Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Canada, UK not helping trafficking victims: report

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada does a terrible job of helping the victims of human trafficking and usually deports them rather than offering help, a Canadian non-governmental organization said on Wednesday.

The Future Group, set up in 2000 to combat human trafficking, also singled out Britain for what it said was its general failure to live up to the commitments in a 2003 United Nations trafficking protocol, designed to protect and assist those caught up in the trade in human beings.
"Canada has systematically failed to comply with its international obligations ... Canada's record of dealing with trafficking victims is an international embarrassment," the Future Group said in a 40-page report entitled "Falling Short of the Mark."

Canada's new Conservative government, which won the January 23 election and ended 12 years of Liberal rule, said it would examine ways to address the report's findings.

"It's very disappointing and I'm shocked to see how slowly we've moved," Immigration Minister Monte Solberg told Reuters.

"We'll see what we can do to begin to fix the system so we're more responsive to these victims," he said.

The United Nations said last year that globalization and demand for cheap labor had helped force at least 12.3 million people, half of them children, into slave-like work worldwide and created a huge human trafficking industry.

It said sex workers recruited and shipped to the West comprised the single biggest money makers in the trafficking industry, which generates $32 billion in annual profits.

A study done by Canadian police in 2004 said around 800 people were smuggled into the country each year -- most to work in the sex industry -- while a further 2,200 were trafficked via Canada to the United States.

Police said the likely numbers were much higher, given that they estimated only 10 percent of victims reported the crime.

The U.N. protocol urges signatories to consider allowing victims to stay permanently and also to give them financial and medical assistance.

"Canada ... continues to re-traumatize trafficking victims, with few exceptions, by subjecting them to routine deportation and fails to provide even basic services," said the report.

The Future Group also criticized Britain, where it said "trafficking victims are dealt with on a case-by-case basis and routinely deported. Only minimal support has been provided to victims in recent years."

It praised Australia, Italy, Norway, Germany, Sweden and the United States for largely adhering to the U.N. protocol.

Source: Reuters (Canada), Reuters (UK), YahooNews, Dose

Sunday, February 05, 2006

B.C. man challenges human trafficking charge

A man in British Columbia who has been charged with human trafficking is challenging the law on constitutional grounds. Michael Ng is the first person to be charged with the offence created four years ago under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Ng, who ran a Vancouver massage parlour, also faces 20 other charges of prostitution and assault. He is set to stand trial next month.

But it's the crime of trafficking people, which carries a $1-million fine and life in prison, that Ng's lawyer is fighting first. When Parliament created the law against human trafficking, it became illegal to knowingly organize the entry into Canada of anyone by means of abduction, fraud, force, deception, threat of force or coercion. And it's the reference to fraud and deception that Ng's lawyer, Michael Klein, says makes the law vague and unconstitutional. Klein argued before Judge Malcolm McLean on Thursday that the law could be used to prosecute a travel agent who organized an excursion to Vancouver, after lying to vacationers about how sunny the city is in winter. Klein says what's missing from the law is any explicit reference to people being exploited as a result of the deception.

Conservative MP Diane Ablonczy rejects the argument. "This argument that somehow a travel agent could get caught is nonsense," she said. "It's very clear that any court in the country would look at intent as opposed to inadvertence."

The Crown alleges Ng deceived two women into coming to Canada and then forced them into prostitution at his massage parlour. Prosecutor Peter LaPrairie told the judge that far from being imprecise, the Canadian law mirrors the UN definition of what constitutes human trafficking. But both the UN protocol, and an identical offence created under Canada's Criminal Code last November, do include the words Ng's lawyer says are missing from the Immigration Act offence, LaPrairie said.

Source: CBC News

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

British Man jailed for Africa sex tourism

A sex tourist arrested in the UK has been jailed indefinitely for making trips to Africa to abuse poor children. Alexander Kilpatrick, a father-of-two, will serve at least five years and four months for 17 counts of sex offences.

