Friday, April 24, 2009

Freeze!



From our friends over at the Freeze Project, in their words:


Use creative action and come together to raise awareness about human trafficking and modern day slavery.


Learn more

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Blight on the Nation: Slavery in Today’s America Pt II



By Ron Soodalter

So how many slaves are we talking about? According to a U.S. State Department study, some 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States from at least 35 countries and enslaved each year. Some victims are smuggled into the United States across the Mexican and Canadian borders; others arrive at our major airports daily, carrying either real or forged papers. The old slave ship of the 1800s has been replaced by the 747. Victims come here from Africa, Asia, India, Latin America, and the former Soviet Republic. Overwhelmingly, they come on the promise of a better life, with the opportunity to work and prosper in America. Many come in the hope of earning enough money to support or send for their families. In order to afford the journey, they fork over their life savings, and go into debt to people who make promises they have no intention of keeping, and instead of opportunity, when they arrive they find bondage. They can be found – or more accurately, not found – in all 50 states, working as farmhands, domestics, sweatshop and factory laborers, gardeners, restaurant and construction workers, and victims of sexual exploitation. These people do not represent a class of poorly paid employees, working at jobs they might not like. They exist specifically to work, they are unable to leave, and are forced to live under the constant threat and reality of violence. By definition, they are slaves. Today, we call it human trafficking, but make no mistake: It is the slave trade.

Nor are native-born Americans immune from slavers; many are stolen or enticed from the streets of their own cities and towns. Some sources, including the federal government, estimate in the hundreds of thousands the number of U.S. citizens – primarily children – at risk of being caught in slavery annually. Although these figures may be inflated, the precise number of slaves in the United States, whether trafficked in from other countries or enslaved from our own population, is simply not known. The simple truth is, we’re looking at a crime that lives in the shadows; it’s hard to count what you can’t find.

What is particularly infuriating is the fact that this is a crime that, as a rule, goes unpunished. For the moment, let’s accept the government’s estimate of about 17,000 foreign nationals trafficked into slavery in the United States per year; coincidentally there are also about 17,000 people murdered in the US each year. The national success rate in solving murder cases is about 70%; around 11,000 murders are “cleared” annually. But according to the US government’s own numbers, the annual percentage of trafficking and slavery cases solved is less than 1%. In 2007, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division obtained 103 convictions for human trafficking, with an average sentence of 9 years.

And to further complicate matters, when they are rescued, survivors often deny their situation. There are several reasons for this: the language barrier, a deep sense of shame, fear for their lives and those of their families in their country of origin, and a sense of obligation to pay their debt. In addition, the traffickers program them to fear the police and immigration officials. And in some instances, they come to identify with their keepers.

We don’t yet know how President Obama will respond to the human trafficking crisis; it’s too soon to tell. But we do know that the response under the Bush Administration was inadequate on any number of levels. In a speech on trafficking, Bush once stated, “We're beginning to make good, substantial progress. The message is getting out: We’re serious. And when we catch you, you’ll find out we’re serious. We’re staying on the hunt.” Strong words. But the unvarnished truth is, with less than 1% of the bad guys apprehended, and less than 1% of the victims freed, it sounds a lot more like spin than fact; meanwhile, the flow of human “product” into America continues practically unchecked.

This is the kind of knowledge you can’t “unlearn”; the only question is, what do you do with the information once you have it? It’s a question we must all address for ourselves. We tend to think of our America as the country where slavery has no place; the dire truth is, we are pretty far from freedom, and it will take a lot of work and dedication – by the government, and by us - to make it so.



The Slave Next Door by Ron Soodalter and Kevin Bales:

Tens of thousands of people from every part of the globe (including U.S. citizens) are living in slavery today in America. They are controlled by violence, paid nothing, and forced to work until they die, escape, or are rescued. Authors Ron Soodalter and Kevin Bales describe this horrific condition in their definitive book,
The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today, which presents for the first time, a comprehensive and compelling account of modern-day slavery in the Land of the Free.


Websites:


Ron: www.RonSoodalter.com

Kevin: www.freetheslaves.net


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Blight on the Nation: Slavery in Today’s America Pt I



By Ron Soodalter

The American humorist Will Rogers once said, “It ain’t that we’re so dumb; it’s just that what we know ain’t so.”

