(BIRMINGHAM, U.K.) Court Report: A Slovakian family who traded in human misery for over a decade has been jailed for 30 years #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May.10: They were told that other earnings were being saved for them, but few saw any returns, and some had their ID papers taken from them:

Slovakian family organised crime gang jailed for modern day slavery: The family of five from the Michalovce region, in Slovakia, lured vulnerable and often homeless fellow Eastern Europeans to Britain with the promise of a job, accommodation and a better life. But the reality was sharing rooms with up to 15 other people and working at least 12 hours a day, six days a week, mostly in restaurants, for just £20 a week.

7th May 2021

Antrobus Road
Antrobus Road – several shared a bedroom and all shared the bathroom

Feeling trapped because of their lack of finances and with no English language, they endured psychological and sometimes physical abuse from their gang masters, who transported them to and from their place of work.

The operation came to light after two victims went to a charity and said they were being exploited and then a separate complaint was received and links were made to a house in Antrobus Road, Handsworth. A covert surveillance operation was set up which revealed multiple occupants of the address being collected in the morning and brought back late at night, by the same men in different vehicles.

The same men were also found to have flown out of England alone and returned accompanied by different people. Investigations into these activities found evidence that this had been happening since 2008.

In August 2017, warrants were executed at the property in Antrobus Road and four restaurants across the West Midlands. Twenty men, mainly from Slovakia and Romania, were found to be living in poor conditions. They were immediately safeguarded.

Gejza Demeter and his wife Andrea Demeterova were arrested on suspicion of slavery offences, and their property was searched and items, including electronic devices, were seized for investigation.

Gejza Demeter and his wife Andrea Demeterova
Gejza Demeter and his wife Andrea Demeterova
Zdenka Ferencova, her son, Pavol Ferenc, and his wife, Klaudia Ferencova

work.Zdenka Ferencova, her son, Pavol Ferenc, and his wife, Klaudia Ferencova

The pair were released on police bail as detectives continued their investigation and took statements from the victims who were referred to the NRM (National Referral Mechanism) which ensures they receive appropriate ongoing support.

Detectives then joined forces with Slovakian authorities, overseen at Eurojustin The Hague, to commence a joint investigation into the organised crime family, enabling both authorities to share information and to build evidence of the extent of the operation.

Andrea Demeterova’s mother, Zdenka Ferencova, was head of the family and part of ‘the business’ which also included her son, Pavol Ferenc, and his wife, Klaudia Ferencova. Each had been involved in ‘recruiting’ vulnerable workers from Eastern Europe, transporting them to the UK, putting them in accommodation in Birmingham, Gloucester, Nottingham and Derby from where they were taken to work.

Businesses had been set up as a front, including a recruitment company and a cleaning service, but these were mainly for tax evasion purposes. Evidence was also found of money laundering, crucially at least 28 cars – with a low value of around £2,000 – had been bought in the UK, but then exported to Slovakia where they were worth double that amount, and even more when broken down in to parts.

Antrobus Road

Detective Inspector Lisa Jackson explained: “We took 22 victim statements from mostly men, but some women, who had been enticed by the promise of a better life, however the reality was far different. Many shared beds, some even slept on the floor, but all had to work long hours and were paid very little. We believe there were more than 60 victims who suffered the same exploitation, but we have been unable to trace them.”

One man told us: “There were seven people in our bedroom, some of us even slept on the floor. There were about 50 people in the house with one toilet and one bathroom. Immediately after my arrival, my ID documents were taken by them and not returned. I worked together with others in different restaurants from the morning until the evening, six days a week. We could not go anywhere – this wasn’t a life. 

“We had one day off during the week and even then, we had to work in the house where we were staying. For the weeks’ work, we got paid £20 and some of the people did not even get that. I got up at 5am in the morning, by 6am I was in the restaurant. The restaurant closed at 10pm but we would have to stay to wash and tidy up. Then, we returned home, went to sleep and the same thing happened the following day. It was a very hard life.”Antrobus Road – expansion plans?

