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Hyatt Hotels Chain Signs ‘The Code’

Mary DonovanBy CLC Contributing Writer Mary Donovan

On December 10, 2015, Hyatt Hotels Corporation re-affirmed its efforts to fight child trafficking by signing a code of conduct known simply as “the Code.” This is a big step forward in the fight against human trafficking and the abuse and exploitation of girls and young women, and in some cases, boys and young men caught in the so-called “sex industry.”

The Code is an industry-driven initiative to prevent the sexual exploitation of children in the tourism industry through awareness, tools, and support. It was developed by End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (EPCAT) the United Nations World Tourism Organization, and UNICEF.

The sexual exploitation of children often takes place in hotels. Hotels are a prime place for this crime because traffickers and pimps can avoid being caught by paying for hotel rooms in cash and switching rooms nightly. Polaris, a global anti-trafficking non-profit, reported that 35% of survivors said hotels and motels were the primary places sexual exploitation occurred. These facts make the tourism industry a good place to start to combat the sexual exploitation of children.

When an organization signs the Code, they commit to following six steps. These steps include training employees and providing information for travelers on how to report suspected cases, adding clauses to contracts with a zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children, and reporting annually on the implementation of The Code. The goal is to have a prepared and aware tourism industry that can recognize and prevent crimes against children.… Read the rest

Niger’s Wahayu Endure Domestic and Sexual Enslavement

By Sharon L. Fawcett, CLC Contributing Writer

Niger’s Tahoua region has a history of enslavement dating back to the early 18th-century arrival of the Touaregs, who brought slavery-like practices with them. Today, young girls and women sold as domestic and sexual servants are the victims of this centuries-old scourge.

Although the Nigerien government has maintained, since 2005, that slavery no longer exists in Niger, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL’s) 2013 Trafficking in Persons report and a joint report by UK-based non-governmental organization Anti-Slavery International and Niger-based Timidria, suggest otherwise. According to these reports, it is not uncommon for Nigerien girls to become the victims of human trafficking and forced labor.

In Niger, a girl born into slavery can be sold by her master as a wahaya (plural: wahayu) or “fifth wife” to a wealthy or powerful man in the country’s Tahoua region—or in northern Nigeria—for as little as $400 US (200,000 CFA).

While owning a wahaya is a sign of affluence, wahayu “marriages” are illegitimate because they do not comply with several of the Islamic rules for marital unions. Since they are illegitimate wives, the women “wed” to men through this practice also bear the name “fifth wives”—not one of the four legitimate wives permitted by Islamic practises in a nation where Muslim is the predominant religion.

A wahaya works without pay; she is enslaved in domestic and sexual servitude. Tikirit Amoudar, a 45-year-old who became a wahaya at age 10, described her experience to Anti-Slavery International and Timidria researchers:

My workload was heavy: fetching water for all the family; fetching water for livestock (over 100 cattle); hulling and pounding grain…for food and foodstuffs; providing firewood for the family; [making] large preparations [for] community gatherings in the master’s fields…; washing up; preparing the mistresses’ and the master’s beds; looking after the children and keeping the courtyard clean…

Wahayu face constant physical and verbal abuse from their masters’ legal wives, who may view them as competition. They also live in fear for the welfare of any children they may bear for their master, as these children are considered his legitimate offspring and represent a threat to the inheritance of his other children. The master’s legitimate wife, or wives, may attempt to eliminate those threats through kidnapping, sorcery, or even murder.

Niger’s young wahayu are among the 10.5 million children worldwide who perform domestic child labor. Eighty-three percent of the wahayu interviewed by Anti-Slavery International and Timidria researchers had been sold into this form of servitude before age 15.

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Ghana Police Rescue 116 Children from Forced Labor

ACCRA, Ghana—Ghanaian police say they have rescued 116 children who were forced into child labor in the country’s Volta Lake area.

Human Trafficking Unit leader Superintendent Patience Quaye said Friday that police found parents in fishing communities who had sold children as young as four years old for sums as low as 150 Ghana cedis — about $100.

Quaye says child labor is a widespread problem in the West African nation. She says police rescued 284 children in a similar operation last year.

Interpol, which worked with Ghanaian police, said the operation earlier this month led to 28 arrests and convictions.

Interpol also said they conducted a separate operation in the capital, Accra, that rescued 29 minors who had been trafficked into the sex industry.… Read the rest

Hilton Signs Code of Conduct to Prevent Child Prostitution

After over a year of efforts from ECPAT-USA, anti-trafficking advocates,Change.org members, and Hilton staff, Hilton Worldwide has signed the Code of Conduct to prevent sexual exploitation of children in the travel and tourism industry.

Hilton Worldwide is only the second large U.S.-based hotel chain to sign the Code, and represents a huge step towards fighting child sex trafficking in the travel and tourism industry.

Started by: Amanda Kloer in Human Trafficking

Targeting VP, Corporate Social Responsibility (Jennifer Silberman)… Read the rest