Monday December 10, 2018

Former Yazidi Sex Slave and UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad Basee Taha Campaigns Against Human Trafficking

Yazidis are a religious sect whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions. IS considers them devil worshippers

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Nadia Murad Basee Taha, U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, waves while being recognized by the speaker in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Oct. 25, 2016. VOA
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London, December 2, 2016: Nadia Murad Basee Taha, U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, waves while being recognised by the speaker in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Oct. 25, 2016

A Yazidi woman imprisoned and raped by Islamic State fighters said she had no idea about the scourge of human trafficking until she found herself enslaved with thousands of other women.

Nadia Murad Basee Taha has become the face of Yazidi women captured in northwestern Iraq in the summer of 2014 and used as sex slaves by the Islamic militants.

Since escaping her captors in November 2014, she has become an advocate for the Yazidis, and for refugee and women’s rights in general, as well as a campaigner against human trafficking.

“Before 2014 we didn’t know there was something called human trafficking,” Murad said Thursday, speaking at Trust Women, an annual women’s rights and trafficking conference hosted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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Murad, who is also a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, said she was told she was a “slave captive” after IS fighters rounded up Yazidis in the village of Kocho, near Sinjar in northwest Iraq.

The Yazidis are a religious sect whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions. IS considers them devil worshippers.

Escape to Germany, beyond

Murad, now 23, was held by IS in Mosul but escaped after several months, reaching a refugee camp and eventually making her way to Germany.

She has since traveled to Egypt, Greece, Kuwait, Norway, the United States and Britain to try to raise awareness about the plight of the Yazidis, urging the international community to do more to bring the jihadist militants to justice.

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“The world needs a lot of work to move forward,” she said. “There are millions of people waiting for freedom.”

Nearly 46 million people globally live as slaves — forced to work, sold for sex, trapped in debt bondage or born into servitude — according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index by rights group Walk Free Foundation. (VOA)

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A Data Project To Predict Human Trafficking Before It Occurs By Corporate Giants

Along with IBM and Western Union, participants include Europol, Europe's law enforcement agency is also included

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Human Trafficking
People protesting against human trafficking and slavery raise their fists during a demonstration in Mexico City. VOA

Computer giant IBM Corp., financial services company Western Union
Co. and European police launched a project Thursday to share financial data that they said may one day be able to predict human trafficking before it occurs.

The shared data hub will collect information on money moving around the world and compare it with known ways that traffickers move their illicit gains, highlighting red flags signaling potential trafficking, organizers said.

“We will build and aggregate that material, using IBM tools, into an understanding of hot spots and routes and trends,” said Neil Giles, a director at global anti-slavery group Stop the Traffik, which is participating in the project.

Human Trafficking
Ethnic Uighur Muslim boy stands inside a police van in Khlong Hoi Khong of southern Songkhla province, Thailand. He was in a group of 200 people rescued from a human trafficking camp. VOA

Data collection, digital tools and modern technology are the latest weapons in the fight against human trafficking, estimated to be a $150 billion-a-year global business, according to the International Labor Organization.

The U.N. has set a goal of 2030 for ending forced labor and modern slavery worldwide, with more than 40 million people estimated to be enslaved around the world.

Certain patterns and suspicious activity might trigger a block of a transaction or an investigation into possible forced labor or sex slavery, organizers said.

The project will utilize IBM’s internet cloud services as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning to compare data and to spot specific trafficking terms, said Sophia Tu, director of IBM Corporate Citizenship.

Human Trafficking
The project will utilize IBM’s internet cloud services

With a large volume of high-quality data, the hub one day may predict trafficking before it happens, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“You can’t do it today because we’re in the process of building out that amount of data and those capabilities, but it’s in the road map for what we want to do,” she said.

While law enforcement is teaming up with banks and data specialists to chase trafficking, experts have cautioned that it can be a cat-and-mouse game in which traffickers quickly move on to new tactics to elude capture.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

Also, less than 1 percent of the estimated $1.5 trillion-plus laundered by criminals worldwide each year through the financial system is frozen or confiscated, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.

Along with IBM and Western Union, participants include Europol, Europe’s law enforcement agency; telecommunications giant Liberty Global; and British banks Barclays and Lloyds, organizers said. (VOA)