Thursday, October 27, 2011

MTV EXIT Live in Manila, Philippines

To raise awareness and increase prevention of human trafficking, MTV Networks has joined forces with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) to hold a concert in Manila this Saturday night at the SM Mall of Asia concert grounds in Pasay City.

The free outdoor concert will be headlined by Korean pop sensation Jay Park, previously known as the leader of Korean boy band 2PM.

Actor and TV host Dingdong Dantes will also appear as MTV’s newest celebrity ambassador to help spread the word about the MTV EXIT campaign.

“As a member of the local entertainment industry, I may become helpful in this campaign by enlightening those Filipinos who are not yet aware of what is happening,” Mr. Dantes said in his speech during the concert’s press conference last week.

Mr. Dantes will also host a TV special called Enslaved: An MTV EXIT Special. The 30-minute documentary is the third in a 12-part series that MTV produced in Asia.

It will give audiences a glimpse into human trafficking and exploitation in the Philippines, telling the experiences of abuse and exploitation of four human trafficking survivors, and highlighting what everyone can do to help end this crime. Enslaved: An MTV EXIT Special will be aired on Nov. 27, 9:55 p.m. on GMA News TV. 

Are you going to this event?  If so get in touch to do a writeup!  Reach us at

Monday, October 24, 2011

Food chain slaves

From Al Jazeera:

In the opening episode of Slavery: A 21st Century Evil, Al Jazeera's Rageh Omaar investigates food chain slavery, considered the easiest form of slavery to stamp out, in the US.

The US has been leading the global fight against modern slavery. But, according to conservative estimates, there are between 40,000 and 50,000 slaves in the US today.

So in this episode, Rageh questions why a nation built on the abolition of slavery - a country that had to go through a painful civil war to formally bring an end to slavery - is failing to address the problem inside its own borders.

The investigation begins in the poor villages of Thailand, where agents for the US slave masters trick desperate peasants with promises of well-paid jobs abroad.

But far from fulfilling their American dream, many end up in slave labour farms in Hawaii, California and Florida - unable to return home and working to pay off the debts they incurred in the pursuit of a better life for themselves and their families.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Beat Down Human Trafficking- Week #5

Here's another track from the album Beat Down Human Trafficking!

We will be releasing a new song off the album each Friday so be sure to check back next week for more.  And if you like what you hear share it with your friends and help us raise awareness.

Click to Download: J Nice- The Definition

Beat Down Human Trafficking is a hip-hop album about modern day slavery. 

During a 10-month Fulbright grant in the Philippines in 2007 to study the NGO response to human trafficking, Justin Hakuta decided he wanted to do something other than write a research paper. Hakuta was spending his days interviewing survivors of forced prostitution, domestic slavery and forced labor and learning about the economic, cultural and political factors that allow trafficking to flourish. Wanting to find a personal, accessible way to insert trafficking into the mainstream consciousness, Hakuta started recording Beat Down in the Spring of 2007.

Happy Friday! 

The HTP Team

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sailing to Yemen with human traffickers

From Aljazeera: 

By Glen Johnson

There were more than 30 people crammed on the back of the truck as the vehicle bumped through the desert in eastern Djibouti.

The passengers were men, women and children from Ethiopia and Somalia and myself. And all would be smuggled in boats from Djibouti to Yemen, as part of wider trafficking operations involving six countries - Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea - that apparently trafficks tens of thousands of people from the Horn of Africa to Arabian nations each year.

I had arrived in Djibouti on June 7 to research human trafficking. Having lived in Yemen for part of 2010, I was aware that the Africa-Arabia smuggling trade was one of the myriad challenges facing Yemen, yet one of the troubled nation's least discussed. In Djibouti, I quickly established links with smugglers, some of whom agreed to let me accompany migrants from Ethiopia and refugees from Somalia by boat to Yemen.

The truck drove slowly through the desert. No one talked. A distant beam from a lighthouse swept across the night sky. The silhouettes of coarse thorn scrubs, bent back from the wind, stood under a yellow moon that was ill-defined from the dust and sand that swept up into the night.

Occasionally the truck would grind to a halt and men would get out swinging sticks wildly, telling the passengers to keep still. A woman spoke to a child - his hair a mass of coarse, black curls; his spindly legs sticking out the bottom of his trousers.

The child was travelling with his brother from Mogadishu, the Somali capital. They hoped to reach Kharaz refugee camp, administered by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), in South Yemen. A place where his brother said: "There is food and a house. They [UNHCR] give money."

