Lawmakers Praise Financial Industry’s Human Trafficking Barriers

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently praised the financial industry’s efforts to thwart the work of human traffickers.

The lawmakers are supporting the Senate Banking Committee’s inclusion of a provision in the BRINK Act that would combat human trafficking. The language is based on the End Banking for Human Traffickers Act, which was originally introduced by Warren and Rubio earlier this year.

The legislators said the language requires federal banking regulators to work with law enforcement and financial institutions to address the use of the financial system for human trafficking while establishing an office within the Office for Terrorism and Financial Crimes to coordinate with the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

 

To read the full story by Douglas Clark on Financial Regulation News: Click Here

Teaching Medical Workers To Recognize And Help Human Trafficking Victims

A medical worker listens as Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, who oversees a sex-trafficking intervention and research program at Arizona State University, discusses warning signs so health care workers can help victims. (Photo by Tanner Stechnij/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – Phoenix has been identified by the Department of Justice as a major human trafficking destination but a local hospital is training health care workers to spot and help the men and women who have fallen victim to prostitution.

 Personal accounts, prevention measure and treatment methods were part of a September training at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

Holly Gibbs survived sex trafficking as a teenager.

“At the age of 14, a man in a shopping mall convinced me to run away from home to become a model or musician. In reality, what he did was he forced me into prostitution in Atlantic City, New Jersey,” said Gibbs, Dignity Health’s Human Trafficking Response program director. “I was trafficked for two nights before I was recovered by law enforcement.”

Watching for victims of fear, violence

Gibbs and other seminar speakers told health care workers to watch for physical and psychological signs of human trafficking.

“There are so many red flags that can indicate sex or labor trafficking,” Gibbs said. “Anything from physical assault, sexual assault to signs of bruising in various stages of healing.”

To read the full story by Tanner Stechnij on Cronkite News: Click Here

Asia’s Biggest Budget Airline Trains Crew To Spot Human Traffickers

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – AirAsia, the biggest budget carrier in Asia, is training thousands of its staff to fight human trafficking, becoming one of the first airlines in the continent to crack down on the global crime.

Companies have come under increased pressure to tackle human trafficking, with an estimated 46 million people living in slavery and profits thought to be about $150 billion.

Planes are a key part of the illegal business, as criminal gangs transport thousands of children and vulnerable people by air each year for redeployment as sex workers, domestic helpers or in forced labour.

The United Nations has urged airlines to step in and look out for the tell-tale signs of trafficking.

Kuala Lumpur-based AirAsia, which flies millions of passengers annually to more than 110 destinations, said it was planning to train between 5,000 and 10,000 frontline staff, including cabin crew. “We like to be able to have our staff know what to do if somebody comes up to them and says ‘I need help’,” said Yap Mun Ching, the executive director of AirAsia Foundation, the airline’s philanthropic arm, which is driving the initiative.

To read the full story by Beh Lih Yi  on Daily MailClick Here

Skies Are The Frontline In Fight Against Human Trafficking

LONDON — Flight attendant Donna Hubbard was deeply concerned when a couple carried a boy who was sweating, lethargic and appeared to be in pain onto her flight from Honduras to Miami in October last year.

After take-off, Hubbard and her crew spoke to the man and woman separately, who gave different names and ages for the boy. Hubbard told the Thomson Reuters Foundation she was suspicious that he was being trafficked, kidnapped or even being used as a drug mule.

The pilot alerted authorities in Miami who met the boy and his companions on arrival. While unable to reveal details, a customs official later told Hubbard that she had made the “right call” and the boy had been safely intercepted by officials.

Hubbard’s actions are the kind of intervention the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recommended last week when it urged airline bosses at an international airline summit to train flight crews to help prevent human trafficking.

Jean-Luc Lemahieu, UNODC policy director, told the International Air Transport Association (IATA) meeting: “It is not rocket science but most flight attendants spend one hour to eight hours with passengers.

“They can see the signs. It’s an invisible crime but in plain sight, you can you see it if you know what to look at.”

The skies have long been on the frontlines of the fight against human trafficking as criminal gangs transport thousands of children and vulnerable people by air each year.

To read the full story by Ed Upright  on GMA NEWS ONLINE: Click Here

Dignity Health Leads in the Fight Against Human Trafficking

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dignity Health, one of the nation’s largest health systems, announced today it has published online information about its successful Human Trafficking Response (HTR) Program, including internal victim response procedures to encourage other health systems and hospitals to implement similar programs to protect and support trafficked persons identified in the health care setting.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline recently reported 7,500 tips of human trafficking in 2016 — up from approximately 5,500 in the previous year, and the U.S. Department of Defense calls the activity the world’s fastest-growing crime. Studies have shown that health care providers can play an important role in intervention. Nearly 88 percent of sex trafficking survivors reported having some kind of contact with the health care system while they were trafficked, according to a study in the Annals of Health Law.

