47 Children Lost To Child Trafficking At The Tripura Refugee Camp

In a shocking case of child trafficking, 47 children have gone missing from a refugee camp in north Tripura. Trafficking of children is despicable but when people associated with an organisation which is set up to help them have a better future do it, it is a defintite crime. 47 children have gone missing from the Tripura refugee camp.

The parents were promised that their children will be going to school and will be taken care of by Biradamani Beang, who has been visiting these settlements since 2002. The parents had no idea they were signing a document declaring their chldren as orphans. Since the children left, there has been no news of them and now even Beang is untraceable. After a missing person complaint was filed, seven children were located, each with a horror story of his/her own. One of the missing children was found in an Anand Marg ashram in Shillong. He said he had worked as domestic help. The educational secretary from Anand Marg denies the allegation of children having gone missing from the ashram.

But, it is sad that the ashram can’t even account for them and wouldn’t have bothered to track them if somebody didn’t raise questions. These children are actually being taken to placement agencies in other states and sometimes across the border to Bangladesh to be suppiled as domestic help and sometimes, worse for prostitution.

We talk of child labour laws and debating the idea of what age is ok for children to start working and education being the one tool for their upliftment. But when organisation meant to give the children a break have employees flouting this main purpose, it is disappointing.

Vietnamese Spouses In South Korea, Victims Of Spousal Abuse

It is a national shame that foreign wives living with Koreans have suffered spousal abuse. This issue surfaced again on Tuesday when Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet asked the South Korean government to help Vietnamese married to Korean men lead better lives here. Triet made the request when he accepted the credentials of Im Hong-jae, the newly appointed Korean Ambassador to Hanoi.

Pham The Duyet, president of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, also made a similar request. He told Im that South Korea should pay more attention to the Vietnamese immigrants so that they can better integrate into Korean society. There is no doubt that the Vietnamese leadership is concerned about the alleged abuse of Vietnamese women by their Korean husbands. The Southeast Asian country has been hit by media reports that Vietnamese wives are the victims of various kinds of spousal abuse.

A horrible case in Daejeon in July involved a 19-year-old Vietnamese woman who reportedly died after being violently beaten by her husband. In another case, a Vietnamese woman entered into a marriage with a Korean man who only wanted her to give birth to a baby. The man divorced her and took the baby to reunite with his infertile ex-wife. Some people fear that such incidents could harm diplomatic relations between Seoul and Hanoi.

The abuse of foreign wives is not confined to women from Vietnam. Many foreign women getting married to Koreans in search of the ``Korean dream'' confront the stark reality of domestic violence, verbal abuse and discrimination in Korean society. Some of them even fall prey to human trafficking. An annual U.S. report on human trafficking showed that a growing number of foreigners are trafficked to South Korea for sexual or labor exploitation though brokered marriages. The report carried a photograph of a roadside billboard advertising an international marriage broker who promises to offer Vietnamese brides who would not run away. This indicates how serious the human trafficking issue is in the country.

Cases related to Vietnamese women have drawn much attention because their numbers are rapidly growing. The number of Chinese women married to Koreans last year was estimated at 14,450. But most of them are ethnic Koreans from China's northeastern provinces. The number of Vietnamese wives stood at 9,812. Thus, Vietnamese women have actually emerged as the largest foreign wives' group in South Korea. The number of women from the Philippines and Mongolia reached 1,131 and 559, respectively.

The Seoul government has worked out policy packages to protect the rights of foreign spouses and help them adapt to Korean society. However, such steps have yet to produce any remarkable results. A Seoul National University survey showed that one out of every 10 foreign spouses has suffered domestic violence, while three out of every 10 has experienced verbal abuse.

Policymakers should take more fundamental measures to ensure foreign wives' human rights and crack down on domestic violence and other types of spousal abuse. South Koreans will also have to warmly embrace not only foreign brides but also migrant workers as our society increasingly moves toward globalization and multiculturalism.

Sex preference Now A Critical Issue In Vietnam

Vietnam's preference for boys over girls is further tipping the balance between the sexes in Asia, already skewed by a strong bias for boys among Chinese and Indians. The trend could lead to increased trafficking of women and social unrest, a UN report says.

Vietnam is now positioned where China was a decade ago, logging about 110 boys born to every 100 girls in a country where technology is readily available to determine the sex of a fetus and where abortion is legal, according to research released this week by the UN Population Fund.

The sex ratio at birth generally should equal about 105 boys to 100 girls, according to the report.

"The consequences are already happening in neighboring countries like China, South Korea and Taiwan. They have to import brides," said Tran Thi Van, assistant country representative of the Population Fund in Hanoi, adding that many brides are coming from Vietnam. "I don't know where Vietnam could import brides from if that situation happened here in the next 10 or 15 years."

The report, which looked at China, India, Vietnam and Nepal, warned that tinkering with nature's probabilities could cause increased violence against women, trafficking and social tensions. It predicted a "marriage squeeze," with the poorest men being forced to live as bachelors.

Gender imbalance among births has been rising in parts of Asia since the 1980s, after ultrasound and amniocentesis provided a way to determine a fetus' sex early in pregnancy. Despite laws in several countries banning doctors from revealing the baby's sex, many women still find out and choose to abort girls.

"I have noticed that there have been more and more boys than girls," said Truong Thi My Ha, a nurse at Hanoi's Maternity Hospital. "Most women are very happy when they have boys, while many are upset if they have girls."

