Posts tagged with "Human Slavery"

Atlas Rescue – Sean Williamson

ATLAS RESCUE

Sean Williamson, a Former Green Beret and Founder of Atlas Rescue, has an important story.  However, before we get to it, he has what may be surprising yet reassuring information for you.

Although the information may not apply to you, if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that it does. If you work in the anti-trafficking field and you have even a reasonably high profile – maybe you’re on the Internet, or you give talks, or you donate money to anti-trafficking causes – do you need to worry that the traffickers will find you and harm you? Or your children?

Do You Need to Worry?

Williamson’s answer is, “In almost every case, no!”  He goes on to qualify that statement by explaining that if you’re engaged in actual rescues, you may be in danger, or if you’re in law enforcement prosecuting traffickers there can be danger.

Still, short of these two cases, the traffickers could care less about you. “They know that anti-trafficking efforts are so ineffective,” he points out, “that less than half of 1% of victims will ever be rescued each year.”

He goes on observe that in our current state of affairs, most people who combat human trafficking aren’t even on the traffickers’ radar screens. Williamson, with his special ops background, was shocked by the fact that traffickers are so little concerned with being caught and so unconcerned about doing anything about those who are trying to stop them.

“I was expecting traffickers to act like terrorists, with encrypted messages and hiding everything they do.  But no, they’re  just using private groups on Facebook!”  In other words, they act with impunity. And they’re not particularly bothered by you.

Williamson and His Colleagues Do Experience Risk

Unlike most of us, Williamson and his team of retired military specialist are in the category of people who are in danger.  His for-profit company, Atlas Rescue provides specialized security services, and criminals are highly likely to want to cause harm to him and his colleagues.

To see an example of the kind of work Atlas Rescue does, imagine for a horrible moment that you discover that there’s an organization that wants to kill you.  You go to the police, and a likely response is something along the lines of, “We wish you luck, but we can’t help.”  

Dealing with threats like this isn’t the job of police. However, it is the job of the Atlas team of retired special ops people.

They exist to help people like the imaginary you who find themselves in situations somewhere in the world where they need security.  Or possibly they need rescue.  

What’s special about the for-profit Atlas Rescue company is, revenue from the for-profit side is part of what helps fund their non-profit arm, Atlas Humanitarian Rescue. The charity specializes in fighting human trafficking.

The reach of this non-profit is global and they’re adept at working with other countries. “With our anti human trafficking expertise,” Williamson explains, “other countries invite us to provide training to the local police and military.”

The special ops teams work to be so culturally sensitive that they’ll be invited back over and over again. “Our attitude is,” says Williamson: “We are a guest of that nation, and we’re there to help them push the ball forward.”  

Williamson can take satisfaction knowing that he’s part of helping, but he’s also quick to point out that he hasn’t helped as much as he wants.  But still, he keeps on working towards his goal:  “Create a worldwide effort of such highly trained anti-trafficking forces that potential human traffickers will be so afraid of who will come for them in the middle of the night, that they will not even consider enslaving another human for profit.”

What a great goal!  To learn more, go to: https://atlasrescue.org

 

Mitzi Perdue is a business owner, speaker. and author of  52 TIPS FOR PREVENTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING. Contact her at Mitzi@MitziPerdue.com or call her at 410 860-4444.

 

 

 

Tahirih Justice Center – Protecting Immigrant Women

Human exploitation takes many forms, but all of them have one thing in common: exploiters prey on the vulnerable.  The Tahirih Justice center focuses on helping a particularly vulnerable group, immigrant women and girls.

Tahirih  has an impressive record of helping this group. Beginning in 1997, Tahirih has served more than 25,000 individuals who’ve fled trafficking and violence.

A senior staff attorney with Tahirih, Leah Chen Price, has an example of the kind situation Tahirih deals with.  Anna Santos is not the real name of the woman we’ll be talking about, but the details are entirely real.

Anna Santos and Her “Dream” Job

Santos grew up in the Philippines, and in her early twenties, she was a caregiver for a well-to-do woman in Manila. One day her employer told her about what seemed like a dream job.  Santos’s employer had a daughter in Burlingame, California, who wanted Santos to take care of her young family.

The pay was impressive compared to what Santos was earning in the Philippines, and Santos liked the idea of travel to America, all expenses paid.  Unfortunately, this would mean being away from her own two young children. 

However, the pay was so good that Anna felt it would be great to work there for six months, make some money to support her family, and then return home to the Philippines.

The dream job turned out to be a dream job, but it was a dream of the nightmare variety. Her job included having to get up at 4:00 am to clean, cook, do laundry, and take care of five people and 10 dogs. 

And her living quarters?  Her employers made her live in a garden shack with no heat or electricity.  They denied her medical care, demeaning her at every step, treating her like a domestic animal.  She was living in modern day slavery.

As she froze in her garden shack with only a thin blanket for warmth, can you imagine how much she must have missed her children and her country? 

Why Didn’t She Escape?

There were several reasons Santos didn’t escape. For starters, her employer would lock her in the house so she couldn’t.  But in addition, her employers also threatened her with the police. “You’re here illegally,” they’d point out. “We’ll have you thrown in jail!”  And of course they carefully nurtured in her a terror of all law enforcement.

Incredibly, this went on for 15 years. Eventually, a Good Samaritan from the family’s church learned of Anna’s plight and helped her escape. After she left the house, Anna was put in touch with various social service organizations that work with survivors of human trafficking, and ultimately the Tahirih Justice Center who assisted her with her immigration status.

Anna Santos’s life is now entirely different.  “We’ve supported her as she has stabilized herself  financially, physically,  and psychologically,” says Price.  “Her life is now her own again. She has taken advantage of employment development assistance, mental health counseling, case management support, and she is now living on her own supporting herself.”

Possibly best of all, Santos not only got her own immigration papers, Tahirih’s attorney’s helped her reunite with her own children. They arranged to bring Santos’s children to this country on visas designated for family members of victims of human trafficking.  

The Problem Exists Everywhere

Price points out that although Santos comes from the Philippines, she could have come from almost any country. Tahirih deals with hundreds of cases of modern-day slavery and the victims come from every corner of the globe.

Price emphasizes that, “Human exploitation like this takes place in every city, and in every industry, whether construction, restaurants, massage parlors, child care, –any low wage job is ripe for it.”

Price loves her work.  “I feel so lucky to do this job. At times I don’t know how people find such an incredible amount of strength as they transform from victim to survivor. It’s an inspiration to work with people who have found so much strength and courage in spite of so much suffering.”

Tahirih Justice Center stands alone as the only national, multi-city organization providing a broad range of direct legal servicespolicy advocacy, and training and education to protect immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence.

 

To make a donation, go to https://www.tahirih.org or call Leah Chen Price at 650 270 2102.  

Mitzi Perdue is the founder of Win This Fight, Stop Human Trafficking.  She’s also the author  of 52 TIPS FOR PREVENTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING. Visit the website at WinThisFight.org or write to her at Mitzi@WinThisFight.org.