The 56-year-old made "harrowing" films of the abuse, said Judge Roger Chapple, at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court. Kilpatrick, banned from Africa and other sex tourism hotspots, is the first man to be jailed using laws to prosecute those who abuse abroad.

Judge Chapple told Kilpatrick his offences "are specimen accounts of a wider course of conduct representing a catalogue of manipulation, corruption, depravity and degradation that even these courts fortunately rarely hear.

"You took advantage of the abject poverty and the circumstances in which children in Africa and other countries find themselves.

"You plied them with meals, treats and alcohol and then you sexually abused them in the most appalling ways."

The court heard Kilpatrick transferred films of the abuse onto CD-Roms before editing them, setting them to Elvis songs, and then labelling them with his victims' names.

Source: BBC News Online

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

UK Takes Action on Cambodia Sex Tourists

Sex tourists target vulnerable Cambodian childrenBritish police are to work with the authorities in Cambodia to track down sex tourists who travel from the UK to abuse children.

British officers will also advise their Cambodian counterparts on how to investigate and prosecute offenders.

Work is under way to harmonise the law to allow child sex offenders to be prosecuted in either country.

Police also hope charities working in Cambodia will pass any suspicions about British citizens to the Home Office. They will help the Cambodian authorities target both sex tourists and British expatriates who exploit children.

The government department has set up a new Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre to investigate such cases.

BBC crime correspondent Neil Bennett said Cambodia was one of several Asian countries whose poor and vulnerable children were preyed upon by paedophiles.

National Crime Squad deputy director general Jim Gamble told the BBC News website the agreement with Cambodia would prove a model for tackling sex tourism in other countries like Vietnam and Thailand.

He said: "We have identified Cambodia as one of the areas where the local authorities are prepared to work with us.

"People believe mistakenly that they can go there and commit offences and there will be no consequences.

"It is about affecting the sexual predators' thinking. At the moment they think they can go online, find out where is the best place to go and to get a seven or an eight-year-old in Cambodia. "We have got to make them worry."

Mr Gamble said the new Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre would see specialist law enforcement officers brought together with lawyers and charities to fight paedophiles.
The agreement with Cambodia and the new centre were the biggest step change in child protection in his 26 years as a police officer, Mr Gamble said.

Source: BBC

Friday, October 28, 2005

Small Victories in Cambodia

The International Herald Tribune's update on the situation regarding sexual exploitation of children in Cambodia. See the full story:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/10/27/news/pedophile.php

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Microsoft and U of T Team Up to Protect Children

The University of Toronto’s Centre for Innovation Law and Policy (CILP) and Microsoft Canada Co. released results today from a study entitled Safely Connected: Strategies for Protecting Children and Youth from Sexual Exploitation Online.

The report provides a summary of research and recommendations designed to address social, legal and policy issues related to online child exploitation. The study contains research gathered during a major international academic symposium and roundtable discussion that was hosted by CILP in May 2005, and is part of CILP and Microsoft’s joint Safe Computing Program.

Visit: http://www.law.utoronto.ca/documents/general/WhitePaper_OnlineChildExploitation.pdf

Friday, September 30, 2005

UK Trafficking Victims

A shotgun and £7,000 were found at the premises which police say was being used as a brothel. Nineteen women who detectives believe were tricked into working as sex slaves have been removed from a massage parlour in Birmingham.

A West Midlands Police spokesman said: "The women are believed to be of Eastern European origin and were tricked into the sex industry. "They had their passports taken. They were locked into the venue during the evening to work and taken away during the day and locked in a house."

The women, aged between 19 and 30, were led from Cuddles on Hagley Road on Thursday evening by a special task force of about 25 female officers.

Two men and a woman, from the West Midlands, were arrested.

Twelve of the women are expected to be released but seven will be held pending checks on their immigrations status. The women are said to come from Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Poland and Turkey.

