The classy, polished office on the 40th floor of the Met Life building was already filled with intense discussion when I arrived alongside the Price of Life team. Dorchen Leidholt, of Sanctuary for Families New York (SFFNY), led an earnest group (all women except for myself and two others), as they reviewed a recent protest and press release, as well as plans for the next term’s lobbying efforts. I recognized several faces, including Norma Ramos of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), and Kathleen Slocum, co-founder of Restore NYC and staff attorney for SFFNY.
Sitting in an office with 20 representatives from different groups that compiled the New York Anti-Trafficking Coalition (NYATC), some of my friends back home might note the drastic change from my typical environment. Two weeks earlier I’d been sitting in a crowded San Antonio apartment as my closest friends gathered to see me off for the summer. That gathering- with gym short clad college students eating vanilla cake because fair-trade chocolate is too expensive- is a stark contrast to the white collar room I now found myself in.
My arrival in New York City was six months in the making, as I had learned about the Price of Life internship through New York City Urban Project (NYCUP) right around New Year’s. NYCUP is a hub for several different poverty-fighting projects in the NYC, one of which being the Price of Life internship that is laying the foundation for a Fall 2013 city-wide, campus-centered, faith based campaign focusing on human trafficking. Considering my personal commitment to fight human trafficking in every way possible, this was a unique and valuable opportunity.
Read the rest of the account of the NYSATC meeting by Price of Life: NYC summer intern Eddie Knight, on the Field Notes page of our website.
Recently the Price of Life team met with one of New York’s most vital players in the fight against sex trafficking. After a day of planning for events, such as an artist round table discussion happening on July 16th, and executing intricate presentation for potential partners, we gathered for a memorable meeting.
The meeting was with Jimmy Lee, the executive director of Restore NYC, a nonprofit that provides holistic aftercare for foreign-born sex trafficked survivors. Founder Faith Huckel “diligently led the building of Restore from the ground up and created a movement of awareness of the realities of the modern-day slave trade in New York City,” as stated on their website. Needless to say it was an honor to speak with the now head of Restore after learning the incredible programs they are offering to mainly Korean, Chinese, and Latina women.
Read the rest of the account of the meeting with Jimmy Lee, by Price of Life: NYC Summer Intern, Maria Dora Berruti, on the Field Notes page of our website.
A Singapore court recently sentenced a man for trafficking under-aged girls into the sex industry. Spencer Gwee Hak Theng was arrested, along with his wife, after police rescued multiple girls, under 18 who were imported from Vietnam and forced into sex work by the pair. They were charged with multiple counts. Gwee was sentenced to 5 years in prison for his role. His wife is still on the run.
Five years. Five years in prison for taking children from their families and home, and selling them for sex multiple times a day, every day of the week, for years on end. Five years for submitting girls to daily horrors and abuse. Only five years paid for destroying and breaking a child’s soul. So, what crime does deserve five years in prison? In New York City, possession of 8 or more ounces of controlled substances results in, at the minimum, 15 years in prison. Even a class A – II felony of less than 8 ounces of narcotic controlled substances can have up to 8 years in prison.
I get so angry when I read about sentencing in trafficking cases. I am happy that governments are acknowledging the problem and taking steps to serve justice, but a mere five years for trading human beings like objects?
This same article detailed the conviction of a taxi driver who paid for sex with a 16 year old. Can you guess how much time he was sentenced to? Three months. Three months for raping a 16 year old girl – twice. Three months for contributing to the sexual exploitation, scarring, and degradation of a child.
I don’t think that we have descended to the point of putting an actual price on someone’s life, but I think we have begun to put prices on people’s worth. What does it say about the 16 year old girl’s worth that johns paid her traffickers a mere $100 to rape the girl? What message does it send that those traffickers were only given 5 years in prison, or that the rapist was only sentenced to 3 months?
I don’t have answers for those questions. I don’t know how to quantify, in years, the worth of a girl’s pain and suffering. Do you? How can governments and legal systems provide justice to victims that reflect and acknowledge everything they have been through?
— Guest Blogger, Price of Life Summer Intern Lydia Chu
Great to see a resource dedicated to bringing illegal child labor out of the shadows. How can we learn from this?
Kid Rescue, the new Colombian app launched by Telefonica Telecom in Colombia.
The Kid Rescue app from phone company Telefonica Telecom has a clear mission: Encourage people to document illegal child labor in Colombia.