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Somalia – The Truth of Unclaimed Nation

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Horn of Africa an old jewel left exploited and stripped has faced the non destined fortune which people have been facing since the last two decades. Somalia once used to be a great trading and immigration center for Asian and Arab merchants had lived its era of prosperity.

The greedy natures of the self discriminatory politics have crushed all hopes of this dying nation where people have been fighting for their survival every day.
The central transitional government recognized by the international community as the official representative for Somalia affairs hardly controls an area of more than few sq kms confined to the state capital Mogadishu.
Somalia saw its destruction due to four factors which intervened in its affairs since 1960s. These factors have always ruled the political environment of this once great nation. The Conference which was held in London in last month February 2012 under the leadership of David Cameroon – Prime Minister of UK and Hilary Clinton – US State Secretary has been a late but much needed attempt to draw the global attention towards Somalia.
But due to the negligence by the global community and rigid nature of terms set up by them for dialogue with various territory holders of Somalia resulted in the destruction of the lives and families of the people of Somalia and the nation at large.
Somalia and its people are fighting the war from within and with their neighbors’ who have never supported the cause of Somalia and are one of the major forces behind the destruction of the Somalia’s society and its country especially Ethiopia whose constant interference in the internal matters and policies of Somalia have damaged the entire political and national set up hence; dividing the country from all spheres of existence.
It is a surprising fact that a nation which has remained without a government and legal constitutional system from more than twenty years has existed with complete territorial integrity with no advances made by any African country with exception of Ethiopia which control a small part of Somalia’s territory however with no claim as such on it.
The second most disastrous factor which contributed in the start of Somalia Civil War and the national divide is due to the un-coordinated nature exists in the caste based system of Somalia. It is this factor which has done major destruction of Somalia’s national integrity and unacceptability of the national political system created after the independence in 1960 which ended up in the political disaster during 1991 when the President Siad Barre government was overthrown, resulted in the one of the most destructive civil wars took place in the recent history.
Millions since then have been affected by the ongoing conflict while entire Somali population suffers from pro-longed drought and famine existing conditions which they are experiencing from last 15 years which has taken toll to thousands of lives irrespective of any caste or creed of their domain.
Where people were forced to leave their homelands in search of safer abode where they can at least have one meal a day and can also live safe away from the hands of extremists who have not only ruined their country by taking large swathes of territory but has also put their livelihood on the cross-roads where they have no choice but to take up the work left for them to earn their fortune.
Billions of Dollars of international assistance have already been given and being provided by UN through various governments agencies and organizations but the matter of the fact lies the same old situation with no progress visibly telling the development story of once prosperous nation. Even though the London Conference was organized to bring out the solution to the two decades long conflict and provide a stable government with unified voices from various factions and controllers of the Somalia’s territory. The theme of addressing the causes of the Somali conflict and the need for new approach mentioned in the speech of UK PM, David Cameron seems abandoned or unarticulated while the publicly rejected Roadmap of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) took the center stage.
The following seven themes hold different meanings to the Somali people as illustrated below:
1. Security: Means no professional responsible Somali national Security forces under the exclusive control of a legitimate national government and instead more foreign forces in Somalia. A local authority protected and empowered by foreign forces cannot be accountable to the Somali people.
2. Political Process: Means continuation of vassal Transitional Federal Government (TFG)’s model of IGAD, clan based regional states, letters to the Diaspora from the Special Representative of the Secretary General, and abusive threats and accusations as spoilers of peace to the critics of the inept TFG, Kenya and Ethiopian intervention in Somalia or opponents to Kampala Accord, the deceitful Roadmap or UNPOS’s wrongheaded policies.
Even the representatives of the people of Somalia (Members of Parliament) are not immune from the foreign threats for punishment in fulfilling their constitutional rights and responsibilities. IGAD’s angry letter (IGAD threatens sanctions over Somali parliament) to the MPs who ousted the ex Speaker Sharif Hassan is a frightening and appalling example of infringement of Somalia’s sovereignty and proves the falsity of the international legitimacy conferred to TFG. In clear terms, Somalia is presently under the direct control of Addis Ababa.
3. Local stability: Means expansion of the Dual Track Policy which expedites Somalia’s fragmentation and conflict for resource and power competition.
4. Counter-Terrorism: Means insecurity, loss of dignity, freedom, death of innocent people in the hunt of terrorists, and deprivation of vulnerable Somalis from foreign remittances incomes and denial of humanitarian assistance in addition to Al Shabab’s cruel bans. Banks have been pressured to stop transfers of money to Somalia for counter-terrorism reasons.
5. Piracy: Means restriction of the Somali territorial water and utilization of marine resources, imposition of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), continuation of illegal fishing and dumping toxic waste.
6. Humanitarian: Means intensification of the current Somalia’s depopulation by increasing the refugees, the displaced and impoverished population due to the massive military interventions and actions in Somalia.
7. International Coordination: Means increased support for the disintegration, polarization and division of Somalia rather than increased support for Somali driven peace, reconciliation and nation building.
The UK led London Conference on Somalia, which has started with the hope of state building in Somalia but now it recycles the roadmap themes. The plan introduces a new element which is called a Joint Financial Management Board. The High Level Political Committee and the Joint Security Committee established in Djibouti, and the Joint Financial Management Board expected to be established in London will constitute the instruments (institutions) of illegal International Trusteeship Administration on Somalia.
In the context of London Conference, it has been circulated an Italian proposal which advocates a 16 months of UN/AU Trusteeship or what it is called Transitional Administration on Somalia. The Italian proposal has formally documented the total failure of the TFG and international efforts. Theoretically, the proposal is far better than the current situation of TFG’s vassal model or what Prof Afyare Elmi called “stealth trusteeship” on Somalia under disparate actors.
President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya is asking PM Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia to leave the areas liberated by Kenyan forces after massacring Al Shabab and civilians. But PM Meles Zenawi refused and responded by saying, “you don’t know anything. I have been manipulating this country in the past 20 years.” Therefore, PM Meles relaxes on the bleeding Somalia.
The entire situation on Somalia is alarming where on one hand the UK backed Transitional Government seated in Mogadishu is exploiting and misusing the funds collected for Somalia’s welfare where leaders have been found involved in corrupt practices where out of $54 million only one million dollars were spent for welfare while neighbours of Somalia making every possible effort to crush the growing hope of stable and united Somalia where Ethiopia lies at the centre of Somalia’s politics.
While its own people have now been involved into illegal and anti social activities of extremism and have now become the major threat to global shipping by indulging into piracy. With people have no choice to earn their livelihood, with no government to rule and with no serious initiative by international community has left Somalia lying with uncertainties and at the mercy of terrorist which has transformed Somalia into a hub for global terrorism where organizations are finding secure shelters and grounds to work up on their projects of disasters making poor and innocents their target and even their recruits. Its now high time that world should take a note of the situation and invite all the representatives from Somalia irrespective of their agenda, their activities and control including Al Shabab and other organizations and communities not only from Somaliland but also from Puntland in order to come to a common terms and settle on a point of peace and stability for making Somalia and better and prosperous nation ruled by great leaders with accountable system of governance. Ethiopia and other who are creating nuisance along with Transitional government and its leaders must be made accountable and should be dragged in the ICJ.

Human Trafficking: An Ancient Curse on Mankind

In the present world where mankind has moved out to other celestial bodies and is inventing something new every day, there still are some who are not bothered about this progress and are just trying to pull the civilisation back to those times where humanity and courtesy were not even invented. It is very sad to see that even in the most developed nations, there are some who do not want to look up to modern ways of progress and are just exploiting humanity in every way for their petty vested interests.

Although life has moved a lot ahead, still issues like human trafficking appal us. Not only the under-developed countries, this demon has even engulfed a huge number of people, especially women and children, hailing even from the most developed nations of the world. Human trafficking can be better defined as the illegal trade of human beings for the purpose of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labour, or modern day slavery in different industries and also for household work.
Human trafficking has been identified, world over, as the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. This comes second only to drug trafficking. This is substantially different from people smuggling as in smuggling, people voluntarily request to be hired for services. On the other hand, human trafficking involves forced ways like kidnaping and buying and selling of people.
The majority of trafficking victims all over the world are between 18 and 24 years of age. Besides, an estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked from 127 countries and are sent across to different geographies to be sold and used for different requirements by the buyers.
The main reason that can be attributed to the growth of this industry is lack of education and financial disparity among different sections in each economy. Most of the victims of this human evil are bought or kidnapped from weaker economies or regions like north-east part of India, Nepal, Malaysia, Indonesia, Afghanistan and several other countries in Africa like Nigeria and Sudan and are sold to the well offs in developing and developed economies for a whopping amount of money. In totality, as many as 161 countries are reported to be affected by human trafficking by being either a source, transit or a destination point.
The statistics revealed by different agencies related to human trafficking are rather alarming. According to different surveys, 95% of the victims of human trafficking experience physical or sexual violence during the transportation or after being sold. Most of these victims, even if bought for household chores, are subjected to inhuman conditions and are often raped and killed at some point of time or the other.
The nexus of human trafficking is growing and is already worth US $31.6 billion. Out of this, 49% is generated from industrialised economies, 30.6% from Asia and Pacific, 4.1% generated from Latin America and the Caribbean, and 4.7% is generated in the Middle East and North America. Such is this nexus that even the most prominent people of several regions are a part of it. The people who profit by victimising the children and women into this sex trade are only 50% of the problem. The other half is constituted by the ones who patronise this exploitative industry. This whole system is being run under the protective shelter of several important and effective people of different regions.

The traffickers who are also known as pimps when sex trade is the main reason for trafficking exploit vulnerability and lack of opportunities in remote areas. They offer promises of marriage, employment, education, and an overall better life and finally sell the victims to the effluent.
The story does not end here. The buyers who buy these ‘commodities’ put these victims into difficult conditions and often make them live without food and minimum requirements for days. They often beat them up, bruise them black and blue, give them electric shocks, and even give them scars that do not go away for their entire lives. There also have been instances when a victim has even died after being put to such tough physical and unacceptable sexual tyranny.
Even as the society wakes up to a new age wherein progress of technology and mankind is the key, the evil of human trafficking has stricken and has bled many a lives. When women are matching steps with men and are getting advantageous position in different industries, it is extremely depressing to see more and more women being pushed into this exploitation that often claims their lives and many a times leave them with diseased bodies for the rest of their lives.
The worst part about all this is that all governments worldwide recognise this human trafficking as the most heinous crime against humanity, still not much has been done till now to eradicate this evil from the surface of earth. The governments and administrations all over the world are just neglecting this major crime against humanity. Although, several regulations and laws cover this issue, but not of much avail. Nothing significant is actually happening in this direction that can protect the victims from being trafficked in the first place.
It needs to be understood by the people as well as the governments that human trafficking cannot be abolished by putting things into place proper regulations and laws. The need today is that the people should be more active and aware about their fundamental rights and the administration should ensure proper protection to the under privileged sections of the society.
On behalf of the team of The Oslo Times, I want to send out this message to the people in different geographies that this evil can only be abolished when we all join hands and determine to free our society of this evil. We strongly condemn this ill practice and want that the administrations take some firm steps to improve the situation.

Organ harvesting

Organs are not useful when they are dead. They drug them first and remove the organs. Then they leave them to die. Human rights campaigner Hamdy Al-Azazy

International organ trafficking has become a huge multibillion $ business and it continues to grow. The traffickers have become more and more ruthless and have absolutely no boundaries. An example is Antonio Medina, 23 year old migrant from Central America on his way to USA with his wife were captured by a criminal gang. After being locked in separate rooms, Medina heard his wife screaming. Later on, he entered the room and saw his wife on a table with her chest wide open and without her heart and kidney. Medina was lucky; he and some others were saved by Mexican soldiers. This is the small part of global trafficking as for most of the part, organ trafficking occurs in hospitals where medical practitioners are corrupt and cooperate with traffickers because of the profit.

Poor and desperate people can earn between 3,000 to $15,000 for selling their organs, especially kidneys, to middlemen who re-sell them to wealthy buyers for as much as $200,000.

Although it happens in most of the countries, however it is more prevalent in Israel, India, China, Pakistan, Turkey, Brazil, Nepal, the Philippines, Kosovo, Iran and the former Soviet states in Eastern Europe. Most of the countries here have weak authorities and poverty makes people desperate to sell their organs to the wealthy. The customers are from the US, Western Europe, the Arab Gulf states, Israel and other wealthy countries.

Everybody has 2 kidneys that filter the toxins out of the bloodstream. If a patient with failure in both kidneys will die quickly unless he/she is treated with a dialysis machine or get a transplant. The transplants prolongs the lives of the patients but patients who receive organs from living donors have better survival rates rather than those receiving from deceased donors.

Online Business

China has done it well by attracting sellers and buyers by using the web. The communist country has the world’s highest execution rate and the dead convicts supply healthy young organs at all time. The Chinese justice system works effective and quick for those who are sentenced to death and corrupt government workers take advantage of the situation to earn extra money.

Once patients arrive to China, the organizers will force them to bid more than the others so that a single organ will go for the highest price. They are forced to sit at the hospital and wait and watch who will get the organ from the executed prisoner.

Israel and shortage of donors

This globally black market is deceptive and dirty. The traffickers use deception, violence and coercion to buy and sell organs from desperate people and sell them for much higher price to more developed countries. These middlemen form partnership with doctors in different hospitals who perform these transplants for an arranged fee and no questions. The numbers from World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that 5000 people sell their organs on the black market each year. Many of the black marketed kidneys harvested by the rootless gangs are destined to patients in Israel.

With a population of 7,4 million and a very modern medical system, Israel has a alarming shortage of donors because of the religious belief. Only 12% of Israelis are registered as donors according to the Israeli National Transplant center. What’s positive is that the Israeli police has been very aggressive against organ traffickers and managed to break up 3 international gangs since 2008.

The criminals profits from the poor and the sick, both parts that try to survive. They will pay a seller $10,000 and collect $150,000 from the patient.  The buyers are flown to cities and hospitals to wait for the procedure until they find a recipient.

Unfortunately, there are corrupt doctors everywhere and it is impossible for them not to know about the transplants because of the money that is involved. How can they not know about whether the donor is a blood relative or not?  Not only the middlemen, but the doctors must also be held accountable together with everyone that is involved.

Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, from New York, admitted in a Trenton federal court to brokering three illegal kidney transplants for desperate New Jersey-based customers in exchange for payments of $120,000 or more. He also pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count for brokering an illegal kidney sale.

The religious debate

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, a prominent and leading arbiter of Jewish law in Israel advises that donating body parts violates the religious faith, which states that “upon death, a body should be buried intact.” This has lead to a huge shortage of donors and the list of patients is growing. The result is that money hungry gangs prey on these desperate people.