Source: BBC

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Cambodian police raid hotel, rescue three girls from sex trade

Cambodian police have rescued three girls from a Phnom Penh hotel where they had been sold to men who wanted to have sex with virgins and young girls, a senior police official said Wednesday.

Police arrested two women -- a broker and a pimp -- during the raid of the Chhay Huor II hotel, said Chhai Sinarith, director of the police information department at Cambodia's Interior Ministry.

One of the victims was 16 years old and was allegedly sold for US$1,000 by her mother, who needed the money to survive, he said.

The alleged broker, 21-year-old Khun Nary, had the girl's family registration card and intended to show it to pimp and buyer San Srei Nith, also 21, to prove the girl "is truly 16 years old," Chhai Sinarith said.

"She (Khun Nary) colluded with the pimp. Guests wanted young girls, and the pimp had her find young girls for them," he said the suspects told police.

Police found two other girls in separate rooms during the raid, he said. They appeared to be under 18 years old but claimed to be 19. He said the two suspects face charges of child sex trafficking.

Source: Mainichi News (Japan)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Gulf region's newest pipeline: human trafficking

By Jamie Etheridge

(KUWAIT CITY) When Judy left her home on the southern coast of the Philippines this spring, it was her first trip abroad and her first time on an airplane. She was excited, nervous, and sad all at once.

Like many young Filipina women before her, awaiting her in Kuwait was the promise of a good job and enough money to support her family and save for school. She was to become a nanny and tutor to a young boy.

But on her first day working for the Kuwaiti family for whom she had been hired by a recruiting office in Mindanao, Philippines, her excitement quickly turned to fear.

Her new 'Mama' - what Asian maids in the Gulf call their female sponsors - told her, " 'I don't like you, you are ugly,' " says Judy, who didn't give her last name, in an interview at the Philippine labor attache's office in Kuwait. "I didn't understand what was going on. I just wanted to cry."

Work began at 5 a.m. and ended at midnight. "I washed clothes, cleaned the floors, scrubbed toilets and sinks and bathrooms. And just kept doing that over and over again," she says. "All this and no food, no rest."

One day she waited until her sponsor was out, then packed a bag, and escaped to the Philippine Embassy joining hundreds of other Filipina women who have run away from their Kuwaiti employers to seek sanctuary at the Overseas' Workers' Administration at the embassy.

Unable to leave until her sponsor pays her back wages because she cannot afford to buy a plane ticket home, Judy and the other women spend their days sitting in the embassy, unable to get another job and unable to go home.

Thousands of men, women, and children, most of them from Asia, will be trafficked to the Gulf this year to live as what the US State Department calls "modern day slaves." Most won't know until they get here what lies in store for them and hundreds will, like Judy, flee their employers, suffer physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse, and go home empty-handed.

Click here to read this story online:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0719/p13s01-wome.html

Friday, June 03, 2005

2005 US State Department Tips Report on Cambodia

U.S. Department of State
2005 Report

Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000: Trafficking in Persons Report Released by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
June 3, 2005

V. Country Narratives -- Countries A through G

.....

CAMBODIA (TIER 3)


Cambodia is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. A significant number of Cambodian women and children are trafficked to Thailand and Malaysia for labor and commercial sexual exploitation.

Cambodian men are primarily trafficked to Thailand for labor exploitation in the construction and agricultural sectors, particularly the fishing industry. Cambodian children are trafficked to Vietnam and Thailand to work as street beggars. Cambodia is a transit and destination point for women from Vietnam who are trafficked for prostitution.

The Government of Cambodia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Cambodia is placed on Tier 3 for its lack of progress in combating severe forms of trafficking, particularly its failure to convict traffickers and public officials involved in trafficking. During the last year, the Cambodian Government failed to take effective action to ensure that those responsible for the raid on an NGO shelter for trafficking victims were held accountable and brought to justice. The Cambodian Governments' failure to act calls into question Cambodia's commitment to combating human trafficking. Cambodiaâ?Ts anti-trafficking efforts remained hampered by systemic corruption and an ineffectual judicial system. The government must take aggressive measures to prosecute and convict traffickers and public officials found to be involved in trafficking, and confront the corruption in its judicial system that hampers prosecutions of traffickers.

Prosecution

During the reporting period, the Cambodian Government made no significant progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. Prosecutions of suspected traffickers dropped significantly, despite a small increase in the number of arrests. The Cambodian Governmentâ?Ts response to an attack on an NGO shelter for trafficking victims and removal of suspected trafficking victims was unsatisfactory. Moreover, the government did not adequately investigate or hold accountable those who were responsible for the attack.

Cambodia does not have a comprehensive anti-trafficking law but it used existing statutes to prosecute traffickers. Penalties for trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation carry sentences of up to 20 yearsâ?T imprisonment. The National Assembly has not yet acted on a draft anti-trafficking bill that would provide law enforcement and judicial officials with more powers to arrest and prosecute traffickers. In 2004, the Cambodian police reported 165 arrests but only 24 successful prosecutions. Despite the number of arrests, there were few actual convictions of traffickers. There was no available information on the length of sentences for trafficking-related cases. Systemic corruption and a weak judiciary remain the most serious impediments to the effective prosecution of traffickers. Senior Cambodian Government officials and their family members are reportedly involved in or profit from trafficking activities but there were no trafficking-related prosecutions of corrupt officials.

Protection

The Cambodian Government continued to refer victims to NGOs and international organizations with victim protection programs. The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation operated two temporary shelters for victims, but the government relied primarily on foreign and domestic NGOs to provide shelter to victims. The Cambodian Government also supported an NGO that places trafficking victims in long-term shelters. Victims in Cambodia are not treated as criminals and have the right to seek legal action against traffickers, but seldom do.

Prevention

The government continued its efforts to raise awareness of trafficking by cooperating with numerous NGOs and international organizations. The Ministry of Women's Affairs (MWA) continued to carry out information campaigns, including grassroots meetings in key provinces. The MWA worked with IOM to expand a nationwide anti-trafficking information and advocacy campaign that included district-level meetings with government officials and the distribution of educational materials and videos. During the reporting period, the Anti-Trafficking Police Unit conducted an outreach program to warn high school students of the dangers of trafficking. The Ministry of Tourism produced pamphlets and advertisements warning tourists of the penalties for engaging in sex with minors, and conducted workshops for hospitality staff on how to identify and intervene in cases of trafficking or sexual exploitation of children.


[End of extract]

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Bakker Pleads Guilty to Sex Tourism in Vancouver

Donald Bakker, the first person to potentially face a trial under Canada's new sex tourism law, has pleaded guilty to 10 counts of sexual assault. Three of the pleas involved attacks on women in British Columbia, the rest involved children in Asian countries.

Bakker, 40, a former employee of Vancouver Pan Pacific Hotel, was originally charged with 22 counts of assault involving adult prostitutes and 16 counts related to children in a foreign country. He avoided a trial by entering the pleas.

On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual interference with children under the age of 14 in southeast Asia, and three counts of sexual assault involving three B.C. prostitutes. His lawyer, Kevin McCullough, and the Crown prosecutor have jointly asked for a 10-year prison sentence.

Bakker has already served 18 months in jail, which would count as double time, meaning he would have seven more years in prison if the judge accepts the request. The sentencing hearing will take place on Thursday.

Enacted in June 2002, the federal law allows Canada to prosecute sex offences committed by Canadians in a foreign country, regardless of that country's laws.

Source: CBC

Friday, April 15, 2005

Human trafficking charges laid in B.C.

A man in Vancouver faces human trafficking charges in the first such case since Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act was brought in three years ago.

Michael Ng, who runs a Vancouver business called King City Massage, has been the focus of a joint RCMP-Vancouver Police investigation for months.
He first came to the attention of police when they answered a call about a violent incident at the massage parlour, which also offers acupuncture and alternative therapies.

At that time, Ng was charged with running a common bawdy house and living off the avails of prostitution.

