Russia building secure refugee camps

No filming done inside the camp in Russia. In 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and maybe ALL INFINITY. Meanwhile, they put "Holocaust deniers" to death. 'Nuf said. But why? Well, Russia is not the world's only Genocide Mania establishments - not even close. Say, what if Elvis there left the building? Well, Russia still kills for Muslim intent: the intent to commit a crime, when it hasn't been committed yet. Gee, makes it look like the Rainbow Mosque Kremlin is on somebody else's side, doesn't it? While PREVIOUS Germany (Hitler wasn't born yet) was doing this stuff before Russia got started on it. Gee, maybe Moslems caused it all. But they're too young.'s everybody. Maybe even me, or something.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Chocolate Child Slavery Child Labor 2016

Child Labor and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry


The Food Empowerment Project

Chocolate is a product of the cacao bean, which grows primarily in the tropical climates of Western Africa, Asia, and Latin America.[1] The cacao bean is more commonly referred to as cocoa, so that is the term that will be used throughout this article. Western African countries, mostly Ghana and the Ivory Coast,[2] supply more than 70% of the world’s cocoa.[1] The cocoa they grow and harvest is sold to a majority of chocolate companies, including the largest in the world.[3]
In recent years, a handful of organizations and journalists have exposed the widespread use of child labor, and in some cases slavery, on cocoa farms in Western Africa.[4][5] Since then, the industry has become increasingly secretive, making it difficult for reporters to not only access farms where human rights violations still occur, but to then disseminate this information to the public. In 2004, the Ivorian First Lady’s entourage allegedly kidnapped and killed a journalist reporting on government corruption in its profitable cocoa industry.[6] In 2010, Ivorian government authorities detained three newspaper journalists after they published an article exposing government corruption in the cocoa sector.[7] The farms of Western Africa supply cocoa to international giants such as Hershey’s, Mars, and Nestlé—revealing the industry’s direct connection to the worst forms of child labor, human trafficking, and slavery.[8]
chocolate_content1The Worst Forms of Child Labor 
In Western Africa, cocoa is a commodity crop grown primarily for export; 60% of the Ivory Coast’s export revenue comes from its cocoa.[9] As the chocolate industry has grown over the years, so has the demand for cheap cocoa. On average, cocoa farmers earn less than $2 per day, an income below the poverty line.[10] As a result, they often resort to the use of child labor to keep their prices competitive.[11]
The children of Western Africa are surrounded by intense poverty, and most begin working at a young age to help support their families.[12] Some children end up on the cocoa farms because they need work and traffickers tell them that the job pays well.[8] Other children are “sold” to traffickers or farm owners by their own relatives, who are unaware of the dangerous work environment and the lack of any provisions for an education.[13] Often, traffickers abduct the young children from small villages in neighboring African countries, such as Burkina Faso and Mali,[8] two of the poorest countries in the world.[14] Once they have been taken to the cocoa farms, the children may not see their families for years, if ever.
Most of the children laboring on cocoa farms are between the ages of 12 and 16,[15] but reporters have found children as young as 5.[16][19] In addition, 40% of these children are girls, and some stay for a few months, while others end up working on the cocoa farms through adulthood.[18]
A child’s workday typically begins at six in the morning and ends in the evening.[18] Some of the children use chainsaws to clear the forests.[17] Other children climb the cocoa trees to cut bean pods using a machete. These large, heavy, dangerous knives are the standard tools for children on the cocoa farms,[18]which violates international labor laws and a UN convention on eliminating the worst forms of child labor.[24][32] Once they cut the bean pods from the trees, the children pack the pods into sacks that weigh more than 100 pounds when full and drag them through the forest [17] Aly Diabate, a former cocoa slave, said, “Some of the bags were taller than me. It took two people to put the bag on my head. And when you didn’t hurry, you were beaten.”[4]
Holding a single large pod in one hand, each child has to strike the pod with a machete and pry it open with the tip of the blade to expose the cocoa beans.[18] Every strike of the machete has the potential to slice a child’s flesh. The majority of children have scars on their hands, arms, legs or shoulders from the machetes.[16] [19]
In addition to the hazards of using machetes, children are also exposed to agricultural chemicals on cocoa farms in Western Africa.[18] Tropical regions such as Ghana and the Ivory Coast consistently deal with prolific insect populations and choose to spray the pods with large amounts of industrial chemicals. In Ghana, children as young as 10 spray the pods with these toxins without wearing protective clothing.[17]
