Wednesday, November 28, 2012

VOTE Abigail because YOU are Abigail!

For those with a heart for change,

Gabriella here!  I'm an advocate member with BASI and am an Outreach Coordinator for More Than Me, an organization that works to lift girls off the street and into school in Liberia, West Africa.


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We're bringing together 1,000 blogs across the world to make one day - just one day on Nov 30th - a day to spread the word about the dreams of Abigail, one of our students. The occasion is a special on NBC  that we'll be appearing on.  Voting started on Tuesday (Nov 27), so we'd love your help in sharing the word ASAP! This is not for us. This is for a girl who is very real; who is waiting on the other side of the world to hear if she will get the chance to go to school! We're getting lots of exciting buzz around this including people sharing photos on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with "I am Abigail" written on their foreheads to remind us that any one of us could be Abigail, and it's so easy for us to help.


JOIN US NOW!
[blog or facebook]


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Here is what we'd like you to consider posting:


More Than Me, an education and girls’ empowerment non-profit is gaining notoriety through its guerilla-style marketing, inspiring hundreds of people to write “I am Abigail” on their foreheads and posting the photos on Facebook.

This really begs the question, “Who the heck is Abigail?”

Abigail was an orphan in West Point, Liberia. You may have read her letter in a previous article here on the Huffington Post. At six, she was left with prostitutes. She learned to work the streets in order to get access to drinking water and food. Education was not an option.

Then Abigail met Katie Meyler, the founder of More Than Me, an organization dedicated to getting girls off the streets and into schools. Katie and Abigail became fast friends, and More Than Me has raised the money to put Abigail through school. She is learning to bake, and aspires to one day be a Senator, so she can, in turn, help other girls like her.

So, why are all these people also “Abigail”?

Abigail could be you. Abigail could be your sister, your niece, your student, or your neighbor. Remember, we live in a global community; there is no “me” without “we”, Abigail is because you are, and you are because Abigail is.
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Join the community. When you’ve done that, help the community grow by spreading our story. And most of all, get inspired.

 

Abigail has a message for all of you:

Dear World,
My name is Abigail.
I'm 13-years-old. I live in West Point, Liberia. I don't know my parents... I was left with prostitutes when I was six-years-old. They took care of me, but life was hard. Often, I didn't have a place to sleep or food to eat. I never went to school. And I would often sleep at a video club so men could find me and then "rent" me for the night. I was abused, both in my mind and body. I didn't feel loved.
When I met the people at More Than Me, my life changed. I have a new home now and food to eat. I'm in school now. I'm happy now. I feel like I have a future now. I feel loved. I've learned how to bake, which helps me earn extra money.
Please help vote for me so I can continue in this new life and stay in school. Your vote is my future. I'll do anything to show you that I'll do my best in school and become something with my life.
Love,
Abigail

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For All People, everywhere...

Take 15 seconds (yes, just 15 seconds) to make the lives of these girls a bit better by doing two very simple and extremely meaningful things:

  1. VOTE NOW through Dec. 4 for Abigail and girls like her at voteabigail.org and... then
  2. Share it with others
  3. Make your OWN “I am Abigail” picture! 

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- Gabriella
BASI Advocate
Member Outreach Coordinator for More Than Me


Sunday, November 25, 2012

How to Find Local Anti-Human Trafficking Organizations


It is so very important to do more than only spread the word about the problem of human trafficking.  Being aware of the signs so you can report potential human trafficking situations is also very important. Getting involved with local anti-human trafficking organizations is another step you can take to impact the people around you, and more directly fight the problem of human trafficking from both the prevention and rescue sides!

After trying to search online for local anti-human trafficking organizations, I realized that is is quite difficult to know exactly what "key words" to type into search engines to locate anti-human trafficking organizations!

  Today's post will help you find anti- human trafficking organizations in your area!



Step 1: Online Search Engine

Start with a search engine such as Google or Bing.  You want to find a local organization which you can get involved with which works to end human trafficking.  In the search box type in words such as:
  • list of organizations
  • human trafficking
  • anti-human trafficking
  • NGO
  • globally
  • slavery
  • [name of your country/city]
  • initiative
  • coalition
  • task force
Click these two links to view search engine phrase examples:  "List of Organizations Human Trafficking""NGO human trafficking globally"

The three links below lead to sites with compiled lists of human trafficking organizations.  See if one is by you!
Global Organizations | Wikipedia List
United States Organizations by State | Polaris Project List , U.S. State Government

Step 2: Contact
Muster up courage, and call a local organization or send the organization an email.  Know what you are going to tell them before you call. People in anti-human trafficking organizations need people like you to get involved, because there is strength in numbers, and if we do not speak up to be a voice for the voiceless, who will?