Now he faces charges related to human trafficking. The maximum penalty for the offence is life in prison and a $1-million fine.

Source: CBC Online

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Calgary-Based Human Trafficker Deported

Immigration authorities have deported a woman who helped mastermind a human smuggling ring that brought women from southeast Asia to work in Calgary massage parlours.

It's unclear when Noi Saengchanh left Canada, but a government source told the Calgary Herald she was deported sometime after she was granted full parole in November.

Saengchanh, 33, was sentenced to two years in jail last July after pleading guilty to three prostitution-related charges.

Source: "Smuggler Deported", Montreal Gazette, April 12, 2005.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

PROJECT AGAINST SEX TRAFFIC IN SOUTH ASIA HAILS 'STUNNING SUCCESS'

A United Nations initiative to fight sex trafficking in South Asia today hailed the first prosecution based on multilateral action as a "stunning success," calling the 85-year prison sentence imposed by a Thai court on a Cambodian national for procuring under-aged women for prostitution "a groundbreaking decision."

The case involved movement across three countries, and required officials and non-governmental agencies to join forces, the six-nation UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (UNIAP) announced in Bangkok.

The prosecution rested on the testimony of eight Cambodian women, who left their home village believing they would be offered work as noodle and clothes sellers in Bangkok. Instead, they were held in Samut Prakan before being sold into a Malaysian brothel by the Cambodian national, identified as Ms. Khunthea.

Malaysian authorities later detained them as illegal migrants. A long process of escape, re-victimization and rescue culminated in their appearance in court to testify against Ms. Khunthea in Bangkok.

According to Thai Criminal Procedure, Ms. Khunthea will only serve a 50-year jail term. UNIAP was established in 2000 to facilitate a stronger and more coordinated response to human trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, comprising Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. It brings together the six governments, 13 UN agencies and eight international non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

At the country level, the project includes an extensive network of government, local and international NGOs, UN organizations, donors and links to networks in south Asia and beyond.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

U.S. Department of State Condemns Attack on Shelter for Trafficking Victims

The United States strongly condemns the December 8 attack in Phnom Penh on the non-governmental organization, Agir pour les Femmes En Situation Précaire--Acting for Women in Distressing Situations (AFESIP). This NGO, which receives U.S. and international assistance, provides shelter and support to trafficking victims in Cambodia. Armed assailants abducted all but one of the 91 women and children under AFESIP's care. Just one day earlier, Cambodia's Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department under General Un Sokunthea had rescued 84 of them from a hotel notorious as a brothel for sex trafficking of children. We are deeply troubled that eight of the hotel's operators who had been arrested on December 7 were subsequently released and reportedly participated in the attack on AFESIP.

The United States is very concerned about the safety and well being of these women and children. The Cambodian government must take immediate and urgent action to locate, rescue and protect them. It must also take all appropriate measures to ensure the safety of AFESIP and all others involved in safeguarding trafficking victims. We call upon the Cambodian government to thoroughly investigate this case and ensure that those responsible are held accountable and brought to justice.

We applaud the brave actions taken by Cambodia's Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department and call on the Government to give this unit and its leader full support in fighting trafficking and related corruption.

Source: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2004/39641.htm

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Attack on Cambodian Shelter for Trafficking Victims Demands Swift Response

The Future Group is condemning in the strongest terms yesterday's assault on a recovery centre for rescued victims of human trafficking that it has worked with since 2000 (run by the organization AFESIP).

The Associated Press reported today that 30 men and women, some armed with handguns, attacked a shelter in the Cambodian capital and kidnapped more than 80 rescued victims of the sex trade. The attackers surrounded the shelter, assaulted its guards and forced the women - half who were underage - into four-wheel drive vehicles.

Action from local authorities is immediately necessary to: (1) regain the freedom of the 80 victims that were illegally retaken by their traffickers by force, (2) apprehend and prosecute these traffickers to the full extent of the law, (3) enhance protection at other recovery shelters, (4) investigate allegations that members of the local police failed in their duty to intervene.