According to a 2010 Chatham House report, Yemen and Somalia: Terrorism, Shadow Networks and the Limitations of State-building, the Horn of Africa smuggling trade - based on the number of registered arrivals in Yemen 2009, 77,802, could be worth more than $20m each year.

Read more

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

MTV Exit Live in Manila, Philippines Promo

The event teaser for MTV Exit's Concert Event in Manila Philippines to raise awareness and fight human trafficking in Asia-Pacific.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New UN fund awards $300,000 to help rehabilitate victims of human trafficking

From UN News Centre:

Organizations in 12 countries that help victims of human trafficking seek justice, return home and otherwise recover from their ordeal were collectively awarded some $300,000 today in the first grant of a new United Nations fund.

“A unique approach is being employed by the UN to channel severely needed funds to survivors of the horrific crime of human trafficking,” UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive Director Yury Fedotov said, appealing for greater financial support for the Small Grants Facility, launched earlier this year as part of the UNODC-managed UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking.

“There is a critical need for increased donations so that we can step up this assistance. There is no place for human trafficking in the world and the Small Grants Facility has a role to play in eradicating this inhumane act,” he added of a $32-billion global industry, which is currently estimated to be exploiting over 2.4 million people, two-thirds of them women and children.

The 12 projects selected for the first year of the facility cover all major regions of the world and set to be rolled out in Albania, Cambodia, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, France, India, Israel, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Moldova and the United States.

Read more

Monday, October 17, 2011

Catholic Group Dropped From U.S. Human Trafficking Aid Contract Linked to Abortion

From Bloomberg:

A Catholic group lost a bid to continue providing assistance to victims of human trafficking for what it says may be the Obama Administration’s support for abortion rights.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was awarded a five- year contract that paid it $19 million to coordinate the services during the administration of President George W. Bush.

The contract was extended briefly in March, and the group said it was informed recently that its grant request to continue the work was turned down. Starting today, three other non-profit groups will provide case-management services for victims such as helping them obtain food, clothing and access to medical care.

“We hope our religious beliefs didn’t come into play,” said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Bishops in an interview. “Abortion politics will not find homes for minors being sold into sex slavery.”

The organization, which does not refer clients for abortions or provide contraceptives, has helped more than 2,700 victims of human trafficking since the group was awarded the contract in 2006, Walsh said. She said group leaders told her they don’t know why they didn’t receive a grant. 

Read more

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fight Against Human Trafficking Loses Ground in 11 Nations

By Victoria Pelham

The international fight against human trafficking, from abuses of migrant workers to organized prostitution networks, lost ground in the past year, the U.S. State Department reported.

The number of countries failing to comply with international standards to prevent human trafficking almost doubled to 23, according to U.S. State Department’s 2011 Trafficking in Persons report released today.

“The problem of modern trafficking may be entrenched, and it may seem like there is no end in sight,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement accompanying the report. “But if we act on the laws that have been passed and the commitments that have been made, it is solvable.”

As many as 27 million men, women, and children are “living in a state of modern slavery,” she said.

Since many countries have adopted anti-trafficking laws, the issue increasingly is one of enforcement, Clinton said at a State Department ceremony honoring 10 “heroes” in the fight against such abuses. Clinton, while citing advances in countries such as Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates, said that the overall number of prosecutions worldwide “has remained relatively static.” 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Community Question: What anti-trafficking initiatives do you find innovative?

What anti-trafficking programs, projects or ideas inspire you? 

From helpful technology to comic books, yoga classes to mountain climbing, mass freeze activities to music there is no shortage of ways we are coming together to innovate and help raise awareness of modern day slavery and make a difference.  

Share your thoughts with the community and let's collectively discover and discuss the exciting innovations emerging from the modern day freedom movement. 

Oh and please use our new Facebook discussion plugin to comment!
- The HTP Team

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sex, Human Trafficking Thriving In Australia

From Voice of America: 

By Phil Mercer

Anti-trafficking campaigners say human trafficking is thriving in Australia, with women brought from Asia forced to work in the sex industry. The warning follows the release of new details of two police investigations in Australia that have identified alleged links between legal brothels and illegal trafficking syndicates.

Rights activists and government officials say most human trafficking in Australia involves women from across Asia and parts of eastern Europe who are brought to work in industries ranging from prostitution to agriculture. Many come from Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea.

Only a handful of traffickers have ever been convicted in Australia, although senior officers have insisted they are starting to win the battle. Most women who are trafficked say they are reluctant to go to the police out of fear of deportation or because of threats against family members.

