WHAT IF HUMAN RIGHTS WAS THE NORM?

Too often, human beings are treated unjustly, marginalized, oppressed, abused, and targeted for criminal acts. Human Rights Society (HRS) is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to advocating for human rights for all because we all have universal and intrinsic value — equally. HRS works to see children flourish without terror and war. We work to see girls and women have equal rights to education, safety, and pay. We long to see slavery abolished once and for all, versus the 29 million slaves that exist today. We want the world to work together to make sure people are not suffering from poverty. We insist that at-risk people groups be protected from genocide.

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Support the Runaway and Homeless Youth Trafficking Prevention Act

“Congress has been extremely busy introducing legislation addressing human trafficking, as we called on them to do last month. Under Senator Grassley’s (R-IA) leadership, the Judiciary Committee unanimously passed two critical human trafficking bills. First, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, sponsored by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), improves victim services while also enabling law enforcement to crack down on human trafficking. Also, the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act, sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), would protect minors involved in commercial sex and provides additional support for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline.

In addition, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed Senator Bob Corker’s (R-TN) bold End Modern Slavery Act. This bill would help increase funding for global human trafficking efforts by establishing a $1.5 billion public-private fund.

We applaud the Senate for moving this legislation forward. But today, we need you to tell the Senate to support the Runaway and Homeless Youth Trafficking Prevention Act, sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). This bill has stood for 40 years to help the most vulnerable children find shelter, food, and other necessary services. The programs funded under this bill are critical to preventing human trafficking. Please take action now by urging your Senator to support this bill.

Polaris’s data from human trafficking hotlines proves why modern slavery requires U.S. government action. In 2014, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline received a 26% increase in calls directly from survivors of human trafficking. In total, 19,724 cases of human trafficking have been reported through the NHTRC and Polaris’s BeFree texting helpline since 2007. You can download the full report on hotline statistics here.

All of this activity points to this being the time to double down our efforts to end human trafficking once and for all. That’s why tomorrow, February 27, we encourage you to join theEnd It Movement for Shine a Light on Slavery Day. Each person who pledges to become a freedom fighter helps Polaris and all of our fellow coalition partners.

When it comes to ending modern slavery, every voice matters. Today, we urge you to use yours.

Stand up and act,

Bradley Myles
CEO
Polaris”

Cameron, Bono Link Poverty, Climate at AP Debate

By John Heilprin for The Associated Press on January 24, 2014—
“Global leaders argued Friday that efforts to eradicate poverty must be linked to climate change, saying that rising temperatures will have widespread effects on everything from food supplies to education.

Panelists at two separate sessions at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland — among them Bill Gates, Al Gore and U2 frontman Bono — underlined the importance of the issue. The United Nations is also making climate change a priority at Davos this year, pushing for a U.N.-brokered internationally binding climate treaty in Paris in 2015.

At a debate sponsored by The Associated Press, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the next U.N.-led campaign to eradicate extreme poverty must make the climate a top priority. More than one billion people live in extreme poverty by the World Bank’s definition, living on less than $1.25 a day.

“We do need to prioritize, but I would argue if we do want to help the one billion, we need to put in climate change,” Cameron said.

The AP’s debate also featured Bono and officials from Nigeria, Save the Children International and Prudential Plc. It was looking ahead to the expiration of the U.N.’s “millennium goals” to reduce poverty, hunger and child mortality and combat disease by 2015, and to envision what goals should be set for the next 15 years. The session was moderated by AP Senior Managing Editor Michael Oreskes.”

For the rest of the original article, please click here.

Child Porn Task Force Needs ‘Help’

By Drew Mikkelsen, KING 5 News, on February 25, 2015—
“After eight years going after child pornography collectors and producers, Detective Ian Polhemus said he has seen a sharp increase in cases.

Polhemus believes Washington now has more child pornography offenders per-capita than any other state in the union.

He blames a tech-savvy community and good internet connections.

But he said the lack of enforcement also makes it easy for offenders to get away with the crime.

“I don’t think we get to 2 percent,” said Polhemus.

He’s one of six detectives working on the state’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

In January investigators identified more than 2800 potential cases across the state, but they’ve only been able to investigate dozens of those.

“We’re asking for help,” said Seattle Police Captain Mike Edwards who said the task force does not have enough resources to go after as many offenders as they’d like.

Edwards said without more funding and investigators, they can only pursue the most prolific, vile offenders.

He’s hoping lawmakers will support a bill sponsored by Rep. David Sawyer, D-Pierce County, which would more than double the number of investigators on the task force.”

For the rest of the article please, click here.

A Note from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center

“The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is very excited to share our 2014 annual hotline statistics report. Every year the NHTRC produces public reports highlighting key statistics and trends communicated through signals to the hotline. In 2014, we received a total of24,062 signals which include 21,431 calls,1,482 online tip reports, and 1,149 emails. The 2014 annual report includes non-personally identifying aggregate statistics based on region, trafficking type, and victim and survivor demographics to identify trends and patterns that can help inform anti-trafficking prevention and intervention efforts at the local, state, and national levels. Learn more and view up-to-date and past hotline statistics.

2014 Highlights: Victims and survivors of human trafficking made 2,713 calls to the hotline in 2014, a 26% increase over the previous year. This increase in victims and survivors accessing the NHTRC is encouraging and reflects a growing awareness of human trafficking and enhanced identification efforts within local communities and among anti-trafficking practitioners and other frontline professionals (e.g. healthcare professionals, educators) who are working with at-risk populations. There is still much work to be done to ensure that the hotline number is known by those who need it most. The NHTRC has created outreach cards to assist first responders and other practitioners who regularly interact with human trafficking victims and other at-risk populations in identifying victims of Sex Trafficking and Labor Trafficking.

None of our work would be possible without the dedicated law enforcement and service providers who go above and beyond to respond to trafficking tips and victim service requests received by the hotline. Analyn’s* case is one such example:

Analyn had come to the United States to work as a domestic worker and her employers had promised that she would work 6 days a week, receive one day off every week, and she would earn a fair wage for her work. Instead, she was expected to be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and was paid irregularly. Furthermore, Analyn’s employers threatened her with deportation often and she believed that if she left, they would report her to immigration authorities. Analyn wanted help leaving and was not ready to speak with law enforcement. The NHTRC reached out to a local service provider partner to support Analyn as she prepared to leave. Initially, Analyn wanted to find a safe place to stay on her own, so the service provider offered to provide her with transportation. However, when Analyn’s shelter plans fell through, the service provider made multiple calls and tapped into local resources to coordinate shelter at a permanent safe house. Through conversations with Analyn, the service provider, and the NHTRC, a plan was set in place for Analyn to leave. The service provider met Analyn near her employer’s home and took her to meet with a pro-bono immigration attorney, shortly before taking her to the safe house. With the service provider’s advocacy, Analyn was able to access necessary social services, had a safe place to stay, and continued to work with an immigration attorney to obtain a T-Visa.

* Names, locations, and other identifying information have been changed and/or omitted to preserve the confidentiality of the people we serve.”

UNICEF: At Least 89 Boys Abducted in South Sudan

By Katharine Lackey, USA TODAY, on February 21, 2015—
At least 89 boys, some as young as 13, were abducted by an armed group in South Sudan, the United Nations children’s agency said Saturday.

The abductions took place near Malakal in the northern part of the country, UNICEF said in a statement. The actual number could be higher, the agency added.

Armed soldiers surrounded the area and searched house to house in the community of Wau Shilluk in Upper Nile State, taking boys older than 12 by force, witnesses told UNICEF.

The abductions were carried out while the children were taking exams. UNICEF didn’t say what group may be responsible for the kidnappings.

In the past year, 12,000 children — mostly boys — have been recruited and used as soldiers by armed forces and groups in South Sudan, according to the United Nations.”

For the rest of the original article, please click here.

SUDAN: Mass Rape by Army in Darfur

Originally published by Human Rights Watch on February 11, 2015—
“Sudanese army forces raped more than 200 women and girls in an organized attack on the north Darfur town of Tabit in October 2014, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU) should take urgent steps to protect civilians in the town from further abuses.

The 48-page report, “Mass Rape in Darfur: Sudanese Army Attacks Against Civilians in Tabit,” documents Sudanese army attacks in which at least 221 women and girls were raped in Tabit over 36 hours beginning on October 30, 2014. The mass rapes would amount to crimes against humanity if found to be part of a widespread or systematic attack on the civilian population.

“The deliberate attack on Tabit and the mass rape of the town’s women and girls is a new low in the catalog of atrocities in Darfur,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The Sudanese government should stop the denials and immediately give peacekeepers and international investigators access to Tabit.”

Allegations of mass rape first surfaced in a November 2 report by Radio Dabanga, a Netherlands-based station.Sudan denied the report and refused peacekeepers access to the town. On November 9, it gave the peacekeepers brief access, but security forces prevented them from carrying out a credible investigation, Human Rights Watch said.”

For the rest of the original article, please click here.

Gary Haugen’s Congressional Testimony on Human Trafficking

By Olivia Enos for The Daily Signal on February 10, 2015—
“In his recent testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Gary Haugen, President and CEO of International Justice Mission, shared practical steps that Congress could take to end human trafficking. Haugen emphasized that local law enforcement and a fair judicial system are the keys to defeating this global scourge. Without ending impunity, he says, human trafficking will continue to flourish.

Human trafficking affects over 35 million men, women, and children worldwide and has many different manifestations. These victims face labor trafficking, sex trafficking, forced child labor, child sex trafficking, and debt bondage, among other abuses.

The Heritage Foundation will soon release a paper that provides in-depth analysis and actionable policy solutions to defeat this global phenomenon.”

For the rest of the original article, please click here.