Freedom Network member, International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA) NY, is hosting a number of events in honor of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The calendar of events include a film screening of, “What I Have Been Through Is Not Who I Am,” on January 27th and January 28th. You can get more details about the event and information about the film by visiting their website here.
Freedom Network Co-Chair, Ivy Suriyopas, shared some of her thoughts on ways that everyone can help in the fight against human trafficking. In an op-ed recently published by truth-out.org, she outlines six key areas that are directly related to some of the root causes of human trafficking; speaking to specific ways everyone can make a difference in addressing those. She states, “The complexity of trafficking is precisely what makes these different approaches necessary, and shows that we can all be part of bringing an end to human trafficking.” To learn more, you can read the entire op-ed by clicking here.
Freedom Network member, Heartland Alliance, is asking that everyone “Do One Thing for Freedom,” in the month of January. They have embarked on a month long campaign in honor of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The Heartland Alliance has complied a list of tangible ways that individuals and organizations can help spread awareness and help in the fight against modern-day slavery. If you want to know how you can help, click here for more information!
Freedom Network member, Opening Doors will be holding a free screening of FoodChains in honor of Human Trafficking Awareness Month. FoodChains is an award-winning documentary that features the Fair Food Program led by Freedom Network member, Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). The program has received international attention and praise for its revolutionary approach to improving the working conditions in the tomato industry in Florida. The screening will take place at the Bayside Church of South Sacramento, on January 29th at 6:00 pm. You can find more information about the free screening event here. To learn more information about the FoodChains film, check out this short video featured on CIW’s blog.
“TVPA: Past, Present & Future”
Elevating the “Human” in Human Trafficking
It is that season again! Preparations for the 13th Annual Freedom Network Conference are in full swing. This year’s conference entitled, “TVPA Past, Present & Future, Elevating the “Human” in Human Trafficking,” will reflect on the successes of the past in the anti-trafficking field, current trends and issues, and work to devise recommendations for the future. We aim to incorporate the values of the Freedom Network and the vision that makes us a unique voice within the anti-trafficking movement. The Conference will be held in Washington DC on April 21st and 22nd. Stay tuned for more details on speakers, the agenda, and materials as the date approaches! Registration is open and can be accessed here.
The Freedom Network would like to congratulate Dana Sussman and the pro bono team at Gibson Dunn for their work on the Cruz v. Maypa case. The decision was released yesterday and cites the ten-year statute of limitations under the TVPRA. Special thanks to Munger, Tolles & Olson for representing the Freedom Network and Damayan in the amicus brief.
Former Freedom Network Co-chair and current Steering Committee member Suzanne Tomatore was invited to attend a meeting in Vienna, Austria, by the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) October 22 & 23 for a two day meeting on the role of recruitment fees and recruitment agencies in trafficking in persons. Recruitment fees are often mentioned as a factor that can fuel trafficking in persons. A group of 25 experts were convened from various countries including Serbia, Mexico, The Gambia, Zambia, Uganda, and throughout Europe. About half the group was government officials or agents, including a police chief from Germany and an immigration official from Spain. About one third of the group consisted of representatives from UN affiliated agencies that work on policy. Only four direct service providers were invited, including Ms. Tomatore.
The meetings were informal and all participants had the opportunity to present and comment on various subtopics. UNODC has contracted with consultants from Verité and others to draft a report that will be ready next year.
Ms. Tomatore prepared a presentation with an overview of U.S. trafficking laws on labor, provided some case studies from her docket at the City Bar Justice Center, where she is the director of the Immigrant Women & Children Project, and she presented some U.S. civil cases.
The group came up with recommendations at the end of the second day, including:
· Transparency for both the recruiter, the employer and the employee
· No identification documents should be withheld
· Freedom to change employment
· Access to remedy
· Safe working conditions
· Workers are paid timely and directly
(See http://freedomnetworkusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/FORTE-HR-4586-Leave-Behind-Revised-FINAL.pdf to read more about Freedom Network’s support of regulations of foreign labor recruiters.)
Ms. Tomatore stated that she learned quite a lot at these meetings. “Israel for example, has an agreement with the Thai government to recruit foreign workers and promoted bi-lateral agreements as a way to curb exploitation and fraud in labor contracting. There was a lot of discussing of recruitment fees and other expenses and different approaches. Overall, it was a very interesting and engaging discussion on fair labor practices.” Ms. Tomatore also shared with the group some findings from the recent report from the Urban Institute Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States.
For more information on fraud in foreign labor contracting – see Freedom Network’s advocacy papers.
Last week, several Freedom Network members were involved in New York Law School’s Symposium titled, “Innovations in the Fight Against Human Trafficking: Perspectives and Proposals.” Freedom Network members gathered, with other leaders in the field, to discuss barriers, trends, and share innovative approaches to combat human trafficking. Members contributed to the conversation as expert panelists, keynote speakers, and moderators. Here are a few photos from the event!
On September 21st, Freedom Network member, Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), will be honored as a recipient of the 2014 Clinton Global Citizen Award. Every year, Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) presents this award to “honor outstanding individuals in civil society, philanthropy, public service, and the private sector who exemplify global citizenship through their vision, leadership, and impact in addressing global challenges.” Previous honorees include education activist Malala Yousafzai, President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, former NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, among a whole host of internationally recognized activists, social entrepreneurs, civic, and foundation leaders.
CIW will receive the award for their Fair Food Program, which has made a significant impact on labor conditions in Florida’s tomato industry. The Freedom Network would like send our sincerest congratulations to all the CIW staff for this prestigious honor!
You can read more about CGI’s announcement and CWI’s work here.
The Freedom Network (USA) proudly announces the release of its inaugural Freedom Network Member Report, which covers the work and experiences of its member organizations and the trafficking cases on which they worked from 2010 to 2012.
This report, available at www.freedomnetworkusa.org, marks the Freedom Network’s first comprehensive, public report designed to contribute to the growing body of knowledge about the numbers and demographic realities of trafficked persons in the United States.
Highlights from the report include:
- Freedom Network members served more than 2,236 survivors of human trafficking from 2010 through the end of 2012.
- The vast majority (73 percent) of trafficked persons served by Freedom Network members during the period had been trafficked for labor in a variety of industries across the United States.
- Freedom Network members served an estimated 39 percent of the individuals who received T visa approvals during the same time period.
- Fifty-five percent of the trafficking survivors served by Freedom Network members were from Asian countries, and about one-third were from Latin American countries.
- While the majority of trafficking survivors served identified as females, almost half identified as males.
- Community-based organizations referred almost half of all trafficking survivors served by Freedom Network members.
The report reflects the needs and experiences of human trafficking survivors across the United States, and includes policy and practice recommendations for a more effective response to anti-trafficking work.
About the Freedom Network
The Freedom Network (USA) is a coalition of 39 non-governmental organizations and individuals that provide services to, and advocate for the rights of, trafficking survivors in the United States using a human rights-based, empowering approach. Founded in 2001, its members are leaders and experts in the field. The Freedom Network recognizes that human trafficking is fueled by complex and interconnected factors, including poverty and economic injustice, racism, gender-based discrimination, and political strife. At its core, the crime of trafficking is a violation of an individual’s basic rights and personal freedom. Thus, we believe that a rights-based approach is fundamental to combating human trafficking and ensuring justice for trafficked persons. Learn more at www.freedomnetworkusa.org.
Kindly share with your networks using #FNReport.