Tag: human trafficking

10 Ways You Can Fight Human Trafficking Today

by Carlee Nesse

The Junior League of Seattle is committed to supporting our community partner Seattle Against Slavery (SAS) in fighting human trafficking. Seattle is a port city and port cities are especially attractive to human trafficking organizations.

Human trafficking happens on a scale that can be overwhelming but there are simple, effective, ways to start making a difference.

I Want To Get Educated

  1. Take the Human Trafficking Awareness Training course offered by the Department of Homeland Security.

  2. Set up a Google Alert for “Seattle human trafficking” to receive breaking local news.

  3. Follow SAS on Facebook and Twitter for alerts and updates.

  4. Read and share SAS’s community resources to raise awareness.

I Can Commit 1 Hour

  1. SAS can help you search for local grassroots coalitions to support.

  2. Write letters to your local, state, and federal government representatives and let them know that you care about combating human trafficking in your community, and ask what they are doing to address human trafficking in your area. The SAS Advocacy Guide can help.

  3. Be a conscientious consumer and discover your Slavery Footprint; check out the Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.

I Can Commit 1 Day

  1. Host or attend an awareness event with friends and watch a video covering Human Trafficking.

  2. Read a book about human trafficking such as those on SAS’s suggested reading list.

I Want To Make a Long-Term Commitment

  1. Make a commitment to Seattle Against Slavery to stop Human Trafficking.

Have a tip?

Here’s how to report it and make sure it gets to the right organization:

  • Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 (24/7) to get help for victims and coordinate with local agencies and enforcement.

  • Call the Department of Homeland Security directly at 1-866-347-2423 (24/7) to report suspicious activity. Tips may also be submitted online at www.ice.gov/tips.

  • Victims, including undocumented individuals, can also contact the U.S. Department of Justice directly at 1-888-428-7581 from 9:00am to 5:00pm (EST) to receive services and immigration assistance.

Anti-Human Trafficking Bill Passes House

From our Advocacy Committee:

Bill to combat human trafficking, focusing on online child escort ads, passes House

OLYMPIA — Today, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan anti-trafficking bill to keep minors from being exploited through online ads for escort services such as Backpage.com. Having already passed the Senate, the bill now goes to the governor for her signature.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D—Seattle, prime sponsor of Senate Bill 6251, said, “I am ecstatic the anti-trafficking legislation passed with unanimous support today out of the House of Representatives. This makes the strongest possible statement that there should be no selling of minors online – or anywhere! I worked with the Attorney General’s Office, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, Seattle Councilmember Tim Burgess, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, Port of Seattle Commission President Gael Tarleton, former Rep. Velma Veloria, the ACLU, Allied Daily Newspapers and others to ensure this bill passes constitutional muster as well as the federal Communications Decency Act. If the bill is signed into law, it will be the first one of its kind in the country.”

“Human trafficking is a billion-dollar industry that often takes advantage of the most vulnerable members of our society – our children, and even those with developmental disabilities,” said Sen. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland, who sponsored another bill to make it a class B felony to force a developmentally-disabled person into prostitution. “We’ve accomplished a lot, but there is still a lot of work to be done. We must do everything in our power to raise awareness of these crimes, give our judicial system more authority to punish the perpetrators, and provide help for the victims.”

Backpage.com, whose parent company is The Village Voice, makes at least $22 million a year from online adult escort ads, but refuses to verify the ages of those who place the ads or are depicted in them, even though its print edition published in the Seattle Weekly requires in person age verification. This results in minors being sold online into prostitution and sex-trafficking. All state attorneys general called on Backpage.com to stop selling online adult escort ads.

Kohl-Welles’ bill would create a new offense, making it illegal to knowingly sell an escort ad that involves a minor. To avoid possible criminal charges, classified advertising companies would be motivated to try to verify ages of escorts in sex-related postings. The bill offers an affirmative defense in prosecution of advertising commercial sexual abuse of a minor if documentation is provided of the advertisers having obtained in-person age verification.

“This is great progress in our fight to protect children from those who would sexually exploit them,” said McGinn. “It is an honor to work with those who have championed this cause. I thank the House and the Senate for their leadership in this fight, particularly Sen. Kohl-Welles. I look forward to the governor’s signature and this bill becoming law in our state.”

