U.S. Senator: Cultural Change Needed To Stop Human Trafficking

Terri Foltz, director of Gracehaven, an organization providing services to teen victims of human trafficking, talks about the physical and emotional trauma experienced by the girls, on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio. Foltz said it’s hard to overemphasize the amount of services the girls need. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)

COLUMBUS, Ohio: While laws are changing to reflect the reality that child prostitutes are victims, cultural attitudes also need to change, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said Thursday after hearing from experts and a survivor of child trafficking.

Portman said most of his constituents tell him, “‘Are you sure this is going on in Ohio?’ They can’t believe that in our own backyard there’d be this problem today.”

Portman, a Republican who serves as co-chair of the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking, heard from community leaders working on the problem during a tour and forum at the Central Ohio Youth for Christ City Life Center in Columbus.

The center also operates the Gracehaven program, founded in 2008 to help rehabilitate victims of domestic minor sex trafficking. Gracehaven just opened a center for up to eight girls in Ohio and already has two girls, said Director Terri Foltz.

“It’s hard to overemphasize the amount of services they need, the trauma they’ve endured,” Foltz said.

To read the full story by Andrew Welsh-Huggins of the Associated Press: Click Here

U.S. trafficking report: What to Look For

(CNN) —After a four-week delay, the U.S. State Department will release its 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) on Monday.

The annual report analyzes the efforts of 188 countries to comply with minimum standards needed to eliminate trafficking of men, women and children for sexual exploitation or forced labor. It rates each nation’s efforts according to a Tier system — Tier 1 being most compliant, through to Tier 3 being the worst offenders.

So which countries are in the firing line to fall in status, and which ones have improved?

What to look for

Tier 2 is the most volatile category because it includes a U.S. State Department Watch List for countries that are deemed to not be doing enough to counter human traffickers.

Last year, 89 countries were listed as Tier 2. Another 44 countries were on the Tier 2 Watch List — a warning that unless more was done, they could be downgraded to Tier 3 — a category for the least compliant nations.

Penalties for countries demoted to Tier 3 are at discretion of the U.S. president, but could include restrictions on non-humanitarian assistance and funding.

Who fell to Tier 3 last year?

Thailand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Gambia dropped from the Tier 2 Watch List to join 20 other nations on Tier 3 in 2014. Thailand was downgraded for its failure to do enough to stop women and children being trafficked through and into the country for exploitation in the sex trade. Men were being sold into slavery on fishing boats where they spent months at sea in harsh conditions without pay, the report said.

In recent months, the country’s military government has appeared to try to address the problem, and on Friday, Thai authorities announced they’d charged 72 people, including government and military officials, with human trafficking crimes.

Read the full story by Ingrid Piper for CNN: Click Here

In Human Trafficking Cases, Doctors Lack Confidence to Intervene

Victims of human trafficking are ripped from the familiarity of home and deluded into a numbing isolation. Hidden in plain sight, they are often bullied and tricked into believing their situation is normal, yet it’s inescapable. They suffer in silence, enslaved for forced labor or sex.

When the abuse results in a pregnancy or an injury that can’t be ignored, a rare instance arises: Victims directly interact with health care providers. Clinicians have the power to connect these vulnerable individuals to the resources they desperately need but are too afraid to seek independently.

Yet a vast majority of health care workers—almost 80 percent—don’t feel they have adequate knowledge to assist those victims, according to new research in the U.K.

The study, published in BMJ on Thursday, reveals the findings of almost 900 interviews with professionals in the National Health Service, the U.K.’s nationalized health care system.

While 13 percent of respondents—about one in eight—reported having encountered a victim of trafficking in their practice, most said they had insufficient training to identify, help, and make referrals for victims.

To read the full story by Ali Swenson of Take Part: Click Here

Support the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2015

Now is the time to shine a light against human trafficking by taking action to protect our brothers and sisters—especially children—from trafficking and exploitation.  Contact your members of Congress today and ask them to fight human trafficking by cosponsoring the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2015. This legislation would require companies to make information about their products’ supply chains public to ensure their products are not the result of child and forced labor, slavery and human trafficking.

Thanks in large part to growing awareness, education and outreach, more companies are aware of the possible existence of modern-day slavery in their global operations and supply chains. As Catholics in the United States, we work to fight human trafficking because it is an affront to the lives and dignity of our brothers and sisters who are its victims.

We need you to shine a light against human trafficking today! Contact your members of Congress and ask them to cosponsor and support the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2015. Send a message or call your members of Congress using our toll-free number: 866-596-7030. Download talking points here.  (from Catholics Confront Global Poverty)

Trafficking Victims Face Many Tough Issues

Victims of human trafficking face terrible obstacles in breaking free.

