| | | Effective PR

Oh, God. Another "modern slavery" story. Yes it is. Read it.

Nigel Morris-Co...

There are things that biased media push down our throats as they pretend independence but run a subversive agenda, from politics to social change. But there are some things that transcend the self-interest of media outlets, where the generally left-leaning press and politicians have got it absolutely right.

And yet, there are many, many cases where children are sent to work in factories or on the land to the exclusion of their education. Some reports say that as many as 70% of children in India who work never finish even basic education. Some 20% of the world's child population is, on some figures, in India. The US Department of Labor says that some 2.5 million children work instead of going to school in The Philippines. But a report by the Child Labor (sic) Coalition says that it has seen figures provided by the Philippines Government saying that as many as 5.5 million children are in some form of work. Little of this would appear to be voluntary. The figures in Cambodia are similarly worrying. However, while working is one thing - out and out exploitation for sexual purposes is another. And across South East Asia, especially in the Philippines and Cambodia, the sexual abuse of children is rampant.

The trafficking of children, male and female, and young women for the purposes of providing some form of sexual service is an enormous problem. Authorities across South East Asia and Eastern Europe plus Latin America are engaged in an extraordinary struggle to identify and disrupt the networks which are a vertically integrated industry.

Across the developed world, law enforcement agencies raid massage parlours and, more recently, nail salons which operate as fronts for brothels or "outdoor services." While there are many who are drugged or abused, there are many who are simply effectively held prisoner, chosen from a look-book, pick-list or even a parade in a karaoke bar or somesuch, then escorted to the customer's home or hotel and collected after business is concluded. Or they work as "guest relations officers" in bars. They don't have their passports, they have targets to meet and live in poor conditions. In South East Asia, there is a circuit where young prostitutes, women, men, somewhere in between, travel from one, usually capital, city to the next staying in each for maybe two weeks as a tourist. They aren't that hard to spot at immigration - usually a handler will pretend to be their boyfriend and hand over, then take, their passports. How many of these people are forced into this line of work and how many volunteer is open to question. It is certainly the case that some are subject to some form of compulsion, whether they are travelling prostitutes or street walkers with a pimp but it is also the case that there are many who choose to work in this field and do so as completely unrestricted freelancers. In this, "dating" websites can help identify those who are in some kind of organisation simply by monitoring how many are posted from a single IP address.

In the UK, a long history of criminal "gang masters," had led to prosecutions and changes in the law. For at least a hundred years, before the UK joined the EU, migrant workers followed the harvest around Europe, ending the summer in northernmost climes. When the UK joined the EU and immigration laws were harmonised, many of those migrant workers were from countries that were, at the time, outside the EU, i.e. in general terms the "Soviet Bloc." Increasingly, in order to follow that tradition, they found themselves bound to organised crime groups who transported them illegally and put them to work, again subject to poor pay and conditions and undocumented. A similar situation is currently present in Australia where it is difficult for remote farms to legally recruit labour.

In Malaysia, in recent weeks, two separate raids have netted more than 1,000 Chinese working illegally - engaged in telefraud. The Malaysian immigration department recently reported that there were "no record of exit dates for more than 96% of [mainland] Chinese and Indian tourists" who arrived as visa-free tourists from 2016 to 2018. However, Immigration director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud said that there was a significant discrepancy in the number of overstayers reported by automated e-visa system and manual checks: out of 79,799 arrivals from China, for example, the system did not record the exit of 76,258. But manual checks showed that the true figure was 18,341. This appears to have arisen because there was a failure to match exit records at the border with the automated records on entry. There are no figures given for the number of African and Middle Eastern visitors, many of whom stand around in the street in the Bukit Bintang area and work in shops selling counterfeit goods an industry which is controlled by organised crime groups. A significant number ply their trade as prostitutes in nearby bars and operate dating scams via on-line platforms. Engineers from Scotland are, victims tell us, a popular cover. Raids in some parts of the country have found houses with several African men controlling a number of Filipinas who, because of their command of English, spend their days replying to messages in order to suck in victims. In the state of Sabah, as of November this year, authorities were arranging for more than 7,000 illegal migrants to be repatriated. It is a routine activity: it is reported that more than half-a-million have been found in the state and returned to their country of origin since 2010. The state is closer to The Philippines than it is to the capital Kuala Lumpur and many migrants arrive from the southern Philippines state of Mindanao but the repatriation includes citizens of Indonesia (with which Sabah shares a porous land border) and China. There is a particular concern over the migration from Mindanao as that is where there are large terrorist training camps affiliated with al Qaeda and Da'esh / ISIS Also, some there lay claim to Sabah as their territory resulting in frequent armed incursions.

In 2014, a report in The Guardian, Malaysia’s then deputy home minister, Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar was quoted as saying "When it comes to industries such as coal mines, the jobs are very dangerous and tough. No local or Sarawakian will dare to take up such jobs — that is why [we] need foreign workers. In the coal-mining sector, only Britain, China and North Korea have highly-skilled workers." Sarawak is Malaysian state which the former central government constantly sought to impose a higher level of control over than the state wished to accept, even to the extent of promising extensive infrastructure projects of Sarawakians would vote for the former ruling party and oust their local politicians (it didn't work). But the North Koreans were working legally in Malaysia under a special arrangement between the governments of North Korea and the authorities in Sarawak which has considerable autonomy over immigration matters (even Malaysians travelling to Sarawak need to pass through immigration). However, there were reports that the salaries of the NoKo workers were paid directly to the NoKo government. The Guardian said "The minister’s comments come just two days after three men — Tun Tun Win, 36, from Burma; Kardianto, 38, from Indonesia; and Pang Chung-hyok, 29, from North Korea — were killed after a blast ripped through the mine on Saturday morning. Another 29 men were injured, seven of them from North Korea. Forty-nine of the 119 foreign workers at the Sarawak mine were North Koreans. North Korean labour is sought after in Sarawak state on Borneo island, which is the only place in Malaysia permitted to hire workers from the country. Peninsular Malaysia has no such privilege, Wan Junaidi said. The minister said the labourers had valid work and immigration permits and that the Malaysian government had given the go-ahead for their recruitment: “There are many people from communist countries working in our country and having businesses here,” he added. “All we require is that they come here legally, work legally and stay free of trouble with our laws.”

---------------- Charities providing direct aid ----------------

Preda Foundation, Manila - rescuing victims of forced child prostitution https://www.preda.org (Father Shay Cullen)

Snehalaya, Maharashtra , India - rescuing at risk children of sex workers and others https://www.snehalaya.org/reha...

Restored Hope Ministries, Dallas, USA - rescuing female prostitutes, trafficked women and their children from all over the USA. http://www.restoredhopeministr...