Go check them out at: http://www.heat-watch.org
A quick story of advocacy published in the Arizona Daily Sun to light up your afternoon:
Five friends on a mission passed through Flagstaff this past weekend for a cross-country bike trip to raise money to help survivors of human trafficking.
The fundraiser, called Bike4Solution, was created after the football team at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill., watched a documentary about the estimated 30 million people worldwide who are currently being bought and sold for labor and sexual exploitation. The team partnered with the Christian humanitarian organization Bright Hope International to raise $14,500 at their football games to rescue five human trafficking survivors in northern India.
But after graduating this spring, former football team members Tommy Kenney, 23, Dan Johnson, 22, Jono Mullins, 22, and Dustin Alewine, 23, decided they wanted to do more. Despite having no cycling experience, they set out June 14 on a more than 2,500-mile bike ride from Deerfield, Ill., to Mission Viejo, Calif., to raise awareness about human trafficking.
Brent Kozel, 22, who was a high school friend of Johnson, joined the effort as the driver of their follow car. They passed through Flagstaff this past Saturday on their way to Kingman with a goal of arriving at their final destination in California between July 27 and Aug. 1.
Along the way, they hope to raise a total of $50,000 to help Bright Hope’s Safe House program in northern India rescue an additional 16 underage girls trapped in sex slavery and send them through a 12-month restoration program. They are also hoping to raise another $5,000 to cover the cost of the trip.
“At the end of the day, we’re asking men to step up with us,” Alewine said. “It comes down to supply and demand. If there continues to be men who are willing to pay for sex, this issue is going to go on.”
He said it is particularly important to raise awareness about human trafficking in Arizona ahead of Super Bowl XLIX, which will be held Feb. 1, 2015, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. This year, the FBI announced just two days after Super Bowl XLVIII in East Rutherford, N.J., that it had rescued 16 juveniles and arrested more than 45 pimps in a commercial child sex trafficking sting. Some of the pimps claimed they had traveled to New Jersey specifically to prostitute women and children at the Super Bowl.
To learn more about Bike4Solution or to make a donation, visit bike4solution.org.
Michelle McManimon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 556-2261.”
Diane Scimone and my club, the Students Against Modern Slavery, were recently featured on our school website. Check it out:
By Abigail Heiser ‘14
“Get mad. Then do something about it,” we were encouraged by Diana Scimone, founder of Born 2 Fly, an organization working to educate the world about child sex trafficking. It wasn’t a difficult feat: our eyes flashed with the images of dirty, scared children, all looking at us with hopeless eyes. These children, these daughters, sons, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, were all victims of human trafficking. And we were outraged.
Students Against Modern Slavery, affectionately referred to as SAMS, invited Ms. Scimone to talk to the junior and senior classes about a horrifying reality they had studied in Peace and Social Justice: human, specifically child, trafficking. Human trafficking, the number two income-generating illegal syndicate, generates 9.5 billion dollars a year. It ruins the lives of 1.2 million children, some as young as five years old, each year, and that staggering number is only getting bigger. Many Americans falsely believe that human trafficking is something exclusive to other countries, to underdeveloped “backwards” societies. In fact, it’s happening on our very doorstep: 100,000 children here in the United States are at risk for being trafficked this very moment. To be sure, the idea that anyone could defile a human life in such a way is not something one easily comes to term with. The only way to halt and reverse these growing statistics, however, is to spread awareness. And that is the goal of Born 2 Fly, an organization that supplies curriculums for teaching awareness in more than 65 countries.
Ms. Scimone was not led to action by the numbers: indeed, the numbers did not even enter her perception until she met face-to-face with a horrible breach of humanity. While working as a journalist in India, she caught a glimpse of the cages that child slaves, an average of 11 years young, were kept in during the day, waiting, terrified, for the night. The night during which the child could be sold as many as 20 times for sex. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. That anger you feel pulsing through your veins right now is what fueled Ms. Scimone to act, to fight against the norms perpetuated by the bystanders in society. It was a long and difficult process, but with determination and willpower, she wrote and published a wordless book that teaches children their value, founded Born 2 Fly, and created and tested a curriculum that is now being implemented around the world in the hopes of preventing countless young girls and boys from meeting the fate to which we have lost millions.
The first part of Ms. Scimone’s original request was not the difficult part of the equation. It is essential, however, not to lose sight of that second demand in our outrage – that we act. Whether that is something as ambitious as founding your own awareness group or something as simple as donating at the provided link, every little bit counts. Find your strength, and use it to fight for the powerless.
November 16, 2013
The Honorable Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren
1401 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Congresswoman Lofgren,
My name is Izzy Ullmann. I am a senior at Notre Dame High School and a devoted advocate against human trafficking. I organized an art-as-awareness event downtown San Jose, founded a student advocacy group at my school, and am writing and teaching curriculum to middle schoolers on the issue. A few months ago, I spoke with you about cosponsoring the Human Trafficking Prioritization Act (H.R.2283) and I would like to profusely thank you for your expedient action.
Yet despite the admirable work that is being done to curtail this second most lucrative crime (netting $32 billion annually (according to the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime)), it continues to run rampant through the US and overseas. As Stop Violence Against Women points out, traffickers are finding unlimited ways to exploit human bodies through means such as child marriage, domestic servitude, and organ trafficking. As a nation, we cannot stand by as men, women, and children continue to be treated as disposable commodities.
Thirteen years ago, Congress came together to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), establishing human trafficking as a federal crime, and creating the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) office to combat it. The TVPRA provides for assistance programs and sets a global national standard for addressing the issue. Now the TVPA is up for renewal, and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (H.R. 898) intends to extend the law for at least another two years. It has more specific provisions for the TIP office secretary’s dealings with child marriage as well as a “conscience clause,” which allows grants to be sent to any organization, regardless of religious or moral affiliation. Many of the significant anti-trafficking organizations are based in faith, and this should not be a reason for funding to be withheld.
This bill has the power to save lives, but it cannot seize that power until it is voted on and passed. It has not even gotten to the floor in the House, and I implore you to help it get there. Up to this point, it has been referred to four committees (and subsequent subcommittees). It is now in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations in the Judiciary Committee that you are a part of. I would like to ask you to speak to members of that subcommittee, explain to them the cruciality of this bill, and encourage them to approve it so that it can move back to Committee for approval. Thank you for your support in protecting the oppressed.
The Freedom Exhibit– a Post- Reflection
August 3, 2013 12:00 AM