Gejza Demeter and his wife Andrea Demeterova had skipped bail and returned to Slovakia, but we continued to work closely with the Slovakian authorities and Eurojust to bring charges against all of the suspects. 

And on 4 September 2019 we, along with the support of other European countries, executed European Arrest Warrants simultaneously in Slovakia, Germany and the Netherlands, from a co-ordination centre in The Hague. Within a 20 minute period all five suspects were arrested and taken into custody. They were extradited back to the UK between November and December 2019.

A trial was set for May 2020, and delayed until October 2020 due to the pandemic, however with the weight of evidence against them the defendants submitted pleas for consideration, which after deliberation, were accepted earlier this year. All five were sentenced as follows:

  • Gejza Demeter, aged 53, sentenced to eight years in prison for: Conspiracy to traffick into UK for exploitation, conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel with view to exploitation, conspiracy to require another to perform forced compulsory labour, conspiracy to control another for purpose of labour exploitation and conspiracy to remove criminal property from England and Wales.
  • Andrea Demeterova, aged 49, sentenced to six and a half years in prison for conspiracy to traffick into UK for exploitation, conspiracy to traffick within the UK for exploitation, conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel with view to exploitation.
  • Pavol Ferenc, aged 48, sentenced to six and a half years in prison for: Conspiracy to traffick into UK for exploitation, conspiracy to traffick within the UK for exploitation, conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel with view to exploitation.
  • Klaudia Ferencova, aged 41, sentenced to five years in prison for: Conspiracy to traffick into UK for exploitation, conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel with view to exploitation.
  • Zdenka Ferencova, aged 68, sentenced to four years in prison for Conspiracy to traffick into UK for exploitation, conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel with view to exploitation, conspiracy to control another for purpose of labour exploitation.

All five were also served with slavery and trafficking preventions orders, which entitles officers to use powers to ensure they are not continuing with their criminal enterprise upon their release. It’s estimated that their enterprises had amassed them profits of almost £700,000, and that is just from the victims who spoke to us. There were many more we have been unable to trace.

We will now look to recover those proceeds of crime under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

The defendants were sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court this week concluding on Wednesday (5 May). 

In summing up His Honour Judge Dean Kershaw told the defendants: “Human trafficking including the use of compulsory labour devalues the life of the people trafficked. It more often than not places people into a life of misery and extreme poverty. Meaning they are living in poor conditions, they feel trapped and they are unable to escape from a cycle of abuse. And whether you agree to it or you don’t that is what this is. It is abuse. One only has to read the victim statements to see that. You did this for one reason only – money was the only goal and is normally the only goal of those who involve themselves in this abhorrent behaviour.

“It may well be that the general public are not aware of how common this is. This type of behaviour hides in corner but at the same time is in full view of people. People do not see it because of the way that it is organised. The victims feel frightened and feel they have nowhere to go so often do not report it.”

Det Insp Jackson added: “We need the public to help us stop such exploitation and safeguard and support some of the most vulnerable in our communities by reporting anything suspicious; which can help us take firm and decisive action.

“There are some tell-tale signs to look out for such as large groups staying in multi-occupancy houses and being transported to and from addresses in vans or minibuses from early in the morning and not coming back until late at night.”

Anybody who suspects slavery or trafficking offences are happening in their community is urged to call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700, visit the website www.modernslaveryhelpline.org or call West Midlands Police on 101.   

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#trafficking, #birmingham, #slavery, #slovakian, #u-k

(LONDON) MET REPORT: Officers investigating the exploitation of young and vulnerable individuals into county lines activity have carried out a series of early morning warrants on Tuesday, 20 April and arrested five people #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Apr.21: All those arrested have been taken to police stations in London and Hampshire. The Metropolitan Police Service lead the investigation:

The operation involved more than 150 officers from the Metropolitan Police Service, Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police.