The farm owners using child labor usually provide the children with the cheapest food available, such as corn paste and bananas.[20] In some cases, the children sleep on wooden planks in small windowless buildings with no access to clean water or sanitary bathrooms.[21]
On cocoa farms, 10% of child laborers in Ghana and 40% in the Ivory Coast do not attend school,[2] which violates the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Child Labour Standards. [18] Depriving these children of an education has many short-term and long-term effects. Without an education, the children of the cocoa farms have little hope of ever breaking the cycle of poverty.
To date, relatively little progress has been made to reduce or eliminate child labor and slavery in the cocoa industry of Western Africa. At the very least, the industry has agreed to work to eliminate what the ILO calls “the worst forms of child labor.”[23] These are defined as practices “likely to harm the health, safety, or morals of children” and include the use of “hazardous tools” and any work that “interferes with schooling.”[26] Approximately1.8 million children in the Ivory Coast and Ghana may be exposed to the worst forms of child labor on cocoa farms. [2]
Recently, investigators have discovered children trafficked into Western African cocoa farms and coerced to work without pay.[3][5] Abby Mills, campaigns director of the International Labor Rights Forum, adds, “Every research study ever conducted in [Western Africa] shows that there is human trafficking going on, particularly in the Ivory Coast.”[33] While the term “slavery” has a variety of historical contexts, slavery in the cocoa industry involves the same core human rights violations as other forms of slavery throughout the world.
Cases often involve acts of physical violence, such as being whipped for working slowly or trying to escape. Reporters have also documented cases where children and adults were locked in at night to prevent them from escaping. Former cocoa slave Aly Diabate told reporters, “The beatings were a part of my life. I had seen others who tried to escape. When they tried, they were severely beaten.”[21] Drissa, a recently freed slave who had never even tasted chocolate, experienced similar circumstances. When asked what he would tell people who eat chocolate made from slave labor, he replied that they enjoyed something that he suffered to make, adding, “When people eat chocolate, they are eating my flesh.”[22]
Is Slave-free Chocolate Possible? 
Despite their role in contributing to child labor, slavery, and human trafficking, the chocolate industry has not taken significant steps to remedy the problem. Within their $60-billion industry,[27] chocolate companies have the power to end the use of child labor and slave labor by paying cocoa farmers a living wage for their product.
The chocolate industry is also being called upon to develop and financially support programs to rescue and rehabilitate children who have been sold to cocoa farms.[26] To date, the industry has done little to remove child labor, let alone aid survivors of child labor. Hershey’s, the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America, has not thoroughly addressed accusations of child labor in its supply chain and refuses to release any information about where it sources its cocoa.[31] This lack of transparency is characteristic of the chocolate industry, which has the resources to address and eliminate child labor but consistently fails to take action.
chocolate_content2Are the Labels on Chocolate Meaningful? 
Aside from large-scale production in Western Africa, a significant amount of cocoa is also grown in Latin America. This is where the majority of organic cocoa originates.[27] At this time, neither slavery nor child labor have been documented on these cocoa farms.[28] While it remains possible that some Latin American farms may employ these practices, it is not widely documented as it is in Western Africa. [29]
The truth is that consumers today have no sure way of knowing if the chocolate they are buying involved the use of slavery or child labor. There are many different labels on chocolate bars today, such as various fair trade certificationsand the Rainforest Alliance Certification; however, no single label can guarantee that the chocolate was made without the use of exploitive labor. In 2009, the founders of the fair trade certification process had to suspend several of their Western African suppliers due to evidence that they were using child labor.[30] Chocolate companies, however, continue to certify their products to tell consumers that they source their cocoa ethically. But in 2011, a Danish journalist investigated farms in Western Africa where major chocolate companies buy cocoa. He filmed illegal child labor on these farms, including those certified by UTZ and Rainforest Alliance.[3] Despite the industry’s claims, child labor still plagues cocoa farms in Western Africa.
