Do you want to report suspicious activity? Are you at risk of human trafficking? Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline.

Curriculum for Teachers & Parents

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Warning Signs That Someone Is Being Trafficked

Human trafficking is a problem in every state, and in every community.

If you believe that someone is being trafficked or exploited, call the The National Human Trafficking Resource Center to report your suspicions and seek help. All calls are treated anonymously:

1-888-3737-888

Here are some of the warning signs to look out for.

Common Work/Living Conditions

Lack of Control

Abnormal Behavior in Public

Poor Physical Health

HUMAN TRAFFICKING: ABDUCTING, FORCING, DECEIVING OR RECRUITING SOMEONE INTO WORKING AGAINST THEIR WILL. MOST COMMONLY FOR THE PURPOSES OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION.

TRATA DE PERSONAS: RAPTAR O FORZAR, ENGAÑAR O RECRUTAR A PERSONAS PARA TRABAJAR EN CONTRA DE SU VOLUNTAD. COMUNMENTE CON EL PROPÓSITO DE USAR PARA EXPLOTACIÓN SEXUAL.

SEE FULL DEFINITION

"Trafficking in persons" shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs...

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83% OF CONFIRMED TRAFFICKING CASES IN THE UNITED STATES ARE AMERICAN BORN CITIZENS

It's hard to believe, but more humans are being used as slaves than ever before.

Between 700,000 and 4 million women and children will be trafficked this year, with the majority being forced to work in the sex trade. In America, there are an estimated 40,000 men, women and children enslaved at this very moment. If everyone who cares takes action, we can end slavery once and for all.

It's time.

MORE FACTS
CHILD SEX SLAVERY IN AMERICA
VICTIMS
NOT CRIMINALS
DISABLED CHILDREN TARGETED
is the international symbol for currency. We use it in our design to emphasize that no human being should be anyone else's property.

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Resources

These modern day abolitionists are fighting slavery across the globe. Here's how you can join them.

LONG-TERM SURVIVOR SUPPORT

The Coalition to Abolish Slavery & TraffickingThe Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual human rights organization providing comprehensive case management, services, and advocacy to survivors healing from the violence endured during slavery. CAST provides comprehensive long-term services through a three-pronged empowerment approach which includes Social Services, Legal Services, and Outreach and Training. The organization also operates the first shelter in the nation solely dedicated to serving victims of trafficking and established the first partnership of its kind with Saban Free Clinic – a family clinic in Los Angeles trained to address the health and mental health needs of trafficking victims.

FREEDOM THROUGH SOCIAL ENTERPRISE

Not For SaleNot For Sale uses the power of business and social enterprise to create viable alternatives to slavery. By empowering vulnerable communities, and engaging business, government and the grassroots, Not For Sale has created a modern day abolitionist movement in countries across the Globe. On November 1st and 2nd 2012, Not For Sale will be hosting Justice for the Bottom Billion - a Global Forum on stemming the tide of human trafficking.

PUSHING FOR LEGISLATIVE CHANGE

Polaris ProjectNamed after the North Star which guided slaves to freedom on the underground railroad, Polaris Project is one of the largest anti- trafficking organizations in the United States and Japan. The organization is active in lobbying for legislative change - including the current push for the CASE Act - and provides direct support to victims of trafficking. Polaris has been instrumental in providing training on human trafficking for law enforcement, social services and other public sector employees.

SUPPORTING SURVIVORS

GemsFounded by Rachel Lloyd, GEMS works with women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. The organization helps young girls transition out of the sex industry and get back to their full potential. GEMS was also instrumental in lobbying for passage of the Safe Harbor Act for Sexually Exploited Youth, which provides that girls under the age of 16, who are arrested in New York for prostitution will be treated as victims, rather than criminals.

HOLDING CALIFORNIA ACCOUNTABLE

GemsCalifornia harbors three of FBI's 13 highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation (Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego), and it has received an F rating from leading anti-trafficking organizations. California Against Slavery is coordinating a push for THE CASE ACT - a groundbreaking ballot initiative that will increase penalties for human trafficking, ensure increased support for survivors, and mandate training for law enforcement and other officials.