Certain things we know to be true. We know that the South kept slaves, and the North fought a righteous war of liberation. We know that the slave trade was legal right up to the Civil War. We know that the Emancipation Proclamation freed all the slaves, and that the United States has been slavery-free ever since. These things we know – and none of it is true.

On the other hand, most of us do not know that slavery not only exists throughout the world today; it flourishes. Slavery is legal nowhere, yet it is practiced everywhere. With an estimated 27 million people in bondage worldwide, it is the second or third most lucrative criminal enterprise of our time, after drugs, and maybe guns. More than twice as many people are in bondage in the world today as were taken in chains during the entire 350 years of the African Slave Trade. In seeking to place blame, we’re tempted to point to the “emerging nations” as the culprits, whereas in fact slavery exists in such “civilized” countries as England, France, Spain, Italy, Israel, Ireland, Greece, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, China…and the United States. Most Americans are clueless that slavery is alive and more than well right here, thriving in the dark, and practiced in many forms in places you’d least expect.

As a student of history, I’d always assumed that slavery ended with the Thirteenth Amendment. Some years back, I had written nearly an entire book on the pre-Civil War slave trade when I stumbled on an account of slavery – in present-day America! My first response - a common one, as it turns out - was denial: “No way. Slavery has had no place here since the time of Lincoln.”

Only after extensive research did I discover that slavery has always existed on this continent, from the days of its European discovery right up to the present day. Christopher Columbus enslaved the Taino Indians, setting a precedent that was followed by every European power to claim land in the New World. Slavery became the social and economic order. After the Civil War, and for decades right up to the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, planters practiced a form of debt bondage known as peonage, binding workers and their families to the land in an unending cycle of slavery. For over sixty years, our own government has enabled worker abuse and slavery through the mismanagement of its “guest worker” program. And now, with the global population more than tripled since World War II, and with national borders collapsing around the world, people - in their desperate quest for a way to survive – have become easy targets for human traffickers. And once again, America is a prime destination.




The Slave Next Door by Ron Soodalter and Kevin Bales:

Tens of thousands of people from every part of the globe (including U.S. citizens) are living in slavery today in America. They are controlled by violence, paid nothing, and forced to work until they die, escape, or are rescued. Authors Ron Soodalter and Kevin Bales describe this horrific condition in their definitive book,
The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today, which presents for the first time, a comprehensive and compelling account of modern-day slavery in the Land of the Free.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Can Legalizing Prostitution Help Prevent Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation?

Recently, a lot of attention has been paid to US drug policy, on the heels of comments by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on US complicity in the violence on the US-Mexican border and a recent President Obama town hall meeting which detoured to the role of marijuana in stimulating the economy. Amongst my friends, this has led to numerous discussions of the liberalization some of America’s more “puritanical” policies on drugs and commercial sex work. As a result of my experience in the immigrant advocacy and anti-human trafficking fields, I am somewhat leery of the legalization approach. What would happen if the US was to legalize sex work? What has been the experience of countries that have legalized prostitution? Would this somehow help victims of human trafficking?

I have had some exposure to the British and Swedish approaches to prostitution and models for fighting human trafficking during a 2007 fellowship in the UK and Albania with the
Advocacy Project. The British model is somewhat similar to the US system where prostitution is illegal, although they do not have an option similar to the T-visa for victims of human trafficking. British policy was recently updated on April 1st when the Council of Europe Convention Against Trafficking in Human Beings took effect in the UK.

The Swedish approach to prostitution, much lauded by advocates in the UK, is somewhat different. Prostitution has been legal in Sweden since 1999 but it is illegal to buy sex or to pimp. Not only has Sweden made buying sex punishable by fines and jail time, they also humiliate the purchasers of sex by publishing their names in the newspaper. But what has happened in countries where prostitution is legal and the shaming approach of Sweden was not adopted? I recently ran across an informative opinion piece called “
Does Legalizing Prostitution Work?” by Helen Mees, a Dutch economist and lawyer, that goes some way towards answering this question.

Mees argues that, even in the liberal city of Amsterdam with its open outlook on prostitution and soft drugs, women are forced into sex work while police stand by and watch.
Even in the Netherlands, women and girls who sell their bodies are routinely threatened, beaten, raped, and terrorized by pimps and customers. In a recent criminal trial, two German-Turkish brothers stood accused of forcing more than 100 women to work in Amsterdam's red-light district (De Wallen). According to the attorney who represented one of the victims, most of these women come from families marred by incest, alcohol abuse, and parental suicide. Or they come from countries in Eastern Europe or Southeast Asia and have fallen victim to human trafficking, lured by decent job offers or simply sold by their parents.

