Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is any forced exploitation or trade of human beings against their will. Though it primarily manifests itself in the forms of forced labor and modern slavery, human trafficking can also apply to other issues such as sex trafficking, forced criminality and forced organ removal. China has fallen victim to these increased rates of human trafficking, and the issue will continue to prevail until more people become aware of the horrible atrocities that are occurring throughout the East Asian nation.

10 Facts About Human Trafficking in China

  1. Prevalence of Human Trafficking: Human trafficking impacts approximately 236 million people in China. This accounts for roughly 17 percent of China’s population of 1.39 billion. Considering that China has the largest population of any country in the world, this problem is certainly of great magnitude.
  2. Trafficking in China: Though credible data is not always available or attainable, many sources estimate that a majority of human trafficking in China takes place internally. In other words, most of China’s human trafficking involves its own citizens. These Chinese citizens are subject to traffickers moving or exploiting throughout the country’s expansive geographical area.
  3. Foreign Women: Due to the Chinese government’s birth control policy, as well as a historic preference for male children, China has an unbalanced gender ratio distribution of 118 males to 100 females. According to researchers, this disparity is contributing to the human trafficking problem in China. Specifically, foreign women often become forced brides for men in China, as well as being forced into prostitution.
  4. Foreign Brides from Myanmar: As previously mentioned, millions of women become foreign brides who fall victim to human trafficking in China. Many of these women come from the nation’s southern neighboring country of Myanmar. According to anecdotal evidence from some women, they were typically sold within a range of approximately $3,000 and $13,000.
  5. Disabled People: In China, many of the targets for human trafficking are disabled people. In fact, in a 2016 report from the China Ministry of Public Security, one of the investigations resulted in the Chinese government’s arrest of 464 suspects. These people were all involved in labor trafficking of disabled Chinese citizens in some capacity.
  6. Organ Trafficking: Organ trafficking is a very obscure yet problematic manifestation of human trafficking in China. Though the Chinese government publicly announced that it would only accept organs for transplants from citizens that have donated voluntarily, many experts still speculate that secretive organ harvesting and trafficking occurs. Reports indicate that, even though the Chinese government claims that roughly 10,000 organ transplants occur each year, the real numbers could be closer to 80,000 per year.
  7. Tier 3 Country: The Trafficking in Persons Report, an annual report that the U.S. State Department issues, listed China as a Tier 3 country. Essentially, Tier 3 countries are nations whose governments do not sufficiently comply with the minimum anti-trafficking standards and are not making any significant efforts to do so. China’s government is not doing all that it can to combat this pervasive issue.
  8. Organizations to End Human Trafficking: Though many of these figures are startling and disheartening, many organizations around the world are currently working towards the eventual eradication of human trafficking in China and around the world. The United Nations Action for Cooperation Against Trafficking in Persons (UN-ACT), for example, is a division of the United Nations that is currently working to improve the human trafficking situation in China. With the implementation of its National Plan of Action II, which is to conclude in 2020, UN-ACT has participated in a number of anti-trafficking actions and initiatives, such as hotspot policing borders and other high-traffic areas for potential victims of human trafficking.
  9. Women’s Roles in Eradicating Human Trafficking: Women organize many of these anti-human trafficking organizations. For example, the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) is a group that tackles many human and civil rights abuses throughout China. On July 3, 2019, ACWF conducted training in Central China’s Hunan Province to teach more Chinese women to spot and prevent trafficking and abductions.
  10. Equality Now: Another group called Equality Now has been working to eradicate human trafficking in China and around the world. Equality Now is an organization that works closely with Asian women, as well as other non-governmental organizations, to spread awareness and knowledge about trafficking and how to combat it. In March 2019, Equality Now participated in a conference with over 230 attendees to share ideas, anecdotes and methods to successfully spot and combat human trafficking, as well as provide critical support for victims and survivors.

Evidently, China has a continuously growing issue of human trafficking. Both Chinese citizens and foreigners can suffer exploitation in forced labor, among other things. Because of China’s vast geographic reach, combatting this issue is more difficult. That said, government initiatives, as well as anti-trafficking non-governmental organizations and local groups, are all contributing to decreasing human trafficking throughout China. The problem may seem insurmountable now, but as long as people continue to learn and spread awareness about trafficking in China, solutions will become more clear.

Ethan Marchetti
Photo: Flickr

5 Organizations That Empower Women
Women’s empowerment in the developing world is a major tool that countries can use to alleviate socioeconomic issues like poverty and corruption. Here are the top five organizations that empower women.

5 Organizations That Empower Women

  1. Women’s Global Empowerment Fund
    The Women’s Global Empowerment Fund (WGEF) is an organization committed to creating opportunities and addressing inequality, strengthening communities and families and using political, social and economic programs to support women. WGEF’s programs provide frameworks for women to create opportunities for themselves at the grassroots level. As of January 2017, WGEF’s Credit Plus Program provided more than 10,000 microcredit loans, which help women create and expand sustainable, viable businesses in developing countries. That same year, many of the WGEF’s clients applied for their fourth or fifth loans to further grow their businesses. Since its inception, WGEF’s literacy program reached more than 1,500 women in rural or poor communities, and 416 women were reached in 2016 alone. The literacy program takes place twice a week over the course of six months and costs $80 per person annually. Ten of WGEF’s clients, many of whom benefitted from the literacy program, ran for local and regional offices during national elections in 2016.
  2. Panzi Hospital
    Panzi Hospital is located in Bukavu, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since its founding in 1999, it has served as a general hospital for local residents. Still, the hospital has become a well-known organization that empowers women because of its efforts to help victims of sexual violence and women suffering from complicated gynecological issues. Panzi Hospital is now comprised of four departments: obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, internal medicine and pediatrics. In 2012, the team at Panzi Hospital implemented a project to provide cervical cancer screenings to patients, the first of its kind in the region. Patients at Panzi Hospital also have access to psychological care, socioeconomic assistance and legal assistance. From 1999 to 2015, Panzi Hospital served 85,864 women. As of the end of 2015, 48,482 of the hospital’s patients were victims of some form of sexual violence. Forty to 60 percent of the women treated at Panzi Hospital cannot return to their home communities because of conflict and the stigma surrounding sexual violence and reproductive injuries. These women are housed at the hospital’s aftercare center, Maison Dorcas.
  3. Her Farm
    Her Farm is located in Nepal and supports women in the rural areas at the base of the Himalayas. The organization’s mission is to provide women with the tools they need to be self-sufficient, including access to healthcare, economic opportunities and education. Her Farm is owned and operated by women and for women; the women freely farm the land and make all the decisions regarding Her Farm themselves. Currently, Her Farm provides employment and safe living conditions for 30 women and children, and they educate 12 children daily. As a result of Her Farm’s efforts, 300 people have access to an emergency center. Annually, Her Farm has 150 visitors.
  4. Orchid Project
    Orchid Project is an organization battling female genital cutting (FGC). FGC refers to a practice that involves removing parts or all of a girl’s external genitalia, or any injuries associated with the practice. Usually, girls go through FGC before the age of five, but it can occur at any time between birth and adolescence. The practice of FGC is largely cultural; there are no religious obligations associated with FGC. Globally, the practice of FGC impacts over 200 million women and girls, with 3.9 million girls at risk annually. Today, FGC occurs in at least 45 countries worldwide. The practice is internationally recognized as a violation of human rights. Orchid Project, like other organizations that empower women, focuses on education and advocacy to eliminate FGC. The organization partners with other nonprofits like Sahiyo and Tostan on the ground in countries where FGC is still practiced to host knowledge-sharing workshops within impacted communities. This approach recognizes that FGC is a cultural phenomenon and allows the members of the community to come together and choose to abandon the practice. From 2015, Orchid Project has held 12 workshops across Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Somaliland.
  5. Equality Now
    Equality Now is committed to changing laws to promote socioeconomic change for women and girls around the world. The organization’s network of lawyers and activists are currently fighting to end female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual violence, human trafficking, child marriage and gender inequality. In 2017, 11 laws that Equality Now had been fighting for were changed or strengthened. The organization also provided training to 50 lawyers and judges and its supporters sent more than 21,300 advocacy letters.

Without empowering its women, no country can hope to eliminate issues like poverty. These 5 organizations that empower women are committed to ending inequality in the developing world.

– Shania Kennedy
Photo: Flickr

UN Secretary General

As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s term comes to an end in 2016, the selection procedure for the next leader has been underway since January. The position is indeed invested with the prestige and heavy responsibilities as old as the organization itself – but the promises of candidates and the unprecedented public stage the selection process is taking this year indicate the body is adapting to new currents as well.

The UN General Assembly website lists nine official candidates for UN Secretary General:

  1. Dr. Srgjan Kerim, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  2. Prof. Vesna Pusic, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia
  3. Dr. Igor Lukšic, former Prime Minister and current Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro
  4. Dr. Danilo Türk, former president of Slovenia and Slovenian Ambassador to the United Nations
  5. Ms. Irina Bokova, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria and current Director-General of UNESCO
  6. Ms. Natalia Gherman, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova and Acting Prime Minister of Moldova
  7. Mr. António Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal and UN High Commissioner of Refugees
  8. Ms. Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Administrator of the UN Development Program
  9. Vuk Jeremić, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia and President of the UN General Assembly

The disclosed Vision Statements of these candidates address a variety of policies, but many focus on the issue of structurally reforming the UN body, especially the Security Council. Their approach on reform ranges from Natalia Gherman’s “zero tolerance policy on mismanagement, fraud, abuse, corruption and unethical behavior” to Vuk Jeremic’s promise for utilizing social media to communicate with youth and ensure transparency. Economic empowerment of women worldwide and consistent effort for Sustainable Development Goals were also recurring topics.

The selection procedure is expected to be the most transparent in the UN’s 70 years of history, as the UN General Assembly will organize public debates in London and New York. Not only will diplomats of all 193 member’s states attend, but the event will be open to social organizations and individuals as well. A video of the event will be released on the UN website – the first round of informal dialogues and Q&A sessions with the civil society board has already been uploaded. Compared to how all debates and hearings were held behind closed doors until Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s election, this constitutes a big step in guaranteeing the equity in deciding the leadership of the world’s largest coalition of nations.

Following the principle of regional rotation, the next Secretary General is most likely to be selected from Eastern Europe. But many organizations, such as Equality Now, are also arguing for a fair gender representation. The first female UN Secretary General would not only be a symbolic empowerment for female politicians worldwide but would also increase the body’s knowledge in women’s issues. “A woman as secretary general would send a strong signal of progress,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, head of UN Women.

Haena Chu

Photo: Flickr

In the year of 2011, 57 million primary-aged school children were not enrolled in school in developing countries. The number of secondary-aged school children was even more staggering. With these statistics, the Global Partnership for Education went to action for the organization saw a continuous trend throughout these developing countries.

When children are not given the opportunity to receive a proper education, their chances of a better life are extremely dismal. When children are not properly educated, they only become a factor in contributing to the cycles of global poverty. This is the key argument The Global Partnership for Education is making, an organization taking steps towards improving the lives of numerous children in developing countries. This organization is the only multilateral partnership which is completely devoted to helping these children receive an education and an equal opportunity.

Across the globe in countries such as Niger and Chad, there is a hindrance in a child’s education due to extreme poverty. Due to living in areas which are stricken by poverty, young girls are unable to obtain the proper education due to the cost. Young girls are then married off at a very young age due to economic reasons and security. Girls are not seen as individual human beings. They are seen as an economic burden and are only valued as a source of money or dowry through marriage, states Equality Now. Insecurity and poverty are contributing factors which lead the child’s parents to force their young daughters into marriage. Marriage is used as a survival tactic, for if the young girl is married, she is more likely to survive, Equality Now states. Though the parents may believe this is the best opportunity for their children, it is possibly the worst opportunity for them. By marrying them off at such a young age, not only do they lose an opportunity at gaining an education, but also face domestic violence, health issues, and continue the cycle of poverty. “Niger has the highest child marriage rate at 74.5%, where Chad follows close behind at 71.5%” states the P.A.P. Blog. With these horrifying statistics, it can prove that with child marriage rates being so high, their countries poverty level must be increasingly high as well. With statistics such as these, the Global Partnership for Education observed that matters would only get worse if they did not step in to help this cause.

This organization was established in the year of 2002, and throughout its expansion, has helped children in over 50 developing countries obtain a proper education. By investing in education and through coordinating the proper resources, the Global Partnership for Education has seen an inflating number of children returning to school. By offering children the opportunity of an education, the next generation will be comprised of well educated individuals who are helping to bring their country out of poverty with their knowledge.

The Global Partnership for Education has a strategic plan between the years of 2012 and 2015 in which they plan to complete five key objectives. These five objectives are to help conflicted states to develop an educational plan, to help young girls complete primary school and to continue their education in secondary school in a safe environment, to help dramatically improve children’s numeracy and literacy skills, to help teachers obtain a proper education and to enhance their effectiveness through training, and finally to continue funding and support of education to these developing countries.

Throughout the years, this organization has revealed how beneficial an education can be to one’s country. Investing in an individuals education is one of the most effective strategies for defeating global poverty, and has been noted for improving numerous other factors within a developing country as well. By investing in an education in developing countries, there are several positive outcomes. The Global Partnership for Education states that investing in an education “saves children’s lives, boosts economic growth, raises crop yields, fosters peace, promotes girls and women’s rights, increases income, makes people healthier, and most importantly reduces global poverty”.

The Global Partnership of Education explains that education has many positive aspects. An education can help an individual provide for themselves and their family, can help sustain economic growth, can help prevent the spread of disease such as HIV and AIDS, and can also help fight against graft and corruption. This organization has proven that the investment in an education is truly profound, and can make an enormous difference within developing countries.

Education is not only an influential role in every individual’s personal life, it also benefits society as a whole. If everyone in the world had an equal opportunity at an education, the world would no longer have to face the horrible issue of global poverty. Overall, as The Global Partnership for Education has explained, education is a critical factor in reducing global poverty and can enhance numerous individuals’ lives. It is one of the most influential decisions and investments a country can make for its people. Though many do not realize this, education goes far beyond arithmetic, writing, and reading. For beyond these three educational elements is the future of one’s country, the end to inequality, and the key to reducing global poverty.

– Grace Elizabeth Beal

Sources: Global Partnership