Tag Archives: Debt Bondage

Free2Work Smartphone App Lets Shoppers Fight Slavery

by Amanda Kloer

The Not for Sale Campaign is giving shoppers the chance to fight slavery with their smart phones this holiday season. The Free2Work app give consumers a handy guide to how their favorite brands fare in preventing slavery and other serious abuses in their supply chains. Now you’re just a touchscreen away from making every purchase support freedom and fairness for workers around the world. Continue reading

Book Review: Enslaved: The New British Slavery

 Reposted from the blog:” A Passion To Understand”  http://passiontounderstand.blogspot.com

The year 2007 may have marked the bicentenary of the abolition of slavery but the reality is that many people around the world are living in conditions of forced labour or slavery.  In her book Enslaved: The New British Slavery, Rahila Gupta gets in contact with five modern day slaves and convinces them to share their stories. These are heartbreaking and shocking tales that expose the hidden and invisible world of modern day slavery. All of these testimonies were obtained in England so this is not simply a “third world problem” that we can sweep under a rug; it is happening in our neighbourhoods. Continue reading

Well-Made Campaign Seeks to End Hiring Traps

by Amanda Kloer

Well-Made, a new campaign from Verite, focuses on one of the root causes of labor exploitation and slavery: hiring traps aimed at migrant workers. Hiring traps are a common way for people to end up in human trafficking. But human trafficking can be prevented by tracing supply chains back to hiring traps and exploitative hiring practices.

What is a hiring trap? Basically, it’s a situation where a labor recruiter uses some combination of deception and coercion to lure a worker into an exploitative work situation. Hiring traps and deceptive hiring practices are used by recruiters to lure workers into unfair or exploitative labor. Sometimes the job offers involve outright lies, and sometimes just omission of key details (like substandard living conditions). You can read some examples of hiring traps here.

If hiring traps are the problem, the Verite’s Well-Made Campaign has an answer. The initiative focuses on giving companies and investors the tools to trace supply chains back to the labor recruiters who are often behind hiring traps. Addressing these fair hiring issues at their root can help address many of the labor exploitation issues which show up in product supply chains. Migrant workers and contract workers are particularly vulnerable to labor broker abuses. Companies can solve a number of their labor compliance issues by monitoring the practices used to recruit and place workers in their supply chain. Continue reading

Chocolate Paves the Path to the Dark Side

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.  

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Human Trafficker Gives Rare Video Interview

by Amanda Kloer

If you’ve had an interest in the issue of human trafficking and modern-day slavery for any period of time, you probably have wondered, “How can one human being actually enslave another? What’s going through his or her head?” Now, here’s your chance to know. A South African NGO has filmed a former human trafficker who lured girls and women from Thailand to South Africa with the promise of high-paying jobs and then forced them into prostitution. Check out his story in his own words, with more after the jump. Warning: contains graphic descriptions of violence.

This man might not be your stereotypical trafficker, in part because he seems to have had a change of heart about what he was doing, but his descriptions of the trafficking process are incredibly complex. It starts with false promises, includes enforcement of corrupt police and the graphic physical and psychological abuse that goes on. It’s a very brutal reality described in the starkest of terms.

One of the most interesting parts of the interview was that they were able to anticipate law enforcement raids and simply move the girls to another place. Finding human trafficking victims is incredibly difficult for this exact reason. I have to wonder if this ability to detect and then evade inspection by the police is a common phenomenon among traffickers, or if it was this man in particular who was just highly skilled.

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STOP THE TRAFFIK:Take Part in START FREEDOM

START FREEDOM a campaign for young people

Stop The Traffik

A global campaign for schools and young people who will become aware of the issues surrounding human trafficking and realise the power to make a difference. Please go to www.startfreedom.org and download the Start Freedom resources. Teachers, there are great resources here to discuss this important world wide issue in the classroom.

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ICE participates in Human Trafficking Awareness Day in South Florida

Reposted From: ethiopianreview.com

MIAMI – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Homestead Police Department (HPD), the Miami Dade Police Department (MDPD), and the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Florida (SDFL) participated in Monday’s national Human Trafficking Awareness Day to inform members of the community about the horrors and the prevalence of human trafficking and how to report it to law enforcement.

“ICE is committed to working with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to inform our communities that this 21st century form of slavery exists in this day and age throughout the country and law enforcement is dedicated to rescuing victims and holding traffickers accountable,” said Anthony Mangione, special agent in charge of ICE’s Office of Investigations in Miami. “Because this heinous crime is extremely well-hidden, we need to help educate members of the public about human trafficking, and encourage them to keep alert for possible human trafficking victims.”

On Jan. 11, as part of Human Trafficking Awareness Day, special agents and victim advocates of ICE’s Office of Investigations in Miami along with officers and detectives of the HPD, MDPD, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office SDFL held an informational forum presented to school staff and counselors, parents and middle and high school students that are part of a Miami Dade’s Public School Program located at the Redland Housing in Homestead, Fla. Additionally, ICE special agents and HPD officers conducted outreach to farm and day laborers by giving out brochures and informational materials on human trafficking at labor drop-off and pick-up locations in downtown Homestead. Students also had the opportunity to participate in a leadership and rock climbing wall at the school. Councilman Elvis R. Maldonado is sponsoring and supporting this event on behalf of the City of Homestead.

Human trafficking is a tragic, serious cross-border crime, and ICE is the lead U.S. federal government agency responsible for investigating and dismantling human trafficking organizations. It is estimated that 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked around the world each year. These victims are trafficked into the commercial sex trade, and into forced-labor situations throughout the world. Many of these victims are lured from their homes with false promises of well-paying jobs; instead, they are forced or coerced into prostitution, domestic servitude, farm or factory labor, or other types of forced labor.

The greatest challenge in combating human trafficking is victim identification. Surprisingly, many people are unaware that this form of modern-day slavery occurs every day in the United States. Victims may end up in a foreign country; are often unable to speak the language, and have no one to advocate for them. Traffickers often take away the victims’ travel and identity documents. They tell their victims that if they attempt to escape, their families back home will be either physically or financially harmed.

ICE is asking for the public’s help to remain alert to recognize and identify victims of modern-day slavery who are in our midst. They are domestic servants, sweat-shop employees, sex workers and fruit pickers who were lured here by the promise of prosperity. Ultimately, they are forced to work without pay and are unable to leave their situation. ICE is committed to giving them the help they need to come forward and help us end human trafficking with vigorous enforcement and tough penalties. As a primary mission area, ICE has the overall goal of preventing human trafficking in the United States by prosecuting the traffickers, and rescuing and protecting victims.

In 2008, the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force (SFHTTF) was created. The task force is housed in the ICE Office of the Special Agent in Charge Miami and consists of agents and officers of ICE, FBI, State Department-Diplomatic Security, Miami Dade Police Department, Homestead Police Department, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. The SFHTTF investigates all instances and allegations of human trafficking in the South Florida region which includes cities as far south as Key West and as far north as Fort Pierce.

Additionally, the SFHTTF works closely with non-governmental and social service organizations in its human trafficking efforts. These organizations routinely forward information regarding potential victims and trafficking networks to the task force for investigation. The task force works with organizations to provide training to other law enforcement agencies and conduct outreach to other governmental agencies, such as foreign consulates, for the purpose of identifying potential victims that they may encounter at the local consulate offices.

(Source: ICE)

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How Haiti’s Quarter Million Slaves Will Survive The Quak

BY AMANDA KLOER

What has been a slow crisis of poverty and enslavement for almost 250,000 child slaves in Haiti, known as restaveks, turned into an immediate crisis this week with the brutal 7.0 earthquake that hit the country. Mere hours after the news of the devastation in Haiti broke, America and countries around the world saw an outpouring of aid from international organizations and individuals. Groups have organized drives for everything from donations to shoes to volunteers.

But as we all get that warm and fuzzy feeling from helping our neighbors in their time of great need, it’s important to remember that millions of Haitians needed aid before this earthquake, and they’ll continue to need it long after the media fervor has died. And those with the greatest need will be the enslaved restaveks.

Restaveks are a huge part of Haitian society and the economy. They are usually children from extremely poor families who are sent away to work as domestic servants in wealthier homes. The children aren’t paid for their work, but provided shelter and a sometimes meager meal supply. In the best case scenarios, families will send their restavek children to school. But restaveks often work long days performing a variety of household tasks for nothing more that a meal or two a day. Two-thirds of restaveks are girls, and they are extremely vulnerable to rape and sexual abuse from the families who house and control them. The life of a restavek child in Haiti often varies between bleak and hopeless, and many children never successfully leave their slave conditions.

Restaveks are also the least likely to benefit from the tide of international aid washing onto Haiti’s shores, though they might be the ones most in need of it. A restavek’s hunger and wounds take a distant backseat to those of their employer. And some restaveks are not officially registered with the Haitian government as people.

