Sex Traffic Victim: ‘I Was A Slave’

Those who support an effort to toughen laws on human sex trafficking are making a final push to get the governor to sign a bill sitting on her desk.

 “Robyn,” which is not her real name, said she was treated like a slave.

 “My life was at risk every night. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I had to see a gun at night when I got back to the place I was staying,” she said, trying to hold back tears.

 Robyn, 19, said she was forced into prostitution for three months last year by a 38-year-old man she met online.

 “I felt safe at the time and then one day everything changed. He turned on me. I mean, he changed into a monster,” she said.

 Robyn said she took in between $500 and $1,000 a night working mostly on Chinatown’s streets, but the money was collected by her pimp.

 She said the bill now before the governor would help other women on the street like her by making sex trafficking a felony.

 The city prosecutor’s office supports making sex trafficking a felony, but opposes the bill.

 “It’s going to overlap with our existing statutes. It makes things more complicated, not easier,” said Dennis Dunn, deputy prosecutor.

 Prosecutors said numerous technical aspects of the bill would make it difficult to convict a sex trafficker.

 “I think it’s difficult because part of what needs to be done has nothing to do with legislation. It’s a matter of educating both law enforcement and the public to be aware,” said Dunn.

 Robyn said human sex trafficking is a bigger problem than most people realize.

 “I don’t think people want to know there’s people out there. Young women out there that are still in my position and they need help,” she said.

 Robyn said she’s trying to find a job and wants to go back to school, but she’s still fearful her former pimp will find her.

 Gov. Linda Lingle has until July 6 to sign the bill into law. Supporters of the measure vow to raise the issue again next legislative session if the governor vetoes the bill. Those who support an effort to toughen laws on human sex trafficking are making a final push to get the governor to sign a bill sitting on her desk.

“Robyn,” which is not her real name, said she was treated like a slave.

“My life was at risk every night. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I had to see a gun at night when I got back to the place I was staying,” she said, trying to hold back tears.

Robyn, 19, said she was forced into prostitution for three months last year by a 38-year-old man she met online.

“I felt safe at the time and then one day everything changed. He turned on me. I mean, he changed into a monster,” she said.

Robyn said she took in between $500 and $1,000 a night working mostly on Chinatown’s streets, but the money was collected by her pimp.

She said the bill now before the governor would help other women on the street like her by making sex trafficking a felony.

The city prosecutor’s office supports making sex trafficking a felony, but opposes the bill.

“It’s going to overlap with our existing statutes. It makes things more complicated, not easier,” said Dennis Dunn, deputy prosecutor.

Prosecutors said numerous technical aspects of the bill would make it difficult to convict a sex trafficker.

“I think it’s difficult because part of what needs to be done has nothing to do with legislation. It’s a matter of educating both law enforcement and the public to be aware,” said Dunn.

Robyn said human sex trafficking is a bigger problem than most people realize.

“I don’t think people want to know there’s people out there. Young women out there that are still in my position and they need help,” she said.

Robyn said she’s trying to find a job and wants to go back to school, but she’s still fearful her former pimp will find her.

Gov. Linda Lingle has until July 6 to sign the bill into law. Supporters of the measure vow to raise the issue again next legislative session if the governor vetoes the bill.

source: http://www.kitv.com/news/23715987/detail.html

See No Slavery, Hear No Slavery, Speak No Slavery

Next to my fabulous co-bloggers, I’m a relative newcomer to the anti-slavery movement. No less passionate — but still in that stage of the game where lack of interest toward this cause surprises me. I guess I’m not jaded enough, yet, to shrug my shoulders and go on my merry, abolitionist way. Learning and writing about this issue has given me the opportunity to share the topic with others who aren’t aware of what of “human trafficking” means, and that it occurs both all over the world and in the U.S. But, beyond that initial conversation of, “So, what’s your job at Change.org all about?” I generally find that people aren’t so keen on hearing, much less doing, more about modern-day slavery.

I can think of lots of reasons why not. First of all, not everyone is an activist — and that’s okay. I wasn’t born an activist, and I think it’s important to recognize that, like many other roles, it’s one you adopt if and when you are ready for it. In addition, already-existing activists might be interested in human trafficking, but already have their plates full with their own cause, or causes. I get that, too.

