Spotlight News 12/1/2015

Authorities at Silvio Pettirossi International Airport, Paraguay Seize $5.12 Million of Counterfeit Goods

Customs authorities at Silvio Pettirossi International Airport, located near Asuncion, Paraguay, seized about $5.12 million of counterfeit goods. The fake products arrived in the country aboard a commercial flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina. The 25,350 counterfeit items included handbags, sunglasses, watches, and electronics. Officials are attempting to determine who owns the shipment of counterfeit goods. Traffickers in Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay often transship counterfeit products originating in China, which suffers from a Severe threat of counterfeit production and exportation, through a neighboring country before reaching the ultimate destination. This may explain why the relatively large shipment of counterfeit goods seized in this incident entered Paraguay from Argentina. 

Companies Report Increased Looting of Freight Trains Travelling Through Leon, Mexico

Local companies in Los Sauces, a small community in Leon, Guanajuato State are reporting an increased number of looting incidents targeting Mexican freight trains passing through the community. According to the report, local citizens are boarding the trains while they are in transit, and toss out sacks of cargo from the vehicles. Corn and cement appear to be the most heavily targeted products, and the citizens allegedly load the sacks into a pickup truck and take them to be sold in local markets. An employee of a cement company stated that the thefts had risen dramatically this year. In the last few years, it was not uncommon for a few sacks of product to be missing from trains arriving at Leon; however, the employee stated that it is now common for trains to be missing several tonnes of cargo when they arrive at their destination.

Thefts from freight trains make up a relatively small portion of incidents in Mexico, but frequently involve a much larger quantity of stolen cargo than other types of thefts. Citizens often perceive freight train theft to be a low-risk act, as police have a very limited ability to track stolen cargo unless they are alerted to ongoing thefts. 

Human Rights Abuses are Widespread at Five Toy Factories in China

Human rights abuses are widespread at five large factories supplying to major U.S. toy companies, according to a recent investigation by a nongovernmental organization. The factories are located in China’s southeastern province of Guangdong and employ a total of about 20,000 workers. The abuses recorded include numerous instances of inadequate safety measures, long working hours with few breaks, poor employee living conditions, and the potential loss of earned wages if workers quit their jobs. The report represents just the latest documentation of labor rights violations in Chinese factories producing goods for Western companies, underscoring the Severe BSI threat rating for human rights in the country.