Human Trafficking Part 5
Read part one here: https://wildfeministappears.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/human-trafficking-part-1/
What is being done to help?
Organizations, activist groups, and the government are coming together to help fight against human trafficking in the United States, by creating awareness, identifying victims, and providing services to help people back on their feet. Many organizations and activist groups that fight human trafficking now have Facebook pages that are readily sharable and available for people to understand the situation in front of them. Some of these pages are from Break the Chains, the Blue Heart Campaign, Stop the Traffick, Free the Slaves, and other organizations that do not primarily focus on human trafficking, but wish to address the issue.
Some organizations work to identify victims, such as one in Washington D.C., which developed an alert system so that they could look through media and personal connections to find those who are involved in trafficking (Hopper: 2004). Polaris Project is a non-governmental organization tells true stories about those who were in trafficking, and provides services to those who need them. This gives others a chance to identify victims and be aware of who to contact in case there is a situation. Google and Microsoft both started initiatives to help with anti-trafficking. Microsoft created research to understand the role of technology in trafficking, and Google gave out grants to those who wanted to fight trafficking (Skibola: 2012).
Still other organizations, such as The Emancipation Network and Free the Slaves, work with survivors, giving them fair pay on products that they make and selling them on the internet (Bales: 2009). Programs and social workers help children with psychological problems come to terms with what has happened, through many types of counseling (Gozdziak: 2008). People outside of organizations work alone, writing to companies and keeping a watch out for people being exploited. One woman in Florida started helping by asking those who make feminine hygiene products to put emergency hotline numbers on their packaging so that victims could find a place to call (Bales: 2009).
Companies have also banded together to make sure that human trafficking is limited, within and outside of their companies, by holding training sessions to identify those in the trafficking situation, as well as watch the practices of their businesses so that they don’t exploit workers. This is called the Global Business Coalition against Human Trafficking, and involves companies such as the Coca-Cola Company, Ford, Microsoft, and the Hilton hotels. Their approach is “Providing a resource for orientation and operational guidance to companies who desire to understand human trafficking and how it affects business, championing and disseminating best practices in business to end human trafficking, including all forms of forced labor and sex trafficking, and driving connections between businesses and governments, international organizations, non-profits and civil society for the purpose of knowledge- and idea-sharing on solutions to address human trafficking” (Gbcat focus areas: 2013).
Awareness is becoming a critical issue, and people are making strides to make it easy for others to understand the situation. Slaveryfootprint.org, for example, is a comprehensive quiz that allows people to see how many slaves are involved in the labor of the things they use every day. It started in 2011, and asked 11 lifestyle questions, such as where the person lives, what food they eat, and what products they buy (not by brand name). It would then tell them how many slaves it takes to gain all of those products (Kavilanz: 2011). The DNA foundation started the “Real men don’t buy girls” campaign, which involves many high profile men who speak about not trafficking girls and women. Ashton Kutcher and Justin Timberlake, along with NFL football stars, are just a few of the men who joined the campaign (Skibola: 2012).
Change.org is also making it possible for people to help in the trafficking situation by allowing them to sign petitions that involve trafficking, as it does with many other issues. One such petition is for a requirement in which children must have documentation in order to get on a plane, so that it is more difficult for traffickers to get them across the country (Breaking the Chains of Generational Curses: 2013). These sorts of petitions can get the message to companies about what people care about when it comes to protecting themselves and others from trafficking.
The End It Movement, which happened April 9th, 2013, was a huge part of awareness. People all over the world put red X’s on their hands to signify that they were aware of human trafficking and the need to stop it. While the act alone did not move toward ending the crime, it did bring education to those who did not know about the situation, because they were curious enough to ask what was going on. This activism might have also called to new activists and their potential for action (Sutter: 2013).
As for the government, the Obama administration has made huge strides since the beginning of its second term to make combatting human trafficking more of a reality. Beyond protection, prevention, and prosecution that go along with the TVPA, the administration has added partnering without organizations into the mix, allowing its influence to be used by others. It also started a five year plan to create more aid for victims of trafficking, the first of its kind (The Obama Administration’s Record on Human Trafficking Issues: 2013).
The newest reauthorization of the TVPA, now called the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, also has some additions to help with human trafficking on a larger scale. New wording has included reckless disregard to the crime of sex trafficking, meaning that the trafficker no longer had to have previously known that they were going to engage in force, coercion or fraud previous to the act. The new act also provides extra-territorial jurisdiction to trafficking crimes committed outside the states if the offender is a national of the United States (Bales: 2011).