The impunity shown by traffickers in Cambodia yesterday was unprecedented. Their armed assault of a centre for rescued victims is a violation of Cambodian values and laws, and an affront to the sovereignty of the State. They have done irreparable harm by re-victimizing these women and must be swiftly brought to justice.

Our hopes and prayers are with the victims and our friends at AFESIP.

- Benjamin Perrin, Executive Director

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Hundreds of foreign women, girls forced into Canadian sex trade: RCMP

At least 600 foreign women and girls are coerced into joining the Canadian sex trade each year by human traffickers, says a newly declassified RCMP report.

As many as 2,200 other newcomers are smuggled into the United States from Canada to toil in brothels, sweatshops, domestic jobs or construction work, estimates the intelligence assessment obtained by The Canadian Press. And the RCMP says the numbers may represent just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, as it is widely believed only one in 10 victims of trafficking report the crime to police.

Trafficking in persons became an offence in Canada in June 2002, but there had been no cases brought before Canadian courts at the time of the report. Many of the abused and exploited are routinely treated as people who have simply broken the immigration law. As a result, they are detained and deported.

Source: Canadian Press.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Canada Ends Exotic Dancer Scheme

After over a week of public outcry and receiving information from several non- governmental organizations, the Government of Canada has announced it is ending its support for a scheme which legally allowed exotic dancers to be recruited overseas and brought into the country. Concerns were raised that the practice was promoting human trafficking and the women were subject to exploitation.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

EXOTIC DANCER VISAS ARE “BEACON OF EXPLOITATION”

For Immediate Release

The Future Group

November 25, 2004

Will Immigration Minister Judy Sgro follow Japan’s lead to reduce exotic dancer visas?

Montreal – The current controversy over Immigration Minister Judy Sgro’s alleged issuance of an exotic dancer visa to a Romanian campaign worker brought to public attention a substantial risk that Canada may be complicit in human trafficking. The Future Group, a Canadian-based NGO that works on the frontlines of human trafficking in Southeast Asia, is demanding the Immigration Minister take personal responsibility to address a growing global consensus that exotic dancer visas promote human trafficking and the sex trade.

“Countries around the world recognize exotic dancer visas promote human trafficking,” said Ben Perrin, Executive Director of The Future Group. “Canada should be making it harder not easier for human traffickers.”

“Japan plans to slash ten-fold the number of visas issued to Filipinos as ‘entertainers’ in a bid to stop sex trafficking,” according to a newswire story yesterday by Agence France Presse.

AFP reports that Japan would reduce the number of entertainment visas issued to Filipinos from 80,000 to 8,000 a year as part of the government’s action plan against human trafficking. Besides Filipinos, Japan annually issues between 6,000 and 7,000 entertainment visas each to citizens of the United States, China and Russia.

“The main problem with these exotic dancer visas is they make countries like Canada and Japan beacons of exploitation,” said Perrin. “Once these women legally gain entry, most countries simply ignore their particular vulnerability to abuse. We have a duty to do something about it.”

The U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report (2003) found that “Canada is a destination for persons trafficked into prostitution, and to a lesser extent forced labor, with victims coming primarily from China, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Russia, Korea, and Eastern Europe.”

- 30 -

For more information: Full AFP story: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/118790/1/.html

Contact:
Benjamin Perrin, Executive Director, The Future Group
Email: bperrin@thefuturegroup.org

ABOUT THE FUTURE GROUP:
Since 2000, The Future Group has worked to combat human trafficking and the child sex trade in Southeast Asia. Given the trans-national nature of this crisis, there is increasingly a focus on North America and Europe as well.

The Future Group works to: assist and rescue victims of human trafficking and the child sex trade; deter and prosecute offenders at home and abroad; and, raise the issue to national and international attention. Visit <http://www.thefuturegroup.org> for details about the organization’s work.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

American Arrested at Airport under Sex Tourism Law

Walter Schirra, 54, was arrested at San Francisco International Airport on child sex charges as he tried to board a plane for Thailand, allegedly to solicit sex with underage boys, federal agents said Monday.

