Monday, February 6, 2012

Japan’s Human Rights Challenge: International Parental Child Abduction

Wikimedia Commons, US Department of State
by Asafu Suzuki

     In 2009, Christopher Savoie made international headlines when he flew to Japan to forcibly take back his children, who had been “abducted” by his Japanese ex-wife in defiance of an American court order. While the incident ultimately prompted review of Japan’s child custody laws, it shed light on a serious problem that affects many international families upon the parents’ divorce.

     As international marriages become increasingly common in today’s globalized environment, so have international divorces. International divorces generally present various challenges, and custodial issues in international divorces can be particularly problematic. Difficulty arises when one parent illegally removes his or her children from their habitual residence. This phenomenon, commonly known as international parental child abduction, involves actual and potential human rights violations of all parties involved.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Can Governments Protect Sex Work to Prevent Human Trafficking?

flikr/The Intrepid Traveler
by Marie Greenman

More than a decade after the Dutch government lifted its ban on brothels, thereby decriminalizing sex work in the Netherlands, the international human rights community remains divided on whether or not the decriminalization of voluntary sex work is an effective anti-human trafficking tool.
Why is Dutch decriminalization of the regulated sex industry so controversial? There are two sets of intensely held beliefs, which center around the nature of commercial sex itself. Some see the regulation as creating a support and safety network for registered sex workers and allowing them to reclaim a sense of control over the use of their bodies. Others argue that it endorses the commodification of the human body and allows for the exploitation of disempowered and socioeconomically pressed workers.