The Dark Side of Super Bowl Sunday

As noted in this article post from Psychology Today, Super Bowl Sunday is not just the battle between the winners of the AFC and NFC for the NFL’s top prize; it also corresponds to a spike in the number of people trafficked, particularly victims of the sex slave trade.

Human Trafficking is a year round issue that takes several forms, but sex trafficking for the Super Bowl is regarded by many experts as the single largest human trafficking event. While same may dispute that particular claim, there is no debate that any event which draws a large amount of people — which the Super Bowl is largely considered the single biggest such event in the United States– results in an uptick in people trafficked in for illegal purposes.

DC Stop Modern Slavery is an all volunteer organization helping to raise awareness and combat human trafficking in the Nation’s capital. Want to help out in the fight? Join our meetup group to learn about new opportunities and events.

“Modern-Day Slavery”

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper.”
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

 

THE QUESTION 

The words “slavery” and “human trafficking” are often used interchangeably to describe situations where people are forced or coerced into performing some type of work. In many historical texts, the phrase “traffick of persons” was used to describe the Triangular Trade – a period during which people from West Africa were kidnapped and transported to different parts of the world to engage in forced labor.[1] Today, many anti-human trafficking organizations label themselves as “abolitionist” organizations, the term abolitionist referring to a person or group of persons who advocated for an end to slavery.

The interchangeable use of the words slavery and human trafficking suggests that the Triangular Trade is comparable to modern-day human trafficking. While some accept this as true, others see a clear distinction between the two words and believe that human trafficking is a different creature from slavery.

This difference of opinion begs the question – should human trafficking be considered slavery? To address this question, it is helpful to compare certain aspects of slavery as it existed in the U.S. to aspects of what is known today as human trafficking.

 

THE COMPARISON

1. Trade routes

mapThis picture illustrates the main routes used from the 15th to the 19th century during the Triangular Trade.[2] Enslaved Africans were kidnapped from West Africa and taken to the Americas where they were sold in exchange for raw materials. The materials were then shipped to Europe and traded for manufactured goods such as cloth and guns, which then made their way to West Africa to be traded for people. People were traded and used like items, and the Trade profited as a result.

Compare the above picture with the routes used to traffick people today:[3]

map 2Over time, trafficking routes became more sophisticated as technology developed, creating new modes of transportation. During the Triangular Trade, sea travel was the most efficient method for transporting large numbers of people to different parts of the world, whereas today, traffickers can transport their victims via buses, airplanes, taxi cabs, etc. This explains why the two pictures above look completely different – it is now possible for victims from India to end up in the U.S., for victims from Nigeria to end up in Italy, and so on. So when developing awareness/outreach efforts, consider those who work in the transportation industry – they are in one of the best positions to spot potential trafficking situations.[4]

As the illustrations show, the second picture is essentially an expansion of the first.

So….did the Triangular Trade ever really end?

 

2. “Branding”

brand 1Searing hot cattle irons like the one pictured here were used by plantation owners to burn the flesh of enslaved Africans.[5] The resulting “brands” permanently identified enslaved men, women, and children as the property of the plantation owner.

brand 2

These brands were usually made into the plantation owner’s initials or surname, which made it easy to determine which plantation an enslaved person belonged to if he or she was captured while trying to escape.

 

Today, branding serves the same purpose, but looks slightly different:

 

brand 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traffickers often force their victims to get permanent tattoos’ of the trafficker’s name or initials. [6] These tattoos signify ownership, reinforcing the message that the victim is simply a piece of property. These types of tattoos have become so prevalent that a number of anti-human trafficking organizations have initiatives that help fund tattoo removal services for survivors.

As mentioned earlier in regards to the transportation industry, awareness/outreach efforts should also include tattoo parlors. Although it is common for people to get tattoos of names or initials, a tattoo artist who is knowledgeable about the signs of human trafficking may be able to report a potential trafficking situation and possibly save a life.

