Thursday, August 13, 2009

No More Wheels

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by a university student who is passionate about human trafficking. She's just finishing up an internship in Washington, D.C. so we've only talked via email and phone, but the conversations have been exciting and productive.

I recently met another university student as well who has a similar passion for raising awareness and getting people involved in bringing modern-day slavery to an end.

My conversations with these two young women have been encouraging and inspiring.

Interestingly, our individual conversations have led us to the same conclusion - we need to get everyone working together. We don't need to start another organization; no need to re-invent the wheel - there are lots of excellent "wheels" out there already, doing deliberate, effective work to rescue trafficking victims, prosecute traffickers and raise awareness.

What we feel compelled to do is get as many of these people and organizations as possible into the same room, and get them talking and networking. So, in an attempt to encourage collaboration, we're planning to host an event in October for any and all people/organizations in Southeast Michigan that are involved in the fight against human trafficking! We're very excited and are hopeful that the event will be well-attended.

There aren't any specifics to post, as of yet, but we're planning to nail down a date and location by sometime next week.

If you know of an organization that is - or would like to be - involved in the anti-trafficking movement in Southeast Michigan, leave me a comment that includes contact information.

I'll be sure to regularly post updates on our progress.
Wish us luck!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Help for Trafficking Victims

First, my apologies for the long, long, delay in updating my blog. I've been busy with other, trafficking-related things, and the blog has had to wait. The good news is that I've made some great local contacts here in Michigan; people who want to raise awareness and put an end to human trafficking. We're trying to plan an event for September, about which I'll keep you all updated.

In the meantime, I've been reading a lot of reports and articles about human trafficking. One of them, the Attorney General's Annual Report & Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons, has some great information!

To follow is a list of organizations that reach out to and assist victims of human trafficking. If one of these orgs is in your area, I highly recommend checking it out!

This first set of organizations manages local chapters of a Health and Human Services program called Rescue and Restore, the purpose of which is to "increase the number of trafficking victims who are identified, assisted in leaving the circumstances of their servitude, and connected to qualified service agencies and to the HHS certification process so that they may receive the benefits and services for which they are eligible."
If you belong to, or know of, an organization that does this type of work, but isn't listed, it can be registered here.

  • Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition
  • Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services (NY)
  • Opening Doors, Inc. (Sacramento, CA)
  • International Center of Atlanta
  • Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia
  • World Relief-Nashville
  • The Salvation Army of Greater Columbus, OH
  • YWCA of Greater Cincinnati-Alliance for Immigrant Women
  • SAGE Project, Inc. (San Francisco, CA)
  • International Institute of St. Louis
  • Catholic Charities of Portland
  • U.S. Committee of Refugee and Immigrants, Raleigh (NC)
  • Salvation Army Network of Emergency Trafficking Services of Las Vegas
  • Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark (NJ)
  • International Rescue Committee (Phoenix)
  • The Salvation Army Family & Community Services STOP-IT Program (IL)
  • Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence

This next list contains organizations that conduct street outreach services "to help identify victims of trafficking among populations they already serve."

  • Alternatives for Girls - MI
  • Breaking Free - St. Paul, MN
  • Catholic Charities Community Services - Phoenix, AZ
  • Center for Social Advocacy - San Diego, CA
  • Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking of California
  • Farmworker Legal Services of New York
  • Girls Educational and Mentoring Services - New York City
  • International Rescue Committee - AZ
  • Mosaic Family Services - Dallas, TX
  • Polaris Project - NJ
  • Positive Options, Referrals and Alternatives - IL
  • SAGE Project - San Francisco, CA
  • Salvation Army - IL
  • Southeastern Network of Youth and Family Services of Alabama
  • Southeastern Network of Youth and Family Services of Florida
  • Tapestri - GA
  • Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid

There's other good information in this report, which I will write about in the days to come.