Started in 2010 by founder Alezandra Russell, Urban Light fights the sex-trafficking of young males in Chiang Mai, Thailand, through the variety of services offered at their Youth Center. Summer Fellow Joanna DiBiase spoke to Russell about her organization and their impact on human trafficking in Thailand and around the world.
When activist Sam Sinyangwe was awaiting a meeting with the governor’s office at the Louisiana state capitol building in Baton Rouge, he noticed something odd. A black man in a dark-blue jumpsuit was printing papers while a correctional guard—with a badge and gun—stood watching over him. The pair stood out against the white, middle-aged legislators populating the building.
The media has the ability to shape the general public’s awareness and understanding of human trafficking, so it is crucial that journalism on the topic is well executed. Unfortunately, many news outlets prioritize sensationalist stories over nuanced coverage of trafficking.
The US State Department Trafficking in Persons Report is regarded as one of the most reliable resources on how countries around the world handle the complex issue of human trafficking. Using a tier-ranking system, the TIP report ranks countries Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 2 Watch List, or Tier 3 based on a set of criteria to prosecute and prevent all forms of human trafficking.
In the United States the minimum age for marriage is 18, but in most states child marriage is legal with a parent’s consent. Girls as young as 12 in Virginia, 13 in New Hampshire and 14 in Alabama are able to legally wed with a parent’s signature.
In many developing countries, the practice of child marriage is illegal—yet it still thrives. One in three girls is married before reaching age 18 and one in nine is married under the age of 15. Despite laws against it, child marriage remains widespread in part because of poverty, traditions and insecurity.
Researchers announced findings from the largest-ever combined sample of homeless youth in the United States and Canada, revealing that nearly one-fifth are victims of human trafficking, including those trafficked for sex, labor, or both.
It’s been illegal to import goods produced using forced labor since the 1930s. Through legislatively mandated supply chain transparency, we intend to make sure that corporations finally have to follow this law.
Worker’s rights are a cornerstone of the anti-trafficking movement. Protecting both children and adults from labor exploitation, forced labor, and labor trafficking are essential to mitigating the proliferation of modern day slavery. To celebrate this May Day, we want to make sure everyone reading our blog is aware of their worker’s rights!
Every year Washington DC celebrates Emancipation Day to commemorate President Lincoln signing the DC Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862 which ended slavery in Washington DC, freed 3,100 people and reimbursed those who had legally owned them and offered the newly freed people money to emigrate.
Transgender individuals face a multitude of unique obstacles in their daily lives. These realities position trans folk to be at a higher risk of being targeted by traffickers.
A report recently released by the Freedom Fund suggests that up to 70 percent of Syrian refugee children living in Lebanon work. They found that forced labor is becoming more common as refugees become more desperate.
Every year in India, over 200,000 women and children are inducted into the flesh trade. Of these, approximately one-third are under 18 years old. Sex trafficking is not only a severe violation of human rights but also results in adverse physical, psychological and moral consequences for the victims.
Last month, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the US. So far, his administration has passed numerous executive orders that have received intense backlash from the left. In addition, the Republican-led congress has confirmed a number of Trump’s cabinet nominees with strong resistance from the liberal camp.
Two of the most prevalent symbols of Valentine’s Day are chocolate and roses. However, you may not know that these two items, especially to meet the high volume created by Valentine’s Day, are responsible for egregious labor exploitation of women and vulnerable children.
Free the Slaves serves as the secretariat for the annual Freedom from Slavery Forum. This gathering of anti-slavery leaders from around the world is designed to create a collegial space where leaders can coalesce, create partnerships, discuss promising practices, and develop a shared agenda for action.
In 2016, the anti-trafficking movement has made a number of strides forward in combatting trafficking in persons in the US and abroad. As we look forward to combatting human trafficking in 2017, we wanted to take some time and reflect on the steps forward we took in 2016.
Although the Justice for Chattel Slavery and Anti-trafficking movements have yet to work together on eradicating slavery and the historical imprint of slavery in our society, there is a stark connection between the two movements in the US.
During the antebellum period, slaves built and were sold to fund some of the United States’ most prestigious universities. It was not until the 2000’s that these institutions began to acknowledge and come to terms with this part of their past.
With the US election right around the corner, it is important for Americans to be informed about where the presidential candidates stand in regards to human trafficking. This blog outlines the positions of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the issue.
The idea that someone you know or even your own teen could have been contacted by a pimp or trafficker is terrifying. Chances are, this will never happen to your family, but if it does, you should know exactly what to do.
Social media plays a big role in most of our lives, particularly for our teenagers. Unfortunately, social media and the Internet also play a big role in child sex trafficking.
We are thrilled to feature Tina Frundt, founder of Courtney’s House and a survivor of domestic sex trafficking, on protecting children from human trafficking.
Talking to children about issues like child sex trafficking can be intimidating, for both parents and children alike.
In today’s tumultuous climate for America’s youth we have to wonder how educators are able to stay on track when it comes to actually doing what they went to college to learn to do, teach.
Did you know that just being at school can be a risk factor for children being trafficked? Over the next two weeks, we partner with a number of organizations and experts to keep you informed about the best ways to keep your children safe from human trafficking.
Rathish Pandian grew up in Tamil Nadu, Southern India, but fled to the U.S. as an adult after being threatened by government authorities for his political views. Upon arrival here, he was offered a job by another immigrant from his country at a Subway restaurant, but his trafficker…
The ongoing political, economic and public health crisis in Brazil coupled with the near-total lack of preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games makes this a challenging time for Brazil. Besieged by rumors of shoddy construction, insufficient funds and inadequate planning…
Tourism has seen extraordinary growth over the past 20 years, with the number of international tourist arrivals rising from 527 million in 1995 to 1,135 million globally in 2014. The growth of international tourism coupled with the increased reach and use of the internet has led to increased opportunities for child sex tourism.
On June 30, the 2016 US Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) was released. The TIP Report is the United States government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking.
Recently, a new bill was introduced in Congress that would require greater transparency about foreign guest worker programs in an effort to help prevent labor trafficking and exploitation of such workers when they come to work in the U.S.
Natural disasters such as earthquakes create fertile ground for trafficking to occur. For children, to be separated from their families, unaccompanied, orphaned, or displaced, greatly increases their vulnerability to trafficking.
Aside from terrorism, the crime of human trafficking is probably one of the most discussed criminal topics. That said, there exist a plethora of ventures whose aim is to delineate the act of human trafficking. One such attempt is to understand the various elements and actions undertaken during trafficking in humans, from a macro and a micro analysis perspective.
Backpage.com, an online classified service, is currently enmeshed in a federal legal battle and congressional scrutiny for its role in facilitating an online market for commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking and its unwillingness to cooperate with federal lawmakers to make changes to prevent such exploitation.
Easter has come and gone, and the chocolate bunny was in its full glory. Every year, ninety million chocolate bunnies are produced to meet the Easter demand, generating (along with other Easter candies) over $2.26 billion. However, despite the ease with which these innocent bunnies bounce into our shopping carts, their origins may not be so innocent.
With the presidential elections heating up and the primaries taking center stage in the media, it is important to know where contenders stand on the issue of human trafficking.
Last week, The McCain Institute hosted a Human Trafficking Symposium as a part of their Human Trafficking Conversation Series. The Institute began the conversation series to increase awareness about human trafficking and spark dialogue that connects practitioners in the movement. The symposium brought leaders and survivors in the movement on stage to share the work they are doing to take action and to hear their suggestions for policy and systemic change.
While the existence of slavery and human exploitation in the maritime fishing industry continues to be a known human rights abuse, several advancements in the fight to eliminate slavery from fishing boats occurred last week that might improve the lives of maritime laborers and clean up fishing supply chains.
Human Trafficking has long been considered a problem in large the cities. From New York to Portland, these hubs for human trafficking have engaged service providers, lawyers, law enforcement officials, and other professionals focused on raising awareness and tackling the needs. Until recently, these stakeholders have largely neglected suburban areas. However, suburban areas are slowly but surely creating resources and infrastructure to support victims of human trafficking.
Today is the second International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking. The day is intended to raise awareness and encourage reflection on the violence and injustice that impact victims of human trafficking. February 8th was selected as the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking as it is the day commemorating St. Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of anti-trafficking in the Catholic faith.
Recent reports of unaccompanied migrant children arriving in the United States and being subjected to situations of human trafficking and exploitation have caught the attention of Congress and may spur reform. As previously reported in Human Trafficking Search, the influx of unaccompanied children arriving in 2014 and the recent increase in fall 2015 have given way to serious protection concerns in home countries and in the U.S.
Throughout modern history, some of the most successful human rights movements in the United States and globally have had a strong student and/or youth voice that has proved invaluable to advancing the cause. For human rights struggles to be effective, they should reflect the breath and width of society to allow for all types of voices to be heard, including those of students and youth.
In response to the refugee crisis in Europe, Worldwide Documentaries has conceived Heart of the Matter, a short film that will also serve as a companion piece to Not My Life, the universally acclaimed documentary on global human trafficking and child exploitation.
In the European Union (EU), the intense, daily preoccupation with the consequences of massive immigration has created an awareness gap with respect to the most dangerous consequence of all: human trafficking
Happy New Year from everyone at Human Trafficking Search! As we bring in the New Year, we hope that you will join us in reflecting on this past year and looking forward to some fresh goals in the US for 2016.
This past year, Human Trafficking Search shared informative weekly blog posts on current events related to human trafficking and the anti-trafficking movement. Our posts covered a variety of topics, from speaking to children about trafficking to trafficking in specific countries, such as Brazil or Nepal. In recap, please enjoy reading some of our most popular posts from the year.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the largest regional trade deal in history. Talks to create the TPP began over seven years ago and it was finally drafted on October 5, 2015. The twelve member countries, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam covers 792 million people and make up 40 percent of the world’s economic activity.
The holiday season is a time of bustling shopping malls, jam-pack fashion avenues, and draining bank accounts. In the mood of giving, we buy numerous gifts, from a bag of coffee for the neighbors to a new computer for our spouse. This holiday season, Human Trafficking Search invites you to consider whether or not your purchase is helping to fund human trafficking.
Recently the number of unaccompanied migrant children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras arriving at the U.S. Southwest Border has again begun to increase. (A total of 5,622 children, mostly from Central America, were caught at the border with Mexico, more than double the number stopped in November 2014.)
For a long time technology has been seen as a detriment to victims of trafficking. Whether through GPS tracking to determine a person’s location or by threatening to post photos that may stigmatize an individual on the internet, or through local sale platforms such as Backpage.com, traffickers have used technology to sabotage, manipulate, and maintain control over victims.
However, more recently, anti-trafficking activists have turned technology around, using big data and sophisticated algorithms to aid trafficked persons. We will focus on three recent breakthroughs that indicate the anti-trafficking movement’s turn for technology.
Recently, Minnesota issued a report evaluating the effectiveness of the state’s safe harbor legislation and its ability to provide services to sexually exploited youth within the state. As recently discussed in Human Trafficking Search, safe harbor laws are considered model legal frameworks for state legislatures to include in state anti-trafficking laws. Minnesota has been a leader in implementing safe harbor legislation, in part due to the support of certain Senate and House leaders, namely Senator Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Representative Paulsen.
In 1888, Brazil became the last nation in the Western Hemisphere to formally abolish slavery. Over the course of 300 years, an estimated four million Africans were brought to Brazil to work as slaves in sugar plantations and gold mines. Although no longer institutionalized, the tradition of slavery has yet to end in Brazil and still exists in the form of forced labor, debt bondage [and] degrading conditions that violate human rights or overwork that threatens life or health. The 2014 Global Freedom Index estimated that 155,300 people are currently enslaved in Brazil, most of whom are involved in agricultural or mineral production as part of a supply chain for large multinational corporations.
In August, Amnesty International voted to decriminalize sex work in efforts to protect the human rights of sex workers around the world. The landmark decision has caused an explosion of debate regarding the effect of this policy on the trafficking of individuals for sex. As the policy undergoes a final pruning by AI’s International Board, we wanted to take some time to reflect on the contention caused by the policy.
Recently the United States Department released the 14th edition of its annual report, the 2014 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor. The report is prepared by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs in accordance with Trade and Development Act (TDA) of 2000 and the Trafficking and Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005. The report documents both the progress made in eliminating child labor globally and also the challenges remaining. The 2014 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor report showed some 60 percent of the 140 countries surveyed with moderate to significant improvement on child labor issues.
In light of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it is only fitting to talk about the stark connection between domestic violence and human trafficking. While seemingly two separate issues, domestic violence and trafficking are intertwined more often than not.
Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Nationals can be victims of human trafficking in the United States. Foreign National victims of human trafficking may sometimes be living within the United States in an undocumented immigration status. To address the particular vulnerabilities of these victims, the Trafficking and Victims Protection Act creates certain immigration protections for foreign national trafficking victims so that they remain legally within the United States.
In the aftermath of the earthquakes in Nepal in April and May, social media was flooded with people raising money for various relief efforts, including children’s care homes, disaster relief operations, and volunteer assistance trips to child orphanages in Nepal. While well intentioned, many failed to realize the true impact their volunteering or donations to children’s care homes post-earthquake might have as child care homes in Nepal come under scrutiny for their possible links to child exploitation and child trafficking.
The current crisis of Syrian refugees migrating to bordering states and Europe has commanded the attention of the media. From images of 3-year-old Aylan dead on the shores of Turkey to the tables of the European Commission, this issue has become global. However, seldom discussed is the stark connection between trafficking and refugees.
This week, Pope Francis will be visiting the United States and touring Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City. During his time here Pope Francis will be addressing Congress and the United Nations General Assembly. There has been much speculation about what the Pope will say in these remarks and during this trip. Despite the uncertainty about his exact remarks, one thing is for sure: this Pope has dedicated more attention to the discussion of human trafficking than any other Pope or world religious leader before him.
The 2008 financial crisis and global recession affected individuals all over the world, but it may have hit global youth the hardest. Youth unemployment rose immediately, hitting 12.7 percent in 2009. When global recovery weakened in 2012 and 2013, it further aggravated the problem of youth unemployment. At the moment, it is estimated that 73 million young people are unemployed worldwide, and youth are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. And analysts predict that the number unemployed youth will continue to rise.
Last week, anti-trafficking advocates fighting Backpage.com, the classified advertising website that has been accused of facilitating commercial sexual exploitation of children, gained a hard-fought legal victory. In Washington State, the state Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that Backpage could be held accountable for commercial sexual exploitation in the case of three girls sold on the site. The girls, who were 13 and 15 when they were sold for sex online, will have their claim for damages against Backpage.com move forward in a court of law.
The existence of forced labor and human trafficking in a company’s supply chain represents the newest frontier of the global effort to eliminate forced labor and human trafficking. Supply chains are systems of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer. They transform natural resources, raw materials, and components into a finished product that is delivered to the end customer.
The Trafficking and Victims Protection Act (“TVPA”) and its subsequent reauthorizations provide the United States government with the federal framework to regulate anti-trafficking policy and trafficking victim service provisions. However, there are also state laws in place to address human trafficking. Currently all 50 states have laws criminalizing human trafficking. Yet this is a new development, because as recently as 2004, only four states had human trafficking laws. The tipping point came in 2011-2012 when 28 states passed human trafficking laws. While all states now have anti-trafficking laws, some states nominally address labor trafficking and still others prioritize sex trafficking of minors and as such need to be augmented.
Human trafficking generates extensive national interest and media coverage in the United States, but that attention often focuses solely on sex trafficking. In addition to incidents of sex trafficking, there are also cases of labor trafficking and labor exploitation that happen every day in the United States. U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, women, men, and children can be victims of labor trafficking. Immigration status, recruitment debt, isolation, poverty, and a lack of strong labor protections are some of the vulnerabilities that lead to labor trafficking in the United States. Given the diversity of environments that labor trafficking can occur within the United States, it is important to understand more about labor trafficking and who is particularly vulnerable.
On July 27th, the United States Department of State issued the 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. This year’s TIP Report has received pushback for upgrading certain countries with poor human trafficking records, under the suspicion that the upgrades were based on political considerations instead of evaluating the countries on anti-trafficking prevention criteria. The upgrades of Malaysia and Cuba within the TIP Report have garnered particular criticism.
Recently, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report regarding the care of unaccompanied migrant children by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The GAO report entitled Unaccompanied Alien Children: Actions Needed to Ensure Children Receive Required Care in DHS Custody, found that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have not consistently screened unaccompanied Mexican children in their custody for trafficking.
Today, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide has reached nearly 60 million, the highest number since World War II. Almost 20 million of these are refugees: people who have fled their country of origin because of persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Close to 40 million are people displaced within their own country, known as internally displaced persons (IDPs). The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – also known as the UN Refugee Agency – protects and assists both refugees and IDPs in over 125 countries. UNHCR also works on behalf of stateless individuals, who are not recognized as citizens of any State.
A private company in the United States is facing a lawsuit claiming it engaged in forced labor with immigrant detainees. Earlier this month a federal judge ruled that a private detention center in Colorado must face a potential class action suit alleging it violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act by forcing immigrant detainees to work for little or no pay. The company that runs the detention center, The GEO Group Inc, had asked the judge to dismiss the claims, but the judge denied their motion.
In the mass media coverage about Europe’s migrant crisis, in which an estimated 1,850 people have lost their lives so far this year crossing the Mediterranean, fingers have been pointed at “traffickers”, accused both of amplifying both the scale of the migration flow and being responsible for the most devastating of the humanitarian consequences of the trade. This is a conceptual error.