Shmuel Eliyahu, chief Rabbi of Safed, Israel has started a project to get 100 colleagues to sign a document advocating organ donation. “The Torah tells people to help others when they can, especially if it means saving a life. Donating an organ is a mitzvah, or good deed, “he said.

Egypt

In this area, there is a network of Bedouin smugglers who steal organs from refugees who travel in the harsh desert in search for a better life in Israel. If they can’t pay for the large amount of money to their smugglers, they have to pay with their organs. Many African refugees have been found in the desert with their organs missing.

The most dangerous and cruel traffickers are the Sawarka Bedouin tribe who steal organs from refugees coming from Ethiopia, Eritrea or Sudan. If they can’t pay, the men lose their organs and the women are raped.

Al-Azazy, a human rights activist stated that the victims are drugged before the traffickers remove the organs as the organs aren’t useful when the victim is dead. After the surgery, the victim is dumped in a dry well where hundreds of other bodies rest. They all have one thing in common, and that is the deep scar they all carry. This heinous act is a shame and the corrupt Egyptian doctors are working together with the Bedouins and perform the surgery in mobile hospitals.

Countries involved

According to information from WHO, kidney transplants are carried out in 91 countries. Approximately, 66,000 kidney transplants, 21,000 liver transplants and 6000 heart transplants were performed globally in 2005.

Organ harvesting is going on at full speed in Philippines, Turkey, Iran, central Europe, mainly in the Czech Republic, Caucasus, mainly in Georgia, Pakistan, India, Africa; such as Mozambique and South Africa as one of the main countries.

The surgeons removes kidneys, lungs, pieces of liver, even corneas, bones, tendons, heart valves, skin and other sellable human bits. The organs are kept in cold storage and air lifted to illegal distribution centers in the United States, Germany, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Israel, South Africa, and other rich, industrialized locales. This barbaric business makes more money than human trafficking and drug trafficking.

The Middle East residents of the Gulf States (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman) have travelled to India, Philippines and to Eastern Europe for many years to purchase organs because of some Islamic teachings that allow organ transplantation to save life but prohibit organ harvesting from brain-dead bodies.

The Gurgaon kidney scandal

Police arrested several people for running a kidney transplant clinic in Gurgaon, Delhi. The kidneys came mostly from poor people from Uttar Pradesh and transplanted to clients in USA, UK, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Greece. Dr. Amit Kumar, who ran the clinic and the guesthouse, was arrested in Nepal on 7 February 2008 but not surprisingly, he denied having anything to do with the trafficking. Officials seized a bank draft worth Rs. 936,000 together with €145,000 and $18,900 in cash. He tried to bribe the Nepali police but was not successful.

The donors were lured to the clinic for job opportunities and then asked if they were willing to donate their kidney for the amount of Rs. 30,000. If they resisted, they would forcedly be dragged into the operation room.

I personally stand for saving lives but this type of harvesting should not happen in the 21st century. The way the eastern Europeans and Chinese perform the surgery reminds me of the death camps in Nazi Germany. There are many pictures on the internet showing dead naked bodies dumped over each other on the floors. All of them are opened up and emptied for organs. It’s disgusting and inhuman how a human life can be taken away so easily. As long as there is a shortage of donors, the business will continue flourishing. It is sad to think about all those who are chained to the bed waiting for a kidney, liver or heart but no one has the right to murder another human being for the sake of money.

“When I look in the mirror and see that scar, it’s a daily reminder of what I went through,” he says. “I feel this raw grievance inside.” Abdullin, 28 from Azerbaijan.

Anwar Ibrahim – Victim of baseless allegations

A village of Cherok Tok Kun where hardly the political will connects gave rise to a star of new Malaysia on 10th August 1947 when the dawn of new era had began & when the shine of imperialism was started to fade then in a small unknown corner of the world someone was going to take birth whose ideology & growth will go to give Malaysia a new dimension to think beyond ethnic boundaries.

Anwar Ibrahim started his career when he was pursuing Malay studies as a President of Muslim student organization Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar Islam Malaysia (PKPIM) & of Persatuan Bahasa Melayu Universiti Malaya (PBMUM) simultaneously. In 1971 he was one of the prominent members & among the founders of Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia or Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) founded in 1971. During 1974 student protests against rural poverty & hunger he was booked under Malaysian Internal Security Act leading him to imprisonment of 20 months detaining him without any judicial trail.

Famous for his nationalist ideology his move to support the government of Malaysian President Mahathir Mohammad in 1981 shocked his liberal & unconditional supporters of his founded organization Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM). As he joined the politics the rise of his ranks & status gathered momentum. His first ministerial post was as the minister for Culture, Youth & Sports in 1983.

The time of Anwar’s golden era has now just started in 1983 & he remained & gained his ranks of political world with a great pace when ultimately he reached & was sworned in as a Deputy Prime Minister in Mahathir bin Mohammad government from 1993 – 1998 which ended with the blow of ASEAN financial crisis of 1997 closing of his son-father relationship of political path in 1998 with UMNO. He was also appointed as an Acting Prime Minister during absence of Mahathir Mohammad who took holiday from his work for about two months.

Before climbing to the Prime Minister’s desk Anwar Ibrahim headed many ministries in UMNO such as in 1984, Minister of Education 1986 which cleared the way for his prime ministerial position expected as per Malaysian politics which rife him to the surety of his Deputy Prime Ministerial choice.

Anwar came in limelight when he took charge of the two prominent ministries in 1986 Education Minister & 1991 Minister of Finance. During his tenure as a Minister of Education he introduced numerous pro Malay policies in the national school curriculum & the most controversial of them all was when he renamed the national language as Bahasa Melayu from Bahasa Malaysia this invited the huge public outcry from the non Malays who felt that this will detached the future generations from the national language & there will be nothing which does not belong to Malaysians but only to Malays.

This has created a much silent rift which has now widened with his moves. When he was Finance minister the allegations were drawn that he is being corrupt & is using public exchequer in a non transparent manner.

During the last years of his golden era when Malaysia & other ASEAN economies were facing brunt of financial crisis Anwar blamed Mahathir being a capitalist & was opened a clear front against his protectionist policies which have resulted in financial turmoil in Malaysia.

The trail & allegations which he faced & is going through are completely baseless as it is completely political which a result is of the confrontation between the two political magnets. With a rise in support & increasing popularity in the masses especially in the minorities Anwar’s demise can be beneficial to one person & that is Mahathir himself who even have called him the potential prime minister for Israel.

The person who is nationalist by choice & is clear with transparency in his views cannot be corrupt & can’t perform the act of sodomy with his fellow ministers. The trail under which he gone & spent 6 months under severe torture by the police authorities are completely not justified. The person who had been declared as Asian of the year just because of his policies & stand for his nation’s worst days is charged with the allegations of being corrupt political figure; the person who took stand against the corrupt political practices of the national leaders of his Malay nation especially that off Mahathir whose intentions to save his own investments leads the national exchequer to the mere dummy.

The reason which nobody knows is that Anwar stopped Mahathir to protect his family’s fortune & business interests by diversifying the public funds to their corporate. This has gone against the wishes of his senior colleague. It is said there is nothing bigger than the self politics which even does not spare the closest of the relations if they come in between of the personal satisfaction & greed of political growth.

