Holiday Gift Guide: How to Help Human Trafficking Victims

In the U.S. and many other parts of the world, the December holiday season has become synonymous with the three S’s: shopping, spending, and stuff. We spend millions of dollars on sweaters and iPods and toys made in overseas factories by exploited workers, children, and slaves. But this holiday season, you have an opportunity to do something revolutionary: shop for freedom. You can take a stand against human trafficking and exploitation by spending your money on gifts and products which help trafficking victims. This three-part holiday shopping guide (see part one here) is intended to empower you as a consumer to choose to buy products that support the freedom of workers this holiday season. The resources here are by no means exhaustive, and I encourage you to educate yourself on all companies you choose to buy from. Happy and free shopping!

Part 2: Where to Find Gifts That Help Human Trafficking Victims

Buying Fair Trade and ethically-produced items can help prevent human trafficking and slavery, but there are also a number of products which directly benefit victims of human trafficking who are working to overcome their experience with slavery. Some of these are made by survivors as part of skills-building programs and others are produced by nonprofits who serve victims of human trafficking. Buying products which benefit trafficking victims is a great way to make a difference through a simple act of holiday shopping. Here are some places to buy products which benefit human trafficking victims:

Free the Slaves Store: Some products are made by human trafficking survivors and proceeds benefit nonprofits which work with survivors.

Made By Survivors: Products are made by human trafficking survivors around the world and proceeds benefit nonprofits which work with survivors.

Not for Sale Store: Some products are made by human trafficking survivors and proceeds benefit the Not for Sale Campaign.

Riji Green: Some products are made by human trafficking survivors and a portion of the proceeds benefit International Justice Mission.

Sapa Sapa: Soap is handmade by artisans and proceeds benefit nonprofits which work with survivors.

Stop Traffick Fashion: Products are made by human trafficking survivors and a portion of revenues benefit nonprofits which work with survivors.

Throughout the year, I’ve featured weekly “Red Light Specials,” highlighting products which benefit human trafficking survivors. You can view the collection of Red Light Special posts here, and many of them are available from the above resources.

Do you have a favorite place to buy products which benefit human trafficking survivors? If so, please share it with us in the comments.

source: http://humantrafficking.change.org/blog/view/holiday_gift_guide_how_to_help_human_trafficking_victims

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Published in: on November 30, 2009 at 9:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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7 Reasons Corporate Slave-Holders Are Giving Thanks


On this Thanksgiving day, many of us are counting our blessings. Or at least, trying to count our blessings while Aunt Betty and Cousin Bob fight about politics, Little Mackenzie sings Hanna Montana at the top of her lungs, and mom shoves a fourth slice of pie down your throat while asking intrusive questions. But you know who else has something to be thankful for today? Corporations who use slave labor to make their goods. Here are seven reasons why they are feeling grateful today, too.

7. Their lobby groups are going to oppose a ban on goods made by child labor. The powerful lobby for big business isn’t going to stand by and let their poor clients be hurt by an audacious bill which would ban the import of goods made by child or forced labor to the U.S. They’re going to fight to keep those children and slaves working hard.

6. Most major U.S. grocery chains carry few or no Fair Trade products. When large chains carry few or no Fair Trade options (or hide those options on the bottom self), customers are more likely to continue to buy the cheap, slave-made products that earn a huge profit for the companies that make them. It’s a good thing for corporations that use slaves when large chains don’t carry Fair Trade.

5. The holiday season is about quantity, not quality. These corporations are really thankful that people get so caught up in the holiday season, they often ascribe value to sheer quantity of stuff bought over issues like where it came from and how it was produced. They really hope consumers don’t wise up and start shopping with an eye to where their holiday purchases came from.

4. The global recession has made more people than ever before vulnerable to slavery. There is no shortage of vulnerable workers in desperate need of a job, just waiting to be exploited and enslaved. The global recession has really expanded the labor pool of potential slaves for corporations to pick from. Now they can weed out anyone who might cause a fuss by demanding rights or pay.

