Archive for January 29, 2011

More Bleak Facts with KZ’s “Growing Pains”

As an American teacher of Kazakh teachers, I believe it is my duty to make them and others aware of what is REALLY happening in this great country of Kazakhstan.  I try to bring out all the wonderful qualities that are here but there are facts that cannot be ignored.  Such as the following:

Based on data in last 12 months from only one centre for people who are victims of trafficking:

  • almost every day in Astana at least one under 18 girl is identified as providing commercial sexual services (voluntarily or forcibly)
  • 45 victims of trafficking rescued and provided with shelters
  • there were 11 girls of age from 12-18 rescued from forced prostitution
  • 12 illegal and legal workers rescued from forced labor
  • reported at least 3 cases of pregnant women forced to provide sexual service up to a date of delivery and already 4 days after. They were denied medical treatment.
  • 4 girls were providing sexual services in presence of their babies and small children

I talked to an older and wiser Kazakh woman who knows there IS a problem and she said that she had seen a movie about a Ukrainian girl who had been used as a sex slave in Italy.  This movie got top prize in whatever film festival but she couldn’t remember the name of it, the young girl was played by a famous Russian actress.  Apparently as the story goes, whether it is true or not, it builds on the reality of many Eastern European girls who are used as prostitutes against their wishes.  They are told one thing, and they are forced to become prostitutes.  In this case the girl birthed nine children and never saw them.  She had a man she loved but he was killed and she found his remains in at a garbage dump.  If anyone knows what the name of this movie is, among my blog readership, please comment and let me know.

The following are comments made by my students about this terrible topic:

“It was terrible to read the information about sexual trafficking of women. How can people do it? How do they dare? Don’t they have their own mothers, daughters, sisters? How can this ever happen? How can somebody force another one to have sex when she doesn’t want? There are many girls who would do it with pleasure. Why not take those girls and leave alone those who don’t want to?”

Another student wrote this:  The story she gave in her presentation is like the ones that Marinka told us. This girl is very lucky to be escaped. What about the others who are still there? What about those who went missing or even died? “Don’t be afraid of bad people’ be afraid of those who are not afraid of God” once I heard an old man saying. I think the recruiters are never afraid of God as they do such things. So I think it is up to us, teachers, to make our students be aware of human trafficking and be careful.

Next sensitive student wrote the following:

This case have much in common with those Kyrgyz women’s ones. All of them underwent the hardship of being rescued once they get involved into the business of human trafficking. The thing that shocked me most off all is about the victims of trafficking in Astana, in the city, where we live. We used to think that such awful problems happen somewhere far away, far away from us, but it is not so. Who knows, perhaps, we meet those victims everyday in the streets of our capital city.

We say that world is getting better, but we do not always know what the real meaning of it is. Yes, I do not deny, the conditions for life is getting better, the amenities to live with comfort is improving. But! The most important creatures of the world – people – are dehumanizing themselves. That’s a big problem. It is the problem that causes a lot of them. The things that we create with hardships, we destroy at a glance.

Finally, this comment takes a different direction with those people who claim to help the poor and underprivileged but in fact pocket the money for themselves.  Here is an example of how greed of one person is corruption to the country’s detriment.  God bless those expats who are here in Kazakhstan from the outside who try to help rescue these vulnerable people.  Each person is valuable in God’s sight.

“As an educator I am aware of the situation with children`s rights in our country, but that knowledge painful for my heart. The government, NGO and of course UNICEF do much to improve the situation, but it is very common in our country that every good beginning will fade or ruined by corruption.

Remember the case with children infected with HIV in Chimkent several years ago, the fund was formed to gather money and donations to help families of those kids. A good idea! People could not stand aside and a big sum was gathered, but the money did not reach the point of destination. The head of the fund spent it on organizational needs such as a leather bag for 24,000 tenge, office equipment and transportation, he also invested money into some business for a year.

There is no law in our country about funds, so that man wasn`t afraid of it, but the moral law meant nothing for him also. You may argue saying that it was the only case, but people, it is a very example of our mentality, unfortunately.”

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