[quote type=”center”] The story of how abolitionist allies William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Brown and Angelina Grimke turned a despised fringe movement against chattel slavery into a force that literally changed the nation. [/quote]
PBS will be airing a new American Experience episode, a three part series entitled “The Abolitionists,” beginning Tuesday, January 8th.
Find out more…
[button link=”http://video.pbs.org/video/2274405136/” color=”lightblue” newwindow=”yes”] An American Experience: The Abolitionists[/button]
150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, buying and selling people into forced labor is bigger than ever. Slavery–“the total control of one person by another or the purpose of economic exploitation”—is a global epidemic, driven by the same political, technological, and economic forces as globalization itself.
There are now twice as many people enslaved in the world as there were in the 350 years of the transatlantic slave trade. Here is an article that tries to define “human trafficking” really means, and a lot more– by Atlantic Weeky’s J.J. Gould.
[button link=”http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/12/slaverys-global-comeback/266354/#.UOX76dI8C_E.mailto” newwindow=”yes”] Read More: Slavery’s Global Comeback[/button]
The Prostitution Myth Exposed
Prostitution is an issue that has been greatly misunderstood over the years by most people. This is why I refer to the “prostitution myth.”
The classical conventional wisdom is that prostitutes sell their bodies for sex because (1) they can make good money doing so, and (2) they are “that kind of girl”—–in other words, they enjoy doing what they do. Popular books like “The Happy Hooker,” written in the early 70’s and re-published in 2002, give the impression that sex for money is fun—and good business, and just another example of “life, liberty and the the pursuit of happiness.” Thankfully, this is a MYTH that has begun to fade in recent years.
The fact is, only a very small percentage of prostitutes are voluntary, and most of those were initially forced into the sex trade either by abduction, bait and switch, or some other ploy used by traffickers. Justice For Youth is focused on human trafficking in Moldova and Ukraine, where young people are being sold wholesale, by force, into the sex trade. Lured with promises of a good job, they are systematically screened, abducted, drugged and sold on the black market.
Some statistics: Every year, 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders–and the majority of those victims come from Eastern Europe. If that number doesn’t grab you, 27 million people are enslaved across the world in this vicious enterprise. Human trafficking rakes in 32 billion dollars a year in revenue, placing it in a virtual tie with arms dealing as the second most profitable criminal enterprise in the world.
GREAT! It’s a competition between those who hope for more wars to break out and those who see our schools as money farms!
It has become very clear, as we launch into the new millennium, that though the sexual revolution of the 60’s is over, and many mature baby boomers laugh as they look back, years removed, on their escapades, sexual exploitation is alive and well and has reached epidemic proportions. Like a raging fire on an open dry field with the wind blowing, the trafficking of people for the purpose of sex is spreading out of control.
[quote type=”center”] After three decades of slowly transforming prime time television from a G-rated to an R-rated enterprise, we find many in Hollywood becoming active in human trafficking awareness programs. It is like the baby alligator in the pond in the backyard that grew up—and now it is time to do something about it. [/quote]
It is encouraging to see so many news organizations and NGO’s raising the red flag on human trafficking in general and sex trafficking in particular. Yet the unspoken question is:
Why now? Why, after all these years of ignoring it and even feeding the fire, is sex trafficking a red flag issue? After three decades of slowly transforming prime time television from a G-rated to an R-rated enterprise, we find many in Hollywood becoming active in human trafficking awareness programs. It is like the baby alligator in the pond in the backyard that grew up—and now it is time to do something about it.
What can we do? We can either invest our efforts in rescuing those who are already trapped or we can focus our energies on preventative measures. BOTH are crucial. We need more people on the ground and more strategies in place in both arena’s to stop the bleeding—and prevent further expansion of this wildfire.
Justice For Youth is engaged in reaching the schools of Moldova and Ukraine because these two countries are hot-beds for human trafficking in Eastern Europe, which is a leader in global sex trafficking. Our strategy is to place 3 posters in each school and conduct seminars designed to educate and inform students of the dangers of modern day slavery and the human trafficking industry. You can be involved in this effort through our Adopt A School initiative. Why not kick off the New Year by kicking in $19 to reaching a whole school of “at risk” young people with the vital education and tools they need to avoid being trafficked? Find our more about JFY ADOPT A SCHOOL
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://advocacy.justiceforyouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/John-Mugshot.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]John Nielsen is a social entrepreneur who, having served all of his adult life championing young people on four continents, is now speaking out passionately against global human trafficking. (Copyright 2013– Justice For Youth. All rights reserved.) [/author_info] [/author]
Opening Eyes and Changing Minds
The human trafficking epidemic is something that most of us have very little understanding of. We read an article or see a news clip, and our curiosity is piqued. Then we watch a movie like “Trade” or read a book like “Not For Sale,” and we make the transition from bystander to abolitionist. Yet the question we all face is “now what?” The fact is, the process has only begun within us. The ripple has just begun. It will grow into a wave as we discover more people like ourselves, who feel a fire emerging in our belly and are intent on doing something about the truth we have encountered.