These women are Amsterdam's leading tourist attraction (followed by the coffee shops that sell marijuana). But an estimated 50 to 90 percent of them are actually sex slaves, raped on a daily basis with police idly standing by. It is incomprehensible that their clients are not prosecuted for rape, but Dutch politicians argue that it cannot be established whether or not a prostitute works voluntarily. Appalled by their daily routine, police officers from the Amsterdam vice squad have asked to be transferred to other departments. Only this year, the city administration has started to close down some brothels because of their ties to criminal organizations.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the average age of death of prostitutes is 34. In the United States, the rate at which prostitutes are killed in the workplace is 51 times that of the next most dangerous occupation for women, working in a liquor store. Other studies show that nine out of ten prostitutes urgently want to escape the job. Almost half have attempted suicide at least once.

Apparently Norway examined the Dutch and Swedish approaches to prostitution and decided that the Swedish approach was superior and changed its legislation accordingly. According to Mees, the shaming approach of the Swedish has been so successful because the fear of humiliation for purchasing sex is quite real.

According to a study in California, most men who bought sex would be deterred by the risk of public exposure. For example, 79 percent said that they would be deterred if there was a chance that their families would be notified. And a whopping 87 percent said that they would be deterred by the threat that the police might publish their photographs or names in the local newspaper.

Most of these men showed pathological behavior towards women. One in five admitted to having raped a woman, while four out of five said that going to prostitutes was an addiction.

While it is important to realize that prostitution and human trafficking are two separate phenomena that can sometimes intersect, the importance of protecting the safety of both sex workers and trafficking victims cannot be overstated. Ultimately, the approach to prostitution and fighting trafficking adopted by countries should be the model that best protects women and girls. Some argue that this is an approach, much like the Swedish model, that would humiliate and criminalize those that pay for sex or pimp women. The first step, surely, is to raise awareness and to realize that even in countries where prostitution is legal, sex trafficking and forced prostitution do not disappear.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Kevin Bales: The Business of Slavery



"On one level businesses would say it's not my job to deal with this... but the truth of the matter is if you're buying and selling [a product that involves slavery somewhere along the product chain] then you are involved... but [the company alone] doesn't have to solve the whole problem... it's about teamwork."


- Kevin Bales

Short-term international position with ICF Macro

From DevEx:
Organization(s): ICF Macro
Country/Region: Worldwide
Contract Length: Short-term consulting assignment
Apply by: 10 May 2009

Description:

ICF Macro, a Washington, DC area based consulting firm, is currently recruiting in-country research Consultants to complete data collection including document collection and interviews on government efforts to combat child labor in its worst forms in the countries listed below:
  • Latin America/Caribbean
    Argentina, Belize, Bolivia Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Paraguay, Uruguay
  • Middle East/North Africa
    Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman
  • Eastern/Central Europe
    Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Macedonia, Mongolia, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Russia, Serbia
  • Asia/Pacific Islands
    Bangladesh, Cambodia, East Timor, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tonga
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
    Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, C├┤te d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Lesotho, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia
Research will be conducted in support of a U.S. Department of Labor project to obtain detailed information on government efforts to combat child labor in its worst forms.

Consultants will be responsible for suggesting relevant sources to contact including organizations and individuals, as well as providing insights into potential documents to include in the research. Upon completion of the document collection, Consultants will be required to provide Macro International with a completed questionnaire on the issue of government efforts to combat child labor in its worst forms as well as copies of all supporting documents and references to interviews conducted.

Qualifications:
  • Relevant experience in the country the Consultant wishes to research;
  • Knowledge and experience with labor issues such as forced labor, child labor or human trafficking;
  • Understanding of local culture and relevant in-country government and non-governmental contacts preferred;
  • Understanding of regional labor issues and relevant contacts;
  • Local language skills and excellent English language skills;
  • Strong research skills.

Work will begin in mid-April, 2009 and be completed by mid-May, 2009. During this period, the Consultant will be required to complete all deliverables outlined in their contract, as well as complete any follow-up requested by Macro International.

