Plight of Sex Slaves From Moldova to Dubai

Sex for sale from Moldova to Dubai. Mimi Chakarova tells a powerful story through photos and in the words of the victims of this heinous crime. The booming "Sex Tourism" industry is no longer a threat to women and children in remote, impoverished countries, it is a plague that is infecting all countries. The men and women who abuse and use other human beings for their own sexual gratification do not live in isolation. They could be and probably are someone to whom you are married and sleep with, or with whom you work or attend religious functions, or who educates your children. We must be more vigilant in trying to stem the tide of this worldwide crisis.

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Thailand's Human Trafficking Record

Sam Hargadine, ContributorLast Modified: 14:48 p.m. EDT, 7 March 2013

Crying Girl, Photo by London Street ArtBANGKOK - Thailand and America are bracing for an awkward situation. In June, the US State Department will release its annual human trafficking report. In this year's release it is widely believed that Thailand may be relegated to the 3rd tier watch list. In other words, the worst of the worst.

Thailand's economy and civil society is a leader in the region. It is the United States' strongest ally in mainland Southeast Asia and in many ways does not deserve to be on the same list as Eritrea, Sudan, Syria, or Zimbabwe.

But there are two Thailands. One: the shimmering lights of Bangkok and the beautiful beaches and rice fields. The other: where two million legal immigrants and another few million illegal ones toil away in harsh labor conditions; keeping the Thai export economy afloat.

A report from The Economist looked at the Thai shrimp industry, worth roughly $1 billion a year. In the Samut Sakhon province, shrimp-peeling outfits have been observed physically abusing workers, denying pay, and confiscating workers' international paperwork. The State Department asserts that in Samut Sakhon, "nearly three-fifths of workers experience conditions of forced labor."

Relegation with respect to Thailand's standing in the State Department report would bring about automatic sanctions from the United States. However there are several ways Thailand and America can reach a mutually satisfactory arrangement for the current year to avoid such a measure.

Despite current conditions, there are vast incentives for the Thai and American governments to avoid the public loss of face such a downgrade would bring. After all, both governments want to have friendly relations.

Thailand is currently trying to attack the enabling environment it hosts by enforcing a 2008 law against human trafficking. Instituting penalties for police who tip off shrimp boat owners prior to inspection for instance would be a good start. Also the Thai government is encouraging illegal immigrants to now get temporary papers and be properly registered - without the immediate fear of deportation (a quasi-guest worker program). Laborers who are properly registered are then entitled to a daily minimum wage of $10/day, a strong incentive to self-register.

Only June will tell which way the report will go. However it is unlikely either party, America or Thailand, will let this impasse continue. Perhaps though, for as long as real improvements come for Thailand's most vulnerable, that is a welcome result.

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Taliban Beheads 17 People Over a Woman

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 15:10 PM EDT, 27 August 2012

KAJAKI, Afghanistan – Afghan officials have reported that 17 Afghan civilians, including two women were beheaded by Taliban militants. They were killed on Sunday, 26 August 2012 at a late night celebration.

According to Reuters and the Associated press, the revelers who lived in the Kajaki district of the Helmand province were celebrating with music and dancing which provoked the ire of the Taliban because of their disapproval of music and dancing.

NATO, the European Union, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai have roundly condemned the murders as a heinous disregard for human life and an “unforgivable crime.”

Usually quick to take credit for attacks they have committed, as well as claiming involvement in other killing for opportunistic advantage and publicity, the Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi issued a statement today denying the groups involvement in the attack. (Source: VOA)

In an effort to distance themselves from charges of radical extremism and unbridled suppression and violence, the Taliban, through Helmand’s governor stated that the killings were not because the Taliban objected on religious grounds to the celebration with music, dancing, and women, but that the killings were a result of a feud between two Taliban commanders.

Just as in the case in July 2012 when the Taliban executed a woman in cold blood after accusing her of adultery, it has been alleged that this is a similar situation in which one of the woman was executed in order to settle a dispute between two Taliban leaders, each of whom wanted her. If this is proven to be true, then remaining sixteen revelers were simply collateral damage.

Whatever the reason, 17 people lost their lives during a night of festivities which should have ended in happiness and joy but instead was brutally cut short through these heinous beheadings.

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Oil for Silence Fuels Bahraini Torture Deaths

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 23:49 PM EDT, 23 May 2012

Bahraini Torture Victim, Photo by Nabeel RajabMANAMA, Bahrain — The call for democracy that began during Bahrain's Arab Spring has fomented into a full-scale revolution in response to the ruling Sunni monarchy's persistence in maintaining power by refusing to acquiesce to Bahraini citizens' demands for democratic elections.

