Olympia Woman, Once a Slave, Fights to End Human Trafficking

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Rani Hong is a survivor of child trafficking and a leading voice helping survivors of slavery worldwide. She was in New York City last weekend when the 193 members of the United Nations adopted a resolution to take immediate measures to reduce human trafficking and by 2025 end trafficking in all forms.

When Hong was 7 years old, she was taken from her family in Southern India and sold to a slave master.

“I remember those days of pain and desperation and no hope,” Hong said. “The traffickers and the masters who were in control basically said ‘Nobody will ever listen to you, stop crying.'”

Hong is proud of the progress that started in 2002 when Washington state became the first state in the country to put measures in place to stop human trafficking. Now all 50 states take part. World leaders showed interest in putting an end to the crime as well last weekend.

“It was just that sense of ‘Wow.’One individual person can make a difference if we choose to stand out and be able to help change the world,” Hong said.

For the full story by Alex Rozier on KING 5 News: Click Here

Speaker in Dubuque: Work to Stop Sex Trafficking

Casey Klein helps set up displays for the “Journey to Freedom” exhibit Friday at the Roshek Building in Dubuque.

Sex trafficking will never go away unless men stop buying.

Teresa Downing-Matibag, executive director of the Network Against Human Trafficking, hammered away at this message Friday night at the opening reception for the “Journey to Freedom” exhibit in the lobby of the Roshek Building.

“We are no better here than in any other country,” she said.

The “Journey to Freedom” exhibit walks viewers through personal stories of sex-trafficking survivors. It was brought to Dubuque by the Coalition Against Human Trafficking of the Tri-State Area. It will remain open through Monday, Oct. 5.

There are an estimated 27 million people across the world in slavery today, Downing-Matibag said.

In the U.S., the estimated $32 billion sex industry has surpassed the profitability of the drug trade and is trending to surpass the international arms trade, she said. Ten percent to 15 percent of American men will pay for sex during their lifetime, she added.

In Iowa, youth are particularly vulnerable.

“Traffickers these days call our schools candy stores,” she said.

More than 10,000 of Iowa’s youths spend time on the streets each year; one in three of these youth will be approached for a sex act within two days. The average age of entry into the sex trade is 12 to 14 years old.

Iowa has seen multiple cases of children trafficked by family members and pastors, Downing-Matibag said.

“The lines are jammed in Iowa,” she said of the demand.

In some cases, undercover officers have had to wait up to 45 minutes just to get through to a number listed on an online post advertising sex, she said.

For the full story by Audrey Ingram of THONLINE: Click Here

Pope: “Human Beings Take Precedence Over Partisan Interests”

(CBS) — Pope Francis took center stage at the United Nations on Friday, imploring world leaders to protect the environment and the “vast ranks of the excluded,” condemning what he called a “culture of waste” that prevails around the globe.

“Economic and social exclusion is a complete denial of human fraternity and a grave offense against human rights and the environment,” Francis said.

The pope said that “the poorest are those who suffer most from such offenses” because “they are cast off by society, forced to live off what is discarded and suffer unjustly from the abuse of the environment.”

Francis ticked off what he called the “baneful consequences” of social and economic exclusion, including human trafficking, the sexual exploitation of children and drug trafficking.

As he did in his historic address to the United States Congress on Thursday, Francis did not shy away from hot-button topics, addressing issues such as the migrant crisis and climate change. Francis spoke to world leaders and diplomats minutes before they were set to open the 70th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, an event that that will focus on issues like helping the poor and protecting the environment.

Francis said that the “vast ranks of the excluded” and the natural environment are closely interconnected because they are both threatened by “dominant political and economic relationships.”

Francis urged action on climate change, a theme he emphasized from the moment he landed on U.S. soil.

“Any harm done to the environment,” the pope declared Friday, “is harm done to humanity.”

For the full story by: Stephen Smitth of CBS News: Click Here

In The U.K., Customers Must Report Firms They Think Are Using Trafficked Workers

Kevin Hyland warns people to be wary of cheap services such as car washes. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Consumers need to boycott and report car washes and nail bars staffed by people they suspect may be victims of trafficking or exploitation, the UK’s new independent anti-slavery commissioner, Kevin Hyland, has warned.

There is insufficient awareness of the presence of slavery in the UK among both consumers and the police, he said. He also called on consumers to act on feelings of unease about construction workers working long hours without safety hats and gloves.

Responsibility lies with local authorities to ensure that businesses are operating legally, he said, but individuals also have a duty to be more vigilant about the people providing the services they use.

“If you see a car wash, and it is clear that people look like they are potentially being exploited … boycott and report,” he said, adding that consumers need to be alert to cut-price services, and consider whether the prices being charged allowed employees to be paid appropriately.

To read the full story by Amelia Gentleman at The Guardian: Click Here

Groups Seek to Fight Human Trafficking, How it’s Talked About

CINCINNATI —Leaders from across the country are in Cincinnati talking about human trafficking and trying to change the way people talk about it.

The McCain Institute, Google, and the group Rights for Girls hosted the event at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown helped write key human trafficking legislation signed into law by President Obama earlier this year.

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Human trafficking involves people being forced to work, often in the sex trade.

Part of the challenge of stopping human trafficking is improving the definition of it, participants said.

It’s called the No Such Thing Campaign. People at the conference want to get the message out that there is no such thing as a child prostitute – just someone who is a victim of the human trafficking trade.

“I think about how against the backdrop of all of this we still have slaves in this country. That there are still children here, on American soil who are bought and sold for sex,” Rights for Girls executive director Malika Saada Saar said.

To read the full story and watch the video from Cincinnati’s WLWT 5: Click Here

Human Trafficking Survivor Tells Story to Help Others

(Photo: Thomas Beaudoin)

She was just 15 years old, living in Birmingham, and she didn’t even know the name of the situation she was facing.

Years later she learned what it was called: human trafficking.

“I lived for 25 years not knowing what happened to me was called,” Theresa Flores, a human trafficking survivor and author, said. She was the guest speaker at two programs in Redford Thursday.

“It was really hard. I didn’t have any support,” she told a group of educators, law enforcement officers and others at the Redford Township District Library. She also spoke Thursday evening at Thurston High School.

When she did find out, she also found she isn’t the only “Theresa” out there.

Starved for attention and new to the area, she found herself gaining attention from a boy at Groves High School.

One afternoon she accepted a ride home from him, and ended up drugged and raped.

But it didn’t end there as the boy had photos of the incident, which he threatened to make public unless she “worked” to earn them back.

Flores ended up working as a sex slave at night for two years without the knowledge of her parents. The traffickers scared her into thinking her family would be harmed if she told anyone – so she didn’t.

“Nobody had any idea that something like that was happening to me,” she said.

To read the full story by Beth Jachman of hometown life: Click Here

Congress to Seek More Transparency in Human Trafficking Report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Senate committee may draft legislation seeking to add more transparency to the State Department’s annual human trafficking report following concerns it had been watered down for political reasons, a senior lawmaker said on Thursday.

Senator Bob Corker, Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations panel, said lawmakers remained concerned over the credibility of the report and whether politics trumped human rights in this year’s rankings of strategically important countries such as Malaysia and Cuba. (http://1.usa.gov/1l3GLxb)

Corker and Senator Ben Cardin, the panel’s ranking Democrat, both expressed concerns after a closed-door hearing between the Senate Foreign Relations panel and Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss the Trafficking in Persons report.

“I think what you are going to see happen is likely a legislative push to create some transparency around countries being upgraded so we understand what the dynamic is,” Corker said after the meeting.

Malaysia’s upgrade from the lowest tier on the list of worst human trafficking centers could smooth the way for an ambitious U.S.-led free-trade deal with the Southeast Asian nation and 11 other countries by removing a potential barrier to President Barack Obama’s signature global trade deal.

A provision in a related trade bill passed by Congress this year had barred from fast-tracked trade deals Malaysia and other countries that earn the worst U.S. human trafficking ranking in the eyes of the U.S. State Department.

“Nothing was put forth to alleviate those concerns in any way. As a matter of fact, I would say that most people left there with even greater concerns,” Corker said.

Mai Shiozaki, a spokeswoman in the State Department’s office that produces the trafficking report, said Blinken “had a productive discussion with senators and appreciated the opportunity to lay out the facts and rationale behind this year’s report.”

“CREDIBILITY” IN QUESTION

The hearing followed a Reuters examination published in August that said the State Department office set up to independently rate countries’ efforts to fight human trafficking was repeatedly overruled by senior U.S. diplomats in the production of this year’s Trafficking in Persons report.

To read the full story by Jason Szep and edited by Lisa Shumaker: Click Here

Orange County Transportation Authority’s “Be the One” Human Trafficking Prevention Program

“Be the one to help out” is a request to all Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) bus riders to be proactive and look out for one another. You are often the first to notice when something doesn’t seem right. When it comes to the crime of human trafficking, the simple act of letting our driver know or calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline might rescue someone from what is considered modern day slavery.

To learn more: Click Here

Sen. Gary Peters to Participate in Bipartisan Caucus to End Human Trafficking

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – U.S. Senator Gary Peters, of Michigan, has announced his participation in a bipartisan Senate caucus to end human trafficking.

The commission has identified key issues, including the need to strengthen anti-trafficking policies.

The commission wants to raise awareness and ensure that services and support are available to survivors.

During a July 2013 FBI investigation, more than 150 traffickers were arrested in a nationwide sweep, including 18 in metro Detroit–more than any other city in the operation.

To view the original story is from News Channel 3 WMMT: Click Here

End Trafficking Group’s Luncheon September 24

The Collaborative to End Human Trafficking will host its fall luncheon at noon Sept. 24 at Windows on the River, 2000 Sycamore St. in Cleveland.

Dawn Conway, a founding member of the Global Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking and former chief operating office of Cision US, Inc., will serve as the keynote speaker. Conway will discuss “What Every Business Needs to Know About Human Trafficking.”

For more details: Click Here