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Human Trafficking

  • Articles, Book Review, Books, GirlSpring.com, Human Trafficking

    Review: Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

    Half the Sky

    I read the nonfiction work Half the Sky a couple of years ago as a part of a summer reading assignment. Its content blew my mind. Husband and wife team of journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn touch on the many injustices faced by women internationally, a subject I was only briefly aware of prior to reading. 

    Raised in a safe community with trustworthy parents and adults surrounding me, I haven’t personally experienced many of the situations and lifestyles that the authors detail in the novel. However, I feel that it is important for everyone to learn about the oppression that many women worldwide experience. Awareness allows us to work together and end these injustices. 

    What I Loved

    My favorite aspects of the book were the nature in which the authors gathered information and the structure of the writing. Kristof and WuDunn not only did extensive literary research on the topics they investigated, but they actually traveled to several third world countries and interacted with the women there. The book is a series of interwoven essays and anecdotes that discuss the authors’ observations during their travels. It also highlights the personal stories that they gathered from the women they spoke to. In my opinion, the first-person narrative and anecdotal evidence were what made this book so stimulating and captivating.

    Half the Sky is divided into three main parts. The first third of the book focuses on sexual abuses faced by women around the globe. Then, the second third focuses on childbirth and family planning. Finally, the last third is all about education, micro-businesses, and the actions readers can take to help. Each section is filled with small anecdotes, commentary, and additional research that captivate readers as they make their way through the book. 

    The Book’s First Part: Human Trafficking

    In the first third of the book, readers are taken to a small village in Cambodia. Here, the harrowing realities of human trafficking are unveiled. I was shocked and heartbroken to hear that in this part of the world (and in several other countries), it is commonplace for girls as young as eight or nine years old to be captured and traded. These girls are stuck in a very abusive environment for a large portion of their lives. They must obey their master’s commands and remain completely shut away from their families and the rest of society.

    For many of these women, the contraction of HIV/AIDS is common and equivalent to a death sentence. For others, getting kicked out after youthfulness fades is customary. They are then left to fend for themselves in society. This is an incredibly difficult task given that they have been taken far from their families and the communities they grew up in. To make matters worse, they usually have minimal education since they were captured at such a young age.

    Kristof and WuDunn interviewed several young girls, and their stories are included. These personal anecdotes are an absolute must-read and are so incredibly emotional and intriguing. In this section, I also loved learning about organizations that help save the lives of women who have been trafficked through monetary, educational, and other forms of support.

    The Second Part of the Book: Limited Medical Access

    In the second part, the lack of doctors and medical personnel in third world countries is highlighted. One anecdote that stood out to me was that of a woman from Cameroon who was unable to give birth due to a blocked cervix. The birthing attendant decided that sitting on the woman’s stomach and jumping up and down would help. This ruptured the woman’s uterus, causing more problems. Living in the United States, many of us trust our health care providers and receive quality care from trained professionals. It was mind-opening to learn about the consequences of a lack of education. This section of the book taught me many important lessons about the power and value of humanity.

    The Final Section: Micro-Businesses

    The final section of the book was, in my opinion, the most optimistic. I learned about the concept of micro-businesses. Within these, women are given a small amount of money from a donor that they then use as an investment to start their own business. They are very powerful because they allow women to rebuild their lives and feel empowered after hard experiences such as trafficking and childbirth issues. Additionally, organizations that are offering resources for women are mentioned and several actions readers can take are detailed.

    Final thoughts

    Half the Sky was overall a very informative and thought-provoking read. This book really helps garner a better understanding of the oppression and injustices that some women around the world experience on a day-to-day basis. I highly recommend that everyone read this at some point in their life. If you are interested in learning more and/or taking action, visit http://www.halftheskymovement.org/.

    To learn more about Human Trafficking click here. If you or someone that you know is a victim of human trafficking, call 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733.

  • Human Trafficking, Local

    Human Trafficking – When Evil Hides in Plain Sight

    Human Trafficking

    Human Trafficking

    When Evil Hides in Plain Sight

    By Maggie Thompson

    There are more human slaves today than ever before in history.

    Generating up to $35 billion annually, human trafficking has become one of the greatest human rights challenges of this century. In the United States (U.S.), there is a 147-mile stretch of Interstate 20 between Atlanta, Georgia, and Birmingham, Alabama called “Sex Trafficking Superhighway.”

