Switzerland – Nearly 7,000 victims of trafficking were assisted by IOM in 115 countries during 2015. The victim assistance caseload, which is the largest in the world, increased by approximately 9 percent compared to the previous year.
The majority of victims assisted by IOM in 2015 were trafficked for the purpose of labour exploitation (74 percent). Construction, domestic work and fishing were amongst the top sectors in which individuals were exploited. A fifth of all victims assisted by IOM in 2015 were trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. A further 5 percent of all individuals assisted were trafficked for the purpose of both sexual and labour exploitation.
“IOM’s human trafficking dataset is unique in its scope and has great potential to feed the development of evidence-based policy and response to combat the crime and to address the root causes of this phenomenon,” said Anh Nguyen, Head of IOM’s Migrant Assistance Division.
He added that the data presented a different profile of victims of trafficking to those illustrated by other global figures on human trafficking. “In addition to the fact that there were more victims assisted by IOM who have been trafficked for the purpose of labour exploitation, than for the purpose of sexual exploitation, there were more male (55 percent) than female victims.”
IOM data reflects important progress made in recent years in the field of counter-trafficking in building recognition and awareness that men are also victims of trafficking and that trafficking does not always involve sexual exploitation.
Victims assisted by IOM in 2015 had spent an average of 3 years in the trafficking process, a time which could range from 0 to 25 years.
To read the full story from the International Organization for Migration: Click Here
Washington – Today, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mark R. Warner (D-VA) joined flight attendants, anti-trafficking advocates, and federal law enforcement at Ronald Reagan National Airport to urge Congress to pass legislation that would help to combat human trafficking on commercial air flights.
By a bipartisan vote of 95-3, the Senate last month approved legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that includes a provision championed by Sens. Klobuchar and Warner to combat human trafficking in the skies. The legislation – modeled on the Stop Trafficking on Planes (STOP) Act that the Senators introduced earlier this year – requires airlines to provide training for flight attendants to recognize and report suspected human trafficking to law enforcement. Sens. Warner and Klobuchar worked to include language modeled on the STOP Act in the FAA bill because flight attendants, through their interactions with large numbers of air travelers, are uniquely positioned to identify potential victims and help bring human traffickers to justice.
“Trafficking is now estimated to be the third largest criminal enterprise in the world. We need to ensure that flight attendants who are on the frontlines of the battle against trafficking are armed with the proper training needed to identify and report these heinous crimes,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “By working together to move our bill forward, we can help stop trafficking wherever it exists – on land, at sea, and in the sky.”
“Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States are estimated to be victims of human trafficking, but too often, they are hidden in plain sight. Bringing traffickers to justice and helping victims to safety requires a concerted effort. We need to use all available resources to assist law enforcement in identifying and protecting those who are being exploited. Fortunately, we have allies in the sky who are uniquely positioned to spot and report suspected cases of human trafficking,” said Sen. Warner. “With appropriate training in how to notice common signs of trafficking – such as a traveling companion who keeps physical control of a fellow traveler’s documents, or a child who is accompanied by an adult who isn’t a parent or guardian – flight attendants can help magnify our efforts to combat this crime. I hope that the House of Representatives will act on the FAA bill soon, so that we can move one step closer to saving more women and children from becoming victims of exploitation.”
“CBP is uniquely positioned to recognize and intercept human traffickers and, hopefully, rescue their victims as they travel through our ports of entry and across our borders,” said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “It takes a whole of community approach to combat human trafficking, which is why we value our partnerships with the airline industry as well as federal, state, and local governments, private sector businesses, nonprofit organizations and service providers.”
“Trained Flight Attendants can serve as 100,000 eyes in the skies to save lives by recognizing and reporting signs of trafficking,” said Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. “We join Senator Klobuchar and Senator Warner to call on Congress to move this legislation that will allow us to stop traffickers from using our skyways as a means to transport innocents to a life of slavery.”
“Human trafficking victims are often isolated and there are few opportunities for intervention. Airlines are on the front lines of stopping this by identifying victims who are being transported,” said Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement, ECPAT-USA. “They may also overhear international child sex tourists or abusers who talk about exploiting local children while traveling domestically in the United States. ECPAT-USA applauds Senator Klobuchar and Senator Warner for their leadership in introducing this legislation and know that when passed, will literally change lives.”
The legislation builds on the voluntary Blue Lightning Initiative (BLI) currently administered by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Transportation. BLI provides training and educational materials for U.S. commercial airlines and their employees on how to identify suspected human trafficking victims and notify federal authorities.
Unfortunately, big sports events don’t just draw gobs of fans and create a nice economic impact for the host city. Those same events can also draw sex traffickers in significant numbers.
Indianapolis has seen this at past NCAA Final Fours and at the 2012 Super Bowl.
The attorney general’s office tracked Backpage.com ads offering “escort services” in the Indianapolis area during the 2015 NCAA Final Four and found an increase of more than 100 ads per day. There were 18 commercial sex-related arrests during the 2015 Final Four in Indianapolis.
Local law enforcement authorities are on guard for this activity as the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 approaches later this month.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office is training law enforcement officers and members of the tourism industry this week to recognize and combat human trafficking ahead of the Indianapolis 500. The race, which will be run May 29, is expected to draw a crowd in excess of 300,000.
Human trafficking—buying or selling individuals for sex or labor—is the fastest-growing and second-largest criminal industry worldwide, generating an estimated $150.2 billion, Zoeller said. Approximately 300,000 American children are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation, and the average age children are first exploited is between 12 and 14, he added.
To read the full story from the Indiana Business Journal: Click Here
The PATH (People Against Trafficking Humans) Coalition of Kentucky hosted a prayer service for victims of human trafficking on May 3, 2016 in downtown Louisville. In anticipation of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7, those gathered prayed for those who are forced to live in slavery. They felt it was important to continue raising awareness of the crime of human trafficking through their presence and the signs they carried.
Among those gathered were students from Presentation Academy. The students spent time after the prayer filling in some of the sidewalk cracks with red sand. This is a reminder of the many women, men, girls and boys who fall through the cracks in our communities and spend their lives being exploited for the profit of others. (#RedSandProject)
Derby goers: keep an eye out for human trafficking
For additional information, read the related story from ABC 36: Click Here
by Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA – La Crosse Task Force to Eradicate Modern Slavery
This is a compendium of references about the efforts of Pope Francis to end modern slavery.
Commentators have attributed the term “the Francis Factor” to our current pope in describing his leadership in a world of transmigration, diversity, and violence. His approach encourages dialogical processes and a global response. Pope Francis frequently is hailed as prophetic, scientific, activist, and pastoral. However we wish to view it, we cannot doubt that he has broken the papal mold of leadership. Almost immediately after his election in March 2013, Pope Francis wrote this little note to the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
I think it would be good to examine human trafficking and modern slavery.
Organ trafficking could be examined in connection with human trafficking.
