Bridge to Freedom Foundaton

Bridge to Freedom Foundaton

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

Posted: 17 Aug 2012 08:28 PM PDT

In Afghanistan, 13 year old Sahar Gul was forced to marry her husband, 30 year old Ghulam Sakhi, illegally. She was beaten, tortured, and thrown into a dark cellar at the hands of her husband and in-laws after declining to prostitute herself or have sex with her husband. Sakhi and his family were not unaccustomed to using violence to force action; his first wife was beaten because she had not beared children. Sahar Gul's husband and in-laws were each sentenced to 10 years in prison; she is now at a shelter in Kabul.

Donyel Pier Dove of Manassas, Va. Sentenced for role in gang-led prostitution of H.S. girls
Donyel Pier Dove, the member of a the Underground Gangster Crips (UGC) based in Fairfax Virginia, was sentenced to 276 months in prison and 5 years of superised release. Dove served as a bodyguard and and driver for the UGC's prostitution ring, and even paid for advertisements of such commercial trafficking on Five other members or associates of UGC were also convicted of the sex trafficking of juveniles.

Traffickers force more men into servitude
A Salvadoran man, who has not been identified because of beliefs that he is a victim of a sex crime, escaped a remote ranch after being forced to work without pay, picking vegetables; he endured beatings, rapings, and cigarette burns. In Houston, Texas there has been an increase in human traffficking cases involving men. Houston is popular for human trafficking because of its diversity and proximity to the Mexico border. Investigators have been unsuccessful in locating the ranch; the investigation remains open. Compiled By: Whitney Joseph

“Act”-ing for Children’s Welfare

Posted: 17 Aug 2012 08:19 PM PDT

Rep. Karen Bass
As the popularity of human trafficking grows through supply and demand, governmental and non-governmental efforts to end it also grow. Through such efforts, a link has been found between the welfare system and human trafficking, particularly when it comes to children. Yet, there seems to be a lack of data, research and legislation on these incidents.

One new piece of legislation is on its way to providing a solution for this problem: the Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act of 2011, or H.R. 2730. Introduced to the House of representatives in 2011, this bill is sponsored by Representative Karen Bass of California, and has 21 co-sponsors.

Some of the goals that H.R. 2730 seeks to accomplish include:
  • Guidelines for training child welfare and court employees in "identifying, educating, and counseling children at risk...or who are human trafficking victims who may be in the care of the child welfare system."
  • Guidelines with recommendations on "how state child welfare agencies may prevent children from becoming victims of trafficking."
  • Recommendations on "[updating] licensing that...residential facilities or safe havens serving children who are trafficking victims can qualify as childcare institutions."
  • Requiring state [Foster Care and Adoption Assistance] plans to make child welfare agencies classify children receiving assistance for trafficking, reasons for classification, information on each child, and immediate reporting to law enforcement the identity of missing or abducted children receiving assistance.
Non-profit organizations like Safe Horizon are doing what they can to increase the number of supporters. Safe Horizon, which provides support and services for victims of violence and abuse, is the largest victims' service agency in the U.S. Other supporters include Shared Hope International, ECPAT, the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), and Courtney's House, a partner of the Bridge to Freedom Foundation (BTFF).

Where is the bill now? It has been referred to the Subcommitee on Human Resources. Afterward, it'll make its way to the Senate, then hopefully to the President where it will oficially become a bill!

What can you do? Find out who your representative is and call or write a letter to him or her encouraging them to support H.R. 2730. You can also sign the letter to support H.R. 2730 via Safe Horizon.

By Whitney Joseph