Monday, February 28, 2011

Call for Presentations: The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Third Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Third Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking organizers invite you to submit an abstract for the 2011 Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking!

Anyone who has academic or professional work to present
should submit an abstract of up to 300 words (no more) on their submission website.

The presentations will normally be 25 minutes with 15 minutes for discussion. The organizing committee is willing to consider other formats, such as panel presentations. They are not seeking workshops, however, but presentations of facts, knowledge, ideas, theories, on-the-ground approaches, methods, program evaluations, research agendas, and research needs.
There will be one or more special sessions for students who wish to present and receive feedback on papers, theses, and dissertations that are proposed or in progress.

The deadline for submission of papers and presentations is April 1, 2011. Submitters who submit by April 1 can expect notification of acceptance or rejection by May 15th, 2011. The committee will expect a commitment to attend by at least one of the accepted presenters, with a non-refundable deposit of $50, by July 15, 2011, for presenters to remain on the program.

Authors will be expected to agree to a release of copyright, and allow the materials they present (in written, video, audio, or graphic form) to be made available on the conference website after the conference. No paper proceedings will be published, but the presented materials will be available on Digital Commons (the web host for the proceedings) for a considerable time.

The deadline for submission of materials to be placed on the Digital Commons website is October 31, 2011. Conference presenters may place a formal paper, Power Point slides, film, or anything arising from their presented work on Digital Commons. If nothing is submitted, their abstract will be placed on the web site.

If you have questions about presentations, please contact Dr. Dwayne Ball or visit the submission website.

About the conference: The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is proud to host The Third Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking. [They] welcome researchers from non-governmental organizations, academia, and governmental agencies. This is a conference run along traditional academic paper-presentation lines, intended to spread knowledge, provide a forum for the presentation and discussion of research and professional work, and provide an opportunity to network with and learn from each other. Learn more on their website.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kevin Bales on WGBH's One-on-One

From the WGBH program One-on-One:

In this One-on-One conversation, Bales discusses the realities of contemporary enslavement, the motivation behind his work, and how our generation can bring slavery to an end.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

BBC World Debate on Trafficking

The BBC World Debate program recently held a debate on Human Trafficking with panelists Laura Agustin, Author of "Sex at the Margins"; Sophie Flak, Executive Vice-President of Accor; Rani Hong, Trafficking Survivor; Siddharth Kara, Author of "Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery"; and Ronald Noble, Secretary General of Interpol. Unfortunately, BBC videos are not embeddable, so I can only link to them here.

I have to say, this starts out slow, but the debate picks up quickly. These are really difficult discussions that I think are important for the field to have. There are some quick points that obviously were not settled and it would be great to hear the point of view of our readers:
  • For all of the controversy that Agustin creates through her candidly hardened point of view, some of her points are difficult issues that service providers are faced with every day. At one point she stated that people are often educated or trained on the worst possible scenarios of trafficking, but that migration often invokes a range of abuse and exploitation. While some members of the audience disagreed with the premise of debating the definition, without (a more specific) one, do we risk missing potential victims and/or exposing/deporting migrants who then do not meet this "worst possible scenario?"
  • Will it ever be possible to have reliable numbers of those trafficked? If not, will that affect the work of advocates and how?
  • Just generally, how does the language we use surrounding trafficking affect the way we combat it? When we use numbers we don't fully understand? When we overly associate it with organized crime? Etc.
Thank you for any responses!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Request for Information for the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report

From the Federal Register

The Department of State (“the Department”) requests written information to assist in reporting on the degree to which the United States and foreign governments comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons (“minimum standards”) that are prescribed by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, (Div. A, Pub. L. 106-386) as amended (“TVPA”). This information will assist in the preparation of the Trafficking in Persons Report (“TIP Report”) that the Department submits annually to appropriate committees in the U.S. Congress on countries' level of compliance with the minimum standards. Foreign governments that do not comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so may be subject to restrictions on nonhumanitarian, nontrade-related foreign assistance from the United States. Submissions must be made in writing to the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the Department of State by February 15, 2011. Please refer to the Addresses, Scope of Interest and Information Sought sections of this Notice for additional instructions on submission requirements.

