JUST Notes

SPECIAL ISSUE ON

HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND MODERN DAY SLAVERY

We promise to stand with people who are poor by seeking out and addressing critical needs, particularly in those places where our presence could make a difference. --Promise Chapter 2006 - Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange

January 11 th is National Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery Awareness Day

EARTH CHARTER

PRINCIPLE III: SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE

9. Eradicate poverty as an ethical, social, and environmental imperative.

b. Empower every human being with the education and resources to secure a sustainable livelihood, and provide social security and safety nets for those who are unable to support themselves.

Pope John Paul II on Trafficking

The trade in human persons constitutes a shocking offense against human dignity and a grave violation of fundamental human rights. Already the Second Vatican Council had pointed to “slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children, and disgraceful working conditions where people are treated as instruments of gain rather than free and responsible persons” as “infamies” which “poison human society, debase their perpetrators” and constitute “a supreme dishonour to the Creator” (Gaudium et Spes, 27). Such situations are an affront to fundamental values which are shared by all cultures and peoples, values rooted in the very nature of the human person.

--Pope John Paul II, Letter to Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran on the Occasion of the International Conference “Twenty- First Century Slavery-the Human Rights Dimension to Trafficking in Human Beings,” May 15, 2002

WHAT TYPES OF SLAVERY EXIST TODAY?

There are more slaves in the world today than were captured from Africa during four centuries of slave trade. Today, an estimated 27 million people are enslaved around the world in some form. The organization Free the Slaves uses these categories to differentiate types of modern day slavery:

Bonded labor

A person becomes bonded when their labor is demanded as a means of repayment of a loan or money given in advance. There are 20 million people working as bonded laborers worldwide. This is particularly common in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Brazil and the Caribbean.

Forced labor

This affects people who are illegally recruited by governments, political parties or private individuals, and forced to work, usually under threat of violence. Every year, Burma’s military dictatorship enslaves tens of thousands of people to work as porters for the army or on government construction projects.

Worst forms of child labor

This refers to children who work in dangerous or exploitative conditions. While not all child labor is slavery, millions of children worldwide work in conditions of slavery.

Commercial sexual exploitation of children

Children are exploited through prostitution, trafficking and pornography. They are often kidnapped, bought, or forced to enter the sex market. Child sex tourism is particularly common in Asia.

Trafficking

This involves the transport and/or trade of humans, usually women or children, for economic gain and involves force or deception. Often migrant women and girls are tricked and forced into domestic work and prostitution. Women from Asia, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and South America are trafficked frequently to regions such as the US, EU, Japan and the Middle East.

Early and forced marriage

Women and girls are married without choice and forced into a life of servitude, and often physical violence. This occurs in North Africa and some Asian countries.

Traditional or ‘chattel’ slavery

Today people are still bought and sold as commodities. They are often abducted from their homes, inherited or given as gifts. This is common in West Africa, particularly Mauritania.

FACTS ON SLAVERY IN THE 21ST CENTURY

  • Slavery is illegal in every part of the world, but there are about 27 million people still held in slavery.
  • Modern day slaves are not usually held in chains, and they are rarely bought or sold in public.
  • Slaves can be male or female and may be as young as 4 years old (but a person can also be born a slave), and may continue to work until death.
  • Slaves may work up to 20 hours a day, sometimes more, up to 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
  • Debt bondage is the most common form of slavery. People become bonded laborers when they take or are tricked into taking a loan for as little as $36 – the cost of medicine for a sick child in some countries. To repay the debt, they are forced to work long hours, usually in secret locations. Often, they continue to be held in slavery long after the original debt has been repaid.
  • The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates there are more than 80 million children under 14 worldwide who work in conditions hazardous to their health. At the worst end of that spectrum are child slaves who receive no wage. There is no accurate estimate of their numbers.
  • The US Government estimates that 700,000 to 2 million women and children are trafficked across borders each year to be used as illegal labor or sex workers. This does not take into account those trafficked within a country nor does it include men. Trafficking is the fastest growing form of forced labor.
  • There may be up to 10 million slaves in India alone, while other parts of Asia, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and South America, make up most of the rest. The U.S., EU, Japan and the Middle East are the most common recipients of trafficked women.
  • Out of 6 billion people in the world today, 1.5 billion live on less than $1 per day. People who are poor and desperate can be tricked into debt bondage or may be captured and forced to work in houses, on farms, as soldiers or even as prostitutes. Slaves can be replaced easily when they are too ill or old to work as there are many more people who can be tricked into working for nothing.
  • Huge profits are made by today’s slave holders, as slaves are paid little or nothing.
    The total yearly profit created by slaves is around $14 billion.

