Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Trafficking In Nigerian Girls - The Business Exposed

Women trafficking from Nigeria is well organized. A Nigerian-based female called "Mama" or "Madam" plays a key role in recruiting and persuading young women to leave their Nigeria for Italy. Young women as young as 14 years are often enticed with the offer to work or study abroad, by physical threats or payments made to her family. Afterwards the deal is done. She is sold into slavery and forced to embark on a very long treacherous journey by land and sea to the ultimate destination, Italy. Before departing Nigeria they are made to swear oaths of secrecy to hold every information in confidentiality. However, on their way, the girls undergo many initiation rites including repeated gang-rapes, forced oral and anal sex, drug and sex orgies, etc to test their will to survive. Those who couldn't make it through the brutal rituals are sent back.

There are three levels of organization in the trafficking of Nigerian women and girls: A "Madam" living in Nigeria; the Nigerian "Madam" living in Italy; and the third, the "messengers," the persons transferring the money from Italy to Nigeria.

In another style of recruitment, prostitution is hidden by women claiming they are in well-paying jobs and need assistance to handle the volume of business. They make friends with unsuspecting young girls and shower them with lavish gifts. The girls are then gradually introduced into such business as hostesses, out-call prostitutes, club dancers, beauticians, masseuses, strippers, pornographic video actresses, entertainers, etc. Women in these positions are frequently trafficked. Since many of the girls are already in similar circumstances in Nigeria taking it abroad, for them, is not a problem. Some of them are aware of what they are going to do in Italy; some are intentionally deceived with prospects of an artistic career as dancers or actresses.

Nigerian girls are contracted in the suburbs of cities, such as Lagos or Benin City, and in the countryside in the south and east. Madams act as "go-betweens" for girls and women and the traffickers. Money is sent to the madam to pay the debt to the traffickers and to the girls’ families.

The trafficking of women to Europe is now a well-known phenomenon in Edo state. Many women therefore know they are likely to work as prostitutes if they agree to travel to Europe. However, they may have little understanding of the conditions under which they will work and of the size of the debt they will incur.

In anticipation of leaving Nigeria and helping one's family out of poverty, it is tempting for these women to believe in promises about good jobs. Whether this means being duped, or deceiving one's self, is not obvious. Importantly, the fact that the women may have known, or ought to have understood, that they would have to work as prostitutes does not excuse or legitimate subsequent abuse.

The women are particularly easily controlled because they and their families are forced to pay back huge debts to the trafficking organization for the cost of their trip and related expenses. It can take several years to pay off these debts.

Debts for travel are supposed to be paid off in 6 months, but in the majority of the cases after three or four years, the girls are still in prostitution to pay back the debt they owe.

A Nigerian madam, or "Mama," supervises and controls the women and girls. She organizes their activities and collects their profits in Italy. The women physically and psychologically fear the "Mama."

Very few of the women trafficked to Italy wish to return to their country of origin. Some say there are no opportunities there. Some fear reprisals from the traffickers, and others are ashamed to return without being able to show that they have been successful abroad. Unfortunately, some of them die in the process and never realize that goal.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Free Abdi Wali Muse: Free the real pirates!

Free Abdi Wali Muse!

Jail the real pirates!
The U.S. government is promoting lynch mob fervor against 15-year-old Abdi Wli Muse.

The stories about so-called “pirates” seizing ships off the coast of Somalia that have peppered the international imperialist media for at least the past year or two became center stage with the April 8 seizure of a ship filled with U.S. sailors called Maersk Alabama. Now with the determination of the U.S. government to try 15-year-old Abdi Wali Muse as an adult after having murdered his other three companions with sniper fire after they had apparently surrendered, a lynch mob fervor inside the U.S. is being mobilized.

However, the question that anyone who knows the history of the U.S. in the East Africa region — or anywhere else in the world, for that matter — has to ask is, “Who are the real pirates?”

The reality is that the Africans being characterized as pirates are mostly fisherman being starved by imperialism’s actions of real piracy. The waters in that region are being overfished by European and Asian companies who steal more than $300 million worth of fish from Somalia’s waters every year. On top of that, European companies have been using Somalia’s waters as a dumping ground for deadly toxic waste that they wouldn’t have anywhere near their own shores for the past two decades.

U.S. and European piracy in Somalia is longstanding

But the U.S. and Europe’s piracy in Somalia began long before the overfishing and toxic dumping became known. The reality is that the Somalia, which is also called the Horn of Africa, plays an important role for the U.S. and Europe’s looting of oil wealth in the region. They used to have a lot of problems stealing that oil so they cut a ditch called the Suez Canal to divide that area of Africa and facilitate ships carrying this stolen wealth getting to Europe.

However, large oil tankers can’t get through the Suez Canal, so they have to go around the Horn of Africa. This has made Somalia of serious geo-political significance for the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. was intervening in Somalia during its struggle with the Soviet Union for geo-political influence.

The Soviets then had a relationship with Said Barre who was in power in Somalia. However, when the Soviet Union developed a relationship with the government that went into power in Ethiopia in coup d’état in 1974, its relationship with Barre soured. This is because of conflicts between the Ethiopian and Somalian states as a result of the artificial borders carved into Africa by Europe for its own interests.

