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Archive for September, 2017

Latest figures reveal more than 40 million people are living in slavery

Forced marriage is included for first time in worldwide statistics that show ‘money and debt’ to be at the heart of the exploitation

An estimated 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery in 2016, a quarter of them children, according to new global slavery statistics released today.

The figures, from the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation, show 24.9 million people across the world were trapped in forced labour and 15.4 million in forced marriage last year. Children account for 10 million of the overall 40.3m total.

The 2017 Estimates of Modern Slavery report calculates that of 24.9 million victims of forced labour, 16 million are thought to be in the private economy, 4.8 million in forced sexual exploitation and 4.1 million in state-sponsored forced labour including mandatory military conscription and agricultural work.

“What is startling about these new estimates is the sheer scale of the modern slave trade and the fact that we have 40 million people across the world in some form of modern slavery is simply not acceptable,” said Fiona David, executive director of global research at the Walk Free Foundation.

Girl, 13, ‘one of India’s youngest honour killing victims’ after being ‘beaten to death and set on fire’

A 13-year-old girl is believed to have become one of India’syoungest ever “honour killing” victims after her father allegedly beat her head against a wall and set her on fire because he saw her talking to a boy.

The teenager was beaten and strangled by her father before he set fire to the body and tried to pass off her death as suicide, police in the Nalgonda district of southern India, said.

The girl’s father had noticed his daughter frequently talking to a boy in the Chintapally village where they lived.

He lashed out and killed her on September 15 after he saw her talking to the boy again, hitting her head against a wall before strangling her, police said.

Her mother is then believed to have helped set fire to the body so the parents could make out their daughter’s death was suicide.

Why forced marriage?

What is the connection between forced marriage and slavery? At its core, slavery involves treating people as if they are property

When I was thirteen, even though I didn’t realise it at the time, I was incredibly lucky to be ‘suffering’ through high school and working at the local burger joint on weekends.

Not all girls are this fortunate.

Consider Shahida’s situation.

When Shahida was 13, her father arranged for her to marry a 45-year-old man who had promised her family money in exchange.

She was very unhappy with her husband but endured life with him for a year before running back to her home. Her father was very angry. He beat her and yelled at her to go back to her marriage, but Shahida thought that even this was not as bad as life with her husband. When she refused to return, her father dug a deep hole in the ground. He forced her into it and began covering her.

Shahida still wonders if he really would have buried her alive if the neighbours hadn’t heard her screaming and stopped him.

What is the connection between forced marriage and slavery? At its core, slavery involves treating people as if they are property. What can you do if you own a car or a mobile phone? You can drive it, you can sell it, give it away, trade it in, take it to the rubbish dump if you choose.

Shahida’s experience illustrates the connection between slavery and forced marriage only too well. Being traded for money like a piece of property. Forced to have sex with no regard to your health, physical or psychological, or other wants or needed. Being brutally threatened to be buried alive when you try to leave.

Police are ‘determined’ to bring country’s first prosecution for female genital mutilation as they launch campaign to protect children coming from abroad

Police are targeting Eurostar terminals to protect children from female genital mutilation (FGM) as officers say they are ‘absolutely determined’ to obtain the first successful prosecution for the crime since it was outlawed over 30 years ago.

Inspector Allen Davis, from Scotland Yard’s sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command, said it was ‘really important’ to show the practice, made illegal in 1985, is not tolerated.

A police operation to protect children from practices including FGM, forced marriage, breast ironing and child abuse linked to beliefs focused on Eurostar terminal in London and Kent today.

Difficulties getting people to report FGM and testify against family members is one of a ‘number of reasons’ nobody has yet been convicted, Mr Davis said at St Pancras.

‘We are absolutely determined to obtain a successful prosecution,’ he said.

FGM is violence, child abuse and sexual assault” – Leyla Hussein

“FGM is violence, child abuse and sexual assault  …and of course we handed out Vulva cupcakes” is not a phrase you hear every day. But of course, it isn’t every day you speak to Leyla Hussein.

Leyla has been at the forefront of the fight against female genital mutilation (FGM) for over a decade. Her willingness to talk candidly – and at times even humerously– about her experiences has played a key role in challenging the culture of silence around FGM.

Leyla’s campaigning has taken many forms from fronting TV documentaries, to founding therapeutic services for survivors, to lobbying parliament At the heart of all of her work, however, is an acute understanding of the physical and psychological impact of FGM; an understanding rooted both in her personal experiences and her psychotherapeutic training.

Lewis Garland spoke to Leyla about her path into activism, the progress being made in the fight against FGM and the difficulties, from threats of violence to the impact of austerity, faced by those on the frontline.

What was your path to becoming an anti-FGM activist?

“I never planned to become an activist. I was cut when I was seven years old but it wasn’t until many years later that I began to question the practice. The catalyst was when I had my daughter. I found the whole process very traumatic but no one seemed to understand why. Then an amazing and brave health professional asked if I had had FGM and supported me in a way no one else had before. I am naturally curious and started asking why this had happened to me and why so many girls are being cut. My activism comes from this curiosity and my fierce determination to protect my daughter.”

“FGM is violence, child abuse and sexual assault” – Leyla Hussein

Parents deny breaching forced marriage order after trying to take children out of UK

Two parents have denied trying to take their children out of the country in the face of a court order.

The man and woman from Teesside, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded not guilty to four charges at Teesside Crown Court today.

They are accused of breaching a forced marriage protection order by trying to take their children out of the country.

They deny flouting the order by “attempting to remove (the children) from the jurisdiction of England and Wales” more than a year ago.

They were stopped at the departure gate at Newcastle Airport on August 5 last year.

It is alleged they tried to board a flight to Dubai with their children aged four to 15, with a connection flight booked to Islamabad in Pakistan.

The forced marriage protection order was imposed at Middlesbrough County Court in January 2016.

Such orders are imposed to prevent forced marriages or protect people in a forced marriage.