Friday, August 10, 2007

Big Steps for Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

I spent some time in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, an economic epicenter in the Middle East. While there, I was very aware of the human trafficking problem with which they are dealing. Below is an article about one of the first convictions for human trafficking. We are talking monumental!

As one of my friends wrote, "At last, concrete progress against trafficking is becoming a reality in Dubai."

Check it out.

  • Dubai - Justice was done

    Wednesday 11 Jul, 2007

    Dubai - Dubai's top prosecutor has hailed 15-year prison sentences handed yesterday to a couple for human trafficking - the first ever convictions for the crime in the UAE. The two Indians bought their female victim for just dhs4,300 and forced her into prostitution before attempting to sell her on.

    Welcoming yesterday's sentences, Attorney General Eassam Al-Humaidan, told 7DAYS: “This is one of the ugliest cases we have seen. The verdicts were fit for such an inhumane criminal act. We asked for tough penalties in this case and we will continue to take a strong stand against anyone involved in human trafficking in this country.”

  • He added: “Everyone should take a stand against these types of crimes. These verdicts are a strong deterrent to such criminals.” The Dubai Court of First Instance passed down the prison sentences to the 25-year-old Indian driver and his accomplice, a 29-year-old Indian housemaid, after convicting them following their three-week trial. Both will be deported after serving their time.

  • Judges were told that their 33-year-old Indonesian victim was bought from Al Ain and forced to work in Dubai as a prostitute while being regularly assaulted by the couple. The victim had suffered serious injuries during her ordeal, according to police records.

  • The court was told that she managed to eventually escape from her captors and report her predicament to police who then arranged a trap to capture the traffickers. In a sting operation, undercover officers contacted the couple and said they would buy the woman from them for the same price as the couple had originally paid for her.

  • Then, during a meeting in the Deira area of Dubai, police arrested the pair as they tried to negotiate the sale of their victim. A third defendant, a 27-year-old Pakistani, was cleared of human trafficking charges arising from the same case. Last November, a Federal law was passed in the UAE stating that anyone involved in human trafficking would be jailed for at least five years.

  • Anybody found guilty of forming a gang specifically involved in human trafficking would be sentenced to life in jail. The new law also stipulated that a life sentence would be passed down on anyone trafficking children. Earlier this year another Indian couple was cleared of human trafficking charges after being accused of smuggling two children out of India and through Dubai to France.

  • They were, however, sentenced to six months in prison for falsifying the youngsters' passports.

    By Ali Al-Shouk

Article printed from 7DAYS General and Local News | Dubai Abu Dhabi | UAE:

URL to article:

Part 2: Human Trafficking in Ecuador: A Personal Encounter

Saludos de Ecuador! ´m in Lago Agrio right now, which is an oil town in the Amazon. It´s hot here. Haha. This town is really poor. Of the 60,000 or so residents, about 8,000 are Colombian
refugees, mostly families, but a lot of single women and young girls too. Today we had a meeting with representatives from Movilidad Humana, and the woman we spoke with dealt a lot with the sexual exploitation and mistreatment of women, specifically young girls here in Lago Agrio. She told us that the majority of women who work in the bars and cantinas are Colombian refugees. She also said that there are women who go into Colombia to get these young girls and bring them here to work in the bars. There are very few employment and education opportunities for young girls in this town. A good portion of the girls working in the bars are underage. Additionally she told us that many of the girls are taken from here and trafficked to other locations in Ecuador, like Ibarra or Santo Domingo. Right now the organization (Movilidad Humana) has few resources to help solve this problem, and the magnitud of it makes it that much more difficult. They are using the resources they have to start campaigns to prevent the young girls from going into this line of "work." They have created a network of agencies devoted to helping end the exploitation and mistreatment of young girls. They are also starting initatives to teach Ecuadorian and Colombian kids (and then later with adolescents) traditional dances, singing, painting, and other skills that they can use rather than looking for work in bars/being exploited. They have a workshop of Ecuadorian and Colombian women who work on knitting and crocheing projects (mostly purses) that they can sell to get money to then buy more supplies and expand their work. Movilidad Humana also tries to help the young girls thrown into jail for prostitution and who are facing deportation for lack of documentation. It´s a big problem here, and this is only one organization working toward integration of Colombians and Ecuadorians, as well as the protection of young girls. Just thought I would share with you what I
learned today. It´s definitely a harsh reality, and hopefully in the following months and year other agencies will take note and help the cause. Also, the Ecuadorian government needs to increase its presence here to eliminate corruption and crack down on the very bars/cantinas as well as the petroleros and military men who fuel the demand for such mistreatment.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Human Trafficking in Ecuador: A Personal Encounter

