The New York City Price of Life Invitational scheduled for fall 2013 is a city-wide, campus-based, faith-inspired campaign addressing human trafficking in all its forms, sponsored by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, World Vision, and a diverse coalition of organizations.
Posts tagged law
“Loving our neighbor not only means reaching out to those in need, but also means addressing systemic problems that harm those in need.”
Check out this CNN editorial by two prominent evangelical Christians, Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents more than 45,000 local churches from over 40 different denominations, and Lynne Hybels, co-founder of Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois, which promotes efforts to raise awareness about human trafficking and exploitation.
Worth reading the whole thing, but here’s a key excerpt (emphasis added):
If the House proposal is enacted, thousands [of trafficking victims] could remain enslaved, too afraid to speak out because some of their most effective safeguards will have disappeared… .
Several provisions would leave immigrant victims of human trafficking and domestic abuse no legal way to break the cycle of violence in which they are trapped… . [T]he bill could validate an abuser’s threat that a call to police could result in deportation. Many women would keep quiet rather than risk immigration consequences.
The bill would also allow abusive partners in domestic violence cases to provide input as to whether their victim should qualify for immigration relief, stripping confidentiality provisions that currently protect victims. Abusive spouses, who are in a position to petition to adjust the status of their immigrant wives through marriage, can choose not to do so as a tool of abuse and fear. Abusers frequently deny guilt and falsely accuse victims of fraud or abuse.
We don’t want a bill that endangers some of the women and children it purports to help. Overall, this bill’s proposed changes to current law would discourage immigrant victims from escaping abuse and reporting crimes, and make all of us less safe… .
As evangelical Christians, we are committed to Jesus’ great commandment to love God and to love our neighbor, with a particular concern for those who are most vulnerable. Through local churches and ministries, we extend that love when we provide counseling and support for victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. In doing so, we point to the ultimate healing and restoration that we believe is found only in Jesus.
We also love our neighbor by speaking up when laws are proposed that could cause harm, intentionally or not. Loving our neighbor not only means reaching out to those in need, but also means addressing systemic problems that harm those in need.
That’s why we’re asking Speaker John Boehner and the House leadership to make sure that the Violence Against Women Act continues to protect vulnerable immigrant women who are victims of human trafficking or domestic violence. They need our protection.
FYI - upcoming advocacy opportunity for New Yorkers
Passing on an invitation from the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition. Numerous NYC organizations working with survivors will send delegates, including Restore NYC, who especially invites InterVarsity members & friends to join it:
Andi, a sixteen-year-old runaway, was repeatedly sold by her trafficker on the street. Even though the Safe Harbor Act recognizes that prostituted children are trafficking victims, Andi was arrested, arraigned in criminal court and convicted of prostitution.
In its landmark anti-trafficking laws, New York State has taken the lead in recognizing that many women and children in prostitution are victims of human trafficking and holding accountable those who organize, promote, advance, support and patronize the trafficking industry. Although a growing number of traffickers are being brought to justice, our State legislative anti-trafficking regime contains gaps, loopholes, and inconsistencies that must be remedied.
The Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act will strengthen New York State’s response to traffickers and protection of victims.
The New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition would like to invite you to the lobby day for the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act!
Tuesday May 15th, 10:30am – 3:30pm
The face-to-face meetings that happen during lobby days have tremendous impact. Personal stories, messages of support and real world explanations of what legislation means to voters and advocates is extremely powerful.
To RSVP please e-mail email@example.com with your name, organization and contact information.
To learn more about the lobby day, please call into our conference call on Thursday, May 10th from 3pm to 4pm.
Conference Dial-in Number: (712) 775-7000
Access Code: 722515#
If you want to learn more about the legislation, here is a terrific interview with Dorchen Leidholdt and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin on Capital Tonight with Liz Benjamin. Here is an article about the bill which includes a video of a survivor, Brianna, speaking about her trafficking experience.
A 19 year old woman from Mali, whose trafficking case was taken on by a South Texas Law School’s Human Trafficking / Immigration clinic.
The article describes the difficulty of finding a way to help this woman within the current legal framework, and how the students ultimately settled on an asylum claim based on fear of genital mutilation — something that makes an easier legal case — even though it wasn’t the heart of the problems faced by this woman:
The Human Trafficking Clinic, contacted by Catholic Charities, quickly began exploring legal routes for asylum. But at each turn, it seemed, roadblocks emerged.
First, the law students considered a political asylum request. But that applies only to those fearing persecution in their home countries; the girl’s persecution occurred here.
Next, they looked at the Violence Against Women Act, which protects victims of domestic abuse. But that applies only to the spouses, parents or children of U.S. citizens; the girl’s abuser was her aunt.
One day, almost in passing, the girl mentioned that her grandmother was pressuring her to return to Mali for an arranged marriage. If she did, she told the students, she would first have to undergo female circumcision - a required ritual in her tribe.
“It was shocking to hear that. To her, it’s a part of her culture,” said [a member of the clinic]. “To us, it’s a girl our own age going through something awful.”
It also made a compelling asylum claim.
Read the full article for the woman’s story.
Proposed Hawaii laws to assist trafficking survivors
Little more than a year ago, Hawaii was one of only four states in the country without an anti-human trafficking law. Today, our state stands on the precipice of becoming a national anti-trafficking leader.
Hawaii is poised to pass an assortment of new laws that will protect commercially exploited minors and provide services to survivors. The Senate is considering bills that would, among other things:
- Require places most likely to participate in human trafficking to exhibit a poster displaying the national human trafficking hotline number.
- Allow sex trafficking victims to petition to have prostitution-related convictions and arrests vacated from public records if the violations were the result of force, fraud, or coercion.
- Immunize minors acting as a prostitute from prosecution for prostitution charges (patrons and pimps may still be prosecuted, however).
- Create a task force charged with crafting a comprehensive state plan for furnishing coordinated services to human trafficking survivors.
Read the full article for more about the proposed laws and how they could transform trafficking in Hawaii.
Naomi Bang, adjunct professor at a Human Trafficking / Immigration clinic at South Texas College of Law, senior attorney at a local law firm, and former assistant U.S. attorney.
Read about how Professor Bang’s students are learning and making a different here.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who recently testified at a Congressional hearing on “Labor Abuses, Human Trafficking, and Government Contracts: Is the Government Doing Enough to Protect Vulnerable Workers?”
As David Isenberg writes on the Huffington Post:
Because this is a continuing problem new legislation has been introduced in Congress to address it. In the House it is H.R.4259 — End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act of 2012. In the Senate it is S.2234.
That bill would prevent trafficking abuses by requiring contractors with contracts over $1 million to implement compliance plans to prevent trafficking including destroying or confiscating passports, misrepresenting wages or work locations, or using labor brokers who charge exorbitant recruiting fees.
It improves accountability by requiring that a contractor notify the inspector general if he or she receives credible evidence that a subcontractor has engaged in prohibited conduct, requiring the inspector general to investigate such instances and requiring the inspector general to investigate all those instances, and with that require swift remedial action against the contractor.
And, it improves enforcement of anti-trafficking requirements by expanding the criminal prohibitions that prevent fraudulent labor practices typically associated with trafficking.
Click through for the full article about the hearing and proposed legislation.