 

3. The auction block[7]

 

auction blockIt was on platforms such as these that enslaved Africans stood, sadly awaiting sale to the highest bidder. They were dragged from ships, stripped naked, and put on display in front of crowds of people for close “inspection.” Potential buyers poked and prodded, hoping to find some of the following:

 

 

  •  men with strong, broad shoulders for carrying heavy loads;
  •  women with wide, child-bearing hips; and
  •  children who were either big enough for manual labor or small enough to serve as living, breathing dolls for the buyer’s children to play with.

 

 auction block 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s auction blocks are online ads…

 

auction block 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

…or dimly-lit street corners.

 

PROSTITUTIONJust like enslaved Africans, trafficking victims today are put on display and sold to the highest bidder. Traffickers rely heavily on the internet to advertise younger girls for sex, using code language to disguise advertisements and to communicate with people who buy sex. There is a higher risk of getting caught by police if underage girls are openly engaging in street prostitution, so traffickers often use the internet to help avoid this risk.

Being forced into street prostitution is extremely dangerous, but people who are in this situation do not have a choice. Their lives are threatened, they are beaten and tortured if they don’t make a certain amount of money each night, and traffickers keep a close watch on them day and night, directing their every move.

Considering what you know about the history of slavery in the U.S., would you ever assume that the people who were working on plantations made a conscious decision to live in bondage and do hard labor? Hopefully not, because it is clear that enslaved Africans were forced to work against their will. The same line of thinking should apply to today’s trafficked persons. When you see people on the streets at night, consider the possibility that the scantily clad woman or girl you pass by may have been forced into prostitution in the same way enslaved Africans were forced into a lifetime of physical labor. With an estimated 27 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, it is imperative that we set aside our personal judgments and take a second look.

 

4. Cabins

Cabins were used to shelter enslaved Africans from the elements so that they would not get sick and/or die from exposure.[8] These cabins were not homes, houses, or any other noun that suggests a place of rest and security – they simply provided the bare minimum to keep people alive so that they could continue to work.

 

cabin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s “cabins” serve the same function. They can either be attics, basements, broken down cars, or any structure that can keep victims hidden but still accessible for exploitation. Victims have been rescued from some of the most deplorable conditions imaginable. They are usually confined to a small filthy room that contains little more than a single mattress on which they are raped night after night.

 

cabin 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Divide and conquer

In many stories about slavery in the U.S., the image of a whip-cracking “overseer” riding around the plantation on horseback has become quite common. However, it is important to note that the plantation owner’s entire family played the role of overseer. Back then, anyone who was not enslaved had the authority to mistreat and abuse those who were. Anyone.

An important point to be made here is that many enslaved Africans were enlisted to serve as “internal overseers.” They were required to keep an eye on other enslaved Africans and report any secret meetings, those who tried to learn how to read, plans for escape, etc. This position did not provide any benefits – internal overseers performed this function simply because they had been chosen by the plantation owner, and if they failed or refused, they were killed. Pitting enslaved Africans against each other in this way instilled distrust and dissent among them. By intentionally keeping enslaved Africans wary of each other, there was little chance that they would band together to coordinate an escape or rebel against the plantation owner. This is how divide-and-conquer worked on the plantation, and it was used to defeat the inherent strength in numbers.

It’s clear that this divide-and-conquer strategy is still deliberately employed. Today, people referred to as the “Bottom B” play the role of internal overseer. They are generally trafficking victims who have been in “the life” a bit longer and know the operation well. They keep close watch on the trafficker’s other victims and report anyone who disobeys the trafficker.

 

book

 

The fact that the Willie Lynch Letter was confiscated from a trafficker’s home should not make sense, but unfortunately, it does.[9] Why would a trafficker read a letter that was supposedly written hundreds of years ago by plantation owner in Virginia?

