As Jews, descendents of those who escaped from Egyptian bondage, we are now committed to helping combat Human Trafficking, the modern-day slavery.
Human trafficking is an abhorrent human rights violation and a form of exploitation. Worldwide, it generates profits of US $150 billion. As of 2016, the International Labor Organization reports that 11.4 million women and girls and 9.5 million men and boys were victims of forced labor. Of those, 4.5 million were sexually exploited. Approximately two million women and girls are trafficked each year, establishing a power dynamic in which they are reduced to chattel.
Causes of human trafficking include poverty (some being sold by fathers, husbands, and other family members in need of money) and lack of education.
In past years, women from the former Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries were recruited through seemingly legitimate registered businesses with promises of visas, international travel, good work, and the chance to help their families. Once recruited, they were often moved over the border, their passports confiscated, and forced into sexual slavery. Additionally, there were co-conspirators in regional and foreign governments.
Recently, victims included women working in manicure shops, massage parlors and as domestics, and men in agriculture, gardening, and house painting, from South America and Asian countries. Some victims — Latinx, Eastern European, and Asian — are lured with jobs, but still owe transportation costs they have to work to pay. Another sign of forced labor is working without breaks.
Some victims go willingly, but, within the United States, children have been abducted on their way home from school and some have gone with strangers appearing to befriend them in shopping malls. Twenty percent of runaway children, often from foster homes, have been picked up by traffickers. (The average age the process begins is fourteen.) These victims are forced into a life of slavery and torture in a sex industry often related to organized crime.
Therefore, Women’s League:
Women’s League also encourages the media (television, radio, newspapers, social media, blogs, etc.) to:
We endorse changing the economic models that contribute to unfair labor practices resembling slavery (i.e. WSR: Worker-Driven Social Responsibility model). For instance, asking to see a beauty technician’s license may prevent a consumer from patronizing those who employ slave labor.
In addition, whereas surges of demand for prostitutes in the United States are related to major sporting events such as the Super Bowl, the victims, some as young as 10 when arrested, are often charged with prostitution. If and when the youngsters reunite with their families, they need to undergo physical and mental rehabilitation before they can go on with their lives. Prosecutors and judges must be educated about the plight of young prostitutes as victims.
Therefore, be it resolved, members of Women’s League for Conservative Judaism:
HUMAN TRAFFICKING DEFINITIONS
Sex trafficking occurs when a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person performing the act is under the age of 18. Sex trafficking occurs in a number of venues, including the Internet, street prostitution, illicit massage parlors, containers, and other sexually oriented businesses.*
Labor trafficking occurs when individuals (men, women, and children) are forced or coerced into working against their will. Human trafficking is the second most prevalent organized crime activity in the world, just after drugs and illegal arms trafficking.*