ECPAT-USA PART OF COALITION OF ORGANIZATIONS ADVOCATING FOR FUNDING TO FIGHT TRAFFICKING

ECPAT-USA PART OF COALITION OF ORGANIZATIONS ADVOCATING FOR FUNDING TO FIGHT TRAFFICKING

Washington, D.C. (December 1, 2016)  – ECPAT-USA, along with four other co-signing organizations, sent a letter to Congress calling for the continuation of important funding that helps the U.S. government investigate claims of forced child labor.

The money allows for the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement to be able to prevent and enforce federal laws associated with labor and sex trafficking of children, forced child labor, use of child soldiers and the sexual exploitation of children. The funding also creates programs that seek to prevent the illegal importing of goods that were created using forced or prison labor.

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JOIN ECPAT-USA IN STOPPING SEX TRAFFICKING BEFORE IT STARTS THIS #GIVINGTUESDAY

JOIN ECPAT-USA IN STOPPING SEX TRAFFICKING BEFORE IT STARTS THIS #GIVINGTUESDAY

img_2627In the past year, cases of sex trafficking have been reported in all 50 states in the U.S. So, for our #GivingTuesday campaign this year at ECPAT-USA, we wanted to focus on how we can stop these cases of sex trafficking from happening before they even start.

Our Youth Against Child Trafficking (Y-ACT) program is our largest prevention program. We believe that through empowering our primary stakeholders, America’s children, we will be able to stop child sex trafficking before it starts. Our youth program trains students to be the foremost advocates in their communities, educating them on the facts, misconceptions and risks of trafficking. Where there is education, there is prevention, and through Y-ACT, youth are able to use their voice and knowledge to educate and empower others about the issue.

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HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS TRAINING TO BE MORE COMPREHENSIVE AND GLOBAL

HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS TRAINING TO BE MORE COMPREHENSIVE AND GLOBAL

By: Nicole Walker & Michelle Guelbart

ECPAT-USA and Marriott International, in collaboration with Polaris and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), are excited to announce updates to the current American Hotel & Lodging Association Educational Institute (AHLEI) e-learning module that is used to train hospitality industry front-line employees.

human-trafficking-images-needed-1The travel and tourism industry is in a unique position to identify victims because traffickers move across cities and countries using air and ground transportation companies. Hotels often serve as venues for exploitation, without the knowledge of owners. In addition, hotel employees may be victims of labor trafficking.

ECPAT-USA is working to get training to every hospitality employee, no matter what hotel property or brand they work for, because human trafficking can happen at any hotel. When employees are trained, they can better respond to situations of human trafficking and ensure safety.

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Uber, Along with ECPAT-USA and Representative Paulsen, Launches Driver Training Materials to Combat Human Trafficking

Uber, Along with ECPAT-USA and Representative Paulsen, Launches Driver Training Materials to Combat Human Trafficking

Minnesota – October 21, 2016 – Uber Technologies Inc. continued their commitment to preventing human trafficking by announcing information about human trafficking, including the signs of trafficking and the number for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, will be available to drivers at the company’s Greenlight Hub information centers.

Representatives from the company were joined by Representative Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and ECPAT-USA in hosting a roundtable discussion with Uber’s top drivers in the Twin Cities area on how they can educate and promote awareness within the community about these crimes.   

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SOLD the Movie and Trafficking in Real Life: 5 Truths

SOLD the Movie and Trafficking in Real Life:
5 Truths
Earlier this month, thanks to our supporter Annie Ugurlayan, we screened the new trafficking film SOLD. The film, based on Patricia McCormick’s novel with the same title, follows the journey of Lakshmi, a 13-year-old rural Nepali girl who is trafficked to a Kolkata brothel after accepting a phony position as a domestic worker. While Lakshmi’s story is shocking, the film presents many real life scenarios that trafficked children experience around the world. Here are five truths from the film:
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What is New York City Doing to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation?

What is New York City Doing to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation?

This year, ECPAT-USA celebrates 25 years of child protection.  Things have changed for the better since we began working to protect children from sexual exploitation.

New York State passed its Safe Harbor law, the first in the nation, in 2008.  While it is not the country’s strongest law to ensure children are protected from sexual exploitation, it did mark the beginning for New York to get more serious about training, awareness, prevention and protection for vulnerable children.  Read our report “Steps to Safety”  to learn more about the array of Safe Harbor laws across the country.  

I sat down recently with Susan Morley, Special Advisor for Investigations to the Commissioner and Selina Higgins, Director of Child Trafficking Prevention and Policy of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), the leadership team for implementing protections for sexually exploited children in the city.  They described extensive training, services and awareness raising going on throughout the system.

