Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking (2018)

BACKGROUND

As Jews, descendants of those who escaped from Egyptian bondage, we are committed to helping combat Human Trafficking, the modern-day slavery.

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 third most prevalent organized crime activity in the world, just after drugs and illegal arms trafficking.”

* from Houston Area Council on Human Trafficking.

Human trafficking is an abhorrent human rights violation and form of exploitation,   generating profits of US $150 billion worldwide. 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 East European countries were recruited through registered businesses with promises of visas, international travel, good work, and the chance to help their families. Once recruited, they often were moved over the border, with their passports confiscated, and were forced into sexual slavery. There were also co-conspirators in regional and foreign governments.

More recently, victims from South America and Asian countries have included women working in manicure shops, massage parlors, and as domestic workers; and men employed in agriculture, gardening, and house painting. Some victims — Latinx, East Europeans, and Asians — are lured with jobs, but still owe transportation costs that they have to work to pay, sometimes 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 those befriending them in shopping malls. Twenty percent of runaway children, often from foster homes, have been picked up by traffickers. The average age when 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:

  • supports the creation of worldwide websites with further information and resources;
  • urges nations to enact legislation and to adopt and enforce strong penalties against those who engage in human trafficking;
  • encourages the United Nations to act to combat and share best practices and lessons on the prevention and prosecution of this practice among member nations through agencies such as UN Women.

Women’s League also encourages the media (television, radio, newspapers, social media, blogs, etc.) to:

  • devote public service time to expose this reality, and to provide information to at risk young people and their families;
  • shame those procuring these illicit services, and to stop the public from demanding them.

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 supporting slave labor.

In addition, 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 they are arrested, are often charged with prostitution: if and when the youngsters reunite with their families, they have to undergo physical and mental rehabilitation before they can go on with their lives. Prosecutors and judges must be educated to the plight of these young prostitutes as victims.

Therefore, be it resolved, members of Women’s League for Conservative Judaism:

  • Educate the public, including vulnerable groups; encourage teachers and youth leaders to address the subject appropriately to different age groups; and sponsor or mentor school clubs that seek to protect children.
  • Encourage school personnel, including administrators, teachers, counselors, nurses, child study team members, food service workers, and custodial staff, to be alert to students who may be victims, and to listen non-judgmentally if the student wants to confide in them. Then, they should seek professional assistance to help the student.
  • Encourage teenagers to go places in groups; those going alone are more vulnerable to abduction.
  • Encourage citizens to notify law enforcement if they see something that looks suspicious. The travel industry is currently educating its workers to identify possible victims and to alert law enforcement to check out suspicious persons. Citizens should not confront the parties themselves.
  • Encourage our members
    • In the U.S. to work with Polaris Project’s The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (http://www.northeastern.edu/humantrafficking/national-human-trafficking-resource-center), also The Department of Homeland Security, dhs.gov
    • In Canada: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Human Trafficking National Coordination Center (613-993-2325) www.rcmp.gc.ca, in Ontario – Alliance against Modern Slavery, in British Columbia – Office to Combat Traffic in Persons
    • In Israel: ATZUM.com and their Task Force on Human Trafficking and Prostitution
    • Or the local equivalent in their country, such as Free Them, to help victims by identifying them and then helping them out of their situations.

And, to coordinate all these activities, we support the formation of coalitions to fight trafficking in areas where such coalitions do not already exist.