    Shockingly, 40% of human trafficking in the U.S. happens in the South. This is primarily due to the surrounding international travel hubs such as Atlanta and Houston. Although trafficking is so globally prevalent, it remains in the shadows of society. The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) African American Studies program hosted a documentary screening and panel discussion on human trafficking in September (2017). Carlon Harris, an African American studies major and graduating senior, made and presented the documentary. 

    Through his research, Harris is hoping to transform the subject of human trafficking to an everyday conversation piece by localizing the issue and bringing awareness to the people of Birmingham. “Human trafficking happens 365 days of the year. So basically it can happen anytime, anywhere. Most victims, they will pass you,” Harris stated in an interview with Birmingham’s WBRC Fox 6 News. Kathy Taylor, a survivor, and human trafficking advocate is the center of Harris’ documentary. On camera, Taylor answered questions and shared some of her own experiences as a trafficking victim including the fact that her victimization began on a college campus.

    After the screening, panelists discussed the issues that accompany human trafficking, the steps law enforcement is taking towards prevention and what the public can do to help. The panelists included: Helen Smith of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sergeant Anthony Williams of Birmingham Police Department and Dr. Robert Blanton, UAB Professor of Government. 

    Human trafficking, which is fueled by poverty and gender discrimination, is estimated to surpass the drug trade industry in less than five years.

    Subsequently, traffickers are becoming more powerful and knowledgeable as society continues to allow the submergence of the massive issue modern slavery has become. Although it is primarily men that run this trade, women are also included. Pimps and Johns are common names for these men and women. They control and terrorize these victims. Victimizers use fraud, force and coercion to lure their victims into captivity, sometimes even using victims as bait.

    However, not all traffickers look or act the same.

    Human trafficking does not discriminate and it is nowhere near being transparent. Therefore, anyone can become a victim or a victimizer. Some victims find that their only option toward escape is to become a victimizer themselves and view the “promotion” from prostitute to pimp as a natural process.

    In conclusion, creating awareness is the first step towards ending human trafficking.

    Panels and organized events that educate the public on the facts of human trafficking can act as a gateway to major prevention as well as putting an end to what has become the greatest human rights challenges of this century. The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Institute for Human Rights is working hard to promote prevention and awareness by informing students on the indicators of human trafficking and how to identify and help a potential victim.

    If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, call 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733.
    For tips on how to stay safe and aware of your surroundings, click here, https://www.girlspring.com/?s=Human+Trafficking
    And for the Human Trafficking Hotline site, click here.
  • Human Trafficking

    Recognize the Signs of Human Trafficking

    Are you or someone you know being trafficked? Is human trafficking happening in your community? Recognizing potential red flags and knowing the indicators of human trafficking is a key step in identifying more victims and helping them find the assistance they need.

    To request help or report suspected human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Or text HELP to: BeFree (233733).

    Common Work and Living Conditions: The individual(s) in question

    • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
    • Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
    • Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
    • Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
    • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
    • Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
    • Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
    • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
    • High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)

    Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior

    • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
    • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
    • Avoids eye contact

    Poor Physical Health

    • Lacks health care
    • Appears malnourished
    • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

    Lack of Control

    • Has few or no personal possessions
    • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
    • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
    • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)

    Other

    • Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
    • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
    • Loss of sense of time
    • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story

      • This list is not exhaustive and represents only a selection of possible indicators. Also, the red flags in this list may not be present in all trafficking cases and are not cumulative. Learn more at www.humantraffickinghotline.org.

        Article From: Polaris Project

  • Human Trafficking

    What is Human Trafficking?

    What is Human Trafficking?

    You thought slavery ended after the Civil War? Think again. There are more slaves now than at any time in history! Human trafficking is just a way of saying “the ways people are moved from freedom into slavery.” Through violence. Lies. Manipulation. Threats.

    Today’s slaves are forced into labor, service or sex slavery; making money for their “owners.” You see, the same people who have been trafficking drugs and weapons are realizing that selling people is more profitable and less risky! People can be sold repeatedly; in the case of a sex slave that might be 10, 20 or more times a day. In labor slavery, goods and services are continually produced without compensating the laborer.

    Why is Human Trafficking Growing So Fast?

