Debate on human rights organizations in Argentina for Obama’s visit

Hollande in the Parque de la Memoria, Argentina, 2016

The main human rights organizations that were invited to the Memory Park, Thursday 24, to pay homage with Mauricio Macri and Barack Obama to the victims of the dictatorship have not decided yet if they will attend.
Moreover, at this time also they maintain a heated debate on whether or not to go there to remember the 40th anniversary of the coup d’état of 76. Neither decided Estela de Carlotto.

Continue reading “Debate on human rights organizations in Argentina for Obama’s visit”

Do you consider good that the law provides protections for women?

Human rights are inherent attributes of a person, by its mere status of being without distinction of age, race, sex, nationality or social class. Human rights have the following characteristics:

  • Universality: are inherent in all people, in all political, economic and cultural systems. Also cannot transferred to another person or give them up;
  • Integrity, interdependence and indivisibility: Each with, the other rights  are relate. Form a whole (civil, political, economic, social and cultural) and cannot sacrifice a specific right for defend another ; and
  • Enforceability: to be recognized by States in international and national law. This permits require compliance and enforcement.

That says a legal doctrine and the general ground rules of modern Western societies; but there is a big gap between policy and practice, between equality of law and equality of real life. The rules of social order are consequences of social and cultural patterns and therefore the conception and implementation of human rights, was designed from its inception in male key: the man at the center of human thought, the historical development, as one actor, and parameter of humanity.

The rights of women were thought of as a particular universal male; and under a conception of women as a minority.  Should be remembered, for example, that for a long time, women benefited from some rights by extension, being a citizen wives of male gender; or were denied rights such as suffrage, not recognized until the early twentieth century. This led to the historical exclusion of women, the invisibility of differences, diversity; and above all specificities and needs of the female population.

The gender perspective leads us to the characteristics of women and men, socially defined and molded by cultural factors, which is why they are amenable to transformation. Discrimination against women has been part of the history of mankind. The gender perspective helps us understand why the doctrine of human rights – in constant evolution and development – has provided conceptual extensions and explicit recognition of the rights of women.

So answering the question in the title: it’s a yes. But two aspects should be considered:

The size of the damage in the short term not be serious in real terms, because they affect the freedom and security of women. This is because the “ban” or “obligation” to do always generates a social disarticulation of those people they have not learned the new rules and their social context.

And knowing that: The real historical process demand primarily educational activities, not corrective. That the true conquest is achieved when a right becomes a moral axiom of conduct for all individuals. And this takes time.

Women photographers from other countries and cultures

Shirin Neshat

Recently a lot of women artists coming from Africa and the Middle East are achieving greater success day by day. Some of them are from Iran, such as the well known actress Golshifteh Farahani, who played the film “About Elly”, winner of the Silver Bear in Berlin Film Festival, and Shirin Neshat who won the Silver Lion at the 66th Venice Film Festival for her directional debut “Women without Men”.

Shirin Neshat

Shirin is primarly known for her work in films, videos and photographies and she is considered the first Iranian artist to achieve an international success. Born in Qawzin (Iran) in 1957, she moved to U.S.A. to study art when she was still very young, at the beginning of the Islamic Revolution in her country. As a photographer and video-artist, Shirin Neshat is recognized for her brilliant portraits of women covered with Persian calligraphy displaying verses of love and loss written by women Persian poets (notably through the “Women of Allah series” in 1990). She also directed several videos, such as “Anchorage” (1996), “Shadow under the Web” (1997), “Turbulent” (1998) and “Soliloquy” (1999).

Shirin Neshat

Neshat’s work refers the social, political and psychological dimensions of women’s experience in contemporary Islamic societies, to the codes of Muslim culture and the complexity of certain oppositions, such as man and woman. Although she actively opposes stereotypical representations of Islam, her artistic objectives are not explicitly polemical. Instead, her work recognizes the complex intellectual and religious forces shaping the identity of Muslim women throughout the world.

“VEILED MEMORIES” is the title of the exhibit of the XIV Edition of WOMEN’S BIENNAL EXHIBITION in Ferrara, Italy, in Palazzo Massari, Museum of Contemporary Art. This year the exhibit ( open April 18 – June 13 2010) has been dedicated to Iranian women artists: Shirin Fakhim, Ghazel, Firouzeh Khosrovani, Shadi Ghadirian, Mandana Moghaddam and Parastou Forouhar.