In China, the 2005 estimate was more than 120 boys born to 100 girls, with India logging about 108 boys to 100 girls in 2001, when the last census was taken. However, pockets of India have rates of 120 boys. In several Chinese provinces, the ratio spikes to more than 130 boys born to 100 girls.

Reports of female infanticide still surface in some poor areas of countries and death rates are higher among girls in places like China, where they are sometimes breast-fed for shorter periods, given less health care and vaccinations and even smaller portions of food than their brothers, the report said.

It estimated Asia was short 163 million females in 2005 when compared to overall population balances of men and women elsewhere in the world. It said sex ratios at birth in other countries, such as Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, also should be closely monitored to avoid uneven trends there.

Earlier research has documented the gender imbalance in the region. A UNICEF report last year estimated 7,000 girls go unborn every day in India.

"It's very difficult to imagine what's going to be the exact impact of these missing girls in 20 years," said Christophe Guilmoto, an author of the report presented this week at a reproductive health conference in Hyderabad, India. "No human society that we know has faced a similar problem."

The reasons boys are favored over girls are complex and deeply rooted in Asian society. In many countries, men typically receive the inheritance, carry on the family name and take care of their parents in old age, while women often leave to live with their husband's family.

In India, wedding costs and dowries are usually required of the parents of the bride, and sons are the only ones permitted by the Hindu religion to perform the last rites when their fathers die.

"My husband took me to a private clinic to be checked. I broke down in tears when I saw the result because I knew this is not what my husband wanted," said Nguyen Thi Hai Yen, 33, recalling when she discovered her second baby was a girl. "But he was good. He told me it was OK."

China has a one-child policy, while Vietnam encourages only two children per family after relaxing an earlier ban on having more. Such limits have led many women to abort girls and keep trying for sons who can carry on the family lineage.

The report calls for increased public awareness, more government intervention and steps to elevate women's place in society by promoting gender equality.

Philippine Cybercrime Bill To Check Child Pornography

A proposed cybercrime bill should include provisions penalizing child pornography, it was suggested at a recent workshop.

The provisions would be consistent with international guidelines discussed during the Budapest Convention on the Council of Europe in 2001, government and private sector representatives at the workshop were told.

The Budapest Convention offers guidelines for the development of national legislation and a framework for international cooperation against cybercrime.

The two-day workshop was organized by the Department of Justice, the Commission on Information and Communications Technology, and the Council of Europe, in partnership with Microsoft in order to dissect the proposed Philippine cybercrime bill before it is endorsed to Congress.

The workshop divided attendees into groups to work on three general provisions of the bill, namely emergency response, enforcement and implementation; jurisdiction and international cooperation; and punishable acts, said Albert dela Cruz, director of the Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team (PH-CERT) and currently platform strategy manager at Microsoft Philippines, in an interview.

Each group presented their suggestions to lawmakers and members of the CICT, headed by its chairman, Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua III.

For about eight years, various sectors have lobbied for a cybercrime law in the Philippines.

Sexual Molestation Of Children On The Rise In Isreal

Recent government data shows 16% rise in sexual molestation of minors since 2000. Numbers believed to be higher since many cases go unreported. 'If the State keeps ignoring the problem nothing will change,' says Head of National Council for the Child.

The last seven years have seen a 16% rise in the number of child molestation cases, the Ministry of Social Affairs said Sunday.

Some 1,464 children were sexually assaulted by the end of the first half of 2007, and 2,623 sexual abuse cases in children were reported in 2006.

The Ministry of Social Affairs' data revealed that most children fall prey to sexual assault during the school year. Of those molested in 2006, 318 were under the age of five, 717 were between the ages of six and eight, 37.4% of those assaulted were boys and 62.6% girls.

The fickleness of numbers

The numbers, said the ministry's report, are probably higher. In many cases the victims prefer not to file a complaint against their assailants.

The assailants in child molestation cases are not always adults: in the first half of 2007, some 282 children and teenagers were interrogated by the police department's youth division, on suspicion of perpetrating sexual offenses.

Children and teenagers who were victims of sexual assault are usually treated by their municipal social workers. Since the problem began escalating, the Social Affairs Ministry has been able to secure an additional $1.25 million to its budget - all towards building eight new shelters for the long-term treatment of these children.

The Ministry of Social Affairs' report is echoed by that of the National Council for the Child: the council receives hundreds of reports a year, most of them seeking counseling on life after the assault.

"Maybe all those on strike will finally wake up; the fact that the children are devoid of structure is affecting their behavior," Dr. Itzhak Kedman, Head of the National Council for the Child told Ynet Sunday, after hearing the report on the 12-year-old girl who was allegedly drugged and raped by two 13-year-old boys.

Kedman cites three main reasons which can make children behave like sexual predator: "The main reason is the growing exposure to sexual content on the internet. The younger children are, the less likely they are to differentiate between reality and porn films," said Kedman.

The other two reasons are the judicial leniency shown to sex offenders and the lack of proper treatments given to those molested. "It's a well documented fact that children who were abused or molested grow up to be abusive adults. As long as the State continues to ignore the problem nothing will change," he added.

MK Nadia Hilou (Labor-Meimad), head of the Knesset's Committee on Rights of the Child, told Ynet that she intends to call and emergency session on the matter. "

With the educational system on strike too many minors have no one looking out for them. the committee will have to look into the recent reports of alcohol and drug sales to minors, as well as decide on the criminal liability any minors involved in such activity might be subject to," she says.