Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Akon and Peter Buffett's "Blood Into Gold" Video and Song

Hey everyone, the post below talks about "Blood Into Gold," which is the collaborative effort between Peter Buffett and Akon, and I wanted to share the video and iTunes download link with you guys. All of the proceeds from buying the song on iTunes go toward charities working to end slavery, so I STRONGLY encourage you all to do that!

Akon's 'Blood Into Gold' Raises Awareness Of Horrors Of Human Trafficking

By Shaheem Reid

Akon is busy working on one of his most important collaborations. When 'Kon and legendary singer Peter Buffet first came together to discuss music, they found more common ground in their interest in philanthropy — now the two are working together to stop human trafficking across the globe.

"We have a Web site called IsThereSomethingICanDo.com," Akon said. "What this site is, it gives anyone information related to foundations. Some people are like, 'I want to help somebody' or they want to donate money to a foundation, but don't have the means to find out how to do so — this site is almost like a Google for that. Anybody that wants to do anything philanthropic can go to this site and get more information on it. What we do every quarter is focus on a topic — this quarter is human trafficking. It's something that's been happening around the world. That's the focus, and we're launching a song we did called 'Blood Into Gold.'

"The concept is how people take blood and turn it into gold," he explained on Wednesday night before performing the record at the United Nations.

'Kon and Buffet have previously joined forces on projects for Africa as well as other charities. Akon explained that through his travels, he learned of human trafficking and he wanted to do his part to help.

"You can raise the awareness of it," he said. "[There's] a lot of that going on around the world, people being sold — even here, pimping is human trafficking, if you look at it. You got these women in brothels and whorehouses against their wills. A lot of people don't know what to do or where to start, let alone how to stop it. We're just trying to find a solution. Our involvement is not profitable; it's just to raise awareness. The more people who know about it, the solutions are eventually gonna come. That's how you start — people who aren't aware, make them aware."

Head to Think.MTV.com to find a community where you, your friends and your favorite celebrities can get informed, get heard and take action on the issues that matter to you most.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meeting Tonight!

Hey everybody!

There is a meeting tonight at 9:00 pm in RB 291 (the Writing Center). Hope to see you there!!

Vote for the Polaris Project!

Hey everyone, I got this email this morning from the Polaris Project:

Dear Supporters -

We are in 2nd place to win additional funds for our Washington, DC Trafficking Intervention Program. By making it to 1st place we will win $5,000 to put toward critical services for victims of human trafficking, including food, clothing, shelter, mental health services, legal services, and job skills training.

Please take one minute today and cast your vote!

To vote now go to: TheWomensFoundation.org

(Note: After you vote, you can check "No, thank you" and your contact information will remain confidential and you will not receive anything from the Washington Area Women's Foundation.)

Already voted?

* Forward this email to 5 friends or coworkers and encourage them to vote too!
* Join our cause on Facebook.com and spread the word by inviting your friends to join the cause.
* Send a message out about the vote on a school, faith-based organization, or community group listserv.

For more information about our programs to serve victims of human trafficking, please go to PolarisProject.org.

Thank you for your support!

Polaris Project staff

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Two U.S. Women Charged With Child Trafficking In Egypt

Cairo, Egypt (AHN) - Two American women are in jail in Egypt after being charged with human trafficking because they used spurious birth certificates of Egyptian children they adopted in applying for their U.S. visas.

Suzanne Hagelof, who lives in Egypt with her husband, and Iris Botros, a former citizen of Egypt and now a resident of North Carolina, are detained in the overcrowded Tora prison in Cairo and will be tried starting May 16. Both are facing 10 years in prison if convicted of human trafficking.

Six other people, including two doctors and a nun who ran a local orphanage, are being tried together with the two Americans for forging documents to illegally adopt Egyptian children and smuggled them out of the country.

All the accused were led to a local court Saturday in handcuffs and placed inside a cage in the courtroom. Hagelof and Botros' husbands were present in the trial.