This is what happened to the relations of Mahathir & Anwar which when tested on the values came under the political weight of scrutiny. The nationalistic values & patriotism of Anwar Ibrahim which thought was right & has guided him right on the path of truth & justice which his nation was expecting of him at the most difficult times of its economy didn’t matched with the greedy expectations of the corrupt political circles of the Mahathir bin Mohammad’s regime which even at the harsh times were just trying to save their own interests rather than those of nation.

The Anwar’s policies favouring financial & banking system which allows them to protect their funds in terms of saving them from bankruptcy & not allowing any offerings for public bailouts for the corporate had resulted in the first between the two titans of the Malaysian Cabinet.

It is the policies of Anwar & the values of his nationalism which saved Malaysia from the worst of the financial turmoil otherwise if there would be someone else corrupt then scenario of Anwar’s nation would have been completely different. This is he who have helped building Malaysia a more secular & friendly state rather being clutched in the grip of fundamentals of the radical Islam which has always threatened Malaysia’s system from the start of its first years of independence.

When somebody wants fame & want to get famous mostly the people choose to target who is already under sight & this is what happened to Anwar Ibrahim who was prosecuted under the false charges of sodomy by his fellow minister which though somehow proven on the false identification & criticised reports of the DNA has ended Anwar’s career altogether as Malaysian law has provisions of 15 years jail term under sodomy charges.

The trail which Anwar went through was full of loops in the judicial decision which made him the victim of the corrupt politicization of the judiciary in Malaysia. The decision to sentence Anwar & the maltreatment of him by the police officers in jail was the matter of the fact of political influence which still exist in advance Malaysian society which portrays itself as the most clear & a true Asian in real.

Defaming the image of the person whose ideology & focus is his nation, who have always stand for his nation in the most difficult times for which he even got awarded as the Asian of the Year. The person who sees life as respect & believes in being natural & clear in his approach was booked under the false allegations of the sodomy charges falsely put by the greedy sections of his fellows who Anwar has always trusted & coordinated on every level.

The person who visions a better & safer future for his nation was declared corrupt defaming his image which characterises him as the national hero who saved his nation from being driven in the down line of crisis. The person who talked about secularism & national unity was banned from the politics just because the loopy trails of false allegations were being conducted under the political channels favouring the hollow desires of greedy politicians.

The trail has not only tarnished the image of Malaysian judiciary but has also been criticised by most respected international organisations & communities. The open truth of Anwar Ibrahim’s patriotic soul has not been felt by the citizens of his nations to whom he served the most. The mockery of the Malaysian judiciary has now been made in the public resulting in the complete shame for the nation like this which is secular & friendly.

Even though he has promised to return to active politics & run the Malaysian parliament but the effect of his trails will take the toll on him as he is still going through the remaining allegations charged on him if the accusations are established then he will spent rest of his life in jail which though is not a good sign of the transparent judiciary who not even being so clear that the national hero & the masses leader who have always lead the nation as one has now struggling to hold his feet on his beloved ground of his mother’s lap where he was born, grown & sworned into the code of nationalism. Where he visions the future for his people as one & in peace where he has harmonised the genes of distinct identities that formed Malaysia as one.

The state of the perish falls on the political circle where even in this century there is no room for transparency & justice is still finding his hero & waiting for him to lead its way to peace & prosperity. The future of Anwar’s nation now stand in the cross roads of radical Islam & the secular society which Anwar’s has supported & viewed as harmonious for Malays.

In his absence the vacuum of the patriotic star will remain always in the empty corners of Malay Peninsula where now the discrimination of fundamentals is on the rise & where the demise of nationalism is the norm of the day. The heroes like Anwar Ibrahim are needed for Malaysia who is now struggling between the traditions & the challenges of the greedy capitalistic society who has never favoured the growth of the nation as one.

Harmful practices to the female body; part 1 Female Genital Mutilation

“Mama tied a blindfold over my eyes. The next thing I felt my flesh was being cut away. I heard the blade sawing back and forth through my skin. The pain between my legs was so intense I wished I would die.” –Waris Dirie, UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador and spokesperson on FGM

1. What is FGM?

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” Most of the victims live in African countries, some in the Middle East and Asian countries and it is increasing in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada.

FGM is usually performed by an older experienced woman with no medical training. In primitive areas, anaesthetics and antiseptic treatment is not used and the tools consist of knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass and razor blades. A mixture of herbs is placed on the wound to tighten the vagina and stop the bleeding. The age of the girls varies from infants to girls to the age of 10 depending on the community and family.

It is extreme form of discrimination against women and performed on innocent children that are not able to defend themselves. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

2. 4 types of FGM

According to WHO;

a)     Excision (removal) of the clitoral hood with or without removal of part or all of the clitoris. Occurs in 85% of the FGM.

b)     Removal of the clitoris together with part or all of the labia minora. Occurs in 85% of the FGM.

c)      Removal of part or all of the external genitalia (clitoris, labia minora, and labia majora) and stitching and/or narrowing of the vaginal opening leaving a small hole for urine and menstrual flow. Occurs in Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, parts of Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.

d)     All other operations of the female genitalia.

3. History of Female Circumcision

Female circumcision, also known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is not a recent phenomenon as it has been dated back as far as to 2nd century BC when a geographer, Agatharchides of Cridus wrote about the subject that occurred among tribes residing on the western coast of the Red Sea (today’s Egypt). Based on the current areas practicing FGM, it seems as the tradition has originated from Egypt and spread. Others believe that the custom was rooted in the kingdom of the Pharaohs.

As Islam rose throughout the region, Egyptians raided territories in the south and exported Sudanic slaves. Female slaves were sold at a higher price if they were “sewn up” as they became unable to give birth. After many converting to Islam, this practice was abolished as Islam prohibits Muslims from harming their body and enslaving others.

Today this primitive tradition has reached the coasts of America, Europe, Australia and Canada. Numbers from Amnesty International estimates that 135 million women have experienced FGM and that between 2-3 million girls and infants undergoes this practice every year.  In Africa alone it is about 92 million girls who has undergone FGM.

4. Medical consequence of FGM

FGM have absolutely no health benefits for the girls except doing harm and causing extreme pain. As the healthy genital tissue is being removed, the body cannot function in a natural way. Since this procedure is being practiced by people who have no medical training and without using any necessary anesthetic or sterilization, the FGM can lead to death by shock from bleeding or infections by the unsterilized tools. The first sexual intercourse will be extremely painful who will be needed to be opened and this is being performed by the partner with a knife. Besides bleeding there are several short and long term complications that these girls have to deal with and I have listed them shortly.

Depending on the degree of mutilation, short term health problems caused by FGM;

  1. Severe pain and shock
  2. Bacterial infection
  3. Urine retention
  4. Open sores injury to adjacent tissues
  5. Immediate fatal haemorrhaging (bleeding)
  6. Extreme pain as girls are cut without being numbed and the worst pain occurs the next day when the girls have to urinate
  7. Trauma as girls are forced and held down by several women

Long-term implications;

  1. Extensive damage of the external reproductive system
  2. Uterus, vaginal and pelvic infections
  3. Cysts and neuromas
  4. Increased risk of Vesico Vaginal Fistula
  5. Complications in pregnancy and child birth
  6. Psychological damage
  7. Sexual dysfunction
  8. Difficulties in menstruation
  9. Recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections
  10. Infertility
  11. The need for later surgeries such as to be cut open to allow childbirth and sexual intercourse after marriage. Sometimes it is also stitched again several times after childbirth.
  12. Problems urinating as girls are left with a small opening. This can slow or strain the normal flow of urine and lead to infections
  13. Gynecological health problems as they are not able to pass all of their menstrual blood out and have infections over and over again.
  14. Increased risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Infections (STD/STI) including HIV as the procedure is being performed in unclean conditions
  15. Psychological and emotional stress. A study by Pharos, a Dutch group that gathered health care information of refugees and migrants revealed in February 2010 that majority of these women suffered from stress, anxiety and was aggressive. They were also most likely to have relational problems or fear for relations. According to the study, it is believed that an estimate of 50 girls is being genitally mutilated every year in the Netherlands.