Since 2003, specialist units run by Australia’s federal police have carried out more than 300 investigations, and have identified about 150 women working as sex slaves.

Read the full article

Friday, October 07, 2011

Beat Down Human Trafficking- Week #4

Here's another track from the album Beat Down Human Trafficking!

We will be releasing a new song off the album each Friday so be sure to check back next week for more.  And if you like what you hear share it with your friends and help us raise awareness.

Beat Down Human Trafficking is a hip-hop album about modern day slavery. 

During a 10-month Fulbright grant in the Philippines in 2007 to study the NGO response to human trafficking, Justin Hakuta decided he wanted to do something other than write a research paper. Hakuta was spending his days interviewing survivors of forced prostitution, domestic slavery and forced labor and learning about the economic, cultural and political factors that allow trafficking to flourish. Wanting to find a personal, accessible way to insert trafficking into the mainstream consciousness, Hakuta started recording Beat Down in the Spring of 2007.

Happy Friday! 

The HTP Team

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Emmanuel Jal - Warchild

Emmanuel Jal, child-soldier of Sudan turned Hip-Hop artist, has incorporated his experiences into his album "Warchild," released on May 13, 2008. The inspirations for the 13 songs on "Warchild" are rooted in Jal's impossible past.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Human Trafficking at the Superbowl

The attorney general is sounding an alarm today about the dark side of the Super Bowl. Greg Zoeller says there will be an increase in demand for the illegal commercial sex trade in connection with the Super Bowl and, he says, we ought to expect that some of sex workers who come here are the victims of human trafficking.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Beat Down Human Trafficking- Week #3

Here's another track from the album Beat Down Human Trafficking!

We will be releasing a new song off the album each Friday so be sure to check back next week for more.  And if you like what you hear share it with your friends and help us raise awareness.

Click to Download: J Nice- Set Up Shop

Beat Down Human Trafficking is a hip-hop album about modern day slavery. 

During a 10-month Fulbright grant in the Philippines in 2007 to study the NGO response to human trafficking, Justin Hakuta decided he wanted to do something other than write a research paper. Hakuta was spending his days interviewing survivors of forced prostitution, domestic slavery and forced labor and learning about the economic, cultural and political factors that allow trafficking to flourish. Wanting to find a personal, accessible way to insert trafficking into the mainstream consciousness, Hakuta started recording Beat Down in the Spring of 2007.

Happy Friday! 

The HTP Team

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Support the Human Trafficking Project on Facebook

Dear HTP community,

Keep in touch by Liking us on Facebook!

Share relevant events with the rest of the community on our fan page, let us know what you're doing to raise awareness and prevent trafficking and get notified of special offers on trafficking events around the country.

We are constantly working to make HTP as helpful as possible, so if you have ideas for what you would like to see on our fan page do drop us a line.

See you there!

The HTP Team

World must do better to tackle human trafficking

The President of the General Assembly today called for redoubled efforts to tackle human trafficking, which the United Nations anti-crime agency says is a multi-billion dollar industry and one that enslaves some 2.4 million people at any given time, many of whom are children

“Although human trafficking takes place in the dark margins of our societies, we must not ignore its presence,” Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser said in remarks to the second ministerial meeting of the Group of Friends United Against Human Trafficking.

He told the gathering, which took place on the margins of the high-level debate of the Assembly’s 66th session, that nations must work together to end this global scourge, which ranks as the world’s third most profitable crime after illicit drug and arms trafficking. 

“We must prosecute and punish the criminals involved and protect and reintegrate the victims into their communities. We must spur governments and all members of society into action to reduce the vulnerability of victims, and increase the consequences for traffickers,” he said.

The President noted that despite the proclamation in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that all humans are born free and that no one shall be held in slavery or servitude, millions of people today, the majority of them children and women, are victims of human trafficking.  

He called for redoubling efforts to ensure that the rights and freedoms of every person are upheld. 

Read more 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Clinton Global Initiative: The Key Players Fighting Human Trafficking

The Clinton Global Initiative took a frank look at human trafficking with a panel that included MTV, the Body Shop and a student who busted a trafficking ring.

CGI, an annual meeting that brings together leaders from around the globe to tackle some of the world's most pressing problems, convened Tuesday to Thursday.

A trafficking panel discussion on Thursday centered around everything from the role of pimps to the legislation that's emerged from both grassroots and organized advocacy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

South Korea: The stimulus plan, sexism, and sex trafficking

By Youngbee Dale

The San Francisco Chronicle reported the story of You Mi Kim, a woman from South Korea forced into prostitution in the United States to pay off her $40,000 credit card debt. To pay off her heavy debt, she worked in a massage parlor that was actually a brothel, serving dozens of men in downtown Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Since the Chronicle broke the story, US authorities have focused on prostitution at local massage parlors, but have failed to address the root causes behind the proliferation of sex trafficking of South Korean women. 

