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!
Human Trafficking In Us: 50% Are Children
Human trafficking is growing at a faster pace globally than any criminal enterprise—and it is is taking root and flourishing in the United States. Human trafficking statistics tell us that roughly half of those trafficked are children. Difficult economic times have provided traffickers with a window of opportunity: a GRUESOME prospect for the future of all Americans. Here is a story from USA Today: A Ukranian Trafficker and A Detroit Man Named Gruesome
Help Stop Human Trafficking By Being Aware
How can you tell if someone in your neighborhood is a victim of human trafficking? Here are a few red flags to look for:
- Person carries around hotel room keys
- Person seems to be under the control of another person
- Person seems to be under continual surveillance
- Person has all contacts controlled and monitored
- Person doesn’t manage their own finances
What all of the above human trafficking flags have in common is a generic thread that runs through all human trafficking living conditions: control by another person or persons. Among indicators of human trafficking, this one is too often overlooked.
- Person does not possess own ID or travel documentation accompanied by lying about age
- Person works excessively
- Person lives in poor or cramped conditions such as multiple occupation households
- Person is not paid or paid very little
- Person lives with employer
- Person speaks little or none of the local language
- Person exhibits fear of of being deported
- Person is seldom alone and not allowed privacy
- Person as visible injuries such as scars, burns, lacerations and bruises.
- Person has injuries around head, including the face, nose and mouth.
- Person has untreated infections and sickness. You observe an appearance that betrays poor health and unsanitary living conditions.
- Person exhibits drug use.
- Person exhibits compliant, fearful, panicky behavior.
While it might be true that organizations help stop human trafficking, individuals can be a volunteer to stop human trafficking simply by tracking and reporting suspicious behavior that they notice going on around them.
[quote]Some other signs to look out for: the person exhibits emotional stress – depression,anxiety, despair,panic attacks,confusion, phobia’s,disorientation,self inflicted wounds, attempted suicide…is branded or tattooed with a man’s name or ‘daddy’…shows signs of feeling of helpless, shamed, humiliated, shocked, in denial, or in a state of disbelief… exhibits inability to make eye contact…shows extreme weight loss… gives inconsistent stories. [/quote]