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