January 28, 2019
As January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, SITE has renewed its commitment to support ECPAT-USA by using its channels of communication and events to inform and educate members, suppliers and customers about this critical issue of identifying and stopping human trafficking and encouraging their support for ECPAT’s work around the globe.
To that end, SITE will help get the word out about ECPAT-USA’s specialized training for those in the travel industry in how to identify and stop human trafficking.
The specialized training entitled, Preventing & Responding to Human Trafficking and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children – An E-Learning by ECPAT-USA will reinforce ECPAT-USA’s continuing commitment to the mission of protecting every child’s right to grow up free from the fear of exploitation.
The 25-minute online training developed by ECPAT-USA, with the input of a committee of travel professionals, addresses the issue of human trafficking and discusses the intersections between human trafficking and the travel industry. It is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.
To read the full announcement on site: Click Here
January 14, 2019
The US Senate recently endorsed the nomination of long-standing civil rights prosecutor, John Cotton Richmond, as new Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. This statutory post, created under the Clinton administration, has been critical in shaping the outsize role that the US has occupied in pushing the rest of the world to do something about what is now commonly termed ‘modern slavery’. But the position comes with heavy baggage. As the ambassador takes the helm, he should not underestimate the formidable task ahead of him.
The office of the ambassador was established in 2000 under the same federal lawthat also requires the State Department to produce an annual report documenting and assessing the response of every country (including its own, since 2010) to trafficking. Countries that receive a fail or near-fail grade are liable to a range of political and economic sanctions. While the report is subject to the approval of the Secretary of State, the ambassador is its author and public face.
Not surprisingly, this unilateral appraisal has been a source of great irritation to many countries. But few doubt its contribution to the global transformation that has taken place in our understanding of, and response to, trafficking. Put simply, the leverage created by the report has led to drastic changes in laws, policies and practices in every region of the world.
It has also helped improve our information position. Today it is would be impossible for any country or corporation to deny the epic scale of human exploitation, from abused Asian construction workers in the Gulf to forced labourers on Thai fishing boats and Greek strawberry farms, forced marriage in the UK and forced prostitution in Italy. Estimates on modern slavery are notoriously unreliable. But there can be no doubt that millions of men, women and children are trapped in situations of exploitation from which they cannot escape.
The incoming ambassador faces multiple challenges. Here are the big four.
To read the full article by Anne Gallagher and Luis C. deBaca on World Economic Forum: Click Here
January 7, 2019
A law enforcement official recently told us, in stark terms, what the reality is for victims of human trafficking here in Dallas. A person trapped into “the life,” the official said, is forced to engage in sex acts for money and is left with little hope and no sense of what it means to trust another person, experience joy, or even know friendship.
It is gratifying then to know that this week the Dallas Police Department will make news by unveiling part of a new strategy developed under Chief U. Renee Hall’s direction to curb the scourge of human sex trafficking in our community.
That approach will involve several elements. On November 28, the department is relaunching its vice unit, which was disbanded last year amid an internal investigation. It will also train officers on how to combat trafficking with new tools and a new philosophy. Put simply, that philosophy will focus on serving the victims of this crime — the people who are being trafficked, who are being viciously exploited and then cast aside.
The overarching philosophy has several important implications. Rather than simply engaging in a sting operation, arresting a woman who offers sex for money, and then charging and convicting her, the police department will pursue a strategy that has a good chance of moving that woman and others like her out of the life.
That strategy will involve working with local non-profit organizations as well as local, state and federal agencies to create a unified front against trafficking. The aim is to help those who are being trafficked regain control over their lives and build a better future for themselves. In some cases, this will mean those who have been trafficked will face prosecution. But in most cases, the approach is intended to ensure an interaction with law enforcement is an opportunity for a trafficked person to get out of a world of exploitation, degradation and, often, addiction.
To read the full story on Dallas News: Click Here
January 1, 2019
Study, Pray, Act
By Carol Davis OP
“Everybody knows about human trafficking, you don’t need to do so much education.” She said.
“Really,” I responded. “Then why do we still have millions still victimized? Why are there so many innocents lured into the commercial sex exploitation and trapped into endless labor?”
The conversation was unfinished. I’ve been thinking about my friend’s comment.
I have the privilege of walking with sexual abuse survivors for thousands of hours over 28 years in the context of counseling, spiritual direction and leading retreats throughout the United States. Many of those survivors told me about the trauma of being sold, kidnapped or coerced into commercial sex industry by strangers and by people they trusted including family members. They have also shared experiences of medical care practitioners, teachers, law enforcement, guidance counselors, hairdressers, family members and neighbors who missed the signs. That’s why we educate. These signs are worth reviewing. Print them out and post them at your church, in your office, in your classroom, at your neighborhood bank’s bulletin board. Here it is on my office bulletin board.
On the other hand, perhaps my friend has an underlying point. Some of you may remember the old poster that said, “If being a Christian was a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” In other words, would there be evidence in the way we live, spend time, care about each other near and far, and how we care about our earth. Would there be signs in the way we grow and evolve in following the Gospel? Our education, our knowledge ought to lead to some action. James put it this way, “Faith without works is dead.” Review the second chapter of the Letter of James. Some survivors I know have shared stories of an act of kindness that gave them hope, a helping hand that led the way to freedom, a trained nurse practitioner who recognized what she saw leading to an eventual arrest of a trafficker. Education needs to be applied.
At the same time, we must maintain prayer, for that is at the heart of our loving relationship with the One Beyond All Names. It is at the heart of transformation, individually and collectively. Perhaps some variation of this prayer of the faithful could be used in a service at your church.
Introduction: Gracious One, You understand and share our deepest suffering, we thank You for the privilege of gathering here today because we want to be your people of compassion and healing, as well as Your agents of change. We trust that You hear us as we pray:
Response: Lord hear our prayer.
For Pope Francis and all church leaders, that they call themselves and everyone to work diligently to remove all stumbling blocks that keep people in slavery. We pray to the Lord.
For all Christian communities that we honor each person as son and daughter of God truly believing that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. We pray to the Lord.
For all nations that they grow in the courage, spiritually and politically, to reach beyond constructed borders to free hearts and bodies from the tyranny of human trafficking. We pray to the Lord.
For survivors of all trafficking including commercial sex trafficking, labor trafficking, debt bondage and those whose organs have been stolen, that they will find freedom, healing and compassionate love, we pray to the Lord.
For all those children, adolescents and adults who have died at the hands of traffickers, that they will find ultimate healing in God, we pray to the Lord.
For traffickers who are lost to their own humanity, that they encounter the Divine and remember who they are, we pray to the Lord.
Conclusion: Gracious God, remember too, the deepest prayer that we hold in the silence of our hearts…… You are the One who can bring New Life from death. You raise us up. Receive our prayer and sustain Your people in the Spirit of love and peace. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our brother.