Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Iowa Man Convicted of Human Trafficking, Sold Teens In Prostitution

DES MOINES, Iowa — The first person to be convicted under Iowa's human trafficking law was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison.

Leonard Russell was found guilty of two counts of human trafficking, two counts of pandering and a count of ongoing criminal conduct during a September trial in Crawford County.

The 37-year-old was sentenced Monday in Crawford County District Court to 25 years on the ongoing criminal conduct charge, and 10 years on each of the other four charges — with all the sentences to be served concurrently. He was also fined $5,000.

Prosecutors said Russell, who has used addresses in Sioux City and Omaha, Neb., recruited and harbored two Nebraska girls last year for commercial sexual activity, including prostitution and performing at strip clubs. They said the girls, ages 15 and 16, were runaways.

Attorney General Tom Miller said in a statement that the case helped officials understand that human trafficking is a much bigger problem in Iowa than many realized.

"It can be especially perilous for young people and disadvantaged kids, and it can occur in small towns," he said. "The underground nature of human trafficking makes it hard to fight, but the trafficking law is a valuable new tool and we will use it."

Read more here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Congress OKs tough anti-trafficking bill

WASHINGTON (BP)--Congress has approved legislation that supporters believe will strengthen both the domestic and international efforts to combat human trafficking.

Passage by the House of Representatives and Senate on the same day brought an end to a lengthy, contentious debate over competing pieces of legislation. Activists in the anti-trafficking movement strongly favored a measure approved overwhelmingly by the House last December over one proposed in the Senate. In the end, a new bill more closely resembling the House version passed without objection in either chamber.

President Bush is expected to sign the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, H.R. 7311, into law.

To read more about what the bill will do, read the article here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

First-Ever Rock Concert at Angkor Wat Temple Raises Awareness about Human Trafficking

SIEM REAP, Cambodia, Dec 15, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- An international line-up of rock musicians took a stand against human trafficking at a recent concert at the Angkor Wat temple sponsored by the MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) campaign, a project supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). This was the first rock concert ever performed at the massive 12th-century temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was bathed in floodlights for the event.

More than 1,200 fans spilled from the bleachers to the edge of the jungle to hear The Click Five from the U.S., Placebo from the U.K., Grammy Award-winner Duncan Sheik, Australian pop star Kate Miller-Heidke, Cambodian hip-hop legend Pou Klaing, and Cambodian pop stars Sokun Nisa, Meas Soksophia and Chorn Sovanrech.

"We're here to call attention to human trafficking, a form of slavery that is as big a problem today as perhaps anytime in history," Placebo lead singer Brian Molko told the invitation-only audience. The concert also featured traditional Khmer dancers and clips from Traffic: An MTV Special, a documentary about human trafficking that was funded by USAID.

Read more here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

So Important It Gets Its Own Post!

Hey guys, I linked a Katie Ford interview in the post below this (and you should read it!), but just in case you don't get the chance to look at it, here's something that I think is really important for us as a group to advertise. It says that a way to get involved is to go to the site Chain Store Reaction and send emails to chain stores to ask them what they are doing to fight human trafficking. It's really easy! Just click on the link, fill in your information, change the content of the email (if you wish) and send it off! Together we can prove that consumers want SLAVERY FREE merchandise!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Power of One-Plus-Many Produced Historic Anti-Trafficking Legislation

Congress passed historic anti-trafficking legislation. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) passed both the House and the Senate within several hours. That timely victory was more than two years in the making and represents the triumph of one man’s passion and a broad coalition’s power.

It is safe to say that the legislation would not exist without the whole-hearted passion and the incredible commitment, dedication, skill and determination of Michael Horowitz, a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, who has for over a decade presided over a loose, broad-based coalition of left-right activists who unite in opposition to human slavery and exploitation but differ on almost every other issue. Keeping that group of diverse leaders united and focused is in itself a monumental accomplishment, but satisfying the different expectations required a level of expertise that is rare indeed.

It is also safe to say that the legislative victory would have been impossible without the grassroots involvement of organizations like Concerned Women for America and the Southern Baptist Convention — two conservative groups that have been intimately and extensively involved in the nitty-gritty lobbying and negotiating that were essential to passage of the legislation. It is rare for conservative groups to get headlines for their involvement in what is commonly referred to as “social justice” issues, yet CWA, the Southern Baptists, and the Salvation Army, along with many other evangelical organizations, are usually found in the trenches when such battles are being waged, whether domestically or internationally. Certainly, in the fight against commercial sexual exploitation and labor slavery, conservative leaders are essential to success.

Read more here.

Also, here are three ads to bring light to the situation of human trafficking. They're really interesting, but also kind of graphic...

And, (I know, there's a lot today!) here's an interview with Katie Ford, former CEO of Ford Models and current modern-day abolitionist. It's an interesting interview and she very briefly addresses the issue of the new administration's role in ending trafficking. Certainly worth reading :)

High School Students Warned About Human Trafficking

Each year, thousands of young people worldwide become the victims of human trafficking, or modern day slavery. Some cases are starting to occur in urban areas of the United States. WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson visited Riverside High School on Milwaukee’s east side, where students wanted to learn more about the issue.

It’s the final hour of the school day and five dozen students have gathered in the library of Riverside High School, listening to Maggie Wynne. She’s director of anti-trafficking at the U. S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Her office rescues victims of human trafficking and prosecutes those responsible.

