Work Camp Sites in Cuba

By: Ana Milanes

Only 90 miles away from the United States, on the island of Cuba exists a program designed to use young students away from home and work with no pay for the government. Under false pretenses of becoming “well-rounded”, the camps military staff has even denied some medical attention.

On May 31, 2010 a student was suspected to have H1N1, a Cuban news station reports. Instead of being inspected, the student was ignored. Camp military staff assumed the student was trying to be sent home. A total of 40 students became infected. Again, these students weren’t sent home, simply isolated. It wasn’t until five days later when staff decided to follow the doctor’s orders and send the students home.

Since 1966, Cuban teenagers have attended a work camp intended to teach important skills. Living conditions were different from home to say the least, and those who recall the experience claim they were “difficult”.

Jose Luis Amiero, a middle-aged man who writes about his time in the “escuela al campo” recalls being drafted in seventh grade. The bathrooms had no roofs or toilets, and when Amiero asked a general why this was he simply answered, “for hygienic reasons”.

Fidel Castro says he implemented the program to make his students aware of all fields of employment. At the campsite, the teens plant crops, pick tobacco, cut sugarcane and other agriculture jobs. The stay is usually 45 days at a time and parental visits are allowed every 15 days. Transportation to the campsites is not funded, and parents must pay 10 pesos to ride a bus out to the country. Amiero recalls the living conditions were terrible, “the bunk beds were small and crammed”. All in all, the purpose the camp is supposed to have is being jeopardized by unhygienic and unsteady conditions.

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Published in: on February 3, 2011 at 7:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Editor’s Note-Abolition of slavery/modern forms of slavery

By Amelia Gutierrez
Editor

This week our blogs focused on modern slavery around the world. Many might assume that slavery has long gone diminished in the world, but unfortunately it exists till this day. There are many forms of slavery. My blog team focused on slavery forms of sex and labor.

“Swindled Out of Freedom and Into Slavery,” deals with young women overseas coming to the United States for job opportunities, but are instead forced to stay in brothels.

“Craigslist, an Online Sex Slaves Bazaar,” explains the dangers of advertisements online, which in this case led to sex trafficking in the United States.

Women and children in Brazil have experienced sex trafficking and it is still active at this time. the blog titled “Modern Day Sex trafficking of Women and Children in Brazil,” offers more insight.

“South Africa’s Sex Slave Industry,” tells the story of a naïve girl who was sold into slavery working more than 12 hours a day, not seeing any of the money she made.

Other blogs this week deal with workers who are controlled by their superiors who violate their human and labor rights.

“Made in China,” mentions the cruel use of Chinese labor paying a mere 55 cents an hour.

Some countries like Saudi Arabia are overcoming such unlawful labor use of the people. The blog titled “Abuse of Domestic Workers Encourages New Rights Initiative in Saudi Arabia,” tells more.

Those who violated labor laws are punished in due time. In the blog titled “Agricultural Slavery in Immokalee, Florida” two members were sentenced to pass 12 years in prison for enslaving migrants agricultural workers.

Feel free to leave comments on our blogs!!

Published in: on February 3, 2011 at 7:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Swindled Out of Freedom and Into Slavery

By: Viviana Garcia

Pross, Long. (2009). Oprah.com.

The prospect of a well paying job for a college student is sometimes attractive enough to justify putting certain things on the line, but for Yumi Li, a Chinese student traveling to the States, it was her dignity and self-worth that were at risk, not a late assignment. Nicholas Kristof, writer for the New York Times and Nobel Peace Prize winner, states in an article that, “Nearly 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, it’s time to wipe out the remnants of slavery in this country.” Here he tells of Li’s story, which took place in November of 2010, the year she headed for the US in hopes of securing an accounting job, but instead wound up being forced to work within the walls of a brothel. The men who organized this operation were located in an office on 36th Street in Midtown Manhattan. Hers is a story similar to that of a plethora of other young women tortured within the slave-trade industry.

Recently, the New York Times ran a story on a Manhattan case involving two girls (15 and 17) that had been advertised on Craigslist. Often it is the case, that the customers benefiting from their services, are unaware of their involuntary duty to their oppressors. What can be done, according to Kristof is to “focus more on customers and, above all, on pimps,” those are not as easy to prosecute within our judicial system.