For starters, Willie Lynch (the term “lynching” is believed to have been derived from his last name) is credited for writing an infamous how-to guide for plantation owners that provided instructions on how to keep people mentally and physically enslaved. For example, disunity on the plantation could be fostered by purposely “creating” enslaved persons with lighter skin and treating them differently than enslaved persons with darker skin. During slavery, strategic plans such as these created situations where enslaved Africans were completely dependent on the plantation owner and not dependent on each other. Traffickers are using this same strategy today, and even studying how this strategy was used in the past. “Why reinvent the wheel?” the trafficker must have thought. “It worked before, so I may as well use the blueprint…

 

THE CONCLUSION

With the many similarities between what is happening now and what happened during slavery – including the underlying elements of the subjugation and exploitation of people for profit – why do we maintain a distinction between slavery and trafficking? Political correctness, perhaps. After all, there are some distinct differences between slavery in the U.S., which is tied to the oppression of a particular minority group, whereas trafficking today crosses all racial and ethnic boundaries. Or perhaps we are afraid to admit failure. Slavery was abolished in 1862, so if we call modern human trafficking slavery (again), then it suggests that we never fully succeeded at abolishing slavery the first time around.

It is important to correctly explain human trafficking so that people can be properly educated on the subject and give it the serious attention it deserves. Whether you call it slavery or human trafficking, the goal is for people to understand what it means. How can we end it if we don’t understand what it is? Perhaps this is why the phrase “modern-day slavery” is widely used. It draws a connection between human trafficking and slavery while at the same time recognizing that slavery today has taken on a new form.

During slavery, our Constitution referred to enslaved Africans as three-fifths of a person. This idea that certain people are something less than human is what drives modern-day slavery. It drives traffickers to brand their victims, sell them to the highest bidder, and constantly use them as though they are nothing more than a piece of property.

But are we doing any better as a society, or are we still treating people as though they are less than human? If we automatically assume that anyone who engages in prostitution made a conscious decision to do so, are we viewing them as three-fifths of a person? Why is it that someone who is arrested for prostitution faces jail time that is twice as long as the potential jail time of the person who paid for the sex? Do laws like this make victims feel as though they are only three-fifths of a person?

Modern-day abolitionists, I implore you to take a second look. Educate yourself so that you can identify the chains that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Let’s completely abolish slavery this time around.

 


 

1. There was also an East African Trade in which persons from East Africa were kidnapped and transported to the Middle East and surrounding regions. The Triangular Trade that originated in West Africa is the focus of this post.
2. The Abolition Project , ‘The Triangular Trade’ <http://abolition.e2bn.org/slavery_43.html> (accessed March 29, 2014).
3. The Protection Project, <http://web.archive.org/web/20070706163750/http://www.protectionproject.org/maps/image/us.jpg> (accessed March 29, 2014).
4. See, for example, Airline Ambassadors International, ‘Basic Human Trafficking Education’ <http://airlineamb.org/our-programs/human-trafficking-awareness/aai-presentation/> (accessed March 29, 2014).
5. Branding iron, North Carolina Museum of History, <http://www.ncdcr.gov/ncmoh/AfricanAmericanLifeandCultureinNCHistory/SessionTwoAntebellumEra.aspx> (accessed March 29, 2014); Leeds Anti-Slavery Association, Series No. 23.
6. Photo from the film Tricked <http://www.trickedfilm.com/> (accessed March 29, 2014).
7. Library of Congress, ‘Green Hill Plantation, Slave Auction Block, State Route 728, Long Island, Campbell County, VA’, Call No. HABS VA,16-LONI.V,1J—2.; Library of Congress, Advertisement for auction at Ashley Ferry outside of Charleston, South Carolina, Call No. LOT 4422-A-1 [item] [P&P].
8. Library of Congress, ‘Florida– ruins of the slave cabins–Ft. George Id. / Geo. Barker, photographer, Niagara Falls, N.Y.’, Call No. LOT 13947, no. 3 [item] [P&P]; NBC 10 Philadelphia, ‘Woman Suspected of Chaining Disabled Adults Starved Man to Death in ’81’ <http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Woman-Suspected-of-Chaining-Disabled-Adults-Starved-Man-to-Death-in-81-132013283.html> (accessed March 29, 2014).
9. Marsh Law Firm’s Child Law Blog, ‘Sex Trafficking: The Girls Next Door’ <http://www.childlaw.us/sex_trafficking_the_girls_next/> (accessed March 29, 2014). While there is an on-going debate as to the actual existence of the Willie Lynch Letter, for the purposes of this post it is important to note that there was a common practice during slavery for plantation owners to purposely treat lighter-skinned persons (mulattos) “better” than their darker-skinned counterparts. This is well documented in history, and though the practice may or may not have stemmed from this infamous letter, the point is that the divide-and-conquer tactic itself is what drove many of the divisions within groups of enslaved persons, and this tactic was intentionally designed and carried out by plantation owners.

