The Week in Trafficking

Trafficking trends

Echoing one of our earlier posts, the Brazilian National Justice Secretary suggests that there is little evidence suggesting that human trafficking spikes around sporting events like next month’s World Cup. Nevertheless, this year’s largest sporting event is garnering attention as a potential magnet for trafficking, and last week the Vatican and an international association of nuns launched an anti-trafficking campaign aimed at raising awareness of the issue.

Relatedly, Indiana State students distributed bars of soap labeled with a human trafficking telephone help line before the Indy 500 car race earlier this month.

There are fears that the Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram is kidnapping and recruiting children across the border in Cameroon.

Human Rights Watch released a new report on trafficking in Yemen.

Representatives from the Thai Embassy in Washington continued their country’s lobbying effort for upgrading rather than downgrading their TIP score in the upcoming State Department TIP report.

Prosecution

German funeral home allegedly sold passports of the dead to a human trafficking gang.

The leader of a group that sold more than 20 Vietnamese infants in China was recently sentenced to death.

The US House of Representatives passed five bills last week aimed at strengthening human trafficking penalties.

The number of trafficking cases in the United Arab Emirates decreased in 2013, while the conviction rate increased.

A new Vermont law broadens the definition of prostitution in an effort at cracking down on trafficking, while the California State Assembly moves ahead on legislation that helps victims expunge prostitution convictions that were the result of being trafficked.

The Philippines arrested but were unable to prosecute a Saudi diplomat for human trafficking. The Philippine government released the diplomat and formally apologized after the Saudi government protested the arrests as a violation of international law.

 

Prevention

Somaly Mam resigned as head of after a Newsweek article questioned a number of aspects of her personal story as a human trafficking survivor as well as those of several victims from her Somaly Mam Foundation.

Employees at Oakland International Airport are receiving training on spotting and identifying victims of trafficking.

The UN recently launched a five-year project to combat human trafficking in Southeast Asia.

Taiwan signed the first memorandum of understanding between the US and a country in the Asia-Pacific region this week. The US has signed similar agreements with the EU, Canada, the UK, France, and the Netherlands.

Similarly, Russia and the Philippines moved forward with closer anti-trafficking collaboration.

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