7/31/2014 (12:39pm)

Act Now!

July 31, 2014 Polaris

Last week, the House of Representatives passed 8 human trafficking bills. However, as of this morning, they have yet to help tens of thousands of children fleeing violence in Central America.  

Click here to ask your representative to protect the TVPRA and support these vulnerable children.

Instead, Congress is considering rolling back protections for these children by amending the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008. Send a message to President Obama and Congress TODAY and urge them to protect these children fleeing violence by supporting the TVPRA.

Some of these children may be victims of trafficking and abuse; many more are vulnerable to being trafficked. That’s why the due process protections in the 2008 TVPRA* are critical for unaccompanied children and ensure appropriate screening to identify those who have been trafficked or have valid asylum claims. Instead of weakening the very law designed to protect these children, Congress and the Administration should work to ensure these children are safe.

*Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act

7/10/2014 (12:47pm)

Statement on U.S. House Anti-Trafficking Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 20, 2014)

Polaris Project, a leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking and modern slavery, released a statement on the series of bills the U.S. House of Representatives considered today on human trafficking. The bills included H.Res. 573, H.R. 4058, H.R. 4573, H.R. 3530, H.R. 3610, and H.R. 4225.

"Polaris Project is pleased that Congress is rightfully focusing its attention on helping people who are being exploited for profit against their will every day in America. The House Leadership and numerous legislative champions on both sides of the aisle are demonstrating a desire to prevent sex trafficking and help survivors rebuild their lives," said Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris Project. ”However, we are disappointed by the lack of interest to support all victims of human trafficking in these bills. Moving forward, we encourage Members of Congress to include labor trafficking victims in their legislative efforts because these victims have also faced abuse, sexual assault, threats, and other forms of coercion to perform labor or services against their will.”

"These bills are a step in the right direction in our collective effort to support victims, especially child victims of sex trafficking. The bills seek to protect teenagers in the foster care system with new screening and identification methods and encourage states to treat trafficked children as victims instead of charging them with crimes they were forced to commit," added Britanny Vanderhoof, Polaris Project’s Policy Counsel. ”We are hopeful that bipartisan legislation, such as the bills put forward by Congressman Royce to curb fraudulent labor recruiting practices or Congresswoman Bass to strengthen the child welfare system for child victims of both sex and labor trafficking, can gain similar attention in Congress.”

Polaris Project released a fact sheet on a number of the bills under consideration by the U.S. House, which can be accessed here.

Human trafficking is a thriving criminal industry, with traffickers making billions in profits by using force, fraud, or coercion to rob victims of their freedom. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, with hundreds of thousands of victims forced to provide commercial sex, labor, or services against their will in the United States. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center, operated by Polaris Project, has received reports of more than 15,000 cases of human trafficking in the United States.

People can receive help, report a tip, or request information or training by calling the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 

6/25/2014 (10:25am) 1 note

38 California arrests in child-trafficking sweep

  • The Associated Press
  • Posted June 23, 2014 at 2:13 p.m.

— SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Federal, state and local authorities in California have made more than three dozen arrests and recovered 27 juveniles as part of an annual national crackdown on child sex trafficking.

FBI officials announced the results of last week’s national roundup on Monday as they try to draw attention to what they describe as a pervasive problem. They also say many people don’t recognize it as an issue in the U.S.

Agents urged parents to monitor their children’s social media accounts as a way of thwarting predators.

The Sacramento-based FBI region made seven arrests and recovered nine juveniles. There were 13 arrests and six recoveries in the San Francisco region.

In Southern California, there 12 arrests and 10 recoveries in Los Angeles, and six arrests and two recoveries in San Diego.

Read more: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2014/jun/23/38-california-arrests-in-child-trafficking-sweep/?partner=RSS#ixzz35flj1pno 
- vcstar.com 

Safe Shelter Collaborative Wins Partnership for Freedom Challenge | Polaris Project | Combating Human Trafficking and Modern-day Slavery →

5/13/2014 (10:39am)

5/12/2014 (11:55am)

By Kelly Goff, Los Angeles Daily News

L.A. County District Attorney launches treatment program offering help to child prostitutes

Two Los Angeles County Juvenile Court branches will soon offer an alternative to jail for minors arrested for prostitution, District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced Wednesday.

The diversion program, called First Step, is aimed at reducing the number of sex trafficking victims, who often end up in a jail-to-street recidivism cycle after being lured into prostitution at a young age. It willroll out in the San Fernando Valley and South Los Angeles,

“We believe that minors who engage in sex for pay are victims, not criminals,” Lacey told reporters. “We believe that we should help these children, not detain them.”

Between 2000 and 2010, the juvenile division of the District Attorney’s Office filed 2,188 petitions against minors caught soliciting or loitering with the intent to solicit prostitution.

The new program will provide a year of crisis intervention, sexual-assault and mental-health counseling, substance-abuse treatment, education and other social services for girls who agree to participate. Lacey’s office will work with the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and a number of nonprofits.

At the end of that year, the youths who have completed the program will have the arrest that led to their participation cleared from their criminal record.

Lacey noted that pimps target the vulnerable — runaway and homeless children, youths with drug problems or those that have been abused at home — and the program offers an alternative to criminalizing kids. Most of those involved are girls, with a smaller number of boys.

“These are the victims who have been robbed of hope at a very young age,” Lacey said. “We want to stand beside these young victims and show them there is a way out if they just take the first step.”

The program will roll out in Sylmar and Compton first, two areas with a high number of arrests in the 12-to-17-year-old age group.

City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, who represents much of the area served by the Sylmar Juvenile Court, has spoken publicly of the need to focus resources on the large number of youths being pushed into the sex trade.

In Martinez’s district, two corridors — one along Sepulveda Boulevard inVan Nuys, the other along Lankershim Boulevard and San Fernando Road in Sun Valley — routinely attract girls plying the sex trade and the pimps who control them.

“Part of what we need to remember is that a lot of these (kids) come from a place where there isn’t a family structure for them, which makes them more vulnerable to this sort of abuse,” she said.

Martinez said combating the issue is a matter of attacking the problem from a number of sides: increased prosecution for the johns who pay for sex, increased enforcement of penalties for the pimps who control the prostitutes and continued contact with the youths affected to show them possibilities for a life off the streets.

“It’s an important part of the puzzle,” she said of efforts like First Step. “It’s part of continuing to reach out. I’m glad to see that it’s happening, and I’m glad to see that it’s happening in the Valley.”