She says the crime started overseas, but in the past decade, has become more prevalent in the U. S. She says traffickers often approach teenagers and then things can happen quickly.“Say you’re a 14-year-old girl and some 22-year-old man drives up his car and starts giving you compliments and telling you how good you look and things like that. And, you start thinking this is really cool. I’ve got a cool boyfriend. He likes me and he loves me and I love him and then you start a sexual relationship. And then the boyfriend starts saying well, if you love me you’ll do some things for me, and then they start making demands. All of a sudden the demands turn into, well if you want to keep getting these nice things you have to bring in some money,” Wynne says.

Wynne says that’s how teenagers are forced into prostitution, child pornography and hard labor. Sometimes they’re flown to other countries for arranged marriages.

Read more here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Human Trafficking Victims To Get Green Card

Washington, D.C. (AHN) - The U.S. federal government will grant permanent residency to human trafficking victims. On Monday the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published through its website an interim final rule that permits non-immigrants with "T" and "U" statuses to acquire green cards.

The two non-immigrant classifications were the result of the approval of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act in October 2000. The act granted T visas to immigrants who were victims of human trafficking and U visas to victims of crimes who suffered mental or physical abuses.

But the rules limit the adjustment of status for T visa holders to 5,000 people, although it covers only the main visa applicant, not their families who are also permitted to change their immigration status together with the main visa holder.

The USCIS explained it took the agency almost six years to come up with regulations because the change in migration status of T and U visa holders involve complex, difficult legal and policy issues which took long to resolve.

Immigration advocates hailed the release of the long overdue regulations. According to Diana Velardo, an immigration lawyer at the University of Houston, it will help the human trafficking victims move out of uncertainty and move on with their lives.

After the rules are published in the Federal Register, it will become final in 30 days.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Iqbal Masih

Hey guys, I found information on that child I talked about at the fondue party yesterday. His name is Iqbal Masih, and he's Pakistani, not Indian.
This has an interview with him, but he doesn't speak English so there's a voiceover for him.
The same website, but this talks about the school that was started in his honor.
Of course, a Wikipedia article :)
A nice news article written on the 3rd anniversary of his death.

There are other things, of course, but a lot of them have the same information over and over. But if you're interested in exploring on your own, here's a Google search for his name.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

U.S. subcontractor confined more than 1,000 foreign workers in Iraq warehouses

- McClatchy Newspapers

1,000 Asian men who were hired by a Kuwaiti subcontractor to the U.S. military have been confined for as long as three months in windowless warehouses near the Baghdad airport without money or a place to work.

Najlaa International Catering Services, a subcontractor to KBR, the Texas firm formerly known as Halliburton, hired the men, who are from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. On Tuesday, they staged a march outside their compound to protest their living conditions.

"It's really dirty," a Sri Lankan man told McClatchy Newspapers, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he still wants to work for Najlaa. "For all of us, there are about 12 toilets and about 10 bathrooms. The food - it's three half-liter (1 pint) bottles of water a day. Bread, cheese and jam for breakfast. Lunch is a small piece of meat, potato and rice. Dinner is rice and dal, but it's not dal," he said, referring to the Indian lentil dish.

After McClatchy began asking questions about the men on Tuesday, the Kuwaiti contractor announced that it would return them to their home countries and pay them back salaries. Najlaa officials contended that they've cared for the men's basic needs while the company has tried to find them jobs in Iraq.

The laborers said they paid middlemen more than $2,000 to get to Iraq for jobs that they were told would earn them $600 to $800 a month. Some of the men took out loans to cover the fees.

"They promised us the moon and stars," said Davidson Peters, 42, a Sri Lankan. "While we are here, wives have left their husbands and children have been shut out of their schools" because money for the families has dried up.

The men live in three warehouses with long rows of bunk beds crammed tightly together. Reporters who tried to get a better glimpse inside were ushered away by armed guards.

The conditions in which the men have been held appear to violate guidelines the U.S. military handed down in 2006 that urged contractors to deter human trafficking to the war zone by shunning recruiters that charged excessive fees. The guidelines also defined "minimum acceptable" living spaces - 50 square feet per person - and required companies to fulfill the pledges they made to employees in contracts.

A U.S. military spokesman for the Multi-National Force-Iraq referred questions to KBR. The spokesman said that the American military wasn't aware of the warehouses until McClatchy and the Times of London began asking questions about it on Monday.

Some of the men who've been living in the warehouses said that KBR representatives visited the site two weeks ago. They said Najlaa held their passports until the KBR inspection, which Najlaa officials denied. Seizing passports is a violation of the U.S. military's 2006 instructions to contractors.

KBR didn't answer direct questions about the warehouses but issued a two-paragraph statement. "When KBR becomes aware of potential violations of international laws regarding trafficking in persons, we work, within our authority, to remediate the problem and report the matter to proper authorities. KBR then works with authorities to rectify the matter," it said.

Reached in Kuwait, Najlaa chief executive Marwan Rizk said the company recruited the laborers for contracts it expected to begin servicing, but the work didn't materialize. He didn't specify which contracts fell through or why they were delayed. The company offers a number of services in Iraq, including catering at U.S. military bases.

"We had some obstacles with the services we were contracted to do," Rizk said. "These obstacles were not forecasted."

He said it's the company's practice to begin paying its employees once they start their jobs, though Najlaa credits them from the time they arrive in Iraq.

While the main complaint in the warehouses centered on living in what many considered prisonlike conditions, Najlaa officials said it was crucial to keep the men in the compound to prevent kidnappings or other dangers.

