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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  April 15, 2014 2:30am-3:01am EDT

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>> for three hundred years the most powerful countries on earth grew richer and stronger on the profits of the slave trade. more than 12 million men, women and children were forcibly transported from africa to the plantations and colonies of north and south america. today slavery is illegal in every country on the planet. yet slavery didn't die in the 19th century. it is alive, thriving - and bigger than ever.
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>> this is the story of a trade in human flesh around the world, our best estimate in 27 million people in slavery ... ... globally six or eight per cent
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is trafficking >> but it's also the story of two european cities ... more than a thousand kilometers apart ... and at opposite end of the worldwide chain of sex slavery. the republic of moldova >> chisinau is the capital of moldova - the poorest country in europe - where many young moldovans are often forced to go abroad just to survive. and it's this desperation which has meant that so many young women are often duped into the sex trafficking industry. >> for ion vizdoga, a lawyer who has represented more than 700 victims of sex trafficking, the story starts and ends with poverty.
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>> outside chisinau the reality of that poverty is stark: moldova is still a country largely reliant on subsistence farming.... >> we're heading for the small southern town of cauceni. we're going to meet a young woman who escaped from international sex slavery just a few weeks ago ...
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>> dorina is one of the luckier victims of international sex slavery. she is now receiving intensive counseling for her ordeal from a team of specialist volunteers. but many thousands like her get no help at all.
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in a small office in chisinau, volunteers for la strada - an international anti-trafficking ngo - run a hotline for women tricked - like dorina - into sexual slavery abroad. >> we have around 28 cases that we are working on. we receive calls , mostly from relatives...they might say that my daughter called me yesterday at night, and she was crying and she asked me could i help her? so this is what we do on a daily basis. >> the most common ploy used by moldovan traffickers is to place a bogus job advert in the local newspaper, makkler la strada's team monitors each edition. >> this is very interesting proposals for a young woman... work for: dancing in japan...
2:37 am's very suspicious because they give home to the girl...they pay ticket...and the salary is $2000. >> to uncover how the scam works, one of our undercover team responded to one of these adverts. >> the advertiser - who calls herself "olga" - quickly offers our undercover investigator a job interview.
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>> but instead of meeting in an office during business hours, she wants to meet on a street corner. nine o clock at night >> this should make the person suspicious. if you are to seek employment here in moldova, you will never meet with a future employer or with an agency that is mediating employment, you will never meet on the street >> "olga" takes our undercover investigator to a noisy bar. very quickly she begins her sales pitch
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>> ana revenco has seen this many times - and seen exactly what happens to those who fall for a trafficker's pitch. >> traffickers don't need to use violence, - it's psychology and emotions. from the very beginning until the very end they play with that. they use their own fears and hopes to chain the person. there's more to finical news
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>> the new space race is here >> there are people right now who will walk on mars >> it could be a big payday for corporations >> the same companies will be controlling your life in space. >> who will conquer the cosmos? >> these men believe the universe is theirs for the taking >> fault lines... al jazeera america's hard hitting... >> they're locking the doors... >> ground breaking... >> we have to get out of here... >> truth seeking... >> breakthrough investigative documentary series space inc. only on al jazeera america >> moldovan recruiters typically sell them first to local brothels, where they are first forced into sex slavery - then trafficked abroad. we sent anther undercover journalist into two of these clubs to uncover the next stage in the trail.
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>> posing as the owner of a string of brothels in europe, he was quickly introduced to sex traffickers ... this man boasted he could provide up 50 women over a two month period - and said he was already working with brothel owners throughout europe. >> the next day our undercover journalist was introduced to a second trafficker in a park in the centre of chisinau. >> he was happy to explain how he would ship his cargo of sex slaves into the european union via neighboring countries.
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>> these two pimps are small players in the sex trafficking industry. to track down one of the kingpins we have come to shabby prison in the remote north of moldova. >> for nearly ten years, alexandr kovali - known as "salun" - trafficked sex slaves out of moldova and across europe from his clubs in chisinau.
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>> kovali was convicted of sex trafficking in 2007. but he still protests his innocence. >> instead, he says, his sex slaves voluntarily prostituted themselves after finishing work in his clubs. >> ion vizdoga - who worked on
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kovali's case - remembers those women differently .... >> why would she have done that, if she wasn't involved in any of the things you say your business was not? >> 'salun' kovali was sentenced to 19 years in prison.
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but his prosecution was a rare success in moldova's fight against sex trafficking. >> moldova has neither the resources nor the infrastructure to stop the trafficking of its women into sex slavery. and to those who try to protect them, the responsibility for policing the trade lies elsewhere ...
