A shocking new report from the Associated Press has found that some of the seafood sold in American stores like Kroger, Safeway, Wal-Mart and Albertsons may have been caught by workers enslaved by boat captains. For a year, AP reporters spoke to dozens of slave laborers in an Indonesian village, many of whom were trafficked from the impoverished country of Myanmar. Once in the possession of seafood suppliers, the conditions are truly horrific:
They said the captains on their fishing boats forced them to drink unclean water and work 20- to 22-hour shifts with no days off. Almost all said they were kicked, whipped with toxic stingray tails or otherwise beaten if they complained or tried to rest.
Reporters talked to several men who complained about the conditions, and are now confined “in a space barely big enough to lie down, stuck until the next trawler forces them back to sea.” Because of the complexity of supply chains, the fish is often hard to track, and is mixed in with other seafood at processing plants. The AP says that they contacted many major chains for comment, and all of them “strongly condemned labor abuses,” and said they were working to take measures to prevent buying from suppliers who use slave labor. The report is horrifying to read, and some of the quotes from the workers are devastating: “If Americans and Europeans are eating this fish, they should remember us. There must be a mountain of bones under the sea." The piece also outlines some of the steps being taken to prevent slave labor, and why ending the practice in the seafood industry is so difficult ... Discuss
According to several reports, Boko Haram militants recently kidnapped up to 500 children from the Nigerian town of Damasak. The reports come after regional forces recaptured the town from the radical Islamic group, who controlled the area for months. A trader told Reuters, “They took 506 young women and children (in Damasak). They killed about 50 of them before leaving." The man’s own wife and daughters were among those kidnapped. Details of the abductions are still not clear. According to witness reports to the BBC, “about 500 children aged 11 and under are missing,” though Reuters says the number is “more than 400 women and children.” Mass abductions have become a hallmark of the radical Islamic militant group which recently pledged allegiance to ISIS. Last spring, Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 school-girls, many of whom were forced to convert to Islam and sold as sex slaves or made to marry Boko Haram fighters. There is also evidence that they may have used kidnapped children as suicide bombers ... Discuss
The New York Times is reporting a disturbing story in which ISIS militants stoned two twentysomethings in the streets of Mosul after they were accused of committing adultery. The story says that the woman may have been married, but it is unclear if any sort of private trial took place. A dozen ISIS militants reportedly gathered a crowd of hundreds to witness the stoning. In recent months there has been several public executions of residents for committing acts that are seen as socially unacceptable by the radical Islamic militants. Earlier in the day, three other twentysomethings were reportedly beheaded after ISIS members heard rumors that one of their relatives had met with a Kurdish leader. A witness to the stoning crime told the Times:
I was moved by the crying of this woman, who started bleeding and then died from the stoning. I was standing there helpless. The government have left us as captives in the hands of ISIS, who make all kinds of crimes in the city. The more I see their crimes, the more I hate them and realize they have come to carry out a paid agenda to destroy the city and its history and civilization and to defame the image of Islam.
A flight from Spain to Germany, carrying at least 148 people, has reportedly crashed in the French Alps. In a statement, French President Francois Hollande said, “The conditions of the accident are not yet clear but lead us to believe there will be no survivors.” Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the crash early this morning, but a flight tracker revealed that the plane descended rapidly, indicating possible engine troubles, and the pilots did send out a distress call ... Discuss
According to heartbreaking reports coming out of Yemen, at least 126 people were killed in three suicide bombings at two Mosques in the capital city of Sanaa. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks on Twitter. From the BBC: “The mosques are used mainly by supporters of the Zaidi Shia-led Houthi rebel movement, which controls Sanaa.” The rebels have been in conflict with al-Qaeda and other militant groups since coming into power in the city. At least 260 more people were injured in the bombings ... Discuss
According to reports, at least 19 people—17 of them tourists from other countries—were killed after gunmen stormed a popular museum in Tunisia. At least 22 others were injured. Two of the attackers were also killed by police, and authorities are currently looking for three others involved. The country’s Prime Minister called the raid a “cowardly attack” by terrorists, and though the attackers have not been identified, a spokesperson for Tunisia’s Interior Ministry said they were Islamists. Last month, 100 suspected Islamic extremists were arrested by Tunisian officials, and thousands of others from the country are believed to have left to fight in Syria and Iraq. There is some evidence that the attack could be linked to ISIS: According to CNN, a few days ago, “a Tunisian jihadist tweeted that a pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was coming soon” ... Discuss