That’s how it all started at the Vatican. Under the auspices of the Pontifical Academies of Science and the Social Sciences, the Holy See launched a multi-pronged attack on human trafficking never undertaken by church leadership prior to this time. This Pope has dedicated more attention to the discussion of human trafficking than any other Pope or world religious leader before him.[ii] One year later he would again take up the specific theme of organ trafficking in Brazil[iii] and again make a strong reference to it in his World Day of Peace Message in 2015.[iv]
“a social scourge . . . a true form of slavery”; “a grave violation of the human rights of those victimized and an offense against their dignity, as well as a defeat for the worldwide community. . . shameful” . . . increasingly aggressive crime which threatens not only individuals but the basic values of society and of international security and justice, to say nothing of the economy, and the fabric of the family and our coexistence”[x]
“predatory and harmful . . .the frequently overlooked tragedy of migrants . . .”[xi]
Pope Francis not only names the issue, he gives us specific and particular ways that we can do something about it either personally, corporately, and/or politically. For example:
I ask my brothers and sisters in the faith and all men and women of good will for a decisive choice to combat the trafficking in persons in which ‘slave labor’ exists.[xx]
Exploiters and clients at all levels should make a serious examination of conscience both in the first person and before God! [xxi]
What is called for, then, is a shared sense of responsibility and firmer political will to gain victory on this front. Responsibility is required towards those who have fallen victim to trafficking in order to protect their rights, to guarantee their safety and that of their families, and to prevent the corrupt and criminals from escaping justice and having the last word over the lives of others. Suitable legislative intervention in the countries of origin, transit and arrival, which will also facilitate orderly migration, can diminish this grave problem.[xxii]
Fraternity needs to be discovered, loved, experienced, proclaimed and witnessed . . . marked by reciprocity, forgiveness, and complete self-giving . . .[xxiii]
. . . we need to make a good examination of conscience: how many times have we permitted a human being to be seen as an object, to be put on show in order to sell a product or to satisfy an immoral desire? The human person ought never to be sold or bought as if he or she were a commodity. Whoever uses human persons in this way and exploits them, even if indirectly, becomes an accomplice of injustice.[xxiv]
The United Nations really needs to take a very strong position on climate change with a particular focus on the trafficking of human beings as a problem that has been created by climate change. . . We cannot separate man from everything else. There is a relationship which has a huge impact, both on the person in the way they treat the environment and the rebound effect against man when the environment is mistreated.[xxvi]
. . . our communities of faith are called to reject, without exception, any systematic deprivation of individual freedom for the purposes of personal or commercial exploitation[xxvii]
Globalize fraternity, not slavery or indifference . . . There is also need for a threefold commitment on the institutional level: to prevention, to victim protection and to the legal prosecution of perpetrators. I invite everyone, in accordance with his or her specific role and responsibilities, to practice acts of fraternity towards those kept in a state of enslavement.[xxviii]
I urgently appeal to all men and women of good will, and all those near or far, including the highest levels of civil institutions, who witness the scourge of contemporary slavery, not to become accomplices to this evil, not to turn away from the sufferings of our brothers and sisters, our fellow human beings, who are deprived of their freedom and dignity. Instead, may we have the courage to touch the suffering flesh of Christ, revealed in the faces of those countless persons whom he calls “the least of these my brethren”[xxix] (Mt 25:40, 45). (12/8/14)
Society is called to form new legislation that penalizes traffickers and help rehabilitate victims.[xxx]
These realities serve as a grave summons to an examination of conscience on the international level.[xxxi]
. . . we must avoid every temptation to fall into a declarationist nominalism which would assuage our consciences. . . Today the 193 states of the United Nations have a new moral imperative to combat human trafficking, a true crime against humanity. Collaboration between bishops and the civil authorities, each in accordance with his own mission and character and with the aim of discovering best practice for the fulfilment of this delicate task, is a decisive step to ensuring that the will of governments reaches the victims in a direct, immediate, constant, effective and concrete way.[xxxii]
. . . strengthen the bonds of cooperation and communication which are essential to ending the suffering of the many men and women and children who today are enslaved and sold as if they were a mere commodity . . . [xxxiii]
Major Efforts led by Pope Francis
Pope Francis began his anti-human trafficking efforts by calling three international conferences to study the issue and make recommendations. The first preparatory workshop was held in November 2013 with the purpose to examine the status quo and develop an agenda to fight the problem. Early in 2014 a Vatican conference was designed for law enforcement agencies, and a third in July 2015[xxxiv] with mayors from around the world. Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Science, hosted the first of three international gatherings on trafficking and the marginalized. He said the pope’s focus on the issue is driven by a deep desire to be close to those who suffer, recognizing that Christ himself can be found in their wounds. “He really has always had this ‘nose for’ the people of the Beatitudes, those who are poor in spirit, the meek, the persecuted, and so on . . . this is his instinct.”[xxxv]
The Global Freedom Network convened on March 17, 2014 involved seven religious leaders (Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Orthodox) commonly willing to eliminate the underlying networks of human trafficking and related endemic issues. In collaboration with the heads of the Muslim faith, the Anglican Church, and the founder of the Walk Free Foundation, a resolution was proclaimed to end modern slavery by 2020. Nothing with such specific focus had ever been undertaken by any other pope or religious group. It outlined six necessary steps to accomplish the goal.
Awareness: Mobilizing faith communities
Ethical purchasing: Supply-chain proofing
Services/facilities for victims and survivors of forced labor, prostitution and organ trafficking
Lobbying: Law reforms and enforcement
Prevention: Education and awareness
Funding: private donors along with national and international organizations
Not only does Pope Francis speak about human trafficking in many venues, he has also written authoritatively about it in both of his encyclicals — the 2013 Evangelii Gaudium ¶211[xxxvi] and in the 2015 Laudato si ¶91, 92[xxxvii]. He continues to keep this grave evil and crime on the agenda of the nations of the world. As recently as April 7, 2016, Cardinal Vincent Nicols on the pope’s behalf addressed the special conference on combatting human trafficking and modern slavery at the United Nations in New York.[xxxviii]
Promoting continuity in prayer and awareness by faith communities around the world, Pope Francis endorsed an International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking by several Vatican congregations and global leaders of men and women religious on February 3, 2015[xxxix] – another example of Pope Francis’s empowerment of others.
Now, what do we do? Some suggested radical acts to end modern slavery
Some of these ideas are related to developing communities of trust. They are adapted here with reference to human slavery prevention and support for trafficked survivors.
Befriend a survivor who needs support.
Volunteer at a Boys and Girls Club and thereby provide friendship to youth who may at risk.
Get to know a registered sex offender in your neighborhood.
Connect with a group of workers for farmers who grow your food and visit them. Ask what they get paid.
Track to its source one item of food you eat regularly. Each time you eat that food, pray for those who helped make it possible to come to your table.
Become a pen pal with someone in prison.
Participate in a worship service where you will be a minority.
Confess something you have done wrong to someone and ask them to pray for you.
Share the costs of your health care through a network to assist human trafficking survivors.
Start conversations in your community with whom you need to deepen trust – law enforcement, troubled teens, a different political party, a different faith tradition.
Pope Francis knows that ultimately converting hearts and minds is what will determine whether people of all faiths, economists, businesses, police and politicians take action. Each of us needs to take action in some way.
[xiv] Conference held at the Vatican for law enforcement, church workers and charity representatives on April 10, 2014; To New Ambassadors Accredited to the Holy See. Clementine Hall. December 12, 2013; To the Members of the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See, January 13, 2014; To Delegates of the International Association of Penal Law, October 23, 2014: L’Osservatore Romano, 24 October 2014, p. 4; Declaration on International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, December 2, 2014; UN conference in New York on April 7, 2016.
[xxvi] Kirchgaessner, Stephanie in Vatican City and staff. “Pope laments ‘meaningless lives’” in tying human trafficking to climate change.” THE GUARDIAN. July 21, 2015. Remarks by Pope Francis following conference with mayors. Modern Slavery and Climate Change: The Commitment of Cities. July 16, 2015 in Rome.
[xxxiv] See #EndSlavery http://www.endslavery.va/content/endslavery/en/who.html that describes all the ways in which the pontifical academies of science and social sciences have been involved. #EndSlavery is an initiative of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and Pontifical Academy of Sciences for their work to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking, a task Pope Francis assigned to them in 2013.
[xxxvi] Evangelium Gaudium 211: I have always been distressed at the lot of those who are victims of various kinds of human trafficking. How I wish that all of us would hear God’s cry: “Where is your brother?” (Gen 4:9). Where is your brother or sister who is enslaved? Where is the brother and sister whom you are killing each day in clandestine warehouses, in rings of prostitution, in children used for begging, in exploiting undocumented labor? Let us not look the other way. There is greater complicity than we think. The issue involves everyone! This infamous network of crime is now well established in our cities, and many people have blood on their hands as a result of their comfortable and silent complicity.