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Moldova Prevention

May 4, 2010

Hi, Gaz here writing from Moldova where i arrived today at our prevention programme gladly unaffected by the latest blast of icelandic volcanic ash.

I am here with the team who work on the ‘escape’ prevention magazine for youth with its 3rd edition now close to completion. We are looking to use some of the time to put a short video together to bring the reality of this countries youth to your attention as well as the role the magazine has and the impact it is making for individuals at risk.
Tomorrow i am speaking at a state school for older economic orphans, you might recall a previous post where i conveyed how most orphans here are not as the result of dead parents and war, but mass economic migration often involving both parents. One orphanage in the city had 74 young people and 73 of these were economic orphans.
I have to do the same talk twice, split between a russian translation and a romanian translation for this country of historical language and that of soviet opresssion.
I have been asked to talk about the dangers of migration and human trafficking across europe and the realities of not so perfect western ideologies and life. That will be a first for me.
I will seek to balance the possibilties of finding job security with housing estates in the british north with 3000 occupants where people dont open their curtains till 10am as there is nothing to get up for with 2/3rds enemployment. Also the erosion of british family life and individualism which kills community.Not a cheery talk, but a realistic one.
It is important to let them know that many of their future peers are in the bondage of sexual slavery and look at how to avoid this.

Help us with a Specific Action

May 3, 2010



Urgent Action in response to Intelligence

Some of our friends and partners for CBI have asked us to keep them posted on anything specific they can respond to in regards to being Counter Traffickers – going head to head with organised crime.
Here is one of those moments – Please keep this close to your chest.
Our request is a financial one and we would ask you this:
Give Anything- But Give Something

An Urgent Action for Romanian Youth @ Imminent Risk of Trafficking

In mid April we received good intelligence from a colleague that the trafficking of Romanians into countries like Greece was at an all time high with a noted current increase in those being forced into prostitution in Athens, with similar intel from other locations like Vienna Austria. To place this in context, there are many hundreds of girls in the brothels of Athens. 2 years ago the presence of Romanians trafficked into brothels was 10%, today it is more like 90%.
The majority of new girls have responded to bogus job offers in a targeted web based campaign in Romania.

The Urgency:
In short we are working with other groups over the next 6 weeks to head off a period of Harvesting which will happen when older school kids and students driven by poverty will answer summer job adverts to work abroad. Many of who will be forced into prostitution having first experienced the indignity of Greece’s ‘Breaking Rooms’ ready for market in Greece and other countries like Italy and Spain.

We are responding with Radio Adverts, a Poster campaign for schools and colleges and Web portal, which will pack up communications and signpost those with concerns to existing support groups.
This will all require money to get these in place in time.
This is a rare opportunity to respond to good Intelligence with a measured and immediate Action.

Donations can be made simply by following this link to our partner group Love146 – European Prevention.

copy and paste this into your search bar:

http://love146.kintera.org/europrevgbp

Give Anything – But Give Something

Child trafficking catastrophic failure

April 12, 2010


Romania accused of ignoring child trafficking

Michael Leidig

British and Romanian child care organisations and officials have been accused of a catastrophic failure to protect children from poor families in Romania from being trafficked to the UK.

The claims were made by Norbert Ceipek who runs the Augarten Crisis Centre in Vienna, Austria, that takes care of trafficked children caught by Austrian police.

He said the children he was seeing told him the UK was now the number one destination for child beggars because UK officials were not tackling the problem – and because large amounts could be earned on UK streets.

His centre in Austria cares for children who have been brought in off the streets, and he was also responsible for setting up a network of 80 children’s crisis centres in Romania.

He said he had started working with Romanian officials in 2005, adding:
“I went there and at the time there was nothing being done against these gangs. But there was a will to get things done and we opened several crisis centres – eventually there were about 80 . I went there with my team from Austria and we had professional educators to train the staff in Romania.

“But over the last year and a half these people have been dismissed – occasionally even being replaced by unqualified staff who are often in league with the gangs themselves. These people are sometimes even cleaners that used to work at the centres. Romania claims its because of the economic crisis. But as a result all the schemes to educate the children and their families does not happen any more. The kids are handed back and there is no check on what happens to them – no-one cares.

“That means they are straight back in the hands of the gangs. We are seeing the same kids again and again because nothing is done to stop it happening. It is as if they in Romania want to turn a blind eye since they got EU membership. That was when they began laying off staff and cutting funding. Once the EU membership was obtained there was no will to do anything about it.”

He estimates that between 1,300 and 1,500 social workers from the crisis centres have been fired since EU membership. Many of the crisis centres have been closed completely – others are run by untrained amateurs.

And he added that the situation in the UK was fuelling the trade.
He said: “The kids I am getting off the streets here are telling me that the UK is the number one destination because its all so easy there. Not only are the English citizens such easy targets for the beggar kids – with rich pickings to be had – but that there are also no central organisations who are helping these children to safety.

“In London there are so many NGOas that are supposed to be helping but its as if they are in competition with each other. They take the kids for a few days – get the money for looking after them – and then they hand them back to the gang leaders who come and pick them up. There are no controls over who or what they are handed back to.

“The Metropolitan Police do what they can but they are also seeing the same kids again and again.

“I am trying to get the same organisation we have here in Austria set up in the UK but so far nothing has happened.”

Edmond McLoughney, Unicef representative in Romania, said that there is in fact in Romania a network of ten shelters who offer support for victims which have been supported by the state child protection authority for staff and training.

But the financing is a problem.

He said: “There is indeed a shortage of money and a lot more social workers are needed.”

“The big issue at the moment is that the Government doesn’t have the money to invest in the child protection system. We call on the Government to give priority to children matters. Don’t make budget cuts in children matters. But instead increase funding for children, for education.”

He added that the economic crisis meant children were especially vulnerable.

“The local authorities should allocate more time and resources to families, when risk cases are identified, in order to prevent the case from happening again.”

British gang-busting police have arrested more than 30 Romanian mobsters accused of sending an army of snatched children to beg and steal on the streets of Britain.

Police estimate that more then 170 youngsters as young as seven have been trafficked to the UK by the gang.

Scotland Yard officers working with local anti-Mafia cops in Romania yesterday morning (Thursday) took part in a series of raids in Tandarei, a gangland heartland in the south of the country.

More than 300 officers searched 34 homes and properties in the co-ordinated dawn searches.

Police say the modern-day Fagins forced their young victims – snatched from poor gypsy communities – to beg in Britain and go on pick-pocketing and shoplifting sprees.

Mob bosses set them up with bogus documents and homes in London and other big cities and then put them to work on the streets threatening their families at home if they tried to flee.
http://www.romaniantimes.at/?id=7849%5Cushared

LEFT BEHIND

March 23, 2010

The other face of human trafficking: from our escape magazine partners in Moldova.

Vladimir Ubeivolc

Our columnists: Another face of the human trafficking

Speaking of human trafficking, we are used to draw attention to three categories of people: victims, criminal organizations and the clients who purchase services from traffickers. These categories should be examined in detail because each has its own unique features which however refer to the same phenomenon and separate these ones from other groups of people. The trafficking issue concerns also the victim’s family members. They usually stay in the background but they deserve as well to be spoken of.

Victims’ relatives and friends

In fact, the victims of human trafficking invoke sympathy and the desire to help them regardless of their gender identity and the ways they fell into slavery. But how often do we think about those who remain at home waiting for their relatives and friends?

Over the past 10 years, about 30 thousand women, having left Moldova in search of a better life, are missing. None of the relatives saw their bodies, received a notice of death, while, on the other hand, none of them were told that their daughter (wife, mother, sister) is alive, still loves them, misses and hopes to see them soon.

Regina Pacis is an Italian organization working to prevent human trafficking and searching for the missing people. Almost every morning, groups of people gather at the gates of the organization in hope of good news. Most of them are aged women. Their clothes and language betray their provincial origin. Every morning these people are waiting for information about their missing daughters and sons. However, other sons and daughters continue to leave the country in search of new lives. Each month, about 10 thousand people emigrate from Moldova to European countries. This is 120,000 people a year. Our republic has a population of just 3.5 million … It is easy to calculate what would happen to the country in 10 years. And there is no accurate data on migration from Moldova to CIS countries (mainly to Russia), because visas are not required. In Ukraine there is a similar situation.

Hundreds of thousands of abandoned parents, most of which elder people, are unable to take care of themselves. Hundreds of thousands of abandoned children live with aged people, neighbors, or on their own… Who will assess the damage inflicted to them? And how can it be assessed? By which criteria?

Psychological services just begin to be provided in the country and it will take a long time they reach the periphery. People are not used to go to a psychologist. They can not yet appreciate the help a professional may give. And farther from the capital people live, more distrustful they are. Even if there is an institute of social workers in the country, the number of employees is very limited, and the state salary paid for the job is ridiculously low. The thousands of abandoned mothers and children have nothing better to do than cry at night, witnessing their grief to God. But over time, their hearts are getting accustomed to the created situation, harden and remain deaf to any expression of emotion.