“Trafficked persons are often overlooked even though most survivors report that they have visited a health care setting at least once while being trafficked,” said Holly Gibbs, Director of the Dignity Health HTR Program and human trafficking survivor. “Dignity Health has developed a victim-centered, trauma-informed program based on actual cases because we believe that health care providers can provide a critical step in identifying and supporting trafficked persons. Our goal is to share our best practices with other systems so that one day human trafficking response programs like ours will be a standard offering at all hospitals and health care facilities across the country.”

Dignity Health hopes its guidelines will make it easier for more hospitals and health care systems to identify and support trafficked persons. The health system launched its HTR Program in 2014 across its system to educate staff, implement protocols, and strengthen communities against human trafficking. It created educational modules and victim response procedures that engage not only hospital staff and physicians, but also first responders and the community to build a strong multi-agency resource network to prevent exploitation, support trafficked persons, and empower survivors. Another key component to Dignity Health’s HTR program is addressing underlying issues that contribute to vulnerability, including identifying and supporting vetted programs, advocates, and service providers in the community that help support survivors. In Fiscal Year 2016 alone, Dignity Health staff identified at least 31 persons with high or moderate indicator levels of human trafficking victimization.

To read the full release from Dignity Health on Business Wire: Click Here

‘A Gift To Human Traffickers’: Report Warns Of Dangers Of Trump Immigration Policy

Study claims hardened stance on immigration leaves undocumented migrant workers at greater risk of modern slavery and human rights abuses 

Undocumented farm workers from Mexico at work on a farm in California
Undocumented labourers from Mexico at work on a farm in California. Analysts warn the new immigration policy will put such workers at greater risk of exploitation and debt. Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s hardline approach to immigration has been branded a “gift to human traffickers” amid concerns that stricter deportation and border regulations will push undocumented migrant workers underground, putting them at greater risk of slavery and human rights abuses.

The new administration’s immigration policy – which hinges on the construction of a US-Mexico border wall and immediate repatriation of illegal immigrants – will force criminal networks to use more costly and potentially more dangerous trafficking routes by air and sea, say global risk analysts Verisk Maplecroft.

According to a report by the company, the controversial stance adopted by the White House towards migrant workers and immigration will be a major driver of human rights risks for business in 2017.

Developed countries are warned that human rights abuses are surfacing closer to home for western companies just as legislation strengthens and scrutiny of business practices increases.

Saket Soni, executive director of the membership organisation National Guestworkers Alliance, said the Trump administration’s new regulations will only exacerbate existing problems and proves that the US government is “part of the problem”.

“Trump’s policies are a gift to human traffickers,” said Soni. “We know firsthand what Verisk Maplecroft’s report confirms: criminalising immigrants makes them more vulnerable to forced labour, human trafficking, and modern-day slavery. Trump’s mass criminalisation will drive immigrants further into the shadows, where increasing numbers of them will face forced labour conditions.”

The report, entitled Human Rights Outlook 2017, draws on Verisk Maplecroft’s portfolio of global human rights data and its interactions with multinational companies to assess the top 10 human rights issues affecting business in the year ahead.

“The US is already classed as ‘medium risk’ in our index measuring modern slavery around the world, and the commodity risk that we’ve done shows that there are already extreme risks for migrants, including those on farms harvesting apples or citrus fruits,” said Maplecroft’s principal analyst, Alexandra Channer.

“There’s already a significant problem for undocumented workers in certain industries in the US. So the impact of these policies will be worsening an already serious issue, which we could see potentially widen to different industries, for example the transportation and hospitality sectors.”

To read the full article by Kate Hodal on The Guardian: Click Here

Delta Ceo Invites Customers To Join Fight Against Human Trafficking

Delta CEO Ed Bastian shared a LinkedIn post on the morning of March 7th, encouraging customers to join the airline and take action against human trafficking.

Ed Bastian Executive Headshot

 “This is not a comfortable or easy topic, and it’s one that many companies would rather not address,” he wrote in the post. “But at Delta we pride ourselves on being different, and recognize that our moral guidebook, the Rules of the Road, obligates us to speak and make an impact.”

Today, Bastian announced a partnership with Polaris, a leader in the fight against human trafficking and the operator of the National Human Trafficking Hotline. SkyMiles members can now donate miles to Polaris through Delta’s SkyWish program at Delta.com to, “cover the airfare survivors need to return home, receive critical services, reunite with their families or engage in survivor leadership opportunities.” The airline will match the first 3 million miles donated.

Delta was the first airline to sign the ECPAT International Code of Conduct and more than 54,000 Delta people have taken human trafficking training. Learn more about Delta’s efforts and how you can #GetOnBoard or read the full post here.

Flight Attendants Train to Watch for Human Trafficking

Flight attendant Sheila Fedrick says she knew something was wrong when she saw a teenage girl with greasy hair sitting on an airplane next to an older man.

The girl had bruises, possible evidence that she had been hurt. The man, however, appeared very well-dressed.