South Korea is one of the major countries where sex trafficking victims in the U.S. originate. According to the US Attorney General in 2006, South Koreans accounted the highest population (24%) of sex trafficking victims in the U.S. followed by Thailand (11.7%), and Peru (10%),. The U.S. Trafficking in Persons report categorized South Korea as a Tier 1 country in the same year.

American authorities are well aware of the problem of South Korean women trafficked to the U.S. and other developed countries. The Trafficking in Persons report in 2011 noted the problem and recommended South Korea to implement a comprehensive anti-trafficking law.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Launch: The mtvU Against Our Will Campaign

From mtvU:

The mtvU Against Our Will Campaign was launched in September 2011 in partnership with Free the Slaves, GEMS, and Polaris Project. The campaign amplifies America's college students' efforts to end modern-day slavery in the U.S., and empowers them to learn more and get involved. The name mtvU's Against Our Will Campaign, reflects the simple fact that this violation of our most basic human rights is against the will of the college students mobilizing around the issue, against our will as a free society, and against the will of those trapped in modern-day slavery.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Philippines: 40% of male foreign tourists on sex tours

From the Phil Star:

At least 40 percent of male foreign tourists in the country, including Americans, come for sexual tourism, US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. said yesterday.

“I estimate that maybe up to 40 percent of foreign men who come here come for sexual tourism and that is unacceptable.

And any of them engaged in things that violate the law whether they are American or other foreigner should be prosecuted. That is against human values,” Thomas said during a roundtable discussion on human trafficking organized by the Supreme Court, Philippine Judicial Academy in partnership with the Court of Appeals and US Department of Justice Criminal Division.

Thomas said the US wants the Philippines to refine and strengthen its anti-trafficking law to ensure the conviction of foreigners involved in the crime.

He said he also told President Aquino and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that the US government is resolved to prosecute any American involved in cybersex and human trafficking.

Thomas said the US provided over $6.6 million to the Philippines for its anti-trafficking program and training.

Read more

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Global Anti-Slavery Action Map Advances Fight Against Human Trafficking

From Market Watch: 

End Slavery Now (ESN) today announced the successful launch of the new anti-slavery "Action on the Ground" project map, the first comprehensive and interactive web-based app to track the global fight against human trafficking. The new tool allows partner NGOs around the world to upload projects, photos and links; making it easy to see what organizations are doing to rescue, rehabilitate and reintegrate modern-day slaves, as well as stem demand.

Leading anti-slavery nonprofits including Free the Slaves, Polaris Project, Shared Hope International and International Justice Mission helped seed the map with their work. Icons distinguish the varied forms of modern slavery, such as forced labor, child soldiers or sex trafficking.

"The world map looks depressing when you flag it with the types of slavery that people endure in different countries," said Dr. Kevin Bales, co-founder and president of Free the Slaves. "But it can look quite hopeful when you also flag it with the frontline projects that are combating slavery around the globe."

Prior to the launch, participating NGOs posted over 80 projects in 30 countries. More actions are being uploaded daily. 

Check out the map

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Conversation Among Men About Sex Trafficking

The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women held a panel titled, A Conversation Among Men About Sex Trafficking on December 2, 2009 in New York City at the NYU Wasserman Center. The panelists included author, Aaron Cohen, actor/activist Michael Cory Davis, musician/philanthropist, Peter Buffett and Poet/activist Jonathan Paul Walton.

The causes of human trafficking are many with male demand acting as a primary contributor along with gender and racial inequality, poverty, organized crime, globalization and financial and political crisis. However, male demand for the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children is the most direct cause of the expansion of the enormously profitable sex industry, creating an economic incentive for sex trafficking. It's time that men step up and become a part of the solution. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Human Trafficking on the Silver Screen: The Whistleblower

In 1999, Kathryn Bolkovac, a single mother from Nebraska and a seasoned cop, joined the U.N. peacekeeping force in Bosnia, a country still in tumult after its brutal civil war. Her job was to investigate the sex trafficking of young women from Eastern Europe. Once she began collecting evidence from the victims she discovered that a number of U.N. officers – the very people who were supposed to be keeping the rule of law – were themselves playing part in prostitution rings.

