Last Month, Today: The News in July
Ad Campaign Reveals ‘Ugly Truth’ About Trafficking in U.S.
In July, the San Diego District Attorney’s Office launched a new ad campaign directed at debunking myths about sex trafficking. These billboards can be found around the city, and even at popular sports events where the information is projected onto buildings. These posters say, “The Prostitution Myth: Sex trafficking? Not in America’s Finest City. The Ugly Truth: According to the FBI, traffickers are exploiting people here every day.” and “The Prostitution Myth: If a woman chooses to sell her body that’s her business. The Ugly Truth: Prostitution is rarely a choice.” According to the article, these messages illuminate the prevalence of trafficking..
Source: Sarah Grossman at Huffington Post
Thailand Cracking Down on Sprawling Sex Industry
Thailand has recently made the decision to eradicate its sex industry. Thailand is notorious for a vast number of sex workers and a huge sex tourism industry. Although prostitution is already illegal in Thailand, the law is not enforced. The goal is to close the sex trade to make Thailand a female-friendly travel destination. Moreover, the tourist minister is pushing to change Thailand’s reputation from being a hub for sex tourism to a place with beautiful landscapes and a fascinating culture.
Truckers Uniting to Halt Sex Trafficking
Kylla Lanier founded Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) with her mother and three sisters a few years ago. Since then TAT stickers, wallet cards, and posters that provide information and a phone number for a sex trafficking hotline have become ubiquitous in the trucking industry, teaching truck drivers the clues that indicate a possible trafficking situation. Trucking companies and law enforcement are excited about this new non-profit. Nearly 250,000 drivers are aware of and on board with TAT’s mission, and drivers’ calls to the hotline have freed hundreds of trafficking victims.
Source: Frank Morris at NPR
This goes hand in hand with the latest initiative from The Department of Homeland Security:
Transportation Industry to Combat Human Trafficking
Since traffickers use transportation systems to carry out their heinous criminal activities, there has recently been an initiative to bring together various mediums of transportation uniting under the purpose of combating human trafficking. The Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign and the Department of Transportation hosted an event that brought together leadership from both departments, and representatives from airline, rail, bus, and trucking companies. As a part of the Blue Lightning Initiative, these departments train transportation workers to identify traffickers and their victims. They are to report their suspicions to federal law enforcement.
Controversy Regarding Thailand’s New Ranking in Annual Human Trafficking Report
In June, the U.S. Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report upgraded Thailand from Tier 3 to the Tier 2 Watch List. The Tier 2 Watch List is designated to countries that do not meet the minimum U.S. standards for the elimination of trafficking, but are making significant efforts to do so. This new ranking is controversial because many who are working against trafficking in Thailand believe that this move is unwarranted and could slow progress. An international coalition of human rights, labor, and environmental organizations said that this would “undermine international efforts to significantly and permanently improve working conditions among migrant workers in Thailand.”
Source: International Labor Rights Forum
Education is the Key to Ending Sex Trafficking
Sofia Aumann, a student at Cornell University, recently returned from a 10-day trip to Thailand, where she witnessed the prevalence of prostitution there, even though it’s illegal. Her research showed that it is vital to boost self-confidence when girls are young so that they will stay in school. Staying in school will keep them out of sex trafficking, drugs, and crime.
Source: Kathy Hovis at Cornell Chronicle
Why Syria Children are Holding Pictures of Pokemon
Recently a media campaign to highlight the plight of Syrian children emerged, making use of Pokemon Go. The new and extremely popular app operates on going to real-world locations to catch certain Pokemon. Therefore, young children in Syria are holding the Pokemon to help people become aware of the crisis. The United Nations estimated that 4.5 million people in Syria are living in “besieged or in hard-to-reach areas, with civilians prevented from leaving and with little to no access to food, medicine or other essentials.” These Pokemon characters are at least able to get a large population to pay attention to or become aware of an immense tragedy.
Source: Tucker Reals at CBS News