Tag archives: Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking: What Can we, as a Society Do to prevent this Crime?

by Krystle Gabele

June 20, 2013

Every day, human trafficking is occurring in communities around the world. Whether it is through sex trafficking, labor trafficking, organ trafficking, and forcing children to be “child soldiers,” this crime impacts approximately 27 million men, women, and children. This crime destroys families and causes trauma for the victims.

Recently, the U.S. Department of State released its “Trafficking in Persons Report” highlighting the number of human trafficking cases occurring worldwide, victims’ stories, and a section on victim identification. There is no doubt that we should work tirelessly to bring awareness to this issue, as it impacts the dignity of human life and families.

The Washingtonian recently published an article about a human trafficking ring that was taking place in the backyard of the nation’s capital. Underage girls were being targeted by the Underground Gangster Crips gang for prostitution. The D.C. area and other large metropolitan areas face this type of crime frequently with gangs recruiting underage girls as prostitutes. These girls come from all types of familial backgrounds and from all socioeconomic classes as well. Most of these victims are recruited using social media tools, like Facebook and Twitter, and websites such as Craig’s List.

Human trafficking is becoming a fast growing crime, but there is still some stigma in terms of recognizing who is the victim or perpetrator. It is important for communities to understand the signs and how to prevent this crime from occurring.

FRC published a brochure, “Modern Slavery: How to Fight Human Trafficking in Your Community,” and this brochure provides tips on how to recognize the signs of human trafficking. There is also another valuable resource, our webcast, “Sex Trafficking in America: From the Boulevard to Planned Parenthood,” featuring speakers from organizations that specifically work with human trafficking: Shared Hope International, Courtney’s House, and the Salvation Army.

Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” This has never been more true, in terms of bringing awareness to human trafficking and working towards ending this horrible crime.

FRC in the News: January 31, 2013

by Nicole Hudgens

January 31, 2013

Rob Schwarzwalder Speaks Out on Boy Scout Issue

FRC’s Senior Vice President, Rob Schwarzwalder, was recently interviewed on Fox News  about the possible Boy Scout policy change that would go against the BSA’s “scout honor.” The Boy Scouts of America announced in July that after a 2-year study they would keep the current policy, one they’ve had since the beginning. Yet, they once again are being pressured to reconsider their decision.  

FRC Files Amicus Briefs for the Upcoming Supreme Court Cases on Marriage

As seen in the Herald Online Article, FRC filed amicus briefs to oppose previous court decisions regarding marriage. Hollingsworth v, Perry (California’s Proposition 8) and United States v. Windsor (a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act) will be presented to the Supreme Court in about a month. Tony Perkins stated that:

“The health of our nation’s families determines the strength of our nation. Redefining marriage only undermines the societal purpose of marriage which has always been to build healthy families and provide children with both a mom and a dad. The Supreme Court must strike down the lower court decisions against the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8.”

FRC Event on Human Slavery Teaches Justice

The recent FRC event entitled Human Trafficking: Modern Slavery was highlighted in an article featured in Juicy Ecumenism. The event featured the Honorable Linda Smith, founder and president of Shared Hope International, and Mark Blackwell, who is the founder and president of Justice Ministries. They spoke about the horrific injustice of human trafficking that takes place here in the U.S. and called the church to action. As Blackwell stated, “Jesus is the author of abolition and if he is not included in this fight there is no hope.”

The Often Ignored Global Crisis

by Krystle Gabele

January 8, 2013

Every day upon arriving at work, I open my internet browser only to find news on the economic crisis or what celebrity got busted for a criminal act.  It is kind of alarming, when the media forgets to shed light on a global crisis, such as human trafficking.

According to a recent report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal acts worldwide.  It is a crime that impacts men, women, and children around the world, whether it is through prostitution rings, forced labor, or even the trafficking of human organs.  

This weekend, there will be a prayer effort across religious denominations to bring awareness to human trafficking.  Weekend of Prayer will take place January 11-13, and it is a time to pray for the victims and survivors of this horrible criminal act.  It is time to lift those who have been impacted by human trafficking and bring awareness to this issue.

