Saturday, January 1, 2011

Human Trafficking Awareness Day 2011

Dear Boston Area Residents,

We are service providers, faith leaders, teachers, students, law enforcement, advocates, parishioners, civil servants, NGO leaders, business owners, and survivors from the Boston area. We work to combat human trafficking–what many call ‘modern-day slavery.’

We are uniting today, on Human Trafficking Awareness Day 2011, to ask you to learn about and discuss human trafficking and modern-day slavery with your families, neighbors, churches, co-workers, friends, and fellow students.

Human trafficking is widespread throughout the United States today, including the greater Boston area. It is a hidden crime and often goes undetected by authorities and advocates.  The lack of public awareness about human trafficking, together with a lack of understanding about trafficking survivors and the services they need, present major barriers to combating it.

Within the Boston area there has been numerous incidents of international sex and labor trafficking, as well as the sex trafficking of U.S. citizens. Sex trafficking of children is sometimes referred to as CSEC (the commercial sexual exploitation of children).

Survivor stories from the Boston area are diverse: a woman from Southeast Asia trafficked into years of domestic servitude, a young Eastern European woman looking for a better life but forced into sexual exploitation, a child from Latin America sent to the U.S. by her family but ending up exploited for labor, and an American teenager fleeing abuse at home who relied on her “boyfriend” but ended up prostituted. Women, men, girls, and boys from a variety of backgrounds are being trafficked for sex and labor in our communities today. Many of these individuals can’t see a way out of their situations, or speak up for themselves due to fear and violence.

Please join the anti-trafficking movement. Your involvement, voice, and skills can make a difference. Below are three things you can do. These action items all begin with educating yourself. Details are available at www.traumacenter.org/initiatives/necat.php.
–> Talk about human trafficking in your communities and ask others to educate themselves
· Invite a speaker from a local organization to talk to your group
· Read a book, hold a documentary screening, write a blog or an editorial
· Use Google alerts to send news about trafficking and slavery to your email
–> Tell your legislators to take action – Massachusetts is currently one of five states that has failed to pass anti-trafficking legislation
· Write your legislator
–> Get involved with a local organization
· Support, volunteer for, or spread the word about a local organization
· Donate or fund raise to ensure the work continues

We, the undersigned, pledge to continue to fight human trafficking and modern-day slavery in greater Boston and beyond. Please join us.

Abolitionist Network, Sarah Durfey
New England Coalition Against Trafficking, Cynthia Kennedy
Not For Sale Massachusetts, Audrey McIntosh
Firefly Project, Robin Chan
Human Trafficking Students, Eric Goodwin
The Salvation Army, Major William Bode
UN Association of Greater Boston, Kaitlin Hasseler
Project REACH, Elise Hopper
Leadership Conference of Women Religious Anti-Trafficking Coalition, Sr. Peggy Cummins
Amirah Safehouse, Reverend Bob Atherton
Roxbury Youthworks Inc., Mia Alvarado
The My Life My Choice Project, Lisa Goldblatt-Grace
International Institute of Boston, Alexandra Weber
Stop Child Trafficking Now Boston, Amber Childress
All Hands In, Barbara Anderson
Northeastern University Free The Slaves, Katie Boerma
Harvard College Free The Slaves, Amanda Nguyen
Tufts University Free The Slaves, Aline Gue
Tantric India Bistro, Mary Sen
Nivasa Foundation, Beatrice Fernando
Boston Faith & Justice Network, Ryan Scott McDonnell
Suffolk University Mirembe on My Mind, Juli Juabsamai
Human Trafficking Project, Elise Garvey

The letter PDF:
www.traumacenter.org/initiatives/HTADAdvocacyLetter_2.pdf

Ways to get involved:
www.traumacenter.org/initiatives/AdvocacyGetInvolved.pdf

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