Exposure is an issue. If it’s not on the nightly news, will mainstream America know about it? Will they consider it important when they do? Stories and stats make a subject meaningful, but human trafficking is shadowy crime, tricky to pin down for the sake of victim testimonies and hard data. Without those, it’s sort of difficult to broadcast a report.

And then there’s framing: Does the average American hear about an underage prostitute and correctly think “human trafficking victim?” Do they even think “victim?” Or, do they automatically jump to “criminal?”

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Child Trafficking Survivor Seeks Career as Immigration Special Agent

A decade ago, Shyima Hall’s life was pretty bleak. At the age of ten, she was a slave in a private home in Irvine, California. That is, until the day that special agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrived at her doorstep while investigating her traffickers. The agents freed Shyima and arrested the family who was abusing and enslaving her. Today, Shyima is a college student and is working to become an ICE agent herself to pay forward her fortune to someone else in need.

Shyima’s journey began in Egypt, where she was brought to the U.S. as a child. The man who snuck her into the U.S. as his daughter sold her to a wealthy Egyptian couple living in California. The couple made her to work seven days a week, scouring California mansion from top to bottom and looking after their five children. Shyima slept on a dirty mattress in the garage, without blanket, even in the winter. She had to wash her clothes outside in a bucket. Unlike the family’s children, Shymia was not allowed to attend school or visit the doctor or dentist.

Just as Shyima was wondering how on earth she could escape from her hell, ICE agents in California received an anonymous tip that an Egyptian couple in Irvine had a child living with them who they might be mistreating. An investigation with child protective services and ICE working together soon followed, eventually leading agents to enter the home where Shyima was being held. They found a terrified child, who had been repeatedly told by her captors that U.S. authorities would beat her if she was ever discovered. She was frightened of the agents and what would happen to her family in Egypt, if the money from her work was no longer sent home.

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California Senate to Traffickers: Get Out of Our Supply Chain

The lack of watchdogging product supply chains for human trafficking has long been a bane to anti-traffickers. Even if the shirt you just bought wasn’t sewn in a sweatshop, slaves still could have picked the cotton that it was made from. (Why does that sound so familiar, U.S. History? Will we never learn?) With no one regulating the supply chain, it’s virtually impossible to ensure any item is completely slave-free.

Most people are content to let businesses regulate themselves, i.e. they turn a blind eye. The particularly ardent shopper might go so far as to buy only from small, relationship-based companies who oversee their product from conception to retail. But, let’s face it, big business isn’t known for its ethics and I seriously doubt you and I can completely avoid big business. That’s why it’s called “big.” It’s everywhere.

As of January 29th, California has officially had enough. Big business beware. Traffickers, take note. The State Senate passed SB 657. Among other things, the bill requires any retailer or manufacturer operating in the state to comply with federal and state laws regarding trafficking and to seek the eradication of slavery from its supply chain. Companies have to come up with policies reflecting this compliance, actually carry out the policies, and make them available to consumers upon request.

According to the Senate’s bill analysis, the policy companies enact has to require the company and all its suppliers to follow anti-trafficking laws in their respective countries and if they encounter slavery in the supply chain, they will “seek eradication rather than ceasing business in that area.”

The eradication bit is key because it means that businesses that want to operate in California actually have to do something about slavery when they find it. They can’t just sweep it under the rug and run. And this is what will make all the difference. Once other countries realize the deep pockets of the U.S. are no longer open to slave labor, they’ll have to change problems in their operations or become obsolete.

The bill, sponsored by Senate Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, was co-sponsored by CAST and the Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking, both of whom contributed information that made the bill possible. With California being the 10th largest economy in the world, CAST sees this as a direct blow to traffickers everywhere. Not to mention that the state is also home to Hollywood, and a proven trendsetter in everything from fashion and entertainment to politics and humanitarian efforts. This could be big, people, maybe even bigger than big business.

The bill needs to get through the State Assembly next, however, so if you’re a California resident who wants to see this bill become law, please e-mail your assembly representative today. Tell traffickers to get out of our supply chain or end up in some chains of their own.

source: http://humantrafficking.change.org/blog/view/california_senate_to_traffickers_get_out_of_our_supply_chain

Slave Labor on Hawaii’s Second Largest Farm

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If you ate produce from Hawaii, especially Asian vegetables and melons, between 2003 and 2005, chances are you were eating fruits and veggies grown by slaves. That’s because the owners of the second-largest fruit and vegetable farm in all of Hawaii, Aloun Farms, enslaved 44 Thai nationals during that time. The workers were all promised lucrative jobs in the U.S., but once they arrived in Hawaii, the promises were broken and the slavery began.

The Aloun Farms case is in many ways a typical human trafficking case. Company president Alec Souphone Sou and his brother Mike Mankone Sou made a deal with Thai labor recruiters to trick workers into taking jobs on the farm. The recruiters charged each of the workers $16,000 to bring them to the U.S. and find them work at Aloun Farms. Once in Hawaii, the workers were told they must pay off this debt before receiving a paycheck. Because of this falsely inflated debt, some workers never saw a penny from their labors at Aloun. They were told they could not leave the compound where they were housed or speak to people outside their group. Several workers were threatened with deportation if they were “disobedient.”

Fortunately, Aloun Farms and their scheme were eventually busted and the brothers arrested. This week, they pled guilty to forced labor charges. They would have been sentenced to 15 years in prison each, but they agreed to help authorities find the Thai recruiters they worked with, the ones who deceived 44 Thai workers about the reality of a job on Aloun Farms. Their new sentence, taking the plea bargain into account, is still forthcoming.
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Reading “The Slave Across the Street”

When fighting to end human trafficking, it is best not to pull a Lohan. Play to your own strengths. As Amanda so wisely pointed out, Lindsay would do much better sporting fashion crafted by trafficking survivors, as opposed to playing the role of modern-day slavery’s Angelina Jolie. What was Lohan thinking? Her lips aren’t nearly full enough for that gig.

From buying Fair Trade coffee in the morning to hosting candlelight vigils at night, there are so many ways to get involved with the cause on an everyday basis. What are your gifts? Perhaps you are the type of person who operates best behind-the-scenes, and if so, do not discount reading books as action.

By reading survivor stories and other information on human trafficking, you are informing yourself, becoming ever more aware of victim experiences. In turn, you will give voice to those experiences as you share what you know with others. And, it is fuel for the fire. What you read will become part of who you are in this fight, spurring you on in certain directions as you stand up for victims of a particular age or nation, or combat a specific form of exploitation.

A new book by Theresa Flores, The Slave Across the Street, was released last week. In it, Flores recounts her experience as an upper-middle class teenager in Detroit, MI, where she was forced into sexual slavery for a period of two years. Drugged, raped, and ultimately enslaved by a group of high school classmates, Flores was threatened into silence in order to protect her family, with whom she was still living during this time. The cycle of torture ended only after her family moved to another city.

Amazing.

Stories like The Slave Across the Street are important to read, hear and share so that our country can collectively, finally understand that human trafficking is an issue here. Now. And it must be addressed.

You can order a copy of the book here. Or, if you are cheapskate like me and don’t want to spend the money, you can make sure that your local library gets a copy. Added bonus: Once you are done borrowing the book, it will be available for the rest of your community to read for years to come. So, if reading to fight human trafficking is your cup of tea, be who you are and don’t be a Lohan. Order yourself a cup.

source: http://humantrafficking.change.org/blog/view/reading_the_slave_across_the_street

South Africa’s New Slave Trade and the Campaign to Stop It

For a South African victim of human trafficking, this was the endgame. On a freezing night last July, Sindiswa, 17, lay curled in a fetal position in bed No. 7 of a state-run hospice in central Bloemfontein. Well-used fly strips hung between fluorescent lights, pale blue paint flaked off the walls, and fresh blood stained her sheets, the rusty bedpost and the linoleum floor. Sindiswa had full-blown AIDS and tuberculosis, and she was three months pregnant. Sweat poured from her forehead as she whispered her story through parched lips covered with sores. A few blocks away, the roars of rugby fans erupted from Free State Stadium. In June the roars will be from fans of the World Cup.

Sindiswa’s family was one of the poorest families in Indwe, the poorest district in Eastern Cape, one of the poorest provinces in South Africa. Ninety-five percent of the residents of her township fall below the poverty line, more than a quarter have HIV, and most survive by clinging to government grants. Orphaned at 16, she had to leave school to support herself. Last February, a woman from a neighboring town offered to find work for her and her 15-year-old best friend, Elizabeth, who, like Sindiswa, was poor but was also desperate to escape her violent older sister. (I have changed Elizabeth’s name to protect her identity.)

After driving them eight hours north to Bloemfontein, the recruiter sold them to a Nigerian drug and human-trafficking syndicate in exchange for $120 and crack cocaine. “[The recruiter] said we could find a job,” Sindiswa recalled, “but as soon as we got here, she told us, ‘No. You have to go into the streets and sell yourselves.’ ” The buyer, Jude, forced them into prostitution on the streets of central Bloemfontein for 12 straight hours every night. Each morning, he collected their earnings — Sindiswa averaged $40 per night; Elizabeth, $65. Elizabeth tried to escape three times, once absconding for several weeks. Jude always found her or used Sindiswa as a hostage to lure her back, then enlisted an enforcer named Rasta to beat her.

It is unclear if Sindiswa contracted HIV before or after she was sold, but some of her clients didn’t use condoms. She was diagnosed with the virus only a week before I met her. When she was too sick to stand and thus useless as a slave, Jude had thrown her onto the street. Nurses expected her to die within days.

Despite more than a dozen international conventions banning slavery in the past 150 years, there are more slaves today than at any point in human history. Slaves are those forced to perform services for no pay beyond subsistence and for the profit of others who hold them through fraud and violence. While most are held in debt bondage in the poorest regions of South Asia, some are trafficked in the midst of thriving development. Such is the case here in Africa’s wealthiest country, the host of this year’s World Cup. While South Africa invests billions to prepare its infrastructure for the half-million visitors expected to attend, tens of thousands of children have become ensnared in sexual slavery, and those who profit from their abuse are also preparing for the tournament. During a three-week investigation into human-trafficking syndicates operating near two stadiums, I found a lucrative trade in child sex. The children, sold for as little as $45, can earn more than $600 per night for their captors. “I’m really looking forward to doing more business during the World Cup,” said a trafficker. We were speaking at his base overlooking Port Elizabeth’s new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Already, he had done brisk business among the stadium’s construction workers.

Although its 1996 constitution expressly forbids slavery, South Africa has no stand-alone law against human trafficking in all its forms. Aid groups estimate that some 38,000 children are trapped in the sex trade there. More than 500 mostly small-scale trafficking syndicates — Nigerian, Chinese, Indian and Russian, among others — collude with South African partners, including recruiters and corrupt police officials, to enslave local victims. The country’s estimated 1.4 million AIDS orphans are especially vulnerable. South Africa has more HIV cases than any other nation, and a child sold into its sex industry will often face an early grave.

As Sindiswa told me her story, her voice trailed off, and the man who brought me to her — Andre Lombard, 39, a pastor of the Christian Revival Church — laid his hands on her. Lombard had a penetrating gaze and a simmering rage toward men who abuse women. His father, a brutal drunkard, had beaten his mother regularly. Lombard became a born-again Christian at age 17, then served in South Africa’s élite special forces for 11 years. (See 25 people who mattered in 2009.)

He began a street ministry in April 2006 and recruited some 60 volunteers to distribute food, blankets and Bibles to the dozens of women and girls selling sex within a 10-block radius of the stadium. They also preached to clients and traffickers. Fights were commonplace. Lombard allowed his volunteers to carry firearms, and several wound up in the intensive-care unit of the local hospital. Lombard acknowledges that most of the prostitutes were not enslaved. Still, in a controversial move, he purchased bus tickets home for more than two dozen women as a way to “escape the streets.” With no comprehensive rehabilitation, however, several wound up back in prostitution. Mainstream antitrafficking organizations often decry such tactics as reckless. In response, Lombard says, “I’m a goer. If you drive by and just talk about it and don’t do anything, you’re actually justifying it.”

