Archive for November, 2014

‘Digital Anti-Trafficking’: The latest UN-ACT Blog

We have published our latest blog, ‘Digital Anti-Trafficking: Reflections on Technological Risks & Opportunities’.

In this piece, Mitali Thakor, PhD Candidate in the MIT Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, & Societyoffers her reflections on emerging technological issues regarding child exploitation online, summarizing two digital strategies for assisting with anti-trafficking casework – text data mining and imaging software – and highlighting current questions regarding Internet governance, privacy, and surveillance.

You can access the blog by visiting our forum or clicking on this link.

What do you think about the blog? And what are your thoughts on opportunities and risks associated with technological innovations in the context of exploitation and human trafficking?

We would be happy to hear from you! You can comment directly in response to our blog!…

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UN-ACT November 2014 Newsletter

Click on UN-ACT November 2014 Newsletter to get all the latest on human trafficking in the Greater Mekong-Sub-region.…

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International cooperation effort brings exploited Cambodian workers home from Saudi Arabia

A group of villagers from rural Cambodia who were lured to Saudi Arabia by the promise of well-paid jobs in the oil industry, have been able to return home after a punishing ordeal that saw them being deceived and exploited. International cooperation from a variety of organizations and agencies played a critical role in their successful return.

The men, who come from a remote part of eastern Cambodia where poor communities survive on hard physical labour as farmers, learned about opportunities of better working conditions with good pay in Saudi Arabia.  Their journey to the oil-rich nation was organized by a broker, with whom they agreed on salary levels and working conditions. The men left their village in December 2013, heading first by bus to Thailand and onwards by plane to the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Two more Cambodian workers joined the group through the same broker in January 2014.

Upon their arrival in Riyadh, the men were immediately put to work on a construction site, instead of in the oil industry. Furthermore, their passports were confiscated and they were informed that their salaries would be only one third of the amount they had been promised. After realizing that they had been deceived, the men called the broker in Phnom Penh to complain. The latter urged them to be patient and to continue to work in their current workplace for a few months, until the recruitment company could find them the jobs they wanted. The men followed this advice and continued to work for another month while awaiting news from the broker. When they did not hear from him for several weeks, seven of the men asked the employer to return their passports to them and to send them back home. In response, the employer demanded that each worker pay US$2,500 in compensation to cover their recruitment, transportation and housing expenses.

The workers then reported their situation to the local police, who requested a meeting with their employer. The employer refused to attend the meeting and upon hearing about the complaint lodged by the Cambodian workers, he separated the group and sent them to work in different locations. Two of the workers were sent to an isolated construction site in the desert, where they suffered abuse including a grueling workload, insufficient food, and extremely high temperatures.

One of the workers was able to call his family to let them know about the bad situation the Cambodian workers found themselves in. His family further informed the families of the other victims and reported the problem to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia (MoFAIC).

The men then managed to escape from their workplace. As there is no Cambodian Embassy in Saudi Arabia, they sought help from the Royal Thai Embassy.

In the meantime, the Cambodian authorities approached the relevant Thai authorities to seek their cooperation in resolving the problem. With the support of UN-ACT, the Cambodia COMMIT Task Force contacted their Thai COMMIT counterparts while MoFAIC approached the Royal Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh.…

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New in ‘Publications’: Human Rights and Human Trafficking, OHCHR Fact Sheet No. 36

There is widespread recognition of the importance of a human rights-based approach to addressing human trafficking. But what does that actually mean? Applying a human rights-based approach to anti-trafficking interventions requires a thorough understanding of how violations of human rights arise throughout the trafficking cycle, and what States’ obligations are in respect to human rights under international law. It is only on the basis of such understanding that efforts to counter human trafficking are in a position to identify and redress the discriminatory practices and unequal distribution of power that underlie trafficking in persons, that maintain impunity for traffickers and that deny justice to victims.

The Fact Sheet No. 36 provides a comprehensive overview of the nexus between human rights and human trafficking. In exploring the applicable legal and policy framework, it draws on two major, previous OHCHR publications: the 2002 Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking and its extensive Commentary.

This latest publication first explores the definition of trafficking in persons and its core elements, including by discussing some of the myths and misunderstandings around the definition. It then considers the relationship between human rights and human trafficking; identifies those human rights that are commonly affected by trafficking in persons; and considers the situation of special groups with reference to additional or different rights to which they may be entitled. The publication then focuses on the obligations of States in this context, identifies their sources and explains how a State may be legally responsible for the harm caused by trafficking, even if it did not directly cause it. Finally, the Fact Sheet also considers how such obligations can be implemented and monitored, with a view to ensuring that States and others are held accountable for their acts and omissions.…

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