At The End Of Slavery: Documentary Exposes Modern Day Slavery

Slavery isn’t over; the reality is, nearly 150 years after the abolition of slavery in the United States, human trafficking remains a booming industry around the world.

This November, International Justice Mission (IJM), in partnership with Humanity United, is releasing a documentary entitled At the End of Slavery: The Battle for Justice in our Time. The film exposes the violent and lucrative business of modern-day slavery from inside the brothels and forced labor operations of Asia, and documents the struggle of modern day abolitionists struggling to end the oppressive industry of human trade.

At the End of Slavery is filmed on location in India, Cambodia, and the Philippines with undercover footage from the front-lines of rescue efforts and first-person testimony of those freed from illegal slavery. The filmmakers hope to expose the atrocious issues of modern-slavery by making the compelling argument that with their success in finding and rescuing victims, and prosecuting those responsible, there can be a viable end to slave trade.

In the fight to end trans-Atlantic slavery nearly two centuries ago, British abolitionists exposed the inhumane conditions of slave-trade by releasing an image of the slave ship Brookes. It worked – their efforts created a defining moment in the movement towards slavery abolition and eventually brought the trans-Atlantic slave commerce to an end. In the same way, IJM and its partners hope that At the End of Slavery will not only expose the issue, but bring people together to join the fight against the crime of human trafficking.

You can be a modern-day abolitionist. November 14th and 15th is the Weekend to End Slavery – two days of united effort across the United States to educate communities about slavery and mobilize the movement against the practice.

November 14 – Host a screening of At the End of Slavery in your community. Invite your friends over, have them invite their friends over. Watch the film. Talk about it and join the live Webcast with IJM President, Gary Haugen.

November 15 – If you’re a person of faith, get your church involved. Churches across the country will share a message of justice and engage people of faith in the struggle to seek justice and an end to oppression.

Wait…there’s more. If you’re in college and there isn’t an IJM chapter on your campus, start one. IJM is a human rights agency that works to secure justice not only for victims of slavery, but also those victimized by sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to ensure successful rescue operations and aftercare, to bring those responsible to justice, and to promote functioning public justice systems. You can be part of the cause by raising your voice, raising funds and raising awareness on your college campus.

While this film focuses specifically on the slave industry in Asia, human trafficking is happening all around the world – even in the U.S. Also, sex tourism is on the rise; in a recent case, three U.S. citizens were arrested after traveling to Asia to have sex with child prostitutes.


Published in: on November 5, 2009 at 2:32 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , ,

Campus Crusade for Christ hosts Empathy Week

The group held a vigil to honor and benefit trafficking victims.

Campus Crusade for Christ partnered with the anti-slavery non-profit iEmpathize to host Mizzou Empathy Week.

This week aims to raise awareness about human trafficking — the practice of selling people into slavery — in order to inspire students to action, iEmpathize Executive Administrator Christy Pennick said.

CRU staff member Alan Toigo said iEmpathize’s artistic approach to human trafficking made the issue more real for students.

“You’re able to connect with an individual, and whenever that happens, you think, that could have been me,” Toigo said. “I could have been born in Thailand and sold into a brothel. It’s just so bad and disgusting and shocking.”

Larry Martin, International Justice Mission Education vice president, a non-profit that fights human trafficking, spoke about God’s presence amid modern-day slavery at the CRU weekly meeting Thursday in Jesse Wrench Auditorium.

Martin said people have a hard time believing God is good because all the pain they see in the world.

He told the story of Jyoti, a teenage girl from southeastern India who was trapped in a brothel until the International Justice Mission rescued her.

“She saw the body of Christ — that’s what we’re called — show up in her darkness and get her out,” Martin said.

Such actions make it possible for the world to believe God is good, Martin said.

“It makes sense,” sophomore Laura Kebede said. “God uses people as his instruments, showing his love through people, and there’s nothing more powerful than that. Because he has such a heart for the oppressed, it’s only natural that those who follow him have a heart for the oppressed.”

When CRU set up the iEmpathize art exhibit preview at Lowry Mall on Monday, CRU members took turns holding a vigil by sitting on a bed on which children had been raped.

“Just thinking about a child lying on this bed and all the terrible things happening to them, I just want to scoop them up and hold them,” Henderson said.

A sign read, “The average child prostitute is sold for $5 to $15. Make a matching donation to free a slave from the vigil bed.”

Art items on display included a child’s sandals found outside a brothel in Cambodia, number badges pinned to child sex slaves in Thailand, and photographs of a former brothel and a child safe home.

“That’s what God wants to do, too. When we’re hurting, he wants to scoop us up and hold us,” Henderson said. “As representatives of God, we need to be his hands and feet, a tangible expression of his love.”

The response to the Lowry Mall art exhibit preview was mixed, Toigo said. When volunteers told one group about human trafficking and the vigil bed, the students laughed. Another student asked if he could keep the child if he made a donation. Toigo said it disturbed him that students could joke about kids being sold into sex slavery.

“I try to believe the best about Mizzou students, so it really grieves me,” Toigo said. “It’s like partnering with the people who are hurting these kids, because it desensitizes other people from the reality and horror of the situation.”


