Well, this is sad/infuriating: Two 15-year-old girls in Ottawa, Canada, have been charged with human trafficking after they forced several other underage girls into prostitution. The victims were between the ages of 13 and 17, and were allegedly driven to various locations by the two girls and their 17-year-old accomplice. Aside from the young age of the girls, Ottawa police say they’re shocked that the offenses occurred in a quiet, middle class neighborhood.
According to affadavits, there were no men involved in the trafficking ring. “We don’t know about any further incidents,” said Staff Sgt. John McGetrick.. “But if there are, we want women out there to know that they can some see us and we’ll work with them and help them out. We’d love to help them.”
The girls face charges of human trafficking, procuring, forcible confinement, assault, sexual assault, robbery, abduction and uttering threats. [National Post]
Human trafficking is the number two most lucrative illegal industry — behind drug trafficking — in the world. Because of its clandestine nature it’s difficult to gauge the extent of its reach, but experts believe that at any given time there are anywhere between 12.3 and 27 million people in forced or bonded labor — and many of them forced against their will into sex work. Promised good paying jobs as waitresses, shop girls and dancers — these women leave their families and their communities and are sold into a life of sexual servitude and abuse.
Keep reading »
Watch out, the stupidity is spreading from Down Under: Just like a New Zealand radio station did earlier this year, Canada’s 100.3 FM is hosting a “win a wife” contest. The winner receives airfare to Russia, 13 nights accommodation, and $500 to spend with his mail-order bride. 100.3 FM will hook up some sad sack with services provided by A Volga Girl, a Russian “matchmaking” website. Contestants fill out a questionnaire, submit a photo, and consent to being gossiped about on-air by friends and family. These Romeos will also undergo screenings by a psychologist hired by the contest’s organizers. An online vote will pick the winner, who will then be flown off to Russia to meet his would-be bride. Of course, the contest has no liability and makes no guarantees that the woman will actually marry the winner. Keep reading »
If you’re going to rape a 16-year-old prostitute, I recommend being a highly paid professional athlete. Last May, Lawrence Taylor, a former football player for the New York Giants, was arrested for hiring a 15-year-old girl who was prostituted out by a pimp at a Holiday Inn in New York. The 51-year-old was charged with third-degree rape because of the victim’s age, which includes charges of sex with a minor.
But oh look! Last week Lawrence Taylor accepted a slap-on-the-wrist plea deal. Keep reading »
A notorious topless Ukrainian feminist group turned out to protest the New Zealand radio show “Win A Wife” contest that matches up a Kiwi man with a “mail order bride” in Ukraine. Nine women from Femen were outraged — rightly so — about The Rock FM’s “Win a Wife” contest, announced on Valentine’s Day, in which the winner would be flown to Eastern Europe with interpreters to meet a woman from a “matchmaking” web site. Keep reading »
Wash your eyes after reading this post: A New Zealand radio station is on blast from human rights groups, the international community, and the entire Ukraine for announcing a “Win a Wife” contest on Valentine’s Day in which the winner is flown to Eastern Europe, with interpreters, of course, to meet the mail-order bride of his dreams. The Rock FM — whose charming tagline is “Bands, Babes, Balls ‘n Bull” — will let the guy choose a woman from the database of Endless Love, an online “matchmaking” service between Ukrainian women and Kiwi men. After two teleconferences and as much instant messaging as they can handle — all translated for free, of course — they will then fly him from New Zealand to Ukraine on March 23 with a dozen roses, 12 nights of accommodation, and $2,000 spending money.
You know, I would be more offended by this if it didn’t sound so much like the plot of “The Bachelor.” Keep reading »
Well, that’s one way to get the job done: A feminist group in the Ukraine has gone to extreme measures to get out their message. Members of FEMEN, a Ukrainian feminist group, have taken to topless protesting to get their point across. The group supports everything from equal pay and anti-sex trafficking bills to fighting for increased voting rights and against unfair utility taxes.
Founded in 2008 by a group of fed-up Ukrainian college students, FEMEN aims to rally young women to feminist causes. “I set up FEMEN because I realized that there was a lack of women activists in our society; Ukraine is male-oriented and women take a passive role,” explains founder Anna Hutsol. Keep reading »
Last week the popular online classifieds site Craigslist shut down one of its more lucrative sectors — its “Adult Services” section. Thanks to an effort lead by Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut attorney general, the Craigslist’s “Adult Services” section is now “censored” and unavailable to users. Blumenthal and his associates fought to shut down the the section down because they believe that it was promoting not just prostitution, but child sex trafficking. Said Blumenthal: “… these prostitution ads did not promote a victimless crime. There is human trafficking in children, assaults on women.”
Proponents of the “Adult Services” ban believe that it will help shut down sex and child traffickers by giving them one less venue out of which to operate. But is that really true? Keep reading »
We’ve all heard the saying, “No good deed goes unpunished” — and that’s proven to be true for 10 Americans who flew down to Haiti after the Jan. 12 earthquake. Recently the Haitian government arrested a group of 10 Americans, most of whom are members of a Baptist congregation in Idaho, as they tried to take 33 children on a bus into the Dominican Republic. Members of the group say they were just trying to help. But Haiti has charged each American with kidnapping, which, if convicted, carries a possible sentence of five to 15 years in prison, and criminal association, which carries three to nine years.
Yikes. International diplomacy incident, anyone? Keep reading »