Tag Archives: human trafficking

The Shaniya Davis Tragedy Brings Child Trafficking Into Media Spotlight

It’s unfortunate that it takes a  tragic death, like that of Shaniya Davis,  to bring the issue of child trafficking in the United States into the light of mainstream media scrutiny. Evidence has surfaced that perhaps her mother sold her for sex to pay off a drug debt. But the only thing that makes this case truly unique is Shaniya’s age.

“Lois Lee, the founder and president of the non-profit Children of the Night, said drugs are often involved when mothers are found to have sold or traded their children. But the trafficking of a 5-year-old is ‘very rare,’ Lee said. ‘And very rare that they would call it trafficking.'” – ABC News

“While there are no numbers on how many young children are trafficked by their own parents, there are about 100,000 minors trafficked in the United States each year”.  – ABC News

Shaniya is one of 100,000. That number should shock you. It shocks me and it’s not the first time I’ve seen it. So while I applaud Shaquille O’Neal for stepping up to pay for Shaniya’s funeral. More people with means need to attach themselves to the fight against child sex trafficking, the most hideous form of child slavery. And more needs to be done to combat it.

I wish I had some answers. Unfortunately, stories like Shaniya’s leave me with only questions.

And anger.

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How Can We Truly Honor Those Who’ve Died For Our Freedom?

It would honor our fallen heroes most this Memorial day if everyone living and working in the United States of America was actually free. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Shelley Seale, a guest writer here on StopChildSlavery.com, has written an excellent review of a new book called The Slave Next Door. In her review she asks the question, “When did the U.S. government last use slave labor to build something? 1776? 1865?”

According to The Slave Next Door, the answer is 2003.

As I sit here today, enjoying the freedom paid for by the blood of brave young American men and women and honoring their memory, I can’t help but be saddened. As Shelley put it:

In The Slave Next Door we find that slaves are all around us, hidden in plain sight: the dishwasher in the kitchen of the neighborhood restaurant, the kids on the corner selling cheap trinkets, the man sweeping the floor of the local department store. In these pages we also meet some unexpected slaveholders, such as a 27-year old middle-class Texas housewife who is currently serving a life sentence for offences including slavery.

Weaving together a wealth of voices—from slaves, slaveholders, and traffickers as well as from experts, counselors, law enforcement officers, rescue and support groups, and others—this book is also a call to action, telling what we, as private citizens, can do to finally bring an end to this horrific crime.

Take a few moments to go read Shelley’s excellent review.

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Child Prostitutes Are Committing A Crime?

Making my way through the hundreds and hundreds of stories in my human trafficking feeds, I found this – “Human trafficking a modern scourge.

The humans being trafficked and forced to work as prostitutes in New Jersey were from Mexico and Honduras. They were either promised marriage or decent wages if they moved to America, but instead they were forced into a life of prostitution. These are young girls, children by definition. And let me repeat, they were FORCED into this life, into a form of modern slavery we call sex trafficking. They were brutally exploited for the sake of profits. That is what makes this next quote so hard to to understand.

“These cases are tough,” Brian Hayes, an FBI agent in Atlantic City said. “They are tough because the victims in child prostitution cases by definition are committing a crime. And they have a distrust of law enforcement. Just as illegal immigrants distrust law-enforcement, prostitutes distrust law-enforcement because they don’t want to get arrested.”

Read that again: “Victims in CHILD prostitution cases by definition are committing a crime.” I’ve read this over and over and I can’t reconcile this in my mind. They call the CHILD a VICTIM and then say the VICTIM is committing a crime?

No wonder we have a problem. Child sex traffickig is one of the most evil forms of modern slavery. It would be more accurate to call it “rape for profit.” The pimps are slave owners and the clients are pedophiles. And the brutalized, exploited CHILD VICTIM is committing a crime?

I want to scream.

