Posts tagged OSCE

Brave Stories already told in 2008 OSCE Report on Sex Trafficking

Please go to the following site which shows many different details related to sex trafficking.

What a thorough report done for OSCE in Helsinki back in 2008.  However, fast forward three years and I believe that the situation has not improved much for victims of sex trafficking. More funds are needed to rehabilitate and return those victims who were forced into labor or sex exploitation to return to their home countries.  Also, internal migration is a problem in Kazakhstan for those who have no jobs in the rural areas and are trafficked to the big cities of Almaty and Astana and other Central Asian cities that are notably monied with “clients.”

Here’s just a teaser of what you will find in this report written by Yekaterina Badikova.  Brave stories have been already told and there are reasons why this is a self-perpetuation problem due to lack of funds to help the victims:

1) problems with issuing return documents for the victims returning to their home countries;

2) unclear prospects of victims’ future upon the return to the environment pushed her to the victimization before;

3) sustainable trends for deviant behavior demonstrated by some victims;

4) lack of cooperation demonstrated by public health and social services contacted by the NGOs seeking professional assistance for the victims passed the rehabilitation programs;

5) attempts of media to unveil the victims’ personality, notwithstanding of the security and safety requirements;

6) long time of investigation and court hearings and lack of funds and the NGOs’ resources to accommodate and feed the victims in the course of investigation and court hearings;

7) victims rejected cooperation with the police after the case was reported, mainly due to mistreatment by the police who openly demonstrated  stigmatizing attitude towards the victims, and sometimes re-victimized them;

8 ) the police officers’ skepticism expressed very often regarding the possibility to investigate the case successfully;

9) mixing of victims of trafficking and victims of other crimes within one case, and unavailability of funds to assist any other individuals in need but only trafficking victims; 

10) the prejudice towards victims, openly expressed by many government  officials who are responsible for combating trafficking; very weak understanding of the phenomenon of trafficking in persons by those officials, and, because of their rapid rotation from one post to another, low  chances for them to study.

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Courage Needed to Change “Dark Side of Prosperity” (Part IV)

Human trafficking is not only about kidnapping women, it is also about enslaving men to do hard labor.  While I was living in the two most cosmopolitan cities in Astana and Almaty, I did not realize that much of the work done on tall and funky skyscrapers are really done by some family men hired from neighboring Central Asian countries who want to send money home to their loved ones.  Instead they are trapped in a vicious cycle when their documents are taken from them and they have no money to return home.  Daring courage by men and women to break the bonds that shackle them will have to make the difference to change this grave situation.  However, too many Central Asians do not want to take the risks of bringing this problem up with their government leaders.  We only have to go back about 50 years to see what happened to those who took issue with what edicts were handed down from Moscow during the Soviet era.  Someone influential and prominent will have to have the courage to say “Enough is enough!” when it comes to human trafficking. Read what another former student of mine wrote:

“Man was born free and everywhere he is in shackles” said Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Relying on famous French philosopher the humanity constantly has been struggling for freedom and still the fight continues. The issue of human rights in Central Asia is rather controversial and problematic. One of the widespread and often discussed issues is human trafficking. Even though there many public, non-governmental institutions which investigate the problem of human trafficking, the government and society ignore the problem of human trafficking and also there are not sufficient actions from authorities to support human rights in Kazakhstan.

There are many public, non-governmental institutions which investigate the problem of human trafficking. The volunteers from OSCE and non-governmental organisations focused their activity on preventing the growth of crime. Mostly the activists help those who underwent the slavery, providing them with shelter and psychological support. Also public organisations inform the society about all the traps of enslavement via media sources.

However, the actions of voluntary organisations are not sufficient to stop the increase of crime in Central Asia. The problem requires the collaborative participation of the governments of all Central Asian countries and each member of the society as a whole. If to focus on Kazakhstan exactly, the issue of migrant workers` rights is minor for our society, which is never raised on discussions in the Parliament. The public is not concerned with those who are out of mainstream, who are out of common prosperity. That people are out of law protection, they are on the dark side.

Clear, that the local authorities are only the “watch-afters” and their duty is in taking the report of the human trafficking case, writing the profile of the victim and reporting back to the head that everything is all right. The society is frightened with the state of situation but none bears anxiety until trouble troubles him. The indifference weakens the society. All we need is to find courage to question themselves about the protection of our rights and be ready to struggle for them.

So you can see that although there many public, non-governmental institutions which investigate the problem of human trafficking, the government and society continue to ignore the problem. The issue of human rights is not popular in our country, but the society should start protecting their rights.

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“Collaborative Force Against Human Trafficking” (Part II)

A second Kazakh student of mine wrote this problem/solution essay concerning human trafficking in Central Asia. My students know that I never want to see them write that the government is going to solve this problem or any other problems. (In the case of the Soviet Union, they created more problems than they solved.) I would have to agree that if ALL the people are aware enough and make a collaborative effort as the Kazakh government did to close down the crime at Polygon-Semipalatinsk, then positive changes can be made for the emotional and spiritual health of the nation of Kazakhstan.  Her title was the above:

Central Asian countries, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, faced great social and economic crisis. After getting their independence, poor and new established governments of separate countries could not provide the citizens with jobs, financial support and, even, food. Seeking for better life poor people became victims of organized crime. And this picture maintains without any changes into better conditions till present days. Even though the problem of international human trafficking still remains actual and unsolved, opening more human protecting and supporting institutions and strengthening the law enforcement can make this concern less dramatic.

