Erika Klein is an author and freelance writer who spent many years serving the community through volunteer work, board of directorships and performing media work and public education. Self-taught and a survivor of Canada's child welfare system, she spends most of her time championing and furthering the human rights for those who are vulnerable and at risk. She's also the proud mother of a lovely daughter.
Back in February I penned a blog about human sex trafficking, a hidden crime that is affecting our local communities and countries at large, an ugly part of our world, that is now a multi-billion dollar industry and growing exponentially. My blog garnered a lot of hits and the response gave me the sense that the general public is very concerned about this crime.
It's been a busy newsworthy year for Canada, and we are in the international headlines again. After an extended proroguing of parliament and hosting the Olympics, Canada is also hosting both the G8 and G20 summits.
Rape. It's something most of us are uncomfortable discussing and an ugly part of our world. I could use a less obtrusive term. like "sexual assault" or "sexual violence," but I wont. It's a powerful word that we need to keep discussing because it's an issue that faces millions of people worldwide.
It was a letter that was heard around the world. On Saturday March 20, Pope Benedict apologized on behalf of the Catholic Church for the mistreatment, physical and sexual abuse of children in Ireland. It stopped short of what victims and advocates had really hoped for, which was an acknowledgement that church policies and procedures protected pedophiles from prosecution and kept cases secret allowing more children to be victimized.
Sixteen years after the campaign of mass genocide in Rwanda, the aftermath of this grave tragedy is still ongoing. On Tuesday March 2, the widow of assassinated President Juvenal Habyarimana was arrested by French Police on an international arrest warrant issued from Rwanda. This came only a week after French President Nicolas Sarkozy was visiting Rwanda on a diplomatic mission to mend fences with President Kagame, who has been previously accused to have been involved in the genocide, although he has vehemently and continuously denied this claim.
It's something we think only happens in far away places and developing countries. A booming black market industry, earning $32 billion dollars annually, more than the worth of Google, Starbucks and Nike combined. Human trafficking for the purposes of selling sexual acts, also known as sexual terrorism, is the use of illicit sex, violence and threats to intimidate or coerce to the state of fear and submission. It's a problem worldwide, but it is becoming more widespread in North America, especially in Canada.
Global attention is focused on the Winter 2010 Olympics well underway in Vancouver, Canada, a city some 4,600 km distant from the capital, and that's just fine by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. With Parliament dismissed by the PM and legislative activity at a standstill, the action may be in Vancouver, but the real heat remains in Ottawa. The Mantle's blogger Erika Klein and contributor Patrick Guyer discuss this under-reported hijacking of democracy in O' Canada.
Japan has been urged by the United States and 7 other countries to address its international child welfare provisions for family law cases involving custody disputes. Japan has also not signed on to a global treaty on child abduction. Ambassadors from the US, together with envoys from Australia, France, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada and Spain, met with the Japanese Foreign Minister to discuss the issue.
The Supreme Court of Canada handed down its ruling Friday in the case of Omar Khadr, a Canadian child soldier who was captured by US forces in Afghanistan during a fire fight that left one US medical officer dead. Instead of being returned to Canadian authorities, Khadr, then only 15, was sent to Guantanamo Bay where he suffered interrogation and threats of torture.