Category Archives: trafficking

In a “World of Plenty,” G7 Must Fight Famine

By Tharanga Yakupitiyage
IPS

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A child from drought-stricken southern Somalia who survived the long journey to an aid camp in the Somali capital Mogadishu. Credit: Abdurrahman Warsameh/IPS

UNITED NATIONS, May 26 2017 (IPS) – World leaders must step up and take action in fighting famine to prevent further catastrophic levels of hunger and deaths, said Oxfam.

Ahead of the 43rd G7 summit, Oxfam urged world leaders to urgently address the issue of famine, currently affecting four countries at unprecedented levels.

“Political failure has led to these crises – political leadership is needed to resolve them…the world’s most powerful leaders must now act to prevent a catastrophe happening on their watch,” said Oxfam’s Executive Director Winnie Byanyima.

“If G7 leaders were to travel to any of these four countries, they would see for themselves how life is becoming impossible for so many people: many are already dying in pain, from disease and extreme hunger,” she continued.

In northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen, approximately 30 million people are severely food insecure. Of this figure, 10 million face emergency and famine conditions, more than the population of G7 member United Kingdom’s capital of London.

After descending into conflict over three years ago, famine has now been declared in two South Sudan counties and a third county is at risk if food aid is not provided.

In Somalia, conflict alongside prolonged drought – most likely exacerbated by climate change – has left almost 7 million in need of humanitarian assistance. Drought has also contributed to cholera outbreaks and displacement.

Byanyima pointed to the hypocrisy in a “world of plenty” experiencing four famines.

These widespread crises are not confined to the four countries’ borders.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, almost 2 million South Sudanese have fled to neighboring countries, including Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya, making it the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis. Due to the influx of South Sudanese refugees, the Bidi Bidi refugee camp in Uganda is now the largest in the world, placing a strain on local services.

Escaping hunger and conflict, Nigerians have sought refuge in the Lake Chad region which shares its borders with Cameroon, Chad, and Niger only to once again face high levels of food insecurity and disease outbreaks.

Among the guest invitees to the G7 meeting are the affected nations, including the governments of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria.

Oxfam called on the G7 countries to provide its fair share of funding. So far, they have provided 1.7 billion dollars, just under 60 percent of their fair share. Meanwhile, only 30 percent of a 6.3-billion-dollar UN appeal for all four countries has been funded. If each G7 country contributed its fair share, almost half of the appeal would be funded, Oxfam estimates.

In 2015, the G7 committed to lift 500 million people out of hunger and malnutrition. Oxfam noted that they should thus uphold their commitments and focus on crisis prevention.

However, some of the G77 nations’ actions do not bode well for accelerated action on famine.

For instance, the U.S. government has proposed significant cuts to foreign assistance, including a 30 percent decrease in funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The proposal also includes the elimination of Title II For Peace, a major USAID food aid program, which would mean the loss of over 1.7 billion dollars of food assistance.

Former US Foreign Disaster Assistance chief Jeremy Konyndyk noted that the cuts are “catastrophic.” “So bad I fear I’m misreading it,” he added.

International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) President David Miliband highlighted the importance of continuing U.S. foreign assistance in order to alleviate humanitarian suffering abroad and protect the interests and security of the U.S. and its allies.

“Global threats like Ebola and ISIS grow out of poverty, instability, and bad governance. Working to counteract these with a forward-leaning foreign aid policy doesn’t just mean saving lives today, but sparing the US and its allies around the world the much more difficult, expensive work of combating them tomorrow,” he stated.

President Trump also called for the elimination of the U.S. African Development Foundation which provides grants to underserved communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, and has suggested cutting funds to climate change programs such as the UN’s Green Climate Fund which aims to help vulnerable developing nations combat climate change.

Meanwhile, UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May has already abolished its climate change department.

In addition to scaling up humanitarian funding, G7 nations must commit to fund longer-term solutions that build resilience and improve food security to avoid large-scale disasters, Oxfam stated. This includes action on climate change, “no excuses,” said Oxfam.

President Trump is expected to announce whether the U.S. will remain in the Paris climate agreement after the G7 summit.

“History shows that when donors fail to act on early warnings of potential famine, the consequence can be a large-scale, devastating loss of life….now clear warnings have again been issued,” Oxfam stated.

“The international community have the power to end such failures—if they choose to—by marshaling international logistics and a humanitarian response network to work sustainably with existing local systems to prevent famine and address conflict, governance, and climate change drivers,” Oxfam concluded.

The G7 summit is hosted by Sicily, Italy and will be held from 26-27 May.

Africa Stands With Refugees

AFJN (summary)

Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-4.03.17-PM-848x350 EthiopiaSomalia’s Minister of Health, Mohammed Abdullahi, recognizes Ethiopia’s admirable position of accepting refugees and offering support while other countries are closing their doors to refugees. There are currently over 800,000 refugees in Ethiopia, making it the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa. As of February 28th of this year, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that 246,859 refugees are Somalian and 342,573 are South Sudanese. The primary cause of displacement from Somalia is due to conflict and drought. However, Ethiopia has offered an extended hand to Somalia and is recognized as an instrumental provider in the region as people are treated with dignity and “respect basic human rights.” Uganda has also welcomed 520,000 refugees since July 2016 but has faced great difficult as roughly 3,000 South Sudanese refugees pour into the country each day.

Africa works diligently to welcome their neighbors in needs of crisis.

The Ethiopian Herald
by Bilal Derso

Ethiopia: Officials Laud Ethiopia’s Refugee Treatment

Health officials of Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan have praised Ethiopia’s role in hosting and supporting refugees.

Plan, Policy and Cooperation Affairs Head with Somalia’s Minister of Health, Mohammed Abdullahi, stated that Ethiopia made an exemplary deed to shelter a large number of Somali refugees who have been displaced due to conflicts and drought.

Abdullahi said: “Somali refugees here are receiving treatment, almost similar to Ethiopians, while other countries are forcing them to leave.”

The head noted that currently the Somali government is repatriating its citizens taking into account the relative peace and stability in the country.

For his part, Plan and Policy Director with Sudan’s Minister of Health, Seid Mohammed, said Sudanese refugees taking shelter in Ethiopia have been receiving the necessary supports. “Ethiopia respects the basic human rights of Sudanese refugees.”

Ethiopia’s refugees treatment deserves recognition, according to the director.

International Health Affairs Director-General with South Sudan’s Minister of Health, Dr. Kediende Chong said South Sudanese refugees consider Ethiopia a second home.

Currently, there are over 800,000 refugees in Ethiopia.

Pope: the rich who exploit the poor are bloodsuckers

Vatican Radio
The rich who suck the blood of the poor

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Pope Francis preaches during the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. – OSS_ROM

The day’s first reading, taken from the Letter of Saint James, is a forceful warning to the rich who accumulate wealth by exploiting the people. “Riches in themselves are good,” the Pope explained, but they are “relative, not absolute” goods. He criticized the so-called “theology of prosperity”— according to which “God shows you that you are just if He give you great riches,” saying those who follow it are mistaken. The problem lies in being attached to wealth, because, as the Pope recalled, “You cannot serve both God and riches.” These become “chains” that “take away the freedom to follow Jesus.” In the reading, St James writes, “Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.”
When riches are created by exploiting the people, by those rich people who exploit [others], they take advantage of the work of the people, and those poor people become slaves. We think of the here and now, the same thing happens all over the world. “I want to work.” “Good, they’ll make you a contract, from September to June.” Without a pension, without health care… Then they suspend it, and in July and August they have to eat air. And in September, they laugh at you about it. Those who do that are true bloodsuckers, and they live by spilling the blood of the people who they make slaves of labour.

Continue reading Pope: the rich who exploit the poor are bloodsuckers

6 myths about human trafficking we all need to stop believing

Mashable

Human trafficking is an incredibly large — and undoubtedly upsetting — industry.
It rakes in an estimated $150 billion worldwide every year, coming in as one of the largest illegal trades alongside drug trafficking, arms trade and wildlife trafficking. But the realities of human trafficking are often ignored — and not just because we rarely talk about modern slavery.
How we currently talk about human trafficking can be just as harmful. It’s often riddled with misconceptions and myths, leaving the majority of us misinformed or under-informed about the ways it affects the world. But this isn’t entirely surprising, considering the criminal practice’s secretive nature. Confronting the truth, after all, is more difficult with everything under wraps. Continue reading 6 myths about human trafficking we all need to stop believing

In Historic Vote, U.S. Senate Unanimously Backs McCaskill-Portman Measure to Hold ‘Backpage’ Website in Contempt of Congress

US Catholic Sisters against Human Trafficking

WASHINGTON – In an historic vote, the Senate today unanimously approved a bipartisan resolution from U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill and Rob Portman to launch civil contempt proceedings against the website Backpage, as part of the duo’s bipartisan investigation into online sex trafficking.

“The contempt that Backpage has shown for our bipartisan investigation has now been met with the unanimous contempt of the full U.S. Senate,” said McCaskill, a former sex crimes prosecutor who is the top-ranking Democrat on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. “This historic vote makes a clear statement—we are fully committed to getting to the bottom of this company’s business practices and policies for preventing the trafficking of children, and we will get these answers.” Continue reading In Historic Vote, U.S. Senate Unanimously Backs McCaskill-Portman Measure to Hold ‘Backpage’ Website in Contempt of Congress

Slave-Labor Loophole Closed by U.S. Senate After 8 Decades

Bloomberg News
Gap in law let slave-made products enter U.S. if needed
New focus on slavery in supply chains of global companies
The White House said President Barack Obama intended to sign the bipartisan legislation into law
Erik Larson

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For 85 years, the U.S. government has turned a blind eye to companies that import goods derived from slavery — so long as domestic production couldn’t meet demand for those goods. That’s about to change.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to close a loophole in the Tariff Act of 1930, which bars goods made by convict, forced or indentured labor, amid a new focus on slavery in the supply chains of global companies. Almost 21 million people are enslaved for profit worldwide, the United Nations says, annually providing $150 billion in illicit revenue. Continue reading Slave-Labor Loophole Closed by U.S. Senate After 8 Decades

Women on child trafficking charge to remain in custody for five more days

Daily Nation

By ALEX NJERU

teaf

Tharaka-Nithi court has granted police an additional five days to investigate two women arrested on suspicion of being involved in human trafficking.

Chuka Senior Principal Magistrate Alfred Kibiru granted the application Monday.

The suspects, Judy Mwaramo, 40, and Catherine Kinanu, 38, will be held at the Chuka Police Station until investigations are complete. Continue reading Women on child trafficking charge to remain in custody for five more days