    Human trafficking is less risky than most crimes, because it’s a lot harder to uncover and prosecute. Someone caught with a kilo of cocaine is quickly arrested, and there is hard evidence to take to court. Someone caught with people—well, that’s not so simple. Especially when those people are terrified to speak or are afraid for their families who may have been threatened.

    Targeted Youth

    Half of the slaves in the world today are minors. Federal law in the U.S. says that anyone under 18 used for sex in exchange for anything of value is legally a victim of human trafficking. That “thing of value” might be money, a sandwich, clothing, or a place to spend the night.

    Some young people are more at risk, like runaways and throwaways, but anyone can become a victim. Traffickers are going into schools, malls, theatres, game arcades, playgrounds – anywhere youths hang out – to find victims. Some are kidnapped. Sometimes people they know and trust are actually there to sell them and threaten their families if they tell. Sometimes their own family members sell them.

    On this site, we’re focused on the buying and selling of our youth for the pleasure and profit of the perpetrators. Young people right here in America—not just third world countries—are at great risk. And the demand is for younger and younger children.

    This has to stop!

    The UN tells us that 99% of victims are never rescued. We’re out to empower young people and those who care about them to keep from being trapped in the first place. YOU can protect your friends, family and the younger people in your life.

     

    Because prevention is even better than rescue.

    Article From: BeTheJam

  • Human Trafficking

    Two Types of Trafficking

    What is “Human Trafficking”?

    Human trafficking is the buying and selling of human beings for another person’s profit. This isn’t a little issue either. There are more slaves in the world today than at any other time in history. Approximately 27 million of them. Most importantly, the average age into trafficking within the US is 13-14 years old.

    Sex Trafficking

    Sex Trafficking is the sexual exploitation of one person, for another person’s financial gain. Victims are forced to perform sex acts against their will, and failure to cooperate leads to punishment. Street-based traffickers can force their victims to reach a nightly quota, anywhere from $300-$1000. Brothel based traffickers can force their victims into 6-10 sexual acts a day, 7 days a week.

    Labor Trafficking

    Labor Trafficking is forced work at facilities, businesses, or homes. Workers often live and work in terrible conditions and receive little or no benefits. Victims may be subjected to debt bondage to their traffickers so they believe they have to escape.

    THE VICTIM

    • Mental Manipulation

      Victims are brainwashed by their traffickers, distorting their realities. Victims are oftentimes fearful, anxious, depressed, and afraid of law enforcement and avoid eye contact with individuals.

    • Branding

      Pimps tattoo or carve their names into their victims

    • Poor Physical Health

      Victims are often unable to take care of themselves because of their abusive traffickers and lack of access to basic necessities. Victims can be malnourished and show signs of physical or sexual abuse.

    • Lack of possessions/payment

      Victims of trafficking have little or no personal belongings or resources

    • Restrictions

      Victims work long hours and are not allowed to leave or have breaks

    • Confusion

      Victims may not have a sense of time and location along with a basic lack of knowledge surrounding their whereabouts.

    THE TRAFFICKER

    • Psychological Manipulation

      Traffickers lure victims into trafficking by exploiting insecurities and those looking for a better life by promising jobs, relationships, and opportunities.

    • Physical Abuse

      Traffickers use fear and physical abuse to maintain control over their victims.

    • Many types of traffickers – According to the Trafficking Resource Center:

      • Brothel and fake massage business owners and managers
      • Employers of domestic servants
      • Gangs
      • Growers
      • Intimate Partners
      • Labor Brokers
      • Factory owners and corporations
      • Pimps
      • Small business owners and managers
  • Human Trafficking

    Common Myths and Misconceptions about Human Trafficking in the U.S.

    The following document summarizes some of the commonly-held myths and misconceptions about the definition of human trafficking and the types of human trafficking operations that exist in the United States. This document is intended to help clarify a more accurate portrayal of trafficking by correcting the numerous myths and misconceptions. The goal of the document is to help shape a “lens” for identifying and understanding trafficking that is not clouded by incorrect information. A “Top 10” List is provided below.

    Myth 1:

    Under the Federal definition, trafficked persons can only be foreign nationals or are only immigrants from other countries.

    Reality: The Federal definition of human trafficking includes both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals – both are equally protected under the Federal trafficking statutes and have been since the TVPA of 2000. Human trafficking encompasses both transnational trafficking that crosses borders and domestic or internal trafficking that occurs within a country. Statistics about trafficking, estimates of the scope of trafficking, and descriptions of trafficking should be mindful to include both transnational and internal trafficking to be most accurate.

