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THE OBSCENITY OF MODERN SLAVERY AND ABUSE

In my regular weekly news posts about Syria and Iraq, I write often about the many obscenities committed by the Islamic State.

One of these is its twisted Koranic justification for enslaving more than 3,500 captured Yezidi women and children and trading them as “sex-slaves” among their Jihadists. slavery-and-abuse

What those women and children must be going through, physically, emotionally and psychologically, particularly as many will be under-age, beggars belief.

As a psychotherapist I known that the consequences of these experiences, even if they ended today, will be with them for the rest of their lives.

Having worked with many victims of sexual abuse over the years, I can assure you that they do not just “get over it” as many people will exhort them to do.

Sexual abuse deeply damages a victim’s sense of self-esteem and leaves psychological and emotional scars that only prolonged therapy over many years will heal.

Typically, sexual (and physical) abuse victims will be afraid of close or intimate contact with others, particularly with those who look or behave like their abusers, will exhibit hypervigilance and anxiety which monitors everything (but everything) in their environment and be so stressed that normal functioning is almost impossible without the use of anti-depressants or stimulants of some kind.

On top of that, most victims of sexual abuse, male and female, feel so worthless, powerless and inadequate that they will be unable to seek, sustain or afford therapeutic help, even if it is available.

Those very, very brave souls that do undertake the journey of recovery and who are helped to feel and expiate the emotional pain from terror to anger, will do well. But they will never forget.

All the more alarming then that in the 21st century, slavery, and the sexual abuse that often accompanies it, is more prevalent than ever.

Across the world there are currently an estimated 4.5 million victims of sex trafficking. Add to that the estimated 20.9 million trapped in forced labour plus those in bonded labour where they endless work to repay a debt, child labourers working in clothing factories and other places for cents and the estimated 51 million girls that have been forced to marry against their will.

Getting out of poverty, of course, is often the driving force for those that end up in some form of slavery or extreme exploitation, plus the promise of a “better life” that never comes but only gets worse.

And then there are the scum that perpetrate this violence against the soul, seeking out the already vulnerable and desperate to entrap and exploit.http://www.petercliffordonline.com/the-obscenity-of-modern-slavery-and-abuse

If you think this is not happening in your “backyard” – think again.

I guarantee that in your everyday activity you have passed someone who is trapped into servitude or exploitation in some way or you have purchased an article of clothing, a carpet, electronic products, cocoa and many other products that were made or harvested by someone on the poverty line and with no future prospects, for a few cents pay a day if they are lucky.

According to End Slavery Now.org, “The standard price for sex at a brothel in the U.S. is $30.

Typically, trafficked children see 25-48 customers a day.

They work up to 12 hours a day, every day of the week; every year, a pimp earns between $150,000 and $200,000 per child”.

Between 1995 and 2012, judges in the US allowed 178 children between the ages of 10 and 15 to marry in New Jersey, often to older adults and the Tahirih Justice Center reported a suspected 3,000 forced marriage cases across the US between 2009 and 2011.

In the UK, where forced marriage is now outlawed (though most assuredly still takes place in exploitative and closed domestic settings) there have been a number of cases of young Asian girls, who were born and educated in Britain, being taken to Pakistan or India for a “family holiday”, only to discover that they are actually there to be married off to much older relatives they have never met and with whom they have little in common. That is both sexual abuse and slavery.

Other cases in the UK have involved road and driveway laying gangs who have picked up off the streets men with mental health and addiction problems, imprisoned them and forced them to work for little or no wages and minimal amounts of food or illegal immigrants collecting cockles (seafood) in dangerous tidal waters for less than minimum wages while paying back “accommodation and signing on fees” all the time living in appalling, overcrowded and filthy conditions.

Slavery, in one form or another, is still common across the Middle East and especially in the Gulf States.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/the-obscenity-of-modern-slavery-and-abuse

The Real Cost Of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup Stadium?

Although King Faisal abolished slavery in Saudi Arabia in 1962, the “employment” of domestic servants from the Philippines, Bangladesh, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Africa often results in conditions of enforced slavery and sexual exploitation.

Karl Anderson, a former Californian accountant, who became an accidental anti-slavery activist when a Facebook friend from the Philippines asked for help, now aids about 10 women a month escape abuse to go to one of the little-discussed shelters in Saudi Arabia established for “household maids.”

“It is slavery,” Anderson says. “Every day, I see the face of slavery.”

“There is a woman who was forced to eat a child’s faeces out of a diaper because she didn’t clean the diaper soon enough,” he says.

“Women are raped, tortured, denied food, denied water, made to work 20 hours a day, seven days a week. One woman was only allowed to eat the food that her sponsor family left on their plates. They are treated like dogs.”

In Qatar, an estimated 600 workers from Nepal, India and Bangladesh are dying every year in appalling conditions and extreme temperatures in the construction industry, including the building of the 2022 World Cup Stadium.

All of this has a long history of course. Slaves almost certainly built the Pyramids in Egypt and most other ancient buildings that survive throughout the world.

Slavery was abolished in the British Empire, which had been instrumental in shipping Africans to its sugar producing colonies in the West Indies for years, in 1833. The USA made slavery unconstitutional in 1865. The French abolished slavery in its colonies in 1848.

Monument to the Fallen Heroes, Tofu, Mozambique

Monument to the Fallen Heroes, Tofu, Mozambique

In my travels I have stood several times below a monument in Mozambique in southern Africa where “unruly” African slaves captured by British and Arab traders were hurled off the cliffs onto the rocks below, not unreminiscent of the behaviour of the Islamic State.

The sea there, where whales can be often seen migrating offshore, is wild and the noise, the blasting spray and the jagged rocks make you think; wondering what it must have been like for those young men and women to be ripped away from their families and tribes and set down in a completely alien environment after a very long and appalling sea journey shackled in the most terrible conditions.

Slavery is now illegal in all countries of the world, but in practice it continues in many places in many forms.

The fact is that there are now more slaves in the world today than ever there were at the height of the transatlantic slave trade to the West indies and the southern United States.

President Obama declared January 2016 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

That’s a start, but let’s bring some more consciousness into our own lives.

First, let’s be more aware of how we treat others, particularly those who are weaker or less powerful than ourselves – and especially when we are angry or upset.

Secondly, let’s be more aware of others who may be the victims of exploitation. If you suspect something is going on, there are help or tip-off telephone lines in most developed countries.

And thirdly, if you want to discourage slave-worker exploitation you can find a list of slave-labour free companies by putting in your email address, (scroll down) HERE:  and/or follow @EndSlaveryNow on Twitter.

PETER CLIFFORD 20th January 2016

Many thanks to End Slavery Now for resource material for this article, Elizabeth Arif-Fear  for the idea and The Daily Beast for other quotes.

 

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/the-obscenity-of-modern-slavery-and-abuse

Slavery Today

7

Democracy and Human Rights l Update

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Peter Clifford

31/3/11 Peter Clifford –

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Democracy and Human Rights l Update

Over the last 3 months I have highlighted Democracy and Human Rights issues in the Ivory Coast, Libya, Bahrain, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, China and elsewhere, so I thought it was time for an update. (See my previous post Democracy on the March)

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rightsLIBYA: At the time of writing the Libya story struggles on as battles continue between the forces loyal to Gaddafi and the armed revolutionaries ranged against him. Clearly much of the world wants Gaddafi to go and many stories of human rights abuse by his troops have emerged and will continue to come out in the future.

One disturbing story this week was told by a young woman lawyer,  Iman al-Obeidi, who got through into the hotel where all the foreign journalists in Tripoli are based. She told the journalists that she had been gang – raped by 15 of Gaddafi’s troops but was quickly bundled away by officials and hotel staff before getting to tell her story in full.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rights

Iman al-Obeid - AVAAZ.org

At first called a “prostitute” by Libyan officials it later emerged that the Libyan Government had offered her family a house and money to keep her quiet.  She has not been seen since.

UPDATE 18th May 2011: Iman al-Obeidi apparently crossed into Tunisia earlier this month in the company of some defecting Libyan army officers and has since flown to Qatar and is safe.

To give you an idea of Gaddafi’s profound understanding of the human condition, here are a couple of extracts from his famed Green Book, the philosophical basis of the “revolution” that brought him to power:

“Freedom of expression is the right of every natural person, even if a person chooses to behave irrationally, to express his or her insanity”

“Women, like men, are human beings. This is an incontestable truth… Women are different from men in form because they are females, just as all females in the kingdom of plants and animals differ from the male of their species… According to gynaecologists women, unlike men, menstruate each month… Since men cannot be impregnated they do not experience the ailments that women do”

Yes….er…..well .!!. I think the sooner Gaddafi gives up the day job the better for all concerned in Libya, especially women!