Bolkovac told her employers, the American company DynCorp, what was going on. Instead of being lauded for her investigative acumen she lost her job. Her findings were considered bad public relations for the lucrative rebuilding effort.

After a two-year legal battle in England, where the DynCorp office that dealt with peacekeeping related contracts in Bosnia was based, a tribunal ruled that Boklovac was unfairly dismissed, thereby clearing her name.

Read the full article

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Kenya: Sex-trafficked women and girls also vulnerable to organ trafficking

From Women News Network:

By Gitonga Njeru

With the highest rate of human trafficking in East and Central Africa, several nongovernmental organizations in Kenya are now under investigation by INTERPOL , the world’s largest international police organization, with 188 member countries. The Interpol Sub-regional Bureau for Eastern Africa is based in Kenya’s capital in Nairobi.

Young women as well as girls who are trafficked can also become a living supply for human body organ transplants.

“Trafficking in human beings for the purpose of using their organs, in particular kidneys, is a rapidly growing field of criminal activity,” says INTERPOL. “In many countries waiting lists for transplants are very long, and criminals have seized this opportunity to exploit the desperation of patients and potential donors,” continues Interpol.

The trail of corruption in Kenya may also reveal human trafficker’s collusion with Kenyan authorities which may include the police and intelligence, as well as the judiciary. This alleged collusion may enable the illegal industry to grow as it goes ‘unchecked’ inside the country.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the most prevalent destinations for trafficked organs is Western Europe and the United States. These destinations have the highest number of patients waiting for a new kidney, liver, heart or pancreas.

Organizations currently under investigation are based in Kenya’s capital Nairobi and in Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city. For legal reasons the organizations cannot be named since investigations are ongoing and there are pending court cases.

Read the full article

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Global Forum on Human Trafficking, Oct 21-22, 2011 in Silicon Valley

Creating a future free of human trafficking requires collaboration and innovative thinking. The 2011 Global Forum will discuss and explore new models and tangible solutions to the real problems that cause trafficking world-wide.

We will be there, let's meet up!

Learn more about the forum 


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

'The Help' 2011? Domestic Worker Abuse Widespread

By Anushay Hossain

Last week, I finally saw the film version of “The Help,” based on the best-selling novel by Kathryn Stockett about the lives of African-American maids working in white people’s homes in 1960′s Jackson, Mississippi. I hadn’t read the book prior to watching the movie which I really loved.

Although the movie showed the racists and unfair treatment of primarily black women at the hands of their white employers, I am sure there were much worse stories the movie did not go into. In fact, just bringing up the topic of the rampant verbal, physical, and mental abuse people inflict upon their domestic help on my Facebook page touched upon stories from Dhaka to Potomac, Maryland.

Both before and after the movie, as a Bangladeshi I could not help but let my mind wander beyond the racially segregated America of the 1950′s and 60′s to modern day lives of domestic servants back home. Domestic servant abuse, primarily of female maids but of men as well, and really just across the board, including of child labor, is so rampant back home that it is practically considered cultural.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Summit to address tech solutions to fight trafficking

How can technology be used to fight human trafficking? It's the question technology leaders, including Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey, will try to answer in an anti-slavery forum in the Silicon Valley next month.

Steven Rice from Juniper Networks, the summit host, talked to CNN's Richard Quest about the summit and the role of technology in the anti-slavery fight.

QUEST: What will your fundamental message be for how the summit, how technology, how it can all be made to work to the benefit [to end slavery]?

RICE: We believe that technology, the technology that Juniper Networks builds around bridging and connecting devices, information and content, and linking that to the work that Not For Sale is doing is absolutely at the heart of how do we start to lead and drive innovation around ending world slavery.

QUEST: All right, Steven, I understand the principle. And I understand what you're saying. And it sounds very good. But how are you going to do it? What does it involve?

RICE: Well, it's a movement. And we believe that if you give individuals the power to make choices at a consumer level, that you will make the right choices based on a set of criteria that Not For Sale is driving supply chains around the world, being able to create jobs for individuals in these countries where individuals can actually start to build lives and capabilities that don't exist today.

Read the full article

Friday, September 09, 2011

Beat Down Human Trafficking- Week #2

Here's another track from the album Beat Down Human Trafficking

We will be releasing a new song off the album each Friday so be sure to check back next week for more.  And if you like what you hear share it with your friends and help us raise awareness.

Beat Down Human Trafficking is a hip-hop album about modern day slavery. 

