May 6th, 2013
01:24 AM ET

Women trafficked to Iraq

By Atika Shubert, CNN

(CNN) Like so many Indonesian women, Eli Anita wanted to earn more money than she could at home.

In 2007, she moved to Dubai through a labor recruitment company where, she says, her manager immediately began harassing her for sex, at one point becoming violent.

“He got very angry and he also beat me and kidnapped me in the bathroom for many hours. He locked the door,” she says in broken English. FULL POST

Post by:
Topics: In The News
September 12th, 2011
12:25 PM ET

UK police raid suspected slave camp

British investigators were questioning suspects Monday after police rescued 24 men that they said were kept as slaves - some for as long as 15 years.

Police in Bedfordshire, northwest of London, arrested five suspects under a new anti-slavery law passed last year, alleging that they lured the men to a trailer park with promises of food and shelter, then threatened them with violence and forced them into hard labor.

The men, from England and parts of Eastern Europe, are "all believed to be victims of slavery," police said. Living in squalid conditions in the town of Leighton Buzzard, many of the men were on the verge of starvation, police said.

"There's no electricity. There's no running water. People haven't had their hair cut. (They're) wearing dirty clothing. And made to perform labor, rather than being given proper food and proper wages for their labors," said Detective Chief Inspector Sean O'Neil of Bedfordshire Police.

Tips from other alleged victims who had managed to escape the site led to a lengthy investigation that culminated in Sunday's raid, police said.

Bedfordshire Police issued a statement Monday saying that four of the five people in custody were being questioned. The fifth is a woman who "is pregnant and has been released on police bail and will be questioned further following the birth of her child which is imminent," the statement said.

Police identified the four men arrested as three brothers - James Connors, 23, Tommy Connors, 26, and Patrick Connors, 19 - and their brother-in-law, James Conner, 33. The four are scheduled for a court hearing Tuesday morning and will be held in custody until that hearing, police said.

Nine of the men rescued in the raid have left a medical reception and "have chosen not to support the police investigation," Bedfordshire Police said in the statement Monday.

"Those people who we continue to help are appreciative of the support that is on offer, but it will take some time to work through with them what has happened," O'Neil said in a statement.

Investigators are searching for two additional suspects, Bedfordshire Police said.

According to the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre, which assisted Bedfordshire Police in Sunday's operation, nearly 1,500 cases of slavery and human trafficking have been reported to British police in the past two years.

A new anti-slavery law passed last year in Britain means that anyone convicted of holding a person in servitude can spend up to 14 years in prison.

Post by:
Topics: In The News
Story of hope behind sex trafficking statistic
CNN's Atika Shubert interviews "Laura" -- not her real name -- who has rebuilt her life after being trafficked for sex.
March 31st, 2011
09:27 AM ET

Story of hope behind sex trafficking statistic

It’s not often you get invited on a personal tour of the red light district of Copenhagen, Denmark. Michelle Mildwater, of the anti-trafficking group Hope Now, is an impassioned activist. She walks me through the most notorious corners with a smile on her face.

“How are you?” she calls out to clusters of African women standing on the street. “Do you know who I am?” She hands them her business card and often condoms. She tells them where to find doctors and other help. Most of the younger women she approaches are nervous. They glance at her quickly, then ignore her or walk the other way. FULL POST

March 30th, 2011
01:07 PM ET

The battle against sex trafficking: Sweden vs. Denmark

Copenhagen's red light district pulsates with neon lights. Women stand on nearly every corner - many from Africa - aggressively making their pitch to men walking by. Inside one particularly loud bar, young Thai women sit on the laps of male customers.

And Stockholm? Well, you might walk right by its equivalent and never notice. Malmskillnadsgatan is a commercial area, the address of several banks. In its heyday, dozens of girls used to ply their trade here. Now, you can find only three or four women who work the street.

That stark difference may explain why Sweden is being hailed as a model of how to combat sex trafficking, while Denmark has been called the "Brothel of Scandinavia."

So, what happened? FULL POST