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Monday:  October 6, 2014

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus

 

(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)

LINKS TO OTHER STORIES

                                

Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler

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Entries in trafficking (3)

Saturday
Dec112010

Egypt Intensifies Fight Against Human & Organ Trafficking (News Brief)

(HN, December 12, 2010) The Egyptian Government plans to intensify its battle against the widespread trafficking of human organs and humans, including moving against the widening practice of under-age marriages that are the equivalent of human slavery.

Starting with a forum this weekend in Luxor chaired by First Lady Suzanne Mubarak, the country will follow-up with its first national anti-human trafficking plan. It is to enter into force as of January 2011 and extend to to January 2013, and is based on four main points: prevention, protection, prosecution and participation. Mubarak made the annoucement at a news conference.Egyptian First Lady Suzanna Mubarak has taken on the fight against human trafficking as one of her main causes

Human trafficking is an enormous problem in Egypt. Canadian investigative journalist Victor Malarek identified the country - and especially the Sinai Peninsula - as a major transit point for women from Eastern Europe being trafficked. Malarek, in his book The Natashas, has documented cases of Slavic women smuggled via Egypt into Israel and forced into prostitution, often with the collusion of Israeli police.

Mubarak hinted at the large scope of the problem - saying that, given the unprecedented growing threat posed by this crime, it was a must for Egypt to adopt its own combat strategy.

Human trafficking has mushroomed into a global, trans-national menace that imposed itself on the world community's agenda, she said.

The trafficking of human organs is also proliferating - especially among poor, urban dwellers in Egypt - who sell the items to specialized hospitals and labs, the government found in a national study on human trafficking.

Another problem is under-age marriage for the purpose of prostitution or human slavery: a government study obtained by HUMNEWS says that girls as young as 14 years old, in a bid to escape poverty, are wed to wealthy men from the Gulf States.

The forum - held with the UN and attended by Hollywood celebrities - is held also to mark the ten-year anniversary of the UN Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, which was launched on Dec. 12, 2000. The protocol focused the attention of the global community on combating human trafficking and called for the criminalization of all acts of trafficking, including forced labor, slavery, and slavery-like practices.

Human trafficking is the third most profitable illegal business after weapons and drugs nowadays. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates the total market value of human trafficking at $32 billion. And an estimated 2.4 million people are currently victims of this modern slavery - from at least 127 countries and have been found to be exploited in 137 states.

Most victims are between the ages of 18 and 24, and an estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year, UN figures show.

At the forum, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov urged for action from business: "The private sector has so much to offer in terms of resources, knowledge and influence to combat human trafficking. Raising awareness both within the workforce and the general community on trafficking is critical, and businesses have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure that all aspects of their operations are "traffic-free" - from employees, to suppliers, to partners".

Joy Ngozi Ezeilo - the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons - has said there is absence of accurate data on trafficking in persons, especially women and children which has made it impossible to measure the magnitude or scale of human trafficking in Egypt. "While acknowledging that quality data may be scarce in the field, it also breeds concern because...many stakeholders describe Egypt as a transit country but this classification is done without any backup statistics," she said.

Ezeilo also said human trafficking is much more of a domestic problem in Egypt. "There is a growing trend of sexual and economic exploitation of young Egyptian girls by their families and brokers, who execute marriages that are also popularly known as 'seasonal or temporary' marriage. These types of marriages sometimes provide a smokescreen for providing sexual services to foreign men."

Though one observer in Egypt said the problem is far more grave than the Government or UN is admitting. "We are a country of origin, transit and destination but the government decided that we are only a country of origin. We have the worst forms of exploitation - and they (the Government) still insist that we have none."

- HUMNEWS staff, files

Sunday
Dec052010

Human Trafficking in Mexico Gets More Attention (News Brief)

(HN, December 5, 2010) - More than 20,000 people are estimated to be trafficked each year in Mexico, many of them ending up in the northern border state of Chihuahua.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), most of the victims are from Central America - especially Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Last week, IOM finalized an agreement with a Mexican non-governmental organization (NGO) - Sexualidad Responsable (SERE by its Spanish acronym) - based in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez. It will help to shed light on human trafficking trends in the area.

IOM said it aims to produce additional information about human trafficking along the northern border - informing and raising awareness on human trafficking amongst at-risk populations and the public in general. The project also involves strengthening government and civil society's capacities to detect and assist victims of human trafficking.

"It is important to foster joint initiatives in order to bring together experiences and strengths from different sectors to combat human trafficking in areas where this crime has lacked the attention it deserves," says IOM Mexico Chief of Mission, Thomas Lothar Weiss.

Human trafficking has received little attention in Ciudad Juarez, IOM says, with the result that there is little awareness of it among the general population. It has mainly been overshadowed by the disappearances and murders of women which have monopolized the attention of the authorities, civil society organizations and the media during the last decade.

However, Chihuahua has been identified by the Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH by its Spanish Acronym) as a destination point for trafficking victims in a country where more than 20,000 people are estimated to be trafficked each year.

Between 2005 and 2010, IOM has assisted more than 175 victims of trafficking in Mexico, most of them from Central America.

A surveyed carried out by SERE in 2009, based on its years of experience working in the field of sexual health, revealed that some 5,000 women work as prostitutes in Ciudad Juarez. Many of them are from other Mexican states such as Veracruz, Oaxaca, Zacatecas, Coahuila and Chiapas, and others are foreigners, mainly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

--- HUMNEWS staff, files

Thursday
Oct072010

(News Brief) UN gathering urges global cooperation to fight human trafficking

(HN, October 7, 2010) --- With human trafficking knowing no borders, anti-trafficking experts from regional and sub-regional organizations have met for the first time in a United Nations-backed forum to discuss how to join forces to counter the scourge.

“Effective coordination of the various anti-trafficking initiatives and enhanced cooperation among all actors involved in combating trafficking is essential to maximize available resources, minimize duplication and address States’ fatigue vis-à-vis the number of demands they are required to attend to,” said Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

She led the two-day gathering in Dakar, Senegal, which wrapped up on Tuesday and drew experts from around the world to confer on how to prevent trafficking, protect victims, and frameworks set up to address the problem in all regions.

“Assistance to and protection of victims must be non-conditional, responsive to the needs, and respectful of the human rights of trafficked victims,” the Rapporteur stressed, calling for regional and sub-regional groups to ensure that their policies are appropriate to victims’ ages and sensitive to gender aspects.

She highlighted the unique position that regional mechanisms are in to combat what she called a “modern day slavery, growing in scale and in terms of human rights repercussions” due to their expertise and knowledge of local realities.

Presenting her annual report to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council in June, Ms. Ezeilo characterized human trafficking as “one of the most appalling forms of human rights violations” and said that it remains one of the world’s fastest growing criminal activities in the world.

- UN News