Children Trafficked As Beggars

For the last few weeks, I’ve been participating in an online course which has been presented on Coursera by Jacquelyn Meshelemiah from the College of Social Work at The Ohio State University. I would like to share something I posted in a discussion on what form of human trafficking we believe will be the most feasible for an ordinary citizen to address.


I originally come from Ireland and, in that country, there is an itinerant ethnic group who are typically referred to as Travellers. There can be friction between the travelling and ‘settled’ communities of Ireland.

When I was around 8 or 9 years old, I remember watching a Saturday morning children’s TV show which brought children from both communities together to discuss their lives – the differences and the similarities – so that they (particularly those from the settled community) could have a greater understanding of one another.

The children were then interviewed to explain what they had learned.

One of the things that was brought up was how some of the children from the travelling community were told by their parents to go out an beg for money. They said that if they didn’t bring home enough, their fathers would beat them.

I have a vague memory of the children who were interviewed coming up with solutions to address this problem which included giving money and asking grown ups to tell the fathers not to hit their children (because it’s not their fault it people don’t want to give them money).

Back then (early-mid 80′s), no one recognised this as being a form of child trafficking. It was just thought of as a family matter (or a reason to look down on Travellers) in my community. In fact, it is possible that this post may be the first time anyone has ever questioned whether or not this is child trafficking!

So, what should be done about it?
Travellers are already a vulnerable group, and this behaviour would seem to stem from their economic vulnerability. Penalising offending parents under the law may not be an appropriate way to go about addressing the matter. There are deeper rooted issues which need to be addressed.

Whether the children who are coerced into begging for money are in Ireland, India or anywhere else on the planet, there are things that ordinary people can do.

If you see a child begging, alert an NGO or other community group whose work is for the benefit of children. In some areas, police may not have had sufficient training in dealing with this issue and could either punish the child or wave them away instead of viewing them as victims. However, that is not to say that alerting the police is always inappropriate – they can help!

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How Many Victims of Human Trafficking Are There Worldwide?

It’s normal to see websites which claim that there are more than 27 million victims of human trafficking around the World, so when I see an article that cites a figure of 2.5 million, I think it’s worthy of a mention.

I’ve seen interviews with people from organisations who claim that the figures are around 30 million, but their definition of human trafficking is so broad that they include people whom the U.N. and Interpol wouldn’t consider to have been trafficked. Smuggling people across borders to work as prostitutes or labourers may appear to count as trafficking because the process is similar to drug trafficking or arms trafficking in concept, but if those people chose to be smuggled, then it’s not human trafficking in the U.N./Interpol sense.

No one actually knows the real number of victims, but I believe that 2.5 million is a more plausible (and less sensational) figure.

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Global decline of wildlife linked to child slavery

From a BBC News report by Matt McGrath links the global decline of wildlife to child slavery:

“But until we start to address the bigger issue which is poor governance and the global free for all, we are not going to address the tide of conflict.”

- Prof Justin Brashares from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Japan Outlaws Possession of Child Pornography

In 1999, Japan outlawed the production and distribution of child pornography. The law was updated in 2004, but owning child porn remained legal. The fact that Japan was the only OECD country with legalised CSEC has often cited by agencies such as Interpol as a major stumbling block in international child porn investigations. On 4 June 2014, the Lower House’s Committee on Judicial Affairs passed a bill to change that.

The new law carries a penalty of up to 1 year in prison and a fine of up to 1 million yen. However, a one-year moratorium will be set after the revised law takes effect, which means that people in possession of illegal materials need not destroy them for the next 12 months.

Since 1999, the number of child pornography victims has increased. According to Japan’s National Police Agency, 600 children fall victim to pornography producers in their country every year.

Simulated child pronography is not covered under these laws, so it is still lawful in Japan to produce, distribute and own anime, manga and computer games which depict graphic sexual violence on children.

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Operation Round Table Child Porn Ring Busted

Authorities have announced the arrest of 14 American men who allegedly operated a members-only website that distributed approximately 2,000 child porn videos to their 27,000 subscribers.

251 child victims in 6 countries (U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Belgium) have been identified so far, 243 males and 8 females. Most are aged 13-15, though there are thirtythree under 12 years of age and two aged 3.

The man who led Operation Round Table, which is part of Operation Predator, was  the DHS deputy director, Daniel Ragsdale. He said:

“Never before in the history of this agency have we identified and located this many minor victims in the course of a single child exploitation investigation.”