The other face of human trafficking is the face on which tears petrify…

Vladimir Ubeyvolk, chairman of NGO “Beginning of Life”, Chisinau, Moldova

Short Animation: 2 little girls

March 5, 2010

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udHSutTF4Us

Dollar/Euro Replaces Slave Whip + Chain

March 3, 2010

Consumerism & Human Trafficking: A Socio-political View from an Eastern European Perspective

By Vladimir Ubeivolc – Our European Prevention Programme Partner

March 2010

One of the hard questions today is, “What is the main reason for human trafficking?” In the past, people compared human trafficking with slavery. Wealthy individuals wanted to have a cheap labor force, so they initiated “crusades” to Africa and enslaved people. Africans didn’t have a choice; nobody asked, “Would you like to work at my farm, dear?” Masters forced, sold, bought, and used people as they wanted.

The second half of the twentieth century is known as a period of human rights’ victory. Western countries stopped predatory wars and many countries from Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe proclaimed their independence. However, the world faced the second wave of slavery in new forms that were more inventive, resourceful, and wilier. There are no armies, no ships with slaves and horses in one hold; there are no soldiers and guns. But how are recruiters winning? How are they entrapping that new generation of victims?

Let’s think about the reality in the majority of the world. Why do many people (especially youth) want to escape their countries? The most common answer is that they don’t have a job. This could be true for some African and Asian countries, but what about for Eastern Europe? Maybe not. Let me give some examples from Moldova (part of the former Soviet Union).

Consumerism

Some people indeed are forced to seek jobs abroad from their native land. Most of these people are naïve, and traffickers use that naivety, suggesting false options to them. There are some opportunities to find jobs in Moldova, but these either do not pay well, are not easy to learn, or will not lead to a career. There are many other reasons people leave. However, the reality is that these are not “reasons” at all, but only consequences of another reason: consumerism. Some people do leave in order to feed their families, but most want to go abroad not because they don’t have daily bread, but because they want to buy a new car, to pay for the best schooling for their children, to buy new furniture, etc.

The West has declared a new war against the majority of the world. Billboards, commercials, and advertising are the soldiers of this new army. They have attacked the majority of the world, convincing a new generation that consumption of their goods will make them happy.

People go to both Western and Majority World countries to get more money, to buy new products, to spend more money in bars and night clubs. More than ninety percent of the money which comes to Moldova from Moldovans working abroad (including victims of human trafficking) goes to consumerism. More than 1.3 billion (milliard) USD came to Moldova in 2008 from individuals working abroad. At least one billion was spent for new cars, food, clothes, computers, smart phones, houses, etc.

Many of the people in Eastern Europe compare themselves with people from the West and try to catch up with them in terms of buying capacity in a very short time. People in Western countries also are exposed to consumerism, but the difference is that they have preconditions for that (e.g., job, legacy, credit for up to thirty years, etc.). People in Eastern Europe live more day to day. When people from the West come to Moldova, they are surprised: according to the all statistics, Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, but streets are full with wealthy cars, and good dressed people. Western crusaders flooded our country.

Consumerism and Human Trafficking

There is a direct connection between consumerism and human trafficking, and companies and people which are seeking a cheap trade force are responsible. Western companies try to find illegal migrants because they don’t ask for a lot of money and it’s easy to manipulate by them. Most migrants go abroad illegally, but many of them as victims of human trafficking.

Toward an Anti-Consumerist Worldview

Our team began to work toward promoting a new worldview—Simple Style. The focus is on changing one’s worldview such that a person does not view themselves as lesser than someone else if: he or she doesn’t have a smart phone; he or she can’t buy a big house for his or her family; he or she doesn’t drive a new car. Alongside caring for victims of human trafficking and using our prevention program, we would like show the real reason of contemporary slavery and to help all like-minded persons and organizations to work together to lobby anti-consumerist worldviews on different levels.

There are at least four elements of an anti-consumerist worldview:

A person can and should live according to his or her income.

An estimation of one’s life should not be build upon purchasing power.

Glamour and the fashion establishment are not the rulers in this life game.

The West should understand that the East is not a marketplace for Western products and cheap trade force.

Amazing videos

February 9, 2010

A set of amazing real person stories on film by undercover journalist Mimi Chakarova – Something Special.

http://www.priceofsex.org/content/price-sex-women-speak