Saturday, June 23, 2007

For The Record VI - Of Human Trafficking And Child Abuse

I have just finished two exams, which I have taken the course in last December and began in March this year. In a short span of three months, four assignments were submitted, and two papers tested on.

In the midst of these intensive activities, I am truly grateful for the good fortune bestowed upon me, which allows me to enjoy good physical and mental conditions through this trying period. I thus managed to keep myself engaged with the world I'm living in still.

Among the many incidents and accidents that have happened in recent weeks, the tragic incidents of human abduction, trafficking and slavery, together with the appalling discovery of child abuse, caught my attention and seized my thoughts. I am compelled to therefore ensure the events are documented here, as a form of record and archive for present and future references, permanently.

7 June 2007 - a group of fathers from Henan province, all whom had lost contact with their children, published a letter on a Chinese on-line forum 'Tianya Club'. Prior to this they had given up their belongings and properties, traveled almost country-wide with the hope of locating their children. Their search led them to confirm that about 2,000 children were being abducted and sold to these kilns at Shanxi province, whom 400 were from Henan. Upon entering the kilns as undercover workers to further their investigation, they saw unkempt, undernourished children being held captive and forced to work from dawn till dusk and with little food and water. Many were slaved and traumatised, some severely punished by beatings and branding with heated bricks when re-captured after found escaping, ultimately leaving a few disabled.

The fathers managed to rescue about 40 children before their efforts were obstructed by the local police - the law enforcers had taken side with the kiln owners. Leaving no alterante venue to seeking out justice, these fathers turned to the virtual site to publish their letter. Their pleading cries was finally heard and responded.

The letter sparked an outcry of public sympathy and support that led to the attention of a CCP (China Communist Party) Politburo member. In addition, journalist Fu Zhenzhong, who is with a television network in Henan province, was the first few to venture deep into the kilns and the syndicate's operations several times, disguising as a father of the lost child and asking for help, shed the light of truth and justice on this issue.

12 June 2007 - after relenting to pressure mounted from all sides, the police and local authorities activated 35,000 police officers to launch a massive raiding on all the 7,500 kilns in Henan province. At the end of the four days' crackdown 120 people were arrested, with 217 people rescued; among them 29 children.

16 June 2007 - in the Shanxi province, 331 people were rescued from the illegal kilns, of which 9 were children. The total number of 'slave workers' rescued thus far to 548 (ref: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-06/16/content_895699.htm)

10 June 2007 - in Baghdad, Iraq, US and Iraqi soldiers made a grisly discovery on an orphanage that housed 24 severely malnourished and abused boys, aged 3 to 15, whom some were tied to their beds while many others were lying naked on the cement floor of a darkened room, without any windows.




Incidentally, the kitchen shelves were packed with canned food. They were not handed out to the children but believed to be sold to local markets
(ref: http://www.cbsnews.com/elements/2007/06/18/iraq/photoessay2942940.shtml).



12 June 2007 - the US Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons released its 'Trafficking in Persons' report, citing numerous forms of human trafficking, namely 'Labour Trafficking', 'Bonded Labour', 'Involuntary (Domestic) Servitude', 'Debt Bondage and Involuntary Servitude', 'Forced Child Labours', 'Child Soldiers', 'Sex Trafficking and Prostitution', 'Children Exploited For Commercial Sex' and 'Child Sex Tourism' (ref: http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/82809.htm). Unfortunately but yet without doubt, the last two categories manifest and reveal a 'demand-and-supply' predicament the world is still wrestling with.

As Secretary of State Ms Gondolezza Rice defined in her letter to the report, "trafficking in persons is a modern-day form of slavery, a new type of global slave trade. Perpetrators prey on the most weak among us, primarily women and children, for profit and gain. They lure victims into involuntary servitude and sexual slavery". True to these words, humanity in this 21st century is indeed witnessing the barbaric acts of preying and slavery being committed again; deplorable deeds that should have long faded and be gone into the emptiness of human memories and histories.

20 June 2007 - eight days after this report, Australian police arrested four men accused of being part of an international internet paedophile ring. The internet chat room used by this syndicate, ironically, was named 'Kids the Light of Our Lives'. It featured 'real-time' live videos of child sexual abuse. Inclusively, pictures of prepubescent and pubescent victims being subjected to horrific sexual abuses were also uploaded and shared amongst themselves (ref: http://www.thewest.com.au/aapstory.aspx?StoryName=392612).

With four arrested and one convicted in Australia, the Australian Federal Police described the latest incident as the "tip of the iceberg".

Against the report of Trafficking In Persons, these incidents speak of a larger, more complex and deeper issue - on one hand, they revealed the inefficiencies of the laws, and the unhealthy, under-developed legal systems China and Iraq are having, which consequently fail to reach into the depths of the society's rural backyards; on the other, they demonstrated the inabilities of wholesome, legal systems to reaching into the depths of disorientated minds and all the more, gravely distorted lives.

While the starry stars above us may shine brilliantly for the next ten thousand years, displaying an aura of eternal light and dazzle, it is really the moral laws within each and every human that govern and decide the very thought and action of a single being in that moment of definition. On this note, even the grandeur of the Universe may pale in comparison to the mysterious complexities of the human mind. It is perhaps then of humanity's innate mission to, by their own hands, conduct a self-salvation on the platform of lives' inner reformation - possibly the only route for them to revert themsleves from this tragic, repetitive whirlpools to the pre-destined happiness and youthful joy.

2 comments:

Lis of the North said...

Hi Stormrider,
This is a difficult subject matter but it's something we must ensure is discussed. It's enough to make one weak with despair about the ugliness of some of our fellow humans. However, as long as people are willing to speak out and take their own small measures to protect and rescue children and adults who are trafficked into this modern-day slavery, there remains hope!
Take care.

StormRider 謝|羽|豐 said...

Yes Lis. I fully agree. The first step as a human being is to take the first step (sounds confusing) and speak out against any injustice, no matter who you're up against to.

It requires courage to do just that, in order to uphold other forthcoming elements like hope, victory and happiness.

Courage is indeed the prerequisite for anyone who wishes to break that chain of suffering and pain, while hope will be likened to a pair of healing hands, gently soothing one's broken body and mind, taking away all memories of pain and ache.

Take care and may hope and happiness shine brilliantly in your life, LIs.