Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Organized labor, modern day slavery, and fast food

by aden Thu Aug 10th, 2006 at 05:28:02 PM EST

"Labor trafficking is so preventable in this country [US]. That's why it's all the more outrageous that it's still existing. Because there is actually a solution, it is very clear. To end slavery, to end human trafficking, you have to end sweatshops. If the big buyers, the major corporate buyers, if they were to say "We don't ever want to see modern day slavery again in our supply chain," it would disappear."

Laura Germino
Anti-Slavery Campaign Coordinator
Coalition of Immokalee Workers


Some human trafficking experts and human rights activists believe there is a connection between the US fast food industry and modern slavery in the United States.

I have recently posted a short audio documentary on the tradio21 web site "McTrafficked: The Fast Food Industry and Modern Day Slavery in the US".  

The piece centers around the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' visit to Chicago to launch their campaign against McDonald's.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a Florida based farm worker organization, has helped free over 1000 people held in peonage, forced labor, debt bondage and conditions of trafficking in the United States.

Read more... (12 comments, 653 words in story)

"To be a sex worker in Sweden is dangerous"

by aden Sat Jun 10th, 2006 at 02:01:52 PM EST

Below are excerpts from an address by Rosinha Sambo to the Taipei Sex Worker Conference in 2001, titled "On the Situation of Sex Workers in Sweden."

As the Swedish prostitution policy model has come up in various ET threads on human trafficking and prostitution, I thought it would be interesting to hear some of the ET community's thoughts and responses to Rosinha's perspective of the Swedish model.

The full transcript and an audio file (Real Player) of her address can be found here.

To be a sex worker in Sweden, is dangerous.  It's a hell- mostly dangerous.  We don't know anymore, what, or how to do it.  What we have in Sweden, it's a law who doesn't make us any good, and doesn't give us any choice.  Government in Sweden wants to rehabilitate us, to rehabilitate the sex worker, just like we are victims of some kind of dangerous sickness.  Rehabilitate us as we could spread around this sickness.  

I have, in vain, tried to explain, for politics, feminists, and other ignorant intellectuals, that this is a work, and that's why this is also a choice. I have tried to explain that we should instead, have classes, on sex work. To do it more safe, and better- especially for the younger generation of sex workers in this country now.


Read more... (8 comments, 1158 words in story)

"President Hu you are a killer and a murder. "

by aden Thu Apr 20th, 2006 at 06:53:09 PM EST

Today at the White House, President Bush stated

"China has become successful because the Chinese people are experiencing the freedom to buy, and to sell, and to produce -- and China can grow even more successful by allowing the Chinese people the freedom to assemble, to speak freely, and to worship."

As China's President Hu began to speak, a Chinese journalist in the White House press corp began to yell (according to BBC) "President Hu you are a killer and a murder. Evil people die early. Your days are numbered." According to the Associated Press she was a member of Falun Gong and was yelling "President Bush: Stop him from killing" and, "President Bush, stop him from persecuting the Falun Gong."

US Secret Service agents or White House security removed the woman.

BBC covered the incident in a video segment. Including her being removed by US agents. -Video is on the side of the articles, I could not get the direct link to the video.

Other sources:
Found on C&L
Daily News' Attywood
Breitbart with the brief AP story of the protester
New York Times (The caption under the photograph of the woman reads "A distraught heckler shouted protests...")
White House transcript

Comments >> (2 comments)

Defense Contractors Push for Ability to Violate US Human Trafficking Laws

by aden Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 03:48:02 AM EST

The Chicago tribune is running a follow up to its Oct 8th series on the use of forced and coerced labor by sub-contractors of Kellogg, Brown, and Root entitled:"U.S. stalls on human trafficking: Pentagon has yet to ban contractors from using forced labor"

The article, written by Cam Simpson, describes how lobbying groups for US military contractors have been pressuring the Department of Defense to not implement President Bush's "zero tolerance" directive, issued in February of 2003.

This directive, known as National Security Presidential Directive 22, states

"The Commander and Chief has decreed that all departments of the US Government will take a "zero tolerance" approach to trafficking in persons."