“Washington was the first state to criminalize human trafficking and today our Legislature took another giant step by making advertisers accountable for their role in the exploitation of children,” said Burgess. “The unanimous bipartisan support for this legislation signals that we are united in our efforts to stop the horrific violence against children through coercive prostitution.”

“This legislation recognizes that the sale of children for commercial sexual abuse either online or in print is unacceptable. The Legislature has once again moved the ball forward in the fight against human trafficking,” said Satterberg.

“This is another step forward in our fight to protect the most vulnerable citizens,” said Tarleton. “When we work together, we have the power to stop trafficking.”

“This is great news! With the first amendment rights concerns addressed, this bill will be a great tool for those of us in the anti-trafficking arena to help women and girls who are victims of human trafficking,” said Veloria, who pioneered the Legislature’s anti-trafficking efforts back in 2002.

# # #

For more information:

Alison Dempsey-Hall, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7887

From Advocacy – Call + Response review

Call + Response poster

Snowmageddon can’t stop us!  The Advocacy Committee was thrilled that over 70 people came out on January 22, 2012 to Hillel-UW for the screening of Call+Response.  Advocacy committee members Angela Allen and Marisa Jenkins worked closely with Alex Sum, Co-Founder of Seattle Against Slavery and Founder/Chairman of Hope for Seattle, to arrange the movie screening and the panel discussion which followed.

Call+Response is a combination documentary and musical performance film that brings to light the awful fact that there are more slaves today than ever before in human history.  The movie makes the point that the business of human trafficking is just that, a business in which slave traders make an enormous amount of money off of the exploitation of women and children. The Director, Justin Dillon, used music as an instrument in the movie to demonstrate that music can be part of the movement against human slavery.

The Panelists for the discussion and Q&A were:

  • Sarah Collins – Mother of missing young woman and former victim, Kelsey Collins
  • Mar Smith – Washington Engaged
  • Marie Hoffmann – Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network (WARN)
  • Peter Qualliotine – YouthCare
  • Robert Beiser – Seattle Against Slavery and Hillel-UW

The issue of Human Trafficking can be overwhelming for those new to the subject. However, the panel did a great job of breaking down the questions thrown at them.  Below is a synopsis of what was learned.

  • It is imperative to start talking about this subject to children as early as middle school when teens are at their most vulnerable age.
  • Insist on Fair Trade products. “Fair trade” describes a system of commerce that promotes a sustainable environment, labor rights, a good wage and healthy working conditions for laborers as well as their families and communities.  The panelists are hopeful that it won’t be too far into the future when Fair Trade practices will become as commonplace as recycling and organic gardening.  Click on this link to find out more information and to download a fair trade finder app.


Thank you to everyone who came out to see the showing and listen to the panel.  If you were unable to attend learn more and view the trailer at. http://www.callandresponse.com/.

Call+Response: Feature Documentary and Panel Discussion

Call + Response poster

January 22, 2012
5:00 pm
Hillel UW

4745 17th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98105

CALL+RESPONSE is a first of its kind feature documentary/musical performance film that reveals the world’s 27 million dirtiest secrets: there are more slaves today than ever before in human history. CALL+RESPONSE goes deep undercover where slavery is thriving from the child brothels of Cambodia to the slave brick kilns of rural India to reveal that in 2009, Slave Traders made more money than Google, Nike and Starbucks combined.

Following the film, there will be a panel discussion and Q&A about ways you can respond to modern slavery and bring about change. This screening and panel is sponsored by the Junior League of Seattle. View the trailer and consider attending with your fellow League members.

Please note for Junior League of Seattle members this is an optional event that does not result in obligation fulfillment. JLS leadership has changed the status of this event. It is now worth one Training Credit.


January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

The Junior League of Seattle focuses on women and children with a passionate interest in preventing human trafficking.  As we explore what we can do to bring an end to this horrible practice, we want to make everyone aware of what exactly human trafficking is and why it matters to us.

On January 22, 2012, the JLS is sponsoring the screening and panel of CALL+RESPONSE, a first of its kind feature documentary/musical performance film that reveals the world’s 27 million dirtiest secrets: there are more slaves today than ever before in human history.

CALL+RESPONSE goes deep undercover where slavery is thriving from the child brothels of Cambodia to the slave brick kilns of rural India to reveal that in 2009, Slave Traders made more money than Google, Nike and Starbucks combined. Following the film, there will be a panel discussion and Q&A about ways you can respond to modern slavery and bring about change. This screening and panel is sponsored by the Junior League of Seattle.

