Posts Tagged ‘modern-day slavery’

Thursday, the Stop Human Trafficking Action Group hosted a movie event. We showed the highly acclaimed short film “The Return” and afterward had a Q&A with the writer/director Matthew Szewczyk.

The film is based on a true human trafficking/labor trafficking case in Orange County, California. The film is a brutal reminder that human trafficking does happen in every country, in every city around the world.

We appreciate everyone who came out to our event as well as those who helped and supported us to get this event put together. A special thank you, too, to Matthew for giving of his time and talent so we could have this event.


Fair trade coffee, tea and sugar for our guests.

Fair trade coffee, tea and sugar for our guests.



Our booth.

Our booth.


Watching the film

Watching the film

A good turnout

A good turnout

Q&A with Matthew

Q&A with Matthew

Start Something to End Trafficking: A Practical Guide to Help You Start a Project, Event, Campaign, or Organization by David Trotter

When most people first hear about the horror of human trafficking, they are immediately drawn to take action but are unsure as to what they can do.

Start Something to End Trafficking is a great place to get ideas for that first step.

Before beginning any philanthropic project, people must ask themselves “why?”

“Why do you want to devote so much time and energy to a project?”

Trotter helps you discover whether your “why?” will be more or less helpful in choosing your “what?”…What will you do to help fight human trafficking? What do you specifically want to focus on?

You can choose from:

  • Raising awareness
  • Decreasing demand
  • Preventing human trafficking
  • Aftercare for survivors
  • Researching the issue
  • Starting an organization

Trotter guides you through several soul-searching questions of a discernment process, so you can focus your interests and strengths to best serve others locally and globally.

Once you know your why and what, Trotter walks you through several tried and true projects, such as launching a project, hosting an event, raising money, and starting an organization.

Questions include…

  • Who will you work with?
  • What will motivate people to attend?
  • Why are you raising money?
  • Do you need to actually start an organization to do what you want to do?

Questions like these will help keep you on track, narrowing the best plan of action for you or your group to succeed.

Helpful suggestions, tips, and motivators to help you to make a positive difference in the world are included throughout the book.

If you are not completely convinced you can make a difference when you first open the book, you will be by the time you finish reading it.


Click here to purchase the book.



The 2016 Human Trafficking Victim Report documents the origins of human trafficking survivors and perpetrators in Orange County.

Last year, OCHTTF aided 225 human trafficking victims, raising the total number of victims OCHTTF has assisted since 2004 to more than 580 sex and labor trafficking victims.

By tracking victim origin data, the task force has learned that 78% of sex trafficking victims originated outside of Orange County making it a destination city for trafficking.

Here are some statistics from the report:

Of the 225 human trafficking victims assisted in 2015

  • 203 were female, 19 male, 3 transgender
  • 177 were adult and 48 were minors
  • 63 were foreign born and 162 were US citizens
  • 49 were rescued from labor trafficking and 168 were rescued from sex trafficking
  • total number of new victims was 137 or 61% of the overall total

Services provided to these clients included:

  • skill-building workshops
  • social activities
  • transportation
  • personal items such as clothes and toiletries
  • medical, dental, and mental health services
  • housing assistance
  • child-care



The annual TIP Report, categorized into tiers based on how well governments meet the minimum requirements for the elimination of human trafficking, was set by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000.


If there is a single theme to this year’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, it is the conviction that there is nothing inevitable about trafficking in human beings. That conviction is where the process of change really begins—with the realization that just because a certain abuse has taken place in the past doesn’t mean that we have to tolerate that abuse in the future or that we can afford to avert our eyes. Instead, we should be asking ourselves—what if that victim of trafficking was my daughter, son, sister, or brother?

 This year’s TIP Report asks such questions because ending modern slavery isn’t just a fight we should attempt—it is a fight we can and must win.

                                                                        -John F. Kerry, Secretary of State


This year’s (2016) Trafficking in Persons Report focuses on the positive developments and continued challenges of preventing trafficking, and it considers how governments and the broader anti-trafficking community can effectively ensure that those who are vulnerable to human trafficking have the tools and opportunities to avert the risks of exploitation. (2016 TIP Report)


The TVPA defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as:

➤ sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or

➤ the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

A victim need not be physically transported from one location to another for the crime to fall within these definitions.


Here is a small sampling of some of the topics discussed in the TIP Report.


  • Vulnerability and Human Trafficking


Although human trafficking occurs everywhere, the common factor that can be found is the victim’s vulnerability to exploitation. Traffickers exploit these vulnerabilities. They prey on those who lack security and opportunity, coerce, and deceive to gain control.


To prevent this, governments, NGOs, and local communities must identify the vulnerable within their borders and develop effective strategies to increase awareness and prevent human trafficking.