3. Media is much more likely to expose slavery in prostitution than other industries. Corporate slave-holders know that even if human trafficking is exposed this holiday season, it’s likely that the focus will be on trafficking into prostitution, and not the slaves who make their products. Not a lot of people buy sexual services as gifts for each other, but a lot buy shoes, clothes, and electronics made by trafficking victims.

2. Everyone is about to eat more chocolate. The cocoa industry is going to see a boost this season when chocolate consumption goes up around the holidays. Unfortunately, the children and adults forced to work harvesting cocoa with little or no pay won’t be seeing any of those extra profits.

1. A lot of people are still in the dark about slavery in consumer goods. The biggest reason that corporations who use slaves are giving thanks today is that many people still don’t know that many components of goods we use and wear and live with every day are made by slaves. And what they don’t know, the corporations think, won’t hurt anyone.

Slave-holder corporations may have a lot to be thankful for today, but so do I. I’m thankful that you’re reading this post. I’m thankful that you’re thinking about ways to make better choices in what you buy, both for gifts and for yourself, this holiday season. I’m thankful that you and I are part of a dedicated community of activists on Change.org who are making a difference in the lives of at-risk and trafficked persons around the world. Together, we can take away all the reasons human traffickers and those who profit from the slavery of others have to give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

source: http://humantrafficking.change.org/blog/view/7_reasons_corporate_slave-holders_are_giving_thanks

Indian Kids Labor to Make Balloons for American Kids’ Parties

There is often a cruel and stark contrast between the lives of children in the developing world and the lives of children in America. Indian children as young as six work 12-hour days to make colorful latex balloons for just pennies a day. The terrible irony that party balloons for Western children’s celebrations are being made by kids the same age under abusive and exploitative working conditions is the stuff of Hollywood plot lines. But such child labor in factories is too real for children across India and around the world.

I urge you to check out the great photo essay on this subject here. In vivid and disturbing pictures, we follow the story of Czoton, a 7-year-old boy who works all day, every day, in a balloon factory in rural India. He and 19 other children work 12-hour days, 7 days a week, for about $2.14 per week. Conditions in the factory are harsh. The children work outside in the sweltering heat, unprotected from the elements. They inhale the dust and chemicals which can cause serious damage to their health. Because they work in the factory, they aren’t able to go to school.

It’s an unpleasant and unavoidable reality that Czoton and his fellow child laborers are making these balloons for us. Balloons from factories which exploit children’s labor are shipped to the U.S. and sold cheaply, to make other children happy. Children who grow up in privileged homes and those who grow up in unprivileged homes have unequal opportunities in a number of ways. The difference between laboring all day to make the trappings of a birthday party and being the recipient of a birthday party is just one of those ways.

If you’re a parent looking to start a conversation with your child about how other children around the world are less fortunate, sometimes child labor is a good place to start. Age-appropriate information about how some children are not allowed to go to school and instead much work long days can help kids better understand global inequality. It might even make school sound more appealing. One middle school in Texas even set up a simulated sweatshop to show children how the experience of toiling in menial labor compared to going to school and being free. Learning about how other children live can help kids become less narcissistic and more selfless.

Balloons are just one of many, many consumer goods that use exploited or enslaved children somewhere in the supply chain. If you want to start researching where the products you buy come from and whether or not they’ve been made by child labor or forced labor, check out the Department of Labor’s list of slave-made goods.

source: http://humantrafficking.change.org/blog/view/indian_kids_labor_to_make_balloons_for_american_kids_parties

Published in: on November 29, 2009 at 6:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Teen Prostitutes

Investigators say murder victim lured by sex with teen prostitute

FAST FACTS:

* 17-year-old arrested for soliciting sex to victim before his death
* Investigators say teen prostitute part of murder plot
* Teen charged with prostitution typical of others

(Memphis 11/25/2009) The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is contemplating additional charges against a teenage girl in a murder that took place last week in Northaven. On November 19th investigators arrested 19 year old Jeremy Stevenson for the murder of 48 year old Kerry Collins. Deputies say robbery was the motive for the killing and he was lured to Northaven by the promise of sex with a teenage prostitute.