Said Barre then developed a relationship with the U.S. However, when Barre’s despotic regime was chased out of power in 1991, it created a problem for the U.S. The U.S. imperialists started manipulating the situation in Somalia. The forces who overthrew Barre were united by their opposition to Barre’s terrible regime, but with him out of power their basis of unity was gone. There began a struggle for power using U.S. arms and what was left of Soviet arms in the country.

During the time that the U.S.-supported Barre regime was in power the U.S. had him hand over two-thirds of Somalia to U.S. oil companies. So former U.S. president George Herbert Walker Bush initiated a military intervention in Somalia in the 1992 as a lame duck president to protect the U.S. control over what has been described as a “valley of oil” underneath Somalia. In fact, the Conoco oil corporation’s compound in Mogadishu was used as the U.S. government’s headquarters when U.S. Marines landed there.

It was during this vicious military operation to secure the U.S. piracy efforts in Somalia that the events falsely characterized in the Hollywood movie Black Hawk Down occurred. It was during this period that the U.S. was bombing hospitals and residential centers in Somalia in order to facilitate stealing the oil there.

Fisherman from Somalia demand end to imperialist piracy

So now Africans who have been victims of U.S. and European imposed poverty and starvation are now being characterized as pirates. The reality is that in the face of respiratory infections, mouth ulcers and bleeding, skin infections and abdominal hemorrhages resulting from Europe’s deadly toxic dumping — added to severely depleted food supply from the theft of about $300 million of fish per year from Somalia’s waters — African fisherman from Somalia began using speedboats to intercept the U.S., European and Asian pirates to convince them to stop dumping the toxic waste and stealing the food supply of the African people or charge them for compensation.

One fisherman, Sugule Ali, stated, “We don't consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas."

Obama uses Somalia situation as easy political target

The U.S. intervention in Somalia was clearly a political tactic used by neocolonial U.S. president Barack Obama to silence those who have called him too soft militarily. From the moment it was said in the media that U.S. sailors were on the Maersk Alabama ship, it became an opportunity to show his willingness to kill for U.S. imperialism to those who doubted him.

Unlike the quagmires the U.S. has been caught up in both in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Bush regime’s invasions, these four Africans on a lifeboat in the middle of the Indian Ocean served as easy targets wiping out with three quick sniper shots any question of Obama’s ability to kill colonized people for U.S. imperialist interests.

Hands off Abdi Wali Muse

U.S. courts have determined that it doesn’t matter that the young African who surrendered to the U.S. troops is only 15 years old. They will treat him as an adult.

The reality is that young Abdi Wali Muse is not unlike any other young African held in the U.S. prison system. He has no humanity in the eyes of his oppressor. If U.S. imperialism has its way, he will spend the rest of his young life joining the 1.5 million other African people held in U.S. prisons.

His imprisonment has nothing to do with any criminality. The fact is that the law is nothing but the opinion of the ruling class that has the ability to enforce its will by force. His only crime is that he dared to challenge U.S. imperialism’s ability to steal Africa’s resources.

We must demand that this process where the thieves put the victims on trial for piracy end. It is the U.S. and European governments that must be put on trial for theft of African resources and false imprisonment of not only Abdi Wali Muse, but the millions of Africans held in prisons or tied to prison systems in the U.S. and Europe.

Free Abdi Wali Muse! Jail the Real Pirates!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

The first independent union in Egypt?

An Historical day for the Egyptian Workers' Movement More than 300 representatives of the Real Estate Tax Authority Union's (RETA) General Assembly, containing 270,068 (twenty seven thousands and sixty eight) members, have gathered today at the Ministry of Manpower in Cairo to submit their application for the first independent union in Egypt.

RETA employees decided after their successful strike in December 2007 to establish their independent union. In December 20th 2008, more than 3,000 employees had convened at the press syndicate in Cairo to announce their independent union.

All RETA members, over the last four months, were involved in direct and free elections to elect the members of the RETA general constituency and governorate constituencies, which turned out to be 27 constituencies representing 27 governorates.

The RETA Union has also laid the groundwork for the basic organizational statute, formulated in accordance with international standards.

CTUWS calls upon the international unions and labor organizations to support RETA employees for setting up their independent union, which is a basic granted right as stated in international treaties ratified by the Egyptian Government.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Zambian mine lays off 1,300 staff

Zambia's biggest copper mining company, Konkola Copper Mines, has laid off 1,300 workers as it struggles with a fall in both demand and copper prices.

The redundancies represent about 10% of the company's entire workforce.

Konkola said it was embarking on a programme to streamline operations and increase labour productivity in response to falling copper prices.

Many of Zambia's mining companies have been forced to make dramatic job cuts during the global economic downturn.

Price slump

Last month, the Mineworkers' Union of Zambia said about 8,200 jobs had been lost in the sector since December last year.

Copper accounts for a large proportion of Zambia's exports.

The price of copper has fallen dramatically since the summer of last year, when it stood at almost $8,000 (£5,500) a tonne.

