Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The new slaves: Children forced to work as farm labourers - Home News, UK - The Independent

Children as young as five are thought to have worked picking spring onions from 7am until dusk without food or water in this field in Worcester

Seven Romanian children – some as young as nine – were found being forced to work as farm labourers in near-freezing conditions in Worcester last week, The Independent on Sunday has learned.

The children were among 50 Romanian workers discovered picking spring onions in a field in the Kempsey area of Worcester by the Gangmaster's Licensing Authority (GLA). The seven children, aged between nine and 15, were being made to work from 7.30 in the morning until dusk, dressed in thin summer clothes, as temperatures dropped close to zero.

Wellington boots that looked suitable for a five-year-old were also found in the field, suggesting even younger children had worked there. Investigators for the GLA say it is the first time they have come across such young children working in fields in the UK.

They were brought to the field in the back of a box van, with no food or water for the day. Six of the children have been taken into local authority care. Some were working alongside parents, but others appeared to have been brought to the farm on their own.

The workers said they were not sure how much they would be paid, but intelligence suggests that a household of up to 40 people would get no more than £100 a week for the job. The GLA, West Mercia Police and the UK Border Agency are still investigating and plan to arrest at least one unlicensed gangmaster this week.

Paul Whitehouse, chairman of the GLA, said: "In 2007 we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the end of the slave trade, but in 2010 we've got people working in appalling conditions who, while not actually being slaves, are very close to it."

The actress Juliet Stevenson is one of many leading figures supporting the IoS's campaign for an end to modern slavery and human trafficking, describing them as "the worst manifestation of human cruelty".

The actress said: "If it doesn't concern people that someone can be hijacked, kidnapped and manipulated away from their homes and families into horrendous situations that are at best hardship and at worst physical and mental brutality, then what does concern people?"

Stevenson said victims of trafficking who managed to escape their tormenters in Britain often have to go through a second ordeal at the hands of immigration authorities. "If you're not discovered you have to endure ongoing hell, but if you are discovered and thrown into an increasingly ruthless and unjust asylum system then you're also damned."

"Human trafficking represents just about the worst manifestation of human cruelty. If you're talking about the 'great' in Great Britain, let's look at having some moral leadership."

The Government faces calls from a growing number of high-profile campaigners to sign up to the EU directive on human trafficking, which would make it easier to prosecute traffickers and protect victims. Caroline Lucas MP, leader of the Green Party, and Yvette Cooper MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary and Minister for Women, have joined those demanding that the Government opt into EU trafficking legislation. There were signs that the Government feels compelled to respond to pressure to sign up to the directive. Simon Hughes MP, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, said last night: "Signing up to the EU directive has not been ruled out; it is under consideration by the Government."

The GLA is still waiting to hear the size of the cuts it can expect following the Comprehensive Spending Review. The authority is funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which faces budget cuts of 29 per cent.

Voices for change

"It's appalling that, in the 21st century, slavery still exists. That's why the Government must back Europe-wide action against trafficking. By pandering to anti-European prejudices in some parts of the Conservative Party, ministers are putting the safety of thousands of women and children at risk."

Yvette Cooper MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary and Women's Minister

"It seems a no-brainer. I oppose modern slavery like I oppose ancient slavery. Where's the argument? It's like saying 'should we care if someone is killed'."

Joan Bakewell, Broadcaster

"It's definitely a hidden problem because we think of slavery as being abolished. When I hear about modern slavery I tend to think of the Arab princes that bring their own staff and treat them abominably."

Alexei Sayle, Comedian, actor and author

"Wilberforce described slavery as 'a disgrace and a dishonour to this country', and I'd say exactly the same about the coalition's decision to opt out of the EU directive on human trafficking. I've signed this petition on behalf of the Green Party because Greens will always be on the side of people who are vulnerable, oppressed or abused."

Caroline Lucas MP, Leader, Green Party

"I'm astonished that we are so limp in this business. We know it's going on but we don't do anything about it. It's a moral principle. If we go back to Wilberforce, all the moral arguments against slavery were established then and we shouldn't go back on them by neglect."

Brian Sewell, Art critic

"For too long sex slavery and other forms of trafficking have been brushed under the carpet. The Archbishop of Canterbury said sex trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery and it is vital it becomes a public policy issue. The Independent on Sunday's campaign is vital in raising the profile of this issue. It's a shame that David Cameron and William Hague's Euro-scepticism is preventing the UK signing up to the EU directive to protect these people, but I also feel the police should name and shame the people who create the demand."

Denis MacShane, Rotherham MP and former Europe minister

"It's important because it's the thin end of the wedge. So many people rely on the minimum wage so if that's being eroded it can affect a lot of people."

