Human Trafficking Awareness

Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation Not Yet Achieved

 

On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to abolish slavery. Unfortunately, 156 years later, slavery is still taking place in the United States as well as all over the world.

To commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation and to send the message that any form of slavery is unacceptable and will not be tolerated, the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking (NJCAHT) held the event “Human Trafficking: Surviving and Thriving” on Monday, April 16, 2018.

Many speakers informed the event’s attendees about the plight of human trafficking victims and the efforts to assist them. Sister Mary Beth Lloyd of John Corr Family Resources described the extreme poverty in Brazil that leads many families to prostitute their daughters in order to feed their families. The average age of these girls is 6-9 years old and the nuns run a mission to shelter and rescue as many girls as possible. Monica Kristen of Dreamcatchers spoke about their work to provide crisis counseling, follow-up when survivors return home, and job assistance. Dreamcatchers currently has four offices and 600 clients. Kate Lee of NJCAHT explained their latest project of distributing soap bars with NJCAHT’s contact information to hotels, a common place where traffickers bring their victims. The audience also heard testimonies from human trafficking survivors.

Attendees donated outfits for survivors preparing for job interviews.

For more information, contact the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking at INFO@njhumantrafficking.org or call their number at 201-901-2111. Many committees and programs are always looking for volunteers.

Human trafficking is the second fastest growing criminal organization in the world and the only way to make strides to combat it is for us to unite against it. Much progress has been made but still much more work needs to be done.

After attending the event, I realize there needs to be a mobilization of great kindness and support to battle this extreme evil.

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Evil in Our Midst–NXIVM Accused of Human Trafficking

 

Throughout human history, people have pondered over the existence of evil.

Unfortunately, we read and hear about examples of utterly horrifying evil all the time. One of those evils is human trafficking.

An example is the recent headlines on the arrest of Keith Raniere, the leader of the group NXIVM. He is accused of running a sex cult disguised as a self-help program. On its website the organization claims that it is “a community guided by humanitarian principles that seek to empower people and answer important questions about what it means to be human.”

Evidently, their interpretation of “what it means to be human” involved luring young women seeking successful careers to become slaves. They were reportedly forced to sleep with Raniere, who was known as “Vanguard” within the organization; perform menial tasks for their masters; and most horrifying of all, submit to branding near their pelvis area with Keith Raniere’s initials. If that isn’t enough, prominent people are alleged to be involved in this organization, among them Emiliano Salinas, the son of the former President of Mexico, Carlos Salinas; Allison Mack, Emmy-Award winning actress of the television series Smallville; and Clare Bronfman, an heiress to the Seagram fortune.

Throughout history, evil can appear beneficial and even beautiful in form. Raniere is a handsome, suave businessman whose past clients include business magnate Richard Branson, actress Linda Evans, and Antonia Novello, former Surgeon General of the Unites States. Raniere appealed to young women desperate to get ahead and impressionable enough to believe his promises. As stated on NXIVM’s website, the purpose of the organization was to promote “the philosophical and practical foundations necessary to acquire and build the skills for success.”

The question now is not only will Raniere be convicted, but also what will happen to the thousands of women who invested their hopes, dreams and money to become members of his sex cult posing as a self-help program? These victims, like all victims of human trafficking, will need a great deal of support to cope with their lives in the aftermath of their encounter with this recent manifestation of evil.

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An Eye-Opening Discussion: A Community Conversation: Modern Slavery—Global to Local

I have been researching and attending events related to human trafficking ever since writing and publishing my novel True Mercy. Still, when I attended a discussion entitled “A Community Conversation: Modern Slavery—Global to Local” at Seton Hall University, I gathered a great deal of new information. Slavery/human trafficking concerns everyone whether we realize it or not. It is occurring throughout the world, but many are surprised to find out it is also happening in cities and suburbs across the United States.

Before I relate the eye-opening information, first I would like to list the event’s speakers.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (Hamilton, NJ) is serving his 19th term in the House of Representatives and is the author of the comprehensive legislation, “ The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (PL 106-386).” This is a federal, multi-agency approach to prevent slavery, protect victims, and punish traffickers to the full extent of the law. He gave his talk through telephone conferencing.

Ingrid Johnson is a registered nurse and a member of the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking. She has worked tirelessly in the cause of human trafficking awareness ever since she rescued her daughter from the clutches of human traffickers fourteen years ago.

Dr. Bernard Freamon is a professor of legal philosophy specializing in Islamic Jurisprudence and Islamic Legal History. He teaches at Seton Hall School of Law. He has written extensively on human trafficking/slavery in Asia and Africa. Dr. Freamon is currently working on his latest book, Possessed by The Right Hand: The Problem of Slavery in Islamic Law and Muslim Cultures.

Kate Lee is the Administrator of the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Co-Chair of the NJ Governor’s Advisory Council Against Sexual Violence. She has organized numerous conferences and workshops to raise awareness.

Robert Boneberg is the Coordinator of the Slave-Free Community Project and is the Co-Chair of the Slave-Free Commerce Committee of the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

The five speakers made the following points:

  • There are an estimated 21 to 46 million slaves in the world. There are many different forms of slavery. They include slavery, human trafficking, forced labor, sex trafficking, and debt bondage.
  • Approximatley 15,000-18,000 slaves are imported in the U.S. annually. They comprise of sex slaves (50%), and others, including slaves in domestic service, business enterprises, and agriculture.
  • In regards to slavery around the Indian Ocean in Asia and near Africa, human trafficking is a continuation of what has been happening there for the last 3-4,000 years. Efforts to eradicate slavery in this part of the world have been a failure.
  • There are three reasons slavery is still happening in the world: 1.) Migration-People are migrating around the world in a manner never seen before. Criminals take advantage of this by trafficking people escaping their countries. 2.) Climate disasters— Traffickers again take advantage of people escaping natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. 3.) Conflict—Militant Muslim groups like ISIS take slaves.
  • Women from Mexico and African countries have been trafficked in various parts of New Jersey, according to arrest documents .
  • One way to eradicate slavery is to pay attention to the products we buy. The US Dept of Labor has identified the following products that are often made by child or forced labor. Among them are coffee, fruit, nuts, cotton, chocolate, rice, gold, and footwear.
  • Red Flag: If one sees a young person getting gifts that are inappropriate, that may be a sign that a person may be trying to lure them into trafficking.
  • Slaves are very cheap now because of migration. They are considered disposable people. It is more expensive to fly to Haiti than to buy a slave in Haiti.
  • There are more slaves today than ever before in history.
  • Approximately one quarter of them are children.
  • Approximately one fifth are in sex slavery.
  • Approximately 15 million people are in forced marriages.
  • There are approximately 58,000 slaves in the U.S.
  • Traffickers make approximately $150,000,000,000 from slavery per year.

The meeting concluded with speakers telling audience members that only when people work together can slavery finally be eradicated once and for all.

If you suspect slavery/human trafficking is taking place, do not attempt to rescue that person yourself. You may be putting that person in even more danger. It is best to call the following number:

National 24 hour hotline 1-888-373-7888

or Text INFO or HELP to BE FREE (233733)

Join in the fight to prevent slavery!

Website:  http://slavefreecommunityproject.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/slavefreecommunityproject/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/slavefreecommunityproject/

YouTube Channel:  ow.ly/xF4M30hAlZX

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SlaveFreeCP

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Progress!

I was so pleased to read that the efforts of human trafficking prevention groups have yielded success! For years now, pimps have been forcing young girls and women into sexual relations with strangers in hotel rooms while hotel owners and staff would often look away. Krista Torralva of the Orlando Sentinel reported that a  bill is being prepared for the Florida Legislature to approve that would allow human trafficking victims to sue hotel workers who ignore these crimes.

Another bill would require hotel staff members to receive training in recognizing the signs of human trafficking. If these bills pass, it would greatly impact the 400 hotels in Orlando and the many more in the surrounding areas.

A similar bill was already passed in Pennsylvania in 2014 when a human trafficking victim was able to sue a Philadelphia motel when staff members ignored her travail when she was forced to sleep with hundreds of men.

According to The Polaris Project, an anti-human trafficking organization, Orlando, Florida is ranked number three in calls per capita to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Let’s hope to see more progress throughout the world in combatting the proliferation of human trafficking. It is everyone’s responsibility to spot the warning signs and act to prevent this crime.

To learn more about The Polaris Project, log onto https://polarisproject.org. The phone number of the National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-888-373-7888.

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Truckers Lending a Hand to Fight Human Trafficking

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT)

http://www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org/

A few weeks ago, I happened to find an article about a truck driver who rescued young girls enslaved in human trafficking at a truck stop. This led me to discover the organization Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT). It is a very active organization designed to train members of the trucking industry as well as individual truckers to recognize the signs where human trafficking is taking place. It is heartening to know that millions of truckers on the road are joining the fight against this underground criminal industry. A representative for TAT was quoted as saying, “Those in the trucking industry are in a unique position because the traffickers are transient and often stop at truck stops.” Indeed through spreading awareness, truckers have rescued countless victims.

TAT educates truckers to recognize the signs where trafficking may be taking place. These include the following:

  • CB chatter about quotas
  • Unaccompanied minors
  • Minors looking fearful
  • Signs of branding

TAT advises people to ask these minors the following questions:

  • “Are you traveling by yourself?”
  • “Who are you traveling with?”
  • “When is the last time you saw your family?”
  • “Do you get to keep part of the money?”

The average age of these girls is only 13-15, and everyone should do their part to lend a hand in rescuing these trapped young girls. If you suspect this is happening, the hotline number is 888-3737-888 or you can text BE FREE (233733). REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY IF YOU SEE IT. IF YOU’RE WRONG, THAT’S OK. TAT cautions people not to try to save the girls themselves because this could be dangerous.As a spokesperson for TAT put it, “Trucking and law enforcement are working together to put these guys out of business.”

 

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