the president and CEO of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, a global organization to protect children from sexual exploitation and abduction.
Human trafficking, including sex trafficking of children, is moving from the streets to the Internet. Increasingly, the traffickers are also migrating to a new, unregulated, unbanked and largely anonymous Internet-based financial system. For the traffickers, the appeal is obvious. This virtual economy offers them anonymity with little if any regulation or oversight. It is easy, low risk, and enormously profitable.
The issue is complex. The global payments market continues to evolve with the boom in e-commerce and mobile payments and alternative payment methods are being adopted.
In emerging economies mobile payments are becoming more prevalent because there are more mobile phones than bank accounts. Technology is changing the very nature of money and has prompted the creation of a new Internet-based financial system which has resulted in alternative payment methods and digital currencies being widely used today.
However, this new system is unregulated and has become a preferred venue for the sale of illicit drugs, weapons and for those who are involved in commercial child sexual exploitation. FULL POST
According to estimates by policymakers, activists and scholars the number of modern day slaves ranges from about 10 million to 30 million people.
But how many of those slaves work for you? Now that is the unsettling question being posed by a new online tool and mobile app. It's called Slavery Footprint. It's the latest initiative from the anti-slavery Call + Response campaign in partnership with the U.S. State Department.
It allows consumers to measure to what extent they are complicit in the use of forced labor around the world. FULL POST
How can technology be used to fight human trafficking? It's the question technology leaders, including Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey, will try to answer in an anti-slavery forum in the Silicon Valley next month.
Steven Rice from Juniper Networks, the summit host, talked to CNN's Richard Quest about the summit and the role of technology in the anti-slavery fight.
QUEST: What will your fundamental message be for how the summit, how technology, how it can all be made to work to the benefit [to end slavery]?
RICE: We believe that technology, the technology that Juniper Networks builds around bridging and connecting devices, information and content, and linking that to the work that Not For Sale is doing is absolutely at the heart of how do we start to lead and drive innovation around ending world slavery. FULL POST
[cross-post from NewsStream]
Right now, imagine you are reading a plea for help from someone you have never met. You believe the two women in a photo are about to be forced into a life of prostitution.
Do you carry along as usual? Should you write back with advice? Or do you take action?
Not only are apps making our lives a lot more convenient, now they can help us be better humanitarians.
Demand the Brand is an app that allows you to take a picture of a product, place a "SlaveFREE" logo on it, and post it to an interactive map where users ask whether products they consume are produced by slaves. The purpose of the app is for consumers to demand that the brands they use are not produced by slave labor.
The app was launched alongside Call+Response, a documentary directed by musician Justin Dillon that exposes modern-day slavery across the world. It features political leaders, actors and musicians in the film speaking up about anti-slavery efforts.
“I realized that people don’t just want to be aware. They really want to have things to do, and that’s what Call+Response is about,” Dillon said. FULL POST
All week, CNN examines the technology that is helping to track and tackle slavery around the world.
Which countries produce the most slaves and where are these slaves employed? And which international borders fail the test when it comes to human trafficking? CNN's News Stream mapped it all out – and illustrated the extremes. As the video above shows, the developing world does not have a monopoly on this degrading trade.