MET Proactive Unit Officers: Arrests have been made as police target county lines networks: ‘A total of eight addresses were targeted simultaneously across London, Hampshire and Berkshire. Three men and two women, aged between 20 and 40 years old, have been arrested on suspicion of offences including conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and modern slavery’

[Officers on this morning’s raids]

[Officers on this morning’s raids]

Searches of the addresses continue but officers have so far found a machete, Class B drugs and a rapier sword.

The investigation was launched in January this year after officers identified a ring of people involved in widespread drug supply across the southeast of England through county lines.

The early stages of the investigation led officers to believe young children and extremely vulnerable adults were being used to deal drugs along the county lines. They secured evidence to suggest these individuals were being held against their will in order to clear debts owed to the group.

The investigating team worked tirelessly to identify suspects through CCTV, ANPR and extensive cell phone analysis. The operation has so far resulted in four young children and vulnerable people being rescued. They are currently being looked after by specialist officers.

Sergeant Tom Freeman from the Met’s Proactive Gangs Unit, which leads the investigation, said: “This morning’s activity is a culmination of months of hard work by officers across three different police forces. The operation focused on rescuing children and vulnerable people who had no option to do as they were told through fear of violence from those controlling them: “ The evidence we’ve gathered leads us to believe they were being held against their will until they paid off debts they did not create in the first place. Those involved in this activity entirely manipulated the vulnerabilities of these individuals for their own financial gain – a common trait of county lines lineholders: “ We know county lines activity is closely linked to violence we see on the streets of London and other parts of the United Kingdom. Not only have we rescued vulnerable people from violence and exploitation, but by disrupting this drug supply line we’ve destroyed the business model of this group and hopefully prevented violent incidents occurring in the future.”

Inspector Richard Lane from Hampshire Constabulary, which supported the operation, said: “County lines and its associated violence can cause misery in our communities, and it is right that we put significant effort into dismantling these networks and safeguarding vulnerable people who have been exploited in this trade: “ We will continue to work with our partners to identify those responsible and target these drug dealing networks in north Hampshire and across the force area.”

Detective Inspector John Wordsworth, from Thames Valley Police, which aided the operation, said: “County lines drugs has a significant impact on our communities and often those who profit from drugs are exploiting children and vulnerable adults in order to do so: “ We are committed to tackling county lines drugs and this operation should be a reminder that police forces will work together across borders in order to stop this pernicious activity: “ We will also continue to work in partnership to protect those who are exploited by county lines drugs gangs: “ The public also have an important role to play in providing information that can assist us in dismantling county lines drugs lines and also safeguard vulnerable individuals.”

+++

The below were arrested following the warrants:

[A] a 40-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs and on suspicion of money laundering.

[B] a 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and on suspicion of securing services from children and vulnerable persons under the Modern Slavery Act 2002.

[C] a 38-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and on suspicion of securing services from children and vulnerable persons under the Modern Slavery Act 2002.

[D] a 37-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and on suspicion of securing services from children and vulnerable persons under the Modern Slavery Act 2002.

[E] a 20-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and on suspicion of securing services from children and vulnerable persons under the Modern Slavery Act 2002.

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Apr.21: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#county-lines, #hampshire, #london, #met, #slavery, #thames-valley

(LONDON) MET Modern Day Slavery Team Report: Officers have arrested six-people and charged that with 62 offences following an investigation targeting the sexual exploitation of women at brothels across the capital #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Apr.17: The charges follow a day of action carried out as part of Operation Huai where detectives executed warrants at seven addresses in London on Wednesday, 22 April 2020.

‘Operation Huai Investigation: carried out by officers of ‘Modern Day Slavery Team’ have arrested & charged 6-people with 62-offences for exploitation of brothers across the capital’

They were all charged by postal requisition on Tuesday, 6 April and will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 10 May

[A] Jie Zhang, 40 (31.07.81), of Fountain Park Way, Hammersmith and Fulham and [B] Qitao Xu, 31 (02.01.90) of Bullrush Grove, Hillingdon, have each been charged with 13 offences:

  • Possession of criminal property
  • Three counts of conspiracy to hold another person in slavery
  • Conspiracy to use, acquire or possess criminal property
  • Conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert or transfer criminal property
  • Two counts of committing an offence other than kidnapping or false imprisonment with intent to commit a human trafficking offence
  • Two counts of conspiracy to control prostitution for gain
  • Three counts of conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation within the UK.