[quote type=”center”] Human trafficking statistics are just numbers until we connect the stories and the faces to them [/quote]
Human trafficking statistics are just numbers until we connect the stories and the faces to them. Human trafficking solutions seem impotent as we ask ourselves “What can be done? What can I do?” Human trafficking in Moldova, for example, is so deeply embedded in the psyche of that country that only a militant fight to turn the hearts and minds of this generation—in the schools, in the neighborhoods, in the family gatherings—will turn the tide. Sure, addressing poverty is a big art of the solution, as is passing laws. But we must be reminded that human trafficking is a big money proposition for all parties involved, including parents and relatives who sell their children to address their “poverty.” So too, corrupt officials, feeling overworked and underpaid, are everywhere in every country, lining their pockets and reaching for the fringe benefits of their position. At JFY, we are presently investing our efforts in an all out strategy to place into the hearts and minds of the youth of Eastern Europe a desire and determination to stand up for themselves.
For the rest of the world who have not heard the penny drop, we continue to reach out and spread the word. Human trafficking—the brutal exploitation of this generation of at risk youth– is more real and more pervasive than any of us dare to admit or believe. In many ways we are only beginning to scratch the surface.
There are people out there—fellow abolitionists— who inspire, encourage and propel all us to open our eyes, get involved and make a difference. One such person is Mimi Chakarova. This daring young lady decided to enter the world of human trafficking as a photo journalist, undercover. She exposed herself to the culture so she could bring to us all a vivid and heart rending view of the real story on the ground. She has produced some excellent documentaries, including Sex Trafficking Documentary “The Price of Sex.” She explains her plight below in this short video clip…
[quote type=”center”] Justice For Orphans exists to rally people for the cause of the fatherless by bringing awareness of the global orphan crisis and championing hope and purpose for the orphan. [/quote]
A homeschooling mom in upstate New York has launched an initiative to help orphans and raise awareness on human trafficking, and is inviting you to get involved!
[button link=”http://advocacy.justiceforyouth.org/human-trafficking-solutions/justice-for-orphans/” color=”lightblue” newwindow=”yes”] Find Out More About JFO[/button]
In the critically acclaimed brothel documentary “Born Into Brothels,” photographer Zana Briski goes to a red light district in Calcutta to see for herself what life is like there. Not able to get a genuine glimpse of what was really going on was a tad frustrating at first.
[quote type=”center”]”It’s almost impossible to photograph in the red light district,” she explains. “It’s a whole separate society within itself. I mean, you just walk down that one lane and it’s another world.”[/quote]
But something happened that took her venture down a whole new path:
“As soon as I enter the brothels I met the children…”
These remarkable little people swept her off her feet and she decided to try and see the world through their eyes. The documentary is the chronicle of eight children that she worked with and what she discovered as they opened up to her. A moment of truth arrives when one of the young girls confides
“The women ask me, ‘When are you going to join the line?’ The say it won’t be long.”
Zana realizes she needs to do something to try and get these children out of the brothels and into a safe place where they can thrive. Her response, and the adventures in photography and life that she experienced in Calcutta, are captured in this remarkable 2004 film.
Jyoti Kalash: Bringing Hope To Brothel Children
In west India, a group of dedicated people are have made it their life goal to reach the brothel kids and offer them hope. “Jyoti Kalash” is committed long term to making a real difference in the lives of these brothel children of Mumbai, India’s largest city. These are children of trafficked women–commercial sex workers–and this NGO is committed to providing them a “safe place” to grow up. Justice For Youth made contact with Vera Fernandes who works with JK. You can read more about Vera and what she is doing to help these kids by clicking the link below:
[button link=”http://advocacy.justiceforyouth.org/reaching-the-brothel-children/” newwindow=”yes”] Reaching The Brothel Children[/button]
We posed a few questions to Kelly, one of the founders and CEO of Justice For Youth. Kelly is a busy man who travels extensively and has a lot of responsibilities, and we appreciate him taking the time to give some candid answers.
JFY: Tell us briefly about yourself.
Kelly: I am married and have two children. My wife is from the USA and I am from Canada. We currently live in Eastern Europe.
JFY: When did the vision of Justice For Youth first begin to germinate, and what finally brought you to the point of launching it?
Kelly: In 2005, we started to hear of the growing problem of trafficking in Eastern Europe and began to do some research into human trafficking statistics. After reading the book, The Natashas and visiting some related web sites, we became horrified and knew that something had to be done to stop modern day slavery. We learned that some of these young people were even kidnapped off the streets and had to ask ourselves, ‘what would we do if that was our child?’ Justice for Youth was born.
JFY: With so many organizations focused on human trafficking and poverty today, why start another one? And why Justice For Youth?
Kelly: If you compare the number of organizations to the need, you would see that we are all still scratching the surface. It’s like a farmer trying to till 1000 acres of land with one hoe! The problem is growing and Justice for Youth was created to bring hope to children and youth at risk around the world.
JFY: If you were given a blank piece of paper and told that whatever you wrote on it for Justice For Youth would become true in 5 years, what would you write?
Kelly: I would love to see modern day slavery reduced to a low percentage in Eastern Europe with strict laws enforced for offenders. I would also like to see this campaign be so in the forefront of society that it becomes no longer a secret and ill-informed social evil. Of course, I would also like to see hope for orphaned children through quality homes, new families and innovative education that prepares them not just for life but for success in life!
[quote]I would like to see a lot of things and I do believe that millions of children and youth will be influenced by our projects— but I would also do all of this for just one child if I knew we could save that child from the horror of trafficking, a life-long battle with HIV/AIDS, a homeless childhood or the damaging effects of poverty! [/quote]
JFY: Is there any particular story or encounter that has particular meaning to you in relation to the vision of Justice For Youth?
Kelly: A number of years ago, my wife and I visited an orphanage in Western Ukraine and learned that they were receiving $1 per child per month from the government. The facilities were run down, the children were dirty and the food was scarce. We began to ask ourselves, what can be done? Secondly, during the last 5 years, I have traveled to a number of countries across Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East and have noticed young, single, attractive girls on the flights who’s faces seemed cold and eye’s frightened. I knew that these girls were being trafficked but I didn’t know what to do about it. Now I know and I believe that a movement of JFYers around the world can, together, make a difference in the lives of many, many young people.
JFY: What would you say, if you could, to a young person trapped in the vice-grip of human trafficking and the slave trades of our day?
Kelly: There is hope! You are not alone! Give me your hand.
JFY: What would you say to someone who would like to help but doesn’t know what to do?
Kelly: Please join us in the cause for Justice for Youth. There is strength in numbers. We can do this together through networking, petitioning, giving, building, educating, caring. Slavery, homelessness and poverty can be defeated when we all stand together and do our part. What’s your part?
Human Trafficking: The Evil That Knows No Borders
Human trafficking is an evil that is growing by leaps and bounds globally. It has a strong root system even in the neighborhoods and families of the victims, as reflected in the following report from Vicki, who visited some trafficking hot spots in Eastern Europe last year, seeking new opportunities for JFY to be a part of the solution. Here is what Vicki reported:
[quote]”Just returned from our investigative trip through Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. Incredible, the amount of Russian speaking girls in these countries. Found out that in Romania and Turkey, it is not uncommon for parents to sell their daughters to men for marriage as young as 14 years old. In some villages, it is thought to be prestigious to get a “job” as a prostitute. Met few people that are trying to combat this evil that knows no borders![/quote]
Human trafficking of women and children
The evil of human trafficking children often starts in the home. The sad reality is family members (immediate and extended) often play a lead role in selling their kids into slavery, usually through touting a job offer, or “someone they know” who wants to provide this young person with a job to help the family out. There are so many underhanded tactics being employed. Providing information on human trafficking to young people in the schools–the very who are being targeted the most, is a laser focus of JFY.
Justice For Youth has a simple but effective strategy to combat human trafficking of children. We are presently engaged in an adopt a school initiative geared to educate and inform students of the evils and tactics of trafficking. Our hope is that in learning of the dangers, young people will avoid the pitfalls that lead to enslavement. An ounce of prevention, it has been said, is worth a pound of cure!
If you would like to help, click HERE to find out more about this strategy.
Justice For Youth is presently engaged in an adopt a school initiative geared to educate and inform students of the evils and tactics of trafficking. Our hope is that in learning of the dangers, young people will avoid the pitfalls that lead to enslavement. An ounce of prevention, it has been said, is worth a pound of cure!
Justice For Youth launched its first ever summer of service over the months of June and July. Two JFY teams—21 people—-traveled a combined total of 253,942 miles by air and another 8,514 miles by foot for ONE reason: to champion hope for youth at risk across Australia and London by raising awareness on the issue of human trafficking!
In London we had the opportunity to work with “Global Initiative To Fight Human Trafficking” sponsored by the United Nations. Working alongside Stop The Traffik, we gathered petitions and spoke withe hundreds of people each day who were drawn to our “UN Gift Box” displays that were strategically situated all over the city. One such display was in St Paul’s Cathedral, where Princess Diana and Prince Charles were married. We gathered thousands of petitions and our sense was that people were very open to hearing more about the subject of human trafficking and what can be done about it.
Joining our team in London was JFY Advocate Rosen, who traveled all the way from Asia to be with us. Rosen was born an orphan in Bulgaria, was adopted by an American couple at age 13, and has now dedicated his life to championing youth at risk and he world. At age 27 he has been to 38 countries. Next summer he wants to lead a team to Eastern Europe to raise awareness in Russia, Ukraine and Moldova. If you are interested, let us know HERE
This summer was, in many ways, a “trial balloon.” We wanted to see what would happen if we stepped out and took some teams on location for research, awareness and collaboration. We are happy to say “We did it!” And we want to do it again! See you next summer!