Human Trafficking In Plain Sight: Are You Unknowingly Supporting It?

Human Trafficking In Plain Sight: Are You Unknowingly Supporting It?

(Image from fresnoeoc.org)

Human trafficking is a worldwide problem, and it’s growing. There are an estimated 45.8 million people who are enslaved today. However, this crisis is not distant. We as Americans unfortunately interact with and often even support this epidemic every day without knowing.

According to former assistant district attorney of New York City, Barry Koch, the these victims are everywhere and hidden in plain sight. With drug dealing taking first, human trafficking and arms dealing tie for second as the largest criminal industries in the world. Yet human trafficking is experiencing the most rapid growth.

The facts:

  • Over 14 million are forced into labor.
  • According to the International Labour Organization, forced labor generated $150 billion in 2015.
  • Construction, manufacturing and mining compose over half of the human trafficking labor force.
  • 4 million of those trafficked are female; 9.5 million are male.
  • Refugees especially are at risk.
  • 4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation.

The U.S. State Department explains, “The old way of slavery was that the boss really owned you… But now legal recruiters and employers work in tandem to deceive workers who, vulnerable and isolated in a strange culture, are forced to accept harsh terms. It is in that context that you have endemic forced labor today.” Human trafficking knows no race, religion, culture, age, or sex. Everyone needs to be made aware.

According to Dr. Annalisa Enrile, clinical associate professor of USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, says, “When we talk about trafficking, most people assume we are just talking about sex. But there are actually more people enslaved through labor trafficking. Millions more. Impoverished communities, migrant workers and children are all at risk.”

According to the Urban Institute’s 2014 report, Hidden in Plain Sight, 71% of the labor trafficking victims (in the study) came to the U.S. legally with working visas. These are the most common industries where forced labor occurs:

  • agriculture
  • fishing
  • construction
  • factory work
  • domestic servitude

These victims are often separated from others with no documentation, keeping them under the radar. A San Diego State University study found that in San Diego County, 31% of undocumented, Spanish-speaking migrant workers had experienced labor trafficking. How do we find the perpetrators? Possibly the best way to find out is to follow the money. There are individual people, organizations, businesses, and even governments that thrive off of human trafficking.

According to Koch, “We can make a difference in the fight against labor trafficking and labor exploitation by passing laws (and monitoring for compliance) that regulate supply chains. Consumers can refuse to purchase goods from retailers who use trafficked labor or child labor in their supply chains. Institutional investors can divest their positions in such companies.”

For the full article, visit forbes.com

 


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Domestic Violence Center in Kansas Trains Employees to Help Victims of Trafficking

Domestic Violence Center in Kansas Trains Employees to Help Victims of Trafficking

In the span of a year, dozens of human-trafficking victims are expected to seek shelter at The Willow Domestic Violence Center in Lawrence, Kansas. And soon, the link to help could be a city employee.

A new initiative will train city employees to recognize human trafficking, with the goal of improving the outcomes of the vulnerable youth who are typically victims. Leaders at the Willow Center give a possible scenario of what happens when girls age out of the foster care system, lacking family and resources.

“Let’s say you’re a girl or very young woman, and a man approaches you: ‘Well, I’ll buy you this, I’ll get your nails done, I’ll have your hair done, you’re beautiful’ — all of these things that she has never had before, and she becomes attached to this man,” said Willow Center Executive Director Joan Schultz.

“Then he starts to traffic her, and how is she going to get out, especially if he threatens her with her life?”

Human trafficking is often called a modern form of slavery. With millions of victims, human trafficking is believed to be the third-largest criminal activity in the world, according to the FBI. Traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to control victims, and crimes include forced labor, domestic servitude and commercial sex trafficking.

 

For the full article, visit www2.ljworld.com (Photo source: Mike Yoder of LJWorld.com)

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New Kentucky Law Requires Human Trafficking Hotline in Schools

New Kentucky Law Requires Human Trafficking Hotline in Schools

 

The director of Kentucky’s Center for School Safety applauds legislative efforts to bring more attention to problems associated with human trafficking.   One provision pertains to schools across the Commonwealth.

House bill 524, signed into law last week by Governor Bevin, requires the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to administer a hotline number to be posted in schools. Center for School Safety Director Jon Akers says, students are increasingly breaking the so-called “code of silence.” “With kids talking about it a little bit more and more a friend might be someone who alert officials that their friend or their buddy is being groomed for something like this,” said Akers

For the full news story and audio, please visit weku.fm (image source: shutterstock.com)


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Sen. Hatch Joins The Fight to Help Prevent, Rescue & Heal Trafficking Victims

Sen. Hatch Joins The Fight to Help Prevent, Rescue & Heal Trafficking Victims

(Image: Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune)

On Wednesday, Senator Orrin Hatch joined Tim Ballard, founder of O.U.R., at Younique Foundation Headquarters in Lehi, Utah, to discuss prevention against child sex trafficking. Joining them was Chris Yadon, founder of Younique Foundation, and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes. Together they will be working to empower and expand law enforcement tools.

Ballard provided an update to when he testified and helped pass the International Megan’s Law (HR515), in May 2015 to limit sex crimes domestically and internationally. Regarding the passing of the law, he stated, “[it] is such an important bill that has passed, but it has not been implemented or funded yet which is why we are making it a priority. It’s sole purpose is to protect children from being exploited.”

“This is really an epidemic that is totally wrong,” Hatch said. “Of all the criminal activity I’ve seen in my years in the United States Senate and before as an attorney, I’ve never seen anything more despicable, more rotten or dirty or terrible than child sex trafficking.”

Operation Underground Railroad has conducted 76 rescue operations since its founding in 2014, with over 650 victims rescued and 270 traffickers arrested. “Our problem is their problem. Their problem is our problem. It’s an international problem,” Ballard said.

Upon viewing O.U.R.’s documentary The Abolitionists last year, Hatch said, “O.U.R. is a powerful force for good in the fight against child sex trafficking. Across the world, the organization has liberated hundreds of children from the hell they were lured into by evil and designing men. As you will see, Tim is at the forefront of O.U.R.’s mission, leading sting operations in countries and continents across the globe. He is a hero in every sense of the word. I wish to thank Tim for his courage, his service, and his sacrifice.”

This partnership stands as a reminder to all, that it is necessary for a diverse influence of forces to unite in order to rescue the millions of exploited children from the darkness. The union of hearts and minds from varied parts of the political and private spectrums carves the way to eliminate the odds. The harsh reality is that victims will not be saved without the light from the neighbor or the legislator, the donor or the rescuer; resources and strengths that a private sector cannot accomplish alone.

“There is much darkness in this world as we all know. Tim and his team see this every day,” Hatch said. “Today, our focus is not on darkness, but on light. Our focus is on the great work these organizations are doing to help others overcome the darkness and reclaim hope.”

 


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One in Five Homeless Youth Is a Human Trafficking Victim, Studies Find

One in Five Homeless Youth Is a Human Trafficking Victim, Studies Find

By Laura T. Murphy | April 18, 2017

Article from philanthropynewsdigest.org

 

Nearly a fifth of homeless youth in the United States and Canada are victims of trafficking, reports from the University of Pennsylvania and Loyola University New Orleans find.

Based on interviews with nine hundred and eleven homeless youth between the ages of 17 and 25 in thirteen cities — including twelve where youth were able to access services through Covenant House — researchers at Penn’s Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research and Loyola’s Modern Slavery Research Project found that a combined 19.4 percent of those interviewed were victims of trafficking. Across the two studies, 15 percent of respondents had been trafficked for sex (including youth who were not coerced but were minors), 7.4 percent had been trafficked for labor; and 3 percent had been trafficked for both. LGBTQ individuals, who made up 19.2 percent of the homeless youth interviewed, were disproportionately more likely to be victims of sex trafficking, with 26.9 percent reporting that they had been trafficked for sex, accounting for 33.8 percent of all sex trafficking victims in the two studies. The studies also found that 32.1 percent of all respondents had been trafficked for sex, engaged in “survival sex,” or engaged in the sex trade in some way — including 40.5 percent of female respondents, 25.3 percent of male respondents, and 56 percent of transgender youth respondents.