Though about twenty years have passed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the social and economic issues in Central Asian countries still remain dramatic. The high level of unemployment, poor law enforcement in these countries have now become a global concern. Though the democratic government always highlights the freedom and equality of all human beings, more and more people are becoming the victims of slavery and involuntary servitude. And it is difficult to confess that our Fatherland, Kazakhstan, this year the Head of OSCE and the leading country in Central Asia, is the centre of organized crime and international trafficking.

If we look at our constitution[Kazakhstan], the second part is devoted to Man and Citizen, and in the seventeenth entry of this part is said that 1) a man’s rights must remain untouched, and 2) no one is allowed to abuse, to enslave, to violate another man. But somehow these words carry no importance for some people who are involved in cheap labour market. Recent events show that there is a complete absence of ruling in Kyrgyzstan and its people have been left far away from globalization. The prove for that is the increasing number of their men and women becoming victims of human trafficking. We also can’t say that life in other Central Asian countries like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan is better. According to some media information, two or three years ago Kazakhstan was in the first place on the list of countries that use cheap labour forces of immigrants.

Even though the problem of international human trafficking still remains actual and unsolved, opening protective and supportive institutions can make the conditions better. Most people is ill – informed about human trafficking, because very little is written in books and pages of media sources, and very little is said on TV, schools and other social institutions. If we open such protective shelters, it may function actively in providing people with “three P’s”: prosecution, protection, and prevention. And the most dramatic thing is that most people, especially women who were the victims of slavery and sexual exploitation and could rescue, do not share with their problems because of, maybe, their mentality or they are still afraid of that. But they must be persuaded to say about what they have experienced more and more in order to make other people be aware of that. They must warn them.

One more solution that can make this concern less dramatic is strengthening the law enforcement, because Central Asian countries are famous for the high level of corruption. We know that international human trafficking belongs to organized crime. It means that representatives of government, custom affairs may be or are involved in international human trafficking, because the word “traffic” means “transport” and this crime would never happen without supporters in the field of international transportation. And also it means that corruption absolutely takes place in this process. That’s why people and mass media sources should warn again and again the representatives of policy and law.

Summing up, I should say that if there is a problem, there is always a way out. It is just a question of time and effort that people put on it. Consequently, if we start to act actively, open supporting shelters and collaborate with the government, it will help to fight against international organized crime, and make less concern for the people all over the world.

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Expats’ Impressions of Living in Kazakhstan (Final Part VI)

The following is the final part to the last several questions I asked on my on-line survey where I got 27 responses. I would appreciate any feedback you may have to the six parts that I did this past week in my blog. Please comment below and I will e-mail you a response back. I would LOVE to know what my reading audience thinks after digesting all the results in total:

Question #11 – How do you think we, as foreigners living in Kazakhstan, can help create a better image about this great land of Kazakhstan?

33% talk it up and encourage friends and family to visit KZ

19% write more about KZ

19% blog about KZ

10% encourage Kazakhs to blog

11% other

1) Accurate books need to be written in English and other languages to raise awareness.

2) Get rid of Borat

3) Having lived among the Kazakhs and known them for many years I feel that foreigner’s help create the wrong image of Kazakhstan. I think first Embassies and corperations must stop calling Astana and Almaty “Hardship” locations. It is a perception that many foreigners love to use. I have heard so many complain about what a hardship living here is and this is a poor portrayal of our true life here.

Q. #12 Do you think this upcoming O.S.C.E. conference in Astana (Dec. 1-2) will make a difference for Kazakhstan?

15% – put Kazakhstan on the map

24% – will make little impact

32% – more about show than about substance

12% – no one else in the world cares about this summit

2% – first I’ve heard about it

15% – other

1)If the organization does what it says—follow through is necessary

2) I wish all the best for this conference and hope that it makes a positive difference

3) I think Kazakhstan will be mentioned in the papers, but I think these big meetings don’t achieve much generally.

4) It will be a positive experience and I think many foreign representatives will be pleasantly surprised at the progress in K-stan

5) It is always a good thing when countries come together and communicate. We live in a very small world.

6)I hope I’m wrong, but no one I’ve talked to about it in America knows anything about it.

7) news have not covered much about the upcoming conference

Question #13. Do you believe that Kazakhstan will reach its goal to be one of the top 50 countries by the year 2030?

15% – most definitely

41% – maybe

19% – no

4% – never heard of this goal

22% – other

1) Will depend on how the current government handles issues such as bribes, disparity of incomes etc.

2) What is meant by top?? It is already on of the largest,It has a vast supply of mineral wealth:oil,gold uranium. It is the Bread basket of the old soviet states. It has raise a modern city out of the dust of the Steppe! I do think it will be a contender for the top 20!!

3) top 50 is a poorly thought of statistic that is too general

4) top 50 in what sense … I don’t understand this question. gross GDP? possibly but the population is small. GDP per capita? probably. top 50 is vague.

5) I hope they will manage to spread the wealth among all citizens and not jus a few well connected people

6) anything is possible especially if the oil money continues to flow

7) depends all on the economic situation of the country, KZ is too dependent on oil and gas, if prices drop this can hit the country as a whole.

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