Category Archives: action!

Some Things Cost More Than We Realize

radiohead

An excellent video from Radiohead for MTV’s EXIT campaign.

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September in DC

Washington DC has made September its Human Trafficking Awareness Month thanks to efforts by the District of Columbia Task Force on Human Trafficking, which was established five years ago with the DC Police Department and the DC US Attorney’s Office.

September will highlight in an effort to educate the public about the Task Force’s main goals:

  • To facilitate a anti-trafficking efforts in the DC area through community outreach, proactive investigations, law enforcement training, intelligence sharing, and more formalized partnerships between law enforcement organizations and non-governmental organizations.
  • To identify citizen, resident and transnational victims of both sex and labor trafficking.
  • To provide comprehensive services to trafficking victims.
  • To increase the prosecution of traffickers.

FEATURED! Causecast

Causecast is the social network for social good.

“People want to do good, want to be inspired, and want to inspire others to join them in giving back,” the site says. “Causecast makes this easy by providing users with means to connect with people, leaders, charities, nonprofit organizations, and brands that inspire them.”

In How To Helo Human Trafficking, the Causecast blog gives the following suggestions:

  • Step One: Educate Yourself

    Human trafficking takes on many different forms, sometimes using new methods to disguise itself. The best way to begin to fight against human trafficking is to educate yourself about the problem’s complexities. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t understand it and you can’t spread the word if you can’t explain it.

  • Step Two: Spread the Word

    While it’s really important to understand about all the different types of human trafficking, it’s easier to make a tangible difference when you focus on one specific aspect of the problem at a time.

  • Step Three: Dollah Dollah Bills, Ya’ll

    Of course, money is always an integral part of campaigning for any cause, and human trafficking is no exception.

  • Step Four: Time to Act

    Giving money is great, but it’s only a part of the solution. Check out the Polaris Project Action Center for some hands-on ways you can help. For example, Polaris is pushing Congress to allocate federal funding for human trafficking victims. Call your senators and representatives to let them know how you feel about this issue.

  • Step Five: Keep It Up!

    Remember, technology is your friend. Even the most dedicated of us can’t always keep up with our causes 24/7. So sometimes, it’s a good idea to bring the cause to you.

There Is A List of Goods That Use Slave Labor–But Where Is It?

Cassandra Clifford with the World Affairs Blog Network has an important call to action for people who are looking to take a stand against modern-day slavery and trafficking in their every day lives. Everything that we consume comes from somewhere, and opting for products that are fair-trade and slavery-free goes a long way in relaying the message to companies that we don’t want to support slavery.

This can be daunting–how can you, going about your own life, take time to ask and research where everything comes from? Imagine there was a list that let you know the products that were made using slave labor, wouldn’t that be easier? It would. The funny thing is: there is a list. It just hasn’t been released.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) was revised by Congress in 2005, at which time it was mandated that the Department of Labor (DOL) establish a list of products which where made by various forms of human trafficking/modern slavery, including child labor.

However when the TVPRA was reauthorized again in 2008, the list has still to find its way into any consumers hands, despite increasing consumer and political awareness and activism. The need to release this crucial list was brought back into the public spotlight with the efforts of Ambassador Mark P. Lagon, who is the Executive Director of Polaris Project, and previous Ambassador-at-Large and Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP), and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State.Ambassador Lagon recently published an article for Change.org, Where’s the List of Slave-Made Goods the Department of Labor Promised?

The Department of Labor, under the leadership of Secretary Elaine Chao until last January, said the requirement was an unfunded mandate – as they didn’t have enough people to put on the task absent any extra funding from Congress.

Congress unwisely put no deadline on the mandate in the 2005 legislation, then gave the Department a luxurious one year to produce it with the enactment of the latest December 2008 revision of the landmark 2000 anti-slavery act.

But the list exists. While I was still the anti-trafficking ambassador, a public hearing had been held for information and a draft list was fashioned.