“In 2008, we saw 29 cases here at juvenile court,” said Mamie Jones, chief probation officer, Shelby Co. Juvenile Court.

The 17 year old investigators say lured that victim to Northaven is now at the Shelby County Juvenile Court. She is just one of a growing number of teenagers being arrested for prostitution.

“Typically they’re females, transients, runaways. That’s the type of cases we see,” said Jones.

In 2008 News Channel 3 went along as police rounded up young prostitutes, finding one as young as 14 soliciting an undercover officer. Instead of being in class, she was in front of the school selling sex on the sidewalk. Most juveniles arrested for prostitution get treatment instead of jail time.

“They’re handled non-judiciously which means they do not go to court and we try to refer those kids out for services, some sort of treatment, counseling. Things of that nature,” said Jones.

News Channel 3 has learned the girl arrested for prostitution in Northaven fits the common mold. She is a runaway. Deputies say she negotiated her price by phone with the victim before his death.

The 17-year-old girl in this case will have to stay locked up until it’s decided if she’ll be tried as an adult on much stiffer charges of robbery and murder. She’s due back in court December 19th.

source://www.chicagotribune.com/topic/wreg-teen-prostitutes-story,0,7990058.story?obref=obinsite

Published in: on November 29, 2009 at 9:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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Blaming the victim

Our view: Shoddy police work sank the pandering case against Carlos Silot, but even had he been convicted, Maryland’s laws aren’t tough enough on adult sex traffickers

The case against Carlos Silot, whom police last year accused of running a brothel near Patterson Park, seemed clear cut. Officers put his rented rowhouse under surveillance, then watched as more than a dozen men entered and left over a span of hours. When detectives searched the house they found lists of customers, condoms, photographs, money, business cards and two women from Mexico who said Mr. Silot brought them there to have sex with customers. They were arrested for prostitution, and Mr. Silot was charged with “pandering” – a misdemeanor offense.

Still, on paper, the case looked like a slam-dunk for the prosecution. Yet it fell apart this week, and for an all-too-predictable reason: The women refused to testify against him. In fact, they were nowhere to be found.

How could anyone have expected otherwise? The women were illegal immigrants who had been cut off from their families and made to endure countless deprivations. Last April, when their case first came to trial, their lawyer claimed they were tricked into coming here and that they were held as virtual captives in the Patterson Park house. They couldn’t possibly expect that testifying against the man they say was responsible would turn out well, especially after learning that the state’s case against Mr. Silot was already shaky because police had mishandled or lost key pieces of evidence against him.

What assurances could the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office have made that it would protect these women? It can’t have helped that prosecutors initially charged them with prostitution – even though they were the victims.

In recent years, federal prosecutors have had notable success prosecuting sex-traffickers who exploit women and girls through force, fraud or coercion. The U.S. attorney’s office can bring to bear more resources than local authorities to investigate alleged crimes. Federal laws for such crimes are much stricter, and the federal government can provide legal status for sex-trafficking victims and help them rebuild their lives.

But the feds can’t handle every sex-trafficking case that comes up, which is why local prosecutors took the lead on Mr. Silot’s case. And the outcome points up not only the police’s bungling of the evidence needed to secure a conviction but also the clumsy way officials responded to the victims of sex-trafficking, as well as the disparity in penalties for traffickers who exploit children versus those whose victims are adults.

Since 2007, child sex trafficking has been a felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison in Maryland. But state law still treats trafficking in adult women as a misdemeanor; even if Mr. Silot had been convicted of pandering, he would have served no more than 10 years. Not every case of pandering involves force, fraud or coercion, but for those that do, the penalty for adult and child sex-trafficking shouldn’t be so disparate.