To view a trailer http://www.callandresponse.com/trailers.php.

Please join us as we all become more familiar with this issue; register on the Junior League of Seattle website http://www.jrleagueseattle.org/?nd=p_event_detail&key=2220.

Call to Action – Update

Junior League of Seattle is proud to join forces with Washington Engage, Women of Vision, and Wash ACT to advocate for the re-authorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), a bill that was due to expire on September 30, 2011.

Late on the evening of Tuesday, September 20, we received an email from a co-founder of Seattle Against Slavery , inquiring if we would be available to meet with the Senator’s office to help educate and urge the Senator to support the bill. In true Junior League style, we rose to the occasion when presented with such a tremendous opportunity.

The next morning Ashley Baerwaldt and Chris Lewis attended a meeting with Washington Senator Maria Cantwell’s Outreach Representative to stress the importance of this legislation and how it impacts our community. As part of the round table discussion, Ashley stressed that the Junior League of Seattle is part of a greater national constituency working to reduce human trafficking that as an organization we believe that we must continue to fight against this real human oppression. Chris provided background on the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and its efforts to address this issue through the Three P’s, prevention, prosecution and protection and programs related to addressing the 3P’s all funded by the TVPA. During this meeting, we heard a number of horrific stories from a former Federal Way teacher who recounted students under the control of pimps and a former student who ran away from her abusive labor trafficker.

The next step for the League was to create awareness that we have the power to influence the passing of the re-authorization. We immediately created a call to action, using our social media channels to inform our membership and the community on how they could help pass legislation against human trafficking. Chris Lewis also spoke in person at our September General Meeting, urging our members to get involved and make calls to their local congressmen.

As a follow up to our campaign we have learned that the Senate Judiciary Committee will be reviewing the hearing report at this week’s Executive Business Meeting. If agreed by Committee vote, the issue will be sent to Majority Leader Reed for a vote on the Senate floor.

We hope to bring additional opportunities that allow our membership to advocate for the issues essential to empowering women and children. As we obtain more information about the status of the re-authorization we will update membership.

Thank you to all members who picked up their phones and made the call to their representatives!

Take a Stand Against Human Trafficking

The Junior League of Seattle voted this past year to alter our organization’s focus area to the “Empowerment of Women and Children.” As part of our efforts to empower women and children in the Seattle area, we are determined to combat violence against women, with a particular focus on fighting human trafficking.

Right now, local politicians are taking a stand against underage prostitution and human trafficking by asking the Village Voice to shut down their sex advertisement area, backpage.com, which publishes through “The Seattle Weekly.”

Giving up backpage.com would be painful to the Village Voice – it rakes in over $2 million dollars every month from it’s sex advertising section. Despite the Village Voice’s objections that it can filter out ads that feature underage girls or girls being forced into prostitution, law agencies across the US are breaking case after case of human trafficking and underage girls being forced into prostitution with ties to backpage.com.

If you would like to tell the Village Voice how you feel about their role in human trafficking and other crimes against women and young girls, you can write them an e-mail through their website, here: .

To Read today’s Seattle Time Op-Ed piece about backpage.com:

Editorials | McKenna and other attorneys general right to take on Village Voice Media’s adult-ads business | Seattle Times Newspaper.

Make It Right

After taking part in Junior League of Seattle’s summer reading challenge, Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, do you find yourself wanting to learn more? Soon you have an exciting opportunity to join other Junior League of Seattle members do just that!

On Sept 18th Sheryl WuDunn will be speaking at the event “Make it Right: Turning Oppression into Opportunity” presented by Women of Vision (World Vision) at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency.

Junior League of Seattle is proud to be a sponsor of this event. We would love to have our members join us in learning more about powerful women’s issues, such as human trafficking, that will be an emphasis for our 2011 – 2012 year.

Make it Right: From Oppression to Opportunity
Hosted By: Reneé Stearns
September 18, 2011
5:00 – 7:30pm
Bellevue Hyatt Regency
Individual Tickets: $50

  • Delicious appetizers and cash bar, with youth string quartet and WuDunn book signing (5:00 hour)
  • Sit down dessert/coffee with program featuring Sheryl WuDunn, Renee’ Stearns, and children’s>/li> choir

To purchase tickets please visit Brown Paper Tickets at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/182342.

For more information please contact Kathryn Weber at kathrynweber@gmail.com.