Spotlight News 6/22/2016

Italian Police Release Statistics on Counterfeit Seizures, Report Seizure of 432 Million Counterfeit Items Between 2008 and 2015

Between 2008 and 2015, Italian police conducted more than 131,000 seizures of counterfeit items and seized a total of 432 million fake products. Officers are still tallying the total value of 2015 seizures, but estimated the total value of seizures between 2008 and 2014 at 4.5 billion Euros ($5.1 billion). In 2015, 51 percent of seized goods originated in China, though the statistics do not identify other source nations. The report identifies apparel and accessories as the most frequently seized counterfeits, comprising nearly 33 percent of all seized goods. The next-largest sectors include media products, food items, electronics, watches and jewelry, and computer parts and accessories. 

counterfeit seizures Italy graph

Five Bolivian Nationals Rescued From Forced Labor Conditions at Brazilian Textile Factory

Authorities from the Brazilian Ministry of Labor rescued five Bolivian nationals from conditions of forced labor at a textile factory supplying a major women’s luxury brand in Sao Paulo. Reports indicate that a 14-year-old girl was among the victims. Authorities indicated the factory was in flagrant violation of Brazilian labor codes, and that the workers had not received a proper wage nor any vacation days at the time of the rescue. The parent firm of the textile factory involved denied any wrongdoing.

Brazil suffers from an Elevated BSI threat rating for overall human rights conditions, and instances of forced labor within textile companies occur regularly in the country. In 2015, 936 people were rescued from slave work, though reports estimate that there are still 161,100 people employed in similar conditions, mostly in rural Brazil.


Demonstrators in Pretoria, South Africa Burn Vehicles and Block Major Roads During Political Protest

Protests related to upcoming elections in South Africa disrupted road traffic in the administrative capital, Pretoria, in addition to harming people and property. Protesters barricaded roads and burned tires in multiple townships, including Atteridgeville, Mamelodi, Hammanskral, and Soshanguve. In various places across the city, demonstrators also burned trucks and buses in order to create blockades, including on portions of the major N1 Highway. An unknown person killed a member of the ruling African National Congress after a party meeting to decide on candidates for local elections in August. Authorities warn that passing vehicles may be hit with stones, and many businesses remain closed due to the violence. Groups of youths are reportedly stealing and looting from various closed businesses. Local sources report that the police were temporarily not responding to calls for service.