Posts tagged with "human trafficking awareness"

Human Trafficking Awareness

KATIE FORD: FROM HELPING MODELS TO MODELING  FREEDOM

KATIE FORD: FROM HELPING MODELS TO MODELING  FREEDOM

By Mitzi Perdue

Katie Ford, former CEO of Ford Models, Inc., got a life-changing phone call in 2007.  She was invited to speak at the UN about human trafficking awareness.

She wasn’t at all sure why the UN would want her.  At that point in her life, she hadn’t even heard the term, “human trafficking,” 

Ford decided to accept the UN speaking invitation, and that meant delving deeper into the issue. She learned that traffickers frequently offer the opportunity of a job and money, but that job doesn’t exist. People are duped. They are forced into a job that they didn’t agree to and forced to work without pay. This is otherwise known as slavery.

As Ford points out,  “How people are trafficked parallels how we brought in models. We offered them opportunity, including the opportunity to make a lot of money.” However, with Ford, there was no duping. Later, she learned that traffickers often use the lure of a career in modeling to recruit future victims.  

The traffickers’ approach was the polar opposite of what Ford, as an ethical person in the modeling business, was doing. She was about building careers and protecting young models, even including having the younger ones live in her home, where she could look out for their safety and welfare.

As she learned of case after case where young, vulnerable people had been enslaved and had their lives taken away from them, she came to a realization: “I can’t stand by and not do something.”

That was the beginning of the not-for-profit organization, “Freedom for All.” In the years since, the organization has freed people from all kinds of slavery.  The organization currently has nine on-the-ground partners in five countries, including the USA.

‘We picked groups where we could vet the work,” Ford points out. “They have enough systems in place where we could see the results of the money. I wanted groups where the amount of money we can give, which is relatively small, can make a big difference.”

The organization’s impact has made a huge difference.  “In the last 10 years, Freedom for All, has helped 28,000 people,” Ford points out. “When slaves are freed and given a little help, they can do well. They are accustomed to hard work.”

An Example of the Foundation’s Impact

A success story she enjoys talking about is a sample of her organization’s efforts in India.  A man was in debt to his employer and couldn’t leave until he paid his debt off. But since the employer wasn’t paying him, he had no possibility of paying off the debt.

To make a terrible situation even worse, the man’s children were going to be enslaved with the father and not allowed to go to school. 

Involuntary servitude, the kind where you can’t quit, is illegal throughout the entire world.  Freedom for All, with its on-the-ground partner, was able to free this man and get him a “ $500 reparations grant” from the Indian government, so that he could start a free life where he profited from his labor. 

Here’s what this man did with his new freedom. He was able to open a store. With the income from the store, he was able to move from sleeping on the ground of a straw hut to living in a nice stucco home with electricity.

Even better, his children escaped being slaves.  Instead, they got an education and today are attending university.  

“Freedom for All makes this kind of transformation possible,” says a pleased Ford. Fortunately, her work enables her to see this kind of change all the time. 

What Can We Do?

Ford encourages all of us to be a part of anti-trafficking efforts.  “Everybody can do something,” she points out. Make a donation.  “Any amount counts. Anti-trafficking is underfunded, and a $10 donation makes a difference.” If you would like to:

Mitzi Perdue is the organizer of the Global Anti-Trafficking Auction, and author of the book, 52 Tips for Combatting Human Trafficking. Contact her at: Mitzi@WinThisFight.org 

 

Dr. Ma

Prosecution of Trafficking in Taiwan

Prosecution of Trafficking in Taiwan: Why the Country Is a Standout

 By Mitzi Perdue

The U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons report ranks countries according to how effectively they are combatting human trafficking.  The rankings range from:

Tier One, countries that are working hard and effectively to acknowledge and combat human trafficking

Tier Two, countries that are making significant progress towards achieving Tier One status

Tier Three, those that are not making significant efforts or progress in combatting human trafficking

If you look at the Wikipedia map of  how countries are doing according to this ranking, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trafficking_in_Persons_Report an interesting fact appears about Taiwan.  On this map, Taiwan is a bright green Tier One Country.  

Almost all of the countries nearby, are either yellow, signifying Tier Two, or a bright red, signifying Tier Three.  

What Is Taiwan Doing to Be Such a Standout?

According to Dr. Jenwha Ma, recently retired Deputy Head of Criminal Investigation Bureau, National Police Agency who currently work as Chief Security Officer in a Taiwanese enterprise, “The country has made prosecution it’s number one priority.”  

Making prosecution the number one priority has some immediate practical consequences.  The crime of trafficking too often goes unpunished because it’s often difficult to get the victims to testify.  In the absence of consequences, trafficking flourishes.

Increasing the Odds of Being Prosecuted

Taiwan has laws and systems for increasing the odds that a trafficker will pay a price.  For example:

In the past, when a trafficking victim was rescued, he or she might never testify against the trafficker. That’s because the trafficker could see to it that the victim was spirited out of the country before testifying. Today, law enforcement in Taiwan, works with the Taiwanese Immigration Department to ensure that the victim stays in the country until he or she has testified. 

Incidentally the problem just described happens in the United States, and Jeffrey Epstein is the classic example. In the case of the original prosecution of Jeffrey Epstein, one of the several reasons he got an absurdly lenient sentence was, most of the witnesses were moved overseas and were therefore unavailable to prosecutors.

Taiwan works to ensure that Epstein-type miscarriages of justice don’t happen. Keeping potential witnesses in the country is one reason prosecution of traffickers is becoming more effective. 

Another problem for law enforcement is, frequently a trafficked person may not speak the country’s language.  To counteract this, members of Taiwanese law enforcement go out of their way to ensure that interpreters are available whether the victim speaks, Japanese or Thai or Indonesian or any other language.

Still another problem with prosecuting traffickers is, where does the victim stay while waiting to testify? In the case of a prostituted girl, she may have no other marketable skills, and since she needs food and a roof over her head, she is at risk of being re-trafficked. 

Taiwan has an answer for this also. “In Taiwan,” says Dr. Ma, “we have safe housing run by the Immigration Agency. We call them ‘Protection Centers.’”

“While at the Protection Center,” continues Ma, “we look out for their welfare, and we give them occupational training.”  A stay in a Protection Center could last several months depending on the trial date and also  depending on diplomatic arrangements between Taiwan and the country they were trafficked from. 

Results

According to statistics from Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior, the total number of human trafficking cases in 2018 was 133.  Of these, sexual exploitation accounted for 71% and labor exploitation 29%

“Each case may have more than one person involved and arrested,” points out Ma, “The total number of suspects involved in the 133 cases is 433 individuals.”  

Dr. Ma’s statistic of 433 individuals is an impressive one because these are the people doing the trafficking.  Word spreads among the traffickers that there are consequences, usually in the form of jail time.  Prosecutions mean some people are put away and therefore not continuing to abuse their victims.  For other traffickers, the reality that they may be prosecuted is a deterrent.

Cooperation between Taiwan and the US

Dr. Ma is pleased with the close cooperation between the  US and Taiwan law enforcement agencies in fighting against international sexual and labor exploitation. The two countries cooperate on exchanging information. 

He wishes, however, that Taiwan could be a member of Interpol. Interpol is currently unavailable to Taiwan since the United Nations doesn’t recognize Taiwan as a nation separate from China. “This is a big problem,” explains Ma, “since it keeps us from cooperating with many countries. It means we are not in the ring of information, and we are late in receiving tips, whether about drugs or human trafficking.” 

He wishes this would change.

Contact us today to discover what you can do to increase human trafficking awareness.

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Mitzi Perdue is a business owner, speaker. and author of the book, 52 Tips for Combatting Human Trafficking.  Contact her at Mitzi@MitziPerdue.com or call her at 410 860-4444.

 

 

Is Trafficking More Prevalent Now?

Joanna RubinsteinJoanna Rubinstein from the World Childhood Foundation knows that child-trafficking is more prevalent now than ever before. She also knows why.

“In the past, a trafficker might be able to find five or six young people who were vulnerable, and it would take weeks or months of grooming to entrap them. Now, with the Internet, the trafficker can be working on a couple of hundred prospective victims at the same time.” 

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