‘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

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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

Hotel Industry Responds to Human Trafficking Crisis with New Online Training Program

Human trafficking of children and adults continues to be a serious issue for the global hospitality industry, as traffickers sometimes use hotels to carry out their illegal operations. The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), in partnership with Marriott International, ECPAT-USA, and the Polaris Project, this month will begin offering an online training program to help hotel employees identify and respond to human trafficking at hotel properties.

Your Role in Preventing Human Trafficking: Recognize the Signs, available through the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), was developed in response to the growing demand from global hospitality brands for an expansion of the online course, The Role of Hospitality in Preventing and Reacting to Child Trafficking, released by AHLEI and ECPAT-USA in January 2014. The expanded training course provides an overview of the issues of human trafficking, suggested protocols for responding to suspicious activity, and signs of trafficking specific to different hospitality positions (in-room staff, restaurant, lobby, and security).

“Training employees in a variety of roles in hotels is critical, so they can be the eyes and ears of identifying potential survivors in one of the most frequently documented human trafficking venues,” said Courtney Walsh, Advisory Services, Polaris.

Features of the expanded program include:

  • Information on human trafficking of both children and adults for the purposes of both sex and labor
  • Globalized information to make the program relevant at properties around the world, not just in the United States—currently available in English, the training will eventually be available in 14 additional languages
  • Content that is compliant with many new city ordinances and state laws requiring hotels to train their employees on human trafficking.

“We are so excited that the update not only broadens training to include both labor and sex trafficking but it is also now relevant on a global level,” said Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement for ECPAT-USA. “The hospitality industry has made such headway in the fight against commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children and we know that with this re-launch, we will see even more progress.”

To read the full story on HospitalityNet: Click Here

Convention Planners, Hotel Chains Enlisted To Help Spot Sex Traffickers

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Betsy Soltysiak leads a trafficking awareness training at Maritz Global Events. – Joseph Leahy

Events like the Olympics are great for local businesses, but some of those businesses may not be too savory. Reports of human trafficking go up during events of all kinds from big games to trade shows to political conventions. Trafficking is highly profitable for the traffickers, and their job’s been made a lot easier thanks to the internet. But many of the victims are underage and they’re being used against their will.

Now, the business world has begun to take note and it’s starting to help.

Betsy Soltysiak works as a trainer for an event management company just outside St. Louis. Today she’s addressing a roomful of people about sex trafficking, pointing out that the Olympic Games can be a magnet for traffickers.

“Of course the World Series” is somewhere else traffickers can ply their trade, she said. “Who would think? It’s baseball, hotdogs, Crackerjack!”

Soltysiak’s boss, Maritz Global Events president David Peckinpaugh, had never thought about it either. He said until a few years ago he’d always assumed that kind of seamy stuff, like kids being sold for sex,  went on overseas. Then he began to do some digging.

“As I started researching, the very first article and picture I stumbled upon was a young girl being trafficked out of a hotel in St. Louis,” he said. “And you could see the St. Louis arch in the background.”

He wanted to help stop a practice he’d had no idea was taking place in his back yard.

He knew he and his employees could help because so much of their meeting and event work takes place in hotels – and that’s where a lot of trafficking happens, right under the noses of guests and staff.

 Savannah Sanders is 31 now. She knows what it’s like to stand in a lobby shadowed by a pimp.

“There were definitely times where somebody could have noticed that there was something not right and made a call when I was being trafficked,” she said.

To read the full story by Ashley Milne-Tyte on MARKETPLACE: Click Here

Human Trafficking and Forced Labor Victims File Lawsuit Against California-based Seafood Importers

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Victims of human trafficking in the multi-billion dollar seafood industry supply chain, which stretches from seafood packing factories in Thailand to supermarkets in the United States, today filed suit in California federal court. The seven plaintiffs were recruited from their home villages in rural Cambodia to work at factories in Thailand producing shrimp and seafood for export to the United States.  Instead of the good jobs at good wages they were promised, the five men and two women became victims of human trafficking, forced labor, involuntary servitude, and peonage, according to attorneys at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP, Schonbrun Seplow Harris & Hoffman LLP and Anthony DiCaprio who represent the villagers.
The defendants sell their shrimp and seafood to large U.S. customers like Walmart and include California-based Rubicon Resources, LLC, and an affiliate, Wales & Co. Universe Ltd, as well as Thai corporations Phatthana Seafood and S.S. Frozen Food.  The complaint states that the defendants were part of a joint venture that knowingly profited from trafficked labor in direct violation of both U.S. and international law.
“When they finally returned home, these men and women had nothing to show for their hard labor and their families were poorer than before,” said Agnieszka Fryszman, Cohen Milstein partner and lead attorney for the villagers.  “Fortunately, in the Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act, Congress gave trafficked workers the tools they need to obtain justice when companies knowingly profit from forced labor in their supply chains.”  The United State Government Trafficking in Persons Report, human rights organizations and international organizations have long highlighted the problems of trafficking and forced labor at the Thai shrimp and seafood factories that are part of the multi-billion dollar seafood industry supply chain.
To read the full story from Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll on Global Newswire: Click Here

Less Than A Quarter Of Companies Fully Open On Fighting Forced Labor – Study

NEW YORK, Jan 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Less than a quarter of companies earned high marks for disclosing anti-trafficking and forced labor corporate practices in a pilot study released on Thursday to highlight efforts by companies to be open about their supply chains.

The study by KnowTheChain, founded by San Francisco-based Humanity United, found only four of 20 companies were fully open about disclosure and the way they track and deal with forced labor in their supply chains.

The number of people globally living as slaves, trafficked into brothels or forced labor, is estimated at nearly 36 million by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation with the slavery business estimated to be worth $150 billion a year.

Anti-slavery campaigners have called for companies to be more transparent over their supply chains and for consumers to insist on knowing where goods come from and who makes them.

KnowTheChain said it plans to publish benchmark reports this year comparing corporate policies and practices on keeping forced labor out of supply chains and the pilot study was conducted to test its methodology.

Read the full story by Ellen Wulfhorst on Reuters: Click Here

Hyatt Fights Human Trafficking, Signs ECPAT Code

Hyatt Hotels Corp. has joined the fight against human trafficking by signing the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, an effort by anti-trafficking group End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT) to create a community of tourism businesses dedicated to finding and stopping human traffickers.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, approximately 100,000 children have been sexually abused and exploited in the United States in the past year, and millions more are exploited around the world. Travel infrastructure is sometimes used in trafficking and exploitation, through commercial airlines and buses used to transport children, online classifieds used to lure travelers, and hotel rooms used as sites of abuse.

ECPAT’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct is the only voluntary, industry-driven set of guidelines that focuses on the elimination of child exploitation and trafficking.

“Given Hyatt’s ongoing efforts to proactively fight human trafficking, we feel that ECPAT’s Code of Conduct is a reflection of that commitment,” said Brigitta Witt, Hyatt’s global head of corporate responsibility. “Standing against human trafficking is a natural extension of our commitment to positively impacting the communities where we operate.”

Read the full story on Successful Meetings: Click Here