5. Where is FGM practiced?

Southeast Asia; Indonesia, Malaysia,

Central Asia; Tajikistan

Eastern Europe; Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia

Middle East; Yemen, UAE, turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Palestinian territories, Pakistan, Oman, Jordan, Iraq and Kurdistan, Iran,

Africa; Zimbabwe, Zaire, Uganda, Togo, Tanzania, South Africa, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, republic of Congo, Nigeria, Niger, Mozambique, Mauritania, Mali, Malawi, Libya, Liberia, Kenya, guinea-Bissau, guinea, Ghana, Gambia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Egypt, Djibouti, democratic republic of the Congo, cote d’ivoire, Comoros, Chad, central African republic, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Benin, Algeria

The majority of cases of FGM are carried out in 28 African countries. In some countries, (e.g. Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan), prevalence rates can be as high as 98 per cent. In other countries, such as Nigeria, Kenya, Togo and Senegal, the prevalence rates vary between 20 and 50 per cent. It is more accurate however, to view FGM as being practised by specific ethnic groups, rather than by a whole country, as communities practising FGM straddle national boundaries. FGM takes place in parts of the Middle East, i.e. in Yemen, Oman, Iraqi Kurdistan, amongst some Bedouin women in Israel, and was also practised by the Ethiopian Jews, and it is unclear whether they continue with the practice now that they are settled in Israel. FGM is also practised among Bohra Muslim populations in parts of India and Pakistan, and amongst Muslim populations in Malaysia and Indonesia.

6. Religion or culture?

Although FGM happens in countries with Muslim majority, and people think that it is associated with Islam, FGM is not supported by any religion and condemned by many religious leaders.

In fact FGM is a pre-Islamic tradition and since Islam prohibits humans from harming and mutilating their body, therefore FGM is forbidden in Islam. In Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Senegal, Benin, and Ghana, Muslim population groups are more likely to practice FGC than Christian groups but in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Niger, the prevalence is greater among Christian groups.

Today FGM is a mixture of cultural, religious and social factors. For instance, the social pressure to perform FGM because others in the same community do it keeps the practice strong. As from the religious view, the parents thinks that FGM is necessary to raise the daughter properly and make sure that she is a virgin until she is married even though no religious scripture supports this. It is motivated by the thought of proper sexual behavior.

7. Reasons and justification

  1. custom and tradition
  2. religion; in the mistaken belief that it is a religious requirement
  3. preservation of virginity/chastity
  4. social acceptance, especially for marriage
  5. hygiene and cleanliness
  6. increasing sexual pleasure for the male
  7. family honour
  8. a sense of belonging to the group and conversely the fear of social exclusion
  9. enhancing fertility

8. What can be done to prevent and abolish FGM?

Each community should arrange meetings where they discuss, talk and consider opinions about FGM. Here it would be important to allow the elder generation to speak with the young. It is important to spread out and explain about the harsh health problems FGM causes.

Next important thing is education. Education is the key to everything. As we can see, this is happening in areas where most people is illiterate or doesn’t have the possibility to go to school. The generations repeat themselves and the circle is hard to break. Another important thing would be that Islamic scholars and other religious leaders should change the perception about FGM as people listen to them.

Every country and community should work towards changing the attitude as women feels they are being disloyal to their culture for not choosing FGM. This pressure can change if doctors and other health care workers would talk with women about the dangers of FGC and offer other options that don’t involve cutting. Some human rights advocates also suggest that men could help reduce the practice of FGC by openly marrying uncut women. Many human rights organizations are also calling on religious leaders to openly confirm that their religions do not require women to have FGC.

Last, if the countries establish strict laws and investigate cases regarding FGM, then it will have some effect but it will not be enough to abolish it as 18 African countries has laws or decrees against FGM. Even countries with the highest rates of FGM have recently openly noted the need for banning this practice. Fines and jail sentences are typically minor, but most view any sanctions against FGC as a good start.

It is important that everyone is aware of this heinous practice that mutilates the female body. It is hard to understand how parents can perform this on their infant babies who are not able to defend themselves. Every country should implement various strategies to eliminate FGM and it starts with education and communication.

International Water Day

Approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by ocean, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas.

More than half of this area is over 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) deep. Average oceanic salinity is around 35 parts per thousand (‰) (3.5%), and nearly all seawater has a salinity in the range of 30 to 38 ‰. Scientists estimate that 230,000 marine species are currently known, but the total could be up to 10 times that number.

The major oceanic divisions are defined in part by the continents, various archipelagos, and other criteria. These divisions are (in descending order of size):

Click at the picture for a larger image

  • Pacific Ocean, which separates Asia and Australia from the Americas
  • Atlantic Ocean, which separates the Americas from Eurasia and Africa
  • Indian Ocean, which washes upon southern Asia and separates Africa and Australia
  • Antarctic Ocean, sometimes considered an extension of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, which encircles Antarctica.
  • Arctic Ocean, sometimes considered a sea of the Atlantic, which covers much of the Arctic and washes upon northern North America and Eurasia.

Click at the picture for a larger image

The Pacific and Atlantic may be further subdivided by the equator into northern and southern portions. Smaller regions of the oceans are called seas, gulfs, bays, straits and other names.

Geologically, an ocean is an area of oceanic crust covered by water. Oceanic crust is the thin layer of solidified volcanic basalt that covers the Earth’s mantle. Continental crust is thicker but less dense. From this perspective, the earth has three oceans: the World Ocean, the Caspian Sea, and Black Sea. The Mediterranean Sea is at times a discrete ocean, because tectonic plate movement has repeatedly broken its connection to the World Ocean through the Strait of Gibraltar. The Black Sea is connected to the Mediterranean through the Bosporus, but the Bosporus is a natural canal cut through continental rock some 7,000 years ago, rather than a piece of oceanic sea floor like the Strait of Gibraltar.

Lack of clean water


Almost 50% of the developing world’s population; 2.5 billion people lacks improved sanitation facilities, and over 884 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources. Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens thousands of children every day, and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands more.

Poor sanitation, water and hygiene have many other serious repercussions. Children – and particularly girls – are denied their right to education because their schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities. Women are forced to spend large parts of their day fetching water. Poor farmers and wage earners are less productive due to illness, health systems are overwhelmed and national economies suffer. Without WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), sustainable development is impossible.

Source; UNICEF, July 2010

Facts about water

Today’s water crisis is not an issue of scarcity, but of access. More people in the world own cell phones than have access to a toilet. And as cities and slums grow at increasing rates, the situation worsens. Every day, lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills thousands, leaving others with reduced quality of life.

  • 884 million people lack access to safe water supplies; approximately one in eight people.
  • 3.575 million People die each year from water-related disease.
  • The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.
  • People living in the slums often pay 5-10 times more per liter of water than wealthy people living in the same city.
  • An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day.