Hagelof adopted a child from an orphanage run by a Coptic Christian Church last year. Botros adopted twins from another orphanage run by the same religious organization seven months later and donated $4,600 to the church.

Both planned to take their adoptive children to the U.S. However, staff in the U.S. embassy in Cairo alerted local authorities because the adoptive parents presented fake birth certificates of the children in getting visas for the latter.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Faith in Action

Hey guys, Free the Slaves has created a new section on their website called "Faith in Action."

You should check it out!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Meeting on Thursday!

Hey, just a quick reminder about the meeting on THURSDAY at 9 pm at the WRITING CENTER (RB 291). Please come if you can and be ready to do some major planning for the next two weeks!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

US govt, MTV use animation to fight human trafficking

SINGAPORE (AFP) — Music channel MTV on Monday announced the release of a US government-backed animation programme aimed at raising awareness of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Asia.

The half-hour anime show entitled "Intersection" will feature the voices of Asian film star Ananda Everingham and MTV VJ Taya Rogers and will premiere on MTV Asia on March 20, it said in a statement.

The story will be told from the perspective of five individuals who are part of the trafficking chain -- the victim, trafficker, brothel owner, client and undercover police officer.

"I am proud to be a part of this project that will educate young men and women in Singapore and all over Asia on this important issue," Everingham said.

"I hope the animation will stir meaningful conversations about how we can fight against this tragic form of modern-day slavery."

UN estimates show that there are 2.5 million victims of human trafficking worldwide at any one time, according to a joint statement from MTV and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Human trafficking is the second-biggest illegal trade after drugs and those involved in the trade earn more than 10 billion dollars a year, it said.

Singapore and Malaysia were identified among the top destination countries for trafficking victims from poorer countries, the statement said.

"Intersection" is part of a series of programmes produced by MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) in partnership with the USAID to educate the public on the human trafficking scourge.

"We're using a different medium, animation, to alert young people about the risks of human trafficking," said USAID mission director for Asia Olivier Carduner.

Last year, MTV organised a concert at Cambodia's famed Angkor Wat temple as part of its anti-human trafficking campaign.


Sunday, March 8, 2009


Let's celebrate the amazing news that by the end of summer 2009, Cadbury's Dairy Milk bars can be part of our diet again!

We congratulate Cadbury on their commitment to justice and now look to their policy being adopted across their entire product range.

Cadbury's decision demonstrates the power of ordinary consumers in bringing change and freedom. Two years ago, STOP THE TRAFFIK met with Cadbury and was told that a fairtrade Cadbury's bar was impossible and impracticable.

This is a victory for every person who has complained, campaigned and spread the message. But most of all, it is a victory for every child held in exploitative labour on West African cocoa farms. It is important to remember though that all exploited children will not be free until Mars, Nestle, Lindt, Hershey and all the others have put human rights before profit and make similar announcements. Click here to find out more about the trafficking of children to work on cocoa farms.

STOP THE TRAFFIK has been calling for individual companies to take responsibility for the chocolate they sell and asking for it to be traffik free. This is a very significant step in our campaign.

If you've been part of this, e-mail it to your local press and tell them of the campaigning you did.

Together we will STOP THE TRAFFIK

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sheriff: Craigslist 'largest source of prostitution' in US

CHICAGO (AFP) — An Illinois sheriff filed a lawsuit against Craigslist on Thursday calling the popular website the largest clearing house for prostitution in the United States.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart sued the owners of the classified ad site in US District Court for facilitating prostitution by failing to block blatant offers to trade sex for money.

"Craigslist is the single largest source of prostitution in the nation," Dart said at a press conference in Chicago.

"Missing children, runaways, abused women and women trafficked in from foreign countries are routinely forced to have sex with strangers because they're being pimped on Craigslist."

Dart's lawsuit was filed four months after San Francisco-based Craigslist settled a nationwide lawsuit by promising to enact new rules to crack down on prostitution.