Examples of vulnerabilities:


  • Refugees and migrants, including asylum-seekers
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals
  • Religious minorities
  • People with disabilities (physical & intellectual)
  • Those who are stateless
  • The poor
  • The uneducated / poorly educated
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Homelessness
  • Children


  • Research, Data Collection, and Program Evaluation


Given the complex nature of human trafficking, data is difficult to collect, causing gaps in knowledge of how to prevent human trafficking.


Reliable baseline information providing insight to causes, trends, and characteristics of human trafficking allow governments and civil societies to create an understanding and protect their more vulnerable members of society, including a more comprehensive understanding of root causes that are specific to states, communities, and cultural contexts. With this information programs can be developed to meet the specific needs of the people.


  • Raising Awareness


Awareness regarding the signs and dangers of human trafficking is an important factor in the fight against human trafficking.


Public awareness campaigns help to educate the community to be knowledgeable to the signs of human trafficking so they can inform law enforcement as well as targeting victims who may not even know they are a victim.


Campaign designers need to improve the way human trafficking victims are portrayed in their awareness ads. By showing a victim bound and beaten skews the public’s idea of what a victim looks like. Many are controlled solely by emotional and verbal threats and may be overlooked by the public as a potential victim.


  • Policies & Programs to Reduce Risk & Empower Vulnerable Individuals


Public awareness campaigns are one way to prevent human trafficking, but laws and policies must also be put in place to protect people from becoming vulnerable to traffickers such as:

  • Registering births
  • Administering citizenship and nationality
  • Identity documents

A lack of such documents renders a person vulnerable.


Documentation also allows residents and their families to utilize health, education, and employment services, all of which make a person less vulnerable.


  • Multilateral Collaboration


Human trafficking occurs in every country, on every continent. “Multilateral engagement is a key component of many governments’ effective anti-trafficking efforts.” (2016 TIP Report)


Many organizations are incorporating anti-trafficking policies into their own operating policies such as:


  • National security
  • Human rights
  • Violence against women and children
  • Migration management
  • Refugee protection
  • Business responsibility
  • Supply chain accountability
  • Economic development


By developing common goals, these organizations can help foster data collection and standardize research while providing a venue to identify new and emerging trends in human trafficking.


  • Enhancing Partnerships


To combat human trafficking, collaboration must take place. Survivors, NGOs, donors, academics, businesses, and governments need to work together, sharing strengths and supporting weaknesses. Creating a partnership is the only way to combat human trafficking on a global scale.


  • A Joint Effort


Preventing human trafficking is an enormous challenge, requiring the sustained efforts of many. Collaboration between government and nongovernmental stakeholders is critical to strengthening efforts to prevent modern slavery.


At its core, the global struggle to combat human trafficking is about political and public will. If ignored, traffickers will continue to reap enormous profits while communities suffer the many toxic effects.


But if trafficking is confronted head on, vulnerable populations will be empowered to control more fully their lives and protect themselves from the harms of human trafficking. (2016 TIP Report)



If you need help or suspect someone may be a victim of human trafficking in the U.S. call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-3737-888 or text Polaris at BeFree (233733).


To download the entire report visit



After months of planning and preparing, our survivor event was a complete success.

The Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force along with the Community Services Program and Salvation Army, have events every month held especially for the survivors of human trafficking. These events range from life skills classes to fun events like our movie and pizza night.

As a way to help support the task force, they have asked local faith groups and churches to help plan and carry out these events to free up their financial resources for things like food and shelter for the survivors.

The Stop Human Trafficking Action Group with the support of St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church, held a movie and pizza night. We featured the inspiring hit movie Seabiscuit and decorated with horse and racing-themed party decor.

After a filling meal of pizza and salad, we served popcorn and red licorice. The guests left with a little keepsake, too…homemade brownies and a horse-shaped cookie cutter.

A special thank you to all the volunteers who made this event a great success. We are already looking forward to next year’s movie night event.



Today, I’m opening the floor up for discussion.


Below, I’ve shared links to articles of controversial topics related to human trafficking. Please share your opinions and comments below.

CATW International

The Guardian




Fight the New Drug

Made in the U.S.A.: The Sex Trafficking of America’s Children
By: Alisa Jordheim


How are America’s children falling victim to human traffickers? Made in the U.S.A.: the Sex Trafficking of America’s Children by Alisa Jordheim provides a sneak peek into the minds of five children trafficked on American soil.


This book is heavily recommended for all U.S. parents. We need to educate ourselves as parents, caregivers, and as a community about the causes and vulnerabilities that make our children susceptible to trafficking.


If we don’t understand our children, a trafficker will.


What Is Sex Trafficking?