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rights

Gaddafi Tank destroyed

Meanwhile, do we know exactly who the opposition forces are and what are their future intentions?   “A Vision of a Democratic Libya”, just published by the Libyan Interim Transitional Council in Benghazi looks promising and there is also a useful map (though not always up to date in this fast moving situation!) on the progress of the revolution on their website too.

Moussa Koussa’s (Gaddafi’s Foreign Minister) “defection” to London is also interesting – just whose side is he on?

IVORY COAST: 11/04/11   Breaking News Update: Following overnight attacks on the heavy weapons around his compound, Laurent Gbagbo this afternoon surrendered to Ouattara’s forces and has been taken to the Golf Hotel, Ouattara’s  UN defended HQ, under arrest.

If you read my previous post Prevent War With Chocolate, you will know that the conflict in the Ivory Coast has been caused by the former president Laurent Gbagbo refusing to stand down after losing the election to his democratically elected opponent Alassane Ouattara.

AVAAZ, the pressure group, organised a campaign to get the world’s major chocolate manufacturers to, temporarily at least, boycott purchases of cocoa from the Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer, so that Gbagbo could not fund his army.

Clearly this has not worked as hostilities have now broken out between the two parties and their supporting groups and armed professionals are involved.

Ouattara’s New Forces have swept down from the North and taken over several towns, while Gbagbo, supported by the army has imported mercenaries from Liberia and shelled Ouattara supporters in Abidjan, the capital.  Atrocities are being reported on both sides.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rights

UN Struggle in the Ivory Coast

The people of the Ivory Coast have been here before, having suffered years of civil war prior to a ceasefire in 2007. UNHCR estimates that a million people have already fled their homes this time and a UN peacekeeping force of 9,000 stands by helplessly, under equipped and with no proper mandate to intervene.

Neighbouring countries such as Mali, Liberia and Ghana are being swamped with refugees and at least 800 people have already been killed since December. In the latest developments Ouattara’s New Forces have taken Yamoussoukro, a regional centre, and the key cocoa exporting port of San Pedro.  Gbagbo is left only with parts of Abidjan.

The United Nations has just past a UN resolution imposing sanctions on Gbagbo and his family until his sources of revenue dry up and he is forced to stand down.

Unfortunately this conflict does not have the high profile of Gaddafi and Libya, despite the fact that just as many civilians will suffer in the long run and another, once very prosperous country, will be wrecked.

TUNISIA: Mohamed BouaziziRemember that name. Mohamed was a  Tunisian street seller of fruit and vegetables who, sick to the teeth of corruption, harassment and humiliation by local officials and the police, set himself on fire on December 17th 2010 and sparked the demonstrations that led to the overthrow of the Tunisian President, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who had ruled the country for 23 years.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rights

The Revolutions Started in Tunisia

From that one act everything in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen and right across the Middle East has followed and still continues.

While the interim President Fouad Mebazaa has announced the date of an election in July for representatives who will rewrite the constitution, unrest still continues and arrest warrants have been issued for the former president and his family who are believed to have fled to Saudi Arabia.

BAHRAIN: Democracy and Human Rights have been a hotly debated issue in this tiny Gulf State (100 times smaller than the Irish Republic!) since the events in Tunisia and Egypt.  Every revolution has its own particular flavour and ingredients and Bahrain is no exception.

Here there is an enormous division between the minority, ruling Sunni elite and the majority Shia population who feel dispossessed and under represented.  Median age in Bahrain is 30, while youth unemployment is almost 20%. At the same time literacy rates run at 91% – all part of the potent mix for revolution in the modern age.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rights

Protesters in Bahrain

The root of the problems here is that almost 70% of the population is Shia Muslim, while the nearly 30% Sunni Muslim self appointed ruling class have 90% of the power and most of the wealth and virtually all of the most valuable land.

Gerrymandered electoral districts have always ensured that the Shia electorate ended up with a minority of seats in the legislative body. Women do have the vote but very few get elected.

The ruling Al – Khalifa family has been in power since 1820 and its members still hold most of the most important government positions.  Indeed,  Sheik Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifah, the uncle of the Crown Prince, has been Prime Minister of Bahrain for 40 years! (Thank God that could never happen in the UK!).

The ruling family also contains such leading lights as Sheikh Abdulrahman Mubarak Hamad Al Khalifa who, according to the London Telegraph has been taken to court in both London and Bahrain for the repayment of gambling debts owed to the betting firm Spreadex for the princely sum of £270,000.  No doubt he worked really hard to be able to gamble away such wealth.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rights

Protesters Hold Pearl Roundabout

On February 14th 2011 the pot finally boiled over when protesters marched through the capital Manama and a month of unrest followed with more than 20 killed and 100’s wounded, many of whom declined to seek treatment as many doctors and staff at the world renowned Salmaniya Hospital, according to media reports, were threatened, arrested or prevented from treating protesters.

The protests are also embarassing for the US Navy as the island is also the home of its Fifth Fleet.

The Bahrain government’s answer to all this was to import 1,000 soldiers from its neighbour Saudi Arabia, suppress all further demonstration and to demolish the monument at the Pearl Roundabout which had been the focus of rebellion.

I doubt if any of that will solve the underlying problem, which is a pity as Bahrain has a reputation as one of the more “open minded” Gulf States.

YEMEN: What started as a protest by students has now escalated into a full scale insurrection. It has also, significantly, the support of a large number of women, in what has been until now a very conservative society.

On March 13th snipers killed 52 people and their families have since been offered money by the government to keep quiet.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rights

Protester in Yemen

The protesters are demanding that President Saleh, who has been in power for more than 30 years, stands down, along with 25 members of his family – the usual cosy family arrangement exploiting the people they control. Another more sinister factor is that Al -Quaeda certainly have a presence in the country as well.

After six weeks of protest, many people want the President put on trial, especially after the fatal sniper incident.  At the moment there is stalemate – but there is certainly more to come.

EGYPT: Egypt, though coming after the revolution in Tunisia, has undoubtedly set the standard for protesters to maintain their peaceful stance and use the sheer force of numbers to promote change.

Nevertheless and estimated 685 people were killed in the revolution here and an uneasy truce remains between the protesters and what remains of the security services and police.

Police officers are slowly returning to the streets but many are unwelcome and a number of former ministers and security officials are to stand trial for killing protesters during the unrest.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/human-rights

The Domino Effect

It remains to be seen whether the controlling Army Council will carry through its promises or whether it is just going through the motions in order to protect its own interests.  They can expect an angry backlash if they don’t give the people what they want.

Parliamentary elections will take place in September and the presidential election within two months after. The Muslim Brotherhood, whose  more extreme elements many fear, has said it will not field a presidential candidate.

In my previous post, I commented on democracy and human rights in relation to Egyptian Women.  I see this as the “heart” of the Arab revolution.

Unless the rights of women change, then in reality nothing changes, the Muslim world will still be locked in the past and wasting 50% of their human resource.

FOR FURTHER UPDATES ON DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS, ESPECIALLY IN SAUDI ARABIA, SYRIA AND CHINA click CONTINUE ………

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Peter Clifford: www.petercliffordonline.com

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2

Democracy On The March l Gua Africa

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Peter Clifford

8/2 /11 Peter Clifford –

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DEMOCRACY ON THE MARCH L  l  GUA AFRICA

Democracy On The March:

First Tunisia, then Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and also Sudan. Democracy is definitely on the march.  The big question is where next? If democracy has legs then Algeria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, some other Middle East states and also China are lying in its path.

Democracy is not a perfect system, as all of us who live in one know full well.  But combined with an independent judiciary, police force and army, we know that to a very large degree we have freedom of self expression, including the right to criticise the government of the day and to peacefully demonstrate and campaign against things we don’t like.

We also know that we can do that without fear of reprisals, arrest, imprisonment or torture and furthermore, if we do fall foul of the law, by and large, the legal system will usually be fair.  And if we feel it isn’t, we can freely campaign to get an appeal and a review of our case.

Tahrir Sq. Cairo

Lastly, and very importantly, we also know that our democratic voting system (whichever one we choose) works sufficiently well and accurately enough so that governments the majority don’t like can be removed and replaced by a democratic opposition in an orderly way. We also know that the opportunity to vote will occur on a regular basis and be largely free of corruption and manipulation.

Frankly, all the above, that most of us living in a democracy normally take for granted, are unknown luxuries in the countries mentioned at the beginning of this article – and clearly it is time that things changed.

It seems absurd to me that any ruler, president, prime minister or king (apart from in true constitutional monarchies where the royals have no law making powers) should be allowed to rule for 30 years or more.

Eight or ten years maximum is more than enough before cosy cronyism and corruption  sets in and the ruler, whoever they are, is surrounded by sycophantic appointees and supporters who will do anything to maintain the status quo and their well heeled and privileged lifestyles.

In a democracy you can get rid of people like that. In a dictatorship, oligarchy or some medieval fiefdom run by self – selected royals – you can’t.  They surround themselves with repressive soldiers, police and laws and rule by fear, corruption and control – all to benefit the few at the expense of the many.

What we in democracies forget is that our countries also went through a similar stage of evolution to the ones we are seeing now in Africa and the Middle East.

Europe during the Middle Ages was a mess of city states, fiefdoms and warring factions that cared little for the rights of individuals and antagonism remained between nationalist “tribes” and nations right up until the end of the second world war.

America broke away from English rule and then went through its own civil war before black slaves were freed and gradually allowed to assert their right to be equal to everyone else.

American Civil War - soldierstudies.org

What we are now seeing in other parts of the world is part of this evolutionary process and I hope that it will continue with as little bloodshed as possible. And then hopefully all individuals in those nations will become free to speak as they chose, vote as they chose and live as they chose.

More than this, as I intimated in my very first blog on this site, I  hope these revolutions allow women to take their full and equal place in these societies as they do in ours.  Without this those revolutions remain incomplete and ineffective.

And watch out China (which blocked mention of Egypt last week on its own version of Twitter, called Sina) and all those other states mentioned earlier, especially Saudi Arabia – your days of complete and utter control of both women and your society in general by a small number of self -chosen fat cats are truly numbered – at least I hope so!

GAU AFRICA:

My support of Emmanuel Jal’s charity Gua Africa continues throughout February and by using any of my Amazon links I will ensure that 10% of any commission I earn goes to support Emmauel’s work with the child victims of war (your Amazon prices remain as normal).

Emmanuel has also highlighted on his Facebook page, the demonstrations on January 30th in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, which have largely gone unreported by the world’s media.

According to information that has leaked out up to 70 people were arrested and 20 are still being held at the headquarters of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) (probably the same place I briefly visited 30 years ago – See Part 3 of my Juba prison story) and in danger of being tortured.

Prisoners in Sudan

Imprisoned in Khartoum

These are mainly, though not all, Arab young men, citizens of North Sudan and many were injured before being arrested and at least one has reportedly died since. You can read more of their story at: Free Sudanese Protesters Now (scroll down for the English version).

Clearly North Sudan still has some way to go before it truly embraces freedom and democracy.

Meanwhile, it is good to report (and following on from previous blog posts on southern Sudan (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 ) that it was announced yesterday that the South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly, almost 98.83%, for independence and secession from the North.  President Omar Al – Bashir of Sudan has again confirmed his agreement on behalf of the North to this division.

Good luck to South Sudan on its journey to freedom and lets hope its new government implements democracy and equality from the start and quickly resolves the outstanding issues with the North.

Emmanuel Jal was in Hong Kong recently and talked more at the MAD (Make A Difference) Conference about his extraordinary life as an escaping boy soldier and his rescue by British aid worker Emma McCune .

You can hear all this on the video clip below and hear him sing the song he wrote and dedicated to Emma who was tragically killed in a car crash shortly after she got him to safety in Kenya. MAD is an organisation of young people in Asia that have come together to bring about and support constructive change around the world.

I have to say I am now a fan of Emmanuel’s music – though many of the Chinese in the video below still look rather bemused!  I don’t think some of them knew what to make of it at all!


And lastly, next time it snows, forget about snowmen – try SnowArt instead!

Until the next time,

Peter Clifford: www.petercliffordonline.com

TO HAVE YOUR SAY SCROLL DOWN & CLICK ON ” COMMENT” IN THE GREY PANEL

If you value what I have written please click on the “Like” button and Tweet my short link – http://bit.ly/petercliff – onto your friends.

Lastly, don’t forget to sign up (Top Right) for my mailing list for future information, advice, tips and reviews – for a limited time only there is a FREE copy of my 40 page ebook on “Love Relationships – The 10 Step Guide” which I have written especially for this website.



 

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