This is How You Stop Online Exploitation of Children

    We are living in a truly remarkable era, in which each day seemingly brings a new technological innovation — from health to education, communications to manufacturing — that improves the lives of people around the world.

    But some of these advancements have left children unsafe — sometimes even in their own homes. Vile predators who seek to prey upon children’s innocence have used numerous new media by which to participate in online child sexual exploitation — through peer-to-peer file sharing, through chat rooms and through online forums.

    To effectively pursue criminals and protect our children, we need a coordinated global response from governments, industry and society.

    On Wednesday, the UK Home Office and the US Department of Justice joined representatives from Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter to discuss our collective efforts to fight child exploitation and possible new ways to work together to thwart these crimes.

    This week, representatives of our respective governments met to discuss ways to address Internet child exploitation offenses. We are already seeing significant progress.

    In the WePROTECT Global Alliance — a coalition of 70 countries, international law enforcement agencies, civil society organizations and key players from the technology industry — we have an unprecedented collaboration with the influence, expertise and resources to transform the global response to child exploitation crimes.

    October Freedom United Newsletter

    Exploited Fruit Pickers in Victoria ‘Brainwashed’
    October 30, 2017

    An undercover Malaysian journalist has uncovered abuses of migrant workers working on fruit farms in Victoria, Australia. Saiful Hasam, a reporter from Utusan Malaysia, spoke to victims on a farm in Swan Hill in northern Victoria, where they recounted how they had been lured abroad by promises of good jobs. Instead, they were “paid a pittance, kept in overcrowded homes with exorbitant rent and effectively trapped in debt bondage.”

    Traffickers Targeting the Homeless in the UK
    October 31, 2017

    UK charities are warning that traffickers are targeting homeless people, exploiting them for slave labor under false promises of work and accommodation. Thomson Reuters Foundation reports that traffickers are bold enough to prey on the homeless at homeless shelters, soup kitchens and support groups.

    Click here to read the full newsletter



    How Trauma Lodges in the Body

    The following is the audio and transcript of an onbeing.org interview between Krista Tippett and Bessel van der Kolk.

    KRISTA TIPPETT, HOST: The psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk is an innovator in treating the effects of overwhelming experiences on people and society. We call this “trauma” when we encounter it in life and news, and we tend to leap to address it by talking. But Bessel van der Kolk knows how some experiences imprint themselves beyond where language can reach. He explores state-of-the-art therapeutic treatments, including body work like yoga and eye movement therapy.

    He’s been a leading researcher of traumatic stress since it first became a diagnosis in the wake of the Vietnam War, and from there, was applied to other populations. A conversation with this psychiatrist is a surprisingly joyful thing. He shares what he and others are learning on this edge of humanity about the complexity of memory, our need for others, and how our brains take care of our bodies.

    DR. BESSEL VAN DER KOLK: I think trauma really does confront you with the best and the worst. You see the horrendous things that people do to each other, but you also see resiliency, the power of love, the power of caring, the power of commitment, the power of commitment to oneself, the knowledge that there are things that are larger than our individual survival. And in some ways, I don’t think you can appreciate the glory of life unless you also know the dark side of life.

    Click here to read and listen to the full interview


    How the kafala system enslaves workers in Qatar

    The workers make a queue to go to the stadium to see the final of the Workers cup 2016. It’s their main entertainment in the whole year. Doha, Qatar – May 6, 2016.

    DOHA, Qatar – What happens when a country with close to zero football stadiums wins the bid to host the biggest and most anticipated football event in the world?

    You build everything from scratch. Or in the case of Qatar, you build everything up from sand.

    In 2010, Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, beating other countries like Australia and the United States.

    The award was a monumental and controversial one. It would be the first time an Arab country would host the global sports event, and allegations of corruption and bribery had filled the news and sports pages. Questions and innuendoes about the suitability of Qatar as a host country were raised. Some alluded to its hot climate, while many others pointed to its track record of labor rights abuses.

    The small desert state on the fringes of the Persian Gulf had roughly over a decade to prepare for the games and assemble the interlocking urban infrastructure and transport logistics that would accommodate the millions of pumped-up football fans.

    Money was not an issue. Being the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) made it easy for Qatar to plop down $200 billion to build the necessary stadiums, hotels, expressways ,and metro rail system for its expected guests – and build it in record time.

    The job order has triggered an epic construction boom. As of early 2017, the Qatari government was reportedly spending $500 million a week on World Cup projects.

    “We don’t want to be in a place where we are still painting while people are coming to the country,” Qatar Finance Minister Ali Shareef Al-Emadi explained to visiting journalists on a government-sponsored press trip to the country in February.

    With Qatar’s local population estimated at 300,000, the country has always depended on guest laborers from mostly South Asian and Southeast Asian countries to meet its labor needs and to power its construction workforce. About 90% of the country’s total population are labor migrants.