Sanitation

  • Only 62% of the world’s population has access to improved sanitation – defined as a sanitation facility that ensures hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact.
  • Lack of sanitation is the world’s biggest cause of infection.
  • 2.5 billion People lack access to improved sanitation, including 1.2 billion people who have no facilities at all.
  • Of the 60 million people added to the world’s towns and cities every year, most occupy impoverished slums and shanty-towns with no sanitation facilities.

Children

  • Diarrhea remains in the second leading cause of death among children under five globally. Nearly one in five child deaths – about 1.5 million each year – is due to diarrhea. It kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
  • Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.
  • Diarrhea is more prevalent in the developing world due, in large part, to the lack of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as poorer overall health and nutritional status.
  • Children in poor environments often carry 1,000 parasitic worms in their bodies at any time.
  • In the developing world, 24,000 children under the age of five die every day from preventable causes like diarrhea contracted from unclean water.
  • 1.4 million Children die as a result of diarrhea each year.

Women

  • In just one day, more than 200 million hours of women’s time is consumed for the most basic of human needs — collecting water for domestic use.
  • This lost productivity is greater than the combined number of hours worked in a week by employees at Wal*Mart, United Parcel Service, McDonald’s, IBM, Target, and Kroger, according to Gary White, co-founder of Water.org.
  • Millions of women and children spend several hours a day collecting water from distant, often polluted sources.
  • A study by the International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC) of community water and sanitation projects in 88 communities found that projects designed and run with the full participation of women are more sustainable and effective than those that do not. This supports an earlier World Bank study that found that women’s participation was strongly associated with water and sanitation project effectiveness.

Diseases


  • At any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.
  • The majority of the illness in the world is caused by fecal matter.
  • Almost one-tenth of the global disease burden could be prevented by improving water supply, sanitation, hygiene and management of water resources. Such improvements reduce child mortality and improve health and nutritional status in a sustainable way.
  • 88% of cases of diarrhea worldwide are attributable to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene.
  • 90% of all deaths caused by diarrheal diseases are children under 5 years of age, mostly in developing countries.
  • It is estimated that improved sanitation facilities could reduce diarrhea-related deaths in young children by more than one-third. If hygiene promotion is added, such as teaching proper hand washing, deaths could be reduced by two thirds. It would also help accelerate economic and social development in countries where sanitation is a major cause of lost work and school days because of illness.

Economics

  • Over 50 % of all water projects fail and less than five percent of projects are visited, and far less than one percent have any longer-term monitoring.
  • Investment in safe drinking water and sanitation contributes to economic growth. For each $1 invested, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates returns of $3 – $34, depending on the region and technology.
  • Almost two in every three people who need safe drinking water survive on less than $2 a day and one in three on less than $1 a day.
  • Households, not public agencies, often make the largest investment in basic sanitation, with the ratio of household to government investment typically 10 to 1.
  • Investment in drinking-water and sanitation would result in 272 million more school attendance days a year. The value of deaths averted, based on discounted future earnings, would amount to US$ 3.6 billion a year.

Environment


  • Less than 1% of the world’s fresh water (or about 0.007% of all water on earth) is readily accessible for direct human use.
  • More than 80% of sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated, polluting rivers, lakes and coastal areas.
  • The UN estimates that by 2025, forty-eight nations, with combined population of 2.8 billion, will face freshwater “stress” or “scarcity”. Our Water.org High School Curriculum
  • Agriculture is the largest consumer of freshwater by far: about 70% of all freshwater withdrawals go to irrigated agriculture.
  • At home the average American uses between 100 and 175 gallons of water a day. That is less than 25 years ago, but it does not include the amount of water used to feed and clothe us.
  • Conserving water helps not only to preserve irreplaceable natural resources, but also to reduce the strain on urban wastewater management systems. Wastewater is costly to treat, and requires continuous investment to ensure that the water we return to our waterways is as clean as possible.

Source; http://www.water.org

Human trafficking and modern day slavery

Trafficking has become a lucrative industry and is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. Globally, it is tied with the illegal trade, as the second largest criminal activity, followed by the drug trade. Human trafficking usually affects women and children more than it affects men. Sex trafficking is nothing less than slavery because when an offender takes a woman or girl against her will and forces her to engage in prostitution, he not only sells her body but also her freedom and dignity. Much sex trafficking is international, with victims being taken from places such as South and Southeast Asia, the former Soviet Union, Central and South America, and other less-developed areas to more developed places including Asia, the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America. Those who profit from victimizing children and adults in the sex trade are only one half of the problem. The other half is those who patronize this industry.

The total annual revenue for trafficking in persons is estimated to be between USD$5 billion and $9 billion. The Council of Europe states, “People trafficking have reached epidemic proportions over the past decade, with a global annual market of about $42.5 billion,” and The United Nations estimates nearly 2.5 million people from 127 different countries are being trafficked around the world.

Human trafficking differs from people smuggling. As for smuggling, people voluntarily request or hire an individual, known as a smuggler, to transport them from one country to another, where legal entry would be denied upon arrival at the international border. After entry into the country and arrival at their destination, the smuggled person is free to find their own way, while smuggling requires travel, trafficking does not. Victims of human trafficking are not permitted to leave upon arrival at their destination, they are held against their will through acts of coercion and forced to work or provide services to the trafficker or others. The work includes anything from bonded or forced labor to commercialized sexual exploitation.

1. How Does Human Trafficking Take Place?

Traffickers find their victims from developing countries where poverty is widespread, commonly through force or deception. The victims are typically very young, from 8 to 18 years old and some as young as 4 or 5 years old. A common scenario involves a poor Asian or Eastern European girl who is offered a “better life” as a housemaid, restaurant server or dancer in a wealthy country such as the United States, Great Britain, or Italy. As she arrives, her passport is taken away, she is physically and sexually abused and forced into prostitution in a country where she neither speaks the language nor have any friends nor relatives. She is forced to service 8-15 clients a day and does not receive any pay as she is told that the money is used to pay off her “debt” to the trafficker and brothel owners for transportation, food, lodging and so on. After some period of time, she will be resold to another brothel owner, often in another country, and the cycle will continue all over again. She is likely to acquire HIV/AIDS, and to pass it on to her clients and their wives, all around the world. She has a greater chance than most of dying early, and is certain to live a horrible existence in whatever short years she has. Even if she is eventually rescued and repatriated to her country and community, she is likely to be ostracized as a result of her involvement in prostitution.

Government and police corruption, primarily in under-developed countries, play a large role in the perpetuation of the sex slave industry, with blind-eyes being turned toward openly active brothels and payoffs being accepted by those officials charged with the enforcement of national and international laws prohibiting trafficking, prostitution and child sexual exploitation.

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2. Types of labor work

Bonded labor, or debt bondage, is probably the least known form of labor trafficking today, and yet it is the most widely used method of enslaving people. Victims become bonded laborers when their labor is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan or service in which its terms and conditions have not been defined or in which the value of the victims’ services as reasonably assessed is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt. The value of their work is greater than the original sum of money “borrowed.”

Forced labor is when victims are forced to work against their own will, under the threat of violence or some other form of punishment, their freedom is restricted and a degree of ownership is exerted. Men are at risk of being trafficked for unskilled work, which globally generates $31bn according to the International Labor Organization. Forms of forced labor can include domestic servitude; agricultural labor; sweatshop factory labor; janitorial, food service and other service industry labor; and begging.