Read the full request here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Teach Your Students about Child Slavery

This is an excerpt from the magazine of Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. I thought this was an interesting way of trying to broach such a difficult topic with young students. The site also includes a short list of teaching tips as well as more information about the sample coursework described below.

Organizations like the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation are committing much of their efforts to getting the message out to young people about slavery today. They are teaming with educators to teach students about its current forms, and get students motivated to share their newfound awareness.

Elizabeth Devine is a social studies teacher at William H. Hall High School in West Hartford, Connecticut. She includes a three-week unit covering human trafficking and modern-day slavery in her one-semester course on human rights.

Devine’s unit features films, books and guest speakers to help students relate to and engage the material. She introduces the topic with scenes from the film Human Trafficking, a fictionalized look at the sex trade in Eastern Europe. She invites experts, such as a federal prosecutor who presided over a local human trafficking case, into the classroom. “The kids couldn’t believe [human trafficking] was happening here,” Devine says.

Her curriculum also includes excerpts from Sold, Patricia McCormick’s account of a young Nepalese girl who was purchased by an Indian brothel. The class views segments of the PBS series The New Heroes, which features vignettes of individuals around the world fighting modern-day slavery. Students’ perspectives expand from the individual to the systemic when they read Kevin Bales’ book Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy.

“No doubt it’s provocative,” says Devine, named the 2009–2010 Secondary Teacher of the Year by the National Council of Social Studies. “The high school students can handle it. And I don’t give them titillating things about sex to read. We focus on the difficulties faced by the women.”

The more students investigate, the more they recognize the economic underpinnings of human trafficking. They learn that wherever there is greed and vulnerable people, conditions exist for turning humans into slaves.

Devine guides students in tracking their own attitudes and perspectives as they explore the mini-unit. She has them keep a “dialectical journal,” synthesizing ideas from in-class discussions with their own ideas and personal responses to texts and videos.

To create the journal, students separate a page into two columns. On the left, they record the facts and concepts included in the text or video, including quotations and descriptions of material that affected them. In the right-hand column, they jot down their own thoughts, questions and insights. “They do it after everything we see or read, so they are constantly reflecting on what they learn,” Devine says.

The unit culminates in an “action project.” These projects ask students to research an issue, then perform a related project in the community. Last year, two girls teamed up to collect backpacks and toiletries for women who had been rescued from traffickers and were living in a safe house.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

UN Trafficking Fund

Press Release: UN Trafficking Fund announces new grant opportunities for NGOs as donations near US$ 1 million

The first steps toward the establishment of a UN-led ‘Small Grants Facility’ for victims of human trafficking were taken today in a move aimed at strengthening on-the-ground assistance to survivors of this brutal crime.

A public call will be made over the coming months through the UNODC website and other avenues.
The provision of these financial grants is an integral component of the UN Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking which was established by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in late-2010.

The Trust Fund aims to provide financial support to victim-focused groups in a bid to assist those partners from governmental, inter-governmental and civil society organizations working to help victims of human trafficking.

Read More. . .

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Forced Labor News from January

Throughout the month, there are many cases or stories that break regarding forced labor. They are usually not on the front pages of our newspapers, rather they are buried deep and sometimes are only accessible through the internet. These are some of the stories, both headline articles and those that are not, from January.

Several exclusive country clubs in south Florida were found to be contracting slave labor. The contracting firm, owned by a husband and wife, forced 39 Filipino workers to work 16 hour days with little pay. It is unclear whether the some of the clubs were aware they were using slave labor, but it appears that at least a few were not.

Officials from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration along with three employment recruitment agencies were charged with corruption and human trafficking. The complaint suggests that officials knowingly allowed the three agencies to continue operating despite knowing they were no longer authorized to operate, due to recruitment violations. The complaint suggests that the officials allowed the recruitment agencies to operate knowing the laborers were to be exploited.

The Laogai Research Foundation, a D.C. based organization that researches and raises awareness about forced-labor prisons in China, released a report suggesting a company based in the province of Alberta, Canada is importing products made in Chinese labor camps. Canada does not allow any products made in labor camps to be imported into the country.

