Posted in Uncategorized on December 6, 2013 by CMSHTC

December 6, 2013. Today the world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela. It is fitting to share some of his reflections on freedom, from his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, which we include below.

It is also fitting to remember the courageous and radical nature of his work and his voice, and his willingness to call powerful nations to task for failures to uphold democracy, freedom, and human rights for all persons. Citizens of the United States must remember that our government not only supported apartheid in South Africa, but actively created policies of segregation/apartheid in the United States for decades. We still live with the consequences of those policies, as do the people of South Africa. Mandela’s work is not done.

From Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (emphasis added):

“I was not born with a hunger to be free. I was born free-free in every way that I could know. Free to run in the fields near my mother’s hut, free to swim in the clear stream that ran through my village, free to roast mealies under the stars and ride the broad backs of slow-moving bulls. As long as I obeyed my father and abided by the customs of my tribe, I was not troubled by the laws of man or God.

“It was only when I began to learn that my boyhood freedom was an illusion, when I discovered as a young man that my freedom had already been taken from me, that I began to hunger for it. At first, as a student, I wanted freedom only for myself, the transitory freedoms of being able to stay out at night, read what I pleased, and go where I chose. Later, as a young man in Johannesburg, I yearned for the basic and honorable freedoms of achieving my potential, or earning my keep, of marrying and having a family-the freedom not to be obstructed in a lawful life.

“But then I slowly saw that not only was I not free, but my brothers and sisters were not free. I saw that it was not just my freedom that was curtailed, but the freedom of everyone who looked like I did. That is when I joined the African National Congress, and that is when the hunger for my own freedom became the greater hunger for the freedom of my people. It was this desire for the freedom of my people to live their lives with dignity and self-respect that animated my life, that transformed a frightened young man into a bold one, that drove a law-abiding attorney to become a criminal, that turned a family-loving husband into a man without a home, that forced a life-loving man to live like a monk. I am no more virtuous or self-sacrificing than the next man, but I found that I could not even enjoy the poor and limited freedoms I was allowed when I knew my people were not free. Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.

“It was during those long and lonely years that my hunger for the freedom of my own people became a hunger for the freedom of all people, white and black. I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.

“When I walked out of prison, that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both. Some say that has now been achieved. But I know that that is not the case. The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed. We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road. For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.

“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.”

Introducing: Stephanie Gilliam, CMSHTC Board Member

Posted in Uncategorized on November 8, 2012 by CMSHTC

Hi everyone! This is my very first blog post so we will see how this goes…

My name is Stephanie and I am the treasurer for the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition (CMSHTC). I have been a board member for about 2 ½ years now.

I am originally from a small town in southeast Missouri called Bonne Terre. I came to Columbia in 2005 to go to Mizzou, ended up getting a job here after school and now call Columbia “home.” I am a registered veterinary technician at the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. My specialties are neurology/neurosurgery and small animal physical rehabilitation. I absolutely LOVE my job. I feel blessed to be able to help those who aren’t able to help themselves. I work full time in the teaching hospital but I also teach an online course, Clinical Neurology, for veterinary technicians. I am also a wife and a mommy. Kyle and I have been married for 5 years now and we have one son, Sawyer, who is 2 years old. We are expecting another little boy in February 2013. We have 3 canine “sons;” Remington (Labrador), Payton (pit bull mix) and Harley (Bichon Frise). (Apparently I’m only meant to raise boys). My family is my world. I can’t imagine going through life without them.

I originally heard of human trafficking about 4 years ago at my church, Christian Chapel, here in Columbia. Our pastor, John Battaglia, is very involved in anti-human trafficking work. It was human trafficking awareness week and we had a speaker come to church and talk about human trafficking. I had never even heard of human trafficking and I was so shocked to hear that not only was it going on but it was happening in my area, in my own backyard. I went to a few other events that week–a concert and a seminar given by David Batstone, author of the book “Not For Sale.” During the seminar I could tell that God was calling me to do something. I remember thinking, “Come on God, I’m a vet tech. Send me to the Humane Society where I know what I’m doing. I’m not qualified to fight human trafficking!” Well, needless to say He didn’t budge. He kept telling me that this is what He wanted me to do. So, after the seminar I went to Pastor John and just said “I want to do something.”

We started a “compassion team” at Christian Chapel that focused on anti-human trafficking efforts. We have since done projects such as promoting fair trade products, serving at a local children’s home and other charities, as well as organizing the annual “Freedom Walk” every spring. The Freedom Walk is a 5K that supports CMSHTC as well as an international anti-human trafficking organization. Pastor John also told me about the coalition and encouraged me to attend some of the meetings. I was so impressed by the work that the coalition does that I became a board member about 1 year later.

I love being involved with the CMSHTC. I am about the least qualified person ever to be doing this work, so if I can do it, anyone can. I encourage anyone that has a heart for this topic to just jump in and get involved. God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. There is something that everyone can do. Every step towards ending modern day slavery in our lifetime is a big one. It’s going to take all of us as a together but I know we can do it!

A Picture says a Thousand Words: sending the right message about the realities of abuse through our images

Posted in Uncategorized on June 11, 2012 by CMSHTC

A thought provoking blog post from Becky Bullard. A Picture says a Thousand Words: sending the right message about the realities of abuse through our images.

On a related note, we need to be aware of the impact of posting images of violence on the people who have experienced violence, and avoid re-triggering trauma. There have got to be better ways to connect with people about the problem of human trafficking….

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2012 by CMSHTC

By Tami Herman, MSW

April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month.  Although exact figures are unknown at this time, estimates from the Department of Justice and non-governmental organizations suggest a high number of commercially sexually exploited children in the country.  About 1.7 million youth run away from home every year in America. Some children are lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.  One study estimates that the average age a child lured into prostitution is 12 to 14 years old.  Many runaways leave home due to circumstances of physical and/or sexual abuse and neglect only to end up being re-victimized upon arriving onto the streets.  Commercial sexual exploitation of children is CHILD ABUSE.  The International Labor Organization estimates worldwide there are 246 million exploited children between the ages of 5 and 17 years old forced into the drug trade, the arms trade, panhandling, factory work, recruited for armies, etc. Labor exploitation of children is CHILD ABUSE.  The abuse suffered at the hands of traffickers leave children with physical and emotional scars impacting them for a lifetime. Children have a right to be free from harm and protected by society.  We entrust these children to lead our countries into future prosperity.  We invest in our children for the sake of future generations.  If we don’t nurture and protect them, our society will cease to be.  Take a stand and be a voice for trafficked children worldwide. Make a commitment to bring light to this atrocity.  What will you do to break the cycle of abuse for our nation’s children and heal them?

Tami Herman serves on the Board of Directors for CMSHTC, and is Regional Training Manager for Missouri Alliance for Children and Families. She and her husband have two daughters.

For additional information on National Child Abuse Prevention Month, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

2012 International Women’s Day

Posted in Uncategorized on March 8, 2012 by CMSHTC

By Alex Forkin

Please, please, put away your streamers and blow horns. It’s too early for that. You should at least let your co-workers and friends have some caffeine in their system before you begin screaming from the top of your lungs.  Wait….you don’t know what I’m talking about? You don’t have a cake decorated with a plethora of different country’s flags waiting in your office’s break room refrigerator to share with your co-workers later today?

It’s okay…I don’t either.

However, today IS a day worth at least mentioning to some and celebrating in your own little way. For me, I’m writing this blog post and sending E-cards to the women I know who are making a difference in the world. See, that’s not too hard, is it?

In the West, International Women’s Day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8th as the UN Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.

Last year was the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and in honor of this incredible event, the International Committee of the Red Cross called states and other countries not to relent in their efforts to prevent rape and other forms of sexual violence that harm the lives and dignity of countless women in conflict zones around the world. The UN’s theme for International Women’s Day this year is to empower women and end hunger and poverty.

