Critical Awareness

  • Tackling forced organ harvesting backed by U.K. government
    In a positive development on Freedom United’s campaign to end forced organ harvesting, an amendment seeking to give authorities more power to prevent forced organ harvesting from impacting the U.K. healthcare system passed through the U.K. House of Lords with support from the government.   Post by Victoria Ledwidge from Freedom United partner organization, the…
  • Malaysian glove makers facing charges of housing workers in conditions of modern slavery
    The Malaysian government has announced it is bringing charges against one of the country’s largest rubber glove producers after labor inspectors found the company’s migrant workers living in squalid and overcrowded conditions. As demand for personal protective equipment has surged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysian rubber glove producers—which produce nearly two out…
  • Gender imbalance in China driving “bride trafficking”
    China’s significant gender imbalance has become a major factor in the growing phenomenon of trafficking and forced marriage of foreign women and girls, particularly in rural areas. Fueled by the country’s notorious one-child policy, preference for male children, and sex-selective abortion, China’s gender imbalance has led to a huge unmet demand for marriage; researchers estimate…
  • Momentum against Uyghur forced labor grows as U.S. and U.K. governments take action
    The U.S. government has banned all cotton from the Uyghur region, while the British government is introducing new rules to prevent goods from the Uyghur Region from entering the country. On Wednesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that all raw fibers, apparel, and textiles originating in the Uyghur Region would be blocked, along…
  • Home Office rejects 12-month support for trafficking victims
    Despite repeated calls from trafficking survivors, activists, and anti-slavery organizations to expand support for survivors of modern slavery, the UK Home Office has voiced its opposition to guaranteeing 12 months of support under the UK Modern Slavery Victim Support Bill. The bill, supported by Freedom United, calls for trafficking victims of all nationalities to receive…
  • Looking ahead: top priorities to tackle modern slavery in 2021
    As the United Nations’ goal of ending modern slavery by 2030 comes another year closer, experts are worried that the gains made against modern slavery and human trafficking risk being undone by the COVID-19 pandemic. The International Labor Organization estimates that 40 million people are trapped in modern slavery globally, in a trade worth an…
  • How scrapping the term “honor”-based abuse may leave victims unprotected
    The U.K. government is due to review the use of the term “honor”-based abuse, used to cover crimes such as forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and other physical and emotional abuse as a result of a perceived attack on a family or community’s honor. Whilst there is nothing honorable about these kinds of crimes, the…
  • Meatpackers in Brazil told to clean up supply chains over links to modern slavery
    Labor experts have called for Brazilian meatpackers to clean up their supply chains after an investigation found six firms bought cattle from ranches that used slave labor. Brazilian company JBS, one of the world’s largest meat processing firms, bought cattle from two ranches which later ended up on Brazil’s ‘dirty list’ of companies that use…
  • Will Iran’s bill on domestic violence cover forced marriage?
    Iran has finally approved a long-awaited bill to protect women against domestic violence. The draft bill, “Protection, Dignity and Security of Women Against Violence” was approved by the Cabinet on Saturday, a move welcomed by women’s rights activists in Iran. The bill defines violence as ‘any behaviour inflicted on women due to gender, vulnerable position…
  • Boilerplate Advice
    Lately there’s been a gradual uptick in young(er) people asking me for “advice” and a steady decline in my energy to be helpful in any way. So I made up a convenient boilerplate advice table to blow them off with. Some notes follow after. I posted a draft version of this on twitter earlier, where…
  • M&S becomes first major fashion brand to publicly commit to Call to Action on Uyghur cotton
    The British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has signed the Coalition to End Uyghur Forced Labor’s Call to Action and committed to end all cotton sourcing from the Uyghur Region. Announcing the move on Wednesday morning, the company said that it would also cut all ties with suppliers implicated in the forced labor system that…
  • 2020 Ribbonfarm Extended Universe Annual Roundup
    This has undoubtedly been the weirdest year in the 13-year history of Ribbonfarm, and one that marks a pretty decisive break from the past, both in terms of my own writing here, and the kinds of contributions I’m increasingly interested in sourcing/commissioning from others (if you’re interested in submitting stuff here in 2021, scroll to…
  • Tainted Palm Oil linked to Girl Scout Cookies
    Associated Press (AP) released investigation findings uncovering the link to tainted palm oil and Girl Scout Cookies. Palm oil is a key ingredient in many essential items including soaps, shampoo, and primary fat in infant formula to name a few. The industry of agriculture as it relates to palm oil has had historically strong links…
  • The factories inside China’s mass internment camps
    According to a new investigation by Buzzfeed News, China has built more than 100 facilities in Xinjiang where it can not only detain Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, but force them to work in factories on site. Buzzfeed’s research covered government records and satellite imagery, as well as interviews with former detainees, all of which…
  • Notes: Pale Rider by Laura Spinney
    Concluding my pandemic-themed book reading binge for the year, here’s my summary of Laura Spinney’s Pale Rider (2017), perhaps the most comprehensive popular look at the Spanish Flu, among the many published to date. There are several books on the topic, and the most popular is probably John Barry’s 2005 book, The Great Influenza, thanks…
  • The American women and girls forced into marriage
    Women and girls across the United States are being forced into marriages — a problem exacerbated by gaps in state laws and the lack of social protections in some communities. Fraidy Reiss, now a 45-year-old mother of two and founder of Unchained at Last, recalled how she entered an arranged marriage at 19 to a…
  • Domestic workers fight back: everyday victories and stories of defiance
    In the face of overwork and wage theft, Sara, a domestic worker in Beirut, recalls how her employer demanded receipts and counted every penny when she went out to buy breakfast. But one day, Sara saved enough of her own pay to buy croissants for herself, which she relished in front of her employer, declaring…
  • U.K. slavery museum lambasted for “damaging” sex trafficking display
    A slavery museum in the U.K. has come under heavy fire for an exhibition on human trafficking in the porn industry that many activists and academics deemed “dehumanizing.” Following pressure from the public, academics and activists working in the anti-modern slavery space, including Freedom United, the International Slavery Museum announced on Friday that it would…
  • COVID-19 pandemic driving Cambodian “bride trafficking” to China
    Two anti-trafficking charities have reported this week that that trafficking of Cambodian “brides” to China has increased sharply this year as a result of job losses in the wake of the pandemic. While “bride trafficking” of women into China from Southeast Asia is not a new problem, anti-trafficking organizations have said the pandemic’s impact on…
  • U.K. police not taking forced marriage seriously, campaigners say
    Police in the United Kingdom are under scrutiny for their efforts to tackle honor-based abuse, including forced marriage, after a sharp drop in the number of offenses recorded. According to new data provided to the government, recorded offenses that were flagged as honor-based fell from 5,595 to 2,024—a dramatic drop of 64 percent. In addition…
  • EU moves toward action on Uyghur forced labor as new reports reveal scale of crisis
    In a further strengthening of the international community’s resolve against forced labor in the Uyghur Region, the European Parliament has adopted a resolution condemning the Chinese government and urging EU action. Freedom United partner World Uyghur Congress (WUC) noted in a press release that this is the fourth time in two years that the European…
  • Discover joins Visa and Mastercard in rejecting Pornhub
    Following an international movement involving nearly 20,000 members of the Freedom United community, the credit card company Discover has joined Mastercard and Visa in cutting ties with Pornhub. Discovery’s move means customers will no longer be able to use any of the three credit card giants to make purchases on the Canada-based porn site—and alternatives…
  • Human traffickers set to benefit from U.K.’s exit from E.U.
    Activists have given further warnings this week that human trafficking will increase when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union unless Britain acts swiftly to improve its border controls and maintain cooperation with European law enforcement. With the Brexit transition period set to end on December 31, it remains unclear how much access the U.K.…
  • Australian government publishes first modern slavery statement
    This week, the Australian government published its first modern slavery statement, which highlighted that the construction and textile industries were the riskiest industries for forced labor in the public sector. As reported by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the government’s statement—a requirement of the 2018 Modern Slavery Act—outlined efforts to train officials on the topic, inform…