Two friends of mine (both undergraduates) are currently studying immigrant populations in Ecuador. During their visit, they encountered human trafficking and knowing about the conference, they sent their stories to me. This personal perspective is priceless ---as Spanish speakers, they are getting a good chunk of the story in the local language--- and I thought it would be great to share. It reminds us that we as students can get involved.

If you would like to know more information about the situation or learn how you can help, please contact us at

Just wanted to drop you a line about trafficking that is a huge problem her in Lago Agrio, Ecuador. We met with a Catholic organization called Movilidad Humana today and the woman who spoke with us is responsible for programs related to sexual abuse, exploitation of minors, and human trafficking. Apparently, women from Ecuador go up into Colombia and recruit girls to work here in Ecuador where there are relatively more jobs, only to ^hire them out to bars and brothels which abound here in this town. 60-70 per cent of the women in these jobs are Colombians. Girls as young as 13, it{s just awful and apparently some of the biggest consumers are members of the oil companies and the police, so naturally, not much can be done to denounce this problem.
Movilidad Humana works closely with other migrant and refugee agencies as well as the local government top try and combat the trade in persons, but it{s an uphill battle. The superintendent of police tried to start a campaign to bring these bares clandestinos under the rule of law, but sadly was assassinated in June. A sad reality about how cheaply someone can value another human{s life. If I get more information on the topic, I will be sure to send it along.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Hello hello!

Another person for the mission. My name is Sarah and I've been knighted Film Chair. While I've heard of human trafficking, I was really exposed to the concept by Paige, a great friend, former roommate, and motivated individual. I'm interning at post production company, learning the trade of editing. When Paige approached me about the conference and my potential role in it, I was thrilled. The more I research and learn about human trafficking, the more I want to help. I want to be a voice for so many that don't have one. My goal is to pull together resources for media concerning Anti-Human Trafficking. Knowledge is power. I am a firm believer in that mantra. The more people I can infect with knowledge, the more people, I feel, will awaken to the problem at hand and take action. I've been collaborating with Jenn K. on potential films for a run up film showing event. If you have any ties to the film world with respect to anti-human trafficking, please contact us. Be part of a great movement. Stop traffic. Now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007



Well, I've been really bad about writing for this, but I thought I would try to remedy that. I'm also completely new to blogging, so we'll see how this goes. I'll follow Allie and Paige's excellent lead and start with how I became involved with this issue/conference.

It really started when the amazing Jackie Guyer and I studied abroad in Costa Rica together last summer. When she found out I was working on a research paper on human trafficking last winter, she put me in contact with Paige. Everything just snowballed from there.

I knew when I started the research paper that I wanted this to be more than a class project; the more I learned about human trafficking, the more passionate I began to feel about the issue. Paige and I re-synced up after I finished my paper, and we started working on the conference in earnest. Fortunately, as the president of the Women’s and Gender Studies Student Group I’ve been able to use our student org status and departmental connections to let Paige start the room reservation process.

Right now my main focus is the November fashion show to raise money for an anti-trafficking organization, and to awareness about the issue and the conference. We’ve already got some designers who are interested in being involved, we’re working on the slogan/title (something along the lines of “You Could Stop Traffic in Those Clothes), decoration planning, etc. Let me know if you want to help!

Jenn K.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Hey folks,

Everyone involved with the Conference is doing such great work; their dedication has been very inspiring. I wanted to share how I got involved in the planning of this task, and my contributions so far.

