Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Update for 2013

According to the U.S. Department of State 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report, more than 27 million individuals are victimized by human trafficking yearly, and 300,000 of these victims are children trafficked in the U.S. It also remains the second fastest growing criminal industry in the world and almost every trafficking incident is related to exposure to or the threat of violence.

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, the consequences of trafficking are vast. The largest affected group are children – abused and neglected youth, girls, runaways, and homeless youth. Trafficked children are also among those that have a higher probability of being exposed to violence and experiencing negative outcomes, including poor mental and physical health and substance abuse issues. Additionally, some trafficked youth face further traumatic stress in the event of a rescue. Poor understanding and knowledge about trafficking in the U.S. has led to cases of children being arrested for prostitution and not receiving the services they need to cope with their experience.

The good news is real awareness and prevention efforts are on the rise to stop these experiences from happening. This month President Obama has proclaimed National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, 2013.

Several states are also redoubling their efforts to prevent and protect children from being trafficked. Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has asked the State’s Department of Justice for $900,000 to expand services and employment for staff to work specifically on child sex trafficking prevention and prosecution efforts. In Louisiana anti-slavery advocates are promoting awareness efforts through a billboard campaign to end human trafficking and both state and non-profit agencies are improving efforts to collect data to promote prevention efforts.

As state and federal officials work to correct laws to protect children affected by trafficking everyone can help prevention efforts by first recognizing there is a problem and promoting education and community response. Please check out the links below to see more about new efforts to promote trafficking awareness and response.

Selling American Girls: The Truth About Domestic Minor Sex-Trafficking

http://www.forbes.com/sites/shenegotiates/2012/12/03/selling-american-girls-the-truth-about-domestic-minor-sex-trafficking/2/

Not For Sale Campaign

http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/

Passion 2013 Freedom Campaign

http://268generation.com/passion2013/freedom/

UNICEF launches ‘Believe in ZERO Exploited Children’ campaign

http://www.ungift.org/knowledgehub/stories/January2013/unicef-launches-believe-in-zero-exploited-children-campaign.html

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Abuse, Sexual Assault, and Child Trafficking

A few months ago Safe Start Center highlighted Human Trafficking Awareness Day and in support of National Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness month we’d like to provide an update on what the government has been up to in addressing the problem. Human Trafficking is a massive issue that exposes over a million children annually to sexual violence and abuse both in the US and abroad. It is an important focus of this awareness month because the biggest majority of trafficked children, both boys and girls, are those that have been abused and neglected and are those most likely to be exposed to violence and multiple victimizations in the future. You can learn more about the growing problem of the commercial sexual exploitation of children by checking out the KNOW THE FACTS fact sheet.

“The Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that each year at least 300,000 children are the human products meeting the demand of the sex trafficking industry in the U.S. alone. Around the world, more than one million children are subjected to human trafficking for sex or porn. The industry is estimated to bring in $9.5 billion annually.”

So what is being done in the US to stop it?

President Obama recently addressed a Human Trafficking Task Force Meeting at the White House where he reiterated that he is “confident that we will one day end the scourge of modern slavery.”

And the Administration really has made great efforts towards increasing government efforts to build partnerships with communities and NGOs to seriously combat domestic trafficking. In addition, on the international front, the State Department has made the fight against modern slavery a part of its diplomatic engagement and their work has made real advances in fighting trafficking in almost 40 countries!

Two of the most recent examples of how US agencies are working together to stop trafficking are:

  1. The Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Lightning Initiative “which provides U.S. commercial airlines that operate U.S.-bound international routes and their employees a voluntary mechanism to identify potential human trafficking victims and to notify federal authorities.”
  1. The U.S. Department of Transportation is working to “insure that the U.S. transportation system is not an enabler for human trafficking, [so] the Department of Transportation is operating an awareness campaign aimed at commercial truck drivers as well as personnel working at the nation’s railroads, according to John Porcari, deputy secretary of transportation.” Read more here.

You can check out the entire comprehensive list of the Obama Administration Accomplishments on Combating Trafficking in Persons as of February 2012 here.

So, as we continue to raise awareness this month and share the great progress being made to combat both abuse and sexual assault, it’s important we remember that the fight must continue to break the cycle and prevent and protect children and families from exposure.

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Justice For Life

The Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) provide the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Strategy and Operations E-Guide as a resource for both established and new Task Forces.

The Guide is intended to assist in the development or reorganization of an anti-human trafficking Task Force and to provide fundamental guidance for effective Task Force operations.

The Task Force concept used in this Guide is based upon the Department of Justice Anti-Trafficking Task Force model, which emphasizes a multidisciplinary, collaborative effort of law enforcement officials and victim service providers. The goal is to provide the broadest range of services and resources for victims and the most diverse range of investigation and prosecution options in response to perpetrators.

The Guide focuses on the U.S. response to human trafficking; however, it also may be useful to counterparts in other countries seeking to initiate or…

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Human Trafficking: Global Phenomena. Domestic Concern.

Human Trafficking: Global Phenomena. Domestic Concern.

Over the last several years, the topic of human trafficking – or modern day slavery as many advocates call it – has captured the attention and pulled on the heart strings of the American public. U.S. citizens became indignant as they realized that slavery, something they thought fixed a century ago, was still growing in the world. Since then, countless organizations, advocacy campaigns, and fundraisers have been created to help the victims of global trafficking, especially the women and girls trafficked in our country.

Unfortunately, many people still don’t know that these same horror stories happen in their state, their county, their city. Recent reports cite that American born girls and boys are just as likely to be trafficked domestically as immigrant children. Amy Fine Collin recently wrote a story for Vanity Fair on domestic sex trafficking about two trafficked American girls, Gwen and Alicia, and the police officers, lawyers, social workers, and doctors who helped free them. “A pound of heroin or an AK-47 can be retailed once, but a young girl can be sold 10 to 15 times a day—and a “righteous” pimp confiscates 100 percent of her earnings,” Collin writes. This is an American reality, one that unfortunately is targeting younger and younger children.

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