While it’s impossible to predict the exact long-term effects of a natural disaster of this magnitude on a country where the poverty is so immense and the enslavement of millions of children is a common and socially-accepted part of life, I feel comfortable predicting that even more children will become restaveks. And while life will get significantly harder for everyone, restaveks will be hit the worst.

If you’re interested in helping the people of Haiti, Change.org’s Michael Jones lists some great resourceswhere you can donate, and in some cases volunteer, to help relief efforts. In addition, I’d like to add a couple resources that will directly aid the restavek population of Haiti, including The Restavek Foundation and Free the Slaves, which works in Haiti.

But as you donate money, feel empathetic, and think about ways to help Haiti this week, remember that long after the buildings are rebuilt, Haiti will still be a country built on the slavery of children. And for the restaveks, every day they are not free is another disaster.

Photo credit: Lucas the Experience

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40 Ideas for Action on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day: From Facebook to Legislation

by Amanda Kloer

Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. But here in the End Human Trafficking Community at Change.org, every day is about human trafficking awareness. So to build off the awesome awareness-raising activities going on around the country, I’m bringing you ideas for action. Last year, I gave you 11 suggestions of things to do today to help end human trafficking. This year, we’re raising the bar to 40. Everything on this two-part list is a quick, easy action you can take to spread the word about and help fight modern-day slavery. But all these little actions add up fast, and if every one of the over 43,000 people in this online community did just one thing on this list, we would see a huge difference in the fight against human trafficking.

So here is my challenge to you. 1 day. 1 action. 40 ideas. What will you do to end slavery today?

40 Things I Can Do to End Slavery on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day: Part 1

1. Grab my cell: save the National Human Trafficking Hotline number (888-373-3888) in my phone, so I can call it if I spot potential trafficking.

2. Update my Facebook status with information about National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, even if it’s just an announcement that the day exists.

3. Tweet a link to an article about human trafficking.

4. Call my mom and tell her it’s National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and ask her to call at least one friend and tell them the same.

5. Email all the people in my contact book a link to this blog, or another blog about human trafficking.

6. Wear an article of clothing which declares my support for abolition.

7. Put an abolition bumper sticker on my car or truck.

8. Distribute National Human Trafficking Hotline wallet cards.

9. Sign a petition on Change.org.

10. Create a petition on Change.org.

11. Comment on a blog post about human trafficking on Change.org.

12. Pass out flyers in my neighborhood, school, or community.

13. Put up posters in places where it’s legal.

14. Host a video or film screening.

15. Watch human trafficking videos online with my friends, family, or co-workers.

16. Invite people over for dessert and a discussion about human trafficking.

17. Find out if my state has an anti-trafficking law.

18. Ask my state legislators to pass an anti-trafficking law.

19. Attend a Human Trafficking Awareness Day event in my community.

20. Go online and buy a book about human trafficking for myself or as a gift.

A number of these actions were inspired by the even longer list available here. Click on “Take Action” for a list of ideas specific to who you are.

Photo credit: steveweaver

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40 Ideas for Action on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day: From Fair Trade to Fundraising

by Amanda Kloer

Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. But here in the End Human Trafficking Community at Change.org, every day is about human trafficking awareness. So to build off the awesome awareness-raising activities going on around the country, I’m bringing you ideas for action. Last year, I gave you 11 suggestions of things to do today to help end human trafficking. This year, we’re raising the bar to 40. Everything on this two-part list is a quick, easy action you can take to spread the word about and help fight modern-day slavery. But all these little actions add up fast, and if every one of the over 43,000 people in this online community did just one thing on this list, we would see a huge difference in the fight against human trafficking.

So here is my challenge to you. 1 day. 1 action. 40 ideas. What will you do to end slavery today?

40 Ways to Take Action on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day: Part 2

21. Write a poem or a song about human trafficking.

22. Write to my congressman, asking what she or he is doing to address human trafficking in my area.

23. Write to my city council representative, asking what she or he is doing to address human trafficking in my city.

24. Make a video about human trafficking and put it on YouTube.

25. Find out if the products my employer buys are Fair Trade certified.

26. Ask my employer to consider buying Fair Trade certified alternatives of products.

27. Buy a cup of Fair Trade Coffee at a local coffee shop or a national chain.

28. Cook a meal for or bring food to a local anti-trafficking shelter.

29. Write a thank you note to my favorite anti-trafficking organization letting them know how much I appreciate their efforts.

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