After we left the hospice, Lombard drove eight blocks east of the stadium to the notorious Maitland Hotel. Police had identified the Maitland as a base of drug- and human-trafficking operations. HIV-positive survivors described how traffickers used gang rape, drug provision, sleep deprivation and torture to “break” new children on the fifth floor; the fourth floor featured an illegal abortion clinic. On other floors, as many as four girls slept on a single mattress. Police raided the Maitland in 2008 and shut the place down last January. Traffickers had been tipped off about the final raid, yet officials still rescued dozens of underage girls and seized weapons and thousands of dollars’ worth of drugs. Though still officially closed, the Maitland was active. Next door, a club blasted music by Tupac, and several girls worked the front of the hotel, where a makeshift concierge took rents. (See TIME’s tribute to people who passed away in 2009.)

A shivering girl in a red sweatshirt and flip-flops stood alone at the corner of the hotel. She said she was 15 and desperately needed help. I asked Lombard’s volunteer to translate from Xhosa. Shockingly, this was Elizabeth — Sindiswa’s best friend — still controlled by Jude. Having researched modern-day slavery for eight years, I knew how difficult it was for survivors to heal after emancipation. In this case, mere emancipation would be a dangerous procedure.

Earlier that day, I spoke with Luis CdeBaca, who was visiting South Africa on his first foreign visit as President Obama’s ambassador-at-large to monitor and combat human trafficking. “Dedicated cops, prosecutors and victim advocates are fighting the traffickers in several host cities, but they’re largely doing it on their own,” he said. Obama has pledged to make the fight to abolish modern-day slavery a top foreign policy priority, but the U.S. currently spends more in a single day fighting drug trafficking than it does in an entire year fighting human trafficking. So CdeBaca, whose office evaluates every country based on its efforts to fight human bondage, must rely largely on diplomatic pressure. “An exploitation-free World Cup will require resources and political will from the South African government and the international community alike,” said CdeBaca.

Such political will is not evident. At best, the South African government’s response to child sex trafficking has been superficial or piecemeal; at worst, some officials have actually colluded with the traffickers. American and South African law-enforcement sources described how police at all levels have solicited underage prostitutes in Bloemfontein, Durban and other World Cup cities. South African officials claim that Parliament will pass a comprehensive law against human trafficking in early 2010. For now, enterprising police officers who take on human traffickers do so with few legal tools at their disposal. Convictions for trafficking-related offenses typically bring little or no jail time. And those vigilante humanitarians like Lombard face an emboldened and violent adversary, as I saw that evening. (See TIME’s South Africa covers.)

Elizabeth insisted that we recover her scant possessions: a handful of clothes and a Bible. Jude had convinced her that he would perform witchcraft on those items, to track and punish her if she again attempted escape. We drove to Jude’s fortified crack den five minutes away. Lombard and I followed Elizabeth into the darkness behind the compound. We were joined by Shadrack, a kung-fu-trained church volunteer who worked as a financial adviser by day. Elizabeth tapped a secret knock, and after Jude ushered her in, Shadrack wedged his foot in the door. We pushed into the dingy flat, which bore the medicinal odor of crack. As the churchmen escorted Elizabeth to retrieve her clothes, I smiled and feigned ignorance of their intent. While Lombard and Elizabeth retrieved her possessions, I spoke to Jude alone. Short and muscular, with dark, patchy skin, Jude wore slim, brown corduroys and white Crocs with green dollar signs. Jude explained that he lured girls from Johannesburg, where many survive by “picking through garbage.” Our conversation turned to soccer. I asked him if he was looking forward to the World Cup. “Yeah, this is good! Us people are going to make a lot of money then if you know what you’re doing.” (See pictures of Johannesburg preparing for the World Cup.)