A search of his luggage revealed photos of shirtless Asian boys, sexual performance prescription drugs, condoms and large amounts of candy, said Special Agent Catherine Miller of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In an 11-page criminal complaint, investigators revealed the contents of a series of e-mails between Schirra and two federal agents posing as pedophiles seeking to assist Schirra in planning his Asian trip.

Schirra is being held without bail pending a hearing Friday. He is the first person from the Bay Area to be arrested under a law passed last year to crack down on sex tourism.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Study Finds Sex Criminals Reoffend 90 % of Time

About 90 per cent of pedophiles and other sex offenders reoffend after being caught and released, according to a new study that finds that Canadian officials "grossly underestimate" the risk they pose.

An article in the October issue of the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice asserts that academics, judges and correctional officials frequently lowball the danger posed by sex offenders because poor and incomplete data hide the fact that convicted criminals are a much greater threat than most experts realize.

"Sex offenders' actual cost to society and the danger they present appear to be grossly underestimated," the new study finds. It asserts that jail terms averaging only three to four years failed entirely to rehabilitate the vast majority of 351 offenders, whose lives were studied over 30 years.

Source: Globe and Mail.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Southeast Asian Agreement on Human Trafficking

China, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Burma have signed the first international agreement in the world aimed at wiping-out the trade in human beings. According to the UN, about 800,000 people are trafficked across the world each year, drawn into exploitation and abuse by the promise of a better life.
Source: Radio Australia.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Brazil-Germany Human Trafficking Bust

BRASILIA, Brazil - Police have broken up a German-based sex trafficking ring which offered European tourists sex with teenagers in Brazil's poor northeast and shipped women to Europe for prostitution.

Police found pornographic photos of girls as young as four provided by mothers who worked for the ring. Police are trying to establish whether children were offered for prostitution.

U.N. special envoy to Brazil, Leandro Despouy, said on Monday that Brazil's justice system often failed to investigate allegations of sexual abuse of children and teenagers in the country's north and northeast, where sex tourism is rife.

As many as 500,000 Brazilian children could be victims of child prostitution in the nation of 180 million, according to the United Nations. Brazil this month launched a campaign to warn women of the dangers of being trafficked abroad for sexual exploitation in a trade the U.N. estimates to be worth $9 billion a year.

Source: Reuters.


Friday, October 22, 2004

"Global Challenges for a new Generation"

Ben Perrin, Executive Director of The Future Group, delivered an impassioned keynote address last night to the Chancellor's Club at the University of Calgary. Perrin received a standing ovation from the over 225 guests in attendance and fielded several questions.

Perrin shared the story of how The Future Group began and about its current projects. He focused on four emergent challenges facing the next generation of Canadians:

1. The convergence of non-state actors (traffickers, criminal organizations, terrorists and paramilitary groups);
2. Fragile democracies;
3. Assisting the most vulnerable people in the most vulnerable countries; and,
4. About the culture of inaction coming from our country and ourselves.

Perrin also spoke about the will needed to overcome.

"I am convinced that our generation must brace for a deadly wave of global challenges. These forces are insidious, complex and inter-related. No country, least of all Canada, is currently prepared to confront them," said Perrin.

"Advancing freedom, justice and democracy as Canadians requires the creative force of a generation," said Perrin, "More talk is needed, but backed in equal measure by action."

The Future Group is gracious to have participated in this event and wish to thank Chancellor Bill Warren for his leadership.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Canadian Speech from the Throne Promises to Address Trafficking

"What makes our communities work is our deep commitment to human rights and mutual respect. The Government is committed to these values . . . it will table legislation to protect against trafficking in persons and to crack down on child pornography."

