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