    Even before the FIFA world cup awarding, the kafala sponsorship system associated Qatar with labor abuse. There were reports of low wages that were often delayed or unpaid, deplorable living conditions with workers crammed into tiny rooms, and long hours working in the oven-like heat of the brutal desert sun. The horrid labor conditions were likened to slavery. (WATCH: A look inside Qatar’s labor camps)

    Learn how to solve the Rubik’s Cube with the easiest method. You have to memorize only 7 steps to fix a scrambled cube.

    Read more


    ‘Online sexual violence harming children’ – Pope

    In a speech about protecting the dignity of children in the internet era, Francis warns of the spread of extreme pornography, sexting, and online bullying as well as sexual exploitation, trafficking and the live-streaming of rape and violence against children

    POPE FRANCIS. This handout picture released by the Vatican press office shows Pope Francis (R) during a meeting with the participants to the congress ‘Child Dignity in the Digital World’ on October 6, 2017 at the Vatican. Handout photo/AFP

    From Rappler.com:

    VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis on Friday, October 6, urged the world, including the Catholic Church, to face up to the devastating effects of online sexual violence on young people, including extreme pornography and sexting.

    “We have to keep our eyes open and not hide from an unpleasant truth that we would rather not see,” Francis said at a gathering of technology executives and health professionals at the Vatican.

    Alluding to the paedophile scandals that have rocked the church, he added: “For that matter, surely we have realised sufficiently in recent years that concealing the reality of sexual abuse is a grave error and the source of many other evils?”

    In a speech about protecting the dignity of children in the internet era, Francis warned of the spread of extreme pornography, sexting, and online bullying as well as sexual exploitation, trafficking and the live-streaming of rape and violence against children.

    He also cited evidence of the “profound impact of violent and sexual images on the impressionable minds of children”. “These problems will surely have a serious and life-long effect on today’s children.”

    More than a quarter of the world’s three billion internet users are children, with many adults unable to understand technology that can block and filter disturbing content.

    “We would be seriously deluding ourselves if we thought that a society, where an abnormal consumption of internet sex is rampant among adults, could be capable of effectively protecting minors,” he added.

    While recognising how the internet has opened up a forum for the freedom of expression and exchange of ideas, he said it has also offered new means for the abuse and corruption of minors.

    He said collaboration between governments and law enforcement was needed at a global level to address the problem. – Rappler.com


    Call for Action: Declaration Issued by Rome Congress to Protect Children From Digital World

    ‘This global problem requires that we build awareness, and that we mobilize action from every government, every faith, every company and every institution’

    Pope Francis stressed protecting children from dangers on the internet was top priority while addressing “Child Dignity in the Digital World,” this morning, Oct. 6, 2017.” The Congress was organized by Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University’s Center for the Protection of Minors, and held at the Gregorian, Oct. 3-6, 2017. Its objective was to highlight the dangers of the Internet and to foster action to protect children and young people.

    Children and adolescents make up over a quarter of the more than 3.2 billion Internet users worldwide, according to the Center.  This generation of over 800 million young users is in danger of becoming victims of sextortion, sexting, cyberbullying and harassment.

    In his discourse, the Pope said he firmly supports the commitments the Congress participants have undertaken to help protect minors and reaffirmed the importance of the participants signing a declaration of commitment at the end of the conference.

    Below is the Vatican-provided text of the Rome declaration:

    The Declaration of Rome
    World Congress:  Child Dignity in the Digital World
    6 October 2017
    Pope Francis — “A society can be judged by the way it treats its children.”

    Every child’s life is unique, meaningful and precious and every child has a right to dignity and safety.  Yet today, global society is failing its children.  Millions of children are being abused and exploited in tragic and unspeakable ways, and on an unprecedented scale all over the world.

    Read more


    ATIP Highlights from October UNODC News

    Human trafficking laws must be utilized, UNODC Chief tells UN General Assembly.
    “Human trafficking is all around us, in all regions of the world,” the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at a high-level meeting to assess the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons. UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said: “We need governments to devote the needed resources to put laws into practice, to support victims, to train practitioners, and to enable inter-agency and cross-border cooperation.” [Read more]

     ‘Time to stamp out human trafficking,’ says Guterres; UN pledges action to eradicate ‘heinous crime’.
    With tens of millions of human trafficking victims worldwide, “now is the time to stand together and stamp out this abominable practice,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a high-level meeting at which Member States adopted a political Declaration reaffirming their commitment to implement a United Nations action plan to end the scourge. “Human trafficking is all around us , in all regions of the world,” said Mr. Guterres [Read more]