Sources:

Kristof, Nicholas. (November 27, 2010). “A Woman. A Prostitute. A Slave.” Retrieved January 28, 2011 from the
New York Times website: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/26/two-indicted-for-pimping-girls-
on-craigslist/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Robbins, Liz and Rosenberg, Noah. (January 26, 2011). “Two Charged With Pimping Girls on Craigslist.” Retrieved
January 28, 2011 from the New York Times website: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/26/two-
indicted-for-pimping-girls-on-craigslist/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Published in: on February 3, 2011 at 4:27 am  Leave a Comment  

South Africa’s Sex Slave Industry

By: Joeli Prieto

Hamman, Melanie. (2010). Time Magazine. Africa

 

On January 18, 2010, E. Benjamin Skinner told his story about his encounter with a former sex slave, Sindiswa. According to Skinner, Sindiswa came from one of the poorest families in her area. At the age of 16 Sindiswa became an orphan and needed to find ways to support herself.  During her struggle a woman offered Sindiswa an opportunity to find work. Since Sindiswa needed work, she and her best friend, 15 year-old Elizabeth agreed to take an eight-hour drive with the woman. According to Skinner, this was when the woman sold Sindiswa and Elizabeth. The girls were sold for $120 and cocaine.

Skinner reports that the girls worked every night for 12 hours, as prostitutes. Once the girls would finish working their owner would collect all the money they made.

Sindiswa was eventually diagnosed with HIV, and when she became too weak to work, her owner “threw her back in the streets”, says Skinner.

According to Skinner from Times, there are more slaves at this point in time than there has ever been. Sex trafficking victims fall into the category of slavery because they are being forced to perform an act without pay. Skinner says that there are ten of thousands of South African children being sold into sex slavery.

Sources:

E. Benjamin Skinner. (2010, Jan. 18). South Africa’s New Slave Trade and the Campaign to Stop It. Time Magazine. Retrieved February 1, 2011 from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1952335-1,00.html

Published in: on February 3, 2011 at 3:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Craigslist, an Online Sex Slaves Bazaar

Public Domain

Public Domain

By Nathaly Duran

On September 3rd of 2010 after many years of public and legal pressure Craigslist, U.S. most popular classified advertising site, discontinued its “adult service” section. Early accusations of Craigslist becoming the modern sex trafficking bazaar, caught the attention of the media, the authorities and advocacy groups. It was shocking to learn how easy the process of selling and buying a human being for sex had become. Children and teenagers were advertised using words like “fresh” and “inexperienced” in thousands of ads.

As mentioned on an article in the British newspaper,Guardian, crucial accusations in the form of Ads against Craigslist were published in the Washington Post by two women who stated they had been repeatedly sold through the site to men who “paid to rape” them. One of these women said she was forced into prostitution at the age of 11. She alleged “All day, me and other girls sat with our laptops, pasting pictures and answering ads on Craigslist, he made $1,500 a night selling my body, dragging me to Los Angeles, Houston, LittleRock, and Las Vegas in the trunk of a car”. The other woman said ” Men answered the Craigslist advertisements and paid to rape me. The $30,000 he pocketed each month was facilitated by Craigslist 300 times.”

Although, as stated on an article in the Washington Post by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) “websites escape liability when an ad on their site results in rape, prostitution, and even death”, Craigslist has said that it has no intentions of reinstalling the “adult services” category it took down.

Public Domain

Sources:

1. Kan, Cecilia. (September 15, 2010). “Craigslist says it shut down U.S. adult services ads for good.” Retrieved January 28, 2011 from the Washington Post website: http://www.washingtonpost.com.

2. Guardian. (August 8, 2010). “Craigslist is hub for child prostitution, allege trafficked women.” Retrieved January 28, 2011 from the Guardian website: http://www.guardian.co.uk.

Published in: on February 3, 2011 at 3:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Modern Day Sex trafficking of Women and Children in Brazil

By: Ashley Williams

According to one Brazilian Congressional report, Brazil has the highest rate of child prostitution in Latin America and the second highest rate in the world. The Brazilian Centre for Children and Adolescents has estimated that there are 500,000 children involved in prostitution in Brazil.”(1) Although slavery officially ended in Brazil at the end of the 19th century, it continues to be practiced into the 21st century and in other parts of the world.(2)

Brazil one of the top tourism countries, is one of the leading country with HIV cases, and is home to some of the biggest prostitution rings, exploitation, and sex trafficking of children worldwide. “Brazil has one of the worst child prostitution problems and it’s a thriving sex-tourism industry.”(3) Girls and even boys from the ages of six to eighteen are sold every moment of the day, with tourists being the main target, selling them as if property or meat waiting for the highest bidder. In Brazil’s two biggest cities, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, there are an estimated 150 thousand child prostitutes, boys and girls, controlled by a strong and organized mafia, working in bars, prostitution houses, massage salons and hotels. (4) Policemen are told to ignore these children roaming the streets and the situation tends to get worse and worse, as each child loses their innocence day by day.