[C] Yuhua Zheng, 68 (07.09.52), of Fountain Park Way, Hammersmith and Fulham, has been charged with 11 offences:

  • Possession of criminal property
  • Three counts of conspiracy to hold another person in slavery
  • Conspiracy to use, acquire or possess criminal property
  • Conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert or transfer criminal property
  • Two counts of conspiracy to control prostitution for gain
  • Three counts of conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation within the UK.

[D] Giulia Manzo, 30 (04.05.90), of Brewster Gardens, Kensington and Chelsea, has been charged with eight offences:

  • Possession of criminal property
  • Two counts of conspiracy to hold another person in slavery
  • Conspiracy to use, acquire or possess criminal property
  • Conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert or transfer criminal property
  • Conspiracy to control prostitution for gain
  • Two counts of conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation within the UK.

[G] Wenjing Nong, 32 (27.11.88), of Tyndall Road, Waltham Forest, has been charged with seven offences:

  • Two counts of conspiracy to hold another person in slavery
  • Conspiracy to use, acquire or possess criminal property
  • Conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert or transfer criminal property
  • Conspiracy to control prostitution for gain
  • Two counts of conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation within the UK.

[H] Zeev Zi-Pear, 62 (09.04.59), of Woodstock Road, Barnet, has been charged with 10 offences:

  • Possession of criminal property
  • Two counts of conspiracy to hold another person in slavery
  • Conspiracy to use, acquire or possess criminal property
  • Conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert or transfer criminal property
  • Two counts of encouraging or assisting in the commission of eitherway offences believing one or more will be committed
  • Conspiracy to control prostitution for gain
  • Two counts of conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation within the UK.

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Apr.17: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#brothels, #london, #met, #slavery

(LONDON) MET Modern Slavery & Explotation United (MSCE) Report: Operation Snoop officers have arrested 8-people in early morning raids across Hertfordshire #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.17: As part of a strategic operation police have conducted seven warrants at addresses across the capital and in Hertfordshire: Warrants resulted in eight arrests on the morning of Tuesday, 16 March, six males and two females, with individuals being arrested on suspicion of crimes including controlling prostitution for gain contrary to Section 53 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and arranging or facilitating travel of another person with a view to exploitation contrary to Sections 2(1) and 5(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015:

Operation Snoop: Eight arrested in morning raids in modern slavery operation: The warrants were part of an investigation lead by the Met’s Modern Slavery and Child Exploitation Unit [MSCE] into the trafficking of Chinese women in to the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The warrants, in Hackney, Hounslow, Bexleyheath, Watford and Kingston, follow a comprehensive year-long investigation in to a network of criminals and the operation they were running.

It is believed that some of the addresses entered by police were operating as brothels.

Officers who entered the addresses were accompanied by officers from the MSCE, interpreters and Mandarin speaking officers. 

Vulnerable people at the addresses are now receiving support from specialist officers.

Police will now work to seize evidence to support offences of human trafficking and controlling prostitution, including proceeds of crime, mobile phones, computers, travel documents, criminal assets, cash, passports, ledgers, and any material linked to sex adverts.

Acting Detective Inspector Nick Bland of the Central Specialist Crime Unit said: “This morning’s operation, despite being the culmination of a lengthy investigation, is only the first step in bringing the people arrested to face the consequences for their actions: “ Young women who are trafficked in to this country for sexual exploitation are often sold a dream in terms of what their life in the UK may look like, that dream is quickly unraveled upon their arrival to the country, where they will often be forced to live in abject poverty and be at the beck and call of their traffickers. In some cases it is impossible for these women to escape to their home countries as their travel documents are confiscated: “ We know that crimes such as these are amongst some the most damaging to victims. They will no doubt have suffered untold pain and distress during their time in this country under the influence of these individuals.

My officers will now commence the seizure and examination of evidence from the properties in order build a case against these individuals for submission to the Criminal Prosecution Service: The Met continues to make every effort to reduce high impact crime such as this and the fear of it, and the warrant executed this morning has no doubt contributed to this mission.”

#AceNewsDesk report ……..Published: Mar.17: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#trafficking, #london, #met, #operation-snoop, #slavery

#Charleston Shooting Reignites Debate About Confederate Flag

#AceNewsReport#CHARLESTON June.19: On Thursday, hours after a white gunman killed nine people in a black church in Charleston, S.C., a Confederate flag continued to fly over the grounds of the state’s Capitol. 

The Supreme Court ruled the same day that Texas did not violate the First Amendment by refusing to allow the flag on its license plates. […]

https://thesecularjurist.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/charleston-shooting-reignites-debate-about-confederate-flag/

@AceNewsServices 

#charleston-massacre, #confederate-flag, #jon-stewart, #overt-racism, #republicans, #right-wing-extremism, #slavery, #south-carolina, #white-supremacy

‘ THIRTY FIVE MILLION PEOPLE WORLDWIDE TRAPPED IN MODERN FORM OF SLAVERY ‘

#AceNewsServices – Nov.18 – More than 35 million people around the world are trapped in a modern form of slavery, the Guardian said, citing a report from the Walk Free Foundation (WFF).

The study by the Australia-based NGO that publishes the annual global slavery index, highlighted the prevalence of forced labour, human trafficking, forced marriages, debt bondage and commercial sexual exploitation.

Due to better data and improved methodology, WFF said it had increased its estimate by 23 percent in the past year.

Source: Download PDF:Here:  

#ANS2014 

#bondage, #commercial-sexual-exploitation, #debt-bondage, #forced-labour, #forced-marriage, #human-trafficking, #ngo, #slavery

THAILAND: ‘ British Anti-Slavery Campaigner’s Trial Starts ‘

#AceNewsServices(Editors Choice) THAILAND (Bankok)- September 22 – Andy Hall is a British campaigner with a special focus on the rights of migrant workers.

' Free Andy Hall '

‘ Free Andy Hall ‘ Download this PDF Link

Two years ago, on behalf of Finnwatch, he undertook an investigation into Natural Fruit, part of NatGroup, a Thai company that processes pineapples and supplies retailers around the world. Finnwatch’s final report paints a picture suggesting modern slavery:

“…passports and work permits confiscated; compulsory and excessive overtime; fines and unclear deductions from wages; debt bondage and violence by guards and superiors.”

Instead of focusing on addressing these serious allegations, Natural Fruit decided to try and silence Andy with lawsuits. They have pursued civil and criminal charges and now Andy could face a prison sentence and $10 million in legal damages for his investigations.
Are you as outraged? Now is your chance to join the call for justice.

Stand with Andy Hall: demand that Natural Fruit drop all charges against him and thoroughly investigate and take action to ensure there is no modern slavery or exploitation in their business.

Now is a crucial time in Andy’s prosecution. Andy’s trial has just started. Although Natural Fruit’s behaviour is deeply disturbing it proves that the company cares about its public image.

By coming together over the next few days, with activists all around the world that are standing in solidarity with Andy, we can show Natural Fruit’s senior management what we think about these excessive and intimidating charges.

If this case proceeds and Natural Fruit are successful this would not only be a grave miscarriage of justice for Andy. This process could set a dangerous precedent for other companies in Thailand that might take a similar approach when allegations are raised of modern slavery in their supply chains.

This threatens the work of anti-slavery campaigners but also workers in Thailand who might be too afraid to come forward and report abuse.

Please join the growing global outcry over his prosecution and fight for the rights of anti-slavery campaigners and their efforts to end worker exploitation.

Demand justice for Andy and workers vulnerable to exploitation and modern slavery in Thailand now.

In solidarity,

The Walk Free Team

#ANS2014PDF Download link to Campaign  

http://finnwatch.org/images/

#bankok, #british, #finnwatch, #migrant-workers, #natgroup, #natural-fruit, #slavery, #thai, #thailand

North Virginia: ” GOP Congressional Candidate Senator {Dick} Black Says Spousal Rape Not a Crime”

#AceWorldNews says after taking a drubbing in last year’s state elections, Virginia Republicans are debating whether their party has come to be defined by its extremists. But in a congressional district in Northern Virginia, one of the state’s main instigators of culture warfare, state Sen. Richard H. “Dick” Black, is running in the Republican primary to replace long-time GOP moderate Rep. Frank Wolf, who is retiring. And he’s guaranteed to ignite wedge-issue passion. Exhibit A:

As a state legislator, Black opposed making spousal rape a crime, citing the impossibility of convicting a husband accused of raping his wife “when they’re living together, sleeping in the same bed, she’s in a nightie, and so forth.”

Black has referred to emergency contraception, which does not cause abortions, as “baby pesticide.” Black also fought to block a statue of Abraham Lincoln at a former Confederate site in Richmond. He wasn’t sure, he explained at the time, that statues of Lincoln belonged in Virginia. He has argued that abortion is a worse evil than slavery. And once, to demonstrate why libraries should block pornography on their computers, Black invited a TV reporter to film him using a library terminal to watch violent rape porn.

Read More at:http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/gop-congressional-candidate-richard-dick-black-spousal-rape-not-a-crime

#abraham-lincoln, #cultural, #evil, #north-virginia, #pornography, #republicans, #slavery, #state-legislator

#AceWorldNews says “We Need a Concerted Action to Eradicate Modern Day Forms of Slavery”

Am I not a man emblem used during the campaign...

Am I not a man emblem used during the campaign to abolish slavery. The image is from a book from 1788, so there can be no effective copyright. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the  “Top United Nations officials marking the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery ” yesterday with a call for concerted action to eradicate the contemporary forms of this heinous practice.

“It is vital that we give special consideration to ending modern-day slavery and servitude which affects the poorest, most socially excluded groups – including migrants, women, discriminated ethnic groups, minorities and indigenous people’s,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon <“http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp“>said in his message for the Day, observed annually on 2 December.

The International Day marks the date in 1949 of the adoption by the General Assembly of the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. The focus of the day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.

Today, 21 million women, men and children are trapped in slavery all over the world, according to the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), which has teamed up with prominent artists, athletes and advocates in its campaign to “End Slavery Now.”

Mr. Ban noted that there has been important progress in the last year, including stronger legislation and greater coordination by a number of countries to combat slavery. Also, more and more businesses are working to ensure their activities do not cause or contribute to contemporary forms of slavery in the workplace and their supply chains.

“I strongly support these initiatives and urge all Member States to ratify the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, develop robust and effective domestic legislation and boost enforcement on the ground.  The partnership of the private sector in implementing these efforts is critical,” said the Secretary-General.

Slavery

Slavery (Photo credit: quadelirus)

He also urged continued support for the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, which has helped restore human rights and dignity to tens of thousands of children, women and men for over 20 years, he said.

General Assembly President John Ashe said in his message that the Day serves as a reminder to all people that, much like its historical antecedent, modern slavery is an egregious violation of a person’s basic human rights. “The majority of those who suffer are the most vulnerable and marginalized in society,” he <“http://www.un.org/en/ga/president/68/news/international_day_for_the_abolition_of_slavery2013.shtml“>stated.

“Each year, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are kidnapped and sold into bondage across international borders. Trafficking in persons is an issue of great global concern and affects almost all countries,” Mr. Ashe noted.

“This inhumane activity continues to flourish owing to vast economic disparities between nations, increasing flows of labour and commodities across international borders and transnational organized criminal networks.”