Moreover, police need better training to recognize the signs of sex-trafficking and to protect its victims rather than treat them as criminals. They should know when to call in specialized investigative units and how to put victims in touch with nonprofit groups that offer counseling and other services. It’s a lot easier to slap a prostitution charge on a frightened woman who may not speak English well or even know the name of the city where she has been brought than it is to put her pimp behind bars. But that’s too often the way sex-trafficking cases are treated, and it needs to change.

Readers respond
The news that a credible sex trafficking case “fell apart” due to a lack of testimony from two victims is unsurprising at best. Both foreign national and U.S. citizen victims of sex and labor trafficking face enormous obstacles as they attempt to leave (or simply survive) unimaginable, often terrifying circumstances.

However, rather than cast blame on prosecutors, it is more productive to understand that in Maryland, local, state and federal law enforcement officers; advocates; and legislative experts have formed the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force to assist victims and ensure justice, including successful prosecution. This body is able to serve victims and get the word out about the scourge of sex and labor trafficking in Maryland.

Let’s put aside our differences and focus on the real enemy – male and female traffickers, from this country and elsewhere, who ruthlessly exploit child, teen and adult victims – and on real solutions, which always involve working together as one.

source: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/editorial/bal-ed.sextrafficking11nov11,0,4383283.story

Published in: on November 29, 2009 at 9:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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Aurora pastor accused of child sex assault

AURORA, Colo. – The pastor of an Aurora church was behind bars Tuesday evening, charged with sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust.

The Rev. Isaac Aryee was arrested on Oct. 26th at his church, Praise Chapel International Ministries, on E. Mississippi Ave.

The case has been referred to the Denver District Attorney’s Office which says the case file is currently under seal. However, a D.A.’s office spokesperson confirms that the victim in the case in a 15-year-old girl whom Aryee met through the church.

Prosecutors believe it was an ongoing sexual affair.

Rev. Aryee and his wife moved to Colorado from Ghana in West Africa in 2002, according to the church’s official Web site.

A background check shows Aryee was also arrested by Denver Police in 2002 for soliciting a prostitute.

Rev. Aryee and his wife moved to Colorado from Ghana in West Africa in 2002, according to the church’s official Web site.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/kdvr-church-sex-assault-11109,0,4892280.story?obref=obinsite

Published in: on November 29, 2009 at 9:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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US officials begin push against human trafficking

BOSTON -Fourteen cities are being targeted in a new campaign aimed at alerting people about human trafficking, federal Immigration officials have announced.

The “Hidden in Plain Sight” initiative, sponsored by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, features billboards highlighting “the horrors and the prevalence of human trafficking,” which the agency says is equivalent to “modern-day slavery.”

The words “Hidden in Plain Sight” are displayed on the advertisements with a toll-free number people can call to report situations where they believe people are being sexually exploited or forced to work against their will.

Cities in the new campaign are Atlanta; Boston; Dallas; Detroit; Los Angeles; Miami; Philadelphia; Newark, N.J.; New Orleans; New York; St. Paul, Minn.; San Antonio; San Francisco and Tampa, Fla.

Bruce Foucart, an ICE special agent in charge of New England, said officials hope the billboards persuade residents to report suspected cases to ICE or local law enforcement.

“It’s difficult to identify victims and it’s difficult for them to tell their stories,” said Foucart.

About 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked each year around the world and about 17,500 of them end up in the United States, according to ICE. Immigration officials say the victims are lured from their homes with false promises of well-paying jobs but are trafficked into the commercial sex trade, domestic servitude or forced labor.

Foucart said victims who cooperate with law enforcement are offered temporary status and can later apply to stay in the U.S. permanently.

Jozefina Lantz, director of New Americans services at Lutheran Social Services in Worcester, Mass., welcomed the new campaign and said the public is generally unaware that human trafficking is occurring near their homes.

“Often the victims get mistaken for undocumented immigrants,” said Lantz. “It’s not the same because these people were abducted from their homes and forced into trafficking.”