Not only are the children born in Brazil being sold, but children from all over the world who are brought over unwillingly, and forced into the life of prostitution. This problem is so widespread that it’s almost uncontrollable with underground brothels and undercover cops helping as well. Despite efforts from the government the business of sex trafficking and enslavement of young girls and boys in Brazil continues to grow.

Sources:
(1) Child Prostitution in Brazil. (N.D, February). Retrieved February 1, 2011, from

Published in: on February 3, 2011 at 2:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Made in China

By: Paige Johnsen

In 2001, China was introduced into the World Trade Organization (WTO).  The WTO is the only global international institute that regulates trade throughout the world.  The spread of international business and globalization in China has led to the exploitation of Chinese factory workers.  Chinese factory workers are responsible for surplus production; clothing retail is just one example. “Multinational corporations such as Wal-Mart claim to perform inspections of labor conditions, but such inspections are often superficial and rife with corruption,” (1). 

The exploitation of factory workers allows foreign investors to buy goods and services at low costs.  Workers are dominated by their superiors, who violate their human and labor rights.  A New York Times reporter said, “Corporations, including Wal-Mart, Disney and Dell, were accused of unfair labor practices, including using child labor, forcing employees to work 16-hour days on fast-moving assembly lines, and paying workers less than minimum wage. (Minimum wage in this part of China is about 55 cents an hour)” (2).  Wage-slavery is a term used to describe a worker who earns a wage less than the cost of what he or she is making.

Sources:

1.)  Independent Lens. (March 5 2007). “Human Rights in China.” Retrieved February 2, 2011 from the PBS website:  http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/chinablue/humanrights.html

2.) Barboza, David. (January 5 2008). “In Chinese Factories, Lost Fingers and Low Pay.” Retrieved February 2, 2011 from the New York Times website: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/05/business/worldbusiness/05sweatshop.html

Further Reading:

World Trade Organization: http://www.wto.org/index.htm

Published in: on February 2, 2011 at 10:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Abuse of Domestic Workers Encourages New Rights Initiative in Saudi Arabia

By: Jonathan Simmons

There is a new initiative in Saudi Arabia to finalize a 2005 draft law designed to protect the rights of migrant domestic workers.  Saudi legal expert Khaled bin Abdul Rahman told the Arab News daily, “The new law will solve a number of problems facing domestic staff and will help regulate the Kingdom’s unorganized domestic job sector (1).”

 

Bay Ismoyo, AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia, like many other Arab nations, does not have a specific set of laws designed to protect migrant domestic workers, who are not covered under the nation’s general labor laws.

Under current laws in the Middle East, domestics’ visas are usually arranged by their “sponsors,” the individual or agency they will be working for when they arrive.  It is common practice for a sponsor to confiscate the migrant domestic’s passport,  and in many places it is illegal for a domestic to break a contract with an employer by leaving to take other work (2).

These constraints lead to cases in which maids are kept essentially as slaves, with the sponsor providing food and housing but not an actual income, while holding on to their passports and confining them to the home.

Sources:

1.  Arab News. January 28, 2011. “Legal  expert calls for laws to protect rights of domestic workers.” Retrieved January 31, 2011 from the Arab News website:   http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article245117.ece

2. Human Rights Watch. June 14, 2010.  “Middle East: End ‘Sponsored’ Gateway to Human Trafficking.” Retrieved February 1, 2011 from the Human Rights Watch website: http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/06/14/middle-east-end-sponsored-gateway-human-trafficking

Further Reading:

Human Rights Watch: Legal Reforms Inadequate

HumanTrafficking.org: Expert in Trafficking in Persons Ends Visit to Lebanon

Daily Star reporter in Beirut: Seeking Hemathala: Sri Lenakan Domestic Missing in Lebanon

Amnesty International: Fresh Claims of Abuse of Indonesian Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia

Reuters Video: Workers Claim Abuse in Lebanon