By Gustavo Arias Retana/Diálogo November 15, 2018 In September 2018, Costa Rican and Panamanian authorities dismantled a human trafficking ring that smuggled people from China to Latin America. Wálter Espinoza, head of the Costa Rican Judicial Investigation Agency, a unit of the Costa Rican Supreme Court, told the press that the two-year investigation led to a ring linked to criminals in other Latin American countries, such as Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. “There was a group of Chinese nationals who had ties in Asia, Europe, and South America. The criminals had contacts that facilitated the arrival of a significant number of people to our country,” Espinoza said. “Victims had two possible fates: Some would stay in Costa Rica, while others would be sent to other places, especially the United States and Canada. Those who remained in our country were sent to commercial businesses, mainly to suppliers [to supermarkets] and restaurants.” According to authorities, the Chinese citizens were transported from China to Europe by air. From there, they were taken to Ecuador, Peru, or Colombia, with Costa Rica as their final destination for a $22,000 to $45,000 fee. Most migrants entered via Juan Santamaría International Airport in San José, Costa Rica, with the complicity of some state officials, now under arrest. In Costa Rica, merchants exploited Asian migrants and “bought” them, while those smuggled to Panama paid to be taken to the United States or Canada. In most cases, they indebted themselves to criminal organizations and had to pay their debt with work. In Costa Rica, authorities detained 29 people connected to this case. Among the detainees were three Chinese nationals who led the smuggling ring, 10 immigration officials, a lawyer who forged documents, and 15 people in charge of logistics. Authorities also rescued two victims. In Panama, David Mendoza, head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office against Organized Crime, told the press that authorities detained 10 members of the human smuggling ring and rescued six victims. “We were after an organized group engaged in migrant smuggling, in which all victims were of Asian origin. The smuggling ring in Panama consisted of Panamanian citizens and foreigners,” Mendoza told the press. Not isolated cases The dismantling of the criminal gang compares to other similar cases, which clearly points to a human trafficking/smuggling route from China to Latin America. In late September 2018, Colombian authorities arrested a Nepalese national who led a gang that smuggled people from Asia, some of whom were from China. Smugglers charged about $10,000 to move people from the Colombian-Ecuadorean border to Panama, where they would head to the United States on their own. The Colombian National Police’s Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Interpol said in a press release that the gang moved about eight migrants daily. In this case, authorities detained 32 people. Insufficient control from China The U.S. government denounced the problems China poses concerning human trafficking in its Trafficking in Persons 2018 Report: Country Narratives, published in June. “The government of the People’s Republic of China does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of [human] trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so,” the report states. According to the report, China is urged to update the legal framework to completely criminalize all forms of trafficking and establish formal procedures to identify and protect human trafficking victims. Statistical management of these cases should also be improved as current figures make it difficult to measure the real impact of the problem. The report estimates that Chinese men, women, and children are subjected to forced labor, as well as labor and sex trafficking, in at least 57 countries. “Men, women, and children are forced to work in restaurants, shops, agriculture, and factories. Chinese men experience abuse at construction sites, in coal and copper mines, and in other extractive industries, where they face conditions indicative of forced labor. Chinese women and girls are subjected to sexual exploitation throughout the world,” the U.S. Department of State report concludes.
There might not have been a winner in the presidential election on Tuesday night, but there was a winner in the financial markets: the Nasdaq 100 and tech stocks broadly.Futures contracts tied to the Nasdaq 100 index jumped as much as 4% in overnight trading on Tuesday amid a volatile trading session that saw Dow futures register a nearly 800-point swing from high to low. Through the whipsaws, the Nasdaq 100 remained the relative outperformer. – Advertisement – – Advertisement – The logo of Apple company is seen outside an Apple store in Bordeaux, France, March 22, 2019.Regis Duvignau | Reuters
2002.That was the last time the Wisconsin men’s soccer team won four games before losing its first. After sweeping its weekend series down south against South Florida and Florida Gulf Coast, Wisconsin finds itself the owner of a 4-0-1 record — the best in the Big Ten.“It’s a whole different vibe,” senior co-captain Chris Prince said of the team’s mood compared to other seasons. “The team is just feeling better, the coaches are feeling better and we come to practice ready to compete which makes it more competitive.”Coaches from across the nation have taken notice of the Badgers’ hot start as Wisconsin is now ranked 25th in the nation in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Rankings, its highest ranking since it was No. 21 in 2002.“It definitely was a goal of ours and what comes along with getting higher in the rankings is an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament,” Prince said.Before they can focus on the NCAA tournament, the Badgers have two more non-conference games before Big Ten play begins, with a match against Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne on Friday and against Gonzaga on Sunday in the UIC Soccer Classic.The weekend will serve as a homecoming for Badgers head coach John Trask, who served as head coach for the University of Illinois-Chicago from 2005-2009. During his time with the Flames, Trask and his teams found success, winning three Horizon League regular season titles and earning three NCAA tournament berths (2006-2008).“When I first went back and saw some of the guys, it brought back a lot of memories for me,” Trask said. “Now, the fun thing for me is to bring a group of Wisconsin players, a few of which are from Chicago, who I think the world of, to a beautiful grass field with beautiful lighting and under the shadows of the Sears Tower. It’s a great environment for a college soccer game.”Unfortunately, the reunion will stop with the visit to campus, as the Badgers are not slated to play the Flames.The match against IPFW is about as uneven, record-wise, as you can get, with the Badgers’ undefeated record against the 0-5-1 record of IPFW. The Mastodons played to a draw in its opening match of the season against Northern Kentucky and have since dropped five straight contests.Of course, the lure of sports is the underdog story, and with this being such a one-sided advantage (on paper), the fear of being a nationally-ranked team and losing to a team that hasn’t won a game by overlooking them is one the Badgers hope doesn’t come to fruition.“First we have a huge game Friday,” junior defenseman AJ Cochran said. “Our concentration is on that game first and producing a result. Once Friday is over, then we will start to prepare for Gonzaga. Both games this weekend are going to be hard fought games and our team is looking forward to the challenges.”Prince echoed Cochran’s sentiments, saying, “We’re not worried about 2-0, we’re worried about 1-0. We have 13 seniors so we’ve played in enough games together that we can take that pressure (of being nationally ranked) and use it to play to the best of our ability.”So far this season, opponents have outscored the Mastodons 13-3 — a number that is expected to be further aggravated with the Badgers coming to town, outscoring their opponents 11-6.As for Gonzaga, the Bulldogs are 3-1-0 and have posted three consecutive shutouts behind senior goalkeeper Ryan Caballero.Caballero was named the West Coast Conference Men’s Soccer Player of the Week last week, and the 6-foot-1 California native has allowed just one goal in 376 minutes this season.On the offensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs are a second-half team. Gonzaga has scored four of its five goals this season in the second half or overtime and have carried a lead going into halftime just once this year (vs. UC Santa Barbara).“Gonzaga is a very strong team,” Trask said. “In terms of people asking who we’ve played yet, their record and results puts them in the same category as us — the early 20s of the national rankings.”