The documentary first airs on Friday, January 20 on CNN International. As you now ponder the injustices chocolate can cause, are you considering checking your next chocolate purchase for a fair-trade label? Can that seemingly inconsequential action of looking at a label spur a chain of events? Or do you think it takes more than a label to change an industry? We'll also find out what the chocolate industry says about all this in a discussion airing after the documentary.
Child slaves and chocolate (2012/01/12/)
CNN's Richard Quest talks to Kevin Bales from freetheslaves.net about the cocoa industry and child slavery.
Everyone loves chocolate. But for thousands of people, chocolate is the reason for their enslavement.
The chocolate bar you snack on likely starts at a plant in a West African cocoa plantation, and often the people who harvest it are children. Many are slaves to a system that produces something almost all of us consume and enjoy.
Wage slavery refers to a situation of quasi-voluntary slavery where a person's livelihood depends on wages, especially when the dependence is total and immediate. It is a negatively connoted term used to draw an analogy between slavery and wage labor, and to highlight similarities between owning and employing a person. The term wage slavery has been used to criticize economic exploitation and social stratification, with the former seen primarily as unequal bargaining power between labor and capital (particularly when workers are paid comparatively low wages, e.g. in sweatshops), and the latter as a lack of workers' self-management, fulfilling job choices and leisure in an economy. The criticism of social stratification covers a wider range of employment choices bound by the pressures of a hierarchical society to perform otherwise unfulfilling work that deprives humans of their "species character" not only under threat of starvation or poverty, but also of social stigma and status diminution.
Contemporary Slavery The number of slaves today remains as high as 12 million to 27 million, though this is probably the smallest proportion of the world's population in the history of civilization, as slavery was unknown prior in paleolithic times. Most are debt slaves, largely in South Asia, who are under debt bondage incurred by lenders, sometimes even for generations. Human trafficking is primarily for prostituting women and children into sex industries. It is the fastest growing criminal industry and is predicted to eventually outgrow drug trafficking.
Total annual revenues of traffickers were estimated in 2004 to range from US $5 billion to US $9 billion. Due to the illegal nature of trafficking and differences in methodology, the exact extent and growth of the industry is unknown. According to United States Department of State data, an "estimated 600,000 to 820,000 men, women, and children [are] trafficked across international borders each year, approximately 70 percent are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors. The data also illustrates that the majority of transnational victims are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation." However, they go on to say that "the alarming enslavement of people for purposes of labor exploitation, often in their own countries, is a form of human trafficking that can be hard to track from afar."
An Israeli man who pleaded guilty to illegally brokering kidney transplants for profit in the United States, the first such conviction under federal law, was sentenced on Wednesday to 2.5 years in prison, prosecutors said.
Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, a 61-year old Israeli citizen who lived in Brooklyn, pleaded guilty last October to charges that he brokered kidney transplants between paid donors and recipients on three occasions.
Prosecutors said Rosenbaum charged between $120,000 and $150,000 to help t hree New Jersey residents find kidneys for transplant between 2006 and 2009.
He also pleaded to a count of conspiracy to broker a fourth kidney transaction following a sting operation leading to his arrest involving an undercover FBI agent who pretended to have a sick uncle.
Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or reproductive slavery, forced labor, or a modern-day form of slavery[clarification needed].
The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (also referred to as the Trafficking Protocol) was adopted by the United Nations in Palermo, Italy in 2000, and is an international legal agreement attached to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The Trafficking Protocol is one of three Protocols adopted to supplement the Convention. The Protocol is the first global, legally binding instrument on trafficking in over half a century and the only one that sets out an agreed definition of trafficking in persons. The purpose of the Protocol is to facilitate convergence in national cooperation in investigating and prosecuting trafficking in persons. An additional objective of the Protocol is to protect and assist the victims of trafficking in persons with full respect for their human rights. The Trafficking Protocol defines human trafficking as:
(a) [...] the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;
(b) The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) have been used; (c) The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered “trafficking in persons” even if this does not involve any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article; (d) “Child” shall mean any person under eighteen years of age.
The Trafficking Protocol entered into force on 25 December 2003. By June 2010, the Trafficking Protocol had been ratified by 117 countries and 137 parties.
Illegal organ trading In April 2010, six Israelis were charged with suspicion of running an international organ trafficking ring and breaking promises to donors to pay for their removed kidneys. According to police, one of the arrested suspects is a retired Israeli army general. The traffickers offered up to $100,000 per kidney, but in at least two cases didn't pay the donors after the organs were surgically removed, police said.
On Feb. 24, Ukrainian authorities made an alarming discovery: bones and other human tissues crammed into coolers in a grimy white minibus.
Investigators grew even more intrigued when they found, amid the body parts, envelopes stuffed with cash and autopsy results written in English.
What the security service had disrupted was not the work of a serial killer but part of an international pipeline of ingredients for medical and dental products that are routinely implanted into people around the world.
Judge Harrington writes that the list of ways in which constitutional safeguards have been violated is too long to chronicle, but he spells out several. Number eight caught my eye: "Defendants interminably held in the county work release program until all fines and fees are paid in full."
In addition to holding folks in debtors prison, he's saying, they're also holding them in indefinite work release -- for profit.
While the case continues, Judge Harrington says he's taking over the cases of the folks thrown into jail for not paying.
A debtors' prison is a prison for those who are unable to pay debt. Prior to the mid 19th century debtors' prisons were a common way to deal with unpaid debt.
Six states (Arkansas, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Washington) allow debt collectors to seek arrest warrants for debtors in default if all other collection methods have failed. Whether a debtor will actually be prosecuted or not varies from state to state, county to county, and town to town. The individual is taken into custody and is typically required to submit financial documentation to the courts (to facilitate seizure of assets or wage garnishment), although in some cases the individual may be held indefinitely until a payment plan is reached or the debt is paid in full, especially if the individual is insolvent. Other states have outlawed this type of collection action (Tennessee and Oklahoma have ruled it unconstitutional) unless the court finds that the debtor actually possesses the means to pay—except in the case of child support obligations.
Most state constitutions, including Minnesota's, have clauses dating to the 1850s that expressly prohibit the jailing of people for their debts. Some people make the claim that it is unconstitutional in the United States to incarcerate someone solely for failing to pay a debt. However, there is little settled law on this matter and plenty of precedent for de facto debtors' prisons.
More than a third of U.S. states allow borrowers to be jailed for non payment of debts. "Judges have signed off on more than 5,000 such warrants since the start of 2010 in nine counties." Because of “sloppy, incomplete or even false documentation,” many borrowers facing jail time don’t even know they’re being sued by creditors.
There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master's whims. He often is cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on.
The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulfilling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time.
The master has a group of slaves, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on.
The master allows his slaves four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own.
The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He requires only that they send back to him three-sevenths of their wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking.
The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what uses to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on.
Let us pause in this sequence of cases to take stock. If the master contracts this transfer of power so that he cannot withdraw it, you have a change of master. You now have 10,000 masters instead of just one; rather you have one 10,000-headed master. Perhaps the 10,000 even will be kindlier than the benevolent master in case 2. Still, they are your master. However, still more can be done. A kindly single master (as in case 2) might allow his slave(s) to speak up and try to persuade him to make a certain decision. The 10,000-headed monster can do this also.
Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into the discussions of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers.
In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselves to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.)
They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.
The question is: which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of a slave?
But Osolase boasted to one of his victims that he had been running the scam for more than a decade from his modest home in Northfleet, Kent.
The 42-year-old ensured the girls’ obedience by using rape as a weapon and binding the young girls to him with “juju” rituals – a powerful force in large parts of Nigeria - that left girls fearing death if they ran away or spoke up against him.
One of Osolase’s victims told how she was taken to a house of witchcraft in Lagos before she was brought to Britain for a promised education that she never received. The teenager was handed a mixture consisting of what appeared to be blood and cloth and told to bathe in it and wrap the cloth around her. A priest cut hair from her armpits, some of her finger and toenails and extracted blood from her hand.
Removing body parts meant that they could be controlled from afar. Another teenager said the woman was told that the body parts taken in the ritual would be used to find and kill her if ever she tried to run away or spoke out against him.
But in a major breakthrough for police, officers traced three of their victims – aged 14, 16, and 17 – who were prepared to speak out against him after they were stopped while travelling to the European cities on false travel documents.
The case highlighted the wider problem of sex trafficking from Nigeria, identified by the Serious Organised Crime Agency as the biggest source of all child sex-trafficking victims from outside of Britain with thousands of girls transported by land and air into Europe. But the vow of silence – and fear that they could be magically harmed - means that the true scale of the abuse remains hidden.
Juju: Power to silence
The ancient power of juju witchcraft rituals in west and southern Africa has been manipulated by a new generation of entrepreneurial high priests to fuel the trade in human trafficking, according to experts.
All of us have some sort of "philosophy of life," even though we may not have verbalized it. Here you can get ideas for your own philosophy of life. You can see what others think of your own philosophical ideas, and you can help others to become clearer in their own thinking.
When there is difference of opinion, we have an opportunity for "friendly debate," a very growth-promoting experience.