Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sex Slaves Freed

From the Herald in the United Kingdom:

"A network of organised criminals transporting women around the country for sexual slavery has been broken up in one of the biggest operations to tackle suspected human trafficking in Scotland.

Police have carried out a series of raids and rescued women who were being forced to work as prostitutes."

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

National Human Trafficking Hotline

I first heard about the Polaris Project at an IJM advocacy training event.

The Polaris Project was founded in 2002 and is named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad. It has programs all across the United States, aimed at identifying and helping trafficking victims.

One of those programs is the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. It's a toll-free, 24-hour anti-trafficking hotline that works to improve the national response to victims of human trafficking in the United States. You can call to report a tip, to connect with anti-trafficking services in your area, to request training or technical assistance, or to get general information.


The Resource Center is equipped to handle calls from every region of the United States.
If you have reason to suspect someone in the U.S. is a victim of trafficking, this is the number to call.
If you want more information about anti-trafficking efforts in the U.S., you can get it here.

Keep it in your purse or wallet.


Print it on flyers and business cards and leave them around town.


Spread the word that help is available to trafficking victims in the United States.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Live in Royal Oak, MI? Urge Congressional Support of Anti-Trafficking Legislation

If you live in Royal Oak, Michigan, this post is especially for you.
It will probably be followed up w/ a post for all Michiganders, so if you're not a Royal Oak-er, don't feel left out!

If you follow my blog at all, you've heard (read) me mention a piece of draft legislation called the Child Protection Compact Act of 2009. It's a bill that asks for $50 over three years to fund programs aimed at eradicating child trafficking in three or four key countries.

When I was on Capitol Hill at the end of March, this bill was the focus of my conversations with both Senate and Congressional aides. It's an exciting piece of legislation that would fund programs which have already been proven effective at greatly reducing instances of child trafficking.

If you live in Royal Oak, will you take a moment to ask Congressman Gary Peters to co-sponsor this bill?
Here is a link to his Congressional contact page.
And below is a short note that you can simply cut and paste into the form. Let's flood his office with emails from constituents who want to see an end to child trafficking.

If you're not from Royal Oak, but would like to contact your Senator or Representative, you're welcome to copy and modify the text. Go to or to find the appropriate contact information.
Thanks in advance for your support!

Dear Congressman Peters,

On Monday, March 30th, your legislative aide, David Weinberg, met with Stephanie Hamilton, a resident of Royal Oak. Their main topic of conversation was a piece of draft legislation called the Child Protection Compact Act of 2009. This legislation authorizes an additional $50 million over three years to designated focus countries to assist in the eradication of trafficking in children. Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) will be introducing the Child Protection Compact Act of 2009 in the House of Representatives and I respectfully ask you to consider becoming an original co-sponsor.

This legislation would fund programs that have already been proven effective at significantly reducing instances of child trafficking.

Human trafficking is an issue that needs our attention. It is the third largest criminal enterprise in the world, behind drug and weapons trafficking, and it is the fastest growing. It is estimated to be a $30 billion/year enterprise, and as a result, there are more slaves today than at any point in history (an estimated 27 million).

Please review the Child Protection Compact Act and lend your support to the eradication of child trafficking.

Thank you for your time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dear Madame Secretary

During her confirmation hearings in January, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had this to say about human trafficking:

"As Secretary of State I view these issues (human trafficking) as central to our foreign policy, not as adjunct or auxiliary or in any way lesser from all of the other issues that we have to confront. I too have followed the stories: this is not culture, this is not custom, this is criminal … I’ve also read closely Nick Kristof’s articles over the last many months on the young women he’s both rescued from prostitution and met who have been enslaved, tortured in every way: physically, emotionally, morally and I take very seriously the function of the State Department to lead the U.S. Government through the Office on Human Trafficking to do all that we can to end this modern form of slavery."

As Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton is in a unique and powerful position to stop these horrific crimes.

Please take a moment to send Secretary Clinton a letter asking her to leverage the political will and resources of the United States to fight and end human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

PUSH promo video

Check out this awesome promo video, done by a good friend of mine from Freshly Ground Productions, for our IJM fund-raising event.
If you're in the Detroit area, BUY TICKETS! :)
If you know someone in the Detroit area, get THEM to buy tickets!

Push Promo Video from John Miller on Vimeo

Saturday, April 11, 2009

You can help. Really.

Human trafficking and modern-day slavery are big problems. BIG.
Big enough that most people think there isn't much they can do to help.
But you can help. Really.