External human rights groups have charged the monarchy with gross violations but lack sufficient access to the country to allow them to fully investigate. Internal investigations have confirmed that the Bahraini monarchy is guilty of gross human rights violations and have published their findings on several websites and papers found at the end of this post.

The latest victim of this dictatorial regime could be Yousef Mowali, 23, who was found dead of an apparent drowning earlier this week. However, Al Jazeera reported that autopsy results indicated evidence of torture, and if the allegations are proven true, then Mowali could be latest Bahraini to have died from torture while in the custody of Bahraini military police.

In testimony before the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), representatives of the monarchy continued to assert that all individuals in detention are being treated humanely as their cases progress through the justice system. They have also vociferously denied any culpability in the deaths of Mowali and others.

The ruling Sunni monarchy has politicized the human rights abuses occurring in their nation by claiming that the violence is the result of sectarianism instigated by the Shiite minority and covert Iranian operatives who seek to overthrow the monarchy.

According to the monarchy, the suppression of 'sporadic' violence in which some people may have sustained injuries is justified to maintain law and order and to protect the sovereignty of Bahrain.

Many countries in which martial law has been instituted under the guise of suppressing 'subversive elements,' find that once law and order is restored the military often refuses to relinquish power even after the crisis has passed.

In Bahrain the military could prove just as dangerous to the monarchy as they are to the protesters. This possibility is bolstered by images of wanton violence, destruction, and undisciplined behavior by a police force seemingly out of control.

The military in Bahrain has been responsible for the disappearance of hundreds of people, they have maimed, killed, and disappeared thousands more, and a growing number of women have been assaulted and raped by policemen.

Though human rights abuses have been substantiated through empirical evidence, it is the videotaped footage of police brutality that refutes the monarchy's claims of benevolence and a desire for sincere reform.

In late 1990 "some of the most egregious offenders included Ian Henderson, a former colonial officer employed in Bahrain who was accused by multiple witnesses of torturing prisoners. Adel Flaifel, a notorious security officer identified by many detainees as having overseen torture, both of whom were given immunity under Royal Decree 56 of 2002.

The torture described by many human rights reports was widespread and systematic. Up to 1866 who made up 64% of detainees reported being tortured during this time period by members from three government agencies, namely the Ministry of Interior, the National Security Agency, and the Bahrain Defence Force. (Source: Wikipedia)

Victims claimed that representatives from each of these agencies were actively involved in interrogating detainees in relation to the unrest leading up to Bahrain's Arab Spring uprising.

Though, as one commentator noted, these figures hail from a 'distant' past, the fact that allegations of torture and abuse persist nearly twenty years later signifies a pattern of systemic and despotic governance. These abuses which have occurred over a long period of time have only become more visible because of the uprising, and the legislative reforms ratified by the BICI look good on paper but do not seem to have translated into real change.

At the grassroots level people are still suffering abuse at the hands of those who are charged with protecting them, and like the civil rights movements which occurred in other countries like South Africa, United States, and India to name a few, it was because of the sustained will of the people that these governments eventually had to bring their governance inline with the human rights legislation codified in their constitutions.

Most troubling about Bahrain's 'Bloody Spring' is the fact that both the United States and the United Kingdom, two countries that present themselves as the enforcers of global justice and the arbiters of human rights abuses, have remained silent on this grave issue. In fact, both governments have recently announced their support of the Bahraini monarchy during official state visits apparently out of fear that a rift between the two nations could adversely impact national security interests and oil supplies.

For more in-depth coverage of this issue view the news reports below, and since a picture is worth a thousand words, the video footage of the brutal crackdown and its victims presents undeniable proof that the Bahraini monarchy is unwilling to entertain democracy and will not go 'gently into that good night.'

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Neo-Colonialism in Emerging Economies

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 02:12 AM EDT, 19 May 2011

AFRICA - When I lived in Africa as a child we resided in countries previously colonized by the British and Germans. In these post-colonialist nations the vacuum left by the departing imperialist was painfully evident in the areas of energy, water, sanitation, manufacturing and the transportation trade vectors implemented to facilitate the transport and shipment of wealth from Africa to their respective countries.

The departing colonialist were particularly vindictive when they deliberately sabotaged manufacturing plants which supported these supply chain vectors.

