Human Traffic Watch

Posts Tagged ‘forced labor’

American Dream Turns to Nightmare for Teen Trafficked for Labor

In Bonded Labor, Child Labor, Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on May 14, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Gerthon Saint Preux wanted only one thing as a teenager living in Haiti: to live the American dream. But after he arrived here, he realized he was living the dark nightmare of a child trafficked for labor.

A woman from his hometown said she would be his sponsor in the U.S., so Saint Preux left his family for the chance to go to college and one day support his loved ones. When he arrived, his sponsor put him to work at her store, and also gave him chores in her home.
There was always a reason why he couldn’t start school. And when his visitor’s visa ended, it only got worse.
“From there, I could see hell,” Saint Preux told NBC 4 New York.
He worked at the sponsor’s store seven days a week and then cooked and cleaned at her house, without ever being paid. He ate scraps and was forbidden to even sleep on the couch.
“She said I’m damaging the couch. I have to sleep on the floor, but the floor has carpet. I just put a pillow there and I sleep,” he said.
The sponsor monitored Saint Preux’s phone calls and convinced him that police were his enemy, he says. Even though he interacted with people every day in her store, he never spoke up or asked for help. The terrified teen even considered suicide.
“I look for a truck to just throw myself under a truck. I don’t want to suffer — I want a truck to just hit me on the highway and I’m done,” Saint Preux recalled thinking.
Source: NBC New York

Filipino couple sentenced in US human trafficking scheme

In Awareness, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on February 20, 2012 at 9:41 am

A Filipino man and wife, who admitted to smuggling immigrants from the Philippines and forcing them to work in the couple’s elder-care business in Paso Robles, were sentenced to 18 months in federal prison on Monday, February 13.

Along with the prison sentence, United States District Judge Audrey B. Collins, also ordered Maximino “Max” Morales, 46, and his wife, Melinda Morales, 48, to pay $600,000 in restitution to the nine Filipino victims who were not properly paid for the work they performed.

“The Filipino victims in this case were lured to the United States with false promises and were essentially performing slave labor,” US Attorney André Birotte Jr. said in a statement.

Source: Inquirer Global Nation

ManpowerGroup and Verite Release Ethical Framework to Combat Human Trafficking and Forced Labor in Cross-Border Recruitment

In Awareness, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Social Justice on February 17, 2012 at 9:43 am

ManpowerGroup (NYSE: MAN), the world leader in innovative workforce solutions, and Verite, the award-winning human rights and labor rights NGO, released a detailed framework for combatting human trafficking and forced labor at a conference titled “Engaging Business: Addressing Human Trafficking in Labor Sourcing” in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Today’s environment requires businesses to be global and talent to be mobile, therefore ManpowerGroup has made it a priority to be at the forefront of ensuring that global recruitment markets operate transparently and ethically,” said David Arkless, ManpowerGroup President of Global Corporate and Government Affairs.  “Leading firms already commit to high ethical standards, but too many other operators exploit workers through recruitment debt, fraudulent contract substitution, and other forms of abuse.  And even well-intentioned businesses face reputational risk from unwittingly becoming entangled with unethical partners.”

Source: ManpowerGroup

El Paso: secret corridor for modern-day slavery

In Awareness, Bonded Labor, Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Involuntary Domestic Servitude, Sex Trafficking on February 15, 2012 at 10:26 am

After 15 years of domestic servitude and never seeing a dime from the $50 a week she was promised, a woman was finally freed from enslavement. This did not happen in some foreign country where poverty is rampant, or in a war-torn area in a forgotten part of the world.  This happened here in El Paso, a city that has become a highway for modern-day slavery or human trafficking.

Of all the immigration issues that this border town faces, human trafficking seems to be El Paso’s dirty little secret. “We know that (trafficking) is big and existent,” says Virginia McCrimmon, crime victim specialist with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. “We don’t know how big or how small.”

Since 2005, McCrimmon worked as the Salvation Army’s head of the Anti-Human Trafficking Program in El Paso, providing services to meet basic social and emotional needs of victims. In May 2011, she was hired to work with human trafficking victims at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

Throughout the years that she has been serving the El Paso community, McCrimmon has worked with approximately 15 men, women and children brought from China, Philippines, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. She says victims can be forced to work in practically any industry in the nation, including agriculture, sweatshop factories, construction, janitorial services and even restaurant services.

Source: Minero Magazine

Human Trafficking Rampant in Thailand’s Deep-Sea Fishing Industry

In Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on February 10, 2012 at 11:13 am

While a lucrative deep-sea fishing industry places Thailand among the world’s leading exporters of sea products, a grim specter of human rights abuse lurks below the surface of an industry whose contribution to the national economy is estimated to exceed $4 billion a year.

A combination of factors – including a shortage of labor in this dangerous and physically demanding industry and pressures on marginalized populations – create opportunities for unscrupulous employment brokers and traffickers to prey on those desperate for work. Trafficking of migrant men and boys from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and within Thailand itself into the deep-sea fishing industry (DSFI) is an issue of growing concern to the governments of Thailand and neighboring countries, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the international community. A combination of economic pressures, language constraints, and lack of information on the risk of trafficking puts migrant populations at especially high risk of labor exploitation and trafficking. Human Rights Watch estimates that at least 250,000 migrants from Burma alone work in sea and land-based sectors of Thai fishing industry. Many of them are trafficked or subject to labor exploitation, while many more are at risk.