At a conference a couple weeks ago, I was reminded that every person who's rescued matters. It can be easy to dwell on the many who are still enslaved (and there are so many), but every life is valuable. Every life counts. And every person who's freed from the dehumanizing abuses of slavery matters.

It's like that story - you've probably heard it - about the little boy who was walking along the beach after hide tide, throwing starfish back into the ocean. A grown-up comes along and tells the little boy that there are just too many starfish... thousands... "you'll never make a difference."
The little boy picks up a starfish and tosses it back into the ocean.
"I made a difference to that one," he says.

We may not ever see all 27 million of today's slaves set free. But we make a difference in the life of every one whom we do help.

If you live in the Detroit, Michigan area - or know people who do - I can offer you a great way to help fight human trafficking and modern-day slavery. It's an event called PUSH, that's happening on Thursday, May 28th. I've mentioned it before. It's an awareness-raising, fund-raising event, with all profits going to benefit International Justice Mission. IJM is remarkably successful at fighting human trafficking and slavery. Their multi-layered approach of rescuing and caring for victims, prosecuting perpetrators and helping build adequate justice systems works. And it works well. They have seen, in a couple of cities, instances of child trafficking reduced by about 70%.

PUSH will feature Detroit-area singer/songwriter Carol Clayton, and her debut CD will be available for purchase. She will be sharing the stage with other Detroit artists - Silent Violet and Wurfel.

Tickets to this event are just $10 in advance. Ten bucks. C'mon... that's the cost of two of your (my) favorite specialty drinks from Starbucks. :) It's the price of a movie ticket.
Here's a page from IJM's website that shows just what our collective gift from this event could accomplish.

So join us on Thursday, May 28th at the Crofoot in Pontica for a night of great music, to support a great cause. Tickets can be purchased online at the Crofoot's website.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Funding for a Real Solution

I posted this about a week ago (-ish), but wanted to re-post it in hopes it will reach more people. Because Congress is in recess this week and next, your Senators and Representatives are home and may be reachable via phone. Please take a moment to contact them and ask them to support this important piece of legislation.
This past Monday, I had the incredible opportunity to spend some time on Capitol Hill, meeting with legislative aides in various offices to talk about an exciting piece of legislation.
I know... "exciting" and "legislation" don't seem like words that belong together, but I mean it when I say this bill is exciting! It's still in draft form, so the name may change, but it is currently called the Child Protection Compact Act of 2009.

The Child Protection Compact Act was written by the Director of Government Relations at International Justice Mission, and - if it's passed as written - could significantly reduce instances of child trafficking in key countries.

The bill currently asks for $50 million over three years to be allocated to the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP for short). The money would be used to fund anti-trafficking programs in three or four "focus countries". The countries haven't been decided yet, and would be selected based on their willingness and ability to meet some very specific criteria.

The money would fund things like police training, and investigative and legal work all aimed at fighting child trafficking.

What makes it exciting is that it would fund programs that already have proven success.
For example, police training and legal work have resulted in a 70% reduction of child trafficking in a couple of cities in Cambodia. A city in the Philippines has seem a similar reduction.

We don't know for sure when the bill will be introduced, but most likely after the upcoming Congressional recess.

Please take a moment to contact your Representative and ask him or her to consider co-sponsoring the Child Protection Compact Act of 2009 that's being introduced by Representative Chris Smith from New Jersey.

Also please contact your Senators and ask them to sponsor counterpart legislation in the Senate.

This is money that would be well-spent on proven programs that can spare hundreds of children from the trauma and abuse of being trafficked.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dozens Dead in Failed Trafficking Attempt

From the BBC:

Pakistani police have found 44 bodies inside a shipping container in what appears to have been a failed attempt at human trafficking.

Some 150 people are said to have been inside the container, most of them Afghans. The victims suffocated.

A number of survivors are being treated in hospital in the city of Quetta, in Baluchistan province.

The container reportedly belongs to a firm supplying Nato in Afghanistan and the driver's whereabouts are unknown.

It is believed that the container was en route to Iran from Afghanistan, via Pakistan.

Rasool Bakhsh, a senior police official in Quetta, said that police had opened the container following a tip-off.

The stench from the container suggested some victims might have been dead for days, he was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

Traffickers have used south-western Pakistan frequently to smuggle illegal migrants from the region to Europe.

At least 35 illegal migrants were found dead inside a container opened in Quetta in March 2006.