In both Nigeria and Tanzania we experienced the deleterious effects of post-colonialism.  Daily we were confronted with the challenges of securing clean drinking water, because if it was running it had boiled; the electricity was intermittent and grocery store shelves were often empty.

These pressures coupled with the indoctrination of the populace forced to abdicate their cultural values to those of the imperialist resulted in the dissolution of family structures. The century old traditions and mores soon dissipated and without these societal controls high crime rates  ensued.

Crimes previously held in check by swift communal judgment and justice, crimes like murder, rape and organized crime.  These social ills in conjunction with the ongoing external pressures to keep many former colonial countries destabilized through war are a modern manifestation of the heinous legacy of colonialism.

By this definition, Ethiopia escaped colonialism irrespective of the brief Italian occupation. Therefore, it is noteworthy that the country seems to have fallen prey to allure of foreign investment which is the advent of a new wave of colonialism. Companies from Asia, the Middle-East and elsewhere have secured 50 year land leases for pennies on the dollar from the ruling government. A hectare of fertile land in Ethiopia’s Oromia region costs $10 and in a bitter twist of fate is subsequently farmed by the locals who once owned the land.

Some people argue that this type of investment is good for the country because the people who owned the land were “lazy” and did not do anything with it. This type of thinking is similar to the faulty “logic” employed by the European settlers who arrived in North America and claimed that the land was not being properly “utilized” by the Native Americans. Under this premise they forcibly took the land and physically removed the indigenous population to less arable parts of the country.

What large aggro-farming corporations and the early American settlers fail to comprehend is the fact that local, indigenous people have a relationship with the land and understand the rhythm of the earth and its cycles of yields. My paternal grandparents owned a 500 acre working farm which is still in our family. We often spent summers with them and through this exposure I learned about the importance of allowing the ground to lay fallow to enable vital nutrients to be replenished.

In an effort to make more money, these large aggro concerns over farm the land year after year; and in order to increase yield, chemicals, pesticides and bioengineering is employed to decrease growing time and increase yield. These practices results in increased yield with decreased nutritional value. A better use of the resources would be to subsidize small, local farmers with the necessary funding and equipment to properly use the land they own. Instead of selling the majority of arable land to large, foreign conglomerates, investment should be made in local communities to encourage the formation and growth of farming cooperatives.

To sell some of the land to outside concerns to grow flowers or coffee is by no means a bad thing. It increases the Gross National Product (GNP), which is the value of all the goods and services produced in an economy, plus the value of the goods and services imported, less the goods and services exported, which ultimately helps these countries economies to mature. However, the current land leases referenced in this post and the links below offer short-term gains in exchange for long-term losses.

This type of exchange also occurs in Nigeria where the government unilaterally leases oil/gas rights to foreign companies who reap billions of dollars at the expense of the health and welfare of the local people and the environment.  The costs of these 100 years leases is  a mere pittance by comparison to what they earn in profits.

In addition to these profits the companies operate with relative impunity because of graft, which in Nigeria is otherwise known as a "dash."  For these foreign companies there is no accountability required nor punitive action enforced when they perpetrate heinous human rights violations or flagrant environmental abuses.

The African colonialism period (1818 – 1914) as well as the last 20 years of the nineteenth century saw the transition to ‘informal imperialism.'  This form of imperialism was instigated by the same nationals who originally carved up then colonized Africa.  Thus, the continued destabilization of these countries is to their benefit.

This outside interference leveraged by the sale of arms to various factions amounts to direct military influence. The previous economic dominance of direct colonial rule has been replaced by pervasive but less visible form of conquest which still enables the imperialist to  rape these countries of precious natural resources.

The sacrifice of people and the utter disregard of the needs of the masses for the profit of a few persist in every society.  However, in Africa this disparity results in massive human suffering and is portrayed as the fault of the populace who is unable through intellect or desire to manage their countries as well as the colonialist.

This form of patriarchal disdain is continued at the hands of large corporations that generate billions of dollars despite the ability and right of the government to  demand remuneration or compensation for the local people who are most adversely impacted by the negotiations and contractual obligations entered into by their governments.

Land sold for the express purpose of growing food stock or produce that doesn't directly benefit the local populace either nutritionally or economically is another form of colonialism and is a practice that must be publicized, countered and vociferously condemned.

Visit the links below to learn more about Colonialism in Africa::

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Live and Become

Racism in all of its manifestations is reprehensible, yet individuals afflicted with this particular malaise always seem to find a justification for their prejudice, which allows them to assert that they are not racist. We all have our particular preferences and biases, and I am not immune.

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