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South Carolina set to bring down slavery era flag

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Washington: One hundred and fifty years after the end of the American Civil War, South Carolina, the first state to secede from the union, is set to banish the rebel Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the State House.

The State’s Indian-American governor Nikki Haley used nine pens Thursday to sign a law to remove the flag, which has fluttered in front of the 19th-century capitol building in Columbia, for over half a century, Friday and send it to a museum.

Each pen, said the daughter of immigrant Sikh parents from India, will go to the families of the nine victims of last month’s massacre by a white young man at Charleston’s historic Emanuel A2child-labor_395frican Methodist Episcopal Church.

By showing forgiveness after the shooting, she said, they caused the change of heart that led to passage of the history-making bill.

“This is a story about the history of South Carolina and how the action of nine individuals laid out this long chain of events that forever showed the state of South Carolina what love and forgiveness looks like,” said Haley.

“When the emotions start to fade, the history of actions that took place by everyone in South Carolina is one we can all be proud of,” she said.

Crowds wanting to be part of the event gathered around the red battle flag with a blue cross (X) with 13 white stars representing each of the breakaway states on the State House grounds and jammed the lobby to witness the signing.

The Civil War (1860-65) icon used by Confederate general Robert E. Lee has flown at the State House for more than five decades, first on the Capitol dome and inside House and Senate chambers and then next to the Confederate Solider Monument where it flies now.

Haley, a Republican, signed the bill hours after the State House of Representatives voted 94 to 20 to bring down the flag after a 13-hour at times heated debate with some lawmakers wanting to protect the heritage of Confederate ancestors.

Haley gave the call for the flag to come down 22 days ago after photographs of the alleged killer Dylann Roof waving the Confederate flag in one hand and holding a gun in the other ignited a nationwide debate on the issue.

Businesses, including retailers Walmart and Amazon, and other state leaders in Alabama and North Carolina have followed with bans on Confederate battle flags.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest praised South Carolina legislators who “came together in bipartisan fashion to vote overwhelmingly to remove the Confederate battle flag.” “That’s good news and that’s progress,” he said.

“Confederate flag removal marks a new era for South Carolina,” said the local State newspaper in an editorial.

An opinion piece in the Washington Post said: “Taking down the Confederate battle flag on the statehouse grounds is a belated step forward.” (IANS)

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Researchers in UK hoping to Root out Modern-Day Slavery in Northern India through Satellite Images

A team of geospatial experts at the University of Nottingham use Google Maps and dozens of volunteers to identify potential sites of exploitation and report them to authorities

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FILE - A laborer carries bricks at a kiln in Karjat, India, March 10, 2016. VOA

Researchers in England are hoping to help root out modern-day slavery in northern India by using detailed satellite imagery to locate brick kilns — sites that are notorious for using millions of slaves, including children.

A team of geospatial experts at the University of Nottingham use Google Maps and dozens of volunteers to identify potential sites of exploitation and report them to authorities.

“The key thing at the moment is to get those statistics right and to get the locations of the brick kilns sorted,” said Doreen Boyd, a co-researcher on the “Slavery from Space” project.

“There are certainly activists on the ground that will help us in terms of getting the statistics and the locations of these brick kilns to [government] officials.”

Anti-slavery activists said the project could be useful in identifying remote kilns or mines that would otherwise escape public or official scrutiny.

“But there are other, more pressing challenges like tackling problematic practices, including withheld wages, lack of transparent accounting … no enforcement of existing labor laws,” said Jakub Sobik, spokesman at Anti-Slavery, a London-based nongovernmental organization.

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Millions of people in India are believed to be living in slavery. Despite a 1976 ban on bonded labor, the practice remains widespread at brick kilns, rice mills and brothels, among others.

The majority of victims belong to low-income families or marginalized castes like the Dalits or “untouchables.”

Nearly 70 percent of brick kiln workers in South Asia are estimated to be working in bonded and forced labor, according to a 2016 report by the International Labor Organization. About a fifth of those are underage.

The project relies on crowdsourcing, a process where volunteers sift through thousands of satellite images to identify possible locations of kilns. Each image is shown to multiple volunteers, who mark kilns independently.

The team is currently focused on an area of 2,600 square kilometers in the desert state of Rajasthan — teeming with brick-making sites — and plans to scale up the project in the coming years.

Researchers are now in talks with satellite companies to get access to more detailed images, rather than having to rely on publicly available Google Maps.

The project is one of several anti-slavery initiatives run by the university, which include research on slave labor-free supply chains and human trafficking. (VOA)

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Nepali woman Kanchhi Maya Tamang once Trafficked, exploited and abused Conquers Everest to Warn Others of Slavery

Kanchhi Maya Tamang, 28, is thought to be the first survivor of human trafficking to scale the world's highest mountain

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FILE - Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, is seen in this aerial view March 25, 2008. VOA

A Nepali woman who was trafficked, exploited and abused as a maid in Egypt has conquered Mount Everest in a bid to highlight the dangers of trafficking in her impoverished Himalayan homeland where thousands are sold into slavery every year.