When Fedrick tried to talk to them, the man became defensive. So the flight attendant left a note for the girl in a bathroom. The girl later wrote back a message that said “I need help.”

Fedrick was able to inform the pilot of the Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to San Francisco. The pilot spoke to police officials on the ground. By the time the plane landed, officers were waiting for the girl and the man at the airport. She later learned the girl was a victim of human trafficking.

Keeping the skies safe

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation says human trafficking is thought to be the third largest criminal activity in the world. Trafficking involves the illegal transport of people from one country or area to another. This is usually done to force victims into forced labor or the sex trade.

Human traffickers have often used airplanes as a way to quietly transport their victims. Yet one group, Airline Ambassadors International, or AAI, is training airline and airport workers to recognize signs of human trafficking. The goal is to give more workers the same kind of skills and sensitivity Fedrick has.

 

​AAI was the idea of Nancy Rivard, a former flight attendant. She founded the group as a way for flight attendants to help vulnerable children directly.

Rivard said AAI developed the first industry-specific training on human trafficking and trafficking awareness. She said that training just one person can have a big effect.

To read the full story by Phil Dierking on VOA Learning English.: Click Here

3 Nonprofit Leaders Speak On Their Top Priorities To Eradicate Human Trafficking

StockSnap IO

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, a time when national leaders, nonprofits and public advocates continue to speak up and speak out against the injustice of human trafficking nationally and internationally. Human trafficking comes in many forms – commercial sexual exploitation, sex trafficking, labor trafficking and more – all experienced across the globe, with experts estimating that at least 21 million are victimized worldwide, with some estimates as high as 45 million.

Although the fight to end trafficking continues with much work to do, nonprofits and advocacy organizations have been growing, reaching more people in education, prevention and direct service work. A widespread shift in cultural understanding of trafficking has helped the movement continue to grow into a national outcry of advocacy for new laws, better prosecution of perpetrators, ending demand and caring for survivors.

Progress Made in 2016

According to national leaders from organizations like Polaris, Shared Hope International and Love146, 2016 was a year of growth in the movement, leading to momentum the organizations hope will continue bringing justice to survivors everywhere in 2017 and beyond.

Linda Smith, former congresswoman and founder and president of Shared Hope International states the top achievement for the organization in 2016 was the number of states that improved their laws relating to child sex trafficking. The organization launched The Protected Innocence Challenge in 2011 where states were graded A-F on their laws related to domestic minor sex trafficking. According to Smith, when the challenge started over six years ago, 26 states received F grades. In 2016, no states received F’s, signaling a nationwide improvement in how states are addressing the issue.

According to Bradley Myles, the CEO of Polaris, 2016 was the most successful year for the National Human Trafficking Hotline, which the organization operates. In 2016 alone, more than 53,000 calls were reported, which helped uncover over 7,500 cases of human trafficking, identifying more than 8,500 victims. Additionally, Myles reported that more than 4,600 calls came directly from survivors – an all-time high for the organization – which signals more survivors are calling directly and are successfully receiving the appropriate resources on both a local and national level.

Rob Morris, the president and cofounder of Love146, reports 2016 was a year where collaboration among organizations in the anti-trafficking movement was widely experienced. “We see it in the collaborative efforts between government, nongovernmental organizations, law enforcement, service providers and the everyday citizen,” Morris states, referencing the most recent Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. Morris shares the organization has recently partnered with hotel chains, educating staff on trafficking and how they can make strides towards prevention. “It goes back to the idea of encouraging people to do what they love — companies have expertise and connections and audiences that can help support us and the movement. We enjoy being creative about what that collaboration can look like,” Morris shares.

 

To read the full article by Tori Utley on Forbes: Click Here

UPS Drivers Trained To Spot Human Trafficking

UPS’s 8,000 freight drivers will receive the training, which began last month, by the end of the year, according to UPS spokeswoman Kara Ross.

A pilot version of the project between Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) and UPS was rolled out across 10 states in December, TAT said in a news release Wednesday.

“UPS Freight is in a unique position to help identify traffickers and trafficking victims by educating our drivers and management on this epidemic impacting our local communities,” Rich McArdle, president of UPS Freight, said in the release. “We are proud to take a stand in fighting human trafficking and look forward to working with Truckers Against Trafficking on this initiative that will save lives.”

Training is taking place on site around the country, Ross said. Each UPS driver also receives a wallet card that contains helpful phone numbers and instructs drivers what to do if they identify trafficking on the road. The card also identifies “trafficking red flags,” which include a person who:

  • exhibits restricted or controlled communication
  • has a disheveled appearance or is crying
  • is a minor traveling without adult supervision 
  • does not know the person who is picking them up

TAT, a non-profit organization that educates shipping partners and individuals in the trucking industry about how to stop human trafficking, is also partnering with the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office, the attorney general’s office said in a news release Wednesday. TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris said commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders often have the unique opportunity to stop trafficking as it happens.

To read the full story by Danielle Lerner at Courier-Journal: Click Here