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Vatican leads fight against human trafficking 'scourge'

Police chiefs and clergymen from over a dozen countries agreed Thursday to set up a global task group to fight human trafficking, a scourge Pope Francis called a "crime against humanity". At the end of two-day conference hosted by the pontiff, London's Metropolitan police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said attendees, including top cops from the FBI and Interpol, had agreed to meet regularly to fight the ravages of modern slavery.

Walking the tightrope to survive on Mumbai's streets

With a bronze pot balanced on her head and a painted bamboo pole in her hands, 9-year-old Barsati steps onto a tightrope nearly six feet above a Mumbai street. Her mid-air performance varies -- sometimes barefooted, sometimes in flip flops, sometimes walking inside a wheel or with a plate beneath one foot. But each time, her aunt thumps rapidly on a drum and draws in curious passers-by. Indians on their way to work or tourists filming the spectacle with their smartphones throw rupees into a bowl on the pavement below.

Rights watchdog to probe abuses of migrants on entertainment visas

SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's state human rights watchdog said Tuesday that it will conduct a comprehensive inquiry into human rights abuses of foreign women who come here on special entertainment visas. The move comes amid mounting concerns that a considerable number of migrant women in the country on E-6 visas have been forced into sex and human trafficking or not properly paid for their work, according to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea.

Lawmakers, groups use Super Bowl to flag sex traffic scourge

Child prostitution networks are exploiting sporting events like next weekend's Super Bowl, US lawmakers and rights groups warned Monday as they addressed ways to mitigate sex trafficking that abuses countless children each year. "In less than a week, New Jersey will be hosting the Super Bowl, and along with welcoming enthusiastic fans, the state also is preparing for a likely influx of both domestic and international traffickers," congressman Christopher Smith told a House of Representatives hearing.

UK group in Philippine typhoon survivors anti-trafficking plan

A UK-based children's charity said Friday it will expand an anti-human trafficking project in the Philippines, as fears grow that young survivors of deadly typhoon Haiyan are becoming easy prey. "Experiences from similar disasters show that the potential for human trafficking, particularly of women and children, increases after a humanitarian crisis such as Typhoon Haiyan," Plan International country director Carin van der Hor said in a statement.

Typhoon sparks Philippine child trafficking fears

A UK-based children's charity has asked the Philippines to investigate the suspected recruitment of child workers for sex trafficking in a region devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan, an aid official said Saturday. Plan International said it was concerned about five high school girls who were recruited after the November 8 typhoon in Basey and Marabut, two impoverished coastal towns on the island of Samar that sustained heavy damage and casualties.

Bolivia leader -- an ex-child worker -- opposes child labor age

President Evo Morales said Monday he opposed any outright ban on child labor or setting a minimum age for workers in Bolivia -- as a former child worker, himself. "It should not be banned," the socialist president, 54, said, drawing on his own experience to explain his opposition to legislation under consideration that would set a minimum age of 14 for child workers. Morales, the country's first elected indigenous leader, worked as a helper in a bakery and making bricks when he was young.

British couple face human trafficking charges in France

A British couple is facing charges of human trafficking in a French court for allegedly keeping their Madagascan au pair in slave-like conditions and not paying her wages. A court in the southern city of Grasse on Monday heard how Robert and Sharon Moses made 23-year-old Sahobilalaina Vonintsoa work around the clock, confiscated her passport and prevented her from leaving their home. The couple face charges of human trafficking for non-existent or inadequate payment to a vulnerable or dependent person and not declaring an employee.

Public safety minister announces RCMP unit to fight human-trafficking

MONTREAL - The federal public safety minister has announced the creation of an RCMP enforcement team to help fight human-trafficking. Steven Blaney says significant progress has been made over the past year but that much work remains to be done on what he calls the despicable crime of modern-day slavery in Canada. Blaney also released the 2012-2013 annual report on progress of a national action plan to combat human-trafficking.

Maldives ratifies anti-human trafficking bill

Maldives ratifies anti-human trafficking bill COLOMBO, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has ratified the Anti-Human Trafficking Bill, making it a criminal offence in the country, local media reported here on Monday. The bill, passed by the parliament last week, has been published in the government gazette following ratification, local media outlet Haveeru reported. The new legislation declares trafficking in persons a criminal offence in the Maldives.
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