Dart said his officers have seen no change in the number or type of postings in the "Erotic Services" section since the website's owner promised "sweeping changes" and said "no amount of criminal activity is acceptable."

"This section is a convenient clearing house for pimps, prostitutes and patrons that enables sellers to advertise and buyers to peruse discretely," Dart said in court filings.

Dart said he has made numerous written pleas to Craigslist in the past two years asking them to shut down the Erotic Services section, which generates about 300 posts a day in Chicago alone.

In the past two years, Dart's department has made more than 200 arrests linked to the website on charges that include juvenile pimping, human trafficking and endangerment of a child.

The people arrested have ranged from heroin addicts to suburban soccer moms, a former reality TV star and teenagers as young as 14 years old.

Dart asked a federal judge to order Craigslist to eliminate its Erotic Services section.

He is also seeking reimbursement for tax dollars spent paying the salaries of officers who investigate and arrest those responsible for trafficking prostitutes on the website.

A Craigslist spokeswoman said she could not comment on the case because she has not yet received a copy of the lawsuit.

"Misuse of Craigslist to facilitate criminal activity is unacceptable, and we continue to work diligently to prevent it," Susan MacTavish said in an e-mail in which she outlined a number of measures Craigslist has taken to prevent illegal activity.

"Misuse of the site is exceptionally rare compared to how much the site is used for legal purposes. Regardless, any misuse of the site is not tolerated on Craigslist."

Dart said street gangs are now using Craigslist to pimp out prostitutes.

An FBI investigation found last year that more than 2,800 child prostitution ads had been posted on Craigslist and a recent nationwide sweep for child trafficking and prostitution netted hundreds of arrests, he added.

"Pimps are preying on the most vulnerable members of our society and taking advantage of our struggling economy," Dart told reporters.

"The worst part is Craigslist's owners know their website is still being used for illegal purposes and they're doing nothing to stop it."

While Craigslist does not profit from ads in the Erotic Services section, Dart claimed the traffic it generates accounts for the bulk of the website's popularity and allowed it to generate 80 million dollars in revenue last year from paid posts for jobs and apartments.

In November, Craigslist said it would charge a small fee and require credit card verification for postings in the Erotic Services section and all revenue from the ads would be donated to charity.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Human Sex Trafficking Addressed at the Capitol

SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- Movies like Pretty Woman make prostitution seem glamorous, but legislators at the Capitol Monday said its more like slavery.

Senator Ann Pappas (DFL-St. Paul) is sponsoring a bill that would provide protection to victims and prosecute traffickers.

Joy Friedman became a victim at the age of 13 and remained a part of the human trafficking system for 23 years.

"I didn't choose to do any of it," Friedman said. "I was forced into it. I didn't like anything about it. It was not a lot of money as far as what I make. Everyone else makes money and gets their satisfaction off it, but not me. It's about them getting theirs."

According to the United States Department of Justice, Minnesota is currently ranked 13th in the country for sex trafficking.

Sen. Pappas said that could be because Minneapolis has an international airport, boarders Canada and has a high immigrant population.

Sen. Pappas says it's not just immigrants who become victims. She says women who have low self confidence and self worth are easily manipulated into becoming victims.

And the recession doesn't help. Cheryl Thomas with the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights says when there's desperate economic times, human trafficking increases.

The currently law recognizing and prostitution and human trafficking for work and prostitution, but does not recognized human trafficking for sex acts. This law would change that

"Fear is used as a method of control," Friedman said. "That's why it's difficult for victims to get out of the system.

Non-profit group Breaking Free works with women and girls involved in systems of prostitution and sex trafficking as well as other battered women involved in the criminal justice system

Joy Friedman works with the group and says, "They look beyond the labels of sex trafficking victims and help them get back on their feet by providing a place to live for one thing."

"The housing piece gave me a place to lay my head and lock the door and I held the key no one else," Friedman said.

Friedman has been out of the system for eight and a half years and is helping other victims of human trafficking as an advocate with Breaking Free.