How to apply:
Interested candidates should forward their CV and writing sample to Yodit Fitigu at
Yodit.E.Fitigu@macrointernational.com. Please indicate the country which you are interested in.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

United Nations and Inter- Parliamentary Union Join Forces to Combat Trafficking in Persons

From UN.GIFT:

8 April 2009- Yesterday in the Ethiopian capital, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the framework of the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) launched the publication Combating Trafficking in Persons: A Handbook for Parliamentarians.

"Parliaments and parliamentarians have the power to prevent human trafficking by raising awareness and curbing exploitative practices". Said UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa. The President and Secretary-General of IPU, as well as the Speaker of the Austrian Parliament, were present at the launch.

As public awareness of human trafficking grows, people are demanding that action be taken to end it. As their elected representatives, parliamentarians have a responsibility and the power to ensure that laws and other measures are put in place and implemented to that end. The Handbook is intended to inspire them to enact sound laws and adopt good practices that will strengthen national responses to human trafficking.

The handbook also contains a compilation of international laws and good practices developed to combat human trafficking, and offers guidance on how national legislation can be brought in line with international standards by, for example, defining trafficking in persons and criminalizing all its forms. It outlines measures to prevent commission of the crime, to prosecute offenders and to protect victims.

"I urge you to use this Handbook, not only as a reference, but as a blueprint for strengthening your country's response to this crime" the Executive Director added.

In conclusion, it is clear that parliamentarians have a role to play in the fight against human trafficking. As agenda-setters and voices of the people, they can have significant power and influence in developing anti-human trafficking laws and policies.

***************************
Combating Trafficking in Persons: A Handbook for Parliamentarians is a useful step forward for legislators and compiles a significant amount of information. The Handbook lays out the various definitions of human trafficking and the international legal framework for combating trafficking in persons, the criminalization of trafficking, monitoring and reporting on human trafficking and enhancing the role of civil society in fighting human trafficking. This Handbook could be a useful resource in developing a common methodology for monitoring and reporting on human trafficking. Presently, a major problem with human trafficking statistics is that they are no comparable across countries and the standards of data collection vary significantly.

However, it is important to stress that, even when a country enacts stronger anti-trafficking in persons laws, this does not mean much for trafficking victims if these laws are not properly implemented. While Combating Trafficking in Persons: A Handbook for Parliamentarians may ultimately prove to be a useful resource for legislators for basic facts, more must be done to ensure that laws are not only enacted but fully implemented and actualized.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Job Opening with Safe Horizon



Safe Horizon
Sr. Case Manager-Anti-trafficking

Salary: $30,441- $34,246.full benefits, 4 weeks vac
Education: Bachelor (BA, BS, etc.)
Location: Jackson Heights, New York, 11372, United States
Posted by: Safe Horizon
Job Category: Direct social services
Language(s): Spanish
Job posted on: April 13, 2009
Area of Focus: Crime, Safety, and Victims’ Issues
Type: Full time
Last day to apply: June 12, 2009

Description:
Using an intensive case management model and human rights based approach, Safe Horizon operates a comprehensive, community-focused social and legal services program for survivors of human trafficking, many of whom have experienced and witnessed physical and/or psychological abuse, survived torture and other forms of organized violence.

Essential Job Functions:
  • Provide intensive case management support, client accompaniment, advocacy, information, and linkages with community service providers and local, state and federal law enforcement, on behalf of victims of human trafficking.
  • Offer crisis intervention, short-term counseling, accompaniment and referrals.
  • Collaborate and coordinate services with external partners to provide a continuum of care for clients.
  • Advocate for clients’ rights to protect the best interest of the client.
  • Conduct outreach and presentations to identified communities and providers, informing them about the services the Anti-Trafficking Program provides, and generate referrals.
  • Maintain accurate and thorough case records, advocacy letters, database entries and agency documentation as required.
  • Prepare narrative and case management reports on a monthly basis for funders.
  • Ability to clearly and concisely articulate case issues and opposing viewpoints.
  • Participate in community forums, community working groups, and trafficking task force work as required.
  • Active participation in weekly staff meetings with a small and dynamic team.
  • Complete additional tasks as required by the Anti-Trafficking Program.

