Arts Aftercare is about beauty and healing through the arts. This innovative team, founded by Curtis & Grace Romjue and Brian Howe produces the Healing Arts Toolkit, and trains human trafficking aftercare groups how to use the toolkit to help restore life and health in survivors of human trafficking. Eric Becker traveled to the Philippines with Arts Aftercare to video how they put the Healing Arts Toolkit into practice with several aftercare organizations working there. Watch this video to see how art can be used to transform precious lives.

Do What You Love to End What You Hate | Arts Aftercare from eric becker on Vimeo.

Advertisements

California’s Prop 35 is Chris Kelly’s misguided attempt to fight sex trafficking. It’s a good idea, but a bad way to go about it.  Inadequate training requirement for police.  Emphasis on criminal penalties may actually reduce restitution money available to victims.  Problems with who gets classified as traffickers, and thus tracked in CA databases as registered sex offenders. Most major newspapers oppose it.   People I know from the local coalition against human trafficking that understand the issues way better than I do, including @John_Vanek, urge a No vote on Proposition 35.

Please vote NO on Prop 35.

(and whether you agree or not, please at least vote! 🙂

 

Caden Welles has the world at his disposal. With the resources of his wealthy father, he’s living life as large as any 20-year-old could dream. But what happens when that dream becomes a nightmare halfway around the world?

Traveling with his friends to Hyderabad, India on a whim, Caden’s expectations of a never-ending party crash hard. But not as hard as his conscience when he refuses to help a starving man and his little girl. Haunted by the images of Kiran and Annika, Caden attempts to right his wrong—only to discover Kiran has been forced to sell his own daughter.”

I got to go trick or treating early this year, courtesy of someone nice who did the shopping.  My Halloween chocolate consisted of Trader Joes Fair Trade Belgian Chocolate.  Tastes heavenly and doesn’t contribute to slavery.  Be an abolitionist and buy Fair Trade products!

Truckers Against Trafficking has created a human trafficking training video to educate the trucking industry about the enormous problem of sex trafficking and labor trafficking here in the United States.


Truckers Against Trafficking (28:11) from iEmpathize on Vimeo.

Because human trafficking becomes a costly, dangerous and relevant safety issue when it intersects with truckers and travel plaza employees, we hope trucking companies, travel plazas, truck-driving schools, state associations and national trucking associations will consider making this DVD a part of their orientation and training for all employees,” said Kendis Paris, national director for Truckers Against Trafficking.

Visit Truckers Against Trafficking for more information aobut the video, or to order a copy on DVD.

St. Ambrose to Host The Child Next Door: Quad-City Human Trafficking Conference November 15th Event to feature former victims, startling details about the world’s fastest-growing crime.   CEU credits available.

When Tina Frundt was 14-years-old she accepted a ride from an older man who had befriended her.  She was taken from her home in Chicago to Cleveland, OH, where she was forced into sex slavery.  Today Frundt, now an adult, runs Courtney’s House, a Washington DC shelter for women who are escaping sex trafficking. Frundt will be among the presenters at The Child Next Door Quad-Cities Human Trafficking Conference, Thursday, November 15th 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at St. Ambrose University’s Rogalski Center in Davenport, IA.  Frundt’s story of survival from a brutal life as a sex slave is a shocking example of what the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Rescue and Restore campaign calls the “fastest growing criminal activity in the world.”  Cathy O’Keeffe, Executive Director of Braking Traffik, one of eleven groups organizing the conference hopes the event will help open many eyes. “Many don’t yet realize the problem of sex trafficking has reached our backyards.  It’s a very real threat to American children, not just in major cities.”

The Child Next Door QC Human Trafficking Conference is seeking to promote networking and dialogue on this emerging threat.  Parents, members of law enforcement, social services and healthcare workers, legal personnel and clergy are among those encouraged to attend.  Organizers are seeking to promote greater awareness about the markers for human trafficking, while exploring barriers to effective interventions and discussing solutions to helping victims escape a life of bondage, brutality, destruction and death.   This conference has been approved for continuing education credits for nurses and other health care professionals, social workers, IOVA-­CP Certified Providers as well as qualifying for 1.5 CLE credits for attorneys (including ethics hours).  To register for The Child Next Door Conference, or learn more, go to http://www.brakingtraffik.org.   Space is limited to 250 attendees.  A free kick-off event will be held Wednesday, November 14th from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at John Deere Planetarium on the campus of Augustana College.  The kick-off event is open to the public and requires no registration.

Also presenting at The Child Next Door Human Trafficking Conference, Ruth Buckels, adoptive mother of Brittany Phillips, who was lured from a Cedar Rapids grocery store at the age of 14 by a man offering a modeling opportunity.   She was marketed for sex on a popular online website, before it shut down its adult services section.  Online escort sites remain a major pipeline for sex traffickers.  One survey conducted by Braking Traffik this fall found 19 different females tracked to the same phone number, a possible indicator that they were being trafficked.  Several of the posts included known indicators or ‘code words’ that some of the females were being marketed as minors.  Recent FBI stings in Cedar Rapids and Coralville, IA netted scores of adults and one 16-year-old girl forced to sell sex for money.  This past September, three adults were arrested in Iowa City under suspicion of trafficking three minors.

The Child Next Door QC Human Trafficking Conference is being presented by a coalition of Quad-Cities organizations that include Braking Traffik (formerly the Quad-Cities Human Trafficking Project), Attacking Trafficking, The Catholic Diocese of Davenport, Community Partnerships for Protecting Children, Scott County Kids, Family Resources, Iowa State Patrol, Child Abuse Council, CASA, Building Forever Families, The Place2b Youth Center, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church Jubilee Ministry, the Christian Church Disciples Women’s Ministry and Augustana College.

To register for The Child Next Door Conference, or learn more, go to http://www.brakingtraffik.org.

Global Exchange has 31 creative ideas to celebrate a Fair Trade October.

Here are a couple I like:

  • Find out which stores in your neighborhood sell fair trade chocolate and buy your Halloween candy there.
  • Host a screening of the Dark Side of Chocolate… they even include a tool kit with everything you need
  • Check out the rest of the Fair Trade October ideas

Buying Fair Trade items helps prevent slavery by supporting sustainable markets for vulnerable people in developing economies.  It also helps fight slavery by sending a message to companies that don’t support Fair Trade, giving them a business incentive to support sustainable markets.

When I buy chocolate and other candy from Hershey, MARS, and Nestle today, those companies can’t assure me that my products weren’t grown, harvested, distributed, and even manufactured by slaves and child labor.  I used to love M&M’s, but they don’t taste as good to me when I picture a slave picking the cocoa for CEO Paul Michaels at Mars.

I’m glad to hear that Hershey has responded to pressure from the Raise the Bar Hershey campaign, and announced that they are committing to be 100% Fair Trade by 2020.  While that’s better than NOT committing to becoming Fair Trade at all, it’s still 7 years away.  I guess if Hershey is asking the farmers and laborers to wait 7 years for Fair Trade practices, then Hershey can wait 7 years for me to buy their products.  In the meantime, I’m keeping an eye on Nestle and Mars to follow suit, and I’ll keep buying chocolate and coffee that are Fair Trade now.

What is your reaction?  How do you decide which candy, costume, or products to buy for Halloween? Click here to leave a comment, or click on the bubble next to the title of the post.

Mira Sorvino and Dermot Mulroney star in a new film about children in sex slavery and the complications of real people fighting an overwhelming crime.

In the back streets of a tourist town in present-day Southeast Asia, we find a filthy cinder block room; a bed with soiled sheets; a little girl waits for the next man to use her.  Alex, a human trafficking investigator plays the role of her next customer as he negotiates with the pimp for the use of the child.
Claire, Alex’s wife, is caught up in the flow of her new life in Southeast Asia and her role as a volunteer in an aftercare shelter for rescued girls.  She, and Alex both still are dealing with their grief of losing a child years earlier.  As both of them struggle in their own way to overcome the pain of their past and realities of child exploitation where they now live and work, they find themselves being pulled together in to the lives of local neighborhood girls, whose freedom and dignity are threatened.  Parallel story lines intertwine and twists unfold against the backdrop of the dangerous human trafficking world, in a story of struggle, life hope and redemption in the “Trade of Innocents.”

Buy Art Not Kids

An ECPAT-USA Benefit Auction

Monday, October 22nd, 2012 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
at the Salmagundi Club
47 5th Avenue, Manhattan, NY

“The silent auction will feature works from renowned artists Pieter Hugo, Yoshiaki Mochizuki, Joel Shapiro and many others. The docket will also highlight works from survivors of sexual exploitation. Luxury items will be available for bid as well. Come and enjoy a complimentary assortment of delicious wine and cheese.”

Go to Buy Art Not Kids for more information about online bidding and buying tickets to the event.

I stumbled across Half the Sky on PBS on October 1st, and I was enthralled. Half the Sky author Nicholas Kristoff treks around the world educating us about efforts to fight slavery (aka human trafficking). He went to Sierra Leone with Eva Mendes, Cambodia with Meg Ryan (hosted by the courageous and inspiring Somaly Mam), Vietnam with Gabrielle Union, and more. It was such a eye-opening experience to these famous women, who took time from their busy schedules to touch and listen to precious girls who’ve had their innocence stolen.

If you missed Half the Sky on PBS, you can stil order a DVD to watch it on your own.