Sex trafficking victims are generally found in poor circumstances and easily targeted by traffickers. These circumstances include homeless individuals, runaway teens, displaced homemakers, refugees, and drug addicts. While it may seem like trafficked people are the most vulnerable and powerless minorities in a region, victims are consistently exploited from any ethnic and social background. Traffickers are known as pimps or madams, offers promises of marriage, employment, education, and/or an overall better life. However, in the end, traffickers force the victims to become prostitutes or work in the sex industry. Various works in the sex industry includes prostitution, dancing in strip clubs, performing in pornographic films and pornography, and other forms of involuntary servitude. Women are lured to accompany traffickers based on promises of lucrative opportunities unachievable in their native country. Most have been told lies regarding the financial arrangements and conditions of their employment and find themselves in coercive or abusive situations from which escape is both difficult and dangerous. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there were 1,229 human trafficking incidents in the United States from January 2007- September 2008. Of these, 83 % were sex trafficking cases.

Child labor is a form of work that is likely to be hazardous to the physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development of children and can interfere with their education. The International Labor Organization estimates worldwide that there are 246 million exploited children aged between 5 and 17 involved in debt bondage, forced recruitment for armed conflict, prostitution, pornography, the illegal drug trade, the illegal arms trade, and other illicit activities around the world.

3. Trafficking in children

Trafficking of children is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of children for the purpose of exploitation. Trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children can take many forms and include forcing a child into prostitution or other forms of sexual activity or child pornography. Child exploitation can also include forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, the removal of organs, illicit international adoption, trafficking for early marriage, recruitment as child soldiers, for use in begging or as athletes (such as child camel jockeys or football players), or for recruitment for cults.

Thailand and Brazil are considered to have the worst child sex trafficking records. One of the major reasons is the parent’s extreme poverty where they sell their children in order to pay debts or gain income. Some is deceived that the traffickers will give a better life and education for their children. The adoption process, legal or illegal, can sometimes result in cases of trafficking of babies and pregnant women between the West and the developing world. Thousands of children from Asia, Africa, and South America are sold into the global sex trade every year. Often they are kidnapped or orphaned, and sometimes they are actually sold by their own families.

Trafficking victims are also exposed to different psychological problems. They suffer social alienation in the host and home countries. Stigmatization, social exclusion and intolerance make reintegration into local communities difficult. The governments offer little assistance and social services to trafficked victims upon their return.

4. Global nature of the problem

Sex trafficking is global in nature and the victims come from all developing countries and are trafficked into or through virtually all developing and developed countries. It is estimated, for example, that 50,000 people are trafficked into the United States every year, most of who are sold into prostitution. This is not dependent on nationality, race or religion and not on economic or social standing. The one substantial difference is that it is the wealthy countries – through their military, businessmen, tourists, and Internet pornography subscribers, all of whom pay significantly more for the use of a sex slave that keeps this criminal industry extremely profitable for traffickers.

Trafficking does not only occur in poor countries, but in fact in every country. A source country is a country where people are trafficked and these countries are often weakened by poverty, war, corruption, natural disasters or climate. Some examples of source countries are Nepal, Guatemala, and the former Soviet Union, Nigeria, Thailand, China, Albania, Bulgaria, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine and many more. Then there is transit country where the victims are enslaved and the destination country is where the victim ends up. Japan, India, much of Western Europe, and the United States are all destination countries and the most common destinations for victims of human trafficking are Thailand, Japan, Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Turkey and the US, according to a report by the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime).

Almost every human trafficking prevention organization works to spread public awareness of trafficking. Several methods have been used to achieve public awareness, and while some produce little results, others have succeeded in persuading governments to pass laws and regulations on human trafficking. By pushing the issue of human trafficking into the public eye through the media, organizations work to educate the general public about the dangers of being trafficked and practices of preventing individuals from being trafficked. Television, magazines, newspapers, and radio are all used to warn and educate the public by providing statistics, scenarios, and general information on the subject.

Regardless of the type of human trafficking, nearly 1 in 5 of its victims was children, according to various reports. Their innocence is abused for begging, or exploited for sex as prostitutes, pedophilia or child pornography. Others are sold as child brides or camel jockeys.”

In a 2008 report on human trafficking, the U.S. State Department listed Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia as destination countries with widespread trafficking abuses, particularly forced laborers trafficked from Asia and Africa who are subject to restrictions on movement, withholding of passports, threats and physical and sexual abuse. The report found those countries made feeble efforts to rescue victims and prosecute traffickers. The department’s report also says slave labor in developing countries such as Brazil, China and India was fueling part of their huge economic growth. Other countries on the blacklist were Algeria, Cuba, Fiji, Iran, Myanmar, Moldova, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Sudan and Syria.

According to the Report, the most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls. In Central Asia and Eastern Europe, women make up more than 60 percent of those convicted of trafficking. The second most common form of human trafficking is forced labor, or slavery, making up 18 percent of the total, although the writers of the report say it may be underreported. Surprisingly, in 30% of the countries which provided information on the gender of traffickers, women make up the largest proportion of traffickers. The second most common form of human trafficking is forced labour counting 18 %. Worldwide, almost 20% of all trafficking victims are children. However, in some parts of Africa and the Mekong region, children are the majority, up to 100% in parts of West Africa.

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5. War and abuse

Women and girls in war zones are especially touched by the ugly side of war. They are not able to defend themselves and after being abused or sold they are stigmatized in their communities besides ending up pregnant or with HIV/AIDS.

In August 2001, soldiers with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Eritrea were purchasing 10 year old girls for sex in local hotels.

Before the arrival of 15,000 UN troops in Cambodia in 1991, there were an estimated 1,000 prostitutes in the capital. Currently, Cambodia’s illegal sex trade generates $500 million a year. No less than 55,000 women and children are sex slaves in Cambodia, 35 percent of which are younger than 18 years of age.

Over 5,000 women and children have been trafficked from the Philippines, Russia and Eastern Europe and are forced into prostitution in bars servicing the U.S. Military in South Korea.

6. Children – lost innocence

  • Children from Pakistan and Bangladesh are kidnapped or sold by their parents to traffickers who take them to Persian Gulf States including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, to work as camel jockeys. These children are 3 to 7 years of age and kept malnourished to keep their weight below 35 pounds. They suffer physical abuse from the traffickers and work all day training camels. Many of these children do also suffer extreme injuries or death from falling off camels during the races.
  • Child victims of trafficking are very vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Misconceptions that having sex with a virgin can cure HIV/AIDS have fueled an increased demand for child prostitutes.
  • Girls from 15 to 17 years of age are trafficked from Thailand and Taiwan to South Africa. Traffickers recruited these girls to work as waitresses or domestic workers and once they arrive to South Africa they are forced into prostitution.
  • Filipino children are trafficked to countries in Africa, the Middle East, Western Europe and Southeast Asia, where they are sexually exploited. Traffickers loan parents a sum of money, which the girl must repay to the trafficker through forced prostitution. In one case, a Filipino woman rented her 9-year-old niece to foreign men for sex, and eventually sold her to a German pedophile.
  • 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States from no less than 49 countries every year. As many as 750,000 women and children have been trafficked into the United States over the last decade.
  • Women and children as young as 14 have been trafficked from Mexico to Florida and forced to have sex with as many as 130 clients per week in a trailer park. These women were kept hostage through threats and physical abuse, and were beaten and forced to have abortions. One woman was locked in a closet for 15 days after trying to escape.
  • In Fresno, California Hmong gang members have kidnapped girls between the ages of 11 and 14 and forced into prostitution. The gang members would beat and rape them into submission. These girls were trafficked within the United States and traded between other Hmong communities.
  • The Cadena smuggling ring brings women and some are as young as 14, from Mexico to Florida. The victims were forced to prostitute themselves with as many as 130 men per week in a trailer park. Of the $25 charged, the women received only $3. The Cadena members keep the women hostage through threats and physical abuse and the women must work until they paid off their debts of $2,000 to $3,000.
  • Domestic servants in some countries of the Middle East are forced to work 12 to 16 hours a day with little or no pay, and subject to sexual abuse such as rape, forced abortions, and physical abuse that has resulted in death.
  • Traffickers in many countries in West Africa take girls through voodoo rituals in which girls take oaths of silence and are often raped and beaten, prior to their leaving the country. They are also forced to sign agreements stating that, once they arrive in another country, they owe the traffickers a set amount of money. They are sworn to secrecy and given detailed accounts of how they will be tortured if they break their promise. Traffickers have taken women and young girls to shrines and places of cultural or religious significance; they remove pubic and other hair and then perform a ceremony of intimidation.