Read the rest of the report here.

Thanks to Asher for finding this and Dear Kitty for posting it!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Hey guys, I found two really interesting articles today!

Students at Calvin College are doing a Human Trafficking Awareness week that will be full of activities so people can learn more about human trafficking. Maybe we could incorporate some of these ideas into the Week of Action next semester?

Also, Fox News did an interview with Ambassador Mark Lagon concerning human trafficking. It's mostly focused on South and Central America and the Caribbeans, especially because this interview comes after Joran van der Sloot stated that he sold Natalee Hollaway into slavery for $10,000. It's a short interview, but it's very interesting. The second article is an interview with various people concerning this recent development in the Natalee Hollaway case, if you're interested.,2933,460130,00.html,2933,460108,00.html

Also, I don't know if anyone would be interested, but I've completed my thesis over human trafficking and the modern-day slave trade in Southeast Asia! Here's a link to read it, if you'd like. This is the rough draft, so if you do read it and think of any corrections I could make, PLEASE let me know! :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Win Enough Chocolate to Keep You Going till Easter!

If you like posh organic, fair-trade chocolate with a twang, this NEW COMPETITION is so exciting it’ll make your teeth hurt!

To win this high calorific prize, you need the MOST ORIGINAL DIPPER at your fondue party.

Photo: Chocolate-dipped strawberries

Take a photo, email or post it to us and the oddest, wackiest or most original dunked bit of food wins.

"Tell me more!" Go to the Stop the Traffik website!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Top U.S. Diplomat on Modern-Day Slavery Named As New Executive Director of Polaris Project

We are happy to announce that Polaris Project has named Ambassador Mark P. Lagon, Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) of the U.S. Department of State, as our incoming Executive Director.

Dr. Mark P. Lagon was confirmed by the Senate in 2007 to serve as Ambassador-at-Large and Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP), and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State. The TIP Office coordinates U.S. Government activities in the global fight against modern-day slavery, including commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor.

As one of the leading voices in the global movement against modern-day slavery, Ambassador Lagon has demonstrated deep commitment and energetic leadership in pursuing the eradication of all forms of human trafficking. We are confident that Ambassador Lagon brings the right leadership to Polaris Project to continue the success we have achieved and expand the impact of our work against human trafficking to new horizons in the years ahead.

We invite you to read the full announcement and learn more about Ambassador Lagon on our website.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Free the Slaves is putting on a FREE fondue party on December 3rd from 4-6 pm in the Multicultural Center! There's going to be a speaker coming to talk about Rafa House in Cambodia and their work with creating safe opportunities young girls who are susceptible to trafficking. So come get free fair-trade fondue and have some fun with the Free the Slaves group!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Attorney general's report details human trafficking in Texas

AUSTIN — Texas has become a major hub for human trafficking, state officials said Monday while proposing a more aggressive response to what a senior lawmaker described as "modern-day slavery."

Nearly 20 percent of human-trafficking victims found nationwide have been in Texas, according to a report released by Attorney General Greg Abbott. The 57-page report, mandated by the Legislature in 2007, also identifies Interstate 10 as a major route through Texas for human-trafficking rings.

Abbott released the report at a news conference with Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, who introduced legislation to combat the problem.

"These human traffickers are like cockroaches," she said.

Her bill, prepared for the 81st Legislature, which convenes in January, would create a task force in the attorney general’s office, start training programs for local law enforcement and implement an awareness campaign for communities. It would also improve programs for assisting victims.

Abbott, Van de Putte and others said human trafficking has grown into one of the nation’s top criminal enterprises. Abbott’s report, compiled from federal data, news reports and other research, said traffickers often lure victims into phony moneymaking opportunities, then hold them in slaverylike conditions.

Read more at the Star Telegram website.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Special Assignment: Human Trafficking in Wisconsin

It's been called modern day slavery -- human trafficking. Victims' advocates say it's happening across Wisconsin -- "in plain sight."

Last year, the state began a survey -- to identify the level of human trafficking here. More than 200 cases of victims were identified. But experts believe that's likely a low number for this fast growing industry.

"I can guarantee you in grocery stores all over this state and in some hotels, there are places where human beings are trapped by others," Carmen Pitre says.

Nataliya knows the feeling.

"I was in the house like a prison," Nataliya says.

She was working as a travel agent in her homeland of Ukraine when she met an American man.

"I was very happy to have him in my life because I lived alone with my son," she says, "We could talk on the phone every day."

Eventually the couple decided to live together in the Milwaukee area.

"I was so excited to go to the U.S. because it was, a great opportunity to be in a family ... to have a new family ... to have a husband ... and good father for my son."

Within three weeks of her arrival on American soil, Nataliya says the man proposed.

"He prepare everything. It was beautiful wedding... there in the church with his family."

Then, she says, within days everything changed.

Read more here.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fair Trade Gifts

Christmas is coming up soon, so I decided to compile a small list of places online to buy fair trade gifts! You can still get GREAT presents for your loved ones while being socially conscious!

Made By Survivors
has handcrafted gifts such as jewelry, stationary, and home ware that have been made by survivors of slavery. There are also gift certificates!

Global Exchange has many socially conscious gifts such as gift baskets, jewelry, coffee, and crafts. There are many gifts under $30 and each purchase comes with a card relating the story behind the product.

The Hunger Site has a wide variety of gifts that are fair trade and organic, but also other manufactured items. You can also make donations through this site and each purchase donates cups of food dependant on the price of the item.

Ten Thousand Villages
works with 130 artisan groups in order to help villages help themselves. It has been in existence since 1946 and has become one of the largest fair trade organizations in North America.

Global Goods Partners has tons of gifts, many under $10. You can also shop by country or producer!

Don’t limit yourself just to these sites! A Google search for fair trade gifts will bring up many, many more sites with socially conscious vendors!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

MTV Networks, USAID Look to Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking

BANGKOK/HONG KONG/SINGAPORE, November 3: MTV Networks in Asia, the MTV Europe Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are teaming for a range of events and concerts across Asia to raise awareness and increase prevention of human trafficking.

The new initiative, which kicks off in Cambodia, includes four events featuring well-known local and international artists, with anti-trafficking organizations and government agencies distributing information about exploitation and human trafficking. A highlight of the Cambodian campaign will be a concert held at Angkor Wat, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, on December 7, featuring the U.S. band The Click Five, among other artists. The Cambodian series of events wraps December 12 in Phnom Penh in recognition of Cambodia’s National Day to Combat Human Trafficking.

The initiative is part of the MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) campaign, which will produce a range of TV programs from the Cambodian concert for broadcast in Cambodia and on MTV channels internationally. In addition to performances, the programs will feature interviews with the bands, NGOs and other activists about the dangers of trafficking, as well as clips from MTV EXIT’s other anti-trafficking programming, including documentaries, animated works and short films. MTV EXIT television programming is offered free of charge to all broadcasters and organizations.

"MTV EXIT is fully aware that through broadcast on MTV, further broadcast on national terrestrial broadcasters, and distribution through NGOs, our messages will be seen by youth and adults from diverse social groups," said Simon Goff, the campaign director of MTV EXIT. "With these upcoming on-the-ground events, MTV EXIT is using the power of live music to educate youth across the region about human trafficking. The Cambodia live concert tour is a vital focal point in the wider education of those people most at risk."

Six additional events and tours are planned for other Asian nations next year.

Courtesy of

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Proposition to legalize prostitution strikes chord in San Francisco

By Elizabeth Pfeffer and Angela Hart

There may be truth to the cliché "sex sells," but when it comes to the sale of sex, everyone pays.

This is the central argument by both opponents and supporters of Proposition K, which would make San Francisco the first U.S. city to decriminalize prostitution.

Many sex workers say there's a cost to their line of work that goes beyond dollars and cents: Routinely exposing themselves to dangerous, sometimes violent situations, prostitutes are unable to seek the protection of the law without simultaneously exposing themselves to prosecution.


Yet the proposition's critics warn decriminalization of sex work could come at too high a price. Beyond the day-to-day protection of sex workers, they say it would draw pimps and traffickers to San Francisco like moths to a flame.

"I don't see any good coming from a law, which, if passed, would codify the exploitation of women and create a greater demand for human-trafficking victims," said Sharmin Eshraghi Bock, an Alameda County deputy district attorney who heads the Human Exploitation and Trafficking unit.


Not only would the proposition decriminalize prostitution, it would also prohibit law enforcement agencies from applying for or receiving federal and state money for programs that require compilation of racial information, a commonly used tactic in investigating human trafficking. These funds — more than $11 million, the city Budget Analyst's Office estimates — would be reallocated to programs that aim to reduce violence and discrimination against sex workers, under the proposal.


"This ballot measure reflects the myth that prostitution is a victimless crime. But the reality is this is a billion-dollar international industry of commercial sexual exploitation and child molestation," Harris said. "If passed, the measure would severely hamper the city's ability to investigate and prosecute human-trafficking cases."

City officials fear San Francisco will become a haven for human traffickers because of the provision that would prevent investigations based on racial profiling.

But the measure's proponents hope the proposal would create an even playing field for sex workers, who often say they are targeted by police based on their race, particularly Asians.

Read the full story here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Freedom, Justice, and Rock ’n’ Roll

By Steve Beard

It was Justin Dillon’s passion and profession that unexpectedly exposed him to the dark underworld of the international slave trade. He’s a musician, and his band was touring through backwater cities in Russia when a young female translator began talking about an upcoming extraordinary opportunity she had to come to the United States. When he asked for more details, he discovered that what she thought was a great opportunity was instead an elaborate and nefarious seduction — the kind of effective ruse targeting vulnerable young women around the globe.

The musical documentary Call + Response is Dillon’s ambitious and masterful artistic counterattack to an all-too-easy-to-overlook enemy who still sells men, women, and children like commodities to the highest bidders. The grainy, undercover film footage taken in Asian brothels is interspersed with the testimony of eloquent activists such as Gary Haugen of the International Justice Mission and actress Ashley Judd, as well as performances by the Cold War Kids and Matisyahu, the Orthodox Jewish reggae artist.

According to Dillon, it is not as if he tapped his speed-dials in order to call in favors from his celebrity friends: He really didn’t have any. Instead, he began cold-calling managers and agents. It worked. The film features performances by Natasha Bedingfield, Moby, Five for Fighting, Imogen Heap, Talib Kweli, Switchfoot, and the incomparable rapper Emmanuel Jal. As a child, Jal was taken from his family in Sudan in 1987 and trained to serve in the rebel army, Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). In almost five years, Jal fought in two civil wars as a child soldier. He was later smuggled out of the country by a British humanitarian. Jal began rapping to express the repercussions of his experiences.