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>> less than a day's drive away, one country, and one city above all, positively celebrate the economics of demand for prostitution. in 2000 the dutch government took the radical step of legalizing prostitution - ostensibly as a means to prevent women being trafficked and forced into the sex industry. today there are more than 1200 prostitution business throughout holland. amsterdam alone has 300 brothels. >> holland believes that it has the best system of dealing with the worst excesses of sexual slavery - and nowhere sums that up more than the city of amsterdam. but look behind the windows and does that proposition really hold up to scrutiny? >> the dutch legislators have not lost their mind in prostitution policy ...there is a vision behind it. >> harold van gelder heads amsterdam police's
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anti-trafficking squad. >> one of the positive advantages of our policy is that the prostitute has no fear for the police. it is a legal profession - if you follow the rules the police won't bother you. i understand that we only see the tip of the iceberg - but at least it's a percentage of the branch we can control. >> but with only 7 detectives - out of a city police force of 6,000 officers - just how much does harold van gelder's team actually see, let alone control ? >> can you say what percentage of prostitutes are trafficked? >> not possible. >> not even an estimation. >> we don't even know the number of prostitutes: they are not registered because it is a
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download it now >> just a few miles across the city, holland's national trafficking reporting organization has a very clear idea of the numbers of women forced into the country's legalized prostitution industry. >> if you look at the figures from last year we had 1000 registered victims of human trafficking about 80 per cent is
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the sex industry. >> and there's little doubt why so many trafficking victims end up as sex slaves here. holland is famous for its red light districts, there is a demand for young girls into prostitution and so i think traffickers make use of our system of legalized prostitution to bring them in. holland is the pass to get them into europe. >> prostitution earns holland 660 million euros every year. 4 million tourists flock to amsterdam - most to stare at and often patronize the prostitutes working in its neon-lit windows. >> families and children, come here and believe that the girls like what they are doing. >> toos heemskirk has worked for 16 years with the women working in the windows of amsterdam's
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red light district. each street, she says, is organized by nationality. >> there are certain streets where you have south american transsexuals. then there are other streets with hungarian girls. and then here you have the spanish-speaking. >> and how have things changed in the past 10, 15 years, to now ? >> because of the european union, whenever we open up in the netherlands, for countries like romania, bulgaria, hungary, we see this whole change. at the moment, the majority of the women are eastern european. we have girls from albania. i mean how can a girl from albania out of a village i don't know where from know her way to amsterdam.
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know where to live, how to rent a window. there must be an organized crime behind it. >> this is the true face of holland's experiment in legalized prostitution. and this is the face of the man who trafficked her here - and beat her to ensure she worked as his sex slave. over a two year period saban baran - the leader of a turkish organized crime gang - trafficked more than 130 women - mostly from eastern europe - to holland's red light districts. each woman was tattooed with his gang's brand: each was forced to service 20 clients a day. they behaved in a very brutal way. we have seen cases of forced abortion, we've seen cases of forced tattoo of pimps name on girls; some girls were beaten up and to hide the bruises they
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were put in cold water. they were beaten up in a terrible way. >> for dutch prosecutors, the baran case was a warning that the dutch experiment in legalizing prostitution had worsened - not solved - the problem of international sex slavery >> we thought in 2000 that liberal view to prostitution would stamp out trafficking but that proved to be very wrong 60 - 70% per cent of the women in this case were forced to work in legalized prostitution. it is modern slavery. trafficking human beings is a kind of modern slavery. >> five thousand miles away in america. the man who once led the global fight against slavery has long argued that holland is the cause of - not the solution to - international sex trafficking. >> i think all that's
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happened is that the dutch government has become the super pimp. >> for four years john miller was the us state department's anti-slavery worldwide ambassador. today, he sees the history of slavery repeating itself. >> the dutch believe that they're being very sophisticated and regulating, the interesting thing is this is the exact same approach they took back in the 17th century. the dutch used to boast about how they had the healthiest slave ships. they had the best ventilation. they had the best rations they had the best mattresses for their slaves, they provided doctors. ah but slavery went on and on, all their talk about regulation was an excuse to avoid abolition. >> every year the us government publishes a report which judges every country in the world on its efforts to stamp out
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slavery. the trafficking in persons - or tip - report ranks countries that do the most as "tier 1". the state department has always given tier 1 status to holland - despite the vehement opposition of john miller. >> i have visited the red light district, i've seen the young men with their leather jackets standing outside those windows counting who goes in and making sure they get all the profits. all i can say is according to our law i didn't think that they were tier one. giving such favored status to rich western countries which fuel demand for sex slaves angers impoverished source countries like moldova - not least because its lowly ranking has put it in danger of economic sanctions from washington. >> very often we see that economically strong countries are always making good although these are the countries where
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our citizens are exploited. these are the countries that failed to ensure protections; these are the countries that imposed the double standards. >> the fate of the two convicted sex traffickers highlights those le double standards. alexandr kovali will spend the next 19 years, locked in a moldovan prison. saban baran is back home in turkey - and free. the dutch government allowed him out of jail for 1 day: he absconded and never returned. until the rich western countries address the demand for prostitution - rather than profit from it - there will always be men like kovali and baran, and there will always be sex slaves behind these windows.
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>> >> as pro-russian groups take over more areas in east ukraine, the u.s. president warns vladimir putin there will be consequences. >> hello there, welcome to al jazeera, live from doha. i'm laura kyle. also - spy chief apologises for an espionage scandal involving senior agents. we are live in seoul. >> nigeria's president abuses boko haram