 

 

 

 

 

Join Norma at The Finish Line on Sunday at noon!

  • Norma and DC SMS

    Sunday, May 4th at 12 PM next to the Smithsonian Metro Stop in Washington, DC

    We will be on the National Mall between 8th and 12th Streets NW with the Cinco de Mayo Celebration.

    Dear DC SMSers and Be Relentless supporters,

    Thank you so much for showing interest in Norma Bastidas and the Be Relentless film crew as we arrive to Washington D.C. on Sunday, May 4th at noon on the National Mall (between 8th and 12th Street). This message contains information on how to get involved, stay connected, and be an integral part of the grand finale as we celebrate reaching the finish line of the world’s longest triathlon in your town!

    Norma Bastidas, survivor of sexual violence, abuse and attempted human trafficking, is currently on the last leg of her record-breaking triathlon. She began her journey of 3,700 miles swimming, biking and running through Mexico and the U.S. on March 1. Her goal is to prove that anything is possible and to inspire and encourage people to take a stand against human trafficking here and everywhere. Be Relentless is the bilingual, feature-length documentary currently following and recording every step of her journey. The film, which will premiere late 2014/early 2015, will capture the stories of Norma, other survivors, activists, politicians, prosecutors, after-care specialists, as well as the thousands of victims who are transported along Norma’s triathlon route into the U.S. to be sold as slaves. Norma’s story of survival, hope and determination will draw people everywhere in join the fight against human trafficking and you can be a part of it!

    Here’s how you can join:

    1. Stay in the loop:
    Join our Constant Contact email list to stay up-to-date with news on our arrival and learn how you can be a part of the Be Relentless movement. As some important details are still being determined, please sign up to stay current on Norma’s arrival information.

    *VIEW THE DC FINISH LINE PAGE & SIGN UP HERE: http://berelentless.iempathize.org/dc-finish-line/

    2. Share your support: Like iEmpathize on Facebook and help us get to 6,000 followers before we reach D.C. & follow @BeRelentlessMov and @UltraRunWild on Twitter. Share this message with your friends, families, neighbors and colleagues.

    3. Donate your support:
    Sponsor a mile at GoNorma.org and inspire others to do the same.

    4. Wear your support: Buy your Be Relentless T-shirt (proceeds directly benefit the film, which directly benefits survivors).

    5. Run and support: Pledge to run the last 3 miles with Norma and cross the finish line with her on May 4th. Runners will meet near the Arlington Cemetery Metro Station on the Virginia side of the Arlington Bridge.

    *SIGN UP TO RUN WITH NORMA HERE and invite others to join as well!

    This project has already proved it has tremendous potential for sparking social change and growing the army of people everywhere who are combating this human rights violation that happens in every country across the world. Won’t you join us in fighting for the countless victims and survivors?