He called on Member States to eradicate slavery in all its forms; to boost initiatives that promote social inclusion; and to end all forms of discrimination. “We must promote and protect the rights of those most vulnerable within our societies, and help to restore the dignity of victims of slavery.”

New York, Dec  2 2013 11:00AM

 

#aceworldnews, #humanrightnews, #abolitionism, #ban-ki-moon, #human-rights, #international-day-for-the-abolition-of-slavery, #international-labour-organization, #international-observance, #london, #new-york, #slavery, #united-nations

“Ark of Return” Unveiled as Permanent Memorial to Re-Tell the Stories of 15 Million Slaves

English: African Burial Ground National Monume...

English: African Burial Ground National Monument, New York City Deutsch: African Burial Ground National Monument, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Manhattan-based architect of Haitian descent was recently announced as the winner of an international competition to design a memorial that will be permanently on display at United Nations Headquarters in New York to honour victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.

Unveiling Rodney Leon’s “‘Ark of Return”, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the memorial “will serve as a reminder of the bravery of those slaves, abolitionists and unsung heroes who managed to rise up against an oppressive system, fight for their freedom and end the practice.”
The ceremony, held on the eve of the General Assembly’s annual debate, was also attended by the President of the body’s 68th session, John Ashe, who commended all participants in the competition for “being a voice of change and hope” whose ability to create meaningful artwork “deepens our faith in human goodness and decency, and for this, we are all grateful.”

The piece by Mr. Leon, a designer and architect of the African Burial Ground National Monument in lower Manhattan, features a “symbolic spiritual space and object where one can interact and pass through for acknowledgement, contemplation, meditation, reflection, healing, education and transformation,” according to its creator.

Mr. Leon’s work was selected from among 310 design proposals from 83 countries in a competition launched two years ago by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), with support from the UN Department of Public Information’s Remember Slavery Programme, and Member States from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the African Union. Jamaica, as the Chairman of the Permanent Memorial Committee, was represented at today’s event by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

UNECO Director-General Irina Bokova, who also participated, said she was “moved” to be participating in the event given she just returned from Haiti where the memory of slavery and the slave trade carries precious significance not just of suffering but also of “victorious fight from oppression for freedom”.

Slavery

Slavery (Photo credit: quadelirus)

The design had to be created around the theme of “Acknowledging the Tragedy; Considering the legacy; Lest we forget “. It was to be not only a symbol, but part of an educational process in memory of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, and to architecturally embody each affected region of the transatlantic slave trade – Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Americas.
It also had to artistically complement to the landscape of the UN Headquarters, described by UNESCO as “an iconic site that will deepen, both visually and spiritually, the visitor’s experience of this important environment.”

The winning design was unanimously chosen by a committee of five international judges who met at UN Headquarters in August. Ahead of the judging, they spoke with UN Television about how their decisions were shaped.UN Television about how their decisions were shaped.

Ashfar Isahq is the Chairman of the International Children’s Art Foundation. He said he founded the organization to harness children’s imagination for positive change.

“At the end of the day, I and my work with children means that I have to look at an inner voice that tells me that this is what children and future generations will like,” Mr. Isahq said. “I listen to that inner voice to make my choice.”

Curator and artist Dominique Fontaine said she was looking for a certain aesthetic value, one “that will appeal to the viewer.”

From New York University, Michael Gomez, a professor of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies who specializes in the African Diaspora, said he was primarily interested in identifying a piece that spoke directly to the experience of the transatlantic slave trade and the significance of that trade.

“I was interested in finding a project that would in some way give expression to that experience, and would allow those who would visit the memorial to have a good sense of what that experience was about and its ongoing implication for various societies,” Mr. Gomez told UN Producer, Mary Ferreira.

Meanwhile, David Boxer, a former curator at the National Gallery of Jamaica said the real challenge for him was to find a piece that both spoke to the tragedy itself – which he said required a memorial in a “more traditional sense” – and something that is inspirational.