(Kim McQuay and Kate Bollinger for In Asia)

Fighting Human Trafficking In Burma

In Child Soldiers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on February 8, 2012 at 9:08 am

The release of hundreds of political prisoners is the latest in a series of steps taken by the Government of Burma in its move toward democracy. Furthering its promise to partner with Burma in its reform process, the U.S. has increased dialogue on another important rights issue: human trafficking.

“While this is a country endowed with many natural resources, the most precious is its people,” U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca said during a recent visit to the country. “They deserve freedom from modern slavery whether here or abroad.”

Ambassador CdeBaca recently met with officials in Burma for what he called a “frank and open” discussion on forced labor, sex trafficking and recruitment of child soldiers. Ambassador CdeBaca said he saw “a recognition of the problem and an openness to act,” in the meetings with his counterparts in the Burmese government. He was encouraged by actions by the government in recent months. For example, trafficking victims who had returned home were previously involuntarily detained for two weeks. The Burmese government has issued a decree ending this practice.

(Voice of America)


In Child Labor, Child Trafficking, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on February 6, 2012 at 8:37 am

The global cocoa industry often traffics children to work as slaves. According toUNICEF, in West Africa 200,000 children are living in conditions of forced labor and slavery on cocoa farms.  One company that has been under heavy pressure to remove child labor from their supply chains is U.S. chocolate leader Hershey; however, the years of pressure by consumers and the media, not to mention the industry itself, have largely passed with little impact.  The Hershey Company has been aware that their products are tainted by slavery and child labor since at least 2001, when along with the other major chocolate companies, Hershey made a commitment to end child and forced labor in their cocoa supply chains.  In September 2001, chocolate and cocoa industry representatives signed the Harkin Engel Protocol, developed by Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Eliot Engel, in an effort to eliminate child labor in the industry. The protocol has a six-point approach to solve the problem, including a time sensitive process to establish credibility and eliminate the use of child slavery. The protocol was signed by the industry’s large cocoa producing companies and set forth an action plan to eliminate the worst forms of child labor and forced labor from cocoa farms worldwide by 2005.

However, Hershey’s has continued to produce their products undaunted by the knowledge that their profits come with a high human cost. They continue to source cocoa from the Ivory Coast, which according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), produces 43% of the worlds cocoa, without ensuring that child labor exploitation does not occur in the production of the cocoa they use.  However, it seems that 2012 is the year Hershey will finally opened their eyes and fall to pressure, mostly thanks to the International Labor Rights Forum and the public campaign “Raise The Bar“, aimed directly at the company’s failure to act.  The ILRF contacted Hershey to let them know of their plans to air an ad about Hershey’s child labor issues on a jumbo-tron at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl.  Suddenly Hershey’s was ready to speak up and issued a statement that, by the end of 2012, they pledged to use onlyRainforest Alliance certified cocoa for its  Bliss chocolate line. Rainforest Alliance Certified farms have three pillars of sustainability: environmental protection, social equity and economic viability.  Hershey’s also stated they they plan to invest $10 million in West Africa, to encourage economic initiatives and to reduce child labor and improve cocoa supply (Huffington Post).  While this is great news, it is not yet time to celebrate, as it is a small step in the long road to freedom for millions of children victimized by child labor.

(Aid Netherlands)

Apple under fire over child labour and unsafe plants

In Human Trafficking on January 28, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Apple defended its ethical standards yesterday (Friday) after a newspaper reported that factories in China rely on child labour, 24-hour days and unsafe conditions to make iPhones, iPads and computers.In an email reportedly sent to Apple’s 60,000 or so employees, Tim Cook, the company’s chief executive, said Apple “cares about every worker in its supply chain”. The letter appears to be in response to a series of articles in the New York Times cataloguing the company’s problems in China and divisions within Apple about how to handle the issues.“Most people would still be really disturbed if they saw where their iPhone comes from,” one unnamed former Apple executive told the newspaper.Mr Cook’s letter, which was reproduced on the website, promised that Apple would “continue to dig deeper” into problems in China and that it would “undoubtedly find more issues”. “What we will not do, and never have done, is stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain,” he added.

Apple under fire over child labour and unsafe plants

In Human Trafficking on January 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm

A ‘Divine’ effort

CNN’s Richard Quest talks with Sophi Tranchell of Divine Chocolate about efforts to end slave labor in the cocoa trade.

Freaking love Divine Chocolates, and LOVE how they work WITH farmers and keep things Fair Trade.  Find a Divine source near your (often in fair trade shops) and support the farmers.

In Human Trafficking on January 25, 2012 at 10:40 am

BBC documentary, Chocolate: The Bitter Truth

The next time you crunch into a Kit-Kat or Hersheys chocolate bar, or eat a birthday cake topped with chocolate frosting, consider this: a young, uneducated, unpaid, malnourished West African child has likely cut open the cacao fruits that held the cocoa seeds of the chocolate which you are now eating. This child is working in Ghana or the Ivory Coast (combined, the two countries provide 60% of global cocoa) and has been trafficked from Burkina Faso.

( for Global Health Hub)

%d bloggers like this: