A coalition of Russian women’s groups appealed to President Vladimir Putin to establish a task force to combat trafficking in humans. Citing the US State Department’s recently released Trafficking in Persons report which names Russia as one of 19 countries that failed to take adequate measures to combat the practice, the Angel Coalition said Putin should adopt a plan to “save tens of thousands of Russian women from being lured overseas by criminal traffickers.” Approximately 50,000 women from the former Soviet Union are trafficked abroad every year and forced into sexual slavery, according to human rights advocates.
The State Department released a report on human trafficking at the beginning of the month that claims that there have been 4 million victims of human trafficking over the past year – 50,000 in the United States. Traffickers typically confiscate passports and then beat, rape or drug the women in order to ensure compliance, according to victim advocates. The State Department report also said that traffickers “use fraudulent employment, travel, modeling and matchmaking agencies to lure young men and women.” Russia is classified as a third tier country – which is known as the blacklist, according to the State Department’s report. “The government of Russia does not yet fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. There is no law specifically against trafficking. Recruitment for prostitution is illegal but not a criminal offense,” reads the report. Countries that make a serious effort to address the problem could avoid sanctions imposed under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, Secretary of State Colin Powell told the Washington Times. The Feminist Majority strongly supported the passage of this law in 2000, joining with several other women’s organizations to advocate for its passage in Congress. The law also authorized $94.5 million for victims of sex trafficking, created special visas for victims of trafficking and slavery, and doubled the maximum penalty for sex trafficking.
Media Resources: Yahoo! News 6/18/02; The Washington Times 6/6/02; www.state.gov
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .