by Amanda Kloer
Today, thousands of advocates from across the country are coming together to take action against child sex trafficking in America. They’re calling their representatives in Congress, signing petitions, and supporting the grassroots campaign to pass national legislation that will provide critical services to American children who have been forced into the commercial sex industry. Will you join them?
In America, at least 100,000 children are forced into prostitution each year. With increased resources and an understanding that child prostitution is child trafficking, thousands of those kids are now being rescued. However, only a handful of shelter beds for those thousands currently exist. That means trafficked children have no place to go for safety, shelter, and therapeutic services. Too often, this lack of resources means law enforcement arrests these young victims as juvenile offenders, simply to get them to safety. This lack of resources means crime victims are being imprisoned while their traffickers and predators remain free. Continue reading
Posted in Child Abuse, Child Labor, Child Prostitution, Event, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution, Sexual Exploitation
Tagged Child Abuse, Child Labor, Event, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Human Trafficking Education, Modern Day Slavery, Resource, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution, Sexual Exploitation
Imagine being stripped of everything you know, transported between states and forced to have sex with strangers. No, this isn’t a nightmare; these are details from a recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation. Four girls – some younger than 14 years old – were forced into a life of prostitution by a Somali-run Human Trafficking Organization. Continue reading
Posted in Child Abuse, Child Labor, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Law Enforcement, Modern Day Slavery, News, Organized Crime, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution, Sexual Exploitation
Tagged Child Abuse, Child Labor, Forced Labor, Gangs, Human Trafficking, ICE, Modern Day Slavery, News, Organized Crime, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution, Sexual Exploitation
by Amanda Kloer
At least 100,000 American children are forced into prostitution each year, right here in the U.S. You can help make that number zero by uniting your voice with thousands of people from across the country to demand an end to child sex trafficking and pass landmark legislation which will keep traffickers off the streets, punish those who buy sex with kids, and protect victims.
On November 17, the National Coalition to End Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking is organizing a National Day of Action to pass the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act. Right now in the U.S., there are only a handful of shelter beds for the thousands of children who are being removed from prostitution each year. This legislation will mean more young domestic sex trafficking survivors will have access to the shelter and restorative care services they need. It will also increase resources for law enforcement to arrest and prosecute the traffickers and predators who victimize our children. Continue reading
Posted in Child Abuse, Child Labor, Event, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery, News, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution, Sexual Exploitation
Tagged Child Abuse, Child Labor, Event, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery, News, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution, Sexual Tourism
by Rachel Lloyd
There’s been lots of coverage in the last 24 hours on the Twitter ‘feud’ between Demi Moore and Kim Kardashian. Yet the glaring omission from all the articles, blogs and commentary is any real analysis of Demi’s point – that we glamorize and glorify pimp culture, use terminology that seems to legitimize the practice, and in doing so ignore the fact that pimps are modern-day slave-owners.
I’m the founder and Executive Director of GEMS, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, the nation’s largest service provider to girls and young women who’ve been commercially sexually exploited and domestically trafficked. Every day, I witness the impact that pimps have on the lives of girls in this country. Girls are left with physical and psychological scars from the brutal tactics of adult men who prey upon some of the most vulnerable children in our society and then sell them for profit over and over again.
Demi, and her husband Ashton, have met some of the girls GEMS serves, heard their horrific stories about being under pimp control and have taken action. They launched the DNA Foundation with the goal of ending child sex trafficking both in the US and abroad and recently donated a $250,000 Pepsi Refresh grant to support GEMS services to survivors of domestic trafficking. Both Demi and Ashton have been raising the alarm about the epidemic of child sex trafficking that’s happening right here in the US to American girls for over a year now, and yet it’s an exchange with Kim Kardashian that has garnered the most attention.
Kim Kardashian, like most people in this country, is probably totally unaware of the harsh reality of pimping and thinks of it in the context of a Jay-Z song, a 50 Cent video, an Oscar-winning song and movie, or a caricature from the 1970’s. I’m sure if Kim knew the real stories, tears and scars behind the glorified images of pimps, she’d think differently about the language she used. I’d encourage her and anyone else who uses ‘pimpin’ as a verb to watch our Showtime documentary ‘Very Young Girls’ to learn the truth about pimp culture.
Ultimately though this issue isn’t about Kim or Demi. It’s about the girls and young women whose lives are systematically destroyed by pimps/traffickers. It’s about changing our societal acceptance of pimps and ‘pimpin’ and calling it what it really is: trafficking and slaveholding. Over 100,000 children in this country are exploited through the commercial sex industry each year, and the median age of entry into the sex industry is estimated to be between 12 and 14 years old. If those facts haven’t been enough to start a national dialogue about domestic trafficking of girls in the US, perhaps a Twitter exchange between two celebrities will be.
The Twitter exchange between Ms. Kardashian and Demi Moore (Mrs. Kutcher): Continue reading
Posted in Book/Resource, Child Abuse, Human Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution, Sexual Exploitation
Tagged Child Abuse, Girls Educational & Mentoring Services, Human Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution, Sexual Exploitation
by Angela Longerbeam
When the Easter Bunny visits your house this year, will he be complicit with the slave trade? Before delivering treats to more fortunate children, did he hop on over to Africa’s Ivory Coast and make sure trafficked children weren’t harvesting his cocoa? That Easter Bunny. We love him, but he sure is a slacker sometimes.
News has swirled around for awhile now regarding labor practices in the chocolate supply chain. In spite of signing the Cocoa Protocol back in 2001 and thereby promising to move toward slave-free chocolate production, companies like Hershey seem to be okay with kids farming their cocoa. It is heavy labor in and of itself, unsuitable for children, and made infinitely more exploitative with no pay and a daily serving of abuse. They either support these labor practices directly, or else they support it indirectly, by looking the other way.
Eating chocolate is bliss, and so, of course, is ignorance.
The demand for transparency and ethical business practices have surfaced through petitions and organized boycotts. Fair trade chocolate brands are becoming more prevalent and popular all the time. But we, as concerned consumers, only have as much knowledge on the subject as chocolate companies allow -– and no company in its business-sensed mind is going to make itself look bad.
That’s why a journalist from Denmark, Miki Mistrati, has gone undercover to see what’s really happening on the Ivory Coast’s cocoa farms in a new documentary called The Dark Side of Chocolate.
Posted in Child Abuse, Child Labor, Debt Bondage, Fair Trade, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Indentured Servitude
Tagged Child Abuse, Child Labor, Debt Bondage, Fair Trade, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Indentured Servitude, Modern Day Slavery
by Amanda Kloer
In the months leading up to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, a number of organizations were giving Canadians a strong warning: human trafficking, and especially child sex trafficking, increases around major sporting events like the Olympics. Organizations working with trafficked women swear up and down that when a big athletic event comes to town, they do more business. Other organizations, often those working with prostitution but not human trafficking issues, have claimed these predictions are baseless fear-mongering. Well, information from the latest Olympics is starting to roll in, and of course, the results are different in the eyes of different groups.
Having only been over for a couple weeks, Vancouver is still recovering from what was a very busy Winter. However, a couple reports regarding prostitution and human trafficking in the area have come out. Local organization Prostitution Alternatives Counseling and Education (P.A.C.E) has said that street level prostitution in the most common areas, whether voluntary or involuntary, was slow throughout the games. They’ve categorically stated that the Olympics caused no bump in human trafficking, which was what they predicted. Another organization, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, claims that trafficking was a reality during the Olympics. They said they served at least five internationally trafficked women and saw at least 100 domestically trafficked women. They also postulated that a lot of the commercial sex was taking place indoors, where no one was looking for it. Continue reading
Posted in Child Abuse, Event, Human Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery, News, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution, Sexual Exploitation, Sexual Tourism
Tagged Child Abuse, Child Sex Trafficking, Chinese Baby Trafficking, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery, News, Olympics, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution, Sexual Exploitation, Sexual Tourism
by Amanda Kloer
Yesterday in their annual report, Apple admitted that it had identified at least 11 children working in overseas factories which produce iPods, iPhones, and computers. In addition to the child labor, illegal and exploitative working conditions for adults exist in some of Apple’s factories as well. Surprisingly, Apple made these findings public themselves in their most recent annual report. But are they doing enough to prevent the exploitation of children and workers in their factories?
In addition to the factories that allowed underage children to work there, some of Apple’s other factories have been called “sweatshops.” The company admitted that just over half of its overseas factories ignore the company policy that employees cannot work more than 60 hours a week. And the factories in China, where the majority are located, regularly break Chinese labor laws which prohibit employees from working more than 49 hours a week. Only 65% of factories were paying the wages and benefits due to workers, and 24 factories in China violated minimum wage laws. One factory even fabricated documentation to hide their underage workers and workers’ rights violations from Apple. Apple has now stopped using that factory. Continue reading
Posted in Child Abuse, Child Labor, Fair Trade, Human Trafficking, News
Tagged Apple, Child Abuse, Child Labor, Fair Trade, Human Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery, News
by Amanda Kloer
The prospects for healthcare reform may be chillier than DC weather, but Democrats in the House and Senate are turning their attention to another warmer but still significant national issue: the increasing number of runaway and throwaway youth who are being forced into prostitution. In response to the growing concerns that desperate, runaway teens will be forced into prostitution in a sluggish economy, Congress is pushing several bills to improve how runaway kids are tracked by the police, fund crucial social services, and prevent teens from being caught in sex trafficking. Here’s the gist of what the new legislation is trying to accomplish:Shelter: Lack of shelter is one of the biggest vulnerabilities of runaway and homeless youth. Pimps will often use an offer of shelter as an entree to a relationship with a child or a straight up trade for sex. In the past couple years, at least 10 states have made legislative efforts to increase the number of shelters, extend shelter options, and change state reporting requirements so that youth shelters have enough time to win trust and provide services before they need to report the runaways to the police. Much of the new federal legislation would make similar increases in the availability and flexibility of shelter options.
Police Reporting: Right now, police are supposed to enter all missing persons into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database within two hours of receiving the case. In reality, that reporting doesn’t always get done, making it almost impossible for law enforcement to search for missing kids across districts. This hole is a big problem in finding child prostitution victims and their pimps, since pimps will often transport girls from state to state. The new bill would strengthen reporting requirements, as well as facilitate communication between the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Runaway SwitchboardFunding Pilot Programs: Another bill, introduced in December, would fund pilot programs aimed at providing teens in prostitution drug treatment, counseling, and job skills training. Even when child trafficking victims are separated from their pimps, some return to prostitution. In many cases, this return is a direct result of the power and control the pimp exercises over his victims. But sometimes, it’s because the teen lacks the resources and skills to support herself in another way. Programs like these can help children leave prostitution for good. Continue reading
Posted in Child Abuse, Human Trafficking, Law Enforcement, Modern Day Slavery, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution, Sexual Exploitation
Tagged Child Abuse, Human Trafficking, Justice Issues, Law Enforcement, Modern Day Slavery, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution, Sexual Exploitation
by Sarah Parker
It’s V-Day my friends! And like any good last-minute shopper, you know that flowers make a great a gift. Did you also know that those beautiful flowers from your local florist or grocery store may have come from Columbia, Ecuador, or Kenya?
Flowers are flown in from these countries year round, where warmer climates, cheaper labor, and lax pesticide laws allow for low wholesale prices and higher profits. As you can imagine, these conditions are ripe for slave labor conditions. According to The Toronto Star, not only are there concerns about working conditions in the industry, but commercial flowers produced in South America have been reported to be some of the most toxic, chemically-treated crops in the world. Women and children are the main cut-flower workers and can suffer not only from health and safety hazards, but also sexual harassment, abuse, and low to no wage conditions.
Different countries have instituted their own voluntary “green” certification initiatives and fair labor regulations for cut-flower workers; programs like Florverde in Colombia, Sello Verde in Ecuador, and the Kenyan Flower Council. Each has a different set of standards depending on their country’s own regulations. Some of the programs spend more time promoting themselves than they do caring for the workers they supposedly protect. And since kids are harmed by pesticide poisoning much quicker than adults, they need to spend less time on marketing and more time actually meeting the International Code of Conduct. Continue reading
Posted in Child Abuse, Child Labor, Fair Trade, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery
Tagged Child Abuse, Child Labor, Event, Fair Trade, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery, Valentines Day