  • In 2012 ACS published its initial policy on serving sexually exploited children.
  • Almost a thousand ACS, foster care and preventive agency staff were trained in Child Trafficking Awareness and Engagement/Interviewing skills during 2015.  Training is ongoing for staff and sub-contractor foster care and preventive agencies, and detention service providers.  Over a hundred  agencies around the city in which ACS works have received training.
  • ACS hired its first Director of Child Trafficking Prevention and Policy in 2015, and is hiring an additional Child Trafficking Prevention Specialist.
  • They created a specialized team of former NYPD Detectives to locate missing youth at risk of CSEC .
  • Funding for services for trafficked youth was provided to eight youth-serving organizations.
  • Work is taking place to develop a Child Trafficking Database so that we know how many sexually exploited children have been identified.  
  • The agency created an internal “Child Trafficking Mailbox” to facilitate communications, to provide alerts of trafficking cases, and to receive consultations, resource ideas and referral information.
  • This year ACS is again providing 12 sessions of its full-day Child Trafficking Awareness and Skills training, with 5 dates targeted specifically for preventive service agencies.

The buying and selling of children for sexual exploitation is a lucrative business everywhere in the United States, not just New York and other big cities.

But for 25 years there has been a growing movement to stop it.  ECPAT-USA is proud of the progress we have made.    

By Carol Smolenski

ECPAT-USA Supporters: marathoner Annie Ugurlayan uses 26.2 miles to fight sex trafficking

ECPAT-USA Supporters: marathoner Annie Ugurlayan uses 26.2 miles to fight sex trafficking
This is part of a series of blog posts about individuals, families and corporations who use their time and talents to benefit of ECPAT-USA and to raise awareness about the issue of child sex trafficking. These people have taken it upon themselves to educate others in their own ways and have allowed us to grow our network more than we could on our own. We do not take credit for their actions, but we are endlessly thankful for their support.

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ECPAT-USA Supporters: the McGinn family uses their musical talents to combat sex trafficking

ECPAT-USA Supporters: the McGinn family uses their musical talents to combat sex trafficking
This is a first in a series of blog posts about individuals, families and corporations who use their time and talents to benefit of ECPAT-USA and to raise awareness about the issue of child sex trafficking. These people have taken it upon themselves to educate others in their own ways and have allowed us to grow our network more than we could on our own. We do not take credit for their actions, but we are endlessly thankful for their support. Continue reading

Maryland Attorney General Publishes Map of Dozens of Hotels Used in 2 Year Sex Trafficking Bust

Maryland Attorney General Publishes Map Showing Dozens of Hotels Used in 2 Year Sex Trafficking Investigation
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After a 2 year investigation, Maryland’s Attorney General announced the charges of 3 human traffickers. During the press conference, they noted that victims were sold in areas in and around Baltimore, MD. The map [pictured in this article] shows  dozens of hotels that used as venues to exploit victims in a 2 year Maryland sex trafficking investigation that broke in the news yesterday. The case involved 40 victims (likely domestic children and teenagers). Continue reading

Have we made progress in protecting children from sexual exploitation in the United States?

Have we made progress in protecting children from sexual exploitation in the United States?
There is no reliable data about the number of sexually exploited children in the U.S., although there are some small, local studies that indicate the scale of the problem.
Even without hard numbers, it is clear that things have changed enormously since ECPAT-USA started working to end the exploitation of children 25 years ago.  When you work on the issue for a long time, you see the change, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
This is the first of a series of posts about the progress we have made in preventing child sexual exploitation and protecting these children over the years, one step at a time.
I spent a day driving around North Carolina to learn how it is protecting children from sexual exploitation.  This is just a snapshot of some of the efforts taking place. But it is fair to say that the state is mobilized!
North Carolina’s Safe Harbor law passed in 2013.  The law increases punishment for both traffickers and buyers of sexual services.  It mandates that anyone under 18 years old who is sexually exploited be treated as a victim, not a criminal.  For more about the law, read our report Steps to Safety.
Much of the work to protect children takes place under the umbrella of combatting human trafficking.  So the Safe Harbor law also created a Human Trafficking Commission.  State-wide leadership also comes together under the state’s Coalition Against Human Trafficking.
I met with the team working at the University of North Carolina’s Project No Rest, that works protect people up to 25 years old. The idea behind the Project is to increase awareness, especially  of those involved in the child welfare system, to reduce the number of trafficked youth, and to improve outcomes for those who are trafficked.  Last year it published the “Statewide Plan for Addressing Trafficking of Child-Welfare involved Children and Youth in North Carolina”. Project No Rest will soon launch 5 pilot sites around the state to help them organize and implement anti-trafficking efforts in their communities.
Out in Greenville, I met with the leaders who created RestoreOne, which is developing the first shelter designed specifically for sexually exploited boys anywhere in the country.
Eastern North Carolina Stop Human Trafficking has been around for about 5 years.  With limited funding it trains hotel staff, schools and the community about the fact that child trafficking happens even in North Carolina, and these children need protection.
In Rocky Mount I met Kenny Sumner of S.A.F.E.,  a ministry working to train and raise awareness about trafficking, provide education, resources and support for those who want to know how to identify victims and how to report it.
The latest news is that this year the state’s legislature passed a bill requiring schools to adopt curriculum about sex trafficking prevention.
There are so many more individuals and organizations I heard about but did not have a chance to meet.  The key fact is that none of this existed 25 years ago.  There was no awareness, no training for law enforcement, no services and shelters for exploited children, no prevention.  The people of North Carolina learned there was a problem in their state and are working every day to solve it.
Written by Carol Smolenski, Executive Director, ECPAT-USA