Mr. Boxer said he was looking for a piece “that looks to the future, that deals with the whole question of hope. That things are going to improve, that things are going to become better. So it’s how do you combine those two sentiments into a single monument.”

Completing the jury, Nadia Bakhurji, and architect, women’s empowerment advocate and   former Board Member of Saudi Council of Engineers, said she knew the winning design right away.

“I had emotional reactions to some of the sculptures and I knew which one would be the right one because it has to be the one that will really inspire thought-provoking ideas, make you step back and say – oh my God, is that really what happened and how can we prevent that from happening again,” Ms. Bakhurji said.

She added that she was also looking for a design that bridged educational and spiritual experiences.

 

#african-burial-ground-national-monument, #atlantic-slave-trade, #caribbean-community, #haiti, #nadia-bakhurji, #national-gallery-of-jamaica, #portia-simpson-miller, #slavery, #unesco, #united-nations-headquarters

1807 was a momentous year in British history…

1807 was a momentous year in British history as it brought the abolition of the slave trade. Yet it is estimated that today around the world there are more slaves being held captive than ever before. Organisations like The Salvation Army have never ceased to raise awareness of the continuing problem and in the 126 countries in which we operate, human trafficking is a high priority and we respond in practical ways depending on the local need and our resources.

So where are the 21st century slaves? Yes, there are children held in parts of Africa, harvesting cocoa beans to make our chocolate; women in Asia are trapped and exploited to make the cheap clothes that we wear and discard; and in the South Pacific men are enslaved on ships. However, people are also enslaved right on our doorstep, living in our communities, in the UK. They are often hidden but not necessarily invisible; you may see them but not recognise them; but you can help them. http://www.localgov.co.uk/index.cfm?method=news.detail&id=109966

 

#abolitionism, #africa, #asia, #cocoa-bean, #history-of-the-british-isles, #human-trafficking, #salvation-army, #slavery

Slavery-v-Profit – But people are the losers

Photograph of a reproduction of the Emancipati...

Photograph of a reproduction of the Emancipation Proclamation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nearly one hundred and fifty years ago, in issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to the enduring cause of freedom.Then as now, we stay steadfast in our resolve to see that all men,women, and children have the opportunity to realize this greatest of gifts.  Yet millions around the world including here in the United States—toil under the boot of modern slavery.  Mothers and fathers are forced to work in fields and factories against their will or in service to debts that can never be repaid.Sons and daughters are sold for sex, abducted as child soldiers, or coerced into involuntary labor.In dark corners of our world, and hidden in plain sight in our own communities,human beings are exploited for financial gain and subjected to unspeakable cruelty.

 Slavery remains the affront to human dignity and stain on our collective conscience that it has always been.   That is why members of my cabinet and senior advisors gathered at the White House the other day, at a meeting chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to lay out their plans for meeting this challenge. The United States is committed to eradicating trafficking in persons, and they pledged to draw on tools ranging from law enforcement and victim service provision, to public awareness building and diplomatic pressure.

They reiterated that government efforts are not enough, we are also increasing our partnerships with a broad coalition of local communities, faith-based and non-governmental organizations, schools, and businesses.

They agreed to bring all these elements together, and to be sure we are maximizing our efforts, today I am directing my cabinet to find ways to strengthen our current work, and to expand on partnerships with civil society and the private sector, so that we can bring more resources to bear in fighting this horrific injustice.  In the coming weeks the White House will build on this gathering on behalf of human dignity.  I am confident that we will one day end the scourge of modern slavery, because I believe in those committed to this issue: young people, people of faith and station, Americans who refuse to accept this injustice and will not rest until it is vanquished.

A reaffirmation that the United States stands with them, and that together we will realize the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation and our country’s ideal of freedom!

 

#abraham-lincoln, #emancipation-proclamation, #hillary-clinton, #human-trafficking, #human-rights, #president, #slavery, #united-states, #white-house