    How the UN’s cybercrime unit is helping to track paedophiles and protect children.
    Adults posing as young people are using chat apps and social networks to befriend children with the goal of sexually exploiting them, but such abuse can be limited by educating children and their caregivers about the threats online, said Neil Walsh, the head of UNODC global cybercrime programme, adding that criminals are increasingly using newer technologies to evade police, so children need to be empowered to understand the risks. [Read more]

    We have a generational opportunity to trounce the traffickers and smugglers of human misery
    “When I refused to sell my body they sold me to another brothel”. This is the heart rending testimony of a 13 year-old Nepalese girl named Skye trafficked by relatives to India. Skye’s story ends better than most. Together with her sister, Skye escaped the brothel, returned to school, and now works for the Nepalese organization who rescued her: the globally renowned Shakti Samuha. But for every survivor like Skye, thousands are suffering in silence. [Read more]


    Fall-off in convictions of traffickers irks Bangladeshi activists

    Many cases were withdrawn or both the parties settled out-of-court to avoid lengthy and expensive legal procedures

    From UCANews:

    Two Rohingya fishermen seen on a boat at the Bay of Bengal, in Cox’s Bazar district in this file photo. The coastal district across Myanmar is Bangladesh’s main human trafficking hotspot. (ucanews.com photo)

    Bangladesh activists have expressed dismay over low prosecution and conviction rates of human traffickers and blamed it on erroneous case filing, inadequate victim identification and lack of support for victims.

    A total of 302 alleged traffickers were prosecuted in 2016, compared to 481 in 2015. Only three traffickers were convicted in 2016, down from four in 2015 and 15 in 2014, according to a study released on July 30.

    The study found many cases were withdrawn or both the parties settled out-of-court to avoid lengthy and expensive legal procedures, difficulties related to appearing in distant courts and a lack of security for victims and witnesses.

    The study was jointly carried out by 17 international and national agencies engaged in anti-trafficking campaigns and fighting for the rights of migrants. This included the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

    Since 2012, about 150,000 people were smuggled out of the country, an estimated 1,500 died on their way and 2,733 people were rescued, according to a report in the Daily Star newspaper on July 30. Some 3,500 cases had been filed against alleged traffickers since the introduction of the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, 2012.

    However, only 30 have been convicted so far.

    James Gomes, regional director of Caritas in the port city of Chittagong, considers shortcomings in the country’s criminal justice system to be greatest impediment to punishing offenders.

    He said many cases faltered because they were lodged at a district level, while the traffickers and victims were from areas far away. “The process is lengthy and expensive, so the victims, who are mostly poor rural people, find an ‘out-of-court solution’ the best option,” Gomes told ucanews.com.

    Often traffickers had political and financial clout, so victims compromised as they feared for their safety. There could also be financial inducements offered to victims not to give evidence in court, Gomes said.

    Laws needed to be amended and ‘fast-track’ courts introduced to speed up prosecution, he added.

    Abu Morshed Chowdhury is an anti-trafficking campaigner from Cox’s Bazar district near Bangladesh, a people-smuggling hotspot on the Bay of Bengal. He told ucanews.com that there were major anti-human trafficking efforts amid the so-called ‘Asian boatpeople crisis’ of 2015.

    However, he said enforcement and prosecution had subsequently slackened, allowing traffickers greater scope to ply their trade.

    Read original article at UCANews


    Migrant life in Qatar: Ladies in Waiting

    DOHA, Qatar– It starts at about 8:30 am. The women will scoop up their hair into hairnets, deftly tucking in stray wisps; then they will snap on blue gloves. What follows is a flurry of activity.

    Bowls, whisks, spatulas and baking sheets will be lined up. The repeated tat-tat-tat as eggs are whisked to repetitive beat then mixed with flour with the help of a whirring mixer. What comes out is soft squishy dough ready to be rolled up into small balls on cookie sheets lined with wax paper.
    It won’t be long before the scent of freshly baking bread will waft into the other rooms. People will be lured away from their desks to enjoy the smells and take a bite or two.

    This is the baking class that takes place every morning at the Migrant Workers and Other Filipinos Resource Center a training center and shelter for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) run by the Philippine embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO). The baking class is comprised of about 30 female OFWs who are all in some kind of in limbo.

    “These are women who have pending court or police cases; some are waiting for their unpaid wages to be released; some runaway from their employer. It’s a mix of situations,” explained Des Dicang, labor attaché for the Philippine embassy and POLO.

    Their circumstances and the kafala sponsorship system prohibit them from working for another employer or seeking employment while their cases and travel documents are being processed. In the meantime, there is nothing much to do but wait – and bake. The baking classes offer a way to turn idle time into a productive pastime.

    Other lessons offered by the Philippine embassy include cosmetology and computer classes, but the baking class taught by chef Gerry Atencio seems to be the most popular.

    Read more

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