    -Brad Riley
    Founder/President of iEmpathize
    Producer/Director of Be Relentless, an iEmpathize campaign

    ***DC SMS is privileged to support the Be Relentless campaign and iEmpathize, as it is to support all anti-trafficking stakeholders in and around the DC area.

    MayOverlay_DCUpdated2

End Demand Campaign: Sitting Down with Cindy Gustafson

Cindy Gustafson is no stranger to standing up for what she believes. In the 1990s, after learning about the issues that lead to prostitution, she worked with her police department and community members to close down the largest strip club in her county. It was then that Cindy got her first glimpse into the world of human trafficking.

Years later, when Cindy retired in DC, she realized that first glimpse had stayed with her. “I remember seeing the ages of prostitutes getting lower and lower”, she says, recalling when she first volunteered with DC Stop Modern Slavery. “I started coming to meetings and learning about how huge an issue this is.”

Cindy has since been with DC Stop Modern Slavery for four years, and is currently leading  the Advocacy Team in its End Demand Campaign.  The campagn is forming a coalition of local community members, anti-trafficking NGOS and other supporters to lobby the D.C. City Council to strengthen D.C. anti-trafficking law.  In particular, the campaign seeks to strengthen the Demand Laws that affect the buyers of sex, known as “johns.”  Once these laws are strengthened, the campaign will focus on helping ensure they are fully enforced.

“The lesson I learned was it always comes back to the buyer.

If there is no demand, you don’t need a supply.

Cindy Gustafson, Advocacy Team Leader
Cindy Gustafson, Advocacy Team Leader

Currently the laws have minimal penalties for purchasing sex from an adult, or even a minor. Cindy has spoken to police officers who have told her that, if they pick up a john on Monday morning, there is a good chance that they will pick up that same john again on Tuesday, and perhaps again on Wednesday—all for the same reason. The current laws are not reducing demand.

The goal of the End Demand Campaign is to end demand for human trafficking in our nation’s capital through a three part plan: 1) Inform the community, 2) Reach city council members, and 3) Change municipal legislation.

If the changes proposed by the End Demand Campaign were to pass, along with being required to register as a sex offender on the first conviction and potential asset forfeiture, a buyer’s name and photo would be posted in newspapers and the internet, and the individual would receive both longer jail time and much larger fines.  The increased fines would then be used for victim services. These proposed changes are supported by research that shows that 72% to 83% of johns would be deterred from buying sex if penalties were increased.

Louisiana, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington have all introduced demand laws to their legislatures – Washington, D.C. would not be the first to do so. All of these demand laws have been modeled after a law that dramatically curbed the demand for human trafficking, the Swedish Kvinnofrid law. We will discuss more about this law in further detail in our next blog post.

We need YOU to help the END DEMAND Campaign!
Learn more about the human trafficking issue!
Are you a D.C. resident? Contact DC-SMS, tell us your Ward number or your address
so we may add you to our roster of End Demand Campaign Supporters.
We will then be able to contact you when it is time to lobby your City Council Representatives to end Demand!
advocacy@stopmodernslavery.org
Volunteer with our team on communications, blogs, training sessions, etc.!

Learn more about DC Stop Modern Slavery!
http://www.stopmodernslavery.org
http://www.meetup.org/wdcsms
http://www.facebook.org/dcsms

 

Nefarious: Merchant of Souls – Film Viewing

As National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month (January, initiated by President Obama in December 2011) came to a close, DC-SMS and CapCity College at George Washington University teamed up for a film viewing of the documentary Nefarious: Merchant of Souls.

I was drawn in by the humility of the filmmakers; their purpose was to learn about a topic in which they were not experts, rather to present or lecture. Through interviews, the documentary provided an impressive interweaving of perspectives – survivors, families, ex-traffickers, journalists and researchers, psychologists, and activists, to name a few. Bit by bit, we followed the team as they began to unravel the mystery of modern slavery.

They began in Moldova, a smaller Eastern European country located between Ukraine and Romania, often considered to be the epicenter of human trafficking. The team then moved on to the red light district of Amsterdam, where prostitution is legal; but as they discover, legality is sometimes hard to recognize through a store window. The film switched gears for a bit to southeast Asia, specifically in Thailand and Cambodia, where they learned more about family-fueled human trafficking situations. Nefarious brought it home to Las Vegas, U.S.A., for the next section, emphasizing important similarities and distinctions between human trafficking in the United States versus other countries they had explored. To wrap it up, the film briefly highlighted Sweden, where the purchase of prostitution was criminalized in 1999.

Here are a few points, statistics, or anecdotes that struck me while watching Nefarious:

  • Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry. It is profitable second only to drugs.
  • Wherever the filmmakers went, they encountered girls trafficked from Eastern Europe.
  • In Amsterdam, 60% of prostituted women report being physically assaulted.
  • Industries need two things to survive: money and government (or some form of authoritative) support. Where human trafficking thrives, it has both.
  • In regards to human trafficking, is poverty certainly a correlation but not necessarily causation.
  • In the United States, it was more common for women to admit they were lured by the glamour and prosperity of prostitution, and then later trapped in a trafficking spiral.
  • The average age of entry into sex trafficking in the United States is 12-14 years old.
  • The woman who sat next to me spoke with me briefly following the film and she shared that what surprised her the most was the statistics on parental complicity, particularly in Cambodia, where 80-90% of families sell their daughters as a source of income.

The film ended with a few William Wilberforce quotes that clearly meant a great deal to the filmmakers and the documentary’s message:

“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.”

“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say you did not know.”

 

Overall, this was a successful event for both DC Stop Modern Slavery and CapCity. We had to find more chairs so people could sit down!

 

“3 AM Girls” Film Viewing with DC-SMS at Asbury Church

Commodity. Supply. Demand. Slavery.

These are the words I was left to ponder after the conclusion of the Courtney’s House and DC-SMS coordinated viewing of “3 AM Girls,” a documentary of a sex trafficking strip in Washington DC. The use of economic terms in regards to people seems too distanced and dehumanizing. But perhaps this distance is exactly the eerie and uncomfortable point that needs to be made. There was one study, mentioned by a Courtney House representative, that showed that most male “Johns” who participated in the study truly believe that every guy buys sex. The fact that buying forced sex, particularly from minors, could be perpetuated as a part of our culture is scary. This fear was voiced by several of the audience members who also wanted to know, “What can we do?”

What can you do? These were my main take-aways from the film and the Q&A:

First, be careful with the language you use. Prostitution is not the same as trafficked people and the distinction is important whether you’re talking to law enforcement or your next door neighbor. Second, educate yourself, your family, and your community. Raising awareness and staying informed about how to recognize human trafficking and who to call is by far the most effective, community tool to combat human trafficking. Finally, though the film focused on child sex trafficking, the representatives from Courtney House stressed the important point that sex trafficking is only one type of human trafficking, as well as the fact trafficking is not gender-blind; boys and girls, women and men could all possibly fall victim to human trafficking.

Foot Soldiers for the Cause

 

 

 

By Ron Jensen

More than 2 million allies have jonied the effort to stop modern slavery.

Foot soldiers, you might say.

The Defense Department has instructed military members to be vigilant for evidence of human trafficking.

This is not inconsequential. 

A significant number of U.S. military members are stationed in nearly two dozen countries around the world–in Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific region.

But the warning from the Pentagon went out to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines stationed in America, too. And to its civilian employees worldwide, adding a million or so more pairs of eyes to the fight.

 John F. Awtrey, the DoD’s director of law enforcement policy and support, pointed out in the press release, “While traffic victims generally come from the poor places in the world, their destination . . . is all over the world. A lot of countries where our service members are deployed have evidence of a lot of trafficking, and it’s here in the United States, as well.”

