Author Archives: Jeff Turner

A Need To Properly Define “Modern Day Slavery”

I think the title of the following video is inaccurate.

What I see in this video is exploitation, but I don’t see slavery. And I think to fight modern slavery properly, we need to make sure we define it properly. Kevin Bales, in his TED presentation on how to combat modern slavery, went out of his way to make certain his audience understood what he meant by “slave.” He needed to be specific to frame the conversation properly. And his definition of a slave and mine are the same: a slave is someone who is forced to work, under the threat of physical harm, without pay.

What this video is documenting is important. It’s just not slavery. Perhaps that’s why “modern day slavery” is in quotes. I don’t know. What I do know is that the tactics required to fight modern slavery are different than those required to fight the exploitation of the poor and disenfranchised. Both camps will be better served if we focus properly.

What are your thoughts?

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How To Combat Modern Slavery – Watch This

“If you worship in the temple of learning, do not mock the gods. Because they will take you, fill you with curiosity and desire, and drive you with a passion to change things.” – Kevin Bales, Free The Slaves

“Are you willing to live in a world with slavery? I think there is enough intellectual power in this room to end slavery.  And if we can’t use our collective intelligence power to bring about the end of slavery, are we truly free?” – Kevn Bales

I hope you worship in the temple of learning.

18 minutes long. Make the time.

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Two Little Girls – An Animated Story About Sex Trafficking

This is the kind of video I might have written off as sensationalism three years ago.

But I’ve read too much. The evidence of its truth is too great. And I applaud the film’s makers for their use of animation to portray the sinister way in which sex traffickers lure their victims into a life of sexual slavery. The film is part of an exhibition called ‘not Natasha’ at the Impressions Gallery in in Bradford, UK.

The film was made in consultation with five Albanian women who were trafficked into the UK and had agreed to share their experiences with the film makers to ensure the accuracy of their stories. This a powerful cautionary tale which has already become a talking point amongst victims of the sex-trafficking trade. While many films on the subject are often distressing and difficult to watch, this film draws in the audience with its animated fairy tale stlye and music before hitting home with its serious message.

It’s style lures you in and then clubs you over the head. It’s haunting. And hard to believe. And it’s true. Please share this.

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The Body Shop Lives Its Values, Fights Against Child Sex Trafficking

I can only applaud the efforts of The Body Shop as they shine the light of public exposure on the crime of child sex trafficking.

“The retailer spent 16 months researching the effort to fight sex trafficking before introducing it, Ms. Simmons said, because of the nature of the problem. The idea was to learn “how we can deliver this” message, she added, “without switching people off.” – New York Times

This is just one of their excellent “living our values” initiatives, but their focus is clear. They have a bold stop trafficking campaign, designed to “raise awareness of the scale of the issue, raise funding for vulnerable children and young people, and inspire those with decision-making power to effect change. And I love this part of it – they give their clerks training on how to “talk authoritatively about the issue.” I think it’s a bold step and one that’s needed in order for a campaign like this to have real impact. Signs are simply not enough. As a result, they’ve already raised $1.5 Million for the Somaly Mam Foundation, a substantial portion of that donated by shoppers. That’s not an accident.

This is a virus that can’t thrive in the light and we simply need more light.

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Young Girls Held As Soldiers In DR Congo

Children are still being recruited and abused in conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“Used as combatants, labour and sex slaves, victims of months-long violence and rape, girls are all too rarely freed by the armed forces and groups,” UNICEF said in a news release in Goma, eastern DRC, marking the International Day against the use of Child Soldiers, noting that only 20 per cent of freed children under the agency’s care were girls. via YubaNet.com.

Please read about the use of children as soldiers and spread the word about this horrific abuse.

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Child Sex Trafficking: Breaking The Silence

The Shared Hope Blog asks a very good question:

How can the anti-trafficking movement learn from the success of the anti-domestic violence movement and shorten the time of success from forty years to…less? via Breaking the Silence against Child Sex Trafficking in America.

The post is very well written. And I think their conclusions are sound. Please take a moment to go take a look and add them to your list of blogs to support.

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Child Slavery In The Wake Of The Earthquake In Haiti

I was sent a link to this video, Helping Haiti’s Child Slaves, this morning via email. I’ve seen it before and even linked to a longer version of it in A Capacity For Cruelty Is Never Justified.

But in light of the recent earthquake in Haiti, it seems more urgent than ever that the world be aware of the plight of  a segment of the restavec (French: rester avec – one who stays with) population in Haiti. What is evident from the video clip is that, in today’s world, some restavec are indeed treated as slaves. But what is also evident is the complexity of the problem in light of the cultural differences that exist between countries. And it’s not just between the USA and Haiti. My wife just returned from Kenya with Mothers Fighting For Others, where the people she met could not believe we DIDN’T beat our children with a cane. And while I agree with the conclusion that “a capacity for cruelty is never justified,” it is also true that “child labor is an unfortunate consequence of poverty and it’s attending miseries.” It’s a complex issue.

Not All Child Labor Should Be Considered Child Slavery

If we’re to address the issues that surround child slavery in developing countries like Haiti, we must not look at them through the myopic lens of our own culture. I’m neither an economist or a sociologist, but, as I read more and more, it is painfully clear to me that sometimes what I would love to be a “black and white” issue is incredibly gray. There are no simple answers. My perspective is one of a myriad. So, I encourage you to read this post by The Haitian Blogger for a different viewpoint. Warning, it’s a long post. Clear out some time to digest it properly.

One thing I know for sure – the earthquake in Haiti is not going to make the task any simpler.

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Human Trafficking of Children in the United States Fact Sheet

Contrary to a common assumption, human trafficking is not just a problem in other countries. Cases of human trafficking have been reported in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and some U.S. territories. Victims of human trafficking can be children or adults, U.S. citizens or foreign nationals, male or female.

According to U.S. government estimates, thousands of men, women, and children are trafficked to the United States for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. An unknown number of U.S. citizens and legal residents are trafficked within the country primarily for sexual servitude and, to a lesser extent, forced labor.

via U.S. Department of Education.

In addition to a list of resources and publications, the Human Trafficking of Children in the United States Fact Sheet for Schools (pdf) also answers the following questions:

  • What Is Human Trafficking?
  • What Is the Extent of Human Trafficking in the United States ?
  • How Does Human Trafficking Affect Our Schools?
  • How Do I Identify a Victim of Human Trafficking?
  • How Do I Report a Suspected Incidence of Human Trafficking?
  • How Does the United States Help Victims of Human Trafficking?
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Make Someone Aware Of Human Trafficking Today

Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. What can you do? Change.org has a great post detailing 40 Ideas for Action on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day: From Facebook to Legislation.

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