In the midst of the rock and rap, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, actress Daryl Hannah, and Kevin Bales of the activist group Free the Slaves etch out the scope and enormity of human trafficking — what the film refers to as “the world’s 27 million most terrifying secrets.”

Continue reading here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Connecticut Man Sentenced to 360 Months in Prison for Leading Brutal Sex Trafficking Ring That Victimized U.S. Citizens

WASHINGTON, Oct 14, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Prosecution Illustrates DOJ 'Victim-Centered' Model

Dennis Paris of Middletown, Conn., was sentenced today to 360 months in prison, five years of supervised release and $46,116 in restitution for his role in organizing and facilitating a prostitution ring that victimized minors and coerced multiple young women to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. Paris --- one of 10 defendants associated with this trafficking ring --- was convicted in June 2007 on multiple counts of commercial sex trafficking through force, fraud or coercion.

"As this case illustrates, human trafficking can victimize any vulnerable person, including U.S. citizens, and girls as young as 14 years old," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Department works with non-governmental organizations to address the needs of victims and our investigators and prosecutors take the time to earn their trust. This victim-centered approach has been essential to our success in dismantling networks who exploit minors or adults for commercial sex."

Read more here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dr. Phil and the Polaris Project

Dear Friends,

This Friday, October 10th, the Dr. Phil show will address the issue of human trafficking and publicize the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) Hotline.

Tune in and hear survivors tell their stories, an FBI agent recount a recent human trafficking case in Texas, and the filmmaker behind the new documenary film Call + Response discuss his anti-trafficking efforts. Julia Ormond, United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and featured actress in the new documentary film, Call + Response, will also join Dr. Phil to share her firsthand experience of witnessing and fighting human trafficking. Preview the show and find show times.

We are excited that the show will increase awareness about modern-day slavery and the services of the NHTRC hotline. We are preparing diligently for an increase in calls due to the coverage.

Currently, we receive hundreds of calls directly from trafficking victims, law enforcement agents, medical and legal professionals, community members, and policy-makers every month. In the past 10 months, the NHTRC has:

  • Answered more than 4,200 calls
  • Received calls in reference to more than 2,000 potential victims
  • Reached an audience of over 4,000 people through more than 100 trainings and presentations
  • Experienced a call volume increase of over 200% from the previous year.

More and more, as the hotline is being featured in the media, we need your help to build capacity to meet the increase in demand for hotline services.

Make a donation of $10, $50, or more right now to help ensure that hotline services are available to everyone who needs them.

Your contribution makes a significant impact in the lives of human trafficking victims.

Thank you for your support,

Katherine Chon
President and Co-founder of the Polaris Project

Monday, October 6, 2008

LAGON: Modern-day slavery--Human trafficking's terrible toll

Written by Mark P. Lagon

A millionaire perfume maker in Islip, N.Y. was convicted and sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for committing a crime - human trafficking - that most people had never heard of just five years ago. That crime is the modern-day equivalent of slavery. In this case, the victims were two Indonesian women who were beaten, starved and never allowed out of the mansion where they worked as domestic servants.

The same month, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice released the eighth annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report assessing 170 countries, a report widely considered the most authoritative account of international efforts to end modern-day slavery.

Since 2003, often based on U.S. recommendation, foreign governments have passed over 150 acts creating or amending anti-trafficking legislation to cover this crime against human freedom which is also a global health threat and a threat to national security. At home, since 2003, 39 states have approved anti-trafficking statutes to combat this despicable crime.

Across the span of his presidency, at home and abroad, George W. Bush has led U. S. government efforts to eradicate modern-day slavery.

It is a fight that has received consistent support from the White House and bipartisan backing from Congress. It is a legacy of achievement that should make Americans proud. Taking aggressive action at home is essential if the United States is to be credible and urge other nations to do more. Prostituted children are considered victims of human trafficking under U.S. law. Because U.S. law enforcement is now giving special, targeted attention to end the prostitution of children, I am able to urge other countries to do the same, especially in Latin America and Asia.

Read more here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

for the next meeting!

a quick reminder to make sure you all, if you're able to attend, come in with some ideas for T-shirt designs for our group!

make sure...
-it's simple and short!
-it catches attention
-it might possibly make them faint and fall over with surprise and shock! (after which those of us wearing said T-shirt would need to step in and make absolutely certainly the falling person is caught before impact with the ground and that they are henceforth educated about the current global slave trade!)

the next meeting will be Wednesday October 8, at 8.30pm, to make sure it's a nicely averaged start time! it'll be relatively short and will primarily be for the purpose of checking into T-shirt designs and all things related!

thanks everyone! if you've got any questions, feel free to comment here or e-mail me or any other author here on the blog!


Friday, September 26, 2008

World's Largest Chocolate Fondue Party

Hey guys, is this something we might be interested in doing? I think it sounds like a great idea!

We at STOP THE TRAFFIK reckon that everyone in the world loves chocolate!

However, we are even more convinced (100% positive) that everyone in the world NEEDS to know about the issue of child trafficking in the manufacture of our chocolate and how it is completely unacceptable.

We are calling on people from countries all around the world to unite during the last week of November 2008 and indulge in some yummy chocolate, have some fun but fight for justice. Together we can stop the traffik.

STEP 1 - Click here to download your FONDUE PARTY organisers pack, invitations and delicious fair-trade chocolate recipes.

STEP 2 - Email us to tell us your name, email address, where you are going to host your party and how many people you plan to invite.