Lantz said her group has recently helped trafficking victims from Africa and South America.

source: http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2009/nov/10/news/chi-ap-us-humantraffickings

Man charged with buying teen sex from girl’s mother

DENVER – A Denver man has been charged with sex assault on a child after allegedly paying a 14-year-old girl’s mother to have sex with the teen.

The Denver District Attorney’s office formally charged a man in connection with repeated sexual assaults on a teenage girl, allegedly arranged by the girl’s mother for money.

Mark Mathias, 48, has been charged with soliciting for , sexual assault on a child, and sexual assault on a child pattern of abuse.

The charges allege that Mathias sexually assaulted a fourteen-year-old girl from June 2008 until March of 2009.

The charges allege that the defendant paid the victim’s mother, who allowed the sexual assaults to occur. The mother was charged earlier with pimping of a child and pandering of a child and remains in custody in the Denver County Jail; her bond is set at $200,000.

The child’s mother’s name was not released to protect her daughter’s identity.

Mathias is due in court Wednesday. He is being held on $100,000 bail.

source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/kdvr-sexassault-110909,0,5188761.story?obref=obinsite

Trafficking reports raise heart-wrenching questions for adoptive parents

john-and-ellen-lawler-plan-to-return-to-jiangsu-province-in-search-of-the-family-of-their-daughter-jemma

    Accounts of Chinese children being kidnapped, bartered and sold to orphanages have many adopters wondering about their children. Some may try to track down the birth parents — but then what?

    When television producer Sibyl Gardner adopted a baby girl in China in 2003, the official story was that the infant had been abandoned on the steps of the salt works in the city of Guangchang, where a worker found the day-old child and took her to a social welfare institution.

    But after reading with “utter horror” the latest revelations of child trafficking in China in the Los Angeles Times, Gardner found herself contemplating a trip to back to Jiangxi province to investigate how Zoë, now 7, came up for adoption.

    “I don’t think I could live with myself for the rest of my life thinking that my desire to have a child could have caused tragedy in someone else’s family,” Gardner said. “I’m going to need answers, and for my daughter’s sake as well.”

    China has long been the most popular source for U.S. parents seeking to adopt from overseas. Since the early 1990s, more than 80,000 Chinese children have been adopted by parents from other countries, the United States leading the way.

    In the last five years, U.S. parents have adopted nearly 31,000 children from China. The conventional wisdom has been that the children were abandoned because of China’s restrictions on family size and the nation’s traditional preference for boys, who serve as a form of social security for parents.

    But adoptive parents have been unsettled by reports that many children have been seized through coercion, fraud or kidnapping, sometimes by government officials seeking to remove children from families that have exceeded population-planning limits or to reap a portion of the $3,000 that orphanages receive for each adopted child.

    Some adoptive parents “looked the other way” when they heard reports about child trafficking in Hunan province years ago, said Jane Liedtke, founder of Our Chinese Daughters Foundation, a nonprofit organization that offers programs and tours for families with children from China. Now that trafficking cases have been documented not just in Hunan but also in Guizhou, Guangxi and other provinces, “people say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know. My agency didn’t tell me. If I’d known, I wouldn’t have adopted.’ ”

    To that, Liedtke responds: “Oh, yes, you would have. You wanted a child.”

    Mark Brown said he and his wife, Nicki Genovese, felt sickened by the thought that their daughter might not have been found at the gates of a park and taken by police to an orphanage, as they had been told.

    They had just returned to Los Angeles in 2005 after adopting a Chinese foundling in south-central Hunan province when they read the news reports about trafficking. Police had arrested 27 members of a ring that since 2002 had abducted or bought as many as 1,000 children in Guangdong province and sold them to orphanages in Hunan.

    “It put everything into question,” said Brown, whose family has since moved to New York. “Was she really found? Was she abducted or taken by family services? If she had been taken away from her parents, it is heart-wrenching.