7. Human trafficking and the facts

  • An estimated number of 700.000 to 4 million people are forced in forced labor (including the sex industry) as a result of trafficking. Of these are:
  • 1.4 million – 56% are in Asia and the Pacific
  • 250.000 – 10% are in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • 230.000 – 9.2% are in the Middle East and Northern Africa
  • 130.000 – 5.2% are in sub-Saharan countries
  • 270.000 – 10.8% are in industrialized countries
  • 200.000 – 8% are in countries in transitions
  • 161 countries are reported to be affected by human trafficking by being a source, transit or destination count. People are reported to be trafficked from 127 countries to be exploited in 137 countries, affecting every continent and every type of economy.
  • The majority of trafficking victims are between 18 and 24 years of age and 1.2 million children are trafficked each year.
  • 95% of victims experienced physical or sexual violence.
  • 43% of victims are used for forced commercial sexual exploitation of which 98% are women and girls.
  • 32% of victims are used for forced economical exploitation of which 56% are women and girls.
  • 52% of those recruiting females are men, 42% are women and 6% are both men and women.
  • In 54% of the cases, the recruiter was a stranger to the victim, 46% of the cases, the recruiter knew the victim.
  • Estimated global annual profits made from the exploitation of all trafficked forced labor are US$ 31.6 billion. Of this:
  • US$ 15.5 billion – 49% – is generated in industrialized economies
  • US$ 9.7 billion – 30.6% is generated in Asia and the Pacific
  • US$ 1.3 billion – 4.1% is generated in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • US$ 1.6 billion – 5% is generated in sub-Saharan Africa
  • US$ 1.5 billion – 4.7% is generated in the Middle east and North Africa

Click at the picture for a larger image (statistics from 2008-2009)

8. Slavery and sex-trade in the Arab world


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a destination for men and women, mostly from South and Southeast Asia, trafficked for the purposes of labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Migrant workers, who stand for more than 90% of the UAE’s private sector workforce, are recruited from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, China, and the Philippines. Women from some of these countries travel willingly to work as domestic servants or administrative staff, but some are victims of forced labor, including unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, or physical or sexual abuse. Men from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are drawn to the UAE for work in the construction sector, but are often subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude and debt bondage.

For the foreign female domestic workers, it is a life of isolation both physically, psychologically, socially and culturally. Some of these women live in abusive environments but others are able to live a little bit more socially. Under the law, once a foreign female worker enters a employers house, she is under his/her control since the employer is the visa sponsor. The employer bears total responsibility for his/her domestic workers and has total control over them. But during the first 3 months of the contract, both the employer and the employee have the right to contact the recruiting agency in order to report problems or to seek change in the status or employment of the foreign female domestic worker. Most recruiting agencies, however, do not encourage this practice, and often hide information from the foreign female domestic worker about their rights. The immigration regulations governing the status of domestic workers and the social practices towards foreign female domestic worker in the United Arab Emirates enslave them to their employers until the duration of their contract ends. Whether one is placed with a desirable or an undesirable employer is a matter of luck.

Saudi Arabia is a place for men and women from South East Asia and East Africa trafficked for the purpose of labor exploitation and forced begging for children from Yemen and Africa. Hundreds of thousands low skilled workers from India, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Kenya migrate voluntarily to Saudi Arabia to work. Many of these workers meet conditions of physical and sexual abuse, non-payment or delayed payment of wages, withholding of travel documents and restrictions on their freedom of movement.

Unfortunately, the government of Saudi Arabia has done little or almost nothing to eliminate trafficking and has lack of efforts to protect victims and prosecute those who are guilty of abuse. Some victims of abuse, chooses to leave the country rather than to confront their abusers in court and according to the law, they are required to file a complaint first before they can be allowed in any shelter. If a victim chooses to file a complaint, he/she is not allowed to work and the Saudi Government does in fat provide food and shelter for female workers who file report.

9. Iran – High profitable sex-trade


Iran has for 25 years, has enforced humiliating and punishments on women and girls, enslaved them in a system of segregation, forced veiling, second-class status, lashing, and stoning to death. Joining a global trend, in Tehran there has been a 635% increase in the number of teenage girls in prostitution. In Tehran, there are an estimated 84,000 women and girls in prostitution, many of them are on the streets, others are in the 250 brothels that exist in the city. The trade is also international as thousands of Iranian women and girls have been sold into sexual slavery abroad. The head of Iran’s Interpol bureau believes that the sex slave trade is one of the most profitable activities in Iran today and government officials themselves are involved in buying, selling, and sexually abusing women and girls.

Many of the girls come from poor families living in rural areas. Drug addiction has become epidemic throughout Iran, and some addicted parents sell their children to support their habits. There is also a problem with high unemployment, 28% for youth between 15-29 years of age and 43% for women between 15-20 years of age.

Popular destinations for victims of the slave trade are the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf because of the booming tourism and the good economy. According to the head of the Tehran province judiciary, traffickers target girls between 13 and 17 years old, although there are reports of some girls as young as 8. The victims are often physically punished and imprisoned besides being examined if they have engaged in “immoral activity.” Based on the findings, officials can ban them from leaving the country again.

Police have uncovered a number of prostitution and slavery rings operating from Tehran that have sold girls to France, Britain, Turkey, as well. One network based in Turkey bought smuggled Iranian women and girls, made fake passports, and transported them to European and Persian Gulf countries. In one case, a 16-year-old girl was smuggled to Turkey, and then sold to a 58-year-old European national for $20,000.

One factor contributing to the increase in prostitution and the sex slave trade is the number of teen girls who are running away from home for different reasons and 90% of girls who run away from home will end up in prostitution. As a result of runaways, in Tehran alone there are an estimated 25,000 street children, most of them girls. The perpetrators look after street children, runaways, and vulnerable high school girls in city parks and manage to convince them. In large cities, shelters have been set up to provide assistance for runaways but these places are often corrupt and run prostitution rings from the shelters. In one case, a woman was discovered selling Iranian girls to men in Persian Gulf countries; for four years, she had hunted down runaway girls and sold them. She even sold her own daughter for US$11,000.

For further information about the slave and sex trade and the work that is done to prevent, you can click into these links.

http://gvnet.com/humantrafficking/

http://www.humantrafficking.org/combat_trafficking/international_initiatives

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