According to the December 27th article in the Tribune:

"A proposal prohibiting defense contractor involvement in human trafficking for forced prostitution and labor was drafted by the Pentagon last summer, but five defense lobbying groups oppose key provisions and a final policy still appears to be months away."

CorpWatch is running the Trib story without the need to register.

Read more... (2 comments, 1089 words in story)

The possible use of trafficked labor in Iraq

by aden Wed Nov 16th, 2005 at 04:01:46 AM EST

I have just posted on the tradio21 web site an audio interview with Cam Simpson, of the Chicago Tribune [ 15Mb. mp3. approx. 38 minutes ].

In October the Chicago Tribune published Pipeline to Peril, a series of articles written by Cam Simpson, detailing fraudulent and coercive practices routinely used to obtain menial labor for the US led war effort in Iraq.

According to the Chicago Tribune series, US military contractor Kellogg, Brown, and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, has tapped into a "pipeline" of cheap labor that has existed for decades in the Middle East. Practices that are condemned regularly in the US State Department's annual Human Rights Report and, more recently, the Trafficking in Persons Report, are now routinely being used to obtain workers for the war effort in Iraq.

Along with fraud and coercion, Cam and his colleague, embedded journalist Aamer Madhani, found on US military bases widespread de facto debt bondage coupled with the confiscation of foreign workers' travel documents.

In this audio interview I spoke with Cam about his findings.

To date there has been no response from any US government agency on the matters described in the Chicago Tribune series.

Read more... (748 words in story)

More thoughts on Argentina & Brazil's demonstrations

by aden Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 04:16:12 AM EST

I would like to throw some thoughts into the discussion about the various trade agreements in the Americas and the demonstrations that are occurring during President Bush's visit to Argentina and Brazil.

My hunch is that when most people in the US saw the front pages of this past weekend's newspapers with pictures of the demonstrations in Argentina or Brazil, they saw an anti-US, anti-Bush, anti-Iraqi war demonstration devoid of the context of 10 years of trade negotiations, IMF monetary policies, and possible US involvement in human rights abuses in Argentina.

Several months ago I conducted an interview with members of Catholic Relief Services that looked at the potential for the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) to contribute to the conditions that could lead to an increase in human trafficking in Central America.

In this interview one of the discussion points was the lack of a democratic process and the amount of US imposed secrecy surrounding the negotiation process. Another item discussed was how CAFTA was a bargaining chip for the larger Free Trade of the Americas (FTAA) process, as well as a tool to counter the progress of the Common Market of the Southern Cone agreement (MERCOSUR).

Most importantly, and more relevant to the topic of the interview, was the deep concern that CAFTA was structured in such a way that an extremely large number of small farmers and farming families would not be able to compete against the highly subsidized US farming industry.

This inability to compete would lead to displacement and large-scale migration; some of those pushed onto the migration trail would most likely fall into human trafficking networks.

Read more... (1 comment, 1849 words in story)

Oil, corruption, international policies, and human trafficking - Part 2

by aden Thu Nov 3rd, 2005 at 02:05:36 PM EST

From the front page ~ whataboutbob

This is the second of three posts on countries that are important to the oil industry and also recognized as having a significant amount of human trafficking activity.

This effort is an attempt to expand the context of the dialogue in which human trafficking is placed. A version of this diary will be cross posted on the tradio21 web site.

In reading the posts on peak oil and the critiques of The Financial Times' bias towards the "Anglo Saxon" labor paradigm, I have wondered how to integrate the human trafficking subject into these discussions.

For me there is a connection, albeit indirect.

Read more... (4 comments, 1498 words in story)

Oil, Corruption, International Policies, and Human Trafficking

by aden Wed Oct 26th, 2005 at 11:15:49 AM EST

back to diaries by whataboutbob... for another look at the oil industry

Several weeks ago I wrote to Jerome in hopes that he might consider writing about the connection between economies dependent on oil and the human cost in many of the countries that produce oil; particularly, the connection between oil, corruption, international policies, and human trafficking.

Over the last four years I have been researching the topic of human trafficking. I have interviewed a wide variety of trafficking experts from around the world and have spent time alongside of several social workers that assist victims of human trafficking.

Jerome recommended I post my email on the European Tribune. The following is the first of three posts on this subject.

Read more... (6 comments, 1253 words in story)

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