A cult operating in Mexico, along the U.S. border, is accused of kidnapping and forcing victims to work and have sex, the country’s National Migration Institute said Wednesday.
Fourteen foreigners — accused by victims’ relatives of demanding “tithes” from local followers — were detained, and at least some are in the process of being deported, said the federal attorney general’s office, or PGR.
Three Mexican citizens are being held on suspicion of human trafficking, the PGR said.
Immigration authorities and police raided the Defenders of Christ group in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, the migration institute said Tuesday night. Nuevo Laredo is across the border from its sister city, Laredo, Texas.
Six of the detained foreigners were Spanish, two Brazilian, two Bolivian, two Venezuelan, one Argentinean and one Ecuadorean.
The Defenders of Christ are not officially registered as a religious organization under Mexican law.
Ikea used forced prison labour to make furniture—headline in The Independent.
On Thursday it was business as usual at Ikea. On Friday the results of an independent investigation by Ernst & Young revealed that in the 1980s political prisoners in the former East Germany provided some of the labor that helped Ikea keep its prices so low.
This shocking revelation is making news around the world, and Ikea is in damage control mode. According to a story in The New York Times, ‘The use of political prisoners as forced labor, even decades ago, is a publicity disaster for a company that with its familiar blue and yellow logo seems at times like a cultural ambassador for Sweden.’
‘We deeply regret that this could happen. The use of political prisoners in production has never been acceptable to the Ikea Group. At the time, we didn’t have today’s well-developed control system and obviously didn’t do enough to prevent such production conditions among our former GDR suppliers,’ says Jeanette Skielmose, sustainability manager at Ikea of Sweeden.
There are three reasons that every large global corporation teeters at the edge of a reputational cliff. First, employees, consumers, shareholders, and other stakeholders are holding corporations to higher and higher standards. Second, there’s a growing movement of socially conscious citizens, especially younger people, who are deeply concerned that too many people are still living in unacceptable social and economic conditions. And third, easier access to information and the ability to share information quickly means that inappropriate behavior can’t be hidden for long.
Full Article is Here.
The labor plan will result in 225 million euros savings annually for the government and in turn facilitate a massive reduction in national wage levels. The payment paid for those undertaking the forced labor is based on the social assistance rate of 28,500 forints (110 euros) per month, i.e., a sum which is less than half the monthly minimum wage of 78,000 forints.
In recent years thousands of public employees have been laid off, leading to staff shortages in some areas. The labor plan will free up workers to be exploited in forced labor schemes for major state works programs related to infrastructure and agriculture. Hungarian media have cited the construction of soccer stadiums, road works, maintenance of drainage systems and the construction of dams as examples of the new “community service”.
400,000 Hungarians are immediately eligible to carry out such labor. In a recent interview Orban made clear that, in his view, such forced labor was urgently required. In future dams will be constructed “not with the technology of the 21st century (…), but by hand.”
The plan envisages that the unemployed can be used either for state projects, or “loaned out” to private companies. It is probably no coincidence that these plans were announced during the recent visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to Hungary. In addition to buying up large quantities of government bonds, China also plans to invest in industrial and infrastructure projects in the country.
In order to increase the army of potential forced laborers the duration for the payment of unemployment benefit is to be reduced to 180 days from the current 270 days. In a parallel action, the Health Ministry announced that the records of about 220,000 disability pensioners are to be reopened. They will be examined to check their health status. Those regarded as capable of some sort of work will then lose their disability status, making them eligible for forced labor.
At the same time, the new law provides a number of benefits for employers, which, as the Wall Street Journal declared, will give “entrepreneurs more elbow room”.
The rules governing the unemployed have been dramatically tightened up. If the distance from their homes to the site of their forced labor exceeds a journey time of two hours, they are to be housed in local barracks.
Those hardest hit by the measures which will be the Hungarian Roma minority, which accounts for nearly 8 percent of the population. Due to pervasive discrimination, unemployment in the Roma community averages more than 50 percent, and in many areas is close to 80 percent.
According to the government, gangs of forced laborers are to be monitored by retired police officers. Thousands of retired police officers who are barely able to make ends with their miserly pensions and being more or less forced to return to work.
Haven’t seen other online sources in English, but it’s reported in other respectable outlets like Süddeutsche Zeitung (German), which mentions that the labor measures will be able to be enforced on any person unemployed for longer than 90 days, labor sites may be 6 hours away from place of residence. This is coming together with news of (see the SZ article)
* Hungary slashing the number of acknowledged religious organizations (from 350 to 14);
* Hungary planning on legislation that will retroactively make national debt a “political crime”;
* Hungary’s Media Law is in full force, further and further crushing oppositional media
* Who Will Confront the Hatred in Hungary?
* Thirteen companies petition EU against Hungarian tax law
* Hungary Passes Controversial Media Law
* Hungary so Strapped for Cash, it Nationalizes its Private Pension Funds Worth $14 Billion
* Hungary willing to consider changes to media law — Critics say the law is ‘incompatible’ with press freedom
* Hungary’s Rising Right: Roma Defenseless against Extremist Vigilantes