    “On one hand, it’s horrifying and your stomach is churning. On the other hand, it brings to light something you’re trying to block out — that business there and life there is pretty wild.”

    As reports have continued to surface, some adoptive parents have become wracked by ethical, legal and moral questions.

    “I was shocked but educated” by the most recent revelations, said Judith Marasco, who is on sabbatical in China with her 5-year-old adopted daughter. The fact that some people have been punished, she said, suggests that many more “are getting away with these abominable acts.”

    “No adoptive parent wants to entertain the thought that our child was the victim of this kind of child trafficking,” Marasco said. “But think of the Chinese parents and how much worse this is for them.”

    China for many years was considered to have one of the world’s most dependable international adoption programs.

    “When I chose China, it seemed to be a very clean, very legal process, and that was a good deal of what appealed to me,” said Peggy Scott, who adopted 16 years ago and is president of Families With Children From China-Northern California, a support group.

    Some families on adoption-related e-mail groups have expressed fears that reports of child trafficking will taint all China adoptions, even though agencies and adoption experts say most of the adoptions in China are well regulated and legitimate.

    “We shouldn’t draw overly broad conclusions from any specific examples,” said Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a nonprofit group that works to improve adoption policies and practices. Still, he said, “one kid, one birth mother where it’s done badly, unethically or for the wrong reasons is one too many.”

    A U.S. congressional commission that monitors human rights in China said in a 2005 report that “trafficking of women and children in China remains pervasive,” with many infants and young children abducted for adoption and household services.

    According to an estimate cited in the report, 250,000 women and children were sold in China during 2003.

    China has cracked down on many family planning officials and orphanage workers found guilty of trafficking, with some violators sentenced to death or long prison terms, according to Chinese news agencies. Still, Liedtke said the United States has treated China differently from other sending countries. U.S. families, for instance, are not allowed to adopt from Cambodia, Vietnam and Guatemala because of evidence of trafficking or other corruption.

    “As a country, we should come out and say the Chinese government has to demonstrate what it’s doing to prevent” trafficking, she said. But she added that it would be tragic to close off adoptions from China because “there are still way too many children who need help.”

    The Canadian government opened an investigation in October after The Times documented numerous cases in which Chinese babies were confiscated from their parents by local government officials and sold for foreign adoption.

    And BBC News reported recently that China had rescued 2,008 kidnapped children and had reunited some with their birth parents. The Chinese established a national DNA database this year to help trace missing children.

    For Ellen and John Lawler of Echo Park, who traveled to China with Brown and Genovese, the initial trafficking reports came as a shock. They plan to return to Jiangsu province to search for their daughter Jemma’s biological parents. They have an advantage: The orphanage director wrote a book with photographs of adoptive families so residents of Gaoyou could see that the children were being cared for.

    “He wanted to lay the groundwork for the possibility of birth parents coming forward,” Ellen Lawler said.

    Meanwhile, with China adoptions now taking several years, the Lawlers are seeking to adopt a second child, this time from Ethiopia, where distressing reports of trafficking have also surfaced.

    “I’ve discussed this with [our] agency, and I’ve been reassured,” Ellen Lawler said. “But I could be accepting it because it’s what I want to hear.”

    Although Gardner, a supervising producer for the “Saving Grace” TV series, doesn’t expect to take Zoë back to China for at least a year, she is already considering the complicated logistics. She has an important clue that many parents don’t have: photos of the foster mother in China who cared for the child until a couple of weeks before the adoption.

    Gardner would probably hire a translator for the trip, since she speaks no Mandarin. She would invite other parents who traveled to China in 2003 with her and her former husband, Gary Stetler, to join forces and make the journey together.

    More daunting, she acknowledged, is how an adoptive mother in the United States could “make amends for such a tragic thing,” if she learned that her daughter had been bartered.

    “I don’t have an answer for that,” she said. But she is certain of this: “I would want that family to know Zoë and her to know them.”

    According to an estimate cited in the report, 250,000 women and children were sold in China during 2003.