The man alleged to have been the primary administrator of the websites out of his home is Jonathan Johnson (27). He has been charged with operating a child exploitation enterprise. If found guilty, he faces a  sentence of not less than 20 years, possibly life.

Stanley Zdan (27) and Daniel Nolan Devor (39) entered guilty pleas for conspiracy to produce child pornography with Mr. Johnson and face 15-30 years in prison.

More than 300 investigations have been opened into potential subscribers of the website.

The 14 men who were arrested:

  • Jonathan Johnson, 27, of Abita Springs, La., charged with operating a child exploitation enterprise.
  • Daniel Nolan Devor, 39, of Brunswick, Ga., charged with conspiracy to produce child pornography, distribution of child pornography and receipt of materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors
  • John C. Foster, 44 of Tipp City, Ohio, charged with conspiracy to produce child pornography, distribution of child pornography, and receipt of materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors
  • Aung Gaw aka Michael Gaw, 25, of Fremont, Calif., charged with receipt of child pornography
  • Vittorio Francesco Gonzalez-Castillo, 26, of Tucson, Ariz., charged with conspiracy to produce child pornography
  • Sean Jabbar, 32, of Minneapolis, Minn., charged with receipt of child pornography
  • Christopher Jamieson, 30, of Douglassville, Ga., charged with receipt of child pornography
  • Andrew Korpal, 29, of Granger, Ind., charged with receipt of child pornography
  • Nicholas Saine, 27, of Seattle, Wash., charged with receipt of child pornography
  • Christopher Schwab, 25 of New Orleans, charged with production of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, and receipt of child pornography
  • Stanley Zdon, III, 27, of Tuckerton, N.J., charged with conspiracy to produce child pornography
  • Roy Naim, 30, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was charged in the Eastern District of New York with conspiracy to produce child pornography, attempted sexual exploitation of a child, receipt of child pornography, and possession of child pornography.
  • Minh Vi Thong, 30, of Denver, Colo., was charged in the District of Colorado with production of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, and possession of child pornography.
  • Michael Eales, 24, of Westby, Wis., was charged in the Western District of Wisconsin with production of child pornography. He was sentenced Oct. 29, 2013, to serve two concurrent 30-year terms in federal prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for manufacturing child pornography.
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Project Spade – Huge Child Porn Ring Busted

Toronto police have announced that a huge child porn ring has been broken up as part of an ongoing international operation called Project Spade which involved law enforcement agencies from Canada, Australia, Spain, Mexico, South Africa, Hong Kong, Norway, Ireland, Greece and Gibraltar.

Police were tipped off about the http://www.azovfilms.com website in 2010 and shut down the company behind it, Etobicoke, in 2011 after an investigation. The man at the centre of the ring, Mr. Brian Way (42) of Toronto has been in jail since.

348 people who have been arrested so far. Of the approximately 150 arrested in the United States, those who posed the most immediate risk to children included  35 school employees, 25 registered sex offenders, 10 medical personnel, 10 youth workers or coaches  and 15 worked in law enforcement, US federal employees or attorneys.

Police postponed announcing the success of Project Spade, which has also resulted in 386 children having been rescued, until they felt comfortable that the ring had been completely broken.

A video of the press conference can be seen on this website (look at the extended version).

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Law of Mongolia on Combating Trafficking In Persons – Chapters 3 & 4

Thank you very much to Amarjargal Davjayev from the Center for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) in Mongolia for providing me with these translations.

CHAPTER THREE – FORMS OF ACTIVITIES ON  COMBATING HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Article 9. Protection shelter
9.1. Protection shelter shall be run for the purpose of protecting victim’s dignity, privacy and safety.
9.2. In case a person claiming to be a victim applies for a protection shelter directly or  through police, measures shall be taken for immediate provision of protection, care and services.
9.3.Irrespective of whether a victim expressed wish to cooperate with police or other competent organization on human trafficking, the victim shall be placed temporarily in a protection shelter.
9.4. Protection shelters may be run by a non-governmental organization by a decision from the Sub-Council.

Article 10. Protection of dignity, identity and safety of victims
10.1. Identity, address and other personal information of victims and their parents shall be confidential and transmission of such information through mass media, provision of such information to others and broadcasting and showing of victims’ faces and voices in a recognizable way shall be prohibited.
10.2. In case the victim so desires it shall be prohibited to inform other family members about becoming a victim of human trafficking crime.
10.3. Disclosure of private information related to human trafficking crime victims by officials who due to their responsibilities participated in crime detection, investigation and court proceedings as well as by other participants     shall be prohibited.
10.4. In case of necessity, measures shall be taken to ensure confidentiality of victims’ identity and whereabouts at the stage of inquiry, investigation and resolving of the case.

Article 11. Protection of foreign nationals and stateless persons
11.1. In case foreign nationals or stateless persons become victims on the territory of Mongolia it shall be prohibited by the decision of  inquiry and investigation organization, prosecutor and court to take measures for forced repatriation because of violation of the country’s travel and migration regime.
11.2. In case foreign nationals or stateless persons become victims on the territory of Mongolia the state administrative organization in charge of foreign nationals and citizenship shall give permit for temporary residence in the country irrespective of the purpose of the entry into Mongolia until the crime case is resolved by the court.

Article 12. Services to be provided to victims
12.1. The following services shall be provided to victims:
12.1.1. rehabilitation treatment to restore health;
12.1.2. psychological rehabilitation treatment;
12.1.3. provision of employment and professional training;
12.1.4. legal counselling;
12.1.5. provision of a temporary housing, foods, foreign passport or similar with it document, repatriation to home;
12.2. The services under provisions 12.1.1. and 12.1.2. of Article 12 shall be provided by medical establishments, services to victims under provision 12.1.3. shall be provided by labour and social welfare organization, services under provision 12.1.4. shall be provided by state administrative organization in charge of justice and services under provision 12.1.5. shall be provided by  diplomatic missions representing Mongolia in foreign countries.
12.3. Services to be provided to victims shall be free of charge.

Article 13. Protection of victim children
13.1. In case children are considered to have become crime victims, inquiry and investigation organs and protection shelter shall take immediate measures to establish and find their parents .
13.2. In case parents of victim children are not established the state administrative central organization in charge of social welfare and labour shall be approached to find their guardians or custodians.
13.3. Victim children shall be placed in protection shelters separately from adults.
13.4. The state administrative organization in charge of children affaires shall have the duty to enroll victim children into school of corresponding level.

Article 14. Protection and remuneration of citizens who provided information on human trafficking
14.1. Witnesses who provided important testimony and citizens who provided objective information related to crime in the course of revealing, registering, investigating and resolving human trafficking cases may be included in victims’ protection measures stipulated in Articles 10 of this Law with a view to ensure their safety.
14.2. The Police Department shall provide cash remuneration to citizens who provided true and objective information on human trafficking.

Article 15. Compensation of damage
15.1. Crime victims shall have the right to seek payment by guilty persons of compensation for damage to property, dignity and morality.
15.2. Victim’s psychological damage shall be compensated by payment of cash.
15.3. The size of compensation for psychological damage shall be established by court taking into account the case context within the range of the victim’s claim.

Article 16. Financing of anti-human trafficking activities
16.1. Funding for activities related to combating human trafficking shall be recruited from:
16.1.1. state and local budget allocations;
16.1.2. allocations for crime prevention activities as provided for in provision 19.1. of the Law on Prevention from Crime;
16.1.3. contributions and assistance from foreign countries and international organizations;
16.1.4. funds raised at the initiative of governmentral and non-governmental organizations, economic entities and citizens;
16.1.5. other sources.

CHAPTER FOUR – MISCELLANEOUS

Article 17. Liability for the violation of the legislation
17.1.In case a person convicted of violating the Law on Combating Human Trafficking  is not liable to criminal offence , the judge shall impose administrative offences as follows:
17.1.1. Official who violated provision 7.1. of this Law shall be liable to a fine equal to 500.000 tugrugs, economic entities and organizations – to a fine equal to 1.000.000 tugrugs respectively.
17.1.2. Legal persons that violated provisions 8.1.1.,8.1.2. of this Law shall be liable to a fine equal to 5.000.000 tugrugs.
17.1.3. In case a human trafficking crime is committed under the disguise of a legal person, a senior official of that legal person shall be liable to a fine equal to 10.000.000 tugrugs.

Article 18. Entry into force of the Law
18.1. This Law shall enter into force from [January 2012].

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