Example:
"Hello, my name is Mary, I am a college student, and would like to know how I can get involved in local anti-human trafficking advocacy with your organization.  Do you have any suggestions, or can you direct me to someone who could help me?"


Step 3: Get Involved
Once you find an organization, which may be right in your town or a few hours away, it's time to put your intentions to action!  Find a few friends and encourage them to join you in attending an event through this organization.  If you go as a group it will help create a larger ripple effect, thus spreading awareness even faster.  This can also be a great way to connect with your friends and bring meaning to what you and your friends do!





Human Trafficking Awareness Training 
[U.S. Department of Homeland Security]
>> ENTER HERE <<


Follow us on Facebook HERE!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How To Be an Anti-Human Trafficking Activist

Here at BASI we put a lot of emphasis of educating you about the current issues surrounding the sphere of human trafficking and modern day slavery. But raising awareness among our fantastic readers - you - can only go so far and we believe it is time for us to give you some ideas how you can take the fight for human rights and social justice into your own hands. Just let the story of 8-year-old Vivienne and her Make-a-Stand lemonade inspire you - anyone can campaign for change!

Here is a list of some ideas - these are things you can easily do in your school, university or workplace.

FUNDRAISING


  • Have a bake sale - The classic high school fundraiser. Why not sell some lovely homemade brownies, have a laugh with your friends and raise some money for [free-them] or another charity of your choice!
  • Film showing - Over the past month we have introduced you to several fantastic films about the issues of human trafficking. You could choose "Back to Innocence" if you are looking for a short, lunch-time break piece or a full-blown movie like "Trade of Innocents" or a documentary entitled "The Price of Sex". The options are endless.
  • Social event - If a film showing seems a little too boring to you, you could organise a proper party or a ball and make sure a percentage of the proceeds from ticket sales go towards a charity in your area. You and your friends get to doll up, put on their smart attire and maybe even talk to that boy/girl you have been eyeing in the hallways (it does not really matter whether you are 15 or 51... crushes are crushes!) - all the while contributing to a worthy cause.
  • Sorority/fraternity - If you are a member of a sorority (US), you could try to bring the issue of human trafficking up with your sisters or brothers. In the UK, you could try to society talk to the President of your society and see if he or she would be willing to organise a fundraiser with you.
  • Calendar - This is a bit of a cliche and certainly not for everyone, but many organisations fundraise with the use of calendars featuring scantily clad hotties. At my home university members of the biggest sports teams annually shed their clothes to reveal muscular bodies and raise some money for a prominent charity - needless to say, the calendars completely sold out within 36 hours last year! If you are courageous, this will sure get people talking about the issue (while ogling the models...).


RAISING AWARENESS

  • Human trafficking awareness day - Naturally, raising awareness even without raising money is very important. If you are still in middle or high school, it should not be difficult to organise an awareness day centred around the issue of human trafficking. You could even incorporate a bake sale or a film showing as suggested above. 
  • Write for the school paper - Many high schools and universities have their own publications, to which talented students can contribute their own work. Why not write about the issue of human trafficking? This website should provide you with plenty of information on the topic - do not hesitate to contact us if you would like any materials or help with writing your piece! Help us spread the word and make the world a better place!
  • Post fliers on the school bulletin board - People are often too lazy to read a long article... If you post a colourful flier on the school bulletin board, highlighting the main issues of modern day slavery, you are sure to catch bypassers' eyes without making them put in any effort.
  • Debate - Debating societies often host open-door events, giving everyone a chance to contribute to the discussion. Talk to the person in charge of the next event and suggest that they choose human trafficking as their next topic du jour. This will allow participants to try to find creative solutions to the issue and who knows - perhaps one of them will strike gold?
Schools and universities are a place to get educated - it is not just about learning the things on your syllabus, but about becoming a well-rounded adult with good general knowledge of many useful topics. Help your friends and classmate - or potentially your co-workers - gain a better idea of the issues in our world and raise some money to fight social injustice today!*