Also, Family Research Council is having a panel discussion on human trafficking and what can be done to prevent this crime from occurring around the world.  Former Congresswoman Linda Smith, President of Shared Hope International, and Mark Blackwell, Founder and President of Justice Ministries will discuss how state legislatures can enact stronger laws to address human trafficking and what you can do to bring awareness to this vital issue.

No man, woman, or child should ever have to go through what the victims of human trafficking endure.  It is time to stand strong for human dignity.

We are not cookie-cutter…”

by Family Research Council

November 30, 2012

We are not cookie-cutter…” That’s just one phrase that’s hit me from Shared Hope International’s annual conference. I’ve spent much of yesterday and today surrounded by heroes. Some of these heroes who have survived years of sexual abuse as a young child. Others, are dedicating their lives to counseling, mentoring, licensing, and advocating for the minor victims of domestic sex trafficking.

If you’re new to this issue, check out Family Research Council’s publication, titled “Modern Slavery: How to Fight Human Trafficking in Your Community.”

Another excellent resource, is the state-specific report card, Protected Innocence Challenge, that Shared Hope released yesterday.

The Protected Innocence Challenge is a comprehensive study on existing state laws designed to inspire and equip advocates. Under the Challenge, every state receives a Report Card that grades the state on 41 key legislative components that must be addressed in state’s laws in order to effectively respond to the crime of domestic minor sex trafficking. In addition, each state receives a complete analysis of this 41-component review and practical recommendations for improvement.

For more information about FRC’s work with Shared Hope, click here.

FRC releases two new brochures on Human Trafficking and Planned Parenthood

by Krystle Gabele

October 4, 2012

Recently, Family Research Council released two new brochures highlighting the dangers of human trafficking and what people need to know about Planned Parenthood. These brochures are bringing to light two issues that should be addressed by candidates this election.

Human trafficking is a growing problem, not just in the United States, but around the world. This crime is increasing, and according to Stop Child Trafficking Now, the statistics are alarming. Approximately, 2.8 million children run away from home, and one-third of them end up the victims of this tragic crime.

In our new brochure, J. Robert Flores, Esq. sheds light onto this crime, specifically sex trafficking and prostitution. This crime impacts all of us, and it is time for our leaders to take action. Flores explains the efforts that are taking place to combat sex trafficking and the steps you can take to prevent another child from becoming a victim to this crime.

Aside from human trafficking, another issue that is front and center is abortion. With Planned Parenthood being the largest abortion provider in the United States, there has been much controversy behind their practices. Jeanne Monahan, Director, Center for Human Dignity at FRC, has carefully documented the facts behind Planned Parenthoods practices, as well as its negative impact on womens health.

Please feel free to share these brochures with your friends and family and empower them to take action on these issues that threaten the family.

Abortion: the Modern Day Slave Master?

by Family Research Council

June 26, 2012

I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper. So spoke Abraham Lincoln as he signed the Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago this year. At the close of the Civil War a few years after the proclamation was issued, slavery was abolished on American soil.

But the story of the slave does not end there.

Now, 150 years of remarkable technological development later, human trafficking, often called modern day slavery, holds 27 million men, women, and children captive to its grasp. The U.S. State Departments 2012 Trafficking in Human Persons Report was released on June 19th at a ceremony in Washington. Dignitaries and speakers at the event included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero; and Ambassador-at-Large, Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Luis C. deBaca. All three praised the improvements made in the past year in countries imposing stricter policies against human trafficking. They highlighted the human element in the numbers, reminding people that the fight to end modern day slavery is about faces, not statistics.

Both the speakers and the report acknowledge that in addition to the need to go after the perpetrators of human trafficking, much is needed in the area of support and care for the victims. According to the report:

Because this crime undermines the most basic human rights, protection services must be considered just as important as investigating and prosecuting the offenders… If governments fail to provide comprehensive protection as a complement to prevention and prosecution efforts, they risk deepening, rather than alleviating, the original harm.

Secretary Clinton also said in her remarks: …in this years report, we are especially focused on that third P, victim protection. She went on to say that fighting to end modern day slavery is a high priority for President Obama and the Obama Administration. Its something that is not just political and not just a policy, but very personal and very deep.