By the end of the year, it had dropped to just over $2,800 a tonne.

The price now stands at more than $4,500 a tonne after a major stimulus package in China, the world's biggest consumer of copper, raised hopes that demand for the metal would increase.

More recently, the price has jumped on reports that China is rebuilding its state reserves of the metal, according to Mark Elliot at Fairfax Investment Bank.

But Mr Elliot says the price if copper is notoriously volatile and could slip back if confidence in global demand takes another hit.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Zambia: Zulawu Urges Unions to Be Unanimous On Review of Act

THE Zambia United Local Authorities Workers Union (ZULAWU) has called on all labour unions to unite in ensuring that the law relating to the minimum wage is reviewed to match the current trends.

ZULAWU general secretary Noah Kalangu said in an interview in Ndola yesterday that there was need to intensify efforts aimed at ensuring that the law governing the minimum wage was reviewed.

He said council workers, who played a vital role in country's development process, were the most affected because their salaries were very low.

"Some council workers are still being paid less than K260,000, which is the statutory stipulated minimum wage," he said.

Mr Kalangu said it was sad that the people still expected councils to be efficient in the service delivery when many workers were still being paid what he called peanuts.

"I have just completed a tour of North-Western province and I came across some workers in some rural councils such as Chavuma and Mwinilunga where some permanent employees still get as little as K150,000 and K250,000," he said.

He observed that the immediate review of the minimum wage would help to narrow the gap between the most affected workers in the councils and some chief officers who were getting as much as K5 million.

"As long as the council workers remain exploited as far as getting living wages is concerned it will remain difficult for the country to attain the much-needed development," he stated.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Zabalaza No. 10 Now Available Online

The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) is pleased to announce that issue number 10 of our organ Zabalaza: A Journal of Southern African Revolutionary Anarchism is now available online.

In this issue:

Southern Africa

  • Editorial by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF)
  • Unite Against the Minority, Then Unite Against the Majority? (Zambia) by Malele D. Phirii, Zambia
  • The Jacob Zuma Cargo Cult and the “Implosion” of Alliance Politics (South Africa) by Michael Schmidt (ZACF)
  • A Bitter Taste to the Sugarcane (Swaziland) by Michael Schmidt (ZACF)
  • Four Tools for Community Control – Part I: “Mutual Aid” (Southern Africa) by Stefanie Knoll (ZACF)
  • Zimbabwe’s Party-Political Stitch-Up - How the Zanu-PF/MDC Deal Ignored Civil Society by Jonathan P. (ZACF)


  • The Anarchist Movement in North Africa: 1877 - 1951 by Michael Schmidt (ZACF) & Lucien van der Walt
  • Socialists and Gaullists Haunted by the Ghosts of Genocide (Rwanda) by Guillaume Davranche (Alternative Libertaire), France


  • Jalan Journal: A New Asian Anarchist Voice is Born with introduction by Michael Schmidt (ZACF)
  • 30th Congress of the National Confederation of Labour (France) by CNT-F
  • Hamas, the Left and Liberation in Palestine by Sevinc (Workers’ Solidarity Movement), Ireland
  • Interview with Ilan Shalif from Anarchists Against the Wall - Israel/Palestine
  • A Hot Winter in Greece by Stefanie Knoll (ZACF)
  • Something Smells Different in Cuba by Movimiento Libertario Cubano, with introduction by Michael Schmidt (ZACF)
  • Imperialism, China and Russia by Pier Francesco Zarcone (Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici), Italy
  • Against Political Terror in Russia, We Mobilise! by the Internatioal Secretary, Alternative Libertaire, France/ Belgium
  • Change We Need: An Anarchist Perspective on the 2008 US Election by North-Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC), USA, with introduction by Michael Schmidt (ZACF)


  • Tangled Threads of Revolution: Reflections on Anarchist Communists: A Question of Class by James Pendlebury (ZACF)

The .pdf version of the journal can be downloaded here

The texts will appear online soon

Friday, April 10, 2009

The truth on the Somali 'pirates'

All the media is reporting on how 'Pirates' have Struck a U.S. cargo ship, But Is the Media Telling the Whole Story?

First, I'm not here to paint the Somalis responsible as heroes or as vigilantes, but i'm not going to condemn them as well. The issue is very complicated and this story sheds alot of light on the situation.

According to Hari:

As soon as the [Somali] government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

This is the context in which the "pirates" have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a "tax" on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia -- and ordinary Somalis agree. The independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent "strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence."

Here is a youtube of the Somali hip hop artist K'naan speaking on this very issue.
+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.

Because the is no Somali government, there is no State. There is no institution that police the water and enforce international or national laws,rules, regulations. Consider what one pirate told The New York Times after he and his men seized a Ukrainian freighter "loaded with tanks, artillery, grenade launchers and ammunition" last year. "We don't consider ourselves sea bandits," said Sugule Ali:. "We consider sea bandits those who illegally fish in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas. We are simply patrolling our seas. Think of us like a coast guard." Now, that "coast guard" analogy is a stretch, but his point is an important and widely omitted part of this story.