    China has cracked down on many family planning officials and orphanage workers found guilty of trafficking, with some violators sentenced to death or long prison terms, according to Chinese news agencies. Still, Liedtke said the United States has treated China differently from other sending countries. U.S. families, for instance, are not allowed to adopt from Cambodia, Vietnam and Guatemala because of evidence of trafficking or other corruption.

    “As a country, we should come out and say the Chinese government has to demonstrate what it’s doing to prevent” trafficking, she said. But she added that it would be tragic to close off adoptions from China because “there are still way too many children who need help.”

    The Canadian government opened an investigation in October after The Times documented numerous cases in which Chinese babies were confiscated from their parents by local government officials and sold for foreign adoption.

    And BBC News reported recently that China had rescued 2,008 kidnapped children and had reunited some with their birth parents. The Chinese established a national DNA database this year to help trace missing children.

    For Ellen and John Lawler of Echo Park, who traveled to China with Brown and Genovese, the initial trafficking reports came as a shock. They plan to return to Jiangsu province to search for their daughter Jemma’s biological parents. They have an advantage: The orphanage director wrote a book with photographs of adoptive families so residents of Gaoyou could see that the children were being cared for.

    “He wanted to lay the groundwork for the possibility of birth parents coming forward,” Ellen Lawler said.

    Meanwhile, with China adoptions now taking several years, the Lawlers are seeking to adopt a second child, this time from Ethiopia, where distressing reports of trafficking have also surfaced.

    “I’ve discussed this with [our] agency, and I’ve been reassured,” Ellen Lawler said. “But I could be accepting it because it’s what I want to hear.”

    Although Gardner, a supervising producer for the “Saving Grace” TV series, doesn’t expect to take Zoë back to China for at least a year, she is already considering the complicated logistics. She has an important clue that many parents don’t have: photos of the foster mother in China who cared for the child until a couple of weeks before the adoption.

    Gardner would probably hire a translator for the trip, since she speaks no Mandarin. She would invite other parents who traveled to China in 2003 with her and her former husband, Gary Stetler, to join forces and make the journey together.

    More daunting, she acknowledged, is how an adoptive mother in the United States could “make amends for such a tragic thing,” if she learned that her daughter had been bartered.

    “I don’t have an answer for that,” she said. But she is certain of this: “I would want that family to know Zoë and her to know them.”

    source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/la-me-china-adopt11-2009nov11,0,6084719,full.story

China executes 2 men for abducting, trafficking children

BEIJING — China has executed two men for abducting and selling 15 children, many of whom were taken as babies or toddlers and have not yet been reunited with their parents, state media said Friday.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Hu Minghua, 55, and Su Binde, 27, were executed Thursday morning, according to a statement from the Supreme People’s Court.

Hu was convicted of kidnapping and selling nine children from April 1999 to Oct. 2005. He was detained in January 2006. Five of the children, all boys now aged from 3 to 6, have been returned to their families, while the parents of the remaining ones have not been found.

Su was convicted of abducting six children between Sept. 2005 to July 2006. Five of the children were rescued by police while a sixth remains missing.

Child trafficking is big problem in China, where traditional preference for male heirs and a restrictive one-child policy has driven a thriving market in baby boys, who fetch a considerably higher price than girls. Girls and women also are abducted and often used as laborers or as brides for unwed sons.

Thousands of children go missing every year though the exact numbers of victims are difficult to obtain. Earlier this year, Chinese police announced they had rescued about 2,000 abducted children as part of a nationwide crackdown on widespread trafficking of women and children.

In October, China’s Ministry of Public Security set up a Web site — “Babies Looking for Home” — to reunite rescued children with their families.

State media have reported hundreds of rescues and arrests since the campaign began in April, and the new site had photos of dozens of children rescued from kidnappers but who had not yet found their families. The ministry set up a national DNA database earlier this year.

source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/sns-ap-as-china-child-abductions,0,3907372.story?obref=obnetwork