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Veero Kolhi | Photo: Zia Mazhar for FTS

Veero Kolhi is no stranger to adversity. She escaped single-handedly from slavery, and she’s helped hundreds of others overcome fear and intimidation to also break free.

That’s why Free the Slaves honored Veero in 2009 with a Frederick Douglass Freedom Award.

Tomorrow, Veero takes another inspiring step: she’s on the ballot for provincial parliament (Seat PS-50, Hyderabad).

You can read about her courageous run for office in one of Pakistan’s leading news sites, Dawn. They say her candidacy is astonishing.

One of her biggest supporters, Ghulam Hyder of the Green Rural Development Organization, says Veero’s campaign platform focuses on empowering the poor and marginalized:

  • Release and rehabilitation of 1.7 million bonded labor slaves.
  • Just distribution of opportunities for local people to benefit from Pakistan’s natural resources such as water, oil and forests.
  • Provision of equal wages and opportunities for women, and enabling women access to the court system to seek justice.
  • Ensuring the availability of education, drinking water, sanitation and other basic services.

There are more than 50 candidates competing in the provincial election on May 11. Veero is the only woman on the ballot, and the only slavery survivor to ever run for a general parliamentary seat in Pakistan, Ghulam says.

 

Pakistan’s elections have been marked this year by violent attacks on candidates. Veero has been subjected to threats, Ghulam says, but she presses forward.

As Veero herself said in her FTS Freedom Award profile video: “The slaveholders have sent messages that I will be murdered. But I don’t fear them anymore. And I will continue to fight. That is the spirit I have inside me.”

POST-ELECTION UPDATE (Monday, May 13): FTS has received news that Veero did not win the election. But everyone involved in her candidacy has felt that her run for office was a tremendous step forward. Veero has issued this statement to supporters:

I, Veero Kohli, your sister, am grateful to the men and women laborers for giving me more than 6,000 votes despite the fact that I could not contact many of you. This shows your confidence in me for which I am personally obliged to each one of you. I have been striving for you in the past and try my level best to come true to your expectations as long I am alive. May you need my assistance and happen to call me I shall proudly rush to you barefooted. Elections apart, I shall continue working on the manifesto declared by me and will contact you in this respect very soon to form a workable strategy for its implementation in letter and spirit.

Confronting the crocodiles was a herculean task and it was expected the rock-hard centuries old system could not be dismantled in a single stroke; nevertheless it is the beginning which is bound to lead to success. I once again offer my sincere thanks to all my benefactors including the people of my class who trusted me and voted for me.

 

Slavery in This Week’s News

We see slavery and trafficking stories throughout the world each week. It’s great news that journalists and bloggers are exposing the problem of slavery, and examining solutions to it. Awareness creates momentum for change. Here are 10 top stories that caught our eye:

1. The Journal of Commerce. “EU Seeks Supply Chain Input on ‘Conflict Minerals’.” http://www.joc.com/international-logistics/global-sourcing/eu-seeks-supply-chain-input-%E2%80%98conflict-minerals%E2%80%99_20130327.html

2. Huffington Post. “More Coordination Needed to Combat Human Trafficking.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-mosbacher/post_4536_b_2965776.html

3. Ghana Web. “Guide Princess Ocansey busted for human trafficking.” http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/crime/artikel.php?ID=269041

4. USA Today. “Human trafficking hotline accepts text messages.” http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/28/human-trafficking-hotline-now-accepts-text-messages/2026249/

5. Times of India. “HC for central probe into trafficking case.” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/HC-for-central-probe-into-trafficking-case/articleshow/19249855.cms

6. Global Post. “Congo’s subsistence miners dig for their livelihoods.” http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/groundtruth/congo-artisanal-miners-dig-livelihoods

7. Vision.org. “Down to Slavery.” http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/article.aspx?id=2172

8. My Republica. “Children trafficked to India for labor on rise.” http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=52162

9. UN News Center. “Honouring over 15 million victims of slave trade, UN calls for end to remnants of slavery.” http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44488&Cr=slave&Cr1=#.UVGyT1uDQXw

10. WSPA. “Child tells US court in Detroit he was slave labor.” http://www.wspa.com/story/21786771/african-sentenced-to-11-years-in-child-labor-case

Slavery in This Week’s News

We see slavery and trafficking stories throughout the world each week. It’s great news that journalists and bloggers are exposing the problem of slavery, and examining solutions to it. Awareness creates momentum for change. Here are 10 top stories that caught our eye:

1. The New York Times. “Bill on Crime Against Women Passes in India.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/22/world/asia/india-bill-toughens-penalties-for-attacks-on-women.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0

2. The Washington Times. “Child Sex Trafficking: Vote for Courtney’s House to win $50K award!” http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/speaking-out/2013/mar/22/child-sex-trafficking-vote-courtneys-house-win-50k/#ixzz2OHB4hLtu

3. CNN Freedom Project. “Toddlers freed from brick kiln bondage.” http://thecnnfreedomproject.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/20/toddlers-freed-from-brick-kiln-bondage/

4. Thomas Net. “Conflict Minerals Showdown Heats Up.” http://news.thomasnet.com/IMT/2013/03/19/conflict-minerals-showdown-heats-up/

5. Supply Management. “Companies must check supply chains for ‘modern-day slavery’.” http://www.supplymanagement.com/news/2013/companies-must-check-supply-chains-for-modern-day-slavery/

6. Vancouver Sun. “Temporary workers deemed modern serfs.” http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Wednesday+March+Temporary+workers+deemed+modern+serfs/8122472/story.html

7. Ghana News Daily. “Former Ghanaian child slave nominated for World Children Prize.” http://www.ghananewsagency.org/social/former-ghanaian-child-slave-nominated-for-world-children-prize–57725

8. TriplePundit. “Hershey’s Still Lagging On Child Labor.” http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/03/child-labor-chocolate/

9. UNICEF. “In Pakistan, addressing the root causes of child labour.” http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/pakistan_68289.html

10. Reuters. “U.S. working out what to do with Congo ICC suspect.” http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/19/us-rwanda-warcrimes-idUSBRE92I0K620130319

Slavery in This Week’s News

We see slavery and trafficking stories throughout the world each week. It’s great news that journalists and bloggers are exposing the problem of slavery, and examining solutions to it. Awareness creates momentum for change. Here are 10 top stories that caught our eye:

1. CSR Wire. “Hershey and Barry Callebaut Lag Industry in Addressing Child Labor.” http://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/35342-Hershey-and-Barry-Callebaut-Lag-Industry-in-Addressing-Child-Labor

2. Supply Management. “Australia to stamp out supply chain slavery.” http://www.supplymanagement.com/news/2013/australia-to-stamp-out-supply-chain-slavery/

3. The Michigan Daily. “Students protest for 27 hours to raise awareness about slavery.” http://www.michigandaily.com/news/students-protest-27-hours-raise-awareness-about-slavery

4. The Huffington Post UK. “A Voice for Victims: Why Funders Should Support the Fight Against Modern Day Slavery.” http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/gina-miller/modern-slavery_b_2859671.html

5. Candy Industry. “Ben Affleck, Theo Chocolate launch Congo chocolate line.” http://www.candyindustry.com/articles/85617-ben-affleck-theo-chocolate-launch-congo-chocolate-line

6. The Guardian. “’Shameful’ failure to tackle slavery and human trafficking in the UK.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2013/mar/09/shameful-failure-slavery-trafficking-uk

7. Mt Shasta News. “Dunsmuir coffee shop fights human trafficking.” http://www.mtshastanews.com/article/20130313/NEWS/130319924/1001/NEWS

8. Independent European Daily Express. “Fighting Sex Trafficking in Brazil – in Fiction and Reality.” http://www.iede.co.uk/news/2013_1246/fighting-sex-trafficking-brazil-fiction-and-reality

9. Sudan Tribune. “Sudan will soon pass law to combat human trafficking: MP.” http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article45826

10. Voice of Russia. “Modern slavery in the UK.” http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_03_12/Modern-slavery-in-the-UK/

Slavery in This Week’s News

We see slavery and trafficking stories throughout the world each week. It’s great news that journalists and bloggers are exposing the problem of slavery, and examining solutions to it. Awareness creates momentum for change. Here are 10 top stories that caught our eye:

1. Wired. “Child Labor, Environmental Destruction, and Dangerous Working Conditions: Is Small-Scale Mining Really So Bad?” http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/03/child-labor-environmental-destruction-and-dangerous-working-conditions-is-small-scale-mining-really-so-bad/

2. The Daily Mail. “Widow accused of keeping household servant virtually a prisoner in her New York mansion for 5 1/2 years goes on trial.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2289864/Widow-accused-keeping-household-servant-virtually-prisoner-New-York-mansion-5-1-2-years-goes-trial.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

3. The Times of India. “Congress walks-out on human trafficking.” http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-03-07/bhopal/37530563_1_minor-girls-girl-children-home-minister

4. The Times of India. “High court seeks report on child labour, missing children.” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/High-court-seeks-report-on-child-labour-missing-children/articleshow/18839870.cms

5. The Wall Street Journal. “SEC Says “Conflict Minerals” Rules Mandated by Congress.” http://blogs.wsj.com/corruption-currents/2013/03/06/sec-says-conflict-minerals-rules-mandated-by-congress/

6. The New York Times. “Global Slavery, by the Numbers.” http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/global-slavery-by-the-numbers/

7. The CNN Freedom Project. “Pimps hit social networks to recruit underage sex workers.” http://thecnnfreedomproject.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/05/pimps-hit-social-networks-to-recruit-underage-sex-workers/

8. Charisma News. “Congress Sends Human Trafficking Bill to Obama.” http://www.charismanews.com/us/38499-congress-sends-human-trafficking-bill-to-obama

9. Blumenthal.senate.gov. “Blumenthal, Cornyn, Carter, Maloney Introduce Bill to Fight Human Trafficking.” http://www.blumenthal.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/blumenthal-cornyn-carter-maloney-introduce-bill-to-fight-human-trafficking

10. The Huffington Post. “Underground Trade Part Six: The Shame (of Human Trafficking).” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/phillip-martin/underground-trade-part-si_b_2789219.html