The book delves into the world of sex trafficking in the U.S. Do you know how sex trafficking ties into human trafficking?


“Sex trafficking is a form of human trafficking,” according to Polaris Project.

“Sex traffickers use…

  • Violence
  • Threats
  • Lies
  • Debt bondage
  • Other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will.


Under U.S. federal law, any minor under the age of eighteen years induced into commercial sex is a victim of human trafficking—regardless of whether the trafficker used force, fraud, or coercion.”


“While any child can become a victim, there are several prevailing factors that make a child particularly vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation,” according to Made in the U.S.A.: the Sex Trafficking of America’s Children.

Those factors are…

  • Runaway tendencies
  • Homelessness
  • Poverty
  • Limited education
  • History of sexual abuse
  • A parent or family member involved in prostitution
  • Gender bias
  • Sexual orientation discrimination
  • Mental disabilities



Sex Trafficking Through the Eyes of Five Children


Tiana’s Story


When her grandmother passed away, Tiana became homeless. Her mother was unable to care for Tiana, so Tiana sought the help of her high-school friend Alexis.

Alexis, who was living with a man in a Motel 6, took Tiana in for a couple of weeks. Alexis then decided to introduce Tiana to Chris a cocaine drug user, saying they could stay with him and his friends for a bit. On her first day there, Tiana felt pressured by her friend to try cocaine for the first time.

The next day, Tiana, wanting to leave Chris’ place but was afraid of Chris and his friends and had no place else to go, summoned up the courage to try to leave but Chris and his friends grabbed her bag trying to prevent her. She tossed the bag at them and took off running down the street. She made it all the way to a gas station two blocks away before she slowed down and realized everything she owned was in that bag.

In Made in the U.S.A.: the Sex Trafficking of America’s Children, you’ll get the details about how Tiana felt she was out of options and took a job recommended by her friend Alexis, to “dance” in Atlanta and became one of Marcus’ girls.


Kate’s Story


Seven-year-old Kate was excited to be spending the summer with her grandma, aunt, cousin, and her aunt’s new husband, George. Everyone liked George. He was fun, nice, and hardworking, and he never yelled.

After falling asleep on the living room floor watching movies, Kate was awoken by someone caressing her. It was Uncle George.

Frightened, Kate said she had to use the bathroom. Uncle George followed her into the bathroom and locked the door. That was the first time he molested her.

In Made in the U.S.A.: the Sex Trafficking of America’s Children, you’ll learn how Kate was trafficked by her own family.


Rich’s Story


Five-year-old Rich didn’t understand why his father was so verbally and physically abusive toward him.

When Rich’s mom was admitted to the hospital again due to a tumor on her back, Rich’s dad sent him to live with an aunt and uncle who both began molesting him shortly after he arrived.

In Made in the U.S.A.: the Sex Trafficking of America’s Children, read more of Rich’s story of drugs, depression, and survival sex.


Samantha’s Story


Samantha and her friend Karen, both in junior high, were excited to be tagging along with Karen’s older brothers to a local party full of high-school students. They all knew drugs would be there…all kinds of drugs.

After a little mingling among the party-goers, Samantha and Karen cozied up to a college-aged guy with bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. He offered them pot and both gladly accepted.

That’s the last thing Samantha remembered about the party.

In Made in the U.S.A.: the Sex Trafficking of America’s Children, learn about how traffickers emotionally control their victims, so much so that Samantha returned to the “life”– after being rescued.


Deidra’s Story


Deidra and Aaron knew each other from a special-ed class at school. Aaron was interested in community service and was from a devout Mormon family. He even had dinner with Deidra and her family once. So why would her parents need to be concerned when, after spending a couple hours playing video games at Deidra’s house, Aaron suggested they “go to Target and get a Coke”?

During their trip to Target, Aaron spent an unusual amount of time texting and checking his phone, which made Deidra uncomfortable since he seemed to be ignoring her.

After making their purchases, they waited for more than ten minutes in Aaron’s parked car, silently.

Suddenly, a Jeep and a Hummer drove up. Several teens piled out of the vehicles. Deidra recognized a few of them. They invited Aaron and Deidra to a party. Deidra decided she wanted to go, but Aaron decided he did not.

The kids whisked Deidra into the Hummer.

In Made in the U.S.A.: the Sex Trafficking of America’s Children, follow Deidra as she is kidnapped and forced to prostitute herself and Deidra’s family as they never stop searching for her


* * *

Made in the U.S.A.: the Sex Trafficking of America’s Children is a valuable resource and an educational tool with which to arm yourself and protect your children.


Author Alisa Jordheim includes several resources in her book for parents, who after reading these children’s stories are compelled to get involved to protect America’s children.