Leticia Moratal, a Filipina babysitter sues the NY family, also Filipino, that she worked with for forced labor, human trafficking and slavery. Though she worked long hours for 10 years, Leticia says she never received money for her labor and was subjected to cruel treatment. She also says that her employers confiscated her passport and threatened her with deportation.

The Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of a New York City couple who were convicted of enslaving their Indonesian housekeepers. The housekeepers were abused and their documents were confiscated. The wife claims that publicity prevented her from receiving a fair trial, while the husband claims he should not have been convicted simply because he did not stop his wife from committing these crimes.

An updated indictment in the exploitation of Thai workers by an LA based labor contractor, Global Horizons, suggests that their exploitation lasted longer and covered more states than previously thought. More growers were also involved then previously thought including Del Monte. It seems now that nearly 600 Thai workers, not 400, were exploited between 2001-2007 on farms in six different states.

In a landmark case, a Saudi Arabian women has been sentenced to three years for abusing her maid who is from Indonesia. She was sentence under a recent royal decree focusing on combatting human trafficking. The maid was severely beaten and had to be hospitalized in November. This may be the first case of anyone in Saudi Arabia being sentenced for abusing a migrant worker. The convicted woman plans to appeal.

In the United Arab Emirates, a similar landmark case occurred. Two women were charged with forced labor, the first for such a charge in the UAE, for forcing three women to work in a massage parlor, providing massages and sex to customers. The victims were threatened and kept in confinement in addition to not being paid.

A North Carolina women has been accused of enslaving a teen illegal immigrant and is facing charges of forced labor and document servitude. The teen, according to prosecutors, was required to sell goods including alcohol and to clean yards. The women says that the story was fabricated by the teen who was placed in her care while awaiting a judge's decision about his immigration status.

A Ukrainian man may have been forced to work in an oxygen factor for 12 years. Details are still emerging about this case but the man claims that a few months after arriving he suffered burns and was not able to return home. At this time, his employer took his passport and stopped paying him. The man claims he was placed under surveillance by the employer who also threatened him. Later in the month though, details emerged which suggested that the man may not have been forced to work, but that there were problems with his work permit. A former employee of the company has claimed that the Ukrainian man was not forced to work, or even prevented from leaving. An investigation even suggests he may have been paid, but details are still too murky to know what happened for sure.

Photo by Kay Chernush for the US Department of State

Monday, February 07, 2011

Spain's salad growers are modern-day slaves, say charities

From The Guardian:

The Costa del Sol is famous for its tourists and beaches but just behind them is a hidden world of industrial greenhouses where African migrants work in extreme conditions

Charities working with illegal workers during this year's harvest claim the abuses meet the UN's official definition of modern-day slavery, with some workers having their pay withheld for complaining. Conditions appear to have deteriorated further as the collapse of the Spanish property boom has driven thousands of migrants from construction to horticulture to look for work.

The Guardian's findings include:

• Migrant workers from Africa living in shacks made of old boxes and plastic sheeting, without sanitation or access to drinking water.

• Wages that are routinely less than half the legal minimum wage.

• Workers without papers being told they will be reported to the police if they complain.

• Allegations of segregation enforced by police harassment when African workers stray outside the hothouse areas into tourist areas.

You can read more about Spain's trafficking law on the US TIP Report.

Friday, February 04, 2011

DOJ Launches New Enhanced Enforcement Initiative

From the U.S. Department of Justice:

Department of Justice Announces Launch of Human Trafficking Enhanced Enforcement Initiative

WASHINGTON – The Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor announced today the launch of a nationwide Human Trafficking Enhanced Enforcement Initiative designed to streamline federal criminal investigations and prosecutions of human trafficking offenses.

As part of the Enhanced Enforcement Initiative, specialized Anti-Trafficking Coordination Teams, known as ACTeams, will be convened in select pilot districts around the country. The ACTeams, comprised of prosecutors and agents from multiple federal enforcement agencies, will implement a strategic action plan to combat identified human trafficking threats. The ACTeams will focus on developing federal criminal human trafficking investigations and prosecutions to vindicate the rights of human trafficking victims, bring traffickers to justice and dismantle human trafficking networks.