They often feel a strong psychological dependence on traffickers who use them, they may end up charged with crimes themselves and it’s often difficult to prosecute traffickers.

The victims often don’t realize they are being exploited, said Lynsie Clott, director of programs at the Project to End Human Trafficking, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit that works with the FBI’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. Ms. Clott interviews young people who are possible victims of trafficking, and knows that they often see the trafficker as a companion or protective figure.

“The pimp may be a family member or a person’s intimate partner, whom she sees as a boyfriend,” she said. Victims often come from troubled homes — Ms. Clott recalled the case of a girl who called the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline. The girl said her first childhood memories were of participating in homemade child porn filmed by her parents.

“The streets sometimes were kinder to these kids than what they had at home,” Ms. Clott said.

The legal requirements for a trafficking conviction are high, so some victims who report the abuses they suffer find there is not enough evidence to bring a case against the offender.

Ms. Clott recalled the first time she interviewed a trafficking victim. He was a young man from Asia who a victim of both sexual and labor exploitation. He worked in a domestic servitude to his “boyfriend”-trafficker for several years. Eventually he ran away and called the trafficking hotline. He tried to bring his trafficker to justice but law enforcement authorities didn’t find enough evidence to charge the man. Without evidence such as published advertisements, letters, photos or videos, prosecutors sometimes can’t move forward on cases, she said.

In Pittsburgh, a federal-local task force in late July moved for the first time here to charge a client or “John” federally in an effort to strengthen efforts to crack down on trafficking.

Joseph Clemenic Jr., 44, of Wilmerding pleaded guilty to requesting sex with girls aged 15 and 16, allegedly ordering them through the website Backpage.com. He is scheduled to be sentenced in November.

The police and FBI managed to find Clemenic after they arrested Mario Grisom of Homestead in Mississippi on July 7. Grisom, 34, is charged with supplying at least two minors to clients. Now the FBI is working with Grisom’s victims.

Darrin Turpin, FBI supervisory special agent and a leader of the of investigative team, said the new arrests on trafficking charges are possible because of this work.

To read the full story by Oksana Grytsenko, of  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Click Here

Signs of Human Trafficking

According to the Project to End Human Trafficking, sex trafficking often takes place on the street, in truck stops, though online escort services, in bars, massage parlors, strip clubs and brothels, and in private homes. Sex trafficking is defined as a minor being induced into commercial sex or an adult is brought into commercial via force, fraud or coercion.

Labor traffickers often procure workers for domestic work, hotels, restaurants, resorts, agriculture, sales, fishing, mining, construction, factory work, elder care facilities and street begging. Labor trafficking is when a child or adult is induced into work via force, fraud or coercion.

Signs that someone is a potential trafficking victim include:

• limited freedom of movement

• is transported to work by employer with co-workers

• lives with employer or at place of work

• works excessive or unusual hours

To read the rest of the story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Click Here

One In Eight Hospital Staff Have ‘Treated Human Trafficking Victims’

A “substantial” proportion of NHS hospital staff, around one in eight in some places, treat victims of people trafficking, with maternity services most likely to encounter them, according to a study.

However, the study findings suggest few clinicians feel adequately prepared to respond appropriately.

International law requires the UK to provide victims of human trafficking with whatever medical treatment they require, including psychological help, counselling, and information on support.

The researchers from King’s College, London wanted to know how likely it was for NHS hospital staff to encounter patients who had been trafficked and how well prepared they felt to respond to them.

They surveyed almost 800 clinical staff from 10 trusts to gauge their experience of people trafficking, as well as their confidence in responding appropriately. The sample included 265 nurses and 65 midwives.

To read the full story by Steve Ford of Nursing Times.net: Click Here

Human Trafficking Is Hidden In Plain Sight

People don’t necessarily believe that human trafficking exists but it does, right here in Wisconsin.

“It is out there,” said Jenniffer Price, director of special operations at the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation and Child Abduction Response Team (CART) commander. As the director of special operations, Price oversees the state’s AMBER and Silver Alert programs.

Price outlined the two main types of human trafficking.

Under U.S. federal law, “severe forms of trafficking in persons” includes both sex trafficking and labor trafficking:

•Labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery. Labor trafficking has been found in diverse labor settings including domestic work, small businesses, large farms and factories.

•Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age. Sex trafficking has been found in a wide variety of venues within the sex industry, including residential brothels, escort services, fake massage businesses, strip clubs and street prostitution.

A baseline assessment in 2013 found human trafficking in Wisconsin is committed against both adults and minors. According to the assessment, most of the human trafficking cases reported occur in areas of the state that are highly populated and have a significant tourist or visitor population.

In the past couple of years, the Department of Justice has been working to get the word out and increase awareness.