So what can be done to see that this list finally makes it’s way into our hands as consumers, and concerned citizens? E-mail the new Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis to release the list and correct the errors of the past four years, demand that the American consumer is both educated and empowered, that we have a right and choice to be purchase goods which are no longer contaminated by child and slave labor, that we want a true “free” marketplace.

You can sign the petition here.

249 Mile Run in Chains for For Human Trafficking Awareness

Today in British Columbia, singer Eric Proffitt began his 249 mile run from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to the Statue of Liberty in New York City to bring awareness to human trafficking. Proffitt is doing this in chains to illustrate the bonds of silence under which many suffer in our world today.

He is joined by Rev. Marcia L. Dyson, Georgetown University Center for Social Justice, who recently ended a 22-day fast for Darfur, Haiti and for awareness of the gun violence in her home town of Chicago; Theresa Flores, who as a teenager was forced into a relationship of sexual prostitution by an older boy at her school and who now works to help rescue others victimized by human trafficking.

Proffitt is also joined by Ken Morris, the great, grandson of slave abolitionist, Frederick Douglass and educator, Booker T. Washington. Ken gave up his marketing business in Las Vegas to partner the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation on this global human crisis that is human trafficking.

Members of the organizations, Innocents at Risk, which spear-headed Trafficking of Persons (TIP) awareness among flight attendants and The Sanctuary of Moses, which houses, feeds, and educates child victims of trafficking in Benin, as well as several United States congressmen, are in attendance at the Lincoln Memorial kick-off.

This run, called “Run 4 The Rescue” will help raise money and to bring attention to human trafficking and slavery.

This grassroots campaign is spreading like wild-fire across the nation and will reach an apex on September 27, 2009, with the flagship Stop Child Trafficking Wake-Rescue a Child with Your Sole in New York City and simultaneous events in 40 cities nationwide. Individuals and teams across the country will walk to raise money for this cause.

The Run 4 The Rescue will continue with Eric Proffitt tracking an additional 250 miles in the United Kingdom, where slavery was first abolished by colonists.

Learn more or get involved at Run4TheRescue.com

Break the Chains–The 500 Mile Dash

Are you on Twitter? Eric Proffitt is and he’s using the micro-blogging platform to keep people up to date on his quest to bring awareness to modern-day slavery by running 500 miles in chains across the UK, beginning this August 1.

Proffitt will set off from London’s Westminster Abby and run eight hours a day, for 27 days as part of his Break These Chains campaign.

“I’m doing this to help the world know that human trafficking still happens in every city on earth,” Proffitt said in an interview last week. “The whole point is that I want the entire world to stop and say ‘this is wrong’, I want this event to tip the balance and stop human slavery.”

Why the UK? According to the Break The Chains site, it’s to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Wilberforce, the driving force behind the fight against slavery throughout the UK in 1833, which was the tipping point for abolishing legalized slavery throughout the world.

“Thus the UK is the ideal place to once again become a tipping point for slavery today,” the site concludes.

Bon Appetit Takes A Stance

Bon Appetit steps up to the plate of sustainable labor practices. The Washington Post has reported that appalled by reports of labor conditions in the fields, the executives of one of the nation’s largest food service companies, Bon Appetit Management, promise to boycott Florida tomatoes if growers do not agree to improve conditions and increase pay for farmworkers.

Bon Appetit will issue a strict set of standards that farm worker advocates call a “rough draft” of the future of fairly produced food. If no grower agrees, the company is set to stop serving tomatoes on salad bars and sandwiches at its more than 400 college and corporate cafes across the country. The growers “can do the right thing, and our five million pounds of business can go to them,” said Fedele Bauccio, Bon Appetit’s chief executive. “Or they can let the tomatoes rot in the fields.”

I’m not sure if I care if this is public relations grandstanding. If people grandstand long, who knows, maybe the accidentally end up doing the right thing more often? No, seriously.