Published in: on October 2, 2009 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Justice expiring for Mexico’s murder victims

  whats buried deeper? the bodies of the victims or the files for their investigation?


The situation in Juarez!
Femicide in Juarez and Chihuahua: For more than a decade, the cities of Chihuahua and Juarez, near the US-Mexico border, have been killing fields for young women, the site of over 400 unsolved femicides. Despite the horrific nature of these crimes, authorities at all levels exhibit indifference, and there is strong evidence that some officials may be involved. Impunity and corruption has permitted the criminals, whoever they are, to continue committing these acts, knowing there will be no consequences. A significant number of victims work in the maquiladora sector – sweatshops that produce for export, with 90% destined for the United States. The maquiladoras employ mainly young women, at poverty level wages. In combination with lax environmental regulations and low tariffs under the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the maquiladoras are amassing tremendous wealth. Yet despite the crime wave, they offer almost no protection for their workers. High profile government campaigns such as Ponte Vista (Be Aware), a self defense program, and supplying women with whistles have been ineffective and are carried out mainly for public relations purposes.






What is the Juarez Project?
The Juarez Project is a local grassroots organization that has been supporting the women of Juárez since 2002. We have helped the families by providing emotional and financial support to their groups through fundraising efforts, donations, and outreach. We have organized local events on numerous occasions and have been featured in many media outlets. To date, we have raised thousands of dollars for murdered family advocacy groups in Juárez. If you would like to get involved in the juarez project and ending the violence against these women please contact us either through this page or our email address is–Tanisha founder, The Juarez Project






murder victims

Statute of limitations begins to run out for earliest Ciudad Juarez killings

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – For 13 years, June 14 has brought tears, tortured memories and enduring pain to Griselda Salas.
It was on that date, in 1993, that her 16-year-old sister, Guadalupe Ivonne Salas, disappeared. Guadalupe Ivonne’s body turned up less than a week later in a park in this dusty, windswept industrial city near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Guadalupe Ivonne, who was raped and strangled, was one of the first victims in Mexico’s grisliest modern-day crime mystery — the murders of more than 400 women in the past 14 years in Ciudad Juarez, many of the bodies dumped in the desert, horribly mutilated. The killings, mostly of poor young factory workers, have inspired two Hollywood motion pictures and enraged human rights groups, which have filled volumes with accusations of corruption, botched investigations and official negligence.

Yet the mystery remains unsolved.

Now the earliest of those cases are quietly slipping off legal dockets because Mexico, unlike the United States and many European countries, has a statute of limitations for murder. At a time when U.S. prosecutors are resurrecting Civil Rights-era murder cases — some more than 40 years old — Mexico is closing murder cases forever after 14 years. With each passing day, it appears likely that a legal technicality may end a quest to unravel a string of slayings that shocked the world

“It is totally and absolutely grotesque to think that murderers could be enjoying their freedom because of this law,” said Jaime Garcia Chávez, a Chihuahua state legislator who is pressing to abolish Mexico’s statute of limitations. “It is inexcusable.”


‘Worrying silence’
Once filled with optimism, buoyed by support from the likes of actresses Jane Fonda and Sally Field, feminists and lawmakers here are demoralized. Esther Chávez Cano, founder of Juarez’s first rape and domestic violence counseling center, laments “a worrying silence” about cases that once commanded banner headlines. Few here are optimistic, even though the looming deadlines for dozens of Juarez cases have set off a last-minute race to revive long-dormant investigations.


An Argentine forensics team commissioned to look into the murders, drawing on experience from investigations of Argentina‘s “dirty war” and the Salvadoran civil war, is expected to release a damning report later this year that will illustrate the almost impossible task faced by prosecutors. The Argentines have found body parts carelessly left for years on the floors of medical examiner’s offices, heads with no matching bodies, bodies with no matching heads and a mishmash of unlabeled corpses tossed into mass graves at paupers’ cemeteries.

“It’s basically a huge mess,” forensic archaeologist Mercedes Doretti, the team leader, said in an interview.

Garcia Chávez’s effort to give investigators more time to untangle that mess by extending the statute of limitations, a gambit he considers a long shot, has already come too late for Jesica Elizalde, a slain journalist whose murder case expired March 14. The case of a factory worker, Luz Yvonne de la O Garcia, went off the books April 21, as did the murder of an unidentified woman on May 12. Dozens more will follow in the coming months and years.

‘Found a dead girl’
The next could be Guadalupe Ivonne Salas, though prosecutors say they may be closing in on a suspect — a promise that her family is reluctant to believe after years of dashed hopes.

Salas, a petite 16-year-old, shared a single bed in a cinder-block shack with her infant daughter and her mother, Vicky Salas. The family, like thousands of others, was drawn to Ciudad Juarez by the maquiladoras — assembly plants, most of them owned by U.S. companies — that sprung up blocks from the border because of an abundance of cheap labor and that transformed the town into the fourth most populous city in Mexico.

Young women were especially prized by factory supervisors because they were considered more reliable and less rowdy than men. Almost overnight, women were making money while men were still struggling to find jobs, leading to resentment in the local macho culture that activists cite as a social undercurrent to the slayings.

