Brief #5 - okładka

Human trafficking and kidnapped brides

Twenty-nine million women and girls are victims of modern slavery. They are forced to labor, involuntary marriages, and exploited via domestic servitude and as a result of debt-bondage. That number makes one in every 130 women a modern slave. According to the Minderoo Foundation’s Walk Free, which co-authored the report, the modern slavery is “the systematic removal of a person’s freedom, where one person is exploited by another for personal or financial gain.” Women account for 99% of all victims of forced sexual exploitation, 84% of victims of forced marriages, and 58% of victims of forced labor.

Almost half of the U.K. bank specialists are unable to notice indicators of human trafficking in transactions and banking behavior. Only one in five experts believe he possesses skills that would allow him to identify those signs. Almost 25 million men, women, and children are victims of human trafficking.

Women in India are kidnapped and sold as brides, due to the lack of marriageable women, caused by sex-selective abortion and female foeticide. In the northern state of Haryana, there are only 877 for every 1000 men (according to the 2011 census). Girls as young as 14 are abducted. The data on that issue is limited and inconsistent. Research from 2013 that was made on 10 000 households in 92 villages showed that around 9 000 women were bought and forced into marriages. A survey in 2014 found that in 85 villages in Northern India live 1352 wives who were sold to their husbands.

Natives’ land in danger

New Saudi hi-tech megacity NEOM, a project of 500 bln USD, puts in danger the existence of the Huwaitat, one of the oldest tribes in Saudi Arabia. The authorities allegedly arrested, harassed, hounded, and even killed members of the tribe who refused to sell their land and oppose the plan. The government continues to evict the tribe from their property in 13 villages along the Red Sea. Members of Huwaitat called to the United Nations to investigate the issue.

The mining concessions overlap over 20% of indigenous land in Amazon, and illegal mining affects 31% (or 450 000 square kilometers) of indigenous reserves, according to the report by the World Resources Institute. Deforestation caused by garimpeiros – independent, wildcat miners – rose between 2018 and 2019 by 23%, to the record 10 500 hectares. Brazilian gold export is currently estimated at three bn USD and rose 35% between January and August this year.

The Guapinol community from northern Honduras opposes the activity of an iron oxide mine which poses the danger of contaminating the river Guapinol – their main water source. The mine was opened within the area of a protected national park and without consultations with locals. The government and the mining industry target the community members who fight the Inversiones Los Pinares company actions: they are threatened, harassed, and even persecuted.

New art rock style, giant refugee puppet and Twitter as a safe space

To dramatize and draw attention to the plight of child refugees, British activists will make a 3,5-metre-high puppet of a refugee girl and make it walk 8 000 kilometers from the Syrian-Turkish border to Manchester. Dubbed as Little Amal, it will start its travel in March. Before concluding it in July, it will visit more than 70 towns, villages, and cities where it will be welcomed by local art exhibitions, parties, and community events.

Nigerian LGBT+ youth are using Twitter to fight homophobia and shape their public image and identity, according to Paul Onanuga from the Federal University, Oye Ekiti. They consider Twitter as a safe space, create microblogs, share, and re-take the narrative by expressing themselves and their sexuality. They use words like “homo”, “gay” or “queer” in a self-accepting way. Twitter is also used by the anti-homophobic activists in a country that marginalizes the LGBT community.

The scientists from the Australian Griffith University for the first time described a rock art style called Maliwawa Figures. Human figures on it are often depicted with animals, especially kangaroos, wallabies, snakes, birds, and longtom fish. Interestingly, some of the paintings show people holding animals or seem to present animals watching or even participating in the activities of humans. Discoveries of paintings are made by the research teams working with local Aboriginal communities. First Maliwawa Figures were found in 2008-2009.

Insect farming and AI in pig breeding

The U.K’s government backed a project of a large-scale insect farming to make animal and pet food with 10 million pounds. The awarded company already makes its products out of black soldier flies fed on food waste. Now, they will open a factory that will process 33 000 tons of food waste yearly. That comes with a much smaller environmental footprint than traditional pet-food bases, like meat, soy, or fish. UK’s food suppliers were already testing the market for insect-based food for people.

Alibaba, a Chinese multinational technology company, plans to use artificial intelligence to raise pigs. That comes in line with China, the world’s biggest producer and consumer of pork, redefining the whole industry. The big-scale suppliers breed animals with much lower costs, making it economically unviable for smaller farms to compete. However, the big breeding operations are more likely to be drivers of disease transmission – an issue that will supposedly be resolved with the new, technology-based solutions like Alibaba’s ET Agricultural Brain. It will also raise the efficiency of production even higher, which may lower the prices and drive up demand. With the high-tech solutions comes the so-called fourth agricultural revolution.

As intensive farming grows, the chances of meeting the terms of the Paris agreement on climate decline, according to the study published in Nature science journal. It comes as a result of the rising emissions of nitrous oxide – currently 1,4% a year. It is given off by artificial fertilizers and animal manure and has a heating effect 300 times higher than the carbon dioxide.

Superhabitable planets and mega-tsunami

Researchers found 24 planets that are “superhabitable”, which means the conditions there are more life-friendly than the ones on Earth. They looked for planets that were i.e. around 10% larger than ours and with higher mass (as it means keeping heating longer), slightly warmer, with more water and revolving around stars with a longer lifespan than the Sun. None of the 4500 globes they looked through met all the criteria but 24 of them exceeded Earth’s hospitability for life and one fulfilled four of the characteristics assumed for the perfect match.

With almost three months to go, 2020 already tied the record for the year with the most natural disasters in the U.S that caused at least 1 billion USD damage each. The list consists of the wildfires in the west, the drought that hit 43% of the continental U.S., tornadoes, hurricanes, and storms. The other record years were 2017 and 2011 with the data being gathered since 2011. The data was presented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NASA published satellite images of a mountain slope on the south coast of Alaska that could collapse and cause a mega-tsunami. The slope became unstable due to the glacier retreating as a result of warming temperatures. According to the scientists, the potential tsunami will “likely” occur within the next 20 years. Once it happens, the wave reaching neighboring areas could be hundreds of feet high. In May 2020 fourteen scientists published an open letter to draw attention to the issue.

Online dating and a deep voice relation to infidelity

Online dating speeds up the progress of relationships in comparison to the traditional, real-life romances. After just 30 seconds of a video call, online daters can tell whether they are interested in another person. A man will say “I love you” after 22 virtual dates on average, while the woman after 30. During the COVID-19 lockdown, virtual dating grew by 36%. Six out of ten singles admit that they like the new way of dating.

Men with deep voices are more often unfaithful. The depth of a voice is correlated with the testosterone levels, generally the deeper the voice, the higher testosterone levels. It’s the same reason why women find those men more attractive.

Publishing posts that show the authentic life of a person on social media is more beneficial for their mental health than sharing the idealized version of it. The scientists analyzed data of 10 560 Facebook users. They found that their wellbeing was better during the time when they were asked to “post authentically”.

Politicians who are lying have better chances of succeeding in politics. A lab-based election experiment in the U.K.showed that those who were most eager to invest in getting the selection were the ones who didn’t keep their electoral promises.