EMPOWERING CONSUMERS

Slavery FootprintThe Slavery Footprint website shows consumers how their consumption habits are connected to modern-day slavery, showing them just how many slaves it takes to support their lifestyle. Through the "Free World" mobile app and online action center, Slavery Footprint provides consumers with an outlet to voice their demand for products made without slave labor.

RESCUING AND RESTORING VICTIMS

Shared HopeShared Hope International is a leading light in the worldwide effort to prevent and eradicate sex trafficking and slavery. The organization uses every means possible to alert the vulnerable to the dangers of trafficking, and partners with local organizations to offer victims of the sex trade safe shelter, therapy, spiritual and physical healing, education and vocational training. Shared Hope International also campaigns for fundamental cultural and legislative change to ensure the just treatment of victims and the prosecution of perpetrators alike.

24-HOUR ANTI-TRAFFICKING HOTLINE

Shared HopeThe National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. It exists to help people to report tips/suspicious activity; connect with anti-trafficking services in their area, or to request training, technical assistance or anti-trafficking resources. The NHTRC is a program of Polaris Project, a non-profit, non-governmental organization working exclusively on the issue of human trafficking. NHTRC is not a government entity, law enforcement or an immigration authority. It can be reached at 1-888-3737-888

THE GOVERNMENT ANTI-SLAVERY EFFORT

Justice DepartmentThe fight to end slavery must include a robust response from Government. Every year, the Department of Justice publishes an overview of government efforts to and the trafficking of people. Covering everything from law enforcement and prosecutions to training and grant funding, this is a vital resource for anti-trafficking activists.

PROVIDING SAFE REFUGE

Courtney's HouseTina Frundt was “freed” from sex trafficking as a teen, only to be forced into the juvenile detention system. She founded Courtney's House as an alternative – funding a group residential home for survivors where they could heal, recover and move beyond their experiences without criminalization. Their first group home was forced to close due to lack of funding, but they are actively working toward a new home. In the meantime, they are providing drop-in services, outreach and law enforcement training.

INTERNATIONAL EMPOWERMENT

FAIR GirlsFAIR Girls provides education, outreach and empowerment to girls who have been, or are at risk of being, sexually exploited. With programs in Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia, Russia, Uganda, and the United States, the organization creates opportunities for girls to become confident, happy, healthy young women. From emergency response through individual care to group empowerment workshops and prevention education, FAIR Girls works toward a world where all young women can live free from exploitation.

FIGHTING TRAFFICKERS IN JAPAN

Polaris Project JapanPolaris Project Japan is the only organization in Japan solely dedicated to combating all forms of human trafficking. They are a leading voice for victims of human trafficking and for calling attention to this human rights issue. Polaris runs case management services for survivors, a nationwide hotline for reporting trafficking, national education and awareness-raising efforts, policy advocacy, corporate outreach, and prevention programs.

SUPPORTING SURVIVORS IN SPAIN

Proyecto EsperanzaProyecto Esperanza (Project HOPE) is the response of the Congregation of the Sisters Adorers to the problem of trafficking in women in Spain. Since 1999, the group has offered a comprehensive support program for women who are victims of human trafficking for the purposes of exploitation. The Project has a multidisciplinary team who consider trafficking-in-persons to be a violation of human rights. The team consists of lawyers, educators, social workers, intercultural mediators, psychologists and other professionals.

COMBATING VIOLENCE AGAINST GIRLS

HUMAN RIGHTS FOR GIRLSGirls in the United States are subject to violence with horrifying frequency. One in four American girls will experience sexual violence by the age of 18. Girls aged 16 to 19 are four times more likely than others to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. And, nearly one in five women reports being subject to rape in her lifetime.

Violence against girls in the US is a human rights issue. Human Rights Project For Girls works to ensure it is viewed as such, and that ending this epidemic becomes a priority for our society.

KRISTI HOUSE

Kristi HouseKristi House's Project GOLD program assists commercially sexually exploited children by offering coordinated service to the victims and through training and awareness building in Miami Dade County. Kristi House, as the Miami Dade County CAC, strives to create local model programs that are easily replicated in other communities and continuously works to recognize this population of child sexual abuse victims as just that - victims - not criminals. Project GOLD is led by Trudy Novicki, Executive Director and author of the Florida Safe Harbor Act and by Sandy Skelaney, Program Manager.

FROM VICTIMS TO LEADERS

MISSSEYMotivating, Inspiring, Supporting, and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth (MISSSEY) advocates and facilitates the empowerment and inner transformation of sexually exploited youth by holistically addressing their specific needs. MISSSEY collaborates to bring about systemic and community change to prevent the sexual exploitation of children and youth through raising awareness, education and policy development. MISSSEY embodies a peer and survivor led model that recognizes the value of young people empowering other young people and the crucial voices of survivors in facilitating healing in victims of commercial sexual exploitation. MISSSEY seeks to partner with youth in their transition from victim to survivor to leader, encouraging their long-term stability and success in whatever path they choose.

PROTECTING THE VULNERABLE

International Justice MissionInternational Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to secure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that public justice systems - police, courts and laws - effectively protect the poor. IJM's justice professionals work in their communities in 15 field offices in Asia, Africa and Latin America to secure tangible and sustainable protection of national laws through local court systems.

MORE RESOURCES
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Minh Dang

COME TO OUR #DSBCHAT

On Monday, October 14th at 12pm PDT/ 3pm EDT, Don’t Sell Bodies will be interviewing International Justice Mission via Twitter about positive developments in the fight against human trafficking.

Come tell us your thoughts. We want to hear what you think about activism in this field.

Just use the hashtag #dsbchat to be included in the conversation. who knows? Your tweet might get picked up by us!

Minh Dang

WHAT DOES SUCCESSFUL SURVIVOR SUPPORT LOOK LIKE?

A RECAP OF THE SECOND #DSBCHAT

Following on from our successful inaugural #DSBChat exploring responsible communication in the anti-trafficking movement, the second installment of this ongoing series of tweet chat’s explored another topic that is crucial to our cause: 

- What does successful survivor support look like, and how can the movement better facilitate survivor leadership? 

We started by asking what an ideal survivor support program would look like. 

Survivor Support or Survivor Leadership?
Rachel Lloyd of GEMS Girls weighed in with the observation that ownership is a big part of the puzzle: 

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LCHT argued that while allies play a crucial role in survivor support, organizations not lead by survivors should be pro-active in seeking (and listening to) input from survivors:

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Survivors As Whole People
Touching on a common theme brought up in the previous communication chat, Rachel argued that this should result in a more inclusive, empowering, dignified and holistic role for survivors than has so far been presented in much of the movement:

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Not For Sale echoed this notion, suggesting that restoration of survivors’ dignity is a much broader challenge than is often recognized - sharing how this insight is put into practice in their programs. 

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Structuring Programs to Prioritize Empowerment
For GEMS too, it was clear that the conceptualization and structure of the program is key to shaping how it actually meets its goals.

We asked Rachel to share the organization’s core values: 

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Another theme that reemerged from the previous chat was the desire for survivors to be adequately compensated for their work. 

Re-Exploiting the Exploited?
There is a feeling among many that survivors are sometimes re-exploitedin terms of a lack of compensation: 

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This exploitation also extends to how survivors are sometimes “used” simply for their stories, argued Alex Sajben and Holly Smith:

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Practical Support is Crucial
Access to health care, education and (appropriate) mental health services were also key priorities for many, as well as the need to expunge criminal records that are a result of survivors being trafficked:

 

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Domestic Versus International/Labor Trafficking
There was also some discussion of the challenges that are presented by the split between addressing domestic sex trafficking and other forms, such as international sex trafficking and/or labor trafficking: 

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Sustainable Long-Term Funding
The discussion moved to a consensus that there is not enough funding for survivor support, and the survivor support that does exist focuses too much on “rescue”, and not enough on long-term, strategic support and empowerment: 

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Reframing the Movement
Part of the challenge, suggested Rachel, is in reframing the very nature of what the movement is and does: 

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A Survivor Track at Conferences?
Finally, the discussion concluded with a concrete suggestion our Executive Director which seemed to strike a nerve:

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Stay tuned for the next #DSBChat topic, and if anyone is interested in pursuing the idea of survivor tracks at conferences, please do reach out. 

Minh Dang

SURE, I’M WITH LINCOLN (BUT WHAT DOES THAT REALLY MEAN?)

The first time I watched the I’m With Lincoln Video, I was mostly numb.

The second time, I squinted and shed some tears.

The third, I got the chills, felt close to vomiting, and could barely watch until the end. 

The image that got to me is when the females are marched up the stairs in a line. My mind flashed to images of people chained up and marched to slave auctions during the transatlantic slave trade.

I wondered what it is like for other people to watch this video. I wondered what it is like for survivors of slavery, for non-survivors, and for anti-slavery activists. I also wondered how many times the average person watched this video.

Just another trafficking video?

For me, my first viewing was somewhat cursory. A colleague told me about the video and asked me what I thought of it. I hadn’t seen the full video so I went online to find it. I didn’t have high expectations. I assumed I was going to see a young woman beaten and raped, and maybe in chains. I wasn’t sure what to expect about how Lincoln was going to be tied into the video.

When I was done watching it, I felt no differently. I didn’t really learn or see anything new. I was worried that this was yet another video that could glorify violence, that overemphasized sex trafficking over labor trafficking, and that focused on the physical and sexual violence of slavery. 

I did however, appreciate that somebody was using the release of the Lincoln movie to say, “hey everybody, slavery still exists!”

Leveraging the Zeitgeist

Made in a Free World capitalized beautifully on a mainstream event that reached millions of people. They are using a cultural event that lots of people are talking about to shift the conversation to something many not as many people are talking about.

I think they are playing on the hope and inspiration that people can feel after seeing the Lincoln movie. They are saying, “So you feel good about how Lincoln ended slavery? and how you would stand on his side in history? Well…you can stand on his side now. Help us end slavery today and sign this petition.”  

Highlighting  Government Underfunding

I also think the petition for doubling the U.S. federal budget to end human trafficking is a bold request. Organizations usually ask for a little bit more funding, hoping for crumbs. Why not ask for what might really make a difference? The comparisons between the anti-human trafficking budget to other budgetary expenses is also a unique way of thinking about things. While I understand that the federal government has many priorities to address, seeing the comparisons helps us consider what we are saying our priorities are, compared to what actions we are taking on those priorities.

Do We “See” the Same Thing?

And this brings me to my third viewing of the I’m With Lincoln video. As I was watching, I paid attention to eyes of the females in the film.  I paid attention to their body language and how their emotions were portrayed. I thought that in fact, the violence portrayed was pretty real. It was accurate in a way that maybe the public can shy away from.

It was painful to imagine myself having gone through similar horrors. Imagining seeing resignation in my eyes – seeing hopelessness in how I carried my body. 

I wondered – does “the public” see this? Or are people so desensitized now to these videos? To violence in general? Are people numb to this, just as I was the first time around?

If not – if a viewer watched this and actually feels what I felt, if even a little bit, and then wants to make sure no one ever feels this way, then maybe the use of violence in the video was worth it?

But if a viewer watched this video and says nothing, does nothing, validates the violence, or writes it off as an everyday thing…then was the video worth it? 

Who knows? What I do know is that this video warrants conversation around what is controversial. Here are some things to consider:

- Psychological violence. Did you notice the exploitation of the female’s desire for love in the beginning? This is just as crucial as the physical and sexual violence. 

- I keep calling them females. Why? Do we know if they are girls or women or transgender people? These are important differences. Girls are often portrayed as vague in age so that people who rape them can feel less guilty because they thought she was “of age.” What does it mean to be enslaved as a child vs. an adult? Transgender youth can be exploited and discriminated in ways that straight girls and women aren’t.

- Did you notice the accomplices/perpetrators who are just sitting there while people are violated? This is why human trafficking is also considered an organized crime, not just a crime of some evil bad pimp. 

- The people in the video appear mostly brown and Latino. How does the video impact stereotypes about people without U.S citizenship papers?  How might it accurately portray that children/people of color are targeted as victims? Contrary to videos that might highlight the issue as important only because it also affects suburban white girls?

 - Did Lincoln really end slavery? Of course not. Members of the Underground Railroad, people who were enslaved, allies and abolitionists, and so many people contributed to ending slavery. What does this mean for how we eradicate slavery now?

Can we eradicate slavery?

Join the Discussion
We’ve been talking a lot about communication, stereotypes, violence and exploitation at Don’t Sell Bodies. As our movement matures, it’s crucial we turn a critical eye on our own communications to make sure we are not subconsciously perpetuating the problems we seek to fight.

Please follow us on twitter @dontsellbodies and join in on our twitter chat this upcoming Monday, April 29th, 11amPST/2pmEST for our first Freedom Chat on Responsible Communication in the Anti-Slavery Movement.

Use the hashtag #DSBchat to join the conversation!

Minh Dang

Clinton Global Initiative University 2013

The Clinton Global Initiative University is a forum for different stakeholders and activists from various sectors to come together and share their experiences with students. 

Often, we think of our own fight -the cause we’re sincerely passionate about- to be set apart from others. We sometimes get so embroiled in our own tactics and strategies that we forget about the wealth of experience out there. 

Just because someone is fighting for better environmental measures in Congress or increased support to an oppressed minority does not mean that their fight is somehow separate from your own. In this forum, activists, academia, and policymakers all come together to discuss how to continue the fight and create “innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges”.

There’s a necessity of weaving human trafficking into the larger human rights narrative. Discussion from different activists in different fields can be very helpful in providing a fresh perspective to how we can tackle fighting human trafficking. 

Just as Martin Luther King Jr was influenced by Gandhi’s non-violent tactics, we must continue the trend and learn from one another. Such a community of practitioners can pool their collective knowledge and come out with a new plan of action.  

Watch the CGI U live stream, I think you’ll be amazed at the caliber of conversation going on : http://new.livestream.com/CGI/CGIU2013

Minh Dang
We’re in. Are you?
slaveryfootprint:

On January 11, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, we want to leverage our social networks for good. Because there’s power in numbers, we’ve partnered with Thunderclap to help us out. Thunderclap is the first-ever crowdspeaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. It allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style, that rises above the noise of your social networks.
Visit our Thunderclap page to learn more and to pledge your support before January 11th. With your help, we can share the message of modern-day slavery like its never been shared before. 

We’re in. Are you?

slaveryfootprint:

On January 11, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, we want to leverage our social networks for good. Because there’s power in numbers, we’ve partnered with Thunderclap to help us out. Thunderclap is the first-ever crowdspeaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. It allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style, that rises above the noise of your social networks.

Visit our Thunderclap page to learn more and to pledge your support before January 11th. With your help, we can share the message of modern-day slavery like its never been shared before. 

Minh Dang

How We BE

I have often thought about my experience of human trafficking as if I was treated like a caged animal at a zoo. 

As if I was an exotic creature that people could see from afar but they could not touch. People paid my owner for special privileges and to use my body for their entertainment. My movements were restricted and monitored, my environment was not native to me, and I was isolated from others in my own species. 

While this metaphor fits, I have come to find that I also often felt like an alien. I always knew that I resembled human beings, kinda like this alien…

                                             

…eyes, arms, legs, and same general body shape; however, it appeared as if I was not thinking or living like other humans I saw.

RECONNECTING WITH HUMANITY
The majority of my healing work thus far has focused on reconnecting with my humanity and the humanity of others. 

I have had to learn (or re-learn) that I am human, I was always human, and that the people out there, you, as well as those who hurt me, are also human. 

My basic relationship to who I am, what I can expect of others, and what is possible in the world was damaged. 

As we work with survivors who have been treated like objects, we need to make sure we are treating them like humans. Survivors have had their humanity disregarded and spit on, to say the least. As a movement, how are we ensuring that we re-humanize survivors? How do we contribute positively to survivors reconnecting with their human-ness? 

In training I led last year, one of the participants asked me, “How do we as allies in this movement love survivors the way they need to be loved?” I responded, “How do you love yourself? I do not need you to love me any differently than you love yourself and if you do not love yourself, than you cannot love me.” 

FALSE SEPARATION
Often times, when people hear the stories of survivors, they separate themselves from the survivor. Thoughts pass through their head such as “Wow, I could never have gone through that. My life is nothing compared to that. My trauma was not that bad.” It is these thoughts that often lead to actions that further isolate and alienate survivors from common humanity.

Survivors are NO DIFFERENT than you are. You are no different than I am. 

If you were born to my parents and put in the exact same situation, you would be writing this right now. 

Find a way to relate with survivors. You do not need to have gone through what they went through to imagine what they might experience. 

RELATE, EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND
Most survivors do not expect other people to understand their experience, and in some ways, no one will ever know exactly what it was like for each individual. And if you have not gone through what they went through, it would make sense that you could not understand it. 

However, there are likely to be experiences that you can relate to – whether it is losing a parent, being raped or beaten, or even having a favorite teacher whom you could trust or a sport you love to play.  

This is how you can be human with survivors. 

"SURVIVOR" IS NOT A TITLE
One last thing on this principle…as survivor voices and stories are incorporated in to the anti-slavery movement, let’s work to hold that “survivor” is not a title. It’s not what defines a person. Survivors have interests and skills, favorite colors and pet peeves, hopes and dreams, and sorrows and regrets. Just like all human beings, survivors are complex, multi-faceted people.

Minh Dang
Editor’s note: As we usher in the New Year, Don’t Sell Bodies is welcoming a powerful new voice to our team. Minh Dang is an activist, organizer, grad student and survivor. She has stood alongside Jada in her push for action on trafficking - and she’ll be raising her voice here on the most important questions, challenges and opportunities we face as a movement. This is her first post.
RUNNING WITH THE RAIN
I went on a run this morning to clear my head and open my heart so that I could write this first blog post.
In a short amount of time, I was brainstorming topics, recalling all the tips I’ve received from other bloggers, and thinking about what kind of first impression I wanted to make. I noticed that I was running quite quickly up this hill when a voice inside my head started screaming SHUT UP! STOP IT!!!!! STOP THINKING!!!
Somewhere between home and that hill, I had lost my initial intention - to CLEAR my head so that I could write. I looked down at my watch and only 12 minutes had passed. I could have sworn that at least 30 minutes had gone by, as I had exhausted myself just thinking about what I wanted to say. I was impressed by how quickly my mind went from “let’s go for a relaxing, cathartic run” to “oh my god, I’m never going to write.” It was then that I noticed how hard it was raining.
I took a moment to feel the rain on my body and I felt a full-body sigh pass through me.
This is what life is about: Feeling in my body and being in the present moment. I thought to myself, “Well, I guess you’re running in the rain today.” And then, from somewhere else inside of myself, I said, “No. Run WITH the rain.”  I wasn’t exactly sure what I meant by this until I got home and Googled “Why does it rain?” 
Discovery Kids (http://kids.discovery.com/tell-me/curiosity-corner/weather/why-does-it-rain) reminded me, it rains because water from oceans and rivers evaporate when it’s warm, and then when it’s cold, water condenses, forms clouds, and eventually gravity pulls droplets of water down and we have rain. So…why does it rain? Because water does what it’s meant to do. And then it clicked for me…
Run WITH the rain. Do what you are meant to do. Do what nature intended. For me, and I believe for each of us, nature intended that we LIVE, LOVE, and BE FREE. For me, this blog is about FREEDOM. Don’t Sell Bodies envisions a world where every person is free. We envision a world without slavery of the body, mind, or soul.  My hope in 2013 is that we engage each and every one of you in the fight against slavery.
This fight is not an easy one. Modern day slavery, as many of you know, comes in many forms: child and adult sex slavery, labor trafficking, forced marriage, forced combat, and many others. As we work to end these forms of slavery, there is so much we must keep in mind. What is slavery in the 21st century? What keeps it going? How do we stop it? What can I do? 
Throughout this blog, I hope to engage you, the modern-day abolitionists, in dialogue about these questions. I will share my thoughts, and seek out the voices of survivors to share with you as well.  
Over the next few weeks, I will begin with some of my recommendations for how we BE in the anti-slavery movement. As a survivor of child abuse and child sex slavery, I was forced to physically, sexually, economically and emotionally serve other people. So much of my life was focused on what I DID and not who I was. To this day, I am working to reclaim my identity, and to understand what it means to be a human BEING, not a human doing.
So…as we take action to end modern day slavery, who do you want to be? What approach do you want to bring? As I answer the same questions for myself, I am reminded of the wise words of Audre Lorde: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”
How do we fight slavery without enacting the same forms of oppression and domination that slavery encourages?
How do we fight slavery in a world where domination and violence seem so central to the basic ways we treat one another?
This blog will chronicle the practice of freedom and love. Together, I hope that we can dig up the roots of violence, and do what we were meant to do – live, love, and be free.
 Image credit: silent shot/creative commons

Editor’s note: As we usher in the New Year, Don’t Sell Bodies is welcoming a powerful new voice to our team. Minh Dang is an activist, organizer, grad student and survivor. She has stood alongside Jada in her push for action on trafficking - and she’ll be raising her voice here on the most important questions, challenges and opportunities we face as a movement. This is her first post.

RUNNING WITH THE RAIN

I went on a run this morning to clear my head and open my heart so that I could write this first blog post.

In a short amount of time, I was brainstorming topics, recalling all the tips I’ve received from other bloggers, and thinking about what kind of first impression I wanted to make. I noticed that I was running quite quickly up this hill when a voice inside my head started screaming SHUT UP! STOP IT!!!!! STOP THINKING!!!

Somewhere between home and that hill, I had lost my initial intention - to CLEAR my head so that I could write. I looked down at my watch and only 12 minutes had passed. I could have sworn that at least 30 minutes had gone by, as I had exhausted myself just thinking about what I wanted to say. I was impressed by how quickly my mind went from “let’s go for a relaxing, cathartic run” to “oh my god, I’m never going to write.” It was then that I noticed how hard it was raining.

I took a moment to feel the rain on my body and I felt a full-body sigh pass through me.

This is what life is about: Feeling in my body and being in the present moment. I thought to myself, “Well, I guess you’re running in the rain today.” And then, from somewhere else inside of myself, I said, “No. Run WITH the rain.”  I wasn’t exactly sure what I meant by this until I got home and Googled “Why does it rain?” 

Discovery Kids (http://kids.discovery.com/tell-me/curiosity-corner/weather/why-does-it-rain) reminded me, it rains because water from oceans and rivers evaporate when it’s warm, and then when it’s cold, water condenses, forms clouds, and eventually gravity pulls droplets of water down and we have rain. So…why does it rain? Because water does what it’s meant to do. And then it clicked for me…

Run WITH the rain. Do what you are meant to do. Do what nature intended. For me, and I believe for each of us, nature intended that we LIVE, LOVE, and BE FREE. For me, this blog is about FREEDOM. Don’t Sell Bodies envisions a world where every person is free. We envision a world without slavery of the body, mind, or soul.  My hope in 2013 is that we engage each and every one of you in the fight against slavery.

This fight is not an easy one. Modern day slavery, as many of you know, comes in many forms: child and adult sex slavery, labor trafficking, forced marriage, forced combat, and many others. As we work to end these forms of slavery, there is so much we must keep in mind. What is slavery in the 21st century? What keeps it going? How do we stop it? What can I do? 

Throughout this blog, I hope to engage you, the modern-day abolitionists, in dialogue about these questions. I will share my thoughts, and seek out the voices of survivors to share with you as well.  

Over the next few weeks, I will begin with some of my recommendations for how we BE in the anti-slavery movement. As a survivor of child abuse and child sex slavery, I was forced to physically, sexually, economically and emotionally serve other people. So much of my life was focused on what I DID and not who I was. To this day, I am working to reclaim my identity, and to understand what it means to be a human BEING, not a human doing.

So…as we take action to end modern day slavery, who do you want to be? What approach do you want to bring? As I answer the same questions for myself, I am reminded of the wise words of Audre Lorde: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

How do we fight slavery without enacting the same forms of oppression and domination that slavery encourages?

How do we fight slavery in a world where domination and violence seem so central to the basic ways we treat one another?

This blog will chronicle the practice of freedom and love. Together, I hope that we can dig up the roots of violence, and do what we were meant to do – live, love, and be free.

 Image credit: silent shot/creative commons

Minh Dang
Minh Dang
UPDATE: New Date to Be Set in Sara Kruzan Case
From The Press Enterprise:
A new date will be set for prosecutors to respond to a California Supreme Court order to examine whether Sara Kruzan, in custody since 1994 for murdering her former pimp when she was 16, is entitled to a new trial or other resolution of her case.
The latest deadline, Friday, Dec. 7, passed without any court action. John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney’s office, said both sides will agree to a new date, which was not in court records Friday evening.
It’s high time that Sara Kruzan was free. Let her out now. 
IAmSJK.com

UPDATE: New Date to Be Set in Sara Kruzan Case

From The Press Enterprise:

A new date will be set for prosecutors to respond to a California Supreme Court order to examine whether Sara Kruzan, in custody since 1994 for murdering her former pimp when she was 16, is entitled to a new trial or other resolution of her case.

The latest deadline, Friday, Dec. 7, passed without any court action. John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney’s office, said both sides will agree to a new date, which was not in court records Friday evening.


It’s high time that Sara Kruzan was free. Let her out now. 

IAmSJK.com


THE AVERAGE VICTIM IS 12 YEARS OLD

At 17, Danielle was forced into prostitution - but she says the average age of girls being forced into sex slavery is just 12.

"It's like being raped over and over and over and over," says Danielle.

Rain is more typical of the average American victim, having entered prostitution at the age of 11.

When asked about the men whom she slept with, she is unequivocal about what they were: child abusers.

"I'm not going to label them Johns," she says.

Take action to support THE CASE ACT.


VICTIMS NOT CRIMINALS

Carissa was 12 years old when she was coerced into prostitution.

"I remember him vividly putting his arm around me and acting like he was my buddy. Within days, he was raping me violently."

With children as young as 11 or 12 being exploited for sex, there is a pressing need to differentiate between pimps and prostitutes. Nearly all prostitutes in the US are victims of child sex trafficking, and activists around the country are pushing for law enforcement to recognize them as victims - while focusing their efforts on the real criminals, the pimps and johns who make this industry possible.

The CASE Act will raise the penalties for human trafficking, forcing sex traffickers to register as sex offenders, and mandating training on human trafficking for law enforcement.

It will also funnel more funds for victim support.

Take action to support THE CASE ACT.


DISABLED CHILDREN TARGETED

When Vicki's 17-year-old daughter went missing, she feared she was dead. When she was found, Vicki discovered that she had been bought and sold for sex.

Vicki's daughter is developmentally disabled, with a mental age of just 11. Targeting of such vulnerable children is a growing trend within the trafficking industry.

Vicki is now helping to push the CASE Act (Californians Against Sexual Exploitation) - a ballot initiative that will raise penalties for trafficking and increase support for survivors.

Take action to support THE CASE ACT.

Don't Sell Bodies was conceived by Jada Pinkett Smith and Overbrook Entertainment. It was designed by The Change Creation and Goroboto.

It is dedicated to the victims and survivors of trafficking, and the heroes who are fighting to eradicate it.

Creative Team:
Jada Pinkett Smith
Chris "CJay" Jordan
Paress Salinas
Sami Grover
Jerry Stifelman
Chelsea Bay Dennis
Rebekah Miel
Tennessee Watson
Rob Biddiscombe