The ACTeam structure not only enhances coordination among federal prosecutors and federal agents on the front lines of federal human trafficking investigations and prosecutions, but also enhances coordination between front-line enforcement efforts and the specialized units at the Department of Justice and federal agency headquarters. The ACTeam Initiative was developed through interagency collaboration among the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor to streamline rapidly expanding human trafficking enforcement efforts.

“This modern-day slavery is an affront to human dignity, and each and every case we prosecute should send a powerful signal that human trafficking will not be tolerated in the United States,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “The Human Trafficking Enhanced Enforcement Initiative takes our anti-trafficking enforcement efforts to the next level by building on the most effective tool in our anti-trafficking arsenal: partnerships.”

“Working together, the entire U.S. government continues to make progress in convicting traffickers, dismantling their criminal networks and protecting their victims,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. “Combating human trafficking is a shared responsibility, and the ACTeam Initiative is a critical step in successfully leveraging all our federal, state and local resources to crack down on these criminals.”

“This pilot is a necessary tool in the federal government’s crackdown on human trafficking,” added Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Victims of these contemptuous acts have been left in an unfamiliar land with no family, no support systems, and no way to make a life for themselves. We must do whatever we can to ensure that victims of trafficking receive full restitution, including denied wages.”

On Oct. 29, 2010, at an event commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the Department of Justice announced that the Interagency ACTeam Initiative would be implemented in conjunction with directives within the Department of Justice to enhance coordination among the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the department’s subject matter experts in the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

The ACTeam initiative follows the July 22, 2010, launch of the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, which includes new web-based training for law enforcement officers, enhanced resources for trafficking victims and expanded public awareness campaigns. The ACTeam Initiative also follows the Department of Labor’s March 15, 2010, announcement that it would, in coordination with other federal agencies, begin certifying U non-immigrant visas for human trafficking victims and other qualifying crime victims who are identified during the course of labor investigations and enforcement actions.

The locations of the pilot ACTeams will be announced upon completion of a competitive interagency selection process.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Department of Justice seeking new Director for Human Trafficking

From USA Jobs:

Director for Human Trafficking
Department: Department Of Justice
Agency: Civil Rights Division, Offices, Boards, and Divisions
Salary Range:$123,758.00 - $155,500.00 /year
Open Period:Friday, January 28, 2011 to Friday, February 18, 2011
Position Information: Full-Time
Permanent Duty Locations:1 vacancy - WASHINGTON, DC

Job Summary:
The U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division is seeking an experienced attorney for the position of Director for Human Trafficking in the Criminal Section. The Civil Rights Division is primarily responsible for enforcing federal statutes and executive orders that prohibit, among other things, unlawful discrimination in voting, education, employment, housing, police services, public accommodations and facilities, and federally funded and conducted programs. The Criminal Section enforces federal criminal civil rights statutes by conducting grand jury investigations and criminal trials in federal district courts throughout the nation. The Section primarily prosecutes cases involving unconstitutional use of force by law enforcement officers, hate crimes, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, and unlawful conduct at abortion clinics. The Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit (HTPU) prosecutes significant and multi-district human trafficking cases, serves as a point of contact and resources providing subject matter expertise for governmental and non-governmental enforcement partners, and develops national human trafficking policies and programs. The position requires significant domestic and international travel.Criminal Section attorneys including HTPU attorneys, enjoy a diverse practice before federal district courts throughout the country, and handle complex criminal investigations and prosecutions.

Key Requirements:
You must be a U.S. Citizen or National.

Major Duties:
The Director is responsible for supervising and conducting the HTPU's criminal investigations and prosecutions and advising and guiding the Trial Attorneys handling human trafficking prosecutions on the other teams in the Section; for managing a team of lawyers and support staff; and for working cooperatively with other individuals and organizations to further the mission of the Criminal Section. The Director assumes virtually total responsibility for the handling of all matters within the Director's jurisdiction.


REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS: Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar in good standing (any jurisdiction), and have a minimum of six (6) years post-J.D. experience, including significant federal court criminal human trafficking litigation experience. Applicants must have strong interpersonal, leadership, organizational, writing and oral communication skills, as well as experience investigating and trying criminal human trafficking cases.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS: Given the nature and volume of our work, the Criminal Section seeks candidates with significant litigation experience and a demonstrated commitment to public service and/or civil rights. The Section also seeks candidates who possess skills that will allow them to coordinate effectively with other components in the Division.Candidates should demonstrate an ability to provide expert human trafficking investigation and prosecution advice and leadership; work with components within the Department and with governmental agencies outside the Department on trafficking issues; serve as a liaison with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community groups; provide outreach and training to domestic and international colleagues; and, to coordinate enforcement efforts with governmental and non-governmental colleagues. Candidates should demonstrate an ability to develop and handle the litigation of complex human trafficking cases, including expert handling of case identification, investigation, grand jury proceedings, development of charging strategy, drafting and presentation of indictments, discovery, development of trial strategy, trial preparation, witness preparation, drafting and filing of pleadings, briefs, and legal documents based on expert legal research, presentation of oral arguments, presentation of evidence at trial, plea negotiations, sentencing, victim-witness assistance issues, and post-trial proceedings.Specialized Education: You must be a graduate from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and be a member in good standing of a state, territory of the United States, District of Columbia, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico bar.

How To Apply: You must submit your application and all required information so that it will be received no later than 11:59 PM EST on the closing date of the vacancy announcement. If materials are not received, your application will be evaluated solely on the information available and you may not receive full consideration or may not be considered eligible. Due to the delayed delivery of mail, applicants must either fax or e-mail their application in by the closing date for this position. Please submit your application via fax at 202-514-6603 or by email to CRD.ATTYVACANCIES@USDOJ.GOV. If you are submitting your application via e-mail, please indicate the Vacancy Announcement Number and position title in the subject line.Required Documents: (are permissible w/ initial application only if specified in announcement.)A cover letter (highlighting relevant experience), a resume, a brief writing sample (10 pages or less) that is the applicant's own work, and a current performance appraisal.

If you are a current or former federal employee, please attach a copy of your most recent SF-50 (Notification of Personnel Action).

Please visit the full posting here before applying for this position.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Super Bowl a magnet for under-age sex trade


ATLANTA — Pimps will traffic thousands of under-age prostitutes to Texas for Sunday's Super Bowl, hoping to do business with men arriving for the big game with money to burn, child rights advocates said.

As the country's largest sporting event, the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers will make the Dallas-Fort Worth area a magnet for business of all kinds.

That includes the multimillion dollar, under-age sex industry, said activists and law enforcement officials working to combat what they say is an annual spike in trafficking of under-age girls ahead of the Super Bowl.

"The Super Bowl is one of the biggest human trafficking events in the United States," Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told a trafficking prevention meeting in January.
Girls who enter the grim trade face a life of harsh treatment and danger, according to a Dallas police report in 2010.

Few who emerge are willing to speak about it. Tina Frundt, 36, is an exception.
Now married and living in Washington D.C., Frundt was lured into sex work at 14 after she fell for a 24-year-old who invited her to leave home in 1989 and join his "family" in Cleveland, Ohio. That family consisted of the man and three girls living in a motel.

When Frundt declined on the first night to have sex with her boyfriend's friends they raped her.
"I was angry with myself for not listening to him, so the next night when he sent me out on the street and told me ... (to earn $500) I listened," she said in a telephone interview. Frundt paced the streets for hours and finally got into a client's car.

When she came home in the morning with just $50, her pimp beat her in front of the other girls to teach them all a lesson and sent her back onto the street the next night with the warning not to return until she had reached the quota.

Read the full story here.
To learn more about outreach and awareness efforts surrounding the Superbowl 2011, visit Traffick911 and read about their I'm Not Buying It campaign. For a calendar of events around the Superbowl, click here.

To read Laura C's post about trafficking and the Superbowl, click here.