STEP 3 - Print off your invitations and give them out to your friends, family, colleagues and neighbours.

STEP 4 - Get the chocolate melty, the marshmallows ready and tuck in!! Make sure all fonduers fill out the 'WORLDS LARGEST CHOCOLATE FONDUE' voucher and that you send them all to us - that way we can keep track of just how many people came to the party!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Heroine From the Brothels

New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Nicholas D. Kristof

World leaders are parading through New York this week for a United Nations General Assembly reviewing their (lack of) progress in fighting global poverty. That’s urgent and necessary, but what they aren’t talking enough about is one of the grimmest of all manifestations of poverty — sex trafficking.

This is widely acknowledged to be the 21st-century version of slavery, but governments accept it partly because it seems to defy solution. Prostitution is said to be the oldest profession. It exists in all countries, and if some teenage girls are imprisoned in brothels until they die of AIDS, that is seen as tragic but inevitable.

The perfect counterpoint to that fatalism is Somaly Mam, one of the bravest and boldest of those foreign visitors pouring into New York City this month. Somaly is a Cambodian who as a young teenager was sold to the brothels herself and now runs an organization that extricates girls from forced prostitution.

Now Somaly has published her inspiring memoir, “The Road of Lost Innocence,” in the United States, and it offers some lessons for tackling the broader problem.

Read the rest here.

Also, visit Nicholas D. Kristof on Facebook.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Human Trafficking law nets first conviction

Two Nebraska teenagers may have been looking for freedom or fun when they fled a Fremont group home and headed for Omaha last August.

But they found Leonard Ray Russell, a 37-year-old man who dragged the girls across Iowa, forcing them to solicit sex and perform at strip clubs in exchange for food and shelter.

A Crawford County, Iowa, jury last week found Russell guilty of two counts of human trafficking. It was the first conviction under a 2006 Iowa law, which makes it a felony offense to recruit or transport someone for the purpose of "commercial sexual activity.''

One of the law's champions, former State Sen. Maggie Tinsman of Davenport, Iowa, said the conviction shows the law is needed to thwart those who seek to profit off the vulnerability of others.

"This is truly a human rights thing,'' said Tinsman.

Read more here.

invitation to authorship!

i hope i covered everyone!  we decided at last night's meeting to invite everyone who's expressed any interest in the group or the cause, to have their own name on blogspot and write as an author through this blog!  all you have to do is set up a blog name of your own and join as an author on here!

is this all a bit redundant?

hopefully this helps!

any other questions, email me:
ahlittlefiel at bsu dot edu

-asher "the Blog Master"  (i like my cool new title, by the way, so thanks for bestowing it upon me last night, guys!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

hey guys, sorry my post is so late, but i've been busy workin on some other pretty important things, but now i've got a moment or two, and i've actually remembered...

--i agree with Phil on the shirts with BSU percentage of slaves stats, those would be great!
--i really like the idea of sidewalk chalk, but today i found out (and mentioned to Phil) that they're trying to ban sidewalk chalk usage on campus, based on inappropriate remarks that have been made.  i'm working with some other people on trying to get that ban revoked soon, but until then we shouldn't connect our name with anything the school doesn't permit.... obviously that would be bad for us
--i really like the idea of a "freedom chain" with purchase-able links, idea #9 on the previous list
--use the radio to advertise group meetings
--use the paper to advertise...
--the charity concert on LaFollette Field would be a really cool one, even though i'm not sure how to go about it!  any ideas?
--the book list (both Amazon and BSU) would be awesome!
--selling jewelry
--directly partnering with Rafa House

i know i listed a lot, but hopefully others will be able to hep narrow down, either on this blog, or tomorrow night at the meeting, and we can continue to go from there!


Friday, September 12, 2008

Department of Justice Announces Grants to Enhance Efforts to Fight Human Trafficking

Associate Attorney General Kevin J. O'Connor today announced almost $10 million in additional funding to supplement existing task forces and to expand the number of task forces working with community-based organizations to combat human trafficking. The Associate Attorney General made the announcement at the 2008 National Conference on Human Trafficking, where more than 350 representatives from federal, state, and local organizations gathered to discuss methods of investigating human trafficking and servitude and how best to provide services to trafficking victims.

"Human Trafficking is a serious crime and deserves the focused attention of law enforcement and victim service providers," said Associate Attorney General O'Connor. "The task forces receiving funding today are made up of both of these important elements. We will continue to use all of the resources at our disposal to make sure that traffickers are convicted and that victims receive the assistance they need to recover."

Since 2001, the Department has partnered with state and local law enforcement, and victim service organizations to convict 342 traffickers and assist 1,300 victims from 80 countries. In 2007 alone, the Department opened 154 new trafficking investigations.{9680E9A4-ECFC-4F01-8071-EB8194A789CB}&dist=hppr


Ideas I Really Like

-post issues and addresses of legislators on WC's bulletin board to encourage people to write
-make t-shirts for our group that state what percentage of BSU's campus would be slaves if it  
   reflected the international situation
-make a list of all the slavery books we've read, get the library to order them, suggest them for
  the freshman reader, and advertise them around campus
-set up an informational table about slavery and the library's resources about it in Bracken lobby
-advertise with sidewalk chalk
-do the freedom chain somewhere on campus
-do chains for change or some other activity for collecting change

I think all of the ideas are great.  To get more details on the sellable favors for CRU: what would we include with those?  