Unfortunately, there is a political component to the Obama Administrations fight against slavery. When it comes down to choosing to support victims of human trafficking or abortion providers, the Administration chooses abortion.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awards grant money to organizations combating human trafficking and offering support to victims. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), a five-year recipient of the funding, has an Anti-Trafficking Services Program through its Migration and Refugee Services division, which has proven highly effective for more than ten years. Despite this programs proven track record of helping people escape slavery and start a new life, when the USCCB re-applied for grant funding in 2011, the application was denied. The only explainable reason? The program fails to offer victims sterilization, contraception, and abortion. In their own words:

We believe despite submission of a proposal that built off the success of our prior work and offered value-added elements based on observed trends and quality improvement strategies, we were not granted a new award based solely on the issue of our willingness to pay for abortion or contraception, or make referrals for certain reproductive health services.

The Obama Administration would sooner spurn an organization rescuing lives out of slavery then deny those ending life the opportunity for more clients. Not only does this blatantly communicate to the victims of trafficking that their support comes second to that of abortion providers, but it completely disregards the important fact that abortion clinics frequently side with the trafficker, pimp, and sex abuser against the victim.

Especially in the developing world, but also here in the U.S.for the pimp running a brothel, pregnancies mean money lost and must be dealt with through abortion so the girl can get back to work. This equates to steady customers for the neighborhood abortion clinic, many of which have been documented not only to cover up the crimes against these sex slaves, but even to advise the abuser how to run his business. Last year, FRC explored in greater depth the connection between abortion providers to human trafficking here in the US in a webcast (viewable here). The results were shocking. Victims of modern day slavery are in need of real support not found in abortion clinics.

The problem of human trafficking is not limited to poor countries or the urban areas of the developing world. It happens here at home, as well. In light of that, many state governments have taken steps to fight human trafficking and support victims at the local level. At least 68 bills combating human trafficking have been introduced in 26 states this year. Fourteen of those have already passed into law and three more are awaiting governors signatures. One of those three is Ohios HB262. It is a broad-scale bill encompassing increased penalties for human traffickers, greater education for officers and those at risk for trafficking, and increased support measures for victims of human trafficking. The bill passed the legislature on June 20th and is awaiting action by Buckeye state Governor Kasich.

Our country should continue to take action to help victims of modern day slavery by engaging in the legislative process, supporting involved ministries, working internationally through State Department advocacy and diplomacy, and certainly through our prayers. We must not allow abortion to be the modern day slave master.


Hope and Human Trafficking

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 25, 2012

American Christians, who understand the incomprehensible scandal and moral horror of sex trafficking must recognize that this is an issue of high moral priority.” So says Al Mohler in his latest op-ed, “The Ugly American - Sex Trafficking and Our National Humiliation.”

Aptly said: What Dr. Mohler rightly calls a scandal has become so widespread that, according to the Associated Press, Attorney General Eric Holder is “designating a coordinator to oversee the Justice Departments efforts to combat human trafficking, describing it as modern-day slavery that has reached ‘crisis’ proportions on a global scale.”

The millions of victims of human trafficking deserve the help and support of Christians, especially as this problem grows here at home. As Attorney General Holder noted: “As incomprehensible as it seems, trafficking in girls is an increasingly prevalent part of gang activity. These crimes are seen as ‘low risk and high reward.’ They bring in more profits and often result in less prison time than dealing drugs. As one journalist who was covering instances of human trafficking here in Arkansas explained it: ‘You can only sell a drug once, but you can sell a human being over, and over, and over.’ Today, these transactions can be executed quickly, conveniently, and anonymously over the Internet and many of them involve young children.”

Eric Holder is not the Attorney General many of us would like: His refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, his commitment to defending the constitutionally indefensible Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare), and his allegiance to an agenda that would erode religious liberty as our Constitution understands it make his tenure at Justice a dubious one. Yet on this issue, he’s getting it right - so much so, that in his speech he even praised pro-life, conservative Republican Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), whose longtime championship of the most vulnerable (born and unborn) elicits the praise even of his philosophical opponents (read more about his recent work here).

Earlier this month, just across the Potomac from FRC, “Two associates of a Fairfax County-based Crips gang pleaded guilty … to charges of running a prostitution ring that recruited and trafficked local high school girls, authorities said … At least 10 underage girls from Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia were lured into prostitution and were forced to continue working through threats and violence, including rape, court records say.”

This gruesome phenomenon is occurring nationwide: From New York City to Odessa, Texas, this moral cancer is widespread throughout our country.

Thankfully, a number of wonderful ministries have stepped up to help those trapped in this modern-day slavery. FRC’s RealCompassion.org features links to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability’s “Servant Match” site and to the Catholic Charities homepage. Visit these sites to learn about ministries that, both here at home and abroad, are rescuing women and girls from the grip of involuntary sexual servitude and helping them move forward with hope and dignity.

This Ones for the Girls: A different take on International Womens Day

by Krystle Gabele

March 8, 2012

Today is International Womens Day, a time of celebrating womens achievements. As a woman, I am particularly celebrating the strength of the female role models in my life, as well as those who have shaped my overall philosophical views.

I am celebrating the strength of someone who influenced me to shoot for the stars. My great-grandmother, who was a pillar of strength and faith during her time on Earth, always told me, You can do anything with hard work and trust in God. She was born in 1903 and lived until the age of 97. Growing up, I would always hear stories of how she taught in a one room schoolhouse in Floyd County, Va. and being mesmerized about how awesome it would have been to be transported back in time. I am certain she was a dynamic teacher, and her love of history has been passed down for me to share with future generations of our family.

While having role models to inspire you is something to celebrate, the sad truth is that there are far fewer of these role models today than there would have been had it not been for the devastating practice of abortion. As we commemorate International Womens Day, we have to question why those who celebrate womens rights would advocate for such a practice. Feminists, represented by groups such as National Organization for Women, often argue for a womans right to choose, so you would think the feminists would want to promote life to allow more women the chance to experience the opportunities of leadership.

Unfortunately, abortion continues, and internationally, sex-selective abortions are being performed every day. According to research reported by Nicholas Eberstadt in The New Atlantis, sex-selective abortions are contributing to a loss of baby girls, not just inChina, but in other countries around the world. This trend is skewing the population balance to have an inordinately larger number of males than females.

Estimates by the United Nations Population Division (UNPD) and the U.S. Census Bureaus International Programs Center (IPC) the two major organizations charged with tracking and projecting global population trends make the point. According to estimates based on IPC data, a total of 21 countries or territories (including a number of European and Pacific Island areas) had SRBs of 107 or higher in the year 2010; the total population of the regions beset by unnaturally high SRBs amounted to 2.7 billion, or about 40 percent of the worlds total population. For its part, UNPD estimates that 24 countries and territories (a slightly different roster from IPCs, including some additional European, South American, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Pacific settings) had SRBs of 107 or higher for the 2005-2010 period, for a total population similar to the IPC figure.

The article goes one step further to illustrate the negative social impact of sex-selective abortions. In countries likeChina, this practice will only contribute to a higher rate of unmarried men, and in addition to women being scarce, it will lead towards increasing prostitution rates and a rise in human trafficking.

Women should be outraged, and should step up to speak about this injustice. We are witnessing the possibility of increased crimes against women through this horrid practice, not to mention the loss of life. Who will pave the way for women in the future if this practice continues?


National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month” - What You Can Do

by Rob Schwarzwalder

January 11, 2012

January has been declared National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. It’s timely that the seriousness of this issue is being recognized, as it is not only a global crisis but a growing problem here at home.

Thankfully, the mainstream media are picking up on the crisis of human trafficking in the U.S., which FRC highlighted in two events last year. In a gripping new report, Fox News states that “with increasing technology and the Internet, human trafficking has become more accessible and more anonymous.” Even the normally business-focused Forbes Magazine is informing its readers about “How To End Sex Trafficking and Human Slavery.”

As Fox reporter Elizabeth Prann notes, “Experts say, across the globe, millions of people are trafficked each year. Hundreds of thousands of the victims are women and girls. But what surprises many — is the rate it is happening in affluent neighborhoods where minors are being turned into sex slaves.”

According to Rob McKenna, Attorney General of Washington State and current president of the National Association of Attorneys General, “Human trafficking is a $32 billion global industry, the fastest growing and second largest criminal activity in the world, tied with arms and after drug dealing … I urge all Americans to educate themselves about all forms of modern slavery and the signs and consequences of human trafficking. Together, we will combat this crime within our borders and join with our partners around the world to end it.”

The problem is grave and the harm it inflicts so painful it is difficult to describe. However, there is good news - the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability lists 31 Evangelical ministries that seek to help girls and women enmeshed in the sex trade, and Catholic Charities has launched a major project to restore the victims of this horrible practice to well-being. You can link to both sites by visiting FRC’s RealCompassion.org web site.

Our Declaration of Independence argues that “all men are created equal,” a reflection of the Bible’s teaching that each person is made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Our Judeo-Christian moral heritage and the charter document of our country both affirm the dignity of each life, and that none should be used as a commodity or debased as a non-person. Let’s pray that our government and law enforcement officials, churches and ministries, and private charities will be effective in ridding America of this horrible practice. And, as we always say at FRC, the best guarantee of a good life - one in which girls are protected and given a healthy start - is a strong, loving, and worshipful family.

Pornland or Portland? Christians Fighting Back, In Love

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 31, 2011

I went to theological seminary in Portland, Oregon. That might sound rather ensconced and safe, but I worked at a large commercial bakery in a run-down industrial section of the city. This exposed me to some things I would rather have not seen, as when, driving along a side-street one evening, I found myself running a narrow gauntlet of hectoring prostitutes; I drove away as fast as I could.

Portland has a justified reputation for urban renewal and natural beauty. Bisected by the Willamette River and set among lush, fir-laden hills, Portland’s charm is hard to forget.

Yet now, as Katelyn Beaty documents in her moving article about the sex trafficking trade in the City of Roses (that would be Portland; I proposed to my wife in the city’s massive rose-test garden, albeit in the winter when none were in bloom), Portland has become perhaps the single most dominant city in one of the ugliest “industries” ever devised - the trafficking of persons for sexual purposes. Veteran journalist Dan Rather has called Portland “Pornland,” and according to Joslyn Baker of the Multnomah County (Portland area) unit that specializes in child prostitution, “most Portlanders accepted the ubiquitous strip clubs as part of their premium on individual freedomuntil February 2009, when the FBI swept the Portland-Vancouver area and found seven underage girls, the most in any FBI raid at the time. With the ensuing national media coverage, Portlanders began realizing that their lucrative sex industry is the main ‘gateway’ for pimping children.”

Christians are fighting back, with love and tenacity. They have now started the Oregon Center for Christian Voices (OCCV), which over the past four years “has … become Oregon’s flagship nonprofit for passing laws that make it harder to sexually exploit children. In the same four years, two Christians in Portland’s leading assault advocacy group and police department have created a unique model for assisting underage victims. Their model earned their county a $500,000 federal grant that created a special committee on CSEC (‘commercial sexual exploitation of children’).” Additionally, Oregon State Legislator Andy Olson (R-Albany) “has worked with OCCV to try to amend Oregon’s Constitution (whose free speech provisions open the door for prostitution and illicit sexuality among youth). A Christian, he calls trafficking a ‘family values issue.’”

Rep. Olson is dead right, and the noble efforts of committed Christians to change Portland’s culture of prostitution and sex trafficking are animated by the same spirit of sacrifice and compassion that led the early believers to rescue unwanted babies from the Roman ash-heaps. As Shoshan Tama-Sweet, executive director of the Oregon Center for Christian Voices, told journalist Beaty: “The church has something special: We have the Good News. We have a vision of the way the world is supposed to be. And it doesn’t include the rape of children on our streets. When you realize that God loved every victim when they were born, that he’s with them every day they’re traumatizedit’s incumbent on believers to protect them, to help them become whole, and to insist that, in our society, we are not going to tolerate the antithesis of God’s beloved community.”

I believe Mr. Tama-Sweet is among those Jesus is unashamed to call brothers (Hebrews 2:11). May God bless him and his colleagues in their efforts.

Earlier this year, FRC held two events focusing on human trafficking and what Christians can do to fight it. You can view them here and here.