During a 10-month Fulbright grant in the Philippines in 2007 to study the NGO response to human trafficking, Justin Hakuta decided he wanted to do something other than write a research paper. Hakuta was spending his days interviewing survivors of forced prostitution, domestic slavery and forced labor and learning about the economic, cultural and political factors that allow trafficking to flourish. Wanting to find a personal, accessible way to insert trafficking into the mainstream consciousness, Hakuta started recording Beat Down in the Spring of 2007.

More to come!

The HTP Team

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Human Trafficking By the Numbers

From the Bureau of Justice Statistics:

  • Federally funded task forces opened 2,515 suspected incidents of human trafficking for investigation between January 2008 and June 2010.
  • Federal agencies were more likely to lead labor trafficking investigations (29%) than sex trafficking investigations (7%).
  • Among the 389 incidents confirmed to be human trafficking by high data quality task forces.
  • There were 488 suspects and 527 victims.
  • More than half (62%) of the confirmed labor trafficking victims were age 25 or older, compared to 13% of confirmed sex trafficking victims.
  • Confirmed sex trafficking victims were more likely to be white (26%) or black (40%), compared to labor trafficking victims, who were more likely to be Hispanic (63%) or Asian (17%).
  • Four-fifths of victims (83%) in confirmed sex trafficking incidents were identified as U.S. citizens, while most confirmed labor trafficking victims were identified as undocumented aliens (67%) or qualified aliens (28%).
  • Most confirmed human trafficking suspects were male (81%). More than half (62%) of confirmed sex trafficking suspects were identified as black, while confirmed labor trafficking suspects were more likely to be identified as Hispanic (48%).

Learn more statistics

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Human trafficking increases in Ukraine

Police officers and human rights workers decry Ukraine's expanding human trafficking industry. Sunita Rappai reports.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Slave Labor in Tomatoland

By Jaelithe Judy

If you live in the United States and you eat fresh tomatoes in the wintertime, you’ve almost certainly tasted a tomato that was picked by a slave.

“That’s not an assumption. That’s a fact,” reveals U.S. District Attorney Douglas Molloy to former Gourmet magazine contributing editor Barry Estabrook in Estabrook’s book, Tomatoland. Molloy is a veteran government prosecutor with more than a decade of experience dealing with crime in Immokalee, Florida, a town at the center of Florida’s tomato industry. And he calls Immokalee “ground zero for modern day slavery.”

Roughly 90 percent of the slicing tomatoes sold in the winter in the United States come from industrial farms in the Sunshine State. To ensure they survive the long journey from balmy Florida to places as far away as Detroit or Seattle with nary a dent, the perfectly round, perfectly red winter tomatoes that line supermarket shelves and feed fast food restaurant customers in northern states in December are actually picked while green and hard. Later, these unripe tomatoes are gassed en masse in warehouses with ethylene — the same gas tomato plants produce naturally when their fruits are ripening — to turn them prematurely red. (If you’ve ever wondered why supermarket tomatoes in winter taste vaguely like tomato-colored wood pulp, this common industry practice would be a big reason why.)

Monday, September 05, 2011

Malaysia: Loopholes in maid hiring

By P. Aruna

The Indonesian Embassy has criticised the Government's move to allow hiring of maids without going through agencies, saying it opened up loopholes for human trafficking.

“Direct recruitment violates our laws and regulations,” said its minister counsellor for information, social and cultural affairs Suryana Sastradiredja.

He warned Malaysian employers that they could be detained by Indonesian authorities.

In July, the Government announced that employers could hire Indonesian maids without going through recruitment agencies as a way to reduce costs for those who would otherwise have to pay hefty agency fees.

The maids are brought into the country through social visit passes by employers or agents, who then get a work permit for them from the Immigration Department.

Read the full article

Friday, September 02, 2011

New effort to spot human trafficking in Houston

By Katie McCall

Human trafficking is a significant but hard to spot problem in Houston -- and across Texas. Now a new effort is underway to raise awareness, including an entire month dedicated to educating people about it. 

Houston is, unfortunately, a hub for human trafficking, which usually involves young women brought here for prostitution because of our proximity to the Mexican border.

The statistics are staggering -- a quarter of all trafficking victims rescued in the US are found in Texas, a large percentage in Houston. Local, state and federal representative s are supporting the Houston Rescue and Restore group's efforts to fight this problem.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Virginia making gains in curbing human trafficking

From the Washington Examiner: 

By Emily Babay

Virginia has improved what had been a dismal record on curbing human trafficking, according to a national anti-trafficking organization.

Polaris Project, which runs the national human trafficking resource center, had previously rated Virginia in its lowest tier. But after the state passed three anti-trafficking bills last year, Virginia is now ranked in its second-highest tier and is no longer singled out as "lagging behind" in its human-trafficking laws.

