5 Common Myths about Human Trafficking

Today, July 30th is UN’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. Human trafficking has gotten a lot of attention over the years in the media, and while most people have an understanding of the problem. It is especially important to go through some common myths, because when we understand what trafficking is and why it occurs then we can know what we can do about it.

 

Myth #1: Human trafficking refers only to the sex industry

Trafficking in persons is a modern form of slavery, and it is the largest manifestation of slavery today. According to the State department at least 700,000 persons annually, primarily women and children, are trafficked within or across international borders. Approximately 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States each year. This crime includes forced labor and involves significant violations of labor not just sex crimes.

My first time seeing first hand how horrific labor trafficking was in New Delhi, India when I was volunteering with Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), an organization that has rescued over 86,000 from forced labor. In Asia, trafficking for forced labor is twice as common as trafficking for sexual exploitation. From 2007-2011, there was an 8% increase in the number of victims trafficked for labor.

Labor trafficking is not just happening in Asia. It happens in America as well. I am currently living in Ohio where right down the road from me Harold and Dancy D'Souza were trapped in bondage for over 19 months

 

Image from Polaris Project

Myth #2: People wouldn’t be trafficked if they knew the risks of working in another country.

Just like the D’Souza family many come to the US or other countries searching for a new life. Harold had obtained in a manufacturing company but instead got 19 months living “like rats.”. According to a recent World Vision study The lure of escaping poverty is more powerful than perceived risk of exploitation, which found that though the majority of migrants were aware of migration-related trafficking risks, knowledge was not enough to deter 3 to 5 million people from seeking employment in neighboring countries. 

Myth #3: Poverty and trafficking have nothing to do with each other.

Isolation from community or lack of language skills makes it hard for trafficked victims to understand their rights. Illegal immigrants are threatened with exposure and arrest, and choose exploitative conditions as the lesser evil of the two. Many do not even consider themselves trafficked, and work for years on the promise of a wage one day, after their debt of migration has finally been paid off.  

Poverty is the reason the the community we work with in New Delhi, India is trapped in the vicious cycle of Intergenerational Prostitution. Due to poverty prostitution is looked upon as lucrative means of employment. Which is why children are forced into marriage by the time they reach puberty. In most cases these young sex workers will be forced to drop out of school to earn money, rendering themselves ineligible for higher levels of employment and more lucrative and sustainable jobs in the future. These children are left with little choice, over their life; which is what our organization is trying to give back to them- choice.

Myth #4: Trafficking occurs when men exploit women & girls.

According to the State Department men and boys represent nearly HALF of the total number of human trafficking victims; yet the identification and proper care of male victims remains an enormous challenge to governments and care providers around the world. 

Myth #5: I don't have anything to do with trafficking.

If we refused to buy products that supported by human trafficking of every kind the demand for forced labor in these industries would be non-existent, and there would be no incentive to exploit innocent people.  This could be anything from not purchasing pornography, supporting buying clothing made by children or drinking coffee from underpaid workers. But, how do you know?  The best way to figure out how your daily choices make an impact on others is to take the Slavery Footprint survery. Supporting social enterprises by buying products made from survivors (like Sewing New Futures!)  is a great way to help end trafficking as well. 

Give us your thoughts! What is one small step you can take in your everyday life today to help end trafficking? 

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Summer Markets!

Sewing New Futures will be in some markets this summer! Please come out and visit us if we are in your area. If you are interested in selling SNF products in a truck show at home with your friends, at a school or church event or in a local market please contact us! Our volunteers are a huge part of our organization and make a significant impact to our survivors in New Delhi, India. 

 

 

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Fashion Revolution

On 24 April 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed. 1,138 people died and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history.

This ignited a long overdue call-to-arms by a concerned group of educators, designers, journalists and consumers, Fashion Revolution Day was created as a global movement to commemorate those lives lost, while promoting a conversation around supply chain transparency.

Fashion Revolution is a global movement calling for a fairer, safer, cleaner, more transparent fashion industry.

It’s why we, Sewing New Futures are proud as a organization to have complete transparency. We can tell you exactly which artisan made your scarf, and where our fabrics come from. Your purchase is definitely impacting the world for the better when you purchase from us!

 

Get involved with Fashion Revolution this week & ask brands #whomademyclothes 

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SNF is growing! Learn how to get involved.

This summer, while I (Kristin- check our SNF team page to know who we are) was still in New Delhi. Candice and I "switched" places; she moved to New Delhi and I came back to the States after 6 years in New Delhi this fall! It was very clear that our work space in New Delhi was too small. Artisans, kids and staff were tripping over each other.  

Monika, who is our fearless social worker and leader on the ground in India searched for new spaces for months. A frustrating process in Najafgarh. Most landlords won't rent to us because of the "criminals" we work with. That stigma is part of the vicious cycle we are working so hard to break. We got very lucky with our current landlord of the past year. "Uncle" as we all affectionately call him. He has even had hosted our artisans to his home in his village in Uttar Pradesh. Monika really pushed for us to stay in our current building with Uncle. She took on a huge construction project to add the addition space required for SNF to grow. 



We are happy to announce the construction was finished last week! Our centre in New Delhi has grown by two large floors, a classroom, a nursery, and a rooftop kitchen where we be implementing a much needed nutrition program. Consider giving a monthly recurring gift of $50 that will fund nutrition program for a year. The impact will be enormous for the children and our hard working artisans. Learn more about your impact and our tax deductible donations here.

We will be posting more information throughout the week with our plans and goals for how we are going to use this new space! Make sure to subscribe to our blog to stay updated. 

 

 

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