    Myth 2:

    Trafficking is essentially a crime that must involve some form of travel, transportation, or movement across state or national borders.

    Reality: The legal definition of trafficking, as defined under the Federal trafficking statutes, does not require transportation, although transportation may be involved in the crime, and although the word connotes movement. Human trafficking is not synonymous with forced migration or smuggling. Instead, human trafficking is more accurately characterized as “compelled service” where an individual’s will is overborne through force, fraud, or coercion. Transportation or migration is less of a relevant consideration to the definition or for identifying trafficked persons.

    Myth 3:

    Human trafficking is another word for human smuggling

    Reality: There are many fundamental differences between the crimes of human trafficking and human smuggling. Both are entirely separate Federal crimes in the United States. Most notably, smuggling is a crime against a country’s borders, whereas human trafficking is a crime against a person. Also, while smuggling requires illegal border crossing, human trafficking involves commercial sex acts or labor or services that are induced through force, fraud, or coercion.

    Myth 4:

    Here must be elements of physical restraint, physical force, or physical bondage when identifying a trafficking situation.

    Reality: The legal definition of trafficking does not require physical restraint, bodily harm, or physical force. Psychological means of control, such as threats, or abuse of the legal process, are sufficient elements of the crime. Unlike the previous Federal involuntary servitude statutes (U.S.C. 1584), the new Federal crimes created by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 were intended to address “subtler” forms of coercion and to broaden previous standards that only considered bodily harm.

    Myth 5:

    Victims of trafficking will immediately ask for help or assistance and will self-identify as a victim of a crime.

    Reality: Victims of trafficking often do not immediately seek help or self-identify as victims of a crime, due to lack of trust, self-blame, or training by the traffickers. It is important to avoid making a snap judgment based on the first interviews and to be understanding that trust will take time to develop. Continued trust-building and patient interviewing is often required to get to the whole story.

    Myth 6:

    Trafficking victims always come from situations of poverty or from small rural villages.

    Reality: Although poverty certainly is highly correlated with human trafficking because it often is a factor of vulnerability, poverty alone is not a single causal factor or universal indicator of a human trafficking victim. Trafficking victims can come from a range of income levels and many may come from families with increased socioeconomic status.

    Myth 7:

    Sex trafficking is the only form of human trafficking.

    Reality: Elements of human trafficking can occur in both commercial sex acts but also in situations of forced labor or services. The broader concept of human trafficking encompasses both forms of what are referred to as “sex trafficking” and “labor trafficking,” and can effect men and boys in addition to women and girls.

    Myth 8:

    Human trafficking only occurs in illegal underground industries

    Reality: Elements of human trafficking can be identified whenever the means of force, fraud, or coercion induce a person to perform commercial sex acts, or labor or services. Trafficking can occur in legal and legitimate business settings as well as underground markets.

    Myth 9:

    If the trafficked person consented to be in their initial situation or was informed about what type of labor they would be doing or that commercial sex would be involved, then it cannot be trafficking or against their will because they “knew better.”

    Reality: A victim cannot consent to be in a situation of human trafficking. Initial consent to commercial sex or a labor setting prior to acts of force, fraud, or coercion (or if the victim is a minor in a sex trafficking situation) is not relevant to the crime, nor is payment.

    Myth 10:

    Foreign national trafficking victims are always undocumented immigrants or here in this country illegally.

    Reality: For foreign national victims, trafficked persons can be in the United States through either legal or illegal means. Although some foreign national victims are undocumented, a significant percentage may have legitimate visas for various purposes. Not all foreign national victims are undocumented.

    Article From: www.stophumantraffickingmo.com

  • Human Trafficking, Poem

    Thoughts

    Every night the sound of foot steps getting closer,
    Door knob turning,
    oh no as you hold back the Tears,
    Door opens a big body shaped shadow enters,
    as you pull the Blanket up over your face,
    Felling a hand pull the Blanket
    as you try to remain strong and
    hold back the tears another Tall skinny Shadow enters the room
    feeling a tear fall and as they take turns on you,
    you just let the tears flow!
    thoughts going through your head
    “Why ME” “Why ME”,
    as you try to fight them off and scream you feel to weak to even try
    so you lay there to weak to care hoping this was all a Dream!