Additional Qualifications:

  • BA and at least 3 years experience working with trafficking survivors or similar population or MA/MSW and at least one year of experience working with trafficking survivors or similar populations.
  • Counseling experience with survivors of physical and emotional abuse or crime victims who are immigrants and refugees or similar populations.
  • Cultural competency and linguistic fluency.
  • Second language required. Spanish a plus; Russian, Korean, French or Chinese desired.
  • Excellent and effective writing skills, organization and communication skills required.
  • Must be familiar with a wide range of social justice, immigration, refugee issues; the underlying social issues effecting survivors of human trafficking, violent crime, domestic violence, torture, flight from persecution in other countries, and those seeking basic family re-unification; and human rights based approaches to combating trafficking.
  • Prior experience organizing and executing group trainings and information exchanges is preferred.
  • Ability to work independently and manage multiple tasks.
  • Computer skills.
How to Apply:
Please email resume and a cover letter addressing the knowledge, skills and abilities required to Fiona Mason, Supervising Social Worker, Anti-Trafficking Program. Resumes without a detailed cover letter will not be considered. atpjobs@safehorizon.org

For other positions available with this organization, please click here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Trafficking Victims for Sale in The Washington Post?

*Image from NY Times

Would you be shocked to learn that the Washington Post contributes to human trafficking in the DC area? As a DC resident and a Post reader I was sorely disappointed to realize that the venerable Washington Post, one of the nation’s most well-respected papers, still accepts ads for “massage parlors.” This is not a new issue; in August of 2006 the Washington Post’s then-Ombudsman Deborah Howell declared that it was “time to drop the massage parlor ads,” noting that “men don’t go there for backrubs.”

Katherine Chon, co-founder of the Polaris Project, an anti-trafficking NGO based in Washington, DC, raised the issue of massage parlor ads in the Washington Post in a great blog on April 9th for Change.org’s End Human Trafficking blog. Chon points out that the Washington Post continues to accept advertisements from massage parlors even though they have reported on the human trafficking that takes place in these quasi-legal establishments.

According to Chon, …The Washington Post has been a primary source for them to visit massage parlors and spas in the DC area. Most recently, on March 16, one man wrote "Washington Post is posting ads again" in response to another john's question about where to find commercial sex in DC.

During my tenure at Polaris Project, a non-governmental organization combating modern-day slavery, we've worked with dozens of women who've been victims of human trafficking within brothels disguised as massage parlors. Almost all of the women from commercially-fronted brothels we've worked with in the DC area have been victimized in locations that have been advertised in The Washington Post's Sports section.

These women are often offered legitimate jobs, but then forced into prostitution. Many are unable to leave the brothel. Several are threatened with gang violence and others are threatened with harm to family members if they tried to leave. Some women are in debt bondage, and most have experienced some type of sexual violence or coercion from customers frequenting the brothels. All of them want to escape.

In early 2006, representatives of The Washington Post's Advertising Department said that if they knew there was illegal activity occurring in these "massage parlors," they would take the advertisements down. Did they not know that their own journalists had reported on human trafficking in several massage parlors advertised in their paper?

I picked up yesterday's paper and saw that while there were only six advertisements for commercial sex-oriented parlors and spas in the Sports section, The Washington Post was still accepting such ads. I attribute the decrease in overall ads (which was up to 35 at one of its high points in 2002) mostly to the work of the DC Task Force on Human Trafficking and the general state of the economy.

Mary Ann Werner, vice president and counsel for The Post in 2006, claimed that employees review ads for “matters of taste.” Despite this “stringent” policy, The Post has not taken steps to ban these ads since the issue was first raised in August of 2006. The Post does accept ads for escort services since they claim these can be “fronts for prostitution.” Why not apply this policy to ads for massage parlors which can be fronts not only for prostitution but also human trafficking?

Other comparable papers, such as the LA Times, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Chicago Tribune have long refused to run ads for massage parlors. I have not yet seen a response from The Post so it is unclear how this situation will be resolved. For now, I highly recommend signing The Polaris Project’s petition to tell the Washington Post to stop supporting brothels. As for me, I think I will be purchasing the New York Times for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Trafficking and Deportation


A few days ago, a man in North Carolina was convicted for two counts of sex trafficking of minors and one count of interstate transportation of an adult for the purpose of commercial sex. At this point the only things I've read about it was the press release from the Department of Justice, and a blog post over on the End Human Trafficking blog on Change.org - but I find the case intereting for several reasons that I thought I'd share.