"Great bills went through," said James Dold, policy counsel for Polaris Project.

Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the three bills in May. One makes the abduction of any person for prostitution or of a minor for manufacturing child pornography a Class 2 felony that is punishable by 20 years to life in prison. Another requires the Department of Criminal Justice Services to advise law enforcement about prosecuting trafficking offenses. The third mandates that the Department of Social Services develop a plan to help trafficking victims.

Officials said those measures are already being implemented. The state held its first training seminar on recognizing human trafficking and prosecuting it last week.

"The biggest problem is spotting it," Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said. He said the session taught prosecutors, police officers and social workers about signs of trafficking and Virginia laws.

Read the full article

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Forced Labor: Slavery Spreading in Thailand & Cambodia

From UPI:

Human trafficking in Cambodia and Thailand is no longer limited to women and children, a Cambodian rights activist said. 

Poor formers in Cambodia are convinced to leave home on the promise of better work in Thailand. Many are finding themselves on long-haul trawlers in the South China Sea and forced to work against their will.

"It's slavery. There's no other way to describe it," Lim Tith, national project coordinator for the U.N. Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, told the United Nations' humanitarian news agency IRIN.

Exploitation is spreading beyond Cambodia and Thailand to Malaysia and Indonesian waters, with 25 men reportedly in slave-like conditions documented regionally this year.

"It's not just women and children anymore," San Arun, chairwoman of the Cambodian Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Trafficking taskforce, told IRIN.

Read the full article

Monday, August 29, 2011

Human Trafficking in Chicago

Dozens of girls, some as young as 12, were pulled into a human trafficking ring that forced them into prostitution, State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said today.

The girls and women, some of them homeless, were recruited on CTA trains, the Internet or during random meetings on the street, Alvarez said while announcing that nine people were charged under a state anti-human trafficking law passed last year.

During a yearlong investigation dubbed "Little Girl Lost," investigators armed with wiretaps listened as girls were beaten and, sometimes, thrown into a car trunk and driven around as a form of punishment, Alvarez said. Others were branded

One 13-year-old was sold from one pimp to another for $100.

Michael Anton, a commander with the Cook County sheriff's vice unit, called the case among the worst he's seen.

"There's so much of this out there," Anton said about human trafficking. "It's happening every day. It's happening in Chicago,Cook County, it's happening across the state.

Those arrested were charged with "involuntary sexual servitude of a minor" and trafficking in persons for forced labor. Four of them appeared in Cook County court today and ordered held on bail as high as $1 million.

The other five are scheduled to appear Thursday. Alvarez said the investigation is ongoing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thailand urged to stamp out human trafficking

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

HTP on Facebook and Twitter

HTP Followers,

We have created a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Please help us increase our impact by "liking" the HTP page on Facebook and following us on Twitter at @HumnTrafficProj.

Spread the word to stop modern day slavery.

Thank you!
HTP team

Monday, August 22, 2011

UN Urges Asia to Enforce Human Trafficking Laws

By Ron Corben

Senior United Nations officials say countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region including Thailand, Cambodia and Laos are failing to apply existing laws aimed at combating human trafficking.  The conclusions come as a U.N. envoy on human trafficking concluded a 10-day assessment of Thailand's efforts to curb labor migration abuses.

The U.N.'s Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, Joy Ezeilo, says countries need to adopt a comprehensive approach to combat trafficking and implement laws that are already on the books.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Beat Down Human Trafficking- The Definition

The first single from the album Beat Down Human Trafficking.

Click to Download: J Nice- The Definition

More to come!

Happy Friday,

The HTP Team

Thursday, August 18, 2011

ATEST/CNN Forum on Human Trafficking

ATEST and the CNN Freedom Project hosted a forum on human trafficking in Washington, D.C. on June 23, 2011. Moderated by CNN anchor Jim Clancy, participants included Mira Sorvino, Congressman Chris Smith, Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, CNN International's chief Tony Maddox, survivor and advocate Rani Hong, human trafficking expert Kevin Bales, and Humanity United's David Abramowitz.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kids Talk About Slavery

What happens when you ask a bunch of kids to define slavery? Free the Slaves visited the Agape International Spritual Center and asked the children: What is slavery? The answers were very enlightening.

She's 10 and May Be Sold to a Brothel

Nicholas Kristof has been writing articles for The New York Times regarding human trafficking for years. His most recent article highlights the personal side of the internationally lucrative business.