As I prepared to leave, a woman began screaming from a sealed-off room in the compound. Lombard burst back into the room and forced his way to the darkened recesses of the compound. He kicked in a door to find Rasta, the syndicate’s enforcer, half naked with the screaming woman, who ran behind Lombard. “Did you beat her? Because if you beat her, you must beat me,” Lombard said, inches from the flaring eyes of the muscular Rasta. Rasta launched a haymaker at Lombard, who ducked. Rasta threatened to call in his “brothers.” “I’ll break their legs too,” Lombard retorted as we retreated to our car, where the photographer traveling with us, Melanie Hamman, was bent in prayer with Elizabeth. With Jude chasing us on foot, we drove off.

Newly elected South African President Jacob Zuma addressed fears about sex trafficking in a speech last August. “We have noted the concern amongst women’s groups that the 2010 FIFA World Cup may have the unintended consequence of creating opportunities for human trafficking,” the President said. “We are putting systems in place to prevent this, as part of general security measures that we should take when hosting an event of this magnitude.”

Zuma’s pledge was too little, too late for Sindiswa, who died on July 22. Immediately after we took Elizabeth off the streets, Hamman and I drove her eight hours to her home in Eastern Cape. Wary of the failure rate of Lombard’s unmonitored returns, we worked with a dedicated social worker in Indwe to ensure that the conditions under which she was originally trafficked did not reappear. A suburban-Chicago couple has given her a full scholarship, enabling the otherwise impossible goal of finishing school. She is HIV-negative. It is a stretch to call her lucky. But she has another chance at life.

Skinner is the author of A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery (Free Press, 2008), which was awarded the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for nonfiction. This investigation was supported by a grant from Humanity United.

source: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1952335,00.html

Pause


Learn to do good.

Seek justice.

Help the oppressed.

Defend the cause of the orphan, plead the case of the widow.

Isaiah 1:17

This scripture from Isaiah is one that causes my soul to pause. In my lifetime, I haven’t had many moments where a situation has caused my soul to pause. I can recall most of them on my finger; (1) when my father left me, (2) realizing that drugs had a hold of my life, (3) meeting my wife. None of these situations have to do with anybody except me, they’re all self-centered and they have nothing to do with bettering the world. Our souls should pause more often for times that have nothing to do with us, but everything to do with humanity.

In our lifetime, one of the greatest atrocities to humankind is taking place in our neighborhoods, cities, states, countries, and nations. Over 30 million men, women, and children are being held as modern-day slaves. They take many forms which include brick makers, prostitutes, cooks, and cleaners. This darkness should cause our souls to pause. To stop and breathe for the one who can’t, to pray and question for the one who can’t, to live differently for the one who can’t.

This month has been designated by the Obama administration as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Along with the month, they have designated a day, January 11th, as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. During this month and especially on this day, tomorrow, will we pause for the one who can’t? In this posture of pausing, will we then consider what we can do in our daily lives to help the victims of modern-day slavery? My friend, Charles Lee, wrote a great piece on 11 practical ways that we can help end this injustice in our lifetimes. Take a second, read it, and then choose. Along with his list, here are some ways that we can pause together.

* The 1800 second experiment. My friend, Greg Russinger, is leading a movement where we can all share our voice for the ones who have none. The 1800 second experiment is to take 1800 seconds out of your life this month and share with people the injustices of modern-day slavery. More info here: 1800 second experiment.
* Read about modern-day slavery. There are many great books that we can learn from on the topic of modern-day slavery. One of my favorites is The Good News About Injustice by Gary Haugen, founder of IJM (International Justice Mission).
* Watch movies about human trafficking. We are a media driven society and there is no greater way to immerse ourselves into the horrifying ideal of human trafficking than watching films about it. Some of the films that have caused me to think, prioritize, and pause are Children for Sale, Lilja 4 Ever, and The Day my God Died.

Our souls were meant to live in harmony with others. If the “other” cannot live in harmony, should this not cause us to then pause? We were all created to live free and be “masters of our own souls”. Join me this month in pausing for the one who can’t.

source: http://daniwao.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/pause/

A true story of today’s slave trade. Let’s stop it.