First, the man is an 'undocumented Mexican National' - the politically correct term for an illegal alien. Based on the fact that he was undocumented, and the crimes he was convicted of, there are several reasons for which he can and will be deported (the correct term is 'removed' - but most people still say deported). What I'm curious about is the EXACT reason the government will use when he is ordered removed/deported - will it be his illegal entry into the United States? Will it be based on the crimes he committed constituting crimes involving moral turpitude or aggravated felonies? (Please ignore that brief slip into immigration law concepts - I'm about to make my real point). OR - will it be because he is found to be a 'significant trafficker in persons'?!?


Ta-da! There is my point - because in case you didn't know, up until December 23, 2008 there was no specific ground for deportability/removability for human trafficking. Sure, it would likely fall within a variety of other reasons for deportation, but such laws are tricky and I like seeing it be its own ground, rather than trying to force it into one of the other categories.


Now - there are still plenty of questions to be answered. For instance, what does 'significant' trafficker in persons mean? Also, in terms of sex trafficking, I'm wondering whether this would encompass the Johns who pay to exploit the trafficked victim (because they technically meet the definition of a trafficker).


There are plenty of other things to say about the article and the law - but I will leave it to you to bring it up in the comment section and maybe we can get a discussion going. Meanwhile, I hope this little glimpse into US laws related to trafficking was enlightening.

Job Opening with Polaris Project



Organization: Polaris Project
Location: Washington, District of Columbia, 20013-8892, United States
Job Category: Fundraising & Development
Job posted: April 7, 2009
Last day to apply: June 6, 2009

Type: Full time
Language(s): English
Area of Focus: Foundations, Fundraising, and Philanthropy, Victim Support Services, Women's Issues
Degree Preferred: Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree and CFRE certification preferred
Type: Full-Time
Salary: $65,000-$75,000 (DOE)
Start Date: July 1, 2009

Position Description: Polaris Project is a nationally recognized organization working to combat human trafficking and modern-day slavery since 2002. Polaris Project seeks a Director of Development to manage and oversee a dynamic fundraising program and to build the organization’s financial support by using time-tested as well as cutting-edge techniques. She/he will work on creating an effective strategy to match growth and create a culture of donor recognition, involvement and stewardship throughout the organization. This person will be under the supervision of the Executive Director and work in collaboration with staff and the Board of Directors. The 2009 budget is projected at $2.8 million. The position will be based out of the headquarters office in Washington, DC.

The Director of Development will:
  • Manage and execute a comprehensive fundraising strategy including major and individual gifts, foundation relations, government grants, and corporate partnerships.
  • Lead development efforts to reach increasing annual goals.
  • Provide supervision to 2 Development Officers and multiple volunteer fellows.
  • Cultivate, solicit and steward current donors and help to identify prospective donors.
  • Oversee the grant-writing process, including editing grant applications and reports and ensuring timely and high-quality submissions as well as cultivating relationships with foundations to raise awareness about human trafficking and Polaris Project as funding priorities.
  • Work on creating annual dinner/awards ceremony, community fundraising groups, online fundraising and communication tools, and planned giving program.
  • Coordinate with Finance team and Executive Management team to ensure that funds are properly recorded and that grant budgets and reports are in alignment.
  • Plan and lead weekly development meetings and represent the team at weekly Management meetings.
  • Collaborate with Public Outreach team to implement a solid communications strategy to support fundraising initiatives, including donor solicitation materials and an annual report.

Additional Qualifications:

  • Minimum 7 years of demonstrated success in fundraising, ideally in a fast-paced environment.
  • Proven track record of managing a development program and meeting goals from diverse sources.
  • Experience with budget preparation and financial management, analysis and revenue forecasting.
  • Excellent organizational and written and oral communication skills including superb editing, proofreading and presentation abilities.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills, strategic thinking, and attention to detail.
  • Proficient use of Microsoft Office Suite and donor database (eTapestry a plus).
  • Experience, competence, and confidence in supervising and managing staff and volunteers.
  • Experience preferred in leading a capital campaign, creating an endowment, and developing a planned giving program.
  • Integrity, comfort, and ability to gain the trust and confidence of supporters and stakeholders.
  • Willingness and ability to travel as needed.
  • Resiliently positive and energetic attitude
How to Apply:
All application materials should be sent as attachments to Applications@polarisproject.org. Materials should include a custom cover letter, resume, writing sample and three references, plus any additional personal statements you may wish to include. The deadline for application is rolling until a candidate is chosen, so early application is advised. Polaris Project is an equal opportunity employer.

