Volunteering In Orphanages

While wanting to volunteer to brighten the lives of children is noble, it isn’t worth the trauma that the children experience once the volunteer to whom they’ve become attached leaves.

This video clip from a documentary by Sabour Bradley touches on that, but it also says that the orphanage industry in Cambodia tries to meet the demand of these ‘voluntourists’ by ensuring a stock of orphans is always available.

It also briefly mentions sex tourists, but doesn’t give any further information on the scale of that problem.

The full documentary is available to buy on Google Play or on iTunes.

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Compensated Dating in Japan

This report on compensated dating (enjo kousai) in Japan by Harry Fawcett of Al Jazeera  explains how teenagers receive payment of money or gifts in exchange for a ‘date’ with an adult. It mentions that a UN special rapporteur claimed that 13% of teenage girls have taken part in this activity – having lived in Japan and worked with adult men who were very open about their preference for having a teenage girlfriend, this figure does not surprise me. The report features Shihoko Fujiwara from Lighthouse; one of the leading experts in this area.


There’s also an excellent video by a vlogger named Mira that I highly recommend watching:

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U.S. Judge Passes Sentence of 5 Days for Downloading Child Porn

I’ve just read this article by Tracy Connor – Judge Gives Man 5 Days for Child Porn, Rails Against Harsh Sentences.

In a nutshell, U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein has sentenced a man from Brooklyn to 5 days incarceration for downloading two dozen photos and videos — some showing men sexually assaulting girls as young as 3 years old. The maximum sentence for the crime is 10 years.

In fact, I question whether it counts as a sentence at all because the 5 days were served before the perpetrator made bail.

I wondered why the judge was so lenient with his sentence on this CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) crime, and the explanation he gave was that it wouldn’t be fair to the perpetrator’s children to be without their father.

An academic gave a very interesting perspective on the ruling which I think deserves to be highlighted:

“I think Judge Weinstein’s opinion minimizes the harm that is done to victims of these crimes from the mere act of viewing their images. It’s a gross violation of privacy and an invasion of privacy that traumatizes them throughout their lives,” said Paul Cassel, a former federal judge who is now a law professor at the University of Utah.


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Big Data Provides Valuable Leads

Emily Kennedy, CEO of Marinus Analytics, has created a powerful tool to combat trafficking in persons. It’s called Traffic Jam.

The idea is simple – by searching through massive amounts of classified ads online, one may find clues as the identity of traffickers.

It’s possible that the same technology may be used to combat counterfeiting and terrorism.

Read more here.

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Job Opportunities in Counter-TIP

Looking for a job in counter-trafficking?


It’s good to know that this resource exists.

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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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