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Good Ideas from Call Out Meeting

So we had our call out meeting last week for the Fall semester, and I was really excited about a lot of the ideas I heard. Here's the big list in case anyone missed it:

1)  make sellable favors for the CRU dance
2)  get a speaker to come to campus (liberated slave, human rights expert/scholar, Kevin Bales, etc...)
3)  nominate a slavery-related book as next year's freshman read
4)  use the Writing Center's bulletin board to post opportunities and contacts for writing legislators about slavery issues
5)  get restaurants to have a night where proceeds go to FTS (MAx and Ermas, Fazolis, IHOP, etc...)
6)  pass out lifesavers advertising FTS
7)  post messages on bulletin boards around campus
8)  advertise FTS and related issues using sidewalk chalk
9)  make a "freedom chain" in residence halls or on campus - people pay to put up a link
10)  have a charity concert in LaFollette field with local/campus bands
11)  sponsor a spaghetti dinner (w/ LaRosa's)
12)  do something to get people's attention at the scramble light and hand out information or collect change
13)  do tv channel interview with TCOM dept.
14)  use BSU radio station to advertise activities
15)  have a bake sale and distribute information
16)  have a Fair Trade bake sale and distribute information
17)  team up with Late Nite - have an activity and info booth
18)  have slave poetry readings at the MT Cup
19)  "Chains for Change"  - have someone "locked up" in chains somewhere and advertise, "we need $____ before he/she can go free!"
20)  show a slavery related video and get teachers to give extra credit for attending
21)  sell jewelry at a booth
22)  do a presentation at local schools
23)  get an article about FTS in the Daily News
24)  sent money and reps to Haiti or some other place to help grassroots groups
25)  set up a FTS facebook
26)  send FTS videos via facebook
27)  use resources on campus to raise money - SGA, RHA, 
28)  do some other fundraiser (carwash, etc...)
29)  have a FTS book list (w/ Amazon?)
30)  work with the Rafa house in Cambodia?
31)  wear clothes or paint depicting % of slaves in population compared to Ball State Campus

I think they all sound like great ideas, but here are my top favorites: 
big events/plans: get in touch with a restaurant and arrange a fundraiser, chains for change (Whitney had a cool idea about this involving the holidays), Daily News article (it would be awesome if we could get this before the next meeting to advertise the next meeting), and favors for the CRU formal.
mini projects: nominate a book for the freshman reader, sidewalk chalk (again it would be nice to do this before the next meeting so we can let people know when our next meeting is), wearing clothes to represent % of slavery. 

-Sarah Burns

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Fall Event

      - show a video(s)
     - try to get a speaker (FTS person or former slave?)
     - do a slavery simulation (kind of like Displace Ball State), where we give up some of our rights or HAVE to do something
     - maybe we could even do something regular like a monthly fast / hunger-strike where we'd use the money we would've spent on food to buy food to send to those in need 
     - part of an email I got from Judith Hyde (volunteer director at FTS):  "Here's an idea I just got from a group in Alabama.  they did a loose change campaign over a weekend - went to all their friends and family members and asked for loose change... sort of a change for change idea.  that simple weekend event brought in over $3600."

     - Fall Freedom
     - Autumn for Autonomy 
    - Free the Slaves, Give Your Change

    - table tents cost $90 for one week
    - announcement boards
    - stand at the scramble light or somewhere else
    - pull someone around in a rolling cage as if he/she were a slave (a la Sarah B. and Whitney - this would definitely be unique!)

Monday, April 7, 2008


More than 27 million slaves are in various kinds of bondage worldwide.  Indentured service, human trafficking, child soldiery, debt bondage, and the sex trade are only some of the ways that people are forced to work against their wills under threat of violence.  Our goal is to help these people get out of their situations.  Free the Slaves is an organization based in the U.S. that has contacts with grass-roots anti-slavery groups around the world. Together with these groups, national governments, and international agencies, FTS has already helped to free many slaves, but much more work needs to be done.  Awareness needs to be increased; laws need to be passed and reinforced; product chains need to become slavery-free; and money needs to be raised.  It's a complicated issue that can be confronted from many angles.  On the internet as well as on Ball State's campus, some of these initiatives can be met.  Our chapter of FTS wants to help bring you the information and resources necessary for making a difference in the lives of enslaved people around the world.  

Free the Slaves website:

Campus activity this Friday dedicated to helping the cause of displaced peoples and child soldiers:

Campus letter-writing campaign this Saturday from 10am - 2pm in AR 217 sponsored by the Coalition of Student Advocates.  Letters concerning important issues will we written and sent to government leaders.  Speakers including State Senator Sue Errington will also be present.

T-shirts made entirely in Africa to support local farmers and businesses are available at the Atrium bookstore through also sells products that support the livelihood of freed slaves.

visit and search for child slavery, human trafficking, or sex trade.

We hope that some of these resources will help you become more aware of our world and take part in working to improve it.  If you'd like to contact us and be a part of FTS:BSU, send an email to


Monday, March 24, 2008

Life Saver Info Sheet


27 Million slaves worldwide.
Want to help save a life?

Other ideas?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lifesaver Handout Sign-up

The idea of making fact sheets and attaching Lifesavers sounds like one that we should put into effect ASAP. So here's the deal: This blog is a sign-up, thus the title :) The big event will take place on April 7th and 8th at the scramble light. This way we can take advantage of the Mon. idea, but we can also offer Tues. for those with tight Mon. schedules. Ideally, it would be nice to have at least 2 people there at all times. Taking into account busy schedules, shifts will last one hour. We will be there from 12PM until 3PM as that seems to be the busiest time of the day. Please sign-up via comment for a shift whenever you're available. Also, if you can show up to your shift 10 min early to relieve someone who may have a class on the hour, it would be greatly appreciated. At the shift you choose, report to our set-up at the scramble light (we'll be on the same corner as North Quad). Also, if you are available to design the handout/ help with attaching lifesavers prior to this event, please shoot an email to freetheslavesbsu@gmail. Thanks guys!!