Through my work-study job at the MU Women's Center and my role as president of Feminist Student Union, a student organization on campus, I found myself the recipient of an e-mail from our fearless leader, Paige. Before I attending the introductory meeting, I hadn't thought much about human trafficking -- in truth, I hadn't had to. But my experiences and education in social justice since coming to the University had taught me that there are myriad issues and causes that are often ignored by many. When viewed through a social justice lens, it's plain to see how the incredible and unacceptable numbers of trafficked persons affect the economy, politics, and society of every country. Please check out the Resources page of the site to find more information on Human Trafficking and other projects dedicated to ending it.

I was tapped to do the website because of my Computer Science major. The easiest and cheapest domain venue seemed to be Google -- can you go a day without Googling something anymore? The cost was $12, and in exchange you receive 2 GB of e-mail per user, up to 200 users, access to GoogleTalk, Google Calendar, and space to upload documents and spreadsheets, in addition to a web page creator.

When I started the actual writing of the page, I quickly became a bit frustrated with the restrictions of the Google Page Creator, which you're required to use. From other message boards, I found that this was a common complaint. There is no place to write straight html code, and no alternative to using Google-created templates for each page. I worked around this to the best of my ability -- full disclosure, each page has identical header and side text boxes to simulate the look of frames. If you have no previous web experience, I would suggest the Google products; creating the look of each page really was simple, and no coding is required. I was initially a little more ambitious, and found some of the restrictions a little annoying, though. Though the page serves its purpose, I am still investigating alternatives that would give me a little more freedom in content and design -- merely for vanity's sake. :)

Look for a logo coming soon. Our designer sent us three great-looking proofs, and the Steering Committee has decided on one. I'll be finding the right size for the graphic soon, and adding that to the site in the coming week, most likely.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Why We Wanna Stop Traffic


Thanks for checking out our blog. This will be an important point of contact for those interested in learning about and combating trafficking in persons. We are looking forward to communicating with you about your ideas for the MU Anti-Human Trafficking Conference 2008. If you have ideas about presenters, organizations, topics, and events, we would love to hear it. Please post them here!

My name is Paige and I am one of the steering committee members involved with the organization of the conference. It is quickly becoming an entity of its own, with each of us doing our best to create an experience with meaning and impact.

As a high school debater, I came across human trafficking while preparing for competition. My coach had mentioned it to me as a topic, but it was an article in Marie Claire that later caught my attention. While trying to pass my time on a flight, I flipped through the many articles and ads only to stumble upon a story called, "Rescued from Hell" by Jan Goodwill. You can check it out at It detailed the lives of former sex slaves in Nepal who were trying to survive in a safe house run by former trafficking victims. I was mortified by the horrors they endured: rape, STDs, being labeled as outcasts, and so many other revolting and torturous obstacles. "How could this happen to people? Who would do this to another human being?" I asked myself repeatedly as I read. Despite the many despicable atrocities I had researched during my debate career, nothing matched the humiliation and the violence experienced by victims of trafficking. Human trafficking would be the topic of my last speech that year. Ironically, I had nearly lost my voice due to a nasty cold. I found it funny that I was almost unable to raise my voice in a speech about people who had also lost their ability to cry out.

I have seen the issue many times since: studying abroad in Dubai, researching a paper for class, attending a conference at Northwestern University, and writing a policy proposal. Working on this conference is a way to take these experiences and turn them into kinetic energy; expressing the frustration into action.

We began working on the conference in April and we have been making great tracks since. In addition to the great website engineered by Allie, we mapped out a basic schedule for the conference, reserved space, set monthly goals for planning, contacted a multitude of campus organizations, crafted a donation letter, scheduled a keynote speaker, organized fall events running up to the summit, began the process for recognition as an official student group, created a logo, started a Facebook group (look for the 2008 MU Anti-Human Trafficking Conference) and a plethora of other tasks. It is a daily labor of love to constantly tweak the event.

Our goal is to host an awesome, inspirational conference; however, we want to show others that they too can pursue their passion, inform their peers, and make a difference. It is tough, but there's nothing like a little hard work to make something worth while.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions, comments or criticisms at

Someone once said to me, "Find the thing in life that keeps you up at night." We have found ours.