-- Adapted from Education for Justice

 

WHY IS SEX TRAFFICKING ALLOWED TO EXIST IN THE U.S.?

In 2000 Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 to “combat human trafficking by punishing traffickers, protecting victims, and mobilizing U.S. government agencies to wage a global anti-trafficking campaign.” In December 2005 the End Demand for Sex Trafficking Act passed, which seeks to lower the demand for sex trafficking. However, despite these laws, there are still many problems that inhibit effective prosecution of sex traffickers:

• A failure to identify victims. There is an appalling difference between the estimated number of victims trafficked into the U.S. and the number of victims found.

• A failure to prosecute traffickers. Many states remain unable to adequately address the problem, because of poor coordination between agencies, poor education about sex trafficking and limited support from the federal government.

• A failure to provide rehabilitation services to victims. Even after the passage of the 2005 Act, NGOs and social service agencies still bear the primary responsibility for identifying survivors, attending to their immediate needs for physical safety and housing, referring them for health care, facilitating their access to protection and rehabilitative services, and helping foreign victims to return to their countries of origin or begin new lives in the United States.

• A failure to educate the public about sex trafficking in the United States. Most Americans do not know what sex trafficking is, or if they do, they think it is a problem that occurs in other countries.
--Adapted from Education for Justice

 

IDENTIFYING VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING/GETTING INVOLVED

The Trafficking Information and Referral Hotline (1.888.3737.888) can assist in determining if a person is a victim of human trafficking and can help you determine the next steps in providing support for potential victims. Victims of trafficking are numerous but often inconspicuous; victims are not criminals and the government is able to help them.

The Department of Health and Human Services, HHS, has awarded 18 grants for street outreach to organizations to help them identify victims of trafficking among populations with whom they are already operating. The groups targeted are those that are engaged in current outreach, and have an expertise on vulnerable populations, and have built a level of trust among them.

HHS established the Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking public awareness campaign, which promotes public awareness about trafficking and the protections available for trafficking victims. The goal of the campaign is to help communities identify and serve more victims of trafficking so that every individual forced, coerced, or fraudulently induced into exploitative work will have the courage and support to come forward and receive the full protection and benefits offered by the TVPA.

-- Adapted from The Campaign to Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking

 

 

WHAT COMPANIES CAN DO

  • Companies sending employees on business trips, especially to areas considered tourist attractions, can educate them about the sexual exploitation of women and children. This may dissuade employees from being perpetrators of exploitation themselves and alert them to exploitation so that they may be vigilant and report suspected sexual exploitation.
  • Companies can also provide financial support through donations to NGOs working to eradicate human trafficking, forced labor, and sexual exploitation of women and children.
  • Tourism, travel, and hospitality companies can educate employees regarding the sex tourism industry and implement protocols designed to protect women and children from sexual exploitation.
    Tourism, travel, and hospitality companies can educate travelers by providing information through catalogues, brochures, in-flight videos, and websites regarding the sexual exploitation of women and children.

 SUGGESTED WEBSITES

• 21st Century Slaves http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0309/feature1/
• Anti-Slavery http://www.antislavery.org/
• Children of the Night http://childrenofthenight.org/home.html
• Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking http://www.castla.org/

• Free the Slaves http://www.freetheslaves.net/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=183&srcid=183

• Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force http://www.humantrafficking.org/organizations/427
• Rescue and Restore Campaign http://www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking/
• Stop Human Trafficking Newsletter

http://homepage.mac.com/srjeanschafersds/stoptraffic/index.html

PRAYER

Liberator Lord,

you came to set us free from all forms of slavery and to heal us into freedom. Let us remember those who have suffered from slavery and the millions who still suffer as slaves.

We pray for Raj, in Bangledesh, whose family sold him into slavery at 10 because the younger children were starving and they needed to buy rice.

We pray for Victoria, 17, from Moldova, forced into debt slavery in Bosnia and put to work as a prostitute.

We pray for 14-year-old Jonah from Sierra Leone, who was enslaved by the military when he was ten.

We pray for Julia Gabriel, 19, smuggled from Mexico to find a better future in the U.S., only be to be forced to pick crops under armed guard in South Carolina for 12 - 14 hours a day.

We pray for Mai, 27, a new mother, who was separated from her baby and forced to work on roads in Burma.

We pray for all your children who have suffered the injustice of slavery.

We know, Lord,
that you have created human beings with dignity and that slavery is a horrible injustice. Empower us, who are not enslaved, to fight for the rights of those who are. Help us to pray and empower us in action to free your enslaved children.

Liberator Lord, hear us, help us, and set your children free through us. Amen

–Education for Justice