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The Mara Salvatrucha, better known by their acronym MS-13, is one of the largest and most violent transnational criminal organizations in the world. Their motto is “Kill, Rape, Control.” Since the 1980s, MS-13 members have typically engaged in a wide range of violent and criminal activity including, drug distribution, murder, rape, prostitution, robbery, home invasions, immigration offenses, kidnapping, carjacking/auto thefts, and vandalism. More recently there has been a rise in MS-13 engaging in human trafficking.
The report is the first joint report of its kind to explore human trafficking in the sub-region.
The human trafficking industry is commonly associated with secrecy: operations occur underground, behind the scenes, hidden from the public eye. There is, however, at least one type of human trafficking in plain sight. The victims of forced child begging will interact with anyone whose path crosses theirs.
There were some surprising changes in this year’s Department of State Trafficking in Person Report (TIP). China was downgraded to Tier 3—the worst designation a country can receive. Despite backlash from the human rights community, Malaysia was upgraded from the Tier 2 Watch List to Tier 2. Finally, Burma and Iraq were removed from the Child Solider Prevention Act which lists governments guilty of recruiting and using child soldiers.
The terms “sex trafficking,” “sex work,” and “prostitution” are often conflated. While both sex work and sex trafficking involve prostitution by definition, sex work entails a willing engagement in commercial sex while sex trafficking involves force, coercion, or deceit. Some enter the industry willingly as sex workers but may eventually become victims of trafficking.
In August 2014, ISIS attacked the largely Yazidi populated region of Sinjar, Iraq. The Yazidis are a minority group located primarily in northern Iraq, by the Syrian border. The Yazidi religion has aspects of Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, but differs in their belief in reincarnation and the idea that God put the world in the care of seven holy beings. Because of this, the group has been targeted heavily by ISIS, who label the Yazidis as devil worshipers.
Global leaders convened at a United Nations summit in September, 2015 and adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs focus on people, the planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership. With these new goals, member states that were present at the summit are expected to establish a national framework to end poverty and fight inequality. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will help combat human trafficking through goals 5, 8, and 16.
Started in 2010 by founder Alezandra Russell, Urban Light fights the sex-trafficking of young males in Chiang Mai, Thailand, through the variety of services offered at their Youth Center. Summer Fellow Joanna DiBiase spoke to Russell about her organization and their impact on human trafficking in Thailand and around the world.
‘Modern-Day Slavery’: Many Southern States Have Prison Inmates Working in Governor’s Mansions and Capitol Buildings
When activist Sam Sinyangwe was awaiting a meeting with the governor’s office at the Louisiana state capitol building in Baton Rouge, he noticed something odd. A black man in a dark-blue jumpsuit was printing papers while a correctional guard—with a badge and gun—stood watching over him. The pair stood out against the white, middle-aged legislators populating the building.
The media has the ability to shape the general public’s awareness and understanding of human trafficking, so it is crucial that journalism on the topic is well executed. Unfortunately, many news outlets prioritize sensationalist stories over nuanced coverage of trafficking.
U.S. Senators Put Forth Legislation to Amend the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report and Current US anti-Trafficking Law
The US State Department Trafficking in Persons Report is regarded as one of the most reliable resources on how countries around the world handle the complex issue of human trafficking. Using a tier-ranking system, the TIP report ranks countries Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 2 Watch List, or Tier 3 based on a set of criteria to prosecute and prevent all forms of human trafficking.
In the United States the minimum age for marriage is 18, but in most states child marriage is legal with a parent’s consent. Girls as young as 12 in Virginia, 13 in New Hampshire and 14 in Alabama are able to legally wed with a parent’s signature.
In many developing countries, the practice of child marriage is illegal—yet it still thrives. One in three girls is married before reaching age 18 and one in nine is married under the age of 15. Despite laws against it, child marriage remains widespread in part because of poverty, traditions and insecurity.
Researchers announced findings from the largest-ever combined sample of homeless youth in the United States and Canada, revealing that nearly one-fifth are victims of human trafficking, including those trafficked for sex, labor, or both.
It’s been illegal to import goods produced using forced labor since the 1930s. Through legislatively mandated supply chain transparency, we intend to make sure that corporations finally have to follow this law.
Worker’s rights are a cornerstone of the anti-trafficking movement. Protecting both children and adults from labor exploitation, forced labor, and labor trafficking are essential to mitigating the proliferation of modern day slavery. To celebrate this May Day, we want to make sure everyone reading our blog is aware of their worker’s rights!
Every year Washington DC celebrates Emancipation Day to commemorate President Lincoln signing the DC Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862 which ended slavery in Washington DC, freed 3,100 people and reimbursed those who had legally owned them and offered the newly freed people money to emigrate.
Transgender individuals face a multitude of unique obstacles in their daily lives. These realities position trans folk to be at a higher risk of being targeted by traffickers.
A report recently released by the Freedom Fund suggests that up to 70 percent of Syrian refugee children living in Lebanon work. They found that forced labor is becoming more common as refugees become more desperate.