BY:Malika Saada SaarAfter stepping off the podium at the United Nations, President Obama made a historic commitment -- to combating modern day slavery. Not just in remote corners of the developing world. But here in this country as well. Many of the slaves in America today are girls. Born in this country. Hidden in plain view. You see these girls around you. They are the lost girls, standing around bus stops, hanging out by runaway youth shelters, or advertised online. Here in D.C., they are right in front of you. At the Motel 8 or the Marriott, at McDonald's or the bars on U Street and Adams Morgan. According to the FBI, there are currently an estimated 293,000 American children at risk of being exploited and trafficked for sex. Forty percent of all human trafficking cases opened for investigation between January 2008 and June 2010 were for the sexual trafficking of a child. And while the term trafficking may conjure images of desperate illegal immigrants being forced into prostitution by human smugglers, 83 percent of victims in confirmed sex trafficking cases in this country were American citizens. The average age of entry into commercial sexual exploitation for these children is between the ages of 12 and 14. They are abducted or lured by traffickers who prey on their trust. They are routinely raped, beaten into submission, and sometimes even branded. When they try to run away, the traffickers torture and or gang rape them. They are girls like Jackie, who ran away from an abusive home at 13 only to be found alone and hungry by a trafficker who promised to love her like a father/boyfriend/Prince Charming. He sold her to at least six different men every night. When she begged him for food or rest, he beat her. Many of these girls come out of a broken foster care system. Of the trafficking victims in Alameda County, Calif., 55 percent were from foster youth group homes. In New York, 85 percent of trafficking victims had prior child welfare involvement. And in Florida, the head of the state's trafficking task force estimates that 70 percent of victims are foster youth. T was born into the foster care system and trafficked at the age of 10 by a trafficker to men all over California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada. As T explained: In most of my 14 different placements in foster care homes, I was raped, and attached to a check. I understood very early that I could be raped, cared for, and connected to money. It was therefore easy to go from that to a pimp -- and at least the pimp told me that he loved me. And when I was under the control and torture of a pimp, child welfare was never there to help me, even though I was a child being abused. Young girls like T and Jackie are the new commodities that traffickers and gangs are selling. It is less risky and more profitable to sell girls than crack cocaine or meth. The U.S. government spends 300 times more money each year to fight drug trafficking than it does to fight human trafficking. And the criminal penalties for drug trafficking are generally greater than the ones usually levied against those who traffic in girls. Legally, men who purchase girls for sex are no different than men who snatch children off the street to violate them. Both are rapists. No child is permitted to have sex with an adult, much less sell her body -- the law says she can't consent. Yet arresting these perpetrators of child rape is rare, and prosecution is even rarer. In most cases, these men are politely referred to as "Johns" and set free. According to the international anti-trafficking organization Shared Hope, very few buyers of prostituted children are arrested or prosecuted in the United States. In fact, when an arrest is made, it is often the child who ends up behind bars. Most girls in detention, whether they are arrested for prostitution or for running away from foster care, are actually victims of trafficking and sexual violence. Both T and Jackie, and girls like them, were repeatedly arrested and detained for prostitution, despite being children who were forced to sell their bodies. This must be the only time the abused child is incarcerated for the abuse perpetrated against her. That's the problem -- these girls are not considered victims. Here in D.C., and across the U.S., we have the same child sex slave markets as in Cambodia, the Philippines, and India. Girls are sold to the very same types of men, and they are tortured in almost identical manners if they attempt to leave. Yet these girls, the girls from Southeast D.C. or South Central L.A., are seen as the "ho," the bad girl, the hooker. It is time to really see these girls and help them. Hopefully, the plans the president outlined will help these girls too -- because no girl in America, in the 21st century, should be for sale.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
According to our correspondent, another Shiite, Zahid Hussain Zaidi, was shot dead in Karachi, making him the 6th Shiite to be killed in the last 24 hours at the hands of Sipah-e-Sahaba extremists. Furthermore, the Shiite was targeted in Golimar Jaffaria near Rizvia where he lived. Syed Zahid Hussain Zaidi was repeatedly shot and therefore died on the spot. The martyr’s body has been moved to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. This martyr was the 6th Shiite to be killed in the past 24 hours. 4 of the 6 where killed in Karachi and 1 in Quetta.
By:Prior to any such announcement, the government could have consulted the religious and political parties and transferred the responsibility for protest management to them Pakistanis are not lesser Muslims. A peaceful protest against a sacrilegious movie would have perhaps meant that Pakistanis were compromised Muslims. What Pakistanis proved on September 21 (last Friday) was that if Arabs in their countries could turn the anti-movie protest into acts of violence by razing property and devouring human lives, Pakistanis were equally capable of doing the same. A protest against the irreverent movie that ends up in destroying public and private property and claiming human lives is unjustified. Such a violent act and associated hooliganism is no service to the cause of Islam. Nevertheless, the government faltered on three counts. First, the government’s decision to declare Friday a national holiday to let people demonstrate against the blasphemous movie was a call in haste. Prior to any such announcement, the government could have consulted the religious and political parties, besides the representatives of civil society, and transferred the responsibility for protest management to them. In an effort to keep all on board, instead of Friday, any other day could have been selected for the peaceful display of Pakistanis’ feelings. Second, it is known that in the subcontinent, Muslims are very sentimental about the inviolability and holiness of the symbols and personalities of religion. Here, sentiments mean that emotional attachment carries more weight than sagacity. Against this backdrop, harbouring expectations from the protestors to perform rational acts while giving vent to their surging anger against the movie, its maker or the land where it was made, was itself a preposterous idea. Hence, before announcing the decision of a national holiday, the government should have come up with a comprehensive plan to manage the viciousness of reactive crowds, instead of leaving the space open for letting anything happen. Third, the government should have declared whether or not it would allow the participants to get their protest registered with the US authorities in Pakistan. Even if it is accepted that the turning of a protest into an act of violence was a phenomenon not to compete with the rage of the Arabs, the protest was revealing in at least seven ways. First, the protest showed that there was a link between the religious thinking of people and violence. The broader question is, does the religion of Islam teach violence to articulate one’s feelings and let violence be a way of life? Second, the protest showed that when people were angry and in the streets, they tended to lose the sense of distinction between what to do and what not to do. It is not known what purpose setting police mobiles on fire served. These vehicles were meant for protecting the same people from robbers and criminals. The absence of these vehicles is bound to enhance the vulnerability of the people to crime of all sorts. Third, the protest showed that the protestors had lost all sense of proportion. That is, the protestors could not decide whether the protest was against the government of Pakistan or against the movie. Similarly, the protestors could not decide whether the protest was against banks and petrol pumps or against the moviemaker. Further, the protestors failed to judge how setting a fellow citizen’s car on fire could send a message to the US to penalise the maker of the movie in question. Fourth, the protest showed that any gathering of protestors could turn into a mob that had a tendency of dispensing justice on its own. Such a mob remains leaderless and directionless. That is how mob mentality is lethal: An uncontrolled fury that can be unleashed on anyone and anything but the offenders remain unaccountable. The trend portends much trouble for Pakistan in the future. Fifth, the protest showed that violence was fast becoming a way of life in Pakistan. People thought that resorting to violence was the only recourse to be heard. In the past, the callous disregard of the government towards the genuine demands of the people also promoted this kind of thinking. Hence, if violence is the language used to convey one’s message to those who matter, it means Pakistan is degenerating and its tall claims about the rising literacy level are a farce. Sixth, the protest showed that the number of marginalised people in society is mounting. Whenever the marginalised found a chance to avenge their marginalisation, they would not squander any such opportunity. These marginalised people may be semi-illiterate people who are clueless in which age they are living; these marginalised people may be semi-skilled people who are jobless and find insufficient economic solace in society; these marginalised people may be religiously educated people who feel themselves irrelevant to society; and these marginalised people may be politically redundant people who do not see their future attached to the progress of Pakistan. Seventh, the protest showed that the number of disgruntled people was increasing in society. Some consider that the contest, in the name of a protest, was between the haves and have-nots of society. The have-nots did not fail to snap at a chance to seek revenge for their haplessness and equal the score by depriving several people of their legitimate property. Some consider that uncontrolled urbanisation led to the migration of illiterate rural people to urban areas who unleashed their uncontrolled fury on urban property and urban symbols in the name of protest. Some consider that the ignorant portion of the much averred ‘youth bulge’ showcased its worth during the protest. Some consider that the deprived of society waged a personal vendetta against the country in the name of protest. The government should urge the US government to review its laws to differentiate between what is freedom of speech and what is a sacrilegious act.
Associated PressA suicide attack on a NATO patrol in eastern Afghanistan killed two service members in the U.S.-led coalition on Wednesday, NATO and Afghan officials said. The attack included small-arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and a man wearing a vest laden with explosives, said Jamie Graybeal, a spokesman for the coalition. The coalition gave no other details, but Din Mohammad Darwesh, a spokesman in Logar province, said the suicide bomber, who was on foot, struck the international soldiers as they were patrolling a section of Pul-i-Alam, the provincial capital. The nationalities of the soldiers killed were not disclosed. So far this year, 285 NATO service members have been killed in Afghanistan.
http://www.thenewstribe.comIn what appeared to be a big-blow to the Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), its senior leader and one of the old guards Shireen Mazari has resigned from the party. She said that the party’s membership drive was hijacked by ‘big money’ and that compromised the party elections “Party program has been taken over by ‘big money,” she posted on social networking site twitter. “The think tanks were isolated from policy formulation. Party created compromised policies PTI has changed its principles and brought in intermediaries Not leaving PTI for any other party, purely based on political issues” she wrote. “I regretfully resign as people had real hopes with PTII felt it better to resign after the Rajanpur incident. There were many differences between me and the party recently PTI didn’t need political names after the Lahore Jalsa. People supported PTI due to their ideology,” she added. “I didn’t ask for any high post, purely out of commitment to ideology.I have given in my resignation from PTI. In a press conference here on Wednesday, she said that the PTI was a youth party, but the way they treated her daughter on twitter, abusing her over my remarks, was unacceptable. “I did not disrespect the leader, I have great respect for Imran Khan, but he made a grave mistake”. “I am not raising allegations against IK’s character, but the party principles have been foregone.I support a culture of change that PTI promised, but the party is internally blocking change”. “I am ready to serve PTI again if the party lives up to its principles.”My resignation is not based on personal differences rather on policy and governance issues.”
APPForeign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and her Afghan counterpart Zalmay Rassoul Wednesday reviewed progress on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) and expressed commitment of their respective governments to fully implement the agreement. A statement by the Foreign Office said the meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session at New York said they also discussed the issue of cross-border infiltration and resultant shelling, and the importance of working closely to effectively address border management issue. Foreign Minister Khar underlined the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan, and reiterated Pakistan's full support for an Afghan-owned, Afghan-driven, and Afghan-led reconciliation process, a press release by the Foreign Office from New York said.
FRONTIER POSTGovernor Barrister Masood Kausar said that tribal people would benefit from the political reforms and on-going development projects in FATA. He said this in a meeting with Chairman PRCS FATA Engineer Ghani Gul Mehsood at Governor House on Tuesday. The chairman, Ghani Gul briefed the Governor about the performance of PRCS in FATA. He said that the hard work of the staff had resulted in establishment of new PRSC branches in Mohmand Agency and Bajaur Agency to work for the welfare and betterment of the people. He said that staff members were always ready to provide facilities in case of any emergency situations anywhere in FATA. He further said that they had started a programme for the rehabilitation of the displaced triabals. The Governor stated that every possible effort would be made and for the progress and prosperity of tribal people. He said that political reforms and developmental projects would ensure better education system and more business and employment opportunities for the people of FATA. He further said that the support of national and international organizations would help in completing these development programmmes.
In Pakistan, proceedings in the now infamousblasphemy case of Rimsha Masih, a 14-year-old, mentally disabled Christian girl, took a turn for the better after the powerful Muslim Ulema Councilbacked her against the accuser. Last Saturday, Rimsha, jailed since August 16, was released on bail pending a court investigation into whether there is any evidence that she actually did burn pages of a Qur’an while sweeping out an Islamabad neighborhood school. Rimsha was taken away from jail in an armored vehicle to a helicopter, demonstrating the extent of the threat of violence from Pakistani extremists. Rimsha Masih will not be in the courtroom for the trial, which is scheduled to start tomorrow, September 14. With luck, she and her family who, as her lawyer points out, still remain in mortal threat from vigilantes, will be kept protected and enabled to start their lives anew, whether in another location in Pakistan or abroad. Many in Islamabad and Washington alike breathed a collective sigh of relief at the news of her bail. Emerging reports that a property dispute likely underlies the accusation and that the pages burned were not from a Qur’an at all but from a children’s religious textbook deepen this feeling. But if we exhale thinking an atrocity has been averted, we do so at our own peril. While Rimsha has been freed, Pakistan itself faces a grave danger from the corrosive criminal blasphemy law regime — to its fragile democracy and rule of law, and to its historically pluralistic society. The case’s resolution or even any ensuing reforms short of repeal cannot spare the country from the extremism that this law’s mere existence feeds. Rimsha’s case is one of thousands brought since the 1980s when the laws were adopted as part of the Islamization championed by the brutal dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq, and it is all too typical. It exposes many of the injustices inherent in such laws, which carry harsh penalties of life imprisonment for allegations of desecrating a Qur’an, or possibly death for insulting Islam’s Prophet Mohammad, his companions or family members. In most cases individuals, found by human rights organizations to commonly have ulterior motives, have initiated these charges. The laws are as vague as they are harsh. Intent to commit an act of blasphemy is not required. Illiterates, children and the mentally ill, like Rimsha, have all been put on trial for desecrating Qur’anic pages they could not read. They provide that an offense against the prophet can be committed by “any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly” — in other words, unwittingly. Testimony, even the bare accusation itself, is often the only evidence, and in such cases is weighted more in court if it comes from a male or a Muslim than from a female or a non-Muslim. Under just such circumstances, Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five from a village outside Lahore, was convicted in 2010 and remains on death row. The upshot is that Pakistan’s Christians, Ahmadiyas, Hindus and Shiite Muslims are disproportionately accused of blasphemy. But members of the Sunni majority are also victimized. Educators who advocate religious reforms are vulnerable to blasphemy charges brought by their extremist students. One is Dr. Mohammad Younas Shaikh, a professor of Islamabad’s medical college, who reportedly told a student that Mohammad was neither a prophet nor a Muslim before he was forty. An anti-blasphemy vigilante group, the Movement for the Finality of the Prophet, brought charges and also incited a mob that threatened to burn down the college and the local police station. After three years of legal proceedings, he was acquitted and fled to Europe. Another, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, was not so fortunate; for criticizing the blasphemy law, he was murdered in broad daylight last year, as was Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian. The law empowers extremists within the society. They invoke it to enflame sectarian sentiment, raise an angry mob, determine what can be said, and thus leverage their own political power. Blasphemy laws are often justified as necessary for social harmony, but they do the opposite. Rimsha’s case stands apart because of significant protest it stirred nationally and internationally and the arrest of its provocateur, local mosque leader Khalid Chisti, whose inflammatory threats nevertheless frightened some six hundred Christian neighbors from their homes, trapped presidential advisor Paul Bhatti inside the Ministry of Harmony, and continues to worry her lawyers. One rumor, one accusation of a Qur’an desecration over a mosque loudspeaker, can trigger the torching of an entire area as happened in Gojra in 2009, when forty houses were razed and seven Christians were burned alive. Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are incompatible with its aspiration of being a modern, democratic, Muslim state respected by the international community. Instead of allowing this travesty in the name of religion to continue, Pakistan needs to revisit the ideas of its founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who declared on the eve of independence, “You are free; free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”