Exclusive screening of \”In Plain Sight\” and expert panel discussion

Title: Exclusive screening of \”In Plain Sight\” and expert panel discussion
Location: Asbury United Methodist Church, corner of 11th and K Sts, NW Washington DC
Link out: Click here
Description: Stop Modern Slavery is excited to host an exclusive screening of “In Plain Sight” followed by a panel discussion with local experts, Barbara Amaya, Tina Frundt and Det. Bill Woolf
Date: 2016-11-07

Advocacy Opportunities – Focusing on DC City Council

Thanks for Rachael Pinguelo and Cindy Gustafson for the following blog post about events this week!

The DC Stop Modern Slavery Advocacy Team is working on the “End Demand” campaign to help combat human trafficking in Washington, DC.

On Tuesday, December 2nd, there are two ways you can be a part of this effort:

  • On Tuesday evening, the Advocacy Team will be meeting at the Martin Luther King, Jr Library in Downtown Washington, DC.  We will begin with a holiday social starting at 6 PM.  The business part of the meeting will start around 6:45 – focusing on getting word out to DC voters and residents about opposing the sex trafficking of minors and next steps for the “End Demand” campaign.  You can RSVP for the meeting hereor just show up!

Why are we doing this work?

DC ranks among the worst cities for sex trafficking.  Too often, the victims of such crimes are treated as criminals!  We are taking action to stop traffickers (often known as “pimps”) from repeatedly using youths as objects of rape by those who purchase them (sometimes called “johns” or “buyers” or “renters.”)  The arrested youths end up with criminal records while too many of those who exploit them do not.

Check out this news report about the legislation before the DC City Council, including an interview with a woman trafficked as a youth.  We are seeking to ensure that victims are treated as such since minors are not legally of age to consent to sexual relations with adults.  As the clip from the WUSA9 report notes, the “End Demand” campaign seeks greater consequences for the people who exploit the youths through the horrors of sex trafficking:

  • Distinguish between consequences for purchasing sex with an adult versus sex with a minor;
  • Eliminate the “mistake of age” defense so that buyers/renters of youths’ bodies cannot get away with saying that they thought the minors were over the age of 18;
  • People convicted under the new subsection shall be required to register as sex offenders – this goes for the traffickers as well as those who are the renters/buyers.  They will also face longer jail time and much larger fines.

Other states have already passed laws focusing on curbing demand (Louisiana, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington).  These laws are modeled after the Swedish Kvinnofrid law with its focus upon “buyers” rather than “sellers” of sex.

Join DC-SMS for Happy Hour and Film Screening Tonight

Blog post thanks to Rachael Pinguelo, DC Stop Modern Slavery Volunteer

Join DC Stop Modern Slavery and other anti-trafficking activists tonight – we will be at Boveda starting at 6 PM for refreshments and then we’ll walk over to the West End Cinema.  Meetup details here with ticket information about tonight and other showings here.

We are attending a screening of Food Chains, an exposé about the human cost of our fresh food industry. Food Chains premiered at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival and the film’s Executive Producers include Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser.  To learn more about the film, please go here – summary below:

Event_FairfoodFilmFood Chains exposes harsh realities experienced by farm workers, the foundation of our fresh food industry, here in the United States.  They are routinely abused and robbed of wages. In extreme cases they can be beaten, sexually harassed or even enslaved. The complicity of large buyers of produce like fast food companies and supermarkets plays a key role in the current agricultural system. Over the past three decades, these food chains have drained revenue from their supply chains, leaving farm workers to work in poverty and/or under subhuman conditions.

The Fair Food movement strives to ensure a dignified life for farm workers by creating a more humane and transparent food chain.  To learn more about the DC Fair Food activists working on these issues, please go here

DC Stop Modern Slavery is a volunteer organization made up of individuals dedicated to combating human trafficking- the modern-day slave trade.  Human trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and/or forced labor.  Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking and thousands of men, women, and children are exploited by traffickers each year. Through grassroots action, DC Stop Modern Slavery seeks to raise awareness, sponsor events, raise funds, and advocate for anti-trafficking related policies in our nation’s capital.   We strive to empower others to take action and collaborate effectively with partner organizations around the region.  To get further involved, contact us on social media and/or attend one of the events featured through our Meetup group.

YOU can make an impact- Let Congress Hear Your Voice

 

Stop modern slavery and human trafficking today- ask your friends and family to do the same!

Right now, Congress has a reputation for not doing much but they’re staying busy with human trafficking. The House of Representatives will be voting on a bill and the Senate is voting on five bills that positively impact victims of trafficking and try to hinder the efforts of exploiters and traffickers.

It is critical that your representatives and senators hear your voice now on these bills.

We need your help!

How you can help:

1. Call your representatives and ask them to VOTE YES on H.R. 2283the Human Trafficking Prioritization Act

2. We’ve made it easy- Contact your senators with this quick form from Shared Hope International and ask them to VOTE YES on the 5 for Freedom!

Reach out to your neighbors, family and friends and ask them to contact their U.S. Representatives and Senators today.

The more noise we can make together, the closer we can be to ending human trafficking

and sex slavery.

 

Invitation to Community Forum about Human Trafficking and a Neighborhood Activist’s Changing Focus

Attend a Community Forum on Sex- Trafficking and its Victims

in Washington, DC and Beyond!

Thursday, May 8, 2014 from 7  to 9 PM 
Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
Fellowship Hall
900 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001

Please check-out the event flyer here and share with your contacts!

For more information, contact Bill Hillegeist at hiesprit@gmail.com

Be informed—be inspired—take action!


The following is adapted from the speech given by Bill Hillegeist

at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church on April 27, 2014:

“Good morning:

So recently, I have gotten into prostitution.

Now DO I have your attention?

Seriously, we have all heard or read Pastor Donna’s comments about her frustration, anger, and sadness seeing sex workers and their pimps on our neighborhood streets in the early morning hours when she arrives at church.

I first became involved with this issue of sex trafficking as a member of my condominium board at 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, just up the street. Our residents complained about seeing sexual activity in our back alley and having to run a gauntlet of sex workers and their pimps when they went out for early morning runs or walks.  I, too, have seen them when I arrive early to our church shower ministry.

My first reaction was, frankly, “Shame on these immoral women that are selling sex for money!”

Then I started to learn more about prostitution.  I  attended meetings of my Advisory Neighborhood Commission and workshops hosted by advocacy groups such as DC Stop Modern Slavery. I listened to police, under cover agents, and detectives describe sex trafficking and I have seen several documentary movies about this seedy subject.

Honestly, my attitudes have dramatically changed.  I now see most sex workers as victims – women, men, and yes, underage girls and boys – lured, sometimes kidnapped, or otherwise coerced into the business of selling their bodies for money.

I believe that we as a church and faith community can do something to help these victims.  To that end, the Serve Team, Pastor Donna, and I are presenting a Community Forum on Thursday May 8th from 7 to 9 PM in the Fellowship Hall here at our Church.

We have invited local businesses, hotel managers, residents, city council members, and others to see a very disturbing documentary movie, Nefarious: Merchant of Souls.  Then we will have discussion about specific opportunities that we have as a faith community to help sex victims and combat sex trafficking in our neighborhood and in our city.

I am here to tell you this will not be an evening where you will go home feeling happy.  Rather, we hope you will leave having learned about this sordid business and inspired to take action.  We will offer you several ways you can do that.

My personal journey was not one I expected to make, yet I have become passionate about trying to do something to help victims of human trafficking. I hope you will join us on May 8th to listen, learn, and act.  It is part of our church’s mission to reach out into our community with compassion and determination to help others.  This is another opportunity for us to do just that.”

FAIR Girls Hopes to Inspire

By Molly Hawkins
Andrea Powell, who co-founded FAIR Girls to help women who had been trapped in human trafficking, told members of an anti-trafficking group last week their effort requires inspiration.
“Inspiration is the key to what drives us,” Powell told more than 25 people at a meeting of D.C. Stop Modern Slavery in Washington, D.C.
She was inspired to create FAIR Girls—free, aware, inspired and restored—in 2003, taking her inspiration from the renewed life of each individual girl or woman removed from the sex trade.
Fighting to end modern slavery “takes a real commitment for not only a movement, but individual lives,” Powell said.
She mentioned a girl she met while studying in Germany who had been given to an older and abusive man as payment of a family debt. After leaving Germany with knowledge of her friend’s hopeless life and an understanding that there were many more like her, Powell created FAIR Girls with help from Caroline Tower Morris.
The name represents steps to empower victims of human trafficking, she said. Survivors must be removed from the threatening situation, made aware of their freedom, inspired to succeed and fully restored as confident, functioning members of society.
Powell stressed the importance of building confidence in survivors s they will not be victims forever. Give a person an opportunity to contribute to others and they will live a fulfilling life.
“You’re not a victim if you’re helping the next person,” Powell said.
Powell said a goal of FAIR Girls is to provide a place for victims of human trafficking to live while they restore their lives. She envisions a multi-use safe house in the nation’s capital city for rescued girls and women to live while they recover from their trauma and learn new skills that will lay the foundation to a healthy life.
She hopes to provide classes and therapy to help in that process.
More information about FAIR Girls and the issue of modern slavery can be found at www.fairgirls.org and at www.stopmodernslavery.org.