From The New York Times on 1 June 2011:
M. is an ebullient girl, age 10, who ranks near the top of her fourth-grade class and dreams of being a doctor. Yet she, like all of India, is at a turning point, and it looks as if her family may instead sell her to a brothel.
Her mother is a prostitute here in Kolkata, the city better known to the world as Calcutta. Ruchira Gupta, who runs an organization called Apne Aap that fights human trafficking, estimates that 90 percent of the daughters of Indian prostitutes end up in the sex trade as well. And M. has the extra burden that she belongs to a subcaste whose girls are often expected to become prostitutes.
M. seemed poised to escape this fate with the help of one of my heroes, Urmi Basu, a social worker who in 2000 started the New Light shelter program for prostitutes and their children.
M., with her winning personality and keen mind, began to bloom with the help of New Light. Both her parents are illiterate, but she learned English and earned excellent grades in an English-language school for middle-class children outside the red-light district. I’m concealing her identity to protect her from gibes from schoolmates.
Unfortunately, brains and personality aren’t always enough, and India is the center of the 21st-century slave trade. This country almost certainly has the largest number of human-trafficking victims in the world today.
To read the rest of the article, click here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Touching Base

Dear HTP Community,

You may have noticed we haven't updated the site in a while.  That's because we are currently figuring out HTP's next steps, and in the meantime are taking a brief reprieve from posting content.

Don't worry though, we will be back in the swing of things by August!

And for all of you who have gotten in touch about wanting to help but haven't heard back from us, apologies for the delay and expect a response from us this week.  If you are interested in lending a hand but haven't yet sent us an email, here's your chance.

Thank you for your support,

The HTP Team

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Batting Up for a Cause

While my knowledge of the D.C. Nationals, or any major league baseball team for that matter, is limited, I will be cheering them on as they take on the Cardinals June 15.

For this particular game, the Nationals have teamed up with the DC Human Trafficking Task Force to bring attention to modern day slavery. People who would otherwise not be inclined to learn about the issue will have information readily accessible at the game and persons dedicated to the cause can show up and make a statement that D.C. will not tolerate human trafficking anymore.

A portion of ticket sales will go to the DC Trafficking Task Force as they continue to help the countless victims of human trafficking.
I’ll be there because I care about this issue and who knows; maybe I’ll learn a thing or two about that “old ball game.”

Please see below for registration details:
To register go

* click Individual Game Tickets

* click “T” on game of choice

* enter Coupon Code “HTAN” and click continue

After the discount, tickets are $7/each.

Monday, May 02, 2011

EEOC Makes Headlines with Labor Trafficking Suit

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has brought formal charges against labor contractor Global Horizons Manpower, Inc, in what is being deemed the largest case of labor trafficking in the United States.

The EEOC is alleging that the California based contractor recruited hundreds of Thai workers from 2003 to 2007 to work on several U.S. farms under false pretenses of a better life. Upon arrival in the U.S. the workers were physically abused by their recruiters, deprived of food and water and had accrued a debt by the traffickers which would have been impossible to pay off. With their passports confiscated and under constant watch by body guards, they had little hope of escape, until one worker made their way to a nonprofit agency and told their story.

Global Horizons has been recruiting workers from around the world since 1989. Their website states that they “…understand the aspirations of countless workers who dream of having better jobs in better places, but who wish to return to their country of native origin when they've completed the job.” While the words are inspirational, the actions of Global Horizons have turned these “aspirations” for hundreds into a living nightmare.

As of now, back wages are being sought for each of the workers.

While the media attention surrounding this case is rare, labor trafficking itself is a lucrative business for traffickers in the United States. Currently, there are an estimated 10,000 victims of labor trafficking in the U.S.

What About American Girls Sold on the Streets?

Nicholas D. Kristof/The New York Times

When we hear about human trafficking in India or Cambodia, our hearts melt. The victim has sometimes been kidnapped and imprisoned, even caged, in a way that conjures our images of slavery.

But in the United States we see girls all the time who have been trafficked — and our hearts harden. The problem is that these girls aren’t locked in cages. Rather, they’re often runaways out on the street wearing short skirts or busting out of low-cut tops, and many Americans perceive them not as trafficking victims but as miscreants who have chosen their way of life. So even when they’re 14 years old, we often arrest and prosecute them — even as the trafficker goes free.

In fact, human trafficking is more similar in America and Cambodia than we would like to admit. Teenage girls on American streets may appear to be selling sex voluntarily, but they’re often utterly controlled by violent pimps who take every penny they earn.

Read the full article here.