Poverty and hunger are what many women and children experience before they enter into sexualized industries as well as highly dangerous trafficking communities. In attempts to make their bellies full and provide for their families, women around the world are being promised an opportunity to do that, but instead are being held hostage and working for the provision and for the benefit of their captors. It’s these women, who sought the protection and benevolence of those they love, who are in turn, made into slaves.

The Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition exists to end this slavery and sexual exploitation of innocent children, women, and men. We do this through active engagement in community collaboration and education, understanding how to identify victims, exposing traffickers and users, promoting slave-free practices, and supporting survivors of human trafficking on their journey toward wholeness.

“Journey towards wholeness”

That sounds nice doesn’t it?

Wholeness.

Completeness.

 Entirety.

Today, lets jumpstart this journey towards “wholeness” for victims by recognizing those who are not experiencing it and celebrating the women around the world whose lives are dedicated to providing it.

Testimony of Luis CdeBaca on Reauthorization of TVPA

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16, 2011 by CMSHTC

The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act: Renewing the Commitment to Victims of Human Trafficking
The text of Ambassador CdeBaca’s testimony was disseminated by the U.S. Department of State.

Testimony
Luis CdeBaca
Ambassador-at-Large, Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Statement Before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Washington, DC

September 14, 2011

 Good morning. I’d like to thank Chairman Leahy, Senator Grassley, and all the members of the Committee for the opportunity to testify today. I am Ambassador Lou de Baca. As President Obama’s Ambassador-at-Large to Combat Human Trafficking, I direct the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP) and I am responsible for leading our efforts in the global fight against modern slavery.

In addition to the production of the annual Trafficking in Persons Report and a range of direct diplomatic and public engagement on human trafficking issues, one of the primary responsibilities of our office is the administration of foreign assistance funds for international anti-trafficking programs.

Our grantees operate in all regions of the world and are advancing all three Ps of the 3P Paradigm—prevention, prosecution, and protection—that guide our efforts to fight modern slavery here at home and around the world. That means the work of our grantees runs the gamut of anti-trafficking efforts, whether victim protection and rehabilitation, training for prosecutors and law enforcement officials, or prevention efforts, including partnerships with civil society and the private sector, that look to address this crime and curb demand before it takes place. These efforts are closely linked to the mandates and purposes laid out in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and its subsequent reauthorizations. The provisions in the TVPA help to prioritize the allocation of our anti-trafficking funds.

Because the three Ps function as an interlocking paradigm, no single P stands alone. For example, it is not enough to prosecute traffickers if we do not also provide assistance to the survivors and work to ensure that no one else is victimized. Thus, many of G/TIP’s projects are cross-cutting in their approach to combating trafficking, and we place a particular emphasis on programs that address victim protection. Ninety percent of projects we have funded last year include a protection component and 61 percent provide direct services for victims. Just over half of the projects build capacity of local law enforcement and prosecutors to apprehend and prosecute traffickers; victim protection is a critical component of these projects as well because justice for the most vulnerable begins with a robust victim-centered approach. More than 90 percent of prevention programs include victim protection activities. Fifty-nine percent of all protection programs include activities to increase prosecutions and convictions, and nearly three quarters of projects focus on both labor and sex trafficking to ensure a comprehensive response to all forms of trafficking.

As I hope to demonstrate today, the programs we help fund are successful, but our foreign assistance budget is modest relative to the global scale of the crime of trafficking in persons. Our final foreign assistance appropriation for this fiscal year was $16.2 million. While we put every penny of that sum to good use, that total stands in stark contrast to a crime exploiting as many as 27 million victims worldwide.

My testimony will demonstrate that the appropriation for our international programs is money well spent, both in terms of the transparency of our grant selection process and in terms of the effectiveness of these funds in advancing U.S. foreign policy.

A good starting point is to explain how we decide to spend our foreign assistance funds. Responsible administration of foreign assistance funds is a top priority for our office. That’s why we’ve implemented a rigorous, transparent, and competitive application process for our grants.

Our foreign assistance and programming priorities are strategically linked to the country-specific tier rankings and diagnostic assessments included in the annual TIP Report. To maximize our limited funding, we identify priority countries for funding each year. We generally target our foreign assistance to Tier 3, Tier 2 Watch List, and, in some cases, Tier 2 countries, where governments have the political will to improve the response to trafficking but lack the economic resources to address the problem. In addition to targeting Tier 3, Tier 2 Watch List, and selected Tier 2 countries, we also consider a country’s financial resources and need for technical support, political will to address trafficking in persons, and other funding that may be already used to address trafficking in the country.

At the start of the process, our office posts information about funding priorities and the availability of funds for anti-trafficking projects on our website. We convene a half-day bidders’ conference for potential applicants, which in the past has been attended by nearly 150 representatives of NGOs, universities, and international organizations, among others. For those not able to attend the conference, we publish the material presented on our website.

We solicit proposals via www.grantsolutions.gov and www.grants.gov, the portals for U.S. government grants, and through a global call for proposals through U.S. embassies abroad. Solicitations conducted via www.grantsolutions.gov and www.grants.gov involve applicants submitting their proposals through the systems managed by OMB and HHS. The global call for proposals is a partnership between U.S. embassies and G/TIP, as we ask U.S. embassies to inform organizations working on trafficking how proposals may be submitted to G/TIP.

Grant proposals that are submitted to G/TIP in response to solicitations for bilateral or regional projects are reviewed for technical requirements. Proposals that meet the minimum technical standards (English language, figures in U.S. dollars, and published page limits) are forwarded to U.S. embassies for review by the TIP country team, which may include the political officer, USAID, and other relevant offices. The country team reviews applications and provides feedback to the Department on proposals for bilateral projects that are submitted to G/TIP.

Proposals are then subjected to a competitive interagency regional review panel that provides an opportunity for input from representatives of G/TIP; the relevant Regional Bureau; other offices within the Department that fund anti-trafficking programs; the USAID regional representative; and, as appropriate, other U.S. government agencies.

G/TIP anti-trafficking projects are primarily funded as grants, cooperative agreements, or Interagency Agreements and managed by the G/TIP Grants Officer and International Programs Officers. However, some projects are awarded at State Department posts abroad if G/TIP and post determine that this would facilitate more effective management of the project.

The selection of proposals for funding is based on program priorities and requirements conveyed in the solicitation for proposals. In an ongoing effort to improve the design and effectiveness of anti-trafficking projects, in FY07, G/TIP began to explicitly require applicants to clearly articulate goals and objectives, activities to support each objective, as well as indicators to measure success. The FY07 revised solicitation format was recognized as a model for other offices within the Department.

To further improve the competitive process, in FY10, our office initiated a two-stage grant application process that streamlined the application for organizations seeking funding and reduced the U.S. government resources required to review hundreds of 30-page proposals, while preserving fairness and transparency. In the first stage applicants submit a two-page proposal or concept note and following the review described, selected applicants are invited to submit a full proposal for competitive review.

The required proposal elements stated in solicitations constitute the basis for evaluating proposals. Each panel recommends to me proposals for funding. The results of the review panels are compiled for my review and consideration. I select proposals that best reflect the programming needs for the specific country as identified in the TIP Report, as well as global and regional program needs. Following review and approval of recommended projects by the Director of Foreign Assistance, all projects are sent for Congressional Notification. Abstracts of recommended proposals are distributed to the members of the Senior Policy Operating Group (SPOG) for a final review and comment.

The review process is thorough and transparent, involving numerous partners within the State Department and across government, and of course concluding with Congressional consultation. Such diligence is necessary given the demand for our international program funding. In the last two years, the Office received 998 applications requesting a total of $547 million.

In recent years, G/TIP has taken several steps to shorten the time from proposal submission to project award, including hiring more program officers (from five in 2009 to nine in 2011) and establishing the grants officer and budget officer positions within G/TIP. In contrast to previous years, almost all of foreign assistance funds were obligated in 2010 and we expect the same this year.

