Archive for the ‘ USA ’ Category

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012, is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. With our current culture so heavy in social media, it’s easier than ever to spread the word about Human Trafficking to others. Would you like to donate your Facebook status today to the cause? Or share some stats on your twitter?  Tips: If you are sharing information on your Facebook, be sure to like BCHTA and then mention us in your post. If you are sharing on Twitter, be sure to use the hashtag #NHTAD.

Here are some great stats from Polaris Project‘s website:

Human Trafficking Worldwide

  • 27 million – Number of people in modern-day slavery across the world.
  • 12.3 million – Number of adults and children in forced labor around the world
    • 9.8 million – Number of these that are exploited by private agents for labor or commercial sex purposes.
    • 2.5 million – Number of these that are forced to work by the State or rebel military groups.
  • 49,105 – Number of human trafficking victims around the world who have been identified.
    • 4,166 – Number of successful trafficking prosecutions in 2009.
    • 335 – Number of successful prosecutions related to forced labor.
  • 1.8 per 1,000 inhabitants – Prevalence of trafficking victims in the world.
  • 1:9 – Ratio of sex trafficking victims to labor trafficking victims, globally.
  • 800,000 – Number of people trafficked across international borders every year, as of 2007.
  • 2 million – Number of children exploited by the global commercial sex trade.
  • 1.2 million – Number of children trafficked globally in 2000.
  • 80% – Percent of transnational victims who are women and girls.
  • 50% – Percent of transnational victims who are minors.
  • At least 56% – Percent of trafficking victims globally who are women.
  • 161 – Countries identified as affected by human trafficking:
    • 127 countries of origin; 98 transit countries; 137 destination countries.
    • Note: Countries may be counted multiple times and categories are not mutually exclusive.
  • 116 – Countries that have enacted legislation to prohibit all forms of [human] trafficking.
  • 104 – Countries without laws, policies, or regulations to prevent victims’ deportations.
  • 62 – Countries that have yet to convict a trafficker under laws in compliance with the Palermo Protocol.
  • $32 billion – Total yearly profits, in U.S. dollars, generated by the human trafficking industry.
    • $15.5 billion, half of the total, is made in industrialized countries.
    • $9.7 billion, one-third of the total, is made in Asia.
    • $13,000 per year, on average, generated by each trafficked laborer. This comes to $1,100 per month.
  • $21 billion – A preliminary estimate of the total financial cost of being in a forced labor situation, rather than a free employment situation, to all workers in forced labor across the globe in U.S. dollars.
    • This includes costs such as loss of wages due to being paid below the market wage or not being paid for all hours worked, inflated costs for accommodations and food, and recruitment costs.
    • This does not include the commercial sex industry.

Human Trafficking of U.S. citizens within the U.S.

Statistics on human trafficking of U.S. citizens within the U.S. are scarce, as few studies have been conducted on the issue. Those that have been done tend to focus on sex trafficking, particularly of minors. Therefore, the focus of the statistics below on the domestic sex trafficking of minors is not meant to imply that sex trafficking of adults or the labor trafficking of adults and minors is not a significant issue in the U.S.

  • 100,000 – 300,000 – Number of prostituted children in the U.S.
  • 244,000 – Number of American children and youth estimated to be at risk of child sexual exploitation, including commercial sexual exploitation, in 2000.
  • 98.8 – Percent of suspected or confirmed child victims of domestic sex trafficking taken in by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) nationwide from 2004 to 2010 who were classified as Endangered Runaways.
    • 41.4 – Percent of suspected or confirmed child victims of domestic sex trafficking who were repeat runaways.
    • 46.7 – Percent of suspected or confirmed child victims of domestic sex trafficking who ran from a group home, foster care, DCFS care or a shelter.
    • 3 months – Average length of time the child was missing.
  • 40-70 – Percent of street youth who engage, at least occasionally, in prostitution to meet their basic needs.
    • The population of street youth engaging in prostitution is almost equally divided between boys and girls.
  • 12-14 – Average age of entry into prostitution for girls.
  • 11-13 – Average age of entry into prostitution for boys.
  • 75% of girls engaged in formal street prostitution are controlled by pimps.
  • 95% of all commercial sex engaged in by boys is provided to adult males.


  • 783 – Estimated number of foreign-born persons in Ohio who are sex or labor trafficking victims.
    • 3,437 – Number of foreign-born persons in Ohio who may be at-risk for trafficking.
  • 1,078 – Number of American-born youth in Ohio who are trafficked into the sex trade over the course of a year.
    • 2,879 – Number of American-born youth in Ohio who are at risk for sex trafficking.
  • 15 – Number of cases of human trafficking identified in Columbus and Toledo between January 2003 and June 2006.