The military began training military members and civilian employees on how to spot evidence of human trafficking back in 2004 when military members were found frequenting places in South Korea that were involved in trafficking women from Russia and the Philippines.

Military members are, for the most part, well-trained at spotting something out of the ordinary. People who can spot disturbed earth on a dirt road in Afghanistan where a deadly bomb has been placed probably can be counted on to notice warning signs of human trafficking.

But this is a role we all can play. And so can our friends and family members.

We should obligate ourselves to know how to spot evidence of human trafficking and share that information with our friends.

The Pentagon release tells of a civilian employee at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, who had a meal once a month at a Chinese restaurant near the base. He noticed that the staff was new every time he visited.

He reported his suspicions and the FBI busted a human trafficking ring.

This isn’t a job only for the authorities or the folks who wear badges. This is something all of us can do.

The Pentagon points out that nightclubs, bars, spas, nail salons and dry cleaners are all places where people being trafficked are put to work.

And, just in case you do see something suspicious, the number for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center is 1-888-373-7888.

           

           

 

 

National Victims Rights Week April 10-16

The week of April 11th-17th is National Crime Victims Rights Week, also referred to as NCVRW.  Awareness of victims rights includes recognizing victims of human trafficking.  NCVRW was established by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) back in 1981, and has been a tradition ever since.

You can review OVCs calendar here, which provides locations all over the country that are speaking out about the rights for victims of crimes.  The purpose of NCVRW week is to help other communities in the U.S. establish fair’s, community events, give awards, and allow for speaking venues where people can be educated about victims rights.  The OVC website has everything that a community would need from a resource guide to multimedia tools to hold an event during this week.

OVC’s website also has a page dedicated solely to human trafficking.  Please check out this site and take a look at the publications and videos posted about modern day slavery.

Additional Information:

OVC on Human Trafficking

Polaris Project Releases National Human Trafficking Hotline Call Data

The Polaris Project has released their 2009 call data from their National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s hotline. You’ll find from their provided map and additional information that in 2009 alone more than 1700 trafficking-related calls were made, and that the two states averaging more than 200 calls that year were California and Texas, with other trafficking-dense states including Florida, New York, Illinois, Virginia, and our nation’s capitol in Washington, DC. Please take a look to have a better perspective on recorded potential trafficking situations in your state::

National Human Trafficking Resource Center Call Data (2009)

RIJI Green’s holiday campaign sale- Freeing Families from Slavery

RIJI Green, a company that sells products made by survivors of human trafficking is having a holiday campaign for International Justice Mission (IJM). IJM is a non-profit organization combating modern-day slavery by prosecuting the perpetrators, providing aftercare for victims, and promoting functional justice systems. RIJI Green’s holiday campaign goal is to raise ,000 to fund IJM’s 10 rescue operations freeing families from slavery. Its 21st century and slavery still exist victimizing men, women, children and families.
How are families enslaved? When a family member such as a father, the head of the household gets sick and has no money to pay for a doctor, they would go to a loan shark. The family would ask for a small loan, which equates to .00US so the father could see the doctor. The family would sign a document promising they will repay the debt by working for the loan shark, but what they don’t know from being illiterate is the interests and fees are so high, they could never repay their debt. Therefore generations of family members from grandmothers to granddaughters are enslaved. This is common in places like India, Pakistan, and others. In America, when we have debt, our credit scores goes down, but our livelihoods and freedom are not at risk.
In the spirit of justice and holiday giving, RIJI Green is starting their holiday campaign by donating 50% of their profits to IJM from now till November 22, 2009. RIJI Green will give 15% of their profits to IJM till the end of the year.
Will you please join RIJI Green’s campaign to free families from slavery in 2010. Your purchase will have an echoing effect in creating a slave free tomorrow. At one point in America, one out of every eight Americans was a slave. History has shown we can overcome slavery. Will you join the movement to end 21st century slavery and make history? Shop and Empower survivors of human trafficking at www.RIJIgreen.com