Human Trafficking USA ranked for First Time!

Human Trafficking In Persons Report Map, 2009.

Image via Wikipedia

The United States was ranked for the first time in the 10th annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report documenting human trafficking and modern slavery, released on Monday by the Department of State. The report found that in America:  men, women, and children were subject to trafficking for “forced labor, debt bondage, and forced prostitution.”

The report represents a “whole decade of work the State Department has pioneered,” said Andrea Bertone, director of Human Trafficking.org, who spoke with the Epoch Times by phone. She said the report is important in her work to prevent human trafficking and each year includes greater detail about trafficking situations in countries around the world.

The report ranks 177 countries based on “the extent of government action to combat trafficking,” with Tier 1 as the highest ranking. A Tier 1 ranking indicates that a state government has recognized the problem of human trafficking, has made efforts to address the issue, and meets the TVPA’s (Torture Victim Protection Act) minimum standards. A country with a Tier 2 rating has not met the standards but has made efforts to do so, while a Tier 3 rating means the country has not met the minimum standards and has not attempted to do so. The United States received a Tier 1 rating.

Andrea Bertone said the rating for the United States is the result of continued requests by NGOs for the United States to rate itself. Bertone said she is not sure how objective the United States could be in rating itself, “Would the U.S. get anything other than a Tier 1 rating?”

Jennifer Bernal Garcia of the Center for a New American Security says including the United States in the report makes sense. Speaking by phone, she said that human trafficking is a transnational phenomenon and the “U.S. is in no way immune.”

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announced the release of the report in Washington, D.C., urging governments as well as businesses that profit from human trafficking to take “shared responsibility” for these human rights violations. Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero and Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca also spoke at the press conference.

Important national and international legislation was passed 10 years ago that allowed the report to begin its annual research and assessment of human trafficking across the world. In 2000, the United States passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, establishing the tier ranking system of the report. The United Nations also adopted the Palermo Protocol that year, which provided for “the criminalization of all acts of trafficking—including forced labor, slavery, and slaverylike practices—and that governmental response should incorporate the ‘3P’ paradigm: prevention, criminal prosecution, and victim protection,” according to the report’s website.

Secretary Clinton said that the task of ending modern slavery cannot be simply given to nongovernmental organizations. In order to bring traffickers to justice, “We can’t just blame international organized crime and rely on law enforcement to pursue them. It is everyone’s responsibility. Businesses that knowingly profit or exhibit reckless disregard about their supply chains, governments that turn a blind eye, or do not devote serious resources to addressing the problem, all of us have to speak out and act forcefully,” said Clinton at the press conference.

Ambassador CdeBaca noted that 10 years ago when the report was compiled for the first time, human trafficking was “a little-understood crime that took place in the shadows, cast a darkness over our fundamental rights whether constitutional, international norms, or personal liberties.” Ten years later, it has become a topic of great concern, and there is an even greater need to take bold steps forward, said CdeBaca.

CdeBaca addressed America’s participation in human trafficking. The 2010 report documents the United States not just as a destination or transit country for trafficking, but “we, too, are a source country for people held in servitude.”

This year marks a year of progress against human trafficking. For example, Argentina made its first conviction under an anti-trafficking law, Clinton said. But there is still much left to do to end slavery once and for all, and Clinton said she hopes “this report galvanizes further action!”

The fight goes on and as long as we in the trenches continue to bring this horrible crime to the forefront, just maybe someone will start to listen.

Take your kids to Singapore?

Sentosa Luge

Image via Wikipedia

Singapore is a squeaky clean Asian city that has all the hussle and bussle of markets, exciting cuisine, great shopping and attractions that make it a top family destination. Taking the kids to Singapore is easy, it’s just a seven hour flight from the East Coast of Australia and five from the west. English is widely spoken, ATM’s are readily available and yes there is even junk food.

Sentosa Luge – Safe for all ages, the luge’s unique steering and braking system lets you decide just how exciting or leisurely a ride you want it to be as you coast down the scenic hillside.

Sentosa 4D Magix – Southeast Asia’s largest 4-dimensional theatre and multi-sensory cinematic ride which synchronizes digital surround sound and life-like action on the giant screen with special effects like seat vibrations, gusts of wind, water sprays, aromas, and even leg ticklers.

Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom – Marvel at the 1,500 live butterflies representing over 50 species as you and your family enjoy a quiet stroll through the lush greenery of the outdoor conservatory.

Carlsberg Sky Tower – At 131m above sea level, Singapore’s tallest observatory tower affords panoramic views of the island and beyond. Up here, you can see Singapore from end-to-end, in air-conditioned comfort, day or night.

Bond with the pink dolphins at Underwater World’s Dolphin Lagoon. Definitely one for the family photo album, a trip to Dolphin Lagoon promises an unforgettable introduction to the world of the highly intelligent Indo Pacific Humpback Dolphin.

Jurong BirdPark – Step into this 3,000sqm walk-in aviary and enjoy the experience of having a thousand colourful birds swirl around you in a naturalistic setting. With suspension bridges and an elevated boardwalk that’s 12m above ground level, you will be right in the thick of things, with 360-degree views of everything that’s happening around you. And the children will just love the central feeding tower where they can feed the birds.

Singapore Science Centre’s WaterWorks – practically a water theme park in itself, both children and grown-ups get to experiment with the hands-on exhibits. And the beauty of it is that the children won’t even realise that they’re learning about important concepts like water pressure and the natural water cycle. They would be far too busy throwing plastic balls into water vortices, creating their own rainbows and dodging water jets in the Water Maze. And at the end of the day, when they’re all happy, tired and soggy, all you have to do is to put them into the Giant Dryer where they can learn about evaporation!

Singapore is a tiny island linked to Malaysia by two causeway bridges. Singapore accommodation is of an excellent standard with all the facilities of top class hotels available. Families will need interconnecting rooms in most properties. The weather in Singapore is often warm and humid with average temperatures around 23 to 32 degrees. Australians must hold a passport with at least 6 months validity and no visas are required for Australian passport holders for visits under 90 days. The currency is the Singapore Dollar or 1.23 to USD.

Other things to do are; Singapore has become the Gambling centre for South East Asia, the casinos are magnific and grand, with plenty of night-life for the Adults.

By hotdogfish Posted in Living

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, A Face of Innocents!

Dominique Strauss-Kahn (French socialist polit...

Image via Wikipedia

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former IMF chief, told police he had diplomatic immunity shortly after he was detained at a New York airport on accusations he tried to rape a hotel maid, court papers showed on Thursday. A redacted timeline of events showed that when police removed Strauss-Kahn from an Air France flight to Paris just minutes before it was due to depart New York’s John F Kennedy Airport on May 14 he asked them, “What is this about?” When told detectives wanted to talk to him about “an incident in the city at a hotel”, Strauss-Kahn was silent and then about 15 minutes later said, “I have diplomatic immunity” and asked to speak with someone from the French Consulate.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, is under house arrest in New York City and has pleaded not guilty to attempted rape, sex abuse, a criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching.

He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

The former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, who resigned a few days after his arrest, does not have full diplomatic immunity, but IMF rules granted him immunity limited to acts performed in his “official capacity”.

The IMF said Strauss-Kahn had been in New York on private business.

On May 14 during his transfer to the Manhattan Special Victims Unit, which deals with sex crimes, from the airport, Strauss-Kahn said: “I need to make a call and let them know I won’t be at my meeting tomorrow”. “These handcuffs are tight,” he added.

Strauss-Kahn had been due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 15 and join euro zone finance ministers in Brussels the following day to discuss the bloc’s debt crisis and how to handle the economic meltdown in Greece.

Later on at the Special Victims Unit, Strauss-Kahn asked to call his lawyer, then asked police if he needed a lawyer. A detective said he had a right to a lawyer, but added that he didn’t know if Strauss-Kahn had diplomatic status. “No, no, no, I’m not trying to use that,” Strauss-Kahn said.

Strauss-Kahn later was asked if he wanted to speak with detectives about the hotel incident, to which he replied: “My attorney has told me not to talk. I was ready to talk.”The timeline was provided by prosecutors to New York Supreme Court Judge Michael Obus and Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers on Thursday. Prosecutors also indicated that they planned to give Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers scientific and medical reports, photographs and drawings and tapes and electronic recordings.

The next court date in the Strauss-Kahn case is July 18.

In case of Abuse!

In reality, most diplomats are representatives of nations with a tradition of professional civil service, and are expected to obey regulations governing their behaviour and they suffer strict internal consequences (disciplinary action) if they flout local laws. In many nations a professional diplomat’s career may be compromised if they (or even members of their family) disobey the local authorities or cause serious embarrassment, and such cases are, at any rate, a violation of the spirit of the Vienna Conventions.

The Vienna Convention is explicit that “without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State.” Nevertheless, in some occasions, diplomatic immunity leads to some unfortunate results; protected diplomats have violated laws (including those that would be violations at home as well) of the host country and that country has been essentially limited to informing the diplomat’s nation that the diplomat is no longer welcome (persona non grata). Diplomatic agents are not, however, exempt from the jurisdiction of their home state, and hence prosecution may be undertaken by the sending state; for minor violations of the law, the sending state may impose administrative procedures specific to the foreign service or diplomatic mission.

Violation of the law by diplomats has included espionage, smuggling, child custody law violations, and even murder: in London in 1984, policewoman Yvonne Fletcher was killed on the street by a person shooting from inside the Libyan embassy. The incident caused a breakdown in diplomatic relations until Libya admitted “general responsibility” in 1999.

Related articles