“Orphans too often sold into slavery for $$ and drugs”

How often have I tried to start a discussion about the slave trade is the same amount of times I have been dismissed. Time magazine addresses the issue, a prime mainstream news source of the west. Time to take the issue seriously, people. Do not overlook this article, you will learn about how the world works and what actions are being taken to start fixing the problem. Not enough is being done by a long shot when countries are more interested in investing in war rather than stopping slavery.

The New Slave Trade by E. Benjamin Skinner Monday, Jan. 18, 2009

“As Sindiswa told me her story, her voice trailed off, and the man who brought me to her — Andre Lombard, 39, a pastor of the Christian Revival Church — laid his hands on her. Lombard had a penetrating gaze and a simmering rage toward men who abuse women. His father, a brutal drunkard, had beaten his mother regularly. Lombard became a born-again Christian at age 17, then served in South Africa’s élite special forces for 11 years
He began a street ministry in April 2006 and recruited some 60 volunteers to distribute food, blankets and Bibles to the dozens of women and girls selling sex within a 10-block radius of the stadium. They also preached to clients and traffickers. Fights were commonplace. Lombard allowed his volunteers to carry firearms, and several wound up in the intensive-care unit of the local hospital. Lombard acknowledges that most of the prostitutes were not enslaved. Still, in a controversial move, he purchased bus tickets home for more than two dozen women as a way to “escape the streets.” With no comprehensive rehabilitation, however, several wound up back in prostitution. Mainstream antitrafficking organizations often decry such tactics as reckless. In response, Lombard says, “I’m a goer. If you drive by and just talk about it and don’t do anything, you’re actually justifying it.”

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1952335-3,00.html#ixzz0cHQk1GJ2

Skinner is the author of A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery (Free Press, 2008), which was recently awarded the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for nonfiction. This investigation was supported by a grant from Humanity United

source: http://worldtodayshow.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/a-true-story-of-todays-slave-trade-lets-stop-it/

Wyden and Cornyn Launch Effort to Help Victims of Sex Trafficking


Legislation provides comprehensive plan to help law enforcement and victims.

(WASHINGTON D.C.) – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and John Cornyn (R-Tex.) introduced legislation today that they say would take a comprehensive approach to shutting down human sex trafficking.

The bill includes provisions to set up block grant pilot projects in six states that would establish shelters for victims and provide treatment, counseling and legal aid, while also giving law enforcement the tools to crack down on pimps.

“It’s time we started rescuing the victims of sex trafficking and imprisoning those who profit from human slavery,” said Wyden. “The federal government has a responsibility to catch and prosecute modern-day slave owners, and providing a realistic way out for their victims will help achieve that end.”

“Our nation must remain committed to ending the scourge of human trafficking. This legislation will provide valuable assistance to state and local governments on the front lines of battling organized criminal syndicates and violent gangs that traffic humans for labor and sex,” said Cornyn.

“I am proud to partner with Senator Wyden on this important bipartisan effort.”

Block grant locations would be chosen by how they rate on criteria such as the presence of significant sex trafficking activity; demonstrated participation by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and social service providers; and a workable plan to provide comprehensive, wrap-around services to human trafficking victims, including the establishment of a shelter facility.

Each block grant would be funded at $2.5 million per year and could be renewed for two additional years. Items to be funded by the block grants would include:

* A shelter for trafficking victims;
* Clothing and other daily needs in order to keep victims from returning to the street;
* Victims’ assistance counseling and legal services;
* Education or job training classes for victims;
* Specialized training for law enforcement and social service providers;
* Police officer salaries – patrol officers, detectives, investigators;
* Prosecutor salaries, and other trial expenses;
* Investigation expenses – wire taps, expert consultants, travel, other “technical assistance” expenditures; and Outreach, education, and prevention efforts, including programs to deter offenders.

The bill would also help boost prompt reporting of information on missing and abducted children to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and provide funding to improve the NCIC missing children database.

More timely reporting would help law enforcement identify repeat runaways, who are statistically proven to be more likely to be lured into prostitution.

To learn more, visit these links:

* Sex Trafficking Fact Sheet
* Sex Trafficking of Women in the United States
* Human Trafficking on Wikipedia
* US DOJ Trafficking and Sex Tourism

source: http://www.salem-news.com/articles/december222009/sex_traffick.php