A Deepening View of Human Trafficking

My naive image of prostitutes was women who sold their bodies for sex to make money. I knew there were pimps who organized rings and forced the women to hand over the money they made. But I had little idea of how prevalent or abusive the sex trade was. In the Feb. 13, 2015 issue of Newsweek, an article entitled “Sex Slaves on the Farm” opened my eyes to the horrors thousands of women endure out of fear or coercion.

Read the full story by Sister Barbara Mayer, OSB, at Inspired by Scolastica: Click Here

Hong Kong Court Finds Housewife Guilty of Abusing Young Maid

Hong Kong (CNN)A Hong Kong housewife has been found guilty of imprisoning and abusing a young Indonesian maid whose case has prompted protests and calls for reform of the city’s laws governing domestic workers.

Over several months last year, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih was kept as a prisoner in the home of Law Wan-tung, a 44-year-old mother of two who regularly deprived her of food, sleep and payment for long hours of grueling work.

After the verdict, Erwiana thanked her supporters and called for the governments of Hong Kong and Indonesia to do more to protect the rights of migrant workers.

“What I hope together with my fellow domestic workers are just fair and humane treatment and for people to stop treating us like slaves,” she said.

Read the full story by CNN’s Hilary Whitman and Vivian Kam: Click Here

From Fishing to Sex Work, Trafficked People Badly Abused, Major Study Finds

A study of 1,100 Southeast Asian victims of human trafficking reports that the practice is widespread and affects more than a dozen industry sectors. “What this study does, is hopefully puts numbers to the problem so that real action is taken to prevent exploitation, and resources are there to help people to recover who might fall prey to these abuses,” says Cathy Zimmerman, one of the study’s researchers.

To read the full article from Alex Whiting at Reuters: Click Here

Business Can Break Slavery Chains

I have an 11-year-old daughter and, as a mother, would risk everything to keep her safe.  So today, I shuddered to learn that 180 Degrees, a Minnesota-based nonprofit, just rescued a 10-year-old girl from sex trafficking.

The good news: She’s now safe. The bad news: There are countless more like her. But with the passage of Minnesota’s Safe Harbor law, we are now able to provide shelter, services and a safe haven to help this girl and others like her.

Where I live isn’t India, which has the largest number of people in modern slavery, 14 million, according to the Walk Free Global Slavery Index. It’s Minnesota – largely Scandinavian, the setting of Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon.

But here, and around the world, girls and boys are falling prey to human traffickers.

The International Labour Organization estimates there are 21 million human trafficking victims worldwide making the forced labor and sex trade one of the greatest human rights violations of our time.

The company I work for, Carlson, has been on the frontline of the war against trafficking for more than 15 years. The lessons we have learned as a global hospitality and travel company and the experiences we have had along the way in our fight to end this scourge inspire me, and can serve as a model for other companies that want to take a stand, use their influence and play an important role in ending this horrific act.

It began in 1999 when Marilyn Carlson Nelson, former chairman and CEO of Carlson, was among the first to speak out on the issue of human trafficking in the hotel and travel industry.

After hearing horror stories about how children were being exploited in hotels, Marilyn joined philanthropic forces with Queen Sylvia of Sweden and the Carlson Family Foundation co-founded the World Childhood Foundation. The mission:  To care for the world’s street children and protect them from abuse and exploitation.

Read the full story by Tammy Lee Stanoch on CNN’s Freedom Project Site: Click Here

Senate Holds Hearing on “Ending Modern Slavery”

(2/9/15) Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on “Ending Modern Slavery: What is the Best Way Forward?” with testimony from nonprofits and survivors engaged on the issue. Video and written testimonies are available online, and the Committee will be holding a follow-up hearing next week, as the Senate continues to weigh a response to the anti-trafficking bills passed by the House in late January.

from Catholic Charities USA


This Human Rights Group Is A Model For How The U.S. Can End Slave Labor

A small group of workers in Florida began meeting weekly back in 1993 in a room borrowed from a local church to talk about how they could start improving their lives. About 22 years later, that small group has transformed into a powerful force for fairness in the labor market — and even the White House has noticed.

On Jan. 29 in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State John Kerry gave the 2015 Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) — an advocacy group focused on removing injustice from Florida’s tomato sector. The crop is a $1.3 billion industry in the U.S., and Florida is the leading producer among all states.

The White House noted the “excellent work” being done through CIW’s Fair Food Program, which connects farmers, farmworkers and retailers to ensure all workers are paid fairly and working conditions are humane.

Read the full story from Huffington Post: Click Here

Sister Anne Victory’s Human Trafficking TED Talk

Our very own Sister Anne Victory gave an outstanding TED Talk in Youngstown. Please find 15 minutes to sit with this important video.

National sex trafficking sting nets nearly 600 arrests before Super Bowl

Law enforcement agencies in 17 states arrested nearly 600 people and rescued 68 victims of human trafficking during a sting in the lead-up to Super Bowl XLIX, police said.

As part of the “National Day of Johns” sex trafficking sting, spearheaded by the Cook County, Ill., Sheriff’s Office, police said that they captured hundreds of men and women attempting to hire prostitutes through websites such as Backpage.com and Craigslist. Police also said they rescued dozens of women who said they had been forced into prostitution.

“Sex trafficking continues to destroy countless lives, and this broad national movement should send a strong message to prospective johns that their ‘hobby’ is much more than a ‘victimless’ crime,” Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart said in a statement. “It’s particularly meaningful that this sting culminated on the day of the Super Bowl, which unfortunately has emerged as a prominent haven for sex trafficking.”

Read the full story by James Queally on the Lost Angeles Times Website