 

Mandana Moghaddam was born in Theran in 1962 but actually she lives in exile in Goteborg, Sweden. Photographer and artist, she has got a lot of scholarships in Sweden and her works have been exhibited in many European museums and galleries. The series of the pictures exhibited named “Manije” finds inspiration in her pregnancy and refers about the intimacy and the solitude of a woman in her bedroom, broken by a sensation of danger: water is slowly submering the sleeping woman.In 2005 Mandana, together with Bita Fayyazi Azad, showed her works in the Iranian Pavillon in 51th “Biennale di Venezia”, curated by the director of Teheran Museum of Contemporary Art.

Parastou Forouhar was born in Teheran in 1962, studied art at the University of her native town with a degree in Art, then, since 1991 she has continued her studies in Germany. Actually she lives in Frankfurt. She has been awarded many scholarships in Germany and in Italy.

 

For “Veiled memories” Farouhar has chosen to exhibit some big pictures of the black veil used by Iranian women. There is a beautiful tryptich which shows a woman’s hand as the only visiblepart of her body emerging from the black dress.

Since the end of the Nineties she has been urgently furthering democracy in Iran: her parents were murdered in Iran in November 1998. In her quest for clarification she went to Iran many times, questioned functionaries in the ministries responsible, held press conferences and has written letters to human rights organisations and politicians. There has been no clarification yet.

Shadi Ghadirian

Shadi Ghadirian was born in 1974 in Tehran, where she still lives and works. Shadi began her professional photography career after studing photography at Azad University. Through her work Shadi has always been inspired to create work reflecting what she sees as the duality and contradiction of life, questioning the role of women in society and exploring ideas of censorship, religion, modernity, and the status of women. Ghadirian is the photo editor of Women in Iran website (www.womeniniran.com) and manager of the first Iranian photography site (www.fanoosphoto.com).

Shadi made her “Like Every Day Series”, exposed in the exhibit, to show the daily repetitive routine to which many women find themselves consigned and by which many women are defined. (see above) Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in Europe, and U.S.A. She has also been featured in print and electronic media (including the New York Times, Photography Now, the Daily Telegraph, the BBC and others).

Maimouna Guerresi

Maimouna Guerresi

Ghadirian’s pictures are part of important exhibit in New York named “BARAKAT: THE GIFT”, curated by the Italian Gaia Serena Simionati, that includes paintings, sculptures, sound and video installations, works on paper and photos from nine important contemporary artists: the Egyptians Moataz Nasr and Hamdi Attia, the Iranians Navid Azimi Sajadi, Shadi Ghadirian and Reza Derakshani, the Iraqui Halim al Karim, the Libanese Nabil Nahas, the Turkish Baris Saribas and the Italo/Senegalese Maimouna Guerresi.

Shadi Ghadirian

Shadi exposes some pictures of the series “White Square”: instruments of war such as helmets and anti- gas masques with a red ribbon, as ironic symbols of the daily war in her country, while Maimouna gives her contribution with some pictures of the series “Oracles”. All the artists were chosen for their strength and poetical approach to the theme of dialogue between different cultures, acceptance, identity, transformation, through the essence of their art.

Patrizia Pulga

Patrizia Pulga

Argentina : The State filed a complaint against Magnetto, Noble and Videla

Papel Prensa - Argentina

Papel Prensa - Argentina

The Human Rights Office also denounced and called for the investigation of Bartolomé Mitre and Martinez de Hoz for conspiracy, extortion, kidnapping and torture in a case followed by death. These are crimes against humanity. Also this can be seen as the government’s intention to mask the current problems with the painful years of Argentina 70.

The Secretariat of National Human Rights filed a complaint yesterday for alleged crimes against humanity committed in the process of ownership stake in newsprint, during the last military dictatorship. The paper concludes that “this dispossession was the result of a joint determination by the authorities of civil-military dictatorship and the owners of newspapers, who joined their efforts to commit the crimes that finally led to the formation of the partnership between the State and Clarin, La Nacion and La Razon. ” As the complainant, the Secretary Eduardo Luis Duhalde called for the investigation and “appropriate processing” of former dictators Jorge Rafael Videla and Emilio Eduardo Massera, former Economy Minister Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz and the owner of the Industrial Development Ministry Raymundo Juan Pio Podesta. In the list, the agency included the owner of Grupo Clarin, Ernestina Herrera de Noble, the CEO Hector Magnetto Clarín, the employer of the newspaper Bartolomé Mitre and the former directors of Reason Sam, Mark and Hugo Peralta Ramos. “Half a criminal concert to put all the inputs that are necessary to arrive at the end, immediately to buyers, mediate for the dictatorship,” he says towards the end of the text presented yesterday to the Federal Fiscal Unit of La Plata.
In particular, the paper believes that “should be thoroughly investigated the crimes of conspiracy qualified, extortion, unlawful releases qualified, torture and harassment, these behaviors constitute crimes against humanity.” To support this request, the lawyers of the Human Rights Secretariat included a long list of history and national and international jurisprudence on the criminal responsibility of civil violations of human rights. Corporate complicity in the case of such crimes was examined by a Committee of Experts of the International Commission of Jurists in 2006 prepared a report on the subject which concluded that a company can be held responsible if they “actively attempted to contribute to gross abuses Human Rights. ” The experts added that “even though it might not have wanted that abuses occur, it is equal responsibility on the firm.
The history of dispossession of the newsprint mill that allowed Clarín has grown exponentially in the last 30 years came to justice after the report Newsprint – The Truth that made the president on 24 August. In his speech, Cristina Fernandez announced that it would turn the body chaired by the 27 000 folios Duhalde documentary that accompanied the document prepared by the Secretariat of Internal Trade. Last week, prosecutors Marcelo Molina, Carlos Hernán Dulau Dumm and asked Schapiro Argentino time the documents supporting the investigative reporting of more than six months on the looting suffered by Graiver and ended with the kidnapping of the entire family and several employee trust. In the articles, the newspaper showed documentation that held meetings Gallino Oscar-repressor by “research” on Graiver-and directors of newspapers. After those “encounters”, the military prepared interrogating members of the family while they were missing.
With the evidence in its possession, prosecutors, who are in charge of the investigation of the cause that leads the judge Arnaldo Corazza, must determine if they can prove in court that employers of Clarin, La Nacion and La Razón took over the company, complicity with the military junta.
The focus of the arguments in the presentation yesterday is that the alleged crimes against humanity only began with the kidnapping and torture against family members and death in the torture chamber of the administrator of the estate of Graiver, Jorge Rubinstein, not before. For this, the agency’s lawyers appealed to the figure of iter criminis, that the way the offense includes the preparation of the context for the crime to its consummation. The word “extortion”, the first stage of the operation of dispossession, is repeated in the text of the complaint detailing the plot of threats and pressures-both public and private, who suffered the Graiver after the plane crash that killed David.
The complicity between the economic powers and the oppressors who took blood and fire the State March 24, 1976 is another mainstay of the complaint. The detail of newspaper articles and documents before the transfer of shares shows that the “big day” was at least part, but co-construction of a public opinion favorable to the oppressors and the criminalization of Graiver clan.
A special section in the presentation earned the theft of other property of the Graiver after the abduction and disappearance of its members and some employees. When the November 20, 1981 the National Commission for Reparation Patrimonial-Conarepa-transferred to the National all Graiver family assets “was just out of this transfer to the State Newsprint Company SA and delivered as war booty to their Partners Clarín, La Nación and La Razon. “
In the lawsuit, lawyers for the Ministry of Human Rights considered as evidence the testimony of the widow of David Graiver, Lidia Papaleo, and former vice president of newsprint, Rafael Ianover. They also noted the statement to the court-martial of former Social Welfare Minister during the dictatorship of Agustín Lanusse, Guillermo Manrique, who on November 2, 1977 recalled a meeting prior to the sale with the widow of the banker and the subsequent efforts to Minister Podesta, who would have said that “the government understood it must be settled on Graiver Group, which in the case of paper, it was felt that it was best to be sold or transferred to the newspapers.”
But the complaint went further. Throughout the 192 pages, detailing not only the plan to benefit one industry over another, especially the businessmen members of the General Confederation Economic linked to former finance minister of the government of Juan Domingo Peron José Gelbard Bel – but the pressures, closures and shutdowns suffered by the military junta’s media is not addicted to the policies of the dictatorship. He also recalled that among the 30 000 missing detainees, 70 are journalists.

The Secretariat of National Human Rights filed a complaint yesterday for alleged crimes against humanity committed in the process of ownership stake in newsprint, during the last military dictatorship. The paper concludes that “this dispossession was the result of a joint determination by the authorities of civil-military dictatorship and the owners of newspapers, who joined their efforts to commit the crimes that finally led to the formation of the partnership between the State and Clarin, La Nacion and La Razon. ” As the complainant, the Secretary Eduardo Luis Duhalde called for the investigation and “appropriate processing” of former dictators Jorge Rafael Videla and Emilio Eduardo Massera, former Economy Minister Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz and the owner of the Industrial Development Ministry Raymundo Juan Pio Podesta. In the list, the agency included the owner of Grupo Clarin, Ernestina Herrera de Noble, the CEO Hector Magnetto Clarín, the employer of the newspaper Bartolomé Mitre and the former directors of Reason Sam, Mark and Hugo Peralta Ramos. “Half a criminal concert to put all the inputs that are necessary to arrive at the end, immediately to buyers, mediate for the dictatorship,” he says towards the end of the text presented yesterday to the Federal Fiscal Unit of La Plata. In particular, the paper believes that “should be thoroughly investigated the crimes of conspiracy qualified, extortion, unlawful releases qualified, torture and harassment, these behaviors constitute crimes against humanity.” To support this request, the lawyers of the Human Rights Secretariat included a long list of history and national and international jurisprudence on the criminal responsibility of civil violations of human rights. Corporate complicity in the case of such crimes was examined by a Committee of Experts of the International Commission of Jurists in 2006 prepared a report on the subject which concluded that a company can be held responsible if they “actively attempted to contribute to gross abuses Human Rights. ” The experts added that “even though it might not have wanted that abuses occur, it is equal responsibility on the firm. The history of dispossession of the newsprint mill that allowed Clarín has grown exponentially in the last 30 years came to justice after the report Newsprint – The Truth that made the president on 24 August. In his speech, Cristina Fernandez announced that it would turn the body chaired by the 27 000 folios Duhalde documentary that accompanied the document prepared by the Secretariat of Internal Trade. Last week, prosecutors Marcelo Molina, Carlos Hernán Dulau Dumm and asked Schapiro Argentino time the documents supporting the investigative reporting of more than six months on the looting suffered by Graiver and ended with the kidnapping of the entire family and several employee trust. In the articles, the newspaper showed documentation that held meetings Gallino Oscar-repressor by “research” on Graiver-and directors of newspapers. After those “encounters”, the military prepared interrogating members of the family while they were missing. With the evidence in its possession, prosecutors, who are in charge of the investigation of the cause that leads the judge Arnaldo Corazza, must determine if they can prove in court that employers of Clarin, La Nacion and La Razón took over the company, complicity with the military junta. The focus of the arguments in the presentation yesterday is that the alleged crimes against humanity only began with the kidnapping and torture against family members and death in the torture chamber of the administrator of the estate of Graiver, Jorge Rubinstein, not before. For this, the agency’s lawyers appealed to the figure of iter criminis, that the way the offense includes the preparation of the context for the crime to its consummation. The word “extortion”, the first stage of the operation of dispossession, is repeated in the text of the complaint detailing the plot of threats and pressures-both public and private, who suffered the Graiver after the plane crash that killed David. The complicity between the economic powers and the oppressors who took blood and fire the State March 24, 1976 is another mainstay of the complaint. The detail of newspaper articles and documents before the transfer of shares shows that the “big day” was at least part, but co-construction of a public opinion favorable to the oppressors and the criminalization of Graiver clan. A special section in the presentation earned the theft of other property of the Graiver after the abduction and disappearance of its members and some employees. When the November 20, 1981 the National Commission for Reparation Patrimonial-Conarepa-transferred to the National all Graiver family assets “was just out of this transfer to the State Newsprint Company SA and delivered as war booty to their Partners Clarín, La Nación and La Razon. “ In the lawsuit, lawyers for the Ministry of Human Rights considered as evidence the testimony of the widow of David Graiver, Lidia Papaleo, and former vice president of newsprint, Rafael Ianover. They also noted the statement to the court-martial of former Social Welfare Minister during the dictatorship of Agustín Lanusse, Guillermo Manrique, who on November 2, 1977 recalled a meeting prior to the sale with the widow of the banker and the subsequent efforts to Minister Podesta, who would have said that “the government understood it must be settled on Graiver Group, which in the case of paper, it was felt that it was best to be sold or transferred to the newspapers.” But the complaint went further. Throughout the 192 pages, detailing not only the plan to benefit one industry over another, especially the businessmen members of the General Confederation Economic linked to former finance minister of the government of Juan Domingo Peron José Gelbard Bel – but the pressures, closures and shutdowns suffered by the military junta’s media is not addicted to the policies of the dictatorship. He also recalled that among the 30 000 missing detainees, 70 are journalists.

This is the news, it is better that justice is responsible for investigating, and that policy should be devoted to improving the quality of life of citizens. And I add, that are primarily engaged, politics, a means of resolving problems of nutrition, education and exploitation of mineral resources.

Venezuela: Chavez can consolidate his authoritarian rule and influence in Latin America

Chavez: an authoritarianVenezuela’s Sept. 26 national parliamentary elections present a major opportunity for strongman Hugo Chavez to cement his grip on power. Despite a tradition of a free press and competitive politics, a cosmopolitan elite and extensive natural resources, Venezuela is increasingly a case study in how to lose political and economic freedom.

The stakes are especially high in light of evidence consistent with an emerging Venezuelan nuclear weapons program. Ironically, Chavez’s frequently clownish behavior protects him, camouflaging the seriousness of his potential threat to U.S. security and to democratic societies throughout Latin America.

Washington, under Republican and Democratic administrations, has proved unable or unwilling to slow Chavez’s descent into authoritarianism. Unlike coups by prior caudillos in the Americas, the situation in Venezuela today is like a slow-motion train wreck, which makes it all the more frustrating. A lack of international outrage is discouraging pro-democracy Venezuelans across the ideological spectrum. They worry they have been forgotten, especially by an Obama administration that finds foreign policy a distraction.

This month’s elections, therefore, may be a last chance for change before Chavez completes his takeover. He has advanced his agenda since taking office in 1999 by fragmenting his domestic opposition, manipulating election rules, closing down opposition news sources and expropriating the considerable assets of businesses and entrepreneurs. He has materially impaired Venezuela’s prosperous petroleum economy by failing to make prudent investments and improvements, while using substantial oil revenues to consolidate his hold on power.

Even more disturbing are Chavez’s international threats. While Latin American democracies have refrained from doing anything that smacks of “interference” in Venezuela’s internal affairs, Chavez has felt no similar compunction. For example, it’s clear he has sheltered, supplied and financed FARC guerrillas who seek to overthrow the government in neighboring, and still-democratic, Colombia. In decades past, accusations that the United States was engaged in such tactics would have brought millions into the streets shouting “Yanqui go home!”

Last year, Chavez led the charge against those in Honduras trying to prevent its fragile democracy (and one of the Western Hemisphere’s poorest countries) from being subverted by Manuel Zelaya, a would-be caudillo. Chavez has poured money — openly or through suspected clandestine channels — into elections in Peru, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador to support leftist candidates of his ilk. To that same end, he questioned the legitimacy of President Felipe Calderon’s election in Mexico and purchased much of Argentina’s sovereign debt. One can only imagine what he might be doing to support the Mexican drug cartels, as with their cohorts in Colombia. For that reason, Venezuelan involvement in hemispheric drug trafficking should be a top U.S. intelligence priority.

On the world stage, Chavez’s behavior is increasingly ominous. As Fidel Castro has aged and Cuba’s relations with Russia have faded, Chavez has stepped forward. He has engaged in extensive military cooperation with Moscow, including major acquisitions of conventional weapons, from infantry rifles to sophisticated, high-end weapons well beyond any conceivably legitimate requirements of Venezuela’s military. Chavez’s purchases of advanced-model Kalashnikov assault rifles, some Venezuelan businessmen and former diplomats suggest, are meant to arm campesino “militias” that will rally to him if Venezuela’s military ever threatens his regime, or the weapons may be destined for revolutionary or terrorist groups. In either case, the consequences would be profoundly negative.

Beyond enhancing his own swaggering reputation, Chavez’s growing closeness with Russia and Iran on nuclear matters should be our greatest concern. For decades, after military governments fell in Brazil and Argentina, Latin America prided itself on avoiding the dangers of nuclear proliferation. The 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco symbolized this perceived immunity, but the region’s nuclear-free status is today gravely threatened.

Now, Venezuela is openly helping Iran evade international sanctions imposed because of Tehran’s nuclear weapons program. Along with the refined petroleum products it supplies Tehran, Chavez allows Iranian banks and other sanctioned enterprises to use Caracas as a base for conducting business internationally and, reportedly, to facilitate Hezbollah’s activity in the hemisphere.

Even more alarming, Venezuela claims Iran is helping develop its uranium reserves, reportedly among the largest in the world. Indeed, the formal agreement between them signed two years ago for cooperation in the nuclear field could easily result in a uranium-for-nuclear-knowhow trade. In addition, Chavez has a deal with Russia to build a reactor in Venezuela. All of which may signal a dangerous clandestine nuclear weapons effort, perhaps as a surrogate for Iran, as has been true elsewhere, such as in Syria.

President Obama and other freely elected Western Hemisphere leaders at a minimum need to tell Chavez clearly that his disassembling of Venezuela’s democracy is unacceptable. This is very nearly the exact opposite of current White House policy, which attempts to appease Chavez, Castro and other leftists, as it did by joining them against the democratic forces in Honduras.

Unfortunately, with our own elections approaching in November, it is hard to get Obama’s attention directed to Latin American affairs, or foreign policy generally. But make no mistake, if Chavez can intimidate his domestic opposition, manipulate election laws and extend his authoritarian control, Venezuela will increasingly be a global menace.


ABOUT THE WRITER

John R. Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of “Surrender Is Not an Option.” He wrote this for the Los Angeles Times.


Human traffic

Is it possible that we as Christians just aren’t angry enough about injustices like human trafficking and slavery? Perhaps, we’ve grown too desensitized, domesticated, and docile. I’m not trying to say this for the sake of the ’shock factor’ but I really believe there are times when the Church needs to have a deep[er] anger about the grave injustices of the world particularly when it involves the exploitation of children. Have we deduced our faith to convenient and self serving pleasantries?

What else can you say when many sources cite as high as 27 million slaves around the world. In the sex trade industry, 80% are women and over half are minors – aka: children and teenagers – some younger than my three kids who are 10, 8, and even 6.

I guess Cornel West has a more eloquent way of saying the above:

Indifference to injustice is more insidious than the injustice itself.

Our church community is trying to do our small part. Compelled to do more but perhaps it begins with this ‘deep anger’ over the things that anger and grieve the heart of God. We hosted a film screening of Call+Response and gave the proceeds to Break the Chains/IJM. Found out today that this initiative through our denomination has already raised $332,000. We then screened a Korean film called Crossing highlighting the situation in North Korea and raised more funds.

Human trafficking and its numerous painful layers are also taking place in North Korea. Check out this brutal article from Crosswalk entitled, North Korean Bride Trafficking: When Escape Becomes Bondage:

The translator could never capture the experience behind Young-Ae Kim’s emotional words, but he tried.

“She was raised with the idea that you have one lasting marriage – never did she imagine that she would be married three times by the age of 30, and treated like an animal.”

North Korean defector Young-Ae Kim told her story publicly on April 29, along with Mi-Sun Bang, another woman whose account bears tragic resemblance to hers. Both women told reporters at the National Press Club a story that is becoming all too common among North Korean women. Both women were victims of “Bride Trafficking” – being bought and sold as wives for single Chinese men along the border between North Korea and China.

Mark Lagon, former U.S. Ambassador at Large for Combating Trafficking and now executive director of the Polaris Project on Human Trafficking, says that these women are “thrice victimized” – starved in North Korea, sexually exploited once they escape to China and tortured if they are repatriated to their home country.

Brides for Sale

Human trafficking “the fastest growing criminal industry in the world,” according to the Polaris Project. In China, years of the one child policy combined with centuries of disregard for girl-children has led to a literal market for refugee women.

Back in the mid-nineties, Tom Hilditch’s article, “A Holocaust of Little Girls,” captured the essence of a country where girls don’t matter.

“The birth of a girl has never been a cause for celebration in China,” he wrote, “and stories of peasant farmers drowning new born girls in buckets of water have been commonplace for centuries. Now, however, as a direct result of the one-child policy, the number of baby girls being abandoned, aborted, or dumped on orphanage steps is unprecedented.”

It’s not hard to connect the dots to where all of this has ended. The shortage of women in China is nothing less than a national disaster – in some rural areas Chinese men outnumber women by a 14 to 1 ratio, according to the U.S. Committee on Human Rights in North Korea. It is into these rural border areas that North Korean women, desperate to escape the starvation in their homeland, are arriving. For human traffickers, the situation could not be more ideal.

Translating Tears

Mi-Sun Bang cries as she tells of the day that she and her son and daughter attempted an escape from North Korea. The Tumen River ends the lives of many refugees – numerous bodies have been found along the shore. But for Mi-Sun Bang, there was no choice. Her husband had starved to death in 2002, and making the river escape to China was her only hope for survival. “We entered holding hands,” she recalls, “but we were all separated.” Miraculously, they survived the crossing.

But her troubles were far from over. Upon entry into China, Mi-Sun Bang fell prey to human traffickers operating on the border. She was sold for $585 to an older, disabled Chinese man, the first of several “husbands” that she would be sold to. The string of abuses and heartache that followed would be enough to crush anyone’s spirit. Her final husband, fourteen years her junior, demanded that she bear him a son. Soon afterwards, Mi-Sun Bang was turned into the authorities and arrested. She was sent back to North Korea, to the horrors of a labor camp.

Mi-Sun pauses at this point in her story, reflecting, trying to restrain her emotions. “There, people gave up on being human,” she says finally. She was beaten severely. She asks through her translator, “Would anyone like to see my wounds?” Small person that she is, Mi-Sun stands on a chair in the front of the room. She pulls up her skirt, revealing where literal chunks of flesh have been ripped from her leg. She walks with a limp today.

Driven by Desperation

A new report released by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea captures the firsthand accounts of over 70 trafficking victims. “The women who cross the border, more often than male refugees, tend to do so in the company of others,” the Lives for Sale report states, “Eighteen percent of those interviewed crossed the border with people whom they later came to realize were traffickers.”

But what about the women who made their escape without the “aid” of a trafficker? The Committee’s report emphasizes the likelihood that these women will be solicited immediately. “Almost from the moment they cross the border – and sometimes beginning in North Korea – refugee women are targeted by marriage brokers and pimps.”

The report concludes with a host of recommendations for China, North Korea, the United States and the international community. While calling on China to cease the repatriation of North Korean refugees, and North Korea to “undertake economic and agricultural reforms” and “decriminalize movement across the border,” the report urges the United States to “launch new initiatives to provide protection and assistance to North Korean women” along the border.

The plight of North Korean women sheds light on the larger issue of trafficking around the world. According to the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, over 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. Trafficking occurs in 170 countries, all of which are profiled and ranked in the Office’s annual report. And in many cases, the victims themselves have recommendations. Mi-Sun Bang pleads for President Obama to ensure that no more North Korean women are sold like she was, “sold like livestock in China.”

With trafficking – modern day slavery – claiming nearly a million victims a year, each woman, man, and child has a story to tell. And the plight of North Korean brides-for-sale is no different. Each one has a unique and tragic tale of enslavement.

“They would not allow me to leave the house,” recounts one North Korean woman, “then someone from Yanji came to take me to Heilongjiange Province by train. Only when we arrived in a village in Heilongjiang did I hear I was going to be married.”