The Modern Slavery Research Project’s ten-city study Labor and Sex Trafficking Among Homeless Youth (executive summary, 8 pages, PDF) also found that 81 percent of labor trafficking cases involved forced drug dealing, often occurring as a result of familial and cultural coercion as well as pressure from suppliers and gangs. The report further notes that homeless youth have higher rates of primary risk factors for trafficking such as poverty, unemployment, and a history of sexual abuse or mental health issues, and that those aging out of the foster care system faced high rates of sex (18 percent) and labor (10 percent) trafficking.

According to the Field Center study (2 pages, PDF) of homeless youth in in Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C., 95 percent of youth who were sex trafficked reported a history of childhood maltreatment — including sexual (49 percent) and physical (33 percent) abuse — while 41 percent had been in out-of-home placement. When sex trafficking victims were asked what could have helped prevent their being trafficked, the most common response was having supportive parents or family members. Indeed, the study found that interviewees who did not have a caring adult in their lives were more likely to be trafficked for sex (58 percent) than those who did (41 percent). In addition, the study found that of the sex trafficking victims, 67 percent had not graduated from high school.

“We found that youth were seeking what we all seek — shelter, work, security — and that the trafficker preyed on those very needs,” said Laura T. Murphy of the Modern Slavery Research Project. “When we asked youth what they needed to avoid or escape these situations of forced labor and radical exploitation, they often pointed to the very resources that homeless shelters can and do provide them. What we need is more resources to support those programs and additional training that help service providers identify and assist those who are most at risk.”

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O.U.R. COLLABORATES WITH VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA – UTAH

O.U.R. COLLABORATES WITH VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA – UTAH

Operation Underground Railroad Aftercare had the honor of visiting Utah’s Volunteers of America last week. Their mission is to help Utah’s most vulnerable youth, ages 15-22 years old, by building trust and genuine relationships in order to break down barriers that keep them from bettering their lives.  Our missions parallel each other in many ways. For example, we both strongly believe that creating a family environment has a significant impact in the lives of youth.

(Image source: Volunteers of America – Utah Facebook Page, from a past event not affiliated with O.U.R.)

There are three common international reasons children are victims of trafficking:

1) Lack of education

2) Poverty

3) The breakdown of the family

We encourage you to make your home a place of safety and love for the youth in your lives.

“Everyone can help keep children safer by building stronger families, one day at a time. Help us keep children safer from trafficking by intentionally doing something to build up your family or someone you consider family.”

~Jessica Mass, Director of Aftercare


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O.U.R. Aftercare supports youth around the globe and in your neighborhood with the help of organizations and supporters like you. 

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To learn more about Volunteers of America, visit their site here.

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O.U.R. PART OF SPECIAL TRAINING IN THAILAND

O.U.R. PART OF SPECIAL TRAINING IN THAILAND

 O.U.R. Thailand Country Coordinator, Jib, attended a two-day Pattaya police network training on law and process for victims of child abuse. The training was held at Pattaya City Hall on the 3rd-4th of April.  

 

 

 

Mr. Sarot Nakbet is an honorable instructor from a prosecution team under Princess Bajrakitiyabha. He was invited by the Social Development Office of Pattaya City Municipality to lead his team for this training called, “Stop Violent Acts to Children in The Family.” This will aide Pattaya area workers in the child protection network combined with government offices, NGO, volunteers from communities, Tourism Police Volunteers, and ACT Pattaya (TICAC police).

 

Pictured left to right: Jib, an O.U.R. employee, Khun Amm from Upstream Family and Community Learning Center-Chiangmai, Khun Sudjai from Haven Children’s Home Family-Pattaya, and Khun Arunratsami, a social worker from the Social Development Office of Pattaya City Municipality.

 

 

Jib had the opportunity to meet Sister Piyachat from A Fountain of Life Foundation of the Catholic Church who presented issues on child cases in Pattaya city, asking for TICAC investigation and cooperation. She expressed her appreciation and hopes for continued partnership in the future to save the children.

 

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Thai and U.S. Networks Unite in Finding Missing and Exploited Children

Thai and U.S. Networks Unite in Finding Missing and Exploited Children

After signing an agreement in the United States on the Cyber Tipline Remote Access Policy, Thai authorities will now be able to access reports from the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman, Busadee Santipitaks, Pol Col Gen Tamask, head of Thailand Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (TICAC), signed the agreement with NCMEC president and CEO, John Clark, at the NCMEC’s office in Virginia on Monday.

As TICAC and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) are setting up the systems to work together, the task force is recruiting and making preparations for officer training, said Pol Lt. Gen Tamask. He also told the Bangkok Post that the TICAC staff will grow from four to fifteen.

TICAC began in 2015, and has already worked with both the FBI and HSI. Previously,  HSI would send about thirty reports to TICAC a year, he said.

Take a look at the ICAC center in Thailand, which opened earlier this year through collaboration and funding from O.U.R. :

 

Those who witnessed for the report signing included the U.S. State Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the HSI, representatives from the Thai embassy in Washington D.C., Royal Thai Police Commissioner of Legal Affairs and Litigation Pol Lt Gen Jaruvat Vaisaya, and the acting deputy assistant director, HSI International Operations David Prince.

Thai ambassador to the U.S., Pisan Manawapat, claims that this agreement reveals the strong partnership between Thailand and the U.S. to end child exploitation and guarantee that criminals are brought to justice.

According to Busadee, this information has brought success to investigations of human trafficking.

For the original news post, visit bangkokpost.com

 

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Even in the American Food Industry, Slavery Still Exists

Even in the American Food Industry, Slavery Still Exists

The following article features a new report by Polaris, an organization that fights human trafficking and helps survivors.

Drawn in by false promises of good employment and legal immigration, human trafficking victims are smuggled from different parts of the world into the United States as forced labor for restaurants, bars, food trucks, and everything in between. They are forced to live in terrible conditions, enslaved in debt.

In the same report, Polaris takes the human trafficking that occurs in the U.S. and breaks it down into 25 different business models. Not only does it occur in the food industry, but in salons, hotels, and so on.

“Because human trafficking is so diverse … you can’t fight it all at once and there are no single, silver bullet solutions. You have to … fight it type by type,” Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris, told reporters. “We see this report as a major breakthrough in the field.”

Aiming to identify human traffickers, their victims, and their methods; Polaris has examined 32,208 human trafficking reports as well as 10,085 forced labor reports from 2007 to 2016.

According to Janet Drake, a senior assistant attorney general in Colorado and former prosecutor of human trafficking cases, Only 16% of hotline calls involved labor trafficking. She says, “But now we realize through the work we’ve done that labor trafficking is probably at least as prevalent, if not more so, than sex trafficking. And that’s a real problem we’ve had as prosecutors – being able to identify and disrupt these labor trafficking networks.”

Out of the 25 categories, three were involved in the food industry. Specifically, the categories were restaurants, bars, and agriculture.

Those who were forced to work in agriculture were commonly drawn in with promises of getting paid at an hourly rate- only to be paid significantly less and be denied healthcare, safety in their work environments, and decent living as they suffered in miserable conditions.

In restaurants where human trafficking occurred, 1 in 5 were minors and performed nearly every task.

Some have even been forced into supplying both sex and servitude. Not only were they tricked with promises of good pay and safe immigration, but with intimate relationships. According to Jennifer Penrose, data analysis director for Polaris and co-author of the report, they are required to sell drinks as well as sex at bars or cantinas.

If these victims did not continue to comply, their traffickers threatened them with deportation. At times even threatening to hurt loved ones at home.

“Potentially, restaurant trafficking may be much higher than we’re learning about, but we’re just not getting enough of those hotline calls to be able to describe that,” Myles has noted.

See full article at npr.org

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Global Sex Trafficking Ring Busted In One of America’s ‘Safest’ Cities

Global Sex Trafficking Ring Busted In One of America’s ‘Safest’ Cities

IRVINE (CBSLA.com) — Authorities say they’ve uncovered a massive international sex trafficking ring in Southern California.

Prosecutors announced the arrest of four people connected to the Orange County-based enterprise that allegedly placed thousands of ads for sexual services in 29 states over the past two years.

The ring was based locally in Irvine, officials said.

Women and girls from China were forced to sell themselves for sex and sometimes forced to work 14 hours a day in homes purchased specifically for the purposes of prostitution, according to authorities.

Investigators tracked the ring through thousands of ads selling sex on Backpage.com.

Read the rest of this story at losangeles.cbslocal.com (image source: google)


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