Multiple government and NGO programs have been developed, attempting to address the root causes of “the worst forms of child labor” and slavery in West Africa. However, the success of these efforts will depend greatly on the genuine support or lack thereof from the chocolate industry over the coming years.
Consumers play an essential role in diminishing the food industry’s injustices. Child slavery on cocoa farms is a difficult issue to fully address because the most serious abuses take place across the world; however, that does not mean our responsibility is reduced, since chocolate is a luxury and not a necessity like fruits and vegetables.
Taking all of this into consideration and looking at the research that is available at this time, F.E.P. has created a list with vegan chocolates that we do and do not recommend based on the sourcing of the cocoa. Other than a few exceptions (which are explained), we encourage people not to purchase chocolate that is sourced from Western Africa. The list is available on our website along with free downloadable apps for the iPhone and Android.
  1. World Cocoa Foundation. March 2012. “Cocoa Market Update.” (2/27/14)
  2. Payson Center for International Development and Technology Transfer.  March 31, 2011. “Oversight of Public and Private Initiatives to Eliminate Worst Forms of Child Labor in the Cocoa Sector in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.” Tulane University. (2/25/14)
  3. Mistrati, Miki, and Romano, U. Roberto. Shady Chocolate. Performed by Mistrati, Miki (2012; Copenhagen: Bastard Film & TV). DVD.
  4. BBC. March 24, 2010. “Tracing the bitter truth of chocolate and child labour.” (3/01/14)
  5. McKenzie, David, and Swails, Brent. January 19, 2012. “Child Slavery and chocolate: All too Easy to find.” CNN (2/22/14)
  6. RFI. July 22, 2009. “Franco-Canadian journalist killed by first lady’s security guards, says French TV.” (3/01/14)
  7. Voice of America. July 16, 2010. “Ivory Coast Arrests 3 Journalists over Cocoa Story.” (2/28/14)
  8. Mistrati, Miki, and Romano, U. RobertoThe Dark Side of Chocolate. Performed by Mistrati, Miki (2010; Copenhagen: Bastard Film & TV). DVD.
  9. Sackett, Marjie. “Forced Child Labor and Cocoa Production in West Africa.” Human Rights & Human Welfare (2008). (3/01/14)
  10. Kramer, Anna. March 6, 2013. “Women and the big business of chocolate.” Oxfam America. (3/04/14)
  11. Hinshaw, Drew. October 6, 2010. “Governments Look to End Child Labor in West African Cocoa Farming.” Voice of America (3/02/14)
  12. Price, Larry C. July 10, 2013. “One Million Children Labor in Africa’s Goldmines.” PBS. (3/03/14)
  13. World Vision. 2013. “Information Sheet: The Worst Forms of Child Labour in the Cocoa Industry.” (2/25/14)
  14. Global Finance. 2013. “The Poorest Countries in the World.” (2/24/14)
  15. Raghavan, Sudarsan, and Chatterjee, Sumana. 2001. “How Your Chocolate May be Tainted.”Knight Ridder Newspapers (2/21/14)
  16. United States Department of Labor. 2012. “2012 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor: Cote d’Ivoire.” (2/25/14)
  17. Mull, L. Diane, and Kirkhorn, Steven R. 2005. “Child Labor in Ghana Cocoa Production: Focus upon Agricultural Tasks, Ergonomic Exposures, and Associated Injuries and Illnesses.” Association of Schools of Public Health (3/05/14)
  18. Lamb, Christina. April 22, 2001. “The child slaves of the Ivory Coast – bought and sold for as little as £40.” The Telegraph. (3/02/14)
  19. United States Department of Labor. 2012. “2012 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor: Ghana.” (2/25/214)
  20. Harkin, Tom, and Engel, Eliot L. February 14, 2005. “Taking Child Slavery Out of Valentine’s Day.”Los Angeles Times (3/04/14)
  21. Sen. Engel (NY). “1700.” Congressional Record V. 147, Pt. 9 (June 28, 2001) p. 12269-72.
  22. Sapoznik, Karlee. June 30, 2010. “‘When People Eat Chocolate, They Are Eating My Flesh’: Slavery and the Dark Side of Chocolate.” (2/24/14)
  23. Grossman-Greene, Sarah, and Bayer, Chris. 2009. “A History of Child Labor, Child Rights, and the Harkin-Engel Protocol.” Tulane University,%20Child%20Labor,%20and%20the%20Harkin-Engel%20Protocol.pdf. (2/28/14)
  24. International Labour Organization. January 26, 2000. “Convention 182.” (3/01/14)
  25. PR Newswire. September 25, 2012. “Gunther Grant, Inc. Capitalizes On $60 Billion Dollar Chocolate Industry.” (3/06/14)
  26. 10 Campaign. 2012. “Demands.” (2/26/14)
  27. International Cocoa Organization. September 2006. “A Study on the Market for Organic Cocoa.” (2/27/14)
  28. Clark, Meagan. February 11, 2014. “How to Buy a Conflict-Free Valentine’s Day Gift.” International Business Times (2/23/14)
  29. United States Department of Labor. 2012. “2012 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor.” (2/25/14)
  30. Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International. March 25, 2012. “FLO Reponse to: ‘Chocolate: The Bitter Truth.’” Fairtrade International (7/07/14)
  31. Feeley, Jef. Bloomberg L.P. March 19, 2014. “Hershey Investors Suing Over Child Labor Allowed to Pursue Files.” Bloomberg Businessweek (7/07/14)
  32. United Nations. 2014. “International Conventions on Child Labour.” United Nations. (7/07/14)
  33. Conversation with Abby Mills, May 28, 2014.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Abu Sayyaf Isis Philippines

Who are the Abu Sayyaf?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

North Korea - Beautiful Country or Auschwitz?

North Korean Work Camps Are “Another Form of Auschwitz,” Says Former Child Prisoner in Brutally Revealing AMA

Before his escape, Kang Chol-hwan listened to the radio in secret for more than a year. Now a journalist, author, and activist, he knows what really threatens the North Korean government: giving citizens access to information.

Photo by Michael Wilkinson
Photo by Michael Wilkinson
It’s a simple USB stick, much like the one you probably have sitting somewhere at the bottom of your backpack. But to the people in North Korea receiving it, the tiny device may provide their only glimpse into the outside world.
In the reclusive state, citizens have no access to the Internet and only one TV channel, which is run by the government. The state-controlled media has told its people that North Korea has discovered a cure for cancer and AIDS, that Kim Jong Il invented the hamburger and that country is rated the “happiest place on Earth.”
The real picture is much more bleak. A 2014 United Nations report found evidence of mass starvation, public executions, torture, forced abortions, slavery and “disappearance of persons” in the rigidly stratified society.
A man named Kang Chol-hwan is fighting the rigid regime with something he knows it fears: information. More specifically—getting it into the hands of its citizens.
His team at the North Korea Strategy Center, where he is the executive director, is loading up USB sticks with Hollywood movies and documentaries, Korean dramas, eBooks, newspapers on PDFs and an offline wikipedia, and smuggling them into North Korea. (According to the organization’s program officerThe Hunger Games and Desperate Housewives are a couple favored shows.) From 2008 through 2015, the organization has sent 18,500 USBs, along with DVDs and small radios, into the country.
fundraising campaign has been launched to help them send 6,000 more in six months. The mission of the North Korea Strategy Center is to advocate for free media and press in North Korea.
Kang was a child prisoner at Yodok political prison camp in North Korea, sent there with his family after his grandfather was accused of treason by the Kim regime. He recalls constructing a building out of clay when he was 10 years old:
“… there were dozens of kids, and while digging the ground, it collapsed, and they died. And the bodies were crushed flat. And they buried the kids secretly, without showing their parents, even though the parents came. They shouldn’t force the children to work again, but they did. Even though at that moment they could notice the bleeding and dead kids. The kids were crying. It was the first atrocity I witnessed.
After escaping, Kang became a journalist, author, and human rights activist, publishing the The Aquariums of Pyongyang, the very first survivor’s account of North Korea’s concentration camps.
Today, many North Korean defectors are sharing their stories, including Joseph Kim, who resettled in the US and answered questions in a Reddit AMA last year.
On Wednesday, Kang did an AMA, discussing his experience as a prisoner and his thoughts on how to bring down the regime.
Here are some highlights.

On daily life in the work camps, and what happens when people are caught with the USB sticks

  1. javi404
    What goes on day to day in the jail/concentration camps?
    Has anyone gotten in-trouble from getting caught with USB sticks?
    What other items are dropped such as books I would presume?
    1. KangCholHwan
      Daily life in the work camps is very mundane. We wake up at 5 am and are forced to work until sunset. We are given lessons on Kim il-sung and Juche. We are forced to watch public executions. We are physically abused - hit and tortured. I think of it as another form of Auschwitz. These work camps are like products of Nazism, and an abusive government needs elements such as Nazi concentration camps. They just have different ways of killing people.
      People have almost gotten caught with the USB sticks. Thankfully, they managed to get out before they were caught. However, they cannot go back to North Korea now. But that’s about it currently. North Korean citizens often get caught using these USB sticks but they are released when they give bribes to the police. I believe it would be about 500 dollars maximum in Pyeongang and about 200~300 dollars in other regions. The problem would be if they are caught and they have no money to bribe their way out.
      Read more

On how much exposure North Koreans have to the outside world

  1. Retired_Rentboy
    Wow, I'm really glad you survived. It's a hard question, but how do you feel about leaving your family behind? How aware are they of the "outside world"? How aware were you before you fled North Korea? Do you think there is any hope for North Korea to open up in the near (10-20 years) future?
    All the best to you.
    1. KangCholHwan
      I would have loved to escape with all of my family but that was physically impossible. I feel sorry for them but I try to help them as much as I can. Many people who have escaped from North Korea are trying to help their families back there. These days, the North Korean government seems to be contacting the North Korean defectors in order to allure them back to North Korea, often, while holding the defectors’ families still in North Korea as hostages.
      The degree of exposure to the outside world varies from family to family in North Korea. They can gain exposure through Korean media, for example.
      I had listened to the radio in secret for more than a year prior to escaping. I knew from it the economic situation in South Korea and I thought I knew enough. However, when I actually arrived in South Korea saw it with my own eyes, the economic situation was much different from what I had heard. These days, people watch media more than they listen to radios and that visual media, I believe, is more powerful.
      Regarding your question on whether there is any hope for North Korea to open up in the near future, I think it really varies whether Kim Jung-Eun will still be alive by then. Opening up the country and reform is important for the North Korean people but all power in North Korea exists for a single individual (Kim Jung-EUn). In order for the country to open up, there needs to be a change in individual-centered political power. However, I don’t think Kim will open up the country like Deng Xiaoping of China had done. However, I think within 5 years, the Kim Jung-Eun regime will disappear.
      Read more

On the misconceptions people have of North Koreans

  1. DeusExChimera
    Do you miss North Korea despite what you endured? And, is there any misconception about North Korea that you would like to share?
    1. KangCholHwan
      I dislike the North Korean government, not the people- so yes, I do miss the people there. North Koreans may seem different because they are brainwashed by the government; but once their thoughts change through the flow of information, they are the same as anywhere else. I think it is lamentable that people think of the North Korean government and North Koreans as one entity. North Koreans may seem loyal to the government, but because they fear the government, they cannot speak their minds. For example, Seungjin Park, the North Korean soccer player during the World Cup, was at the Yoduk Political Prisoners Camp with me, but is now acting as the soccer team coach. However, he must hide the fact that he was at the prisoners camp. To learn more about North Korea, you must know something about the nature of North Korea. This is true even when visiting North Korea.
      Read more

On the strategy behind spreading information via movies, videos and digital media rather than balloon “flyers”—something South Korean activists have done. (North Korea has retaliated, sending back balloons filled with cigarette butts and used toilet paper.)

  1. atouchofconsumption
    Can you talk more about your efforts to disseminate free media inside North Korea? Does your organization use balloons sent over the DMZ? How far into the country do they travel? Is there ever push-back from the South Korean government because they are afraid your actions will further inflame tensions?
    I'm sorry that you have been a victim of the world's greatest ongoing injustice, and I applaud you for fighting back.
    1. KangCholHwan
      We don’t use balloons. But I do think they play an important role. The South Korean, of course, tries to stop this method of spreading information because of possible political implications. The main thing about using flyers is to have a press conference about the information on the flyers. These flyers must be spread in secret. But the press conference must be held officially with many people and also have interviews. This is more stimulating for North Korea. Only the people near the DMZ have access to these flyers, unless the wind takes them further inland. We use movies, videos send the market to spread information. This way, information can be spread all over North Korea. I believe this to be a the greatest method of changing the way North Koreans think. Spreading information through media is very important.
      Read more

On the ultimate end game and what needs to happen for the North Korean people to be free

  1. AlabamaJesus
    What is the ultimate end game here? How does the west need to respond to free the North Korean people?
    1. KangCholHwan
      The outside world seems to talk about putting ‘pressure’ on the North Korean government, but I don’t think they know exactly what kind of pressure is necessary. Economic pressure is not the only type of pressure. People need to learn what the North Korean government fears the most. What they are doing to keep the government afloat. First, the government wants to prevent defection. They fear that if many people start to defect, a unification similar to the German case will take place. So, they are focused on keeping the border shut. Second, the government wants to prevent North Koreans from having access to outside information. The more North Korean citizens know, the more danger it is for the government. So far, I do not believe we have been targeting either of these. Real pressure on the North Korean government would be to open up the physical border and induce mass defection, or to open up the information barrier and to provide access to outside information. There needs to be a separation of the North Korean citizens from the government - for example, if more North Korean workers work abroad, they are not getting paid by the government and this eliminates their ties to the government.
      Read more

See the full AMA here.

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