Because of Ohio’s proximity to the Canadian border (where human trafficking prosecution is scant, but growing) and the multiple interstate highways crisscrossing through the state, Ohio is one of the leaders in the nation for human trafficking. You can find more information by going to the Polaris Project website. (all stats above taken from Polaris Project material)


SarkissianMason Donating $100k to Combat Human Trafficking

NEW YORK, Dec. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Digital innovation agency SarkissianMason announced today that it would engineer a mobile solution for an anti-human trafficking organization in need of a technological innovation in its first Technology for Change Grant. The agency will be donating up to $100,000 of time and resources to work hand-in-hand with a not-for-profit partner working in the field of anti-human trafficking.

CEO Patrick Sarkissian explained the agency’s idea, “We must help. NGOs can give us their knowledge and insights, then we can apply our method of innovation and help make a difference with an issue that preys upon people throughout the world, including an alarming amount in the US.”

Starting December 5th, the agency will begin accepting applications from registered US-based 501(c)(3) organizations. The organization should be involved in providing direct services, reporting, education and/or advocacy around anti-human trafficking and have a vision for utilizing technology to increase their reach and impact.

SarkissianMason will work closely with the nonprofit partner to concept and build a mobile technology solution and adoption strategy. Specific examples of deliverables could include: SMS-based awareness campaigns and fundraising, customized mobile application development for locally relevant content and services, or mobile-based data collection services for reporting and tracking.

Innovation is nothing new to SarkissianMason, which has traditionally invested 25% of company time in developing its own intellectual property. “We are really excited to showcase a technology innovation in the social change space, and to ultimately add the creation into our intellectual property portfolio,” Sarkissian adds, “social innovation isn’t just about creating positive social impact, but it’s also about integrating technology solutions into services and connecting a number of stakeholders around social problems.”

To find out more, or to apply for the SarkissianMason Technology for Change Grant, please visit

The deadline for 2012 grant applications is Tuesday, January 31st, 2012.

About SarkissianMason: SarkissianMason is a New York is a leading digital strategy and innovation agency in New York City that specializes in the creation and development of breakthrough digital solutions for its for-profit and not-for-profit clients. The agency has a history of involvement in the world of social change with cutting edge awareness campaigns in the areas of housing, sex trafficking, and the Armenian Genocide. SM celebrates a spirit of innovation, with 25% of company time invested in developing its own intellectual property.

SOURCE  SarkissianMason

Leading U.S. Abolitionist Groups Enter Joint Initiative to Eradicate Modern-day Slavery – PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2011

Grant provided by will mobilize millions of Americans

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — International Justice Mission (IJM), Polaris Project and Slavery Footprint announced today that they will be implementing a multi-impact unified initiative to mobilize millions of Americans to fight modern-day slavery around the world. will be funding the creation of this $1.8 million unified initiative in the United States, as one of three multi-year global collaborative partnerships it will fund to implement aggressive, metrics-oriented programs to fight modern-day slavery in the United States and overseas.

“It’s hard for most Americans to believe that slavery and human trafficking are still massive problems in our world,” said Gary A. Haugen, president and CEO of International Justice Mission. “But it’s not hard to believe for the more than 27 million men, women and children held in slavery today.  This oppression is now against the law, but millions don’t get the benefit of law enforcement.  To accelerate America’s leadership in helping rescue and protect those most vulnerable at home and overseas, Google’s support now makes it possible for IJM to join forces with two other leading organizations so we can bring to bear our unique strengths in a united front.”

Team leaders are meeting today in Washington to kick off this partnership and begin planning for programs which will begin in 2012. By combining each leading organization’s complementary experience and capabilities, this collaborative partnership aims to mobilize Americans in the fight against slavery and human trafficking in their communities and secure active participation from U.S. policymakers to support effective anti-slavery policies.

“With this grant, Google is helping us combine forces to not only increase the number of Americans who will learn about human trafficking, but also motivate people to take real steps to eradicate modern-day slavery from all of our communities,” said Bradley Myles, executive director and CEO of Polaris Project. “Whether it’s by calling the national human trafficking hotline, sending a letter to their Senator, or using online advocacy tools, millions of Americans will be able to use their voices to ensure that ending this problem becomes a top priority.”

“Having a company like Google recognize the value of our work marks a major turning point for the anti-slavery movement. To date, the movement has relied heavily on anecdote and emotion. Google’s support allows us greater empiricism, making us all the more successful. We are proud that Google shares our vision that technology and data can be uniquely effective in creating a tipping point in the movement,” said Justin Dillon, founder and CEO of Slavery Footprint, a non-profit organization that provides consumers the tools to enter into productive engagement with corporations related to slavery within supply chains.

This U.S. joint initiative is one of three multi-year collaborative partnerships funded in total of $9.8 million, part of $11.5 million in total funding committed by to anti-slavery organizations. Two other coalitions of seven (7) international NGOs led by the International Justice Mission will implement aggressive, results-oriented projects to fight modern-day slavery in India to free thousands of slaves and protect millions of vulnerable individuals.