To read the full story by Rebecca Kanable at the Cambridge News & The Independent: Click Here

Sisters’ Ad Campaign Confronts Human Trafficking

ST. FRANCIS — Sixteen congregations of Catholic sisters have purchased advertising space on local buses in Wisconsin to raise awareness of the dangers of human trafficking in the state.

Buses in Milwaukee County, Oshkosh and Green Bay are carrying a message against human trafficking, courtesy 16 congregations of Catholic sisters as part of an awareness campaign. (Submitted photo courtesy the Racine Dominicans)

The ads, which feature a photo of a young girl, convey the message, “Keep children safe. End human trafficking,” and include a national hotline number and text address where victims can find help.

The ads will appear on buses in Milwaukee County through Aug. 25, in Oshkosh through 2016 and Green Bay, September through February 2016.

“We began in these locations because we know trafficking to be a problem in these cities,” said Sr. Jomarie Zielke, general vicar for the Sisters of St. Agnes and Wisconsin representative to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information on the campaign against human trafficking, contact the co-chairs of the anti-trafficking task force: Renae Bauer at (920) 884-2725 or rbauer@gbfranciscans.org, or Jane Comeau at (608) 791-5289or jcomeau@fspa.org.

“People still think trafficking isn’t a problem in their local communities,” Sr. Jomarie told the Catholic Herald in an email interview. “This sort of denial enables traffickers to continue to coerce victims ‘under the radar.’ We want to build the awareness that our children are at risk and to alert adults (and children) to the warning signs.”

“Buses cover a lot of territory in a day and we want to get the message out that human trafficking is unacceptable,” she added.

According to Sr. Jomarie, the LCWR has been concerned about human trafficking and sexual exploitation of people for profit through sex and labor for years.

“LCWR national had trafficking as a specifically named social issue first in 2001 and then again in 2012,” she pointed out.

To read the full story by Maryangela Layman Román of the Catholic Herald: Click Here

Local Organizations Join the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force

Ronnetta Johnson, of CSP, OCDA Tony Rackauckas, Irvine Deputy Police Chief Mike Hamel, OCTA Chair and Mayor Pro Tem of Irvine Jeffrey Lalloway, Lita Mercado, of CSP, OCTA CEO Darrell Johnson, OC Assistant Sheriff Lee Trujillo, and Anaheim Deputy Chief Julian Harvey

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: 2015 HUMAN TRAFFICKING REPORT DOCUMENTS WHAT SURVIVORS OF SEX AND LABOR TRAFFICKING WANT LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS TO UNDERSTAND

In Conjunction with Anaheim Police Department, the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force Issues Call to Action to Train More Sworn Officers to Curtail Human Slavery; Task Force also Launches Faith-Based Advisory Council to Assist Survivors with Every Day Needs

SANTA ANA, Calif., Aug. 20, 2015 — Every victim removed from a dangerous human trafficking situation is cause for celebration, as overwhelmingly evident in the victims’ own words about these heinous crimes and captured in the latest report from the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF).

The 2015 Human Trafficking Victim Report also documents the successful evolution of the OCHTTF into a fully operational multijurisdictional task force. Although fewer reports of human trafficking were documented during this transition, the more than 80 partners comprising the OCHTTF now have the coordinated structure and systems in place to better identify, investigate, prosecute and provide services to human trafficking survivors.

In 2013, OCHTTF averaged eight new victims a month, and the average rate of identification in 2014 was six new victims a month. The task force has concluded the decrease resulted from the task force diverting focus temporarily to the development of the multijurisdictional approach to address future needs, rather than a drop in human trafficking. Evidence of the effectiveness of this transition is measurable already, although not included in the 2014 data. In July 2015 alone, OCHTTF identified 12 victims – nearly double the number of victims identified monthly over the past three years.

Since 2004, OCHTTF has assisted more than 450 victims of human trafficking originating from 36 countries. For the past three years, OCHTTF has produced the Human Trafficking Victim Report to raise awareness of this often-invisible crime and developed collaborative models to thwart its enormity.

Extent of Human Trafficking in Orange County Surfaces

The inaugural report in 2013 revealed that sex and labor trafficking occurs in Orange County, shattering misconceptions that modern-day human slavery did not exist within the county borders. Last year, OCHTTF’s report commended the influence of law enforcement and outlined a victim needs assessment of the types of assistance survivors typically require after exiting their human trafficking conditions.

In addition to amassing demographic analysis and contrasting metadata against previously reported statistics, the 2015 report also presents the stories of victims of human trafficking. From their perspective, they share how law enforcement and service organizations could help them access services to remove themselves from situations of human trafficking as well as build trusting relationships with law enforcement and service providers so they can heal deeply rooted wounds few of us could imagine.

To read the full story on New Santa Ana: Click Here