Victims of Human Trafficking in DC still waiting for justice and support

Published on Examiner, by Cassandra Clifford, June 20, 2009.

… The Prohibition Against Human Trafficking Act of 2009 (number 18-70) would make human trafficking/modern slavery a crime, the legislation would cover both labor and sex trafficking, with appropriately severe penalties.  Additionally it will provide for critically needed assistance to victims, including access to a victim advocate to develop a safety plan, easier access to Crime Victims’ Compensation and it would allow civil cases to be brought by a victim against his/her trafficker.  If passed the act would also mandate that the District publish long over due statistical data on human trafficking/modern slavery, which would see that vital information is given to both citizens and authorities, allowing them to better respond to the specifics of the crime of human trafficking/modern slavery. In addition, the bill criminalizes the possession of child pornography …

… The US State department estimates that some 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year and about 80 percent of them are female and at least 50% are children. The numbers given by the State Department do not included the millions of victims which are trafficked with in countries borders, including the United States. The US government has stated that there are some 17,500 victims of sex trafficking in the United States each year, however all of these government figures are well understated and the true number of victims is unknown.

Sadly the anticipation in the room continued to build as we patiently waited for over an hour, only to find the hearing was canceled and would be rescheduled.  While today we did not have a chance to use our voices for those silenced by the often invisible chains of modern slavery, we will have our moment and it is not one to be taken lightly, so please stay tuned for news of the next hearing date and come out and join us.  In the meantime you can write you Council Member and voice your concern for the passing of this long overdue act to protect those victimized by all forms of human trafficking in DC.

All cases are unique, however please see the following two cased provided by Polaris project which depict typical examples of human trafficking, adapted from real cases in Washington D.C. For related stories, please see my other posts on Child Trafficking for the Foreign Policy Association. For more information please the following resource pages on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Links, Human Trafficking and Slavery Related Movies and Documentaries, and Slavery and Trafficking Related Books for more information. (full text).

(If you have reason to suspect that someone is a victim of human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline on 1-888-373-7888. Multilingual call specialists are on standby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential).

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