Immigrants Are Among Most Vulnerable To Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a nearly $32 billion industry and more than 27 million people are victims of the illicit business on an international scale, according to the Polaris Project, which is tasked with fighting human trafficking in its various forms.

The Administration for Children and Families, which works with the Department of Health and Human Services, estimates that human trafficking is the second fastest growing black market activity.

In 2013, the state’s Human Trafficking Policy Task Force found that immigration plays a unique role in the underground world.

“Undocumented workers are often particularly vulnerable to abuse due to their lack of immigration status and fear of deportation,” a report by the task force stated.

Additionally, many who are the victims of trafficking for forced labor or sex slavery have trouble getting the services they need.

“Other realities inherent to victims of human trafficking, such as a survivor’s criminal history, lack of housing history, and/or immigration status, may make it difficult or impossible for survivors to qualify for government services,” the agency’s report said.

New tactics are recommended to law enforcement by the agency, which encourages authorities to explain to potential victims that questions about trafficking are not intended to determine somebody’s immigration status.

New legislation filed by Gov. Charlie Baker at the beginning of August is aiming to allow police in Massachusetts to hand over illegal immigrants suspected of crimes, including human trafficking, to federal authorities.

To read the full story by Bradford Randall: Click Here

In U.S. Restaurants, Bars And Food Trucks, ‘Modern Slavery’ Persists

A new report highlights victims of human trafficking in the food industry, from farm workers to restaurant bus staff, cooks and wait staff. Some victims are exploited for both sex and labor. Juanmonino/Getty Images

They come from places like Vietnam, China, Mexico and Guatemala, lured by promises of better-paying jobs and legal immigration. Instead, they’re smuggled into the U.S., forced to work around the clock as bussers, wait staff and cooks, and housed in cramped living quarters. For this, they must pay exorbitant fees that become an insurmountable debt, even as their pay is often withheld, stolen or unfairly docked.

In restaurants, bars and food trucks across America, many workers are entrapped in a form of modern slavery. That’s according to a new report by Polaris, an organization that fights human trafficking and helps survivors.

In the report the group offers a detailed portrait of human trafficking as it occurs in the U.S., breaking it down into 25 distinct business models, from nail salons to hotel work and domestic service.

“Because human trafficking is so diverse … you can’t fight it all at once and there are no single, silver bullet solutions. You have to … fight it type by type,” Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris, told reporters on a press call. “We see this report as a major breakthrough in the field.”

He called the report the largest data set on human trafficking in the U.S. ever compiled and publicly analyzed. The Polaris team analyzed 32,208 reports of human trafficking, and 10,085 reports of labor exploitation processed through its hotlines for victims between 2007 and 2016. The goal: to identify profiles of traffickers and their victims — and the methods they use to recruit and control them — across industries, in order to better thwart them.

Janet Drake, a senior assistant attorney general in Colorado who has prosecuted human trafficking cases, called the new report “a game changer.”

To read the full story by Maria Godoy on : 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

Polaris and Clear Channel Outdoor Americas Launch Anti-Human Trafficking Digital Billboard Campaign Across Minnesota

Congressman Erik Paulsen and other Minnesota Leaders Endorse Campaign to Alert Human Trafficking Victims About How to Reach Out for Help

MINNEAPOLIS, MN—Polaris and Clear Channel Outdoor Americas (CCOA), a division of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CCO), together with Congressman Erik Paulsen, today unveiled an anti-human trafficking awareness campaign to run on 53 digital billboards throughout Minnesota. The new campaign, launching today and running for three weeks, will alert victims how to reach out for help through the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) (1-888-373-7888), as well as raise awareness about the true nature of modern slavery.

A collaborative effort between Polaris and CCOA, the Out-of-Home (OOH) media campaign, which is estimated to deliver approximately 6.5 million impressions, is designed to reach trafficking victims who may be unaware that resources exist to help them and residents who can help identify suspicious activity with raised awareness that human trafficking is a major problem in Minnesota and throughout the U.S. 365 days a year. CCOA is donating ad space across its digital OOH media platform in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan areas for the campaign.

The estimated $150 billion a year trafficking industry forces approximately 20.9 million people worldwide to live in modern day slavery. In just the first six months of 2016, human trafficking was reported in all 50 states, with 37 cases of human trafficking reported to the NHTRC from Minnesota, already a 12% increase over all of 2015. The top cities that received reports in Minnesota include Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, St. Cloud, Blaine and Moorhead. In total, the NHTRC has received reports of over 265 cases of human trafficking from Minnesota since 2007.

In a news conference earlier today held at the Minnesota State Fair, Congressman Erik Paulsen, Ramsey District Attorney John Choi, Kyle Loven, Chief Division Counsel, FBI – Minneapolis, Washington County Attorney Imran Ali, Executive Director Patina Park of the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, Polaris National Hotlines Director Caroline Diemar and the President of CCOA-Minneapolis/St. Paul Susan Adams Loyd joined local and state law enforcement officials to speak with an audience of reporters and supporters to underscore the need for preventing and combatting human trafficking across Minnesota and the country. Also in attendance to endorse the campaign in solidarity were representatives from Uber, Mysister.org and the Hennepin County – No Wrong Door Initiative and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.

“We must do all that we can to eliminate the scourge of human trafficking – too many young girls and boys, and their families are affected by this heinous practice,” said Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-03). “This awareness campaign is an important and meaningful step in accomplishing that goal. By coming together, educating our communities about available resources, and empowering others to play a role in combating human trafficking, we can all contribute in this fight.”

Senator Amy Klobuchar, who could not attend today’s event said, “Raising awareness is critical in the fight against human trafficking. This campaign, which educates and empowers people to join the fight against trafficking, has the power to help prevent children from being victimized and help those who have fallen victim to this heinous crime get the support they need to get their lives back on track. I was proud to lead the effort to pass the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act that is helping law enforcement further crack down on human traffickers in communities across the country while bringing about greater restitution and justice for victims. We must continue to ensure that children who are sold for sex are treated as victims, not criminals.”‎

“People exploited in forms of modern slavery are receiving help and services to rebuild their lives every day in America, including here in Minnesota. From the domestic worker provided with her visa, to the young girl sold online for sex who now has counseling and therapy support, survivors are reaching out to the national human trafficking hotline more than ever,” said Caroline Diemar, Polaris’s National Hotline Director. “Too often, though, survivors aren’t aware the national hotline exists or that they can be connected to a network of support across the country. Minnesota’s awareness campaign is critical to ensuring survivors of sex and labor trafficking get the help they need.”

“Our digital OOH campaign has the power to reach many victims of human trafficking across Minnesota and let them know that there is help and way out of this modern slavery,” said Susan Adams Loyd, President, CCOA-Minneapolis/St. Paul. “What is also important about this campaign is that we are reiterating to residents that human trafficking is a real, crucial issue that needs a call to action immediately. Together with Polaris, and with the support of Congressman Paulsen and Minnesota law enforcement, our goal is help these victims gain back their freedom and ultimately decrease the number of cases of this heart-breaking crime.”

Polaris and CCOA have forged a national partnership to combat human trafficking with campaigns in cities across America. CCOA launched its first anti-human trafficking campaign alongside Polaris in Philadelphia in 2012 and has since supported campaigns with Polaris and/or local partners in Baltimore, Iowa, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, New Jersey, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, and across the entire state of Texas. This is CCOA’s 20th anti-human trafficking campaign and data show that the campaigns drive calls to the hotline, including tips and requests by victims for help.

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center is operated by Polaris, and funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other private donors. The NHTRC (1-888-373-7888) is a confidential, multilingual hotline that connects victims and survivors of all forms of human trafficking to nationwide available services to get help and stay safe. It also provides the anti-trafficking community with actionable tips and insights. By offering a robust 24/7 infrastructure and sharing data and resources, the NHTRC unites local efforts into a national movement that is helping survivors restore their freedom and eradicating human trafficking at scale.

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Press release from the Polaris Project: Click Here

Polaris and Clear Channel Outdoor Americas Launch Anti-Human Trafficking Digital Billboard Campaign Across Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Polaris and Clear Channel Outdoor Americas (CCOA), a division of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CCO), together with Congressman Erik Paulsen, today unveiled an anti-human trafficking awareness campaign to run on 53 digital billboards throughout Minnesota. The new campaign, launching today and running for three weeks, will alert victims how to reach out for help through the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) (1-888-373-7888), as well as raise awareness about the true nature of modern slavery.