Possible Future Grant Money

This evening, I attended an EIL workshop, and the speaker was a representative of Indiana Campus Compact, a statewide organization that Ball State is a member of. They give out grant money every month to student organizations for any community projects. This may be a great way to fund any endeavors we make in the future that are aimed off campus.

Up to $1000 can be awarded per project, and an organization can request money multiple times, although priority is given for those who are applying for the first time. The representative I talked to also said that most organizations apply during the months of February, March, and September, so we would have more luck in other months, especially during the summer months. The deadline is the 15th of every month, and fifteen days later the organization will know whether they have received the money.

Their website is, and I also have two extra packets that give information about the grant and how to apply for it if anyone wants a copy.

The representative also gave me the names of two other organization that he said awards grant money: the Muncie Community Foundation and Youth in Philanthropic Endeavors. I'm going to look into them, and I'll post information about them if they look promising.

-Sarah D.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Newsweek Article - Slavery in Our Times

Newsweek had an article "Slavery in Our Times" published Monday this week. The following is a link to the article:

The article mentions slavery in London, but also tells of a traveling exhibit called "Journey," which tells stories of women who have been enslaved through human trafficking. This exhibit is scheduled to come to the U.S. soon, and we as a group should try to go to it.

This article shows that other people, and organizations, are focused on the same problem; if the message is already out there, we should be able to help bring the word to more people and show them how real slavery still is.

From: Cara

Letter Writing Campaign

BSU Advocates is the name of the group that's sponsoring the letter writing campaign.  Essentially, on April 12 from 10am to 2pm in AR 217, students are going to be writing letters about issues that impassion them to government leaders.  The students running BSU Advocates want representatives from various campus organizations to inform the students who attend about the issues and help them write letters.  I'm going to be busy from 12 until late on that Saturday.  Would anyone be available or interested in helping out with this project?  If so, shoot me an email.  BSU Advocates is going to provide some training before the big day, so don't worry about that.  It'll be a good time.  

Books and Movies for the Library

Here are the names of products from the Free the Slaves Website (

    -Ending Slavery: How We Can Free Today's Slaves
    -Understanding Global Slavery: A Reader
    -Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy

     - The Silent Revolution
     - Freedom and Beyond
     - Dreams Die Hard

Other books:
    - A Crime So Monstrous (

any other ideas?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Another resource idea!

Going off of the "lifesaver" idea (the candy), perhaps we could sort-of take the same idea the previous blog mentioned but make copies of facts or statistics on slavery in the U.S. and attach them to the lifesavers with ribbon or something. This way, if or when we pass out lifesavers at the corner of the scramble light or whatever, people will flock to us and walk away with a little bit more information than they had before. If this plan goes through, who knows maybe this could bring more people to join the organization and help our cause! 


Resource Idea: Change Machine

This thing would be a cardboard box that looks like a change machine.  People would put bills (or coins) in it, but instead of receiving an equivalent value of money in return, they would receive a card telling them what difference their money will make.  The "receipt" would tell how much they helped us buy a book, dvd, or sponsor a speaker.  If relevant, it could even tell how much the money will directly impact slavery (e.g., "It costs, on average, ___ to free a slave; your money helped to free ____ slaves/of a slave.").  The receipt could also contain contact information for us or for the original Free the Slaves.  The machine itself could have information on it that tells about the state of slavery around the world. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Hello to those of you who saw the flyers posted around campus or who were informed by other means.  As you know, the call-out meetings are scheduled for Tuesday Feb. 26th and Wednesday Feb. 27th from 7 - 7:45 pm in Robert Bell 291 (the Writing Center).  We'll be viewing a few video clips about slavery at home and abroad and discussing our relationship to the men, women, and children who are in bondage.  Bring your stories of why you're passionate about this issue and your ideas of how we can work to combat modern global slavery in all its forms (i.e., debt bondage, child labor, the sex trade, etc).  

This group is a chapter of a larger organization called Free the Slaves.  It is based in America but has international reach, having already freed a number of slaves in many countries (click on the link to the right for more information).  Even though FTS has connections with grassroots anti-slavery groups around the world, they have never before sponsored local versions of their organization.  Consequently, they have not given us any rigid plans, procedures, or practices to follow.  We, through collaboration with each other, have control over what we'll do with our time and resources.  In concert with other pilot chapters on the West and East coasts, we can contribute to the dialogue concerning the role of college students in this movement.  

If you're not able to come to either of the meetings, send an email to the address on the right to be informed of upcoming activities and meetings.  Also, keep an eye on this blog, and give your opinions about how we can best work to eradicate slavery around the world.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Flyer for the Informational Meeting

What do you think about this idea?
What should be added or removed?

Ever heard or read about
       child slavery,
              debt bondage,
                      or human trafficking in the sex trade?

Want to do something about it?

There are 27 million slaves worldwide.

Come find out what you can do
to help free a few.

Wednesday, February ___, 2008
Room: _____
Times: ______
(website and blog)