Posts tagged with "human trafficking"

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.

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. Jean Baderschneider

A Global Strategy to End Modern Slavery: Interview with Dr. Jean Baderschneider

Our expert is Dr. Jean Baderschneider, CEO and founding board member of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery. This organization is designed to catalyze a global strategy to end human trafficking and to increase the necessary resources from the public and private sector to fund it. Baderschneider was in the private sector for 35 years, coming from ExxonMobil as Vice President, of Global Procurement. She also has over 10 years of anti-trafficking experience and has served on the Board of a number of the key anti-trafficking organizations in the field.

 

Interview with Dr. Baderschneider

 

Editor: Give us some background on the scope of the human trafficking problem.

 

Baderschneider: The first thing to understand is that it is a big problem, and it’s everywhere, including in our own back yard. According to the Global Slavery Index, an estimated 40 million people are in some form of modern slavery. We are working to create better quantitative data tofully grasp the breadth and depth of human slavery.

 

Editor: Why has it become such an issue right now?

 

Baderschneider: Trafficking is extraordinarily profitable. According to a 2012 estimate, thiscrime generates at least a $150 billion a year in profits for traffickers, second only to drug trafficking. The combination of the number of people exploited and size of the profits has raised demand for action. The increasing number of focused awareness efforts, as well as new legislative, efforts such as the Modern Slavery Act are having an impact and creating platforms for action.

 

Editor: And other global trends that lead to more trafficking?

 

Baderschneider: Human trafficking sits at the intersection of many global trends, such as migration, organized crime, global supply chains, and so on.. Many people migrate because they have no other options and are looking for work. There are approximately 244 million migrants a year.While this can be a positive experience for some, it also results in large numbers of vulnerable people at risk of ending up in exploitative labor situations.

 

Editor: What are the obstacles that keep us from successfully combating it so far?

 

Baderschneider: The existing efforts and resources do not match the scale of the problem. The resources currently available to combat trafficking are in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but as I said, the traffickers are making $150 billion a year. That’s not a fair fight. In addition, efforts have been fragmented, uncoordinated, and limited by lack of data.

 

Also, you may be able to shut down trafficking in one place, but the traffickers immediately pop up someplace else, like a neighboring village. Instead of solving the problem, it has only been displaced.

 

Editor: How is the organization you head, the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, addressing the problem?

 

Baderschneider: Here’s our  three-pronged approach.

  • First, we have programs related to rule of law, designed to end impunity for all forms of trafficking.
  • Second, we have programs focused on sustaining freedom for survivors through recovery, reintegration and economic opportunity.
  • Third, we have programs focused on business engagement, including proactively engaging with the business community and its supply chains.

In the world today, there is about $70 trillion in procurement spending. If we can get corporations fully engaged and leverage their resources, it begins to become more of a fair fight. We want investors and banks to incentivize companies to meaningfully address the risk of slavery in their supply chains.

Editor: I would imagine that shining a light on a company’s slave-labor-fueled supply chain would be a powerful tool. No  company wants the reputational catastrophe of being outed for using slave labor in its supply chain.  Do you have a final thought for us?

Baderschneider: Yes, we are doing much more than there’s space for in your blog! Come to our website to see what else we’re doing. https://www.gfems.org

 

Mitzi Perdue is the organizer of the Global Anti-Trafficking Auction, and author of the book, 52 Tips for Combatting Human Trafficking, available on Amazon.

How Sex Traffickers Exploit Vulnerabilty and Gaps in the Law

By Mitzi Perdue

Yasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director of Equality NowYasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director of Equality Now, has an interesting take on sex trafficking.  Although Harvard-educated, she grew up in Pakistan, and her defining moment came at age 10 when her country’s laws were ‘Islamized.’

She got to see, under the new regime, how women were treated as second-class citizens. The experience was the starting point of her lifelong advocacy for women’s rights.

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A Form of Trafficking You May Never Have Heard Of

By Mitzi Perdue

Large Cargo ShipAny form of human smuggling is likely to be a cross between harrowing and horrifying. Here’s one you may not know about, and it certainly fits into the category of harrowing and horrifying.

It’s the crime of smuggling human beings in the sealed containers you see stacked on ocean-going container ships. This particular form of human trafficking has its own unique horrors.

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