"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...
DOWNLOAD "RAPE FOR PROFIT"
THE NEW DOCUMENTARY FROM EXECUTIVE PRODUCER JADA PINKETT SMITH
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.
The 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.
Not 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.
Named 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.
Founded 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.
California 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.
The 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.
Shared 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.
The 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 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.
Tina 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.
FAIR 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.
Polaris 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.
Proyecto 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.
Girls 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'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.
Motivating, 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.
International 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.
Come to the latest #DSBchat about reaching beyond the movement! If you’ve ever asked yourself how you can fight trafficking if you aren’t affiliated with a specific non-profit, here’s your chance to find the answer.
Sign onto twitter at 12pm PST/3pm EST, and join us with the hash tag #DSBchat.
Executive Producer Jada Pinkett Smith brings you “Rape For Profit”, a powerful documentary the Huffington Post calls, “Disturbing and Provocative”. Set against the backdrop of Seattle’s downtown city lights, “Rape For Profit” takes the audience undercover for an up-close look at the true nature of the sex trade. There is a growing problem in major U.S. cities where girls as young as 12 years old are bought and sold as many as 15 times a night to service the desires of men. Experience the shocking truth and follow several heroes as they fight this modern-day slavery and stop the next generation of buyers.
Following on from our successful tweet chats on responsible communication, and effective support, our next will be on the role of men in the movement.
- How can men help end demand for human trafficking?
- How do we better support male survivors?
- Do programs tailored to men need to be structured differently? How?
Come discuss these hot topics and more on June 24th at 12p/3e. And if you know of successful male-focused initiatives and/or male survivor voices who need to be heard, please drop us a line or pass on the info.
- 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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
This exploitation also extends to how survivors are sometimes “used” simply for their stories, argued Alex Sajben and Holly Smith:
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:
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:
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:
Reframing the Movement Part of the challenge, suggested Rachel, is in reframing the very nature of what the movement is and does:
A Survivor Track at Conferences? Finally, the discussion concluded with a concrete suggestion our Executive Director which seemed to strike a nerve:
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.
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!
Freedom is today. Freedom is precious. Freedom knows no boundaries. Freedom is a state of existence and a process. Freedom is physical, emotional, and spiritual. Freedom is worth fighting for. Freedom must be fought for individually and collectively. Freedom is achieved with and beside comrades. It is not fought for alone. Freedom is quiet. Freedom is loud. Freedom is just. Freedom is love. Freedom is not a world without pain. Freedom is grief. Grief that is so deep that it brings relief, joy, and a sense of the world expanding. Freedom is not taken for granted by everyone. Freedom is poetry. Freedom is sitting with feelings of shame while knowing you’re okay just as you are. Freedom is growing. Freedom is learning. Freedom is so much more than this list. Freedom is instinctive, natural, and fundamental. Freedom is a basic human right! Freedom a basic human need!
7 Years in Freedom! Freedom and what it means to me has been on my mind a lot this week. This past Tuesday (April 16th), I celebrated the end of my 7th year living in freedom and the start of my 8th year.
I thought a lot about how this was an important day for me to mark and to celebrate. This was the first year I even came up with a specific date that I call my “Freedom Day.”
Kind of like how we in the U.S. call April “Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” or we call the 4th of July, Independence Day, a dear friend and mentor of mine suggested that I pick a date to mark my entrance into the world of freedom. She suggested this to me one day when I was on the phone with her, sobbing about how difficult life can still be, even though my life is SO much better than it once was. I mean, unbelievably better.
And yet as I have mentioned before, the impact of my trauma is something that I deal with quite regularly. And by regularly, I mean more than daily…And this is an improvement from managing my trauma symptoms from minute to minute, as it once was…
So, my friend reminded me of the relative newness of my freedom and the fact that my days in freedom have not out-numbered my days in slavery yet. The idea of quantifying this gave me something to hold on to. It gave me a date – April 16, 2026 – when my days in freedom will finally match my days in slavery.
That means, on April 17, 2026, my brain/mind/heart/body will finally have lived more freely than ever before. The experiences of freedom will finally outweigh the experiences of enslavement.
Until then, it makes perfect sense why I might have hard or super hard days that are about healing my trauma. In fact, it would even make sense that healing from 20 years of child abuse [via incest, neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and child sex trafficking] would take MORE than 20 years. It takes many people (rightfully so), years to heal from one traumatic event. There is not mathematical equation for how long healing takes.
However, there is one mathematical equation that my brain has calculated:
input of evil/trauma > input of love/freedom
Wait. What? Only 7 Years in Freedom?!?!? So…while I did have happy/proud feelings about my 7 years of freedom, I also celebrated by feeling really angry. Why? Because I am not 7 years old. Why is it that I am almost 29 years old and only celebrating 7 years of freedom?!?!
This is outrageous to me. I should have almost 29 years of freedom under my belt. And I should, because nature intended it to be so. Nature intends for a human being to become a separate and autonomous, though interdependent, human being.
No child is born a slave. Children are forced into slavery.
No person is born a slave. People are forced into slavery.
If we need any reason to dig deep and to continue our fight against slavery, I hope that my 7-year anniversary of freedom gives us one.
I hope that someday people don’t have to celebrate their anniversary of freedom.
I hope that everyone’s Freedom Date will forever and always be their birth date.
This was an event of many firsts. It was my first time at a Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) event, my first speaking engagement to a room full of primarily Vietnamese people, and my first time in Iowa.
To give you some context, Vietnamese Student Associations (VSAs) exist on college campuses (and probably even in high schools) across the United States. Like most groups, VSA is there to build community around a shared identity. For ethnic minorities, groups like these are crucial for so many reasons. To name a few: to look out for each other, to provide shared resources, to build camaraderie and understanding about shared experiences and histories. Just like survivors of human trafficking find comfort in gathering, Vietnamese people find the same comfort.
Okay, so I may not need to justify to you, the reader, the existence of VSAs; however, I think I’m making the argument to myself.
Without saying this directly in college, I refused to attend VSA meetings. For someone who grew up in the Bay Area of CA, I rarely experienced myself as truly an ethnic minority. To me, VSA was the “social/party group” and all they cared about was having fun. And that whole thing where they assign you to a new ”family” of other Vietnamese students? That was stupid to me at the time.
I held so much contempt for that because I did not hold the concept of a Vietnamese family as something to willingly join. Nor did I believe that you could just make a family up like that and assume people would like each other. [One important fact I may not have mentioned is that my parents, my primary abusers, are Vietnamese.]
In my position of contempt, I told myself that the activist and Pan-Asian Pacific Islander groups that I was involved in were the real groups doing real and important work. Goes to show you what I learned – having fun is bad, working and doing something “meaningful” is good.
In fact, when I was four years old I complained about sitting indoors practicing the keyboard. From my keyboard, I saw kids running around outside, and my mom said: “Those kids are out there because they don’t have good homes to go.” Moral of her story? You are not like them. What they are doing is not fun. You have a good home to go to. You should feel privileged to be here. Stop complaining.
So…my mom’s lesson stayed with me for many years and that kept me away from VSA. Of course there are some groups who might party too much, or who might work too much. But who is to say? Too much for whom?
If my mother hadn’t isolated me, I still may not have gone to a VSA meeting. However, I doubt that I would have held contempt for it, and at least I would have seen it as an option, rather than something that I had to refuse.
And like I said, I thought I needed to actively separate myself from the Vietnamese community. That’s exactly what my parents did in order to isolate me.
So when the United Vietnamese Student Association of the Midwest (UVSA-Midwest) invited me to keynote at their conference this year, I had mixed feelings about it. Can I go address a community that I have held so much contempt for? What do I do with my guilt about those feelings of contempt?
I decided to accept the invitation and I decided to accept it as more than a speaking engagement. I accepted the invitation as an opportunity to “rejoin” the Vietnamese community. To reclaim a part of my identity that comes with such mixed feelings. To reclaim a part of my identity that was shaped by primarily two people – rather than the larger Vietnamese community. Granted, I was also abused, ignored, neglected by other members of the Vietnamese community so it wasn’t just two people. However, my parents were the ones who showed me the dark and wounded sides of the Vietnamese community. They did not introduce me to the loving, social justice and diversity-oriented people.
This weekend, I got to experience something new about being Vietnamese…and in Iowa nonetheless. For those of you who don’t know, the city of San Jose, CA where I grew up, has the largest Vietnamese population outside of Viet Nam. And in spite of that fact, I did not truly have a Vietnamese friend until I went to college. So to see a group of hundreds of Vietnamese college students in one room trying to get to know each other and support each other, I was in awe.
I imagined the community experience I could have had.
I imagined that maybe one person in the room might have gone through what I went through.
I imagined that maybe this part of my identity, the Vietnamese part, doesn’t have to be diminished nor exaggerated. It is one piece of my identity.
As I work to become an integrated, whole person, every piece counts.
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.