Each of the three multi-year joint initiatives funded by Google will drive measurable outcomes, such as rescuing thousands enslaved, improving infrastructure and resources of law enforcement overseas, improving legislation and enforcement of anti-slavery laws overseas, deterring perpetrators, mobilizing vulnerable populations, equipping freed slaves to maintain livelihoods, amplifying America’s voice and securing active participation by policymakers to promote anti-slavery policies.

To report a tip in the United States or connect with U.S. anti-trafficking services, community members can call The National Human Trafficking Resource Center at: 1-888-373-7888.

About International Justice Mission International Justice Mission (IJM) is a global human rights organization that brings immediate relief to victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery and oppression. Since 2005, IJM has assisted more than 9,000 individuals, many of whom were victims of forced labor slavery or sex trafficking. A multi-national team of lawyers and law enforcement professionals conduct criminal investigations and collect evidence to relieve victims and bring perpetrators to justice, and IJM social workers secure appropriate aftercare for victims of abuse. IJM’s multi-national staff work in 13 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America to ensure that the global poor are protected from violent forms of oppression by their countries’ own laws. To learn more about IJM, visit

About Polaris Project Polaris Project is one of the leading organizations in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery.  Named after the North Star “Polaris” that guided slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project is transforming the way that individuals and communities respond to human trafficking, in the U.S. and globally. By successfully pushing for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888), conducting trainings, and providing vital services to victims of trafficking, Polaris Project creates long-term solutions that move our society closer to a world without slavery.  Learn more at

About Slavery Footprint Slavery Footprint is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending forced labor, human trafficking, and modern day slavery through increased public awareness, action, and advocacy. At it’s core, allows the consumer to visualize how their consumption habits are connected to modern-day slavery and provides them with an opportunity to have a deeper conversation with the companies that manufacture the goods they purchase. In addition to its digital activism tools, the Slavery Footprint team works with individuals, groups, and businesses to build awareness for and create deployable action against forced labor, human trafficking, and modern day slavery.

CONTACTS: International Justice Mission Theresa Shin, 703-740-2968

Polaris Project Megan Fowler, 202-540-5231

Slavery Footprint Elisabeth Copper, 510-417-3383

SOURCE  International Justice Mission

J-1 visa participants treated no different than human trafficking victims

October 12, 2011 – WASHINGTON – Over 300 J-1 participants recently protested against the Hershey Company for their slave-like working conditions at a plant in Pennsylvania.

Though the students were visiting the U.S. for cultural experiences, their lives in the U.S. looked more like those of trafficking victims. Despite the deplorable conditions, the US State Department failed to protect the J-1 participants.

The J-1 visa is a cultural exchange program created during the Cold War era to give foreign students an opportunity to experience American culture. Currently, the process of J-1 program involves student employees, the American sponsors and employers, and foreign recruitment agencies under the loose supervision by the State Department.

Instead of visiting historical sites or learning the English language, many J-1 participants spend their days working and living like slaves during their visits. For instance, the 300 students who protested against Hershey’s worked long hours in a remote area, packing and lifting 50 lb boxes of chocolates and living in overcrowded rooms.

Under the regulation 22 CFR 62.10(e), sponsors are responsible for monitoring students’ welfare during their stay and are required to submit annual report the State Department. However, the annual report does nothing to protect students from exploitive employers. The State Department, which oversees the program, has no way to monitor the actions of the sponsors or to ensure accurate reporting.

According to some of the 300 students sponsored by Hershey’s, the company threatened them with deportation when they complained about overcrowded housing and exploitative work conditions.

For employers, the J-1 program offers the easiest way to hire cheap seasonal labors. Though the students have the same labor rights as those of American workers, companies often take advantage of the lax regulation by the State Department and pay the student workers $1 or $2 an hour after deducting housing, uniform, or other fees from their paychecks.

Some employers even force students into working at strip clubs. In December 2010, strip clubs in the U.S. openly solicited students on J-1 program. The students told Associated Press that criminals forced J-1 participants into sex slavery and confiscated their passports.

Other students find themselves deceived by the recruitment agencies from their own countries. Boris, a J-1 participant from Russia, paid $3000 to obtain J-1 visa to work at a bar in Virginia Beach two summers ago. The agency in Russia told Boris that it would arrange a sponsor, housing, an employer, and other necessary paper works to obtain a J-1 visa. When Boris arrived in Virginia Beach, VA, his American employer refused to offer the job to Boris, leaving him without employment or housing.  Other J-1 participants echo Boris’s story.

Many employers and sponsors have taken advantage of J-1 program and exploited foreign student participants for a long time. It’s only recent that the media shed the light on the abuse. The State Department must take steps to protect the students from these employers and sponsors, and it must do so in the near future. Otherwise, the program is only a mechanism to spread the culture of slavery and inequality in this world that this country has fought against for a long time.

Youngbee Dale is a freelance writer, researcher, and human rights advocate. You can reach her at ybdale [at] or follow her on Twitter

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