For other positions available with this organization, please click here.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Faceless International



In light of economic crisis and the growing epidemic of selfishness in our country, there are a increasing number of people who are trying to make changes in the world we live in.


Now, I may be biased because I have had the pleasure of working alongside and creating a relationship with these people. Aside from that, I completely respect anyone who desires to create change in our community.


Faceless International is a non-profit organization that began with friends reflecting on a trip to Haiti and sparked a fire that is has yet to burn as brightly as it could. The momentum in growing and the amount of change that this organization could create is going to be admirable and monumental.


The heartbeat of this organization is Stephen Christian (of Anberlin) and Sarah Freeman. Together with many others, they have begun educating young people around the world on issues that effect us today. Be it fair trade, issues of people without homes, or human trafficking; they inspire folks across the country to make change happen in their own backyards and all over the world. Also given the amount of exposure they get with Anberlin, (and other bands like The Classic Crime & Showbread) there are endless amounts of people who will learn about relevant issues. Especially reaching those that wouldn’t otherwise hear about these issues. They can also gain the enthusiasm of people that they admire for issues they care about most.


Within a generation that wants to create change, Faceless goes about it the right way. They form community among its volunteers and within the place they serve.


Whether it’s doing laundry for low-income families in Los Angeles, singing and dancing with the Dahlit in India, forming relationships with coffee farmers in Guatemala; Faceless brings about stories and faces to incredible issues. They inspire the people who pay to spend their time and efforts to take all they learn home. They inspire people to form relationships and community with people all around the world.


Recently I went with Faceless to Los Angeles for my spring break from graduate school (I also went with them to India in December). Eight other students from different locations all came together for different causes; to learn, to serve and to grow. Leaving LA, we had become best friends and family. We know each other’s stories, passions and struggles. We helped each other through tough moments, awkward situations and when coming face to face with an injustice we want to fight. Not only that, we learned stories of youth who have been living on Venice Beach for years. We saw hope for trafficking victims to become survivors. Faceless builds unity to bring community to the people around us and it’s beautiful.


Check out www.facelessinternational.com, or email, ask questions and get involved. Be the change you want to see, make a difference. Be a light to a city that doesn’t have enough.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

UN.GIFT Expert Group Initiative on Stakeholder Cooperation with Law Enforcement

From UNGIFT:

1 April 2009 - In the framework of the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT), of which the International Organization for Migration is one of the Steering Committee members, IOM Vienna hosted last Monday, an Expert Group Initiative (EGI) on Cooperation between law enforcement institutions and stakeholders to effectively combat and prevent trafficking in human beings.

The purpose of the Conference was to present, discuss and disseminate the ''Guiding Principles on Memoranda of Understanding between Key Stakeholders and Law Enforcement Agencies on Counter-Trafficking Cooperation'', developed under this Expert Group Initiative.

Some of the topics addressed were the benefits and challenges on formalized cooperation between stakeholders to counter trafficking in human beings as well as some existing practices on institutionalized collaboration at regional, national and international levels.

Formalized cooperation, such as Memoranda of Understanding (MoU), clearly identifies the driving principles of such cooperation, and contributes to the building of mutual trust and the development of a common understanding on the objectives and policies of the different parties.

While the conference generated much dialogue on a wide range of topics, discussions on the Guiding Principles took centre stage. The Guiding Principles are a practical reference tool for counter trafficking experts from law enforcement agencies and stakeholders on how to build Memoranda of Understanding on cooperation between those institutions on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings as well as on protecting the trafficked persons.

The Conference also served as a platform for counter-trafficking experts to exchange their knowledge and experience.

IOM invite all counter-trafficking actors to make good use of the Guiding Principles and will gratefully receive feedback on the Guiding Principles as well as will happily support any related counter-trafficking initiatives.

In conclusion, there was a general consensus amongst participants that MoUs will guarantee formalized continuity of cooperation and reinforced preventive and combative anti-trafficking practices.


This is a small, but targeted and specific step for international law enforcement cooperation to continue to improve. The nature of the international crime inherently requires international law enforcement cooperation in order to combat the crime effectively, but the formalization of policies and procedures between countries has been slow to develop. Hopefully with more readily accessible tools such as this, progress in the best interest of the victims and of justice can occur faster.