Sunday, November 18, 2012

MTV EXIT




"MTV EXIT aims to increase awareness and prevention of human trafficking through television programs, online content, live events, and partnerships with anti-trafficking organizations." -MTV EXIT


FACT: Criminals earn an estimated US$10 billion every year through buying and selling human beings (UN

It takes people to help people.  Such a simple concept that is very easily looked over.  Who exactly combats this problem?
  • Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Anti-Trafficking Police
  • Human Rights Lawyers
  • People like You and me!
MTV EXIT (end exploitation and trafficking) is an MTV organization which stakes a stand against human trafficking.  Being a music television channel, MTV EXIT strongly encourages artists to use their talents to help bring awareness, educate, and fight human trafficking.  This can be through concert to raise awareness or funds.  You can also create pieces of art that make the viewer stop and think.  Reaching over 500,000 people, MTV EXIT has held 29 admission-free concerts across the Asia-Pacific region to educate on safe migration!  


"We are pleased to bring together again a few prominent local and international artists to inspire more young people to join in the fight to end exploitation and trafficking in Indonesia, "said Matt Love as the MTV EXIT Campaign Director. - Rolling Stones Indonesia


 Indonesian group d'Masiv partnered with MTV EXIT to raise awareness on the issue of human trafficking.


Have no fear, if art is not your calling there are still many other ways you can help end human trafficking!  You can join local anti-human trafficking organizations, host movie screenings, or simply start a conversation on the issue and the signs of human trafficking. Find out more about how you can use your talents to help combat human trafficking HERE!

What will you do with your talent to raise awareness?




Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Signs of Human Trafficking

These videos were created for Californians to vote Yes to Proposition 35, to expand human trafficking laws in California:


" I was thinking the worst... and the worst to me at that time was thinking she was dead... until she was recovered and we found out what had happened to her."

  

These victims stories show that whether a person is "developmentally disabled and vulnerable" or "straight A's and at the top of your class,"  they can still be victims of human trafficking.  It is easy for victims to blend into our every day lives.
 This is why it is important to recognize the signs.



Know the signs.  It is important to be able to recognize potential human trafficking situations.  Human trafficking takes place across all economic classes and among people of nations across the globe.  If you see suspicious activity that seems like it could be a human trafficking situation DO NOT try to approach the situation yourself.  Instead, CONTACT your local anti-human trafficking task force.  This can be either a non-government organization or part of your local police force.  Read more below to become aware of the warning signs of a potential human trafficking victim!

Common Work and Living Conditions: The Individual(s) in Question

  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
  • Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
  • Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
  • Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
  • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
  • Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
  • Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
  • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
  • High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
Security: Keep people in or keep people out?


Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior

  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
  • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
  • Avoids eye contact
Behavior: Fearful, anxious, submissive, tense, avoid eye contact


Poor Physical Health

  • Lacks health care
  • Appears malnourished
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
Physical: Signs of physical restraint, torture, malnourished


Lack of Control

  • Has few or no personal possessions
  • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
  • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
Control: Few possessions/identifications, does not speak for themselves


Other
  • Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
  • Loss of sense of time
  • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
-Polaris Project 2012


Look, Listen & Be Aware



Sources: Polaris Project

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Back to Innocence



While researching sex trafficking, I came across a short film called "Back to Innocence", which you can watch above. It is a very touching and powerful watch and will take up no more than four minutes of your day! Here is the powerful story behind it:

The “Back To Innocence” film was in many ways our most challenging video. From learning about the issue to creating the concept to producing the film, there was no shortage of barriers to making “Back To Innocence” possible. Still, the journey we embarked on to create this film is one we felt convicted to follow. And through the journey, we were no less blessed to be able to share this important cause with you. 
One challenge was our own ignorance to the reality of what was happening around the world. We knew that the issue of sex trafficking existed. We saw it in the movies, heard about it in our classes, and even nodded our heads in conversations about how sex trafficking was a serious issue. The reality was that we hardly even knew the extent of what is going on – and frankly, we are still only beginning to understand the true gravity of sex trafficking.  
To begin, it’s important to define sex trafficking for what it is: sex trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. Sex trafficking is accomplished by means of fraud, deception, threat of or use of force, abuse of a position of vulnerability, and other forms of coercion. Worldwide, it is estimated that somewhere between 700,000 and four million women, children and men are trafficked each year, and no region is unaffected. Sustained by an estimated $9.5 billion annual revenue, sex trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world and it is the world’s second largest criminal enterprise.  
Most heartbreaking was learning about the children who are forced into this industry. Approximately 80% of human trafficking victims are women and girls and up to 50% are children under the age of 18. UNICEF reports that across the world, there are over one million children entering the sex trade every year and that approximately 30 million children have lost their childhood through sexual exploitation over the past 30 years. The average age of entry for children victimized by the sex trade industry is 11 years old. 
What stood out the most about this issue is the prevalence of cases here in the United States. An estimated 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States each year. The number of U.S. citizens trafficked within the country is even higher, with an estimated 300,000 children in the United States at risk every year for commercial sexual exploitation. People are forced into trafficking by many methods. In some cases, they are abducted by traffickers. In other cases, false promises are made regarding job opportunities or marriages in foreign countries to entrap victims. As many as 2.8 million children run away each year in the US. Within 48 hours of hitting the streets, one-third of these children are lured or recruited into the underground world of prostitution and pornography.

Below you can have a look at how the short film was produced - the amount of planning and talent involved in it makes it truly outstanding and very special in its ability to reach the audience:

 

So what can you do to become involved in raising awareness of this issue? The "Back to Innocence" video is a good starting point - share it with your friends, family and community. Tweet about it, post it on Facebook, hold meetings, organise events and thus help people engage with this issue. Start a discussion. You are the change we need and you have all the tools you need.

If you are interested in seeing more from the Jubilee Project, have a look here. You can also follow them on Twitter or Facebook. And while you're at it, do not forget to follow BASI as well!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Week to BE MOVED!



A bit over a week ago, Bloggers Against Social Injustice committee member, Donna attended a social justice week presented by an amazing cafe called Fuel.Ph!  She invited her sister to join her, so she too could learn more about a serious issue lurking behind closed doors.  This week hit hard on the problem of human trafficking in the Philippines!  By attending, Donna was able to better educate herself on the realities and facts of human trafficking, and was inspired to be more bold when taking a stand.  

What is so cool about this cafe? Well, it is a cafe with a purpose.  "Fuel.Ph aims to encourage creativity, innovation, and the desire to see social change (Fuel.Ph)."  It does this by connecting with the community to inspire community members to use their passions to bring about social change.

As you experience this social justice week with Donna, in the following post, we hope you too can "Be Moved" to make a difference!



[Written by: Donna, Director of Social Media Relations of BASI]



When: October 22-27, 2012
Where: Smallville Iloilo City, Philippines
What: "Be Moved" Social Justice Week 
Presented By: Fuel.Ph



Last week my sister and I attended the Social Justice week: Be moved at Fuel.Ph. The key point of this event is to further permeate awareness on both young and old about the ongoing social injustices in the world predominantly Human Trafficking.

It was a 4 days event and I am very thrilled to take part of this occasion.  


_________1st Night_________
Screening of the film "Nefarious: Merchants of Souls" it's a documentary about the quandaries of those caught in sex trafficking. (Here's the trailer of the said film)





_________2nd Night_________
Art Exhibit - featuring sketches, paintings, photography artists and local music artists. They also feature Chameleon a local organization that fights against sexual abuse on children

_________3rd Night_________ 
open floor- dances with the theme of social injustices

_________4th Night_________ 
open mic - with songs and poetry being written with the theme as well.


Be the light (hope) on someone who has been sold! - is what this art is trying to say. 


















you'll get this Popsicle hearts with human trafficking info in it and Be moved sticker for free

 



Just courage -It's all we need to make a stand against human trafficking.



I am free, you are free... they should be free.
Do you think it's time to make a stand?




If you're a person with the heart to help our brothers and sisters who have been trafficked and want to take part in making a stand against social injustices then you are most welcome to join our team! Bloggers Against Social Injustice is an organization of bloggers from around the world united to make stand against social injustice. =)



Join us in fundraising to help fund rescue and recovery, and be educated on ways to recognize human trafficking so you can report it! CLICK HERE to read about the Signs of Human Trafficking!




FUEL.PH on FACEBOOK


Let us know what you think about "Be Moved"!