A collaborative effort between Polaris and CCOA, the Out-of-Home (OOH) media campaign, which is estimated to deliver approximately 6.5 million impressions, is designed to reach trafficking victims who may be unaware that resources exist to help them and residents who can help identify suspicious activity with raised awareness that human trafficking is a major problem in Minnesota and throughout the U.S. 365 days a year. CCOA is donating ad space across its digital OOH media platform in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan areas for the campaign.

The estimated $150 billion a year trafficking industry forces approximately 20.9 million people worldwide to live in modern day slavery. In just the first six months of 2016, human trafficking was reported in all 50 states, with 37 cases of human trafficking reported to the NHTRC from Minnesota, already a 12% increase over all of 2015. The top cities that received reports in Minnesota include Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, St. Cloud, Blaine and Moorhead. In total, the NHTRC has received reports of over 265 cases of human trafficking from Minnesota since 2007.

In a news conference earlier today held at the Minnesota State Fair, Congressman Erik Paulsen, Ramsey District Attorney John Choi, Kyle Loven, Chief Division Counsel, FBI – Minneapolis, Washington County Attorney Imran Ali, Executive Director Patina Park of the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, Polaris National Hotlines Director Caroline Diemar and the President of CCOA-Minneapolis/St. Paul Susan Adams Loyd joined local and state law enforcement officials to speak with an audience of reporters and supporters to underscore the need for preventing and combatting human trafficking across Minnesota and the country. Also in attendance to endorse the campaign in solidarity were representatives from Uber, Mysister.org and the Hennepin County – No Wrong Door Initiative and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.

“We must do all that we can to eliminate the scourge of human trafficking – too many young girls and boys, and their families are affected by this heinous practice,” said Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-03). “This awareness campaign is an important and meaningful step in accomplishing that goal. By coming together, educating our communities about available resources, and empowering others to play a role in combating human trafficking, we can all contribute in this fight.”

Senator Amy Klobuchar, who could not attend today’s event said, “Raising awareness is critical in the fight against human trafficking. This campaign, which educates and empowers people to join the fight against trafficking, has the power to help prevent children from being victimized and help those who have fallen victim to this heinous crime get the support they need to get their lives back on track. I was proud to lead the effort to pass the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act that is helping law enforcement further crack down on human traffickers in communities across the country while bringing about greater restitution and justice for victims. We must continue to ensure that children who are sold for sex are treated as victims, not criminals.”

“People exploited in forms of modern slavery are receiving help and services to rebuild their lives every day in America, including here in Minnesota. From the domestic worker provided with her visa, to the young girl sold online for sex who now has counseling and therapy support, survivors are reaching out to the national human trafficking hotline more than ever,” said Caroline Diemar, Polaris’s National Hotline Director. “Too often, though, survivors aren’t aware the national hotline exists or that they can be connected to a network of support across the country. Minnesota’s awareness campaign is critical to ensuring survivors of sex and labor trafficking get the help they need.”

To read the full story on Business Wire: Click Here

Sisters In Wisconsin Coordinate Multi-Year Statewide Anti-Trafficking Advertising Effort

by Emily Anderson

Manitowoc bus ad 2016-2
Manitowoc bus sign

The LCWR Region 9 Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force has coordinated a statewide advertising effort to spread awareness about human trafficking in Wisconsin and promote
the National Human Trafficking Hotline across the state.

The advertising campaign includes bus signage and billboards which display the national human trafficking hotline number. Bus signage advertising and billboards ran in the following markets during 2015 and 2016:

  • 1 bus for 6 months in Green Bay (9/2015 – 2/2016)
  • 1 bus for 1 year in Oshkosh (6/2015 – 5/2016)
  • 10 buses for 4 weeks in the Milwaukee area (late July through August/2015). Ad over-run  occurred for a number of months on some of the buses
  • Interior bus ads in Green Bay and Fond du Lac (Public Service Announcements)
  • Billboard ran across from Lambeau Field in Green Bay for one week before Thanksgiving (11/23/15 – 11/29/15) during which the Packers played the Bears
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Interior bus signage

Bus signage during 2016 and 2017:

  • 1 bus for 1 year in Wausau, La Crosse, Superior/Duluth, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Rusk County and Stevens Point;
  • 10 buses for 4 weeks in the Milwaukee area (posted on some buses beginning 6/3/2016; rest scheduled for 8/2016)
  • 3 buses for 4 weeks in the Waukesha area (8/2016)
  • 10 buses for 4 weeks in the Madison area (9/2016)

A billboard is running in Wisconsin Dells during peak tourist season in July and August 2016.

In addition, interior bus signage will be posted on 35 buses in Racine as a public service.

The Polaris Project, which together with the Department of Homeland Security funds the National Anti-Human Trafficking Hotline, reported for Wisconsin a 20% increase in calls/texts to the National Hotline and a 16% increase in human trafficking cases reported during 2015, as compared to 2014. We hope that the LCWR 9 ad campaign contributed to increased recognition and use of the National Hotline number.

(Emily Anderson is the Director of Communications for the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother and a member of the USCSAHT Communications Work Group.)

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Billbord in the Wisconsin Dells

Bay Area Nuns Fight Human Trafficking Before Super Bowl, All Year Long

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KONSTANTIN KALISHKO VIA GETTY IMAGES

A group of nuns from across the Bay Area uses its platform to campaign against human trafficking. In recent months, they have increased their education and advocacy efforts ahead of the Super Bowl.

San Francisco is one of the country’s major hubs for human trafficking, according to a recent government report, with 291 surviving victims in just the second half of 2014.

The link between human trafficking and the Super Bowl remains unclear. The Attorney General called it the single largest day for trafficking in 2013, but since then, it has been suggested that the hyping the cause on just one day a year does more harm than good because it is a year-round problem.

The nuns, who call themselves the Northern California Coalition of Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, come from nine different Bay Area congregations. They focus their awareness campaign in hotels, which are a common site used by traffickers to exploit their victims, according to the Polaris Project. Hotels are perceived as anonymous, private, temporary places with a low risk of legal oversight.

To read the full story from Krithika Varagur of The Huffington Post: Click Here

Women On The Front Lines Explain How We Can Better Fight Human Trafficking

January marks National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Some estimate that human trafficking is the fastest growing and third largest organized criminal activity in the world, just behind the drug and arms trades. Polaris, an anti-trafficking advocacy group, cites a study of the commercial sex industry in eight U.S. municipalities. Trafficking generated between $39.9 million and $290 million depending on the city. The benefactor of these funds earned over $30,000 a week on average. With the potential to earn such sums of money, sex trafficking is considered a low-risk, high-reward venture.

Trafficking happens in every state across the country. According to the Department of Justice, 83 percent of trafficking victims are American and almost 50 percent are children. As Opportunity Lives has previously reported, state and federal governments are boosting efforts to combat trafficking in local communities in part by raising awareness.

For example, a new law took effect in Florida on January 1 that requires rest areas, airports and emergency rooms to post signs that notify trafficking victims of available resources to help them escape. Failure to do comply will result in non-criminal citations for businesses. Advocates hope the new law will help curb activity in massage parlors and strip clubs, which are key businesses where women are often trafficked.

Opportunity Lives spoke with anti-trafficking advocates in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. about their views on areas of improvement to combat trafficking and what ordinary citizens can do to alleviate the problem.

Reverend Becca Stevens is the founder of Thistle Farms in Nashville, a community of women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction. They employ more than 50 survivors through their social enterprises, which include a natural body care company, Thistle Stop Café, artisan studio, and global marketplace called Shared Trade.

Founded in 1997, Thistle Farms includes a two-year residential program and advocacy services for up to 700 women yearly. Stevens now has over 100 women on the waiting list.

“At Thistle Farms, these women are safe,” she told Opportunity Lives. “No more running from traffickers. They need to understand that there is a way out.”

Read the full story by Cherylyn LeBon on Opportunity Lives: Click Here

On Human Rights Day, Hyatt Reinforces Commitment to Protect Children and Help Them Live Free from Exploitation

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H) announced today it is signing the End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT) Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code). The Code, an industry driven tourism initiative, is supported by UNICEF and The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Hyatt’s collaboration with ECPAT is an extension of its global commitment to responsible business practices and supports the company’s already strong efforts to combat human trafficking within its sphere of influence. The Code focuses on providing awareness, tools and support to the tourism industry to prevent the sexual exploitation of children, a crime which impacts more than 1.8 million young people annually, according to ECPAT.

“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.”

To read the full story on Business Wire: Click Here