Kanchhi Maya Tamang, 28, is thought to be the first survivor of human trafficking to scale the world’s highest mountain.

UN Women in Nepal — which supported Tamang’s expedition — said in a statement on Monday that she reached Everest’s peak on Saturday.

“My mission has first and foremost been to stop forced migration of women and girls from my district, which is listed as the top district for trafficking of women and girls in Nepal,” Tamang radioed from Mount Everest Base camp, according to the statement.

“I want to foster initiatives that create local employment opportunities and empower women, both those facing forced migration and returnees like myself. We must empower girls — give them a rope, show them a rock, then ask them to climb it.”

Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission says up to 9,500 people were rescued from traffickers in 2014/15, a rise of almost 12 percent from the previous year.

But activists say the figures are a gross underestimate of the problem, particularly after two massive quakes struck Nepal in 2015, leaving many people vulnerable to traffickers promising a better life overseas.

Criminal gangs in Nepal dupe impoverished women and girls into working as slaves in urban homes in neighboring India, as well as countries in the Middle East, while others are sold into brothels. Men are trafficked to work as manual laborers.

Tamang, who is from a village in Nepal’s central district of Sindhupalchowk, was trafficked to India and then onto Egypt, where she worked as a domestic helper for six years.

She was denied her monthly salary and faced verbal and mental abuse from her employer before managing to escape and return to Nepal.

Since then she has worked to prevent women and girls in her district from suffering the same fate and has become a prominent voice in her community, promoting girl’s education and advocating for more opportunities.

Tamang said she wanted to climb the 8,848-meter (29,029-foot) summit to show women and girls in Nepal that they can achieve anything if given the chance.

Accompanied by a team of 20 people and led by Pemba Dorje Sherpa, who holds a record for the fastest ascent, Tamang reached the peak at 6 a.m. local time on May 20, and held up a poster which read: “We are people not property. Stop human trafficking.”

“My win is a win for all women and girls,” said Tamang. “And my mission is to contribute to a discrimination-free Nepal where all girls and women have freedom and an enabling environment to realize their full human potential.” (VOA)

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Nepali Trafficking Survivor Kanchhi Maya Tamang Conquers Everest to Warn Others of Slavery

Kanchhi Maya Tamang, 28, is thought to be the first survivor of human trafficking to scale the world's highest mountain

0
65
FILE - Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, is seen in this aerial view March 25, 2008. VOA

A Nepali woman who was trafficked, exploited and abused as a maid in Egypt has conquered Mount Everest in a bid to highlight the dangers of trafficking in her impoverished Himalayan homeland where thousands are sold into slavery every year.

Kanchhi Maya Tamang, 28, is thought to be the first survivor of human trafficking to scale the world’s highest mountain.

NewsGram brings to you latest new stories in India.

UN Women in Nepal — which supported Tamang’s expedition — said in a statement on Monday that she reached Everest’s peak on Saturday.

“My mission has first and foremost been to stop forced migration of women and girls from my district, which is listed as the top district for trafficking of women and girls in Nepal,” Tamang radioed from Mount Everest Base camp, according to the statement.

“I want to foster initiatives that create local employment opportunities and empower women, both those facing forced migration and returnees like myself. We must empower girls — give them a rope, show them a rock, then ask them to climb it.”

Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission says up to 9,500 people were rescued from traffickers in 2014/15, a rise of almost 12 percent from the previous year.

But activists say the figures are a gross underestimate of the problem, particularly after two massive quakes struck Nepal in 2015, leaving many people vulnerable to traffickers promising a better life overseas.

Go to NewsGram and check out news related to political current issues.

Criminal gangs in Nepal dupe impoverished women and girls into working as slaves in urban homes in neighboring India, as well as countries in the Middle East, while others are sold into brothels. Men are trafficked to work as manual laborers.

Tamang, who is from a village in Nepal’s central district of Sindhupalchowk, was trafficked to India and then onto Egypt, where she worked as a domestic helper for six years.

She was denied her monthly salary and faced verbal and mental abuse from her employer before managing to escape and return to Nepal.

Since then she has worked to prevent women and girls in her district from suffering the same fate and has become a prominent voice in her community, promoting girl’s education and advocating for more opportunities.

Tamang said she wanted to climb the 8,848-meter (29,029-foot) summit to show women and girls in Nepal that they can achieve anything if given the chance.

Accompanied by a team of 20 people and led by Pemba Dorje Sherpa, who holds a record for the fastest ascent, Tamang reached the peak at 6 a.m. local time on May 20, and held up a poster which read: “We are people not property. Stop human trafficking.”

“My win is a win for all women and girls,” said Tamang. “And my mission is to contribute to a discrimination-free Nepal where all girls and women have freedom and an enabling environment to realize their full human potential.” (VOA)