Our thorough pre-award review process is necessarily coupled with effective monitoring and evaluation of international programs. The program and grant officers within the Department have monitored anti-trafficking grant projects to provide technical assistance to grantees and to ensure that project goals and objectives are implemented; that Federal grant funds are expended consistent with the provisions of pertinent statutes, regulations, agency administrative requirements; and, that Federal funds are used responsibly.

Grantees are required to submit program progress and financial reports throughout the project period and final reports within 90 days of the end of the project.

The U.S. embassy officers are partners in program monitoring. G/TIP notifies the appropriate officer at post when a new grant is awarded; the guidance from G/TIP provides key project information and recommends procedures for embassy participation in monitoring which are subject to embassy staffing and workloads. When G/TIP Program Officers conduct site visits they use a standardized format for review of administrative and programmatic aspects of the project and the TIP point of contact at the embassy accompanies the officer on the site visit, if available. This practice facilitates close collaboration between the post and G/TIP and strengthens follow-on monitoring by posts.

We take great care in ensuring that we are responsible custodians of the taxpayers’ money, and I believe G/TIP has succeeded in our efforts to make the administration of our programs funding as transparent and accountable as possible. But the true success story here is the programs themselves. Whether in Cote D’Ivoire, where Prosperite is providing basic shelter and services to young girls; or in Thailand, where TRAFCORD has coordinated a series of successful rescues of labor and sex trafficking victims and serves as a model in the region; or in Mexico, where Casa Alianza is working to increase the identification of TIP victims among highly vulnerable street children; or in India where projects demonstrate best practices in raising awareness of government services for freed bonded laborers and aftercare following their release; or in Ghana where a U.S. expert provided technical assistance to local prosecutors leading to a path-breaking conviction, the first of its kind in a forced child labor case, the true success of our programs is the results we are seeing.

The sad reality is that without the modest funding G/TIP is able to provide, many of the projects we support would have to close their doors. That would mean more than just the end of a victim identification initiative or the shuttering of a shelter for survivors. In many instances, it would mean the end of all such services in that country. That must not be the mark of our foreign policy.
The President and Secretary Clinton have made the effort to combat modern slavery a priority because it is in our strategic interest to combat modern slavery. Human trafficking thrives in places where vulnerable populations slip through the cracks and live without the protection of law. The places where we support anti-trafficking programs are the places where we need to show that the United States will stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

But fighting slavery is more than good foreign policy. It’s part of who we are as a nation. We cannot walk away from that responsibility here at home or in our conduct around the world.

I thank you again for the opportunity to testify today. We look forward to working with you further to provide information or answer questions that would provide additional clarity or background.

Girls Like Us – Review

Posted in Blog with tags , , , on July 25, 2011 by CMSHTC

By Kelsey Saragnese

I don’t usually enjoy memoirs and autobiographies because, by their very nature, they are very focused on themselves, without a picture of the story and circumstances surrounding the author. However, Rachel Lloyd’s memoir, Girls Like Us, is an anti-memoir, a book about a movement, in which she includes herself only because it is necessary to get a better grasp on the shared experiences of hundreds of thousands of girls, as the title suggests, like her.

Rachel’s story mirrors the one she tells of GEMS (Girls Educational & Mentoring Services): chapters filled with GEMS girls you meet, and are automatically drawn to, interspersed with her own addiction, abuse, exploitation, and recovery. Rachel illustrates the details of her own past, elaborate, haunting accounts that let a reader like myself, who has never experienced most of the things she has, understand and envision the horrors that trafficked and exploited girls face every day.

This is a book that I would suggest to anyone. Every woman should read it to understand that women, simply because they are women, are targeted and abused by predatory men, but that there are ways to stop it, to stand up for their unknown sisters and daughters. Every man should read it to understand the ramifications of actions, of jokes, of being a bystander, of tolerating that which cannot be tolerated. 

Girls Like Us is available from the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition for $20. To purchase a copy, email help@stophumantraffickingmo.com.

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