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The Fight Against Human Trafficking In Chicago, Illinois

May 16-21, 2009, Traffickfree.org is organizing a city-wide Stop Traffick praxis project in Chicago. Stop Traffick is an initiative “to end human trafficking in Chicago.” The video linked to the image below shows the general lack of understanding that exists around human trafficking in the USA. It’s more real and more pervasive than any of us would choose to admit.

stoptraffick

If you’re in Chicago, take a look and see if this is something you could be a part of.

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Today The Goal Is Modern Slavery Awareness

Say something.

Here is story about slavery in the United States I mention in the video.

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A World Without Slavery: The Polaris Project

I literally stumbled on a site today I had not heard of, The Polaris Project.

Polaris Project is committed to combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery, and to strengthening the anti-trafficking movement through a comprehensive approach.

The project was started by Katherine Chon and Derek Ellerman. They were still attending Brown University when they decided to start the project. Their casual conversations with friends, family and university professors convinced them that while many were well educated about the history of slavery, they were totally unaware of how pervasiveness of modern-day slavery.

They wondered, “What could two seniors getting their undergraduate degrees really do to make a difference on this issue?”

You can read more about their quest for a world without slavery here.

Polaris Project For A World Without Slavery

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Nothing Says I Love You Like…

“Nothing says “I love you” like a superficial and overvalued rock clawed from the guts of the Earth by African slave labour.” From FronstfireSeeds.com.

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Every State Should Have Criminal Trafficking Statutes

Only 27 states have criminal trafficking statutes.

In Ohio, for example, there are no laws against human trafficking. Law enforcement officials are only able to exact justice if other crimes, like rape or assault are involved. Federal law prohibits human trafficking, but many states are left with holes in their ability to combat these crimes themselves.

I’m left scratching my head. Really?  

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Vote To Fight Slavery

Paste Magazine and Our Stage are helping make a difference.

Paste/Ourstage Donation Campaign

Modern-day slavery is a $32 billion industry and Not For Sale is dedicated to freeing the 27 million people this industry enslaves and enacting strategies to undercut both the supply and demand for slaves.

Over the next few months, each time someone registers to vote in the monthly competitions, OurStage will donate $2 to the Not For Sale Campaign. It couldn’t be any easier and the voting is actually fun!

Paste Magazine is responsible for tracking the amount of money to be donated. Sign up here to vote and help end slavery.

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400,000 Children Working In Inidan Cotton Fields

When you read the Hindustan Times, the numbers aren’t easily discerned. Today, the headline reads, Four Lakh Children Slogging In Cotton Fields: Report. To a US reader, the word “lakh” may seem like the name of a province. But a lakh is not an area of India. A lakh is equal to 100,000. It’s a large number. Too large.

Based on the field research done by Glocal Research, the report said that out of the total number of children involved in child labour in the cotton industry, 2.25 lakh are below the age of 14.

The report also said that the children are made to work for 8 to 12 hours with a paltry earning of Rs 20 to 30 per day. “They are routinely exposed to poisonous pesticides and often trafficked as migrants from other districts and states,” the report said.

While in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat more than 80% of the children are trafficked, North Gujarat ‘receives’ tens of thousands of children from Rajasthan every year. The children often live in makeshift shelters and are vulnerable to mental, physical and sexual abuse, the report said.

Two large multinational companies were named in the report, Monsanto and Bayer.

Monsanto And Bayer Engage In Forced Child LaborA report like this calls into question Monsanto’s seemingly hollow pledge to “convert values to actions and results, and to make clear who we are and what we champion.” It’s hard to imagine that those at the very tops of the organization are not aware of these practices. So their actions make clear what they champion.

With Bayer, the irony is even more evident. Their slogan, Science For A Better Life, may sound nice, but not if that is not extended to a better life for these force child laborers. Not surprising however, given that “a will to succeed” and “a passion for our stakeholders” come ahead of other stated values, like “integrity openness and honesty” and “respect for people and nature.”

In my experience, big business clearly holds some values more valuable than others.

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