Barry Cryer, Writer and comedian

Interviews by Joe Rowley

The new slaves: Children forced to work as farm labourers - Home News, UK - The Independent

Friday, October 22, 2010

Call Response

We’ve accomplished another milestone in the fight against modern day slavery. Thanks to our fellow abolitionists we have successfully raised $7,500 forProject: AK-47.

The children that Project: AK-47 rescues spend an average of seven years in the military as children. They work to provide them with needs like shelter, food, clothing, education and LOVE.

The money that YOU have helped raised is going towards one of the aftercare projects that Project: AK-47 has in Burma. Burma is home to over 75,000 child soldiers, which is the largest concentration of child soldiers in the world. Long-standing civil war, ethnic conflicts, and drug trafficking are subjecting children to adult wars. Meet some of the faces of the ones you’re helping:

Now meet the faces of the ones doing the helping thru Project: AK-47:

(First Row: Alyxius, Jared, Jeremy, Analee; Second Row: Tyler, Reena, Marcus, Rebecca)

We can’t fight this fight alone. Thanks to you, Project: AK-47 has resources to continue their efforts to rehabiliate child soldiers.

Want to get involved? You can. We have two new projects that need your help.

Free for Life International helps to prevent and rescue girls who have been trafficked across the Indo-Nepal border.

Love146 provides aftercare solutions for children with safe housing, therapy, nutrition, medical care, education, and a home full of love and care.

Both of these organizations are calling and asking for you to help. Will you respond?

Donate today:
Free for Life International – http://www.callandresponse.com/free_slaves.php
Love146 – http://www.callandresponse.com/rehab_victims.php

Call Response

Criminal Justice Online: Georgia Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Distributing Child Pornography

RICHMOND,VA—Galen E. Vanord, 53, of Millen, Ga., was sentenced today to 20 years in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for distributing child pornography.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Michael F. A. Morehart, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Henry E. Hudson. Vanord pled guilty on June 1, 2010.

According to court documents, Vanord was identified by law enforcement officers during an undercover investigation of individuals trading images of child pornography over the Internet. Vanord, a truck driver, traveled around the country and used his computer at truck stops. Law enforcement in Richmond downloaded 600 images of child pornography and one video from Vanord. In the course of their investigation, agents seized Vanord’s computer and hard drive, on which they found more than 14,000 images of child pornography. Most of these images were images of babies and toddlers. After hearing evidence at today’s sentencing, the court applied an additional sentencing enhancement for a pattern of sexual exploitation of a minor, based on images of a minor that were found on Vanord’s computer.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Richmond Field Office. Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Aber Brumberg prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or onhttp://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov/.

Criminal Justice Online: Georgia Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Distributing Child Pornography

The Human Trafficking Project: Exhibit: Invisble: Slavery Today

Earlier this month, the Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OH opened an exhibit examining modern-day slavery. "What we hope to do, at very least, is raise awareness that this exists," said Paul Bernish, the Freedom Center executive in charge of its contemporary slavery exhibit and programs, believed to be the first such position in the American museum field said in an article by Mark Curnutte. "Secondly, we want to offer people things they can do to become engaging to ending these forms of slavery."

According to their website,the "design and "feel" of Invisible is that of a dingy warehouse in an unfamiliar city, filled with wood, metal and plastic containers -- shipping cartons for human beings. Through a variety of techinques and media, including videos, sounds and touch-screen prsentations, Invisible offers a comprehensive examination of slavery in the modern world through the life experiences of five individuals who were caught up in one of the five most common forms of exploitation: forced labor, bonded indenture, child slavery, sex trafficking and domestic servitude. The exhibition explores the causes of slavery, the economic forces that have contributed to its growth, and the response of government, the justice system and the general public to this scourge. . .

"But Invisible is not just a grim walk through degradation and mistreatment. A major concluding section is devoted to antislavery activities underway around the world, especially by the Freedom Center's partners in the exhibition: Free the Slaves, Goodweave,International Justice Mission and Polaris Project. Visitors are also asked to make a personal commitment to be 21st Century Abolitionists in the cause of freedom."

Click here to learn more about the Freedom Center and for information about the Invisible exhibit. Click here to view photos from the exhibit.

The Human Trafficking Project: Exhibit: Invisble: Slavery Today

Thursday, October 21, 2010

FoxNews.com - EXCLUSIVE: Facebook's Filters Fall Short in Blocking Pedophiles

Child Predators on Facebook! Beware!

FoxNews.com - EXCLUSIVE: Facebook's Filters Fall Short in Blocking Pedophiles