Trafficking Survivor’s Film Launches UK Campaign

In a world where the trafficking of humans has become the second-largest criminal industry after drug dealing, a child-trafficking survivor launches a campaign for social change, with the screening of her powerfully moving, autobiographical film on 9 April in London.

Raven Kaliana with PuppetsHooray for Hollywood, a film for adult audiences, written and directed by Raven Kaliana, artist, human rights activist, and survivor, utilises puppetry to highlight the intersection of trafficking and familial abuse with organised crime, shown from a child’s point of view. A Talkback Panel discussion, facilitated by Anita Amendra (Project Manager, Sustainable Communities Programme, Initiatives of Change) will follow the film, featuring: Raven Kaliana (Outspiral), Adam Weiss (The AIRE Centre – Advice on Individual Rights in Europe), and Esther Davidson (OXCAT – Oxford Community Against Trafficking).

Kaliana states: ‘It’s my goal to humanize this issue – bring it into public discourse, so that it’s not taboo to talk about this crime… So that the perpetrators, however monstrous their actions, become in the mind’s eye only human… So that the children, however anonymised by the medium of their abuse, become living people with faces, names, families. We can begin to view this as a social problem that people who are also ‘only human’ can address. It is by caring that you unlock the door.’

Trafficking is modern day slavery, with children and adults held captive and sexually exploited in the UK and world-wide. Increased public awareness can help prevent children and vulnerable adults from falling victim and help survivors to safety. Lydia Cacho, international authority on trafficking, states: ‘The global sex industry has HoorayForHollywood-FilmStill(c)2011RavenKaliana,camera by GordonAnderson3-hirescreated a market for sex slaves that may soon outnumber the African slaves sold from the 1500s to the 1800s…The means to fight this crime lie in the hands of the world’s citizens.’

Kaliana established Outspiral in 2011, an organisation which employs puppet-based film and theatre productions for adults, combined with training, to raise public awareness in efforts to prevent the crimes of human trafficking and child sexual exploitation.

Initiatives of Change, Sustainable Communities Programme in collaboration with Outspiral presents Hooray for Hollywood as the first in a series of awareness-raising and skills-building events to build stronger communication between agencies, foster understanding of the effects of trauma, address legal enforcement issues, and enlist members and leaders of spiritual communities to take a proactive approach to protecting children and trafficked adults.

The Sustainable Communities Programme supports, promotes and works with community projects like Outspiral. Currently, the Programme provides practical advice and assistance to a range of community-based organisations, many of which engage in the arts or provide trainings working towards community cohesion, justice and protection of vulnerable people in the UK.

The event will take place at the Initiatives of Change Centre in London at 24 Greencoat Place, Victoria, London SW1P 1RD from 18:00-20:00 on Tuesday 9th April 2013.  Entry is free, but booking is essential – RSVP to reception@london.iofc.org or call 020 7798 6000.

 

National Freedom Day

Today marks the culmination of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. President Obama proclaimed January, 2010 to be dedicated to promoting anti-trafficking work. On February first, the United States honors the signing of the resolution that formally abolished the legality of slavery in the United States on February 1st, 1865. (Originally published on The Human Trafficking Project.)

Human trafficking resources for survivors and activists alike

Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS)
Per GEMS: Today is National Freedom Day. On this day, let’s make our voices heard and take a stand against human trafficking, modern day slavery and exploitation of women, men and children.

One thing you can do today: Sign the GEMS launched petition to support a young trafficking victim in Texas who was arrested while her 32 year old trafficker walked free.

Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking Announcement
Today, Polaris Project headquarters and its local office in Colorado announced plans for the Colorado branch to transition into an independent organization, the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT). The decision was mutually designed to best serve the global, national and regional anti-human trafficking movement.

Check out the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking’s website here. Become their friend on Facebook here. And follow LCHT on Twitter here.

With both the Polaris Project national and Colorado offices focusing on different approaches within the anti-trafficking movement, the collective decision was made to segue to two independent, complementary organizations working toward the same ultimate end, ending human trafficking.

Recognizing the global nature of human trafficking, Polaris Project, founded in 2002, opened several branch offices to address the specific needs of a particular locale. The Colorado branch opened in October 2006, having evolved from a local volunteer chapter that began in February 2005. Responding to the fact that anti-trafficking efforts in the Mountain west region were still nascent, Polaris Project Colorado focused efforts on filling the information gap through action-oriented research, training “first-responders” who come in contact with victims/survivors of trafficking, and building the capacity of organizations that serve victims/survivors and work to combat human trafficking. Polaris Project Colorado quickly established itself as a leader in these areas.

“This evolution will provide both organizations with greater operational and strategic flexibility, and will increase our collective impact.” said Bradley Myles, Polaris Project’s Acting Executive Director, when announcing the transition. “As an independently governed body, the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking will be best able to achieve its enormous potential as a leading research and training organization.”

Both organizations specialize in working collaboratively with peer nonprofits as vehicles for change. Polaris Project and the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking will continue to work together in the future as partners. The Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking’s research efforts and regional assessments of human trafficking trends will, among other things, help Polaris Project serve national human trafficking hotline callers from that region of the country, and will provide data and insights for the technical assistance and best-practices Polaris Project implements.

“For example, LCHT could conduct a research project to help a city determine the ways in which its service providers can better assist victims and survivors of human trafficking. In turn, this local information will enable us to identify exemplary practices and protocols that can be adopted by communities working throughout the country to combat human trafficking at the local level,” said Amanda Finger, Executive Director of the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking.

About GEMS
Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS) is the nation’s largest organization empowering girls and young women, ages 12-21, who have experienced sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential. GEMS is committed to ending commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking of children by changing individual lives, transforming public perception, and revolutionizing the systems and policies that impact sexually exploited youth. GEMS’ vision is to end the commercial exploitation and trafficking of children. We believe that all young women have great beauty and worth, and the potential for future success. The voices and experiences of youth survivors are integral to the development and implementation of all GEMS’ programming.

About Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking
LCHT is committed to combating human trafficking at a local and global level through participatory action research; promoting awareness and education; fostering leadership development; and forming key collaborations with local organizations, institutions, and community members. The Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking is based in Denver, CO with additional information provided online at: www.combathumantrafficking.org.

About Polaris Project
Polaris Project, formed in 2002 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the leading organization combating all forms of human trafficking in the United States and serving both U.S. citizens and foreign national victims, including men, women, and children. Polaris Project’s holistic strategy is based on taking what is learned from its work with survivors and using it to guide the creation of long-term solutions. Polaris Projects strives for systemic change by advocating for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888), and providing services to help its clients and all victims of human trafficking. For more information, visit www.PolarisProject.org.