Category Archives: Exposé

Dubai was meant to be a Middle-Eastern Shangri-La, a glittering monument to Arab enterprise and western capitalism. But as hard times arrive in the city state that rose from the desert sands, an uglier story is emerging. Johann Hari reports

via The dark side of Dubai – Johann Hari, Commentators – The Independent.

The dark side of Dubai – Johann Hari

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Uttar Pradesh, India – An army of workers, their faces encrusted with dust, toils beside a story-high pile of unfired bricks. They are helping build a new India that appears to be leaving them behind.

From sunup to sundown they spend their time pouring wet mud into molds, lugging them to the kiln, firing them and then pulling them out. For their backbreaking work, they do not receive wages.

They are working to pay off a debt.

In India they are known as bonded laborers, bound to those who gave them or their forefathers an advance or a loan. Human rights advocates call them modern day slaves.


 

Before his work injury, Gagai said he tried to escape several times but was always found and brought back.

There are no physical signs the villagers are living in bondage: no chains, fences or armed guards, but the villagers say they are all slaves just the same.

“If I don’t work, they will beat me. They will abuse my daughter,” said Lalti, a mother of seven. “If you don’t give in, they will sell your daughter or son.”

Lalti said she had to borrow money from the landowner to treat her husband’s tuberculosis years ago, and now she can’t come and go as she pleases.

“I am an illiterate, so how would I know how much we owe, and what’s left to pay? I don’t even know how much we had taken. It’s been many years.”

As payment for work, she and her neighbors receive leftover food or bags of grain, Lalti said. They are beholden to the man who owns the land they live on.

None of them had heard of the Indian law that made bonded labor illegal more than 30 years ago.

“People in modern day slavery have no idea they can ever access any kind of rights,” said Awasthi of Free the Slaves.

Lalti hopes she is able to work long enough so her children will be freed from the loan that binds her family to the land and a hard life.

“The day I pay my debt I will be free. We’ll be prosperous,” Lalti said.

 

Generations pay off debts through slavery – The CNN Freedom Project: Ending Modern-Day Slavery – CNN.com Blogs.

Generations pay off debts through slavery – The CNN Freedom Project: Ending Modern-Day Slavery

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Asia’s Wildlife Trade

An exposé of the world’s most notorious wildlife dealer, his special government friend, and his ambitious new plan by Bryan Christy

For nearly two years Anson fought extradition to the U.S., but eventually he signed plea agreements, admitting to crimes carrying a maximum penalty of 250 years in prison and a $12.5-million fine. On June 7, 2001, U.S. District Judge Martin J. Jenkins sentenced him to 71 months in U.S. federal prison (with credit for 34 months served), fined him $60,000, and banned him from selling animals to anyone in the U.S. for three years after his prison release.

If the judge thought a ban on Anson Wong would work, he was mistaken. Shortly after his arrest, Anson’s wife and business partner, Cheah Bing Shee, established a new company, CBS Wildlife, which exported wildlife to the U.S. while Anson was in prison. His main company, Sungai Rusa Wildlife, continued to ship despite the ban. Now that he’s free, Anson has launched a new wildlife venture, a zoo that promises to be his most audacious enterprise yet.

Asia’s Wildlife Trade (via National Geographic)

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