Source: excerpt from Speech from the Throne, October 5, 2004 to open the First Session of the 38th Parliament of Canada.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Sex trafficking arrests

London (U.K.): A couple have been arrested in London (U.K). as part of a major investigation into international sex worker trafficking. The man and woman from Streatham were arrested on Wednesday night by officers from the National Crime Squad on suspicion of conspiracy to supply forged passports.

It is suspected the couple are responsible for providing documentation and booking flights for Moldavian and Russian women to be trafficked to the UK via Europe where they are put to work in the sex trade in Mayfair, central London.

Detectives also searched an office in central London where they discovered a passport forgery factory. At least 50 fake passports in various stages of production were recovered.

Source: South London Press.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

UN warns on South Asia child sex

The trade in women and children for sex is spiralling out of control in South Asia, the UN children's fund, Unicef, has warned. South Asia provides most of the 500,000 women and children trafficked each year in Asia, Unicef estimates.
"It is one of the blights of South Asia. The situation is getting out of hand," Unicef regional director Sadig Rasheed said in Sri Lanka. "We are facing a very serious situation here in South Asia. The situation is nothing short of, I would say, modern-day slavery."

War in countries such as Nepal and Afghanistan was making matters worse, as thousands of young people left in search of a better future - and ended up in the sex trade.

Source: BBC, Sept. 29/04.


Sunday, September 26, 2004

OSCE Calls for Action Against Human Trafficking

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE, on Thursday urged governments to improve the human rights protection for victims of forced illegal immigration, or trafficking.

Christian Strohal, director of OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, said: "We know trafficking is a terrible abuse of human rights, effectively a form of slavery, slavery in the sex industry, but also slavery in labor," he said.

According to OSCE estimates, hundreds of thousands of people, most of them women and girls, are trafficked in Europe every year in what is a billion-euro (dollar) illegal industry.

An international conference in Helsinki, ending Friday, aims to set standards for assistance and protection for the victims, improving their social standing, access to legal assistance and rights to financial compensation, according to organizers.

Source: Agence France-Presse.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Myanmar recognizes human trafficking problem

YANGON, Sept. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar will set up anti-trafficking liaison offices in three of its border towns to strengthen the fight against transnational human trafficking crimes, a local news journal reported Monday.

Meanwhile, Myanmar is drafting a law on suppression of trafficking in persons and a workshop involving three related ministries, the Women Affairs Federation, officials of the Mekong Delta region, United Nations organizations and non-governmental organizations as well as local and foreign experts, was held recently to produce a complete draft.

According to official statistics, the authorities has exposed a total of 795 human traffickers, including those trafficking women and children, in 412 cases in two years since 2002. It also rescued 2,181 victims, including 1,047 women during the period. Besides, since 2001, the government educated over 700,000 people living in border areas and had prevented about 16,000 from going abroad illegally.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Human Trafficking in Vancouver, B.C.

Jung Park, a Korean national, was one of seven women deported last month following a raid of what immigration officers called a "residential massage parlour with heavy traffic."

They're called microbrothels, and they may be coming to a neighbourhood near you.They're run out of houses, condos and apartment buildings in residential neighbourhoods. They use Asian women, some of whom are in the country illegally.They're highly mobile operations that, at any sign of trouble, can shut down on a moment's notice and rise like a phoenix in another location.

These elusive operations are bringing the sex trade to new neighbourhoods, angering advocacy groups who link them to human trafficking, and frustrating police, who claim they don't have the resources to fight them.

Richmond RCMP raided four brothels in downtown apartment buildings -- all employing Malaysians in Canada on visitors' visas -- between 1998 and 2000.RCMP and police suggest that much of this is related to organized criminal networks that operate here and in Asia.

An RCMP intelligence report obtained by The Vancouver Sun through Access to Information legislation says trafficking is orchestrated by internationally networked criminal groups and mostly involves the sex trade. It adds: "Women purchased into the slave trade for between $15,000 to $30,000 are required to work off these amounts to gain back their freedom."

Source: Vancouver Sun.