Salas walked each day down a treeless dirt road, past piles of rotting garbage and shacks with sagging walls, to catch a bus that took her to a television parts manufacturer. She made about $35 a week, sometimes pulling night shifts and returning home to a neighborhood with no streetlights.

The day that she disappeared should have been joyous; she was getting ready to celebrate her daughter’s first birthday. Griselda Salas remembers her sister saying that a friend was going to lend her money to buy presents and party supplies.

“She’s probably gone off with some stud,” Griselda Salas remembers being told by police when her sister did not return home. “You watch, she’ll come back pregnant with a fat belly in a few w months.”

Vicky Salas was on a religious retreat at the time of her daughter’s disappearance. When she returned several days later, members of her church were in tears.

“They’ve found a dead girl,” she remembers her friends telling her. “They think it’s Ivonne.”

A car accident delayed Vicky Salas’s trip to the morgue, which was closed when she arrived. An unsmiling police officer told her, “You’ll have to come back tomorrow,” and no amount of pleading by a panic-stricken mother could change his mind, she recalled.

‘Sexism and classism’
Even as the death toll rose, victims’ families continued to complain about insensitive investigators. One state attorney general suggested that the women encouraged their attackers by dressing provocatively. Other officials implied that the victims were prostitutes, living “double lives,” though their mothers insisted they were poor factory workers.

“They called them the morenitas,” Juarez police criminologist Oscar Maynez said in an interview, invoking a derogative term that was in vogue at the time and roughly translates to “little brown ones.” “No one cared about investigating their deaths. There was clear sexism and classism.”

Mexican federal authorities and international human rights organizations that have investigated the cases have accused local authorities in Ciudad Juarez and the state of Chihuahua of covering up evidence and failing to properly investigate crimes for a decade and a half.

The Washington Office on Latin America, or WOLA, a Washington-based human rights organization, has said the true killers may have been protected by authorities who tortured innocents to confess to the killings. Victims’ families have been subjected to harassment.

“One relative of a murder victim received a threatening voicemail message warning her to drop the case; the caller ID showed the call had come from the state judicial police,” a WOLA report said.

Flor Rocío Munguía González, the special prosecutor for what has become known as the femicides in Juarez, said in an interview that such offenses are “things of the past” and that she has more than tripled her investigative staff to solve old cases before the time limits expire and to track down those responsible for the ongoing killings of women in Juarez.

“I take great satisfaction in our efforts — we’re doing everything we can,” said Munguía González, who has been in office since February 2006.

After seeing eight special prosecutors come and go with no results, local activists are not impressed. Maureen Meyer, a WOLA analyst, said that a special federal investigator had found that 130 public officials had either been negligent or abused their authority during the murder investigations, but none has been disciplined.

“There’s a real failure to hold them accountable,” Meyer said in an interview.

Powerful network protecting killers?
Maynez, the criminologist, said he believes a powerful network of police, municipal officials and organized crime figures still protects the killers. He resigned from the job for a short time, after being asked to help frame two bus drivers in one of the cases. He refused, but the two men were arrested anyway. One died in suspicious circumstances during a jailhouse surgery. The other was released after testifying that he had been tortured by police into confessing.

An attorney for the bus drivers was killed by Chihuahua state police in a drive-by shooting in 2005, four days after vowing to file a corruption complaint. The police said the shooting was a case of mistaken identity.

Skepticism is growing as the Argentine forensics team nears the conclusion of its inquiry. The team has discovered that forensics officials in Ciudad Juarez boiled the corpses of some victims, destroying crucial DNA. The group also has found that the families of at least three victims received the wrong bodies for burial.

“The authorities just sealed the coffins and told the families not to ask any questions,” said Doretti, the lead forensics investigator.

The Juarez families, Doretti said, have insisted that no evidence be sent to Mexican laboratories. Instead, Doretti has sent samples to a U.S. lab; she is expecting results soon.

‘Can’t do it anymore’
The new forensic evidence and the approach of the statute of limitations deadlines are the sorts of developments that once would have prompted demonstrations in downtown Juarez. But the mothers who for years have pleaded for justice are exhausted, aging and in poor health.

The case of Silvia Morales, who was killed when she was 16, will expire in less than two years. Her mother, Ramona Morales, had been one of the most vocal critics in a protest movement of victim relatives, but is now suffering from diabetes and a bad knee.

“I can’t do it anymore,” she said one recent afternoon, tears trickling down her face.

Eva Arce, whose daughter Silvia Arce disappeared in 1998, was twice beaten by thugs after demonstrations demanding justice. She spends her days clipping newspaper articles about a new generation of murdered women in Juarez and writing poems.

“A tortured soul pours from a river of blood,” she said one recent afternoon, reading from her notebook.

That same day, the newspaper El Norte of Ciudad Juarez carried a photograph of a pretty, dark-haired young woman. She didn’t look so different from Silvia Arce or Silvia Morales or Guadalupe Ivonne Salas. The caption read: “Edith Aranda Longoria, 729 days since she was last seen.


Justice expiring for Mexico’s


Published in: on August 7, 2008 at 11:39 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , ,