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Washington DC Peace & Security Forum

Washington DC Forum: The Face of Human Trafficking

Washington, DC, USA - “The Face of Human Trafficking in America” was the theme for the monthly roundtable meeting of UPF's Office for Peace and Security Affairs on October 3 at The Washington Times. More than 60 people attended the nearly three-hour event co-hosted with the Women’s Federation for World Peace and the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area. The forum addressed the domestic issues of human trafficking and how the U.S. is affecting trafficking around the world

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Co-hosts:

  • Dr. Antonio Betancourt – Director, Peace and Security Affairs, DC Office, UPF International
  • Angelika Selle – President, Women’s Federation for World Peace USA
  • Kathryn Wichmann – Director, Membership and Communications, United Nations Association

Moderator: Cynthia Turner – Executive Director, Seraphim Global

Speakers:

  • Yvonne Williams – Executive Director, Trafficking In America Task Force
  • Julie Southwell – Field Organizer, Mid-Atlantic Region, Amnesty International USA
  • Barbara Amaya – A survivor of human trafficking for sexual exploitation

Welcoming Remarks by Dr. Betancourt, UPF:

As NGOs of the United Nations, the Universal Peace Federation and the Women’s Federation for World Peace support the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), which considers human trafficking a crime against humanity. The purpose of this roundtable is to provide a forum to discuss human trafficking, which is a form of modern-day slavery.

Distinguished guests, members of the diplomatic community, scholars, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for attending this important discussion on one of the most important topics currently facing the international community, the looming transnational challenge of human trafficking in the 21st century.

On behalf of UPF International’s Office of Peace and Security Affairs, the Women’s Federation for World Peace and the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area, I welcome you to this conference on the theme “The Face of Human Trafficking in America.”

Human trafficking is a crime against humanity, and a crime so depraved that it calls upon each and every one of us to act as members of the same global family.   It is a crime that wreaks havoc upon the social fabric of each community, city, state, nation and region.  Every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.

Human trafficking has many forms, including forced labor, sex trafficking, child sex trafficking, debt bondage and involuntary domestic servitude.  In many ways, human trafficking is modern-day slavery.  It affects men, women and children alike.  It takes place in the poorest slums of the least-developed countries as it does in our own backyard in Washington, D.C.  Most human trafficking is facilitated by transnational criminal organizations, which have integrated networks, connections and resources that allow for their activities to go under the radar.  Human trafficking is usually coupled with a myriad of other criminal activities, such as the trafficking of money, drugs and arms.

How does human trafficking relate to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, to which the Universal Peace Federation and the Women’s Federation for World Peace are committed? For Goals 1 and 2, poverty and lack of education make people more vulnerable to human trafficking. For Goal 3, human trafficking can lead to rape and the physical and mental abuse of women, which is a violation of women’s human rights and negates gender equality. For Goal 6, human trafficking can lead to the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDs.

Remarks by Mrs. Angelika Selle, President of the Women’s Federation for World Peace USA:

Good afternoon. The WFWP and women in general have something to offer to resolve issues. We bring another view to the table – from a mother’s perspective and a mother’s heart to help solve problems in a more unconventional way. Today we are addressing human trafficking. I also call it human slavery. It is one of the most hideous crimes that face our society today. It is a problem that exists on all continents and even in our own back yard. I had the opportunity in August to attend a forum on human trafficking on Capitol Hill in which various organizations presented their findings, yet not one of them could admit to any significant progress, let alone to stopping it. It seems the last hope that we have is to collectively come together as leaders of organizations, governments and churches – and work together and maybe make a change. I truly look forward to hearing from the speakers, because we need to educate ourselves on the issue. It is very complex.

The Women’s Federation for World Peace was founded in 1992 by Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon and the late Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon to proclaim a new “era of women.” It is not a feminist organization, because we believe and affirm that women are the feminine expression of God’s image and men are the masculine. Men and women are equal in value but different in their roles. Mrs. Moon is the mother of 14 children and has circled the globe many times with her husband and by herself. She visited the 143 WFWP chapters around the world. There are 40 here in the United States. WFWP International is a non-profit, non-governmental, international organization (NGO) in General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and in association with UN Department of Public Information. Mrs. Moon’s favorite quotes are: “The history of today is calling for peace, reconciliation, compassion, love, service and sacrifice…. We live in an age in which the present problems cannot be solved by the masculine logic of power…. We must wage the movement to realize the True Love of living for the sake of others.”

Introduction to the Moderator, Cynthia Turner:

She is a founding member and the Executive Director of SeraphimGLOBAL, a 501(c)3 organization formed in 1996 to improve the health, education and socio-economic opportunities for vulnerable and disadvantaged populations around the world. Ms. Turner has a background in broadcast journalism and 33 years of experience in international development. She is also a member of the Women's Federation for World Peace and has been nominated to become an Ambassador for Peace. Throughout her career, Ms. Turner has been a strong advocate for integrating mental health and psychosocial services into national and community health systems and international development programs. She has developed and managed programs that include public awareness of trafficking, the recruitment of minors into gangs and aftercare services for victims of trafficking and street children in the U.S. and 12 countries.

Remarks by Cynthia Turner:

Thank you Dr. Betancourt, and the Universal Peace Federation staff for organizing this Roundtable and to The Washington Times and United Nations Association of the National Capital Area for hosting this forum on human trafficking in America and its global impact. Thank you, Mrs. Selle, for your leadership in promoting and celebrating the vital role of women in the family, community, business and the arts and in addressing the critical issue of trafficking. Thanks to the members of the audience for taking time from a probably overburdened schedule to participate in today's Roundtable and for your commitment to address the challenges of human trafficking in your country, your community. The intent of today's program is to educate, engage and encourage.

Educate:  to raise awareness of trafficking and its impact, the progress that has been made (such as the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which has sparked a global movement to fight the causes of trafficking and to punish the perpetrators) and the challenges that are ahead of us.

Engage: members of foreign governments in attendance today to:

  • develop a multi-disciplinary and coordinated approach to addressing trafficking in their countries;
  • foster government-NGO cooperation in their countries to increase investigations, prosecutions and convictions of traffickers and others involved in exploitation of people;
  • provide necessary assistance to and protection of victims;
  • develop regional,  national and local cooperation with law enforcement and international investigative organizations, customs, border patrols, NGOs, international watchdog organizations, transportation industry and business in combating trafficking.

Encourage:  each participant in today's event, to take an active role in combating trafficking by:

  • learning and being aware of the signs and symptoms of trafficking;
  • reporting suspected cases of trafficking and exploitation;
  • serving as a mentor to struggling families, single mothers and vulnerable children;
  • supporting new legislation that requires convicted traffickers to be registered as sex offenders and increases the punishment for traffickers from the usual 5-8 years in jail that is the punishment in most states and that decriminalizes “survivors.”

Starting with the global perspective, there are more than 27 million victims of human trafficking around the world. While this number is staggering, it is thought to be only a best guesstimate, as in the United States and so many other countries the incidence of human trafficking is under-reported.  In the United States, there is a clear link between gangs and trafficking.  Also, there are unsuspecting women and school-age children and adolescents who are brought to the United States from countries of the former Soviet Union, Africa and Asia with the promise of education and opportunity, only to find themselves in positions of forced servitude and prostitution. Human trafficking is the second-largest criminal industry in the United States, just behind drug and arms trafficking.

I am sure many ask – how does this happen without any awareness of our family, law enforcement, media and educators. Our experience has indicated that people of subcultures do not tell – they turn a blind eye to trafficking and child exploitation. SeraphimGLOBAL's Director of Psychosocial Services has worked in the Northern Virginia mental health system for several years. Her data indicates that Caucasians report trafficking but Latinos and African Americans are not likely to tell about the perpetration of this kind of criminal activity by someone in their community.

While the causes of human trafficking look different from region to region, nation to nation – there are common denominators.

From Alexandria, Va., to Mumbai, India; Miami to El Salvador; Chicago to Kosovo; Los Angeles to Ghana; Congo and Tanzania, the root causes of human trafficking have five interrelated factors:

  • Poverty – particularly single-parent households
  • Sex abuse – victims of molestation
  • Drug dependency – drugs and alcoholism
  • Violence – intra-family violence/gangs
  • Strained or absence of family relationship:  broken families

Typically, we think these factors exist only in developing countries and affect only those involved in civil strife or war.  However, these factors exist in all cultures and geographic regions.

For 20 years, SeraphimGLOBAL has worked to provide hope and healing to women and children who have struggled to survive at the hands of traffickers: first in El Salvador, where young boys were taken from school buses and soccer fields, handed a gun and put on an open truck to become a child soldier.

Some of those same children became street kids after the war. Families emigrated to the United States or relocated to other parts of the country. Many families did not know the status of their children, while others discouraged them from returning to the family. Some were scarred by their treatment and refused to be reintegrated into their communities, and some were hardened by the trauma of being a child in the morning and a soldier at nightfall.

SeraphimGLOBAL provides direct services to victims and psychosocial education to Ministries of Health and Education, health workers, NGOs, teachers, pastors and community leaders.

Its approach is to build capacity and strengthen institutions, grassroots community organizations and systems to provide treatment and increase services for the survivors of human trafficking and the families of these victims.

SeraphimGLOBAL works to strengthen aftercare facilities through education and skills development of health professionals and paraprofessionals. It retrains them to increase their capacity to effectively respond to complex trauma symptoms, psychological, emotional and irrational problems that survivors have to overcome in order to be functional in society. It is based on 20 years of research, neuroscience and evidence-based treatment that provides symptom normalization, stabilization of the nervous system, regulation of traumatic reaction, validation of anger and grief and empowerment of the fully integrated self.

This model, which we have named SERVE, has been implemented in the United States and nine countries. There are 10 training modules in the SERVE model of treatment.

SERVE represents:

S - Symptom normalization
E - Education of the brain's stress response
R - Regulation of the autonomous nervous system
V - Validation of anger and grief
E - Empowerment of the fully integrated self

Much of the focus of the training and counseling Seraphim provides is based on the relationship of mother to child and early family bonding.  Most adults have little or no recall of their childhood and bonding with their mother below the age of 3. Some events may be remembered down to age 2. However, the development of the mother-child relationship begins while babies are in the womb, and from infancy to 2 years is the period in which we begin to formulate memories, develop cognitive capacity, and, based on maternal warmth and interaction, become secure in establishing other relationships.

Secure, grounded women and children who have strong identities and self-esteem are much less likely to become targets for traffickers. Seraphim clinical/psychosocial staff provide counseling and parenting skills to families, particularly single mothers, to provide them with the tools to help their family remain cohesive and strong. Building strong families, lifting people out of poverty, regarding our children as our most important gift, will go a long way toward eliminating the grip of traffickers.

In closing, all nations must speak in one voice about the elimination of human trafficking and take necessary action to protect victims, provide aftercare support, improve legislation to make certain the perpetrators receive appropriate punishment while the victims are treated as victims and not criminals – and most importantly, create a strong global economy so that children are not sold and women forced into prostitution to feed the greed of traffickers.

Remarks by Barbara Amaya, a Trafficking Survivor:

Barbara was trafficked from the age of 13 from Fairfax, Va., to New York. As a survivor, Barbara is the “Face of Human Trafficking in America.”

Six months ago, Barbara Amaya said, she was watching a story on television about teenage girls being trafficked for sex in her Northern Virginia neighborhood when she realized that she, too, had been the victim of sex trafficking – four decades earlier.

“I didn't know I had been trafficked. I viewed myself as a prostitute,” she told the audience. Ms. Amaya writes a column called Telling It Like It Is for the Communities section of The Washington Times website.

Ms. Amaya, now 56, said she was a 13-year-old runaway from Fairfax when she was sold into sex trafficking at 14th and Eye Streets in the District and later was taken to New York City, where she was trafficked for eight years. Like a lot of girls forced into sex trafficking, she said she had been abused as a child and, at 12, began running away from home.

“I was a walking target,” she said. “I didn't have low self-esteem, I had no self-esteem.

“I was raped so many times, I can’t remember. I became addicted to heroin and numb to what happened to me,” she said, adding that her trafficker dumped her when she was “no longer valuable to him.”

Ms. Amaya described herself as “a survivor” and is now working to vacate her criminal record in New York City under a new New York state law, but lamented that “this is still happening to young girls. What happened to me is not unusual.”

Remarks by Yvonne Williams, Founder and Executive Director of the Trafficking in America Task Force (TIATF):

Since becoming aware of sex trafficking in 2004, Yvonne has worked indefatigably throughout the United States to educate people and create awareness about human trafficking and to mobilize citizens to stop it. Under Yvonne’s leadership, five Trafficking in America Task Forces have been formed, beginning with Kentucky, Wisconsin, Florida, Mississippi and Indiana. The opening of a new Task Force in Georgia is in progress.

The vision of TIATF is to help eliminate the human trafficking of women, men and children in America; to provide a culture for our children free of sexual exploitation and slavery in which people know their own intrinsic value. In order to accomplish this we must affect the culture in America so that the climate for such blatant inhumanity changes.

Let’s look at The Face of Human Trafficking in America: What are we dealing with? America is dealing with an epidemic of modern-day slavery known as human trafficking. We are in the midst of a new civil rights movement, but it is not unlike the former – it has only taken on a new face. Human trafficking is a manifestation of a continued theme that, at root level, is still a by-product of the class war and prejudices of old. It is driven by greed and a lack of value for oneself and, ultimately our neighbor.

Some stats:

• Trafficking Victims – about 100 per hour worldwide (876,000 a year)

• The Magnitude of Human Trafficking in America: After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second-largest criminal industry in the world today. 56% of victims are women and children. 18% of international victims are used in the sex industry. 82% of the international victims are used in forced labor. 56% of the international children victims are used in forced labor (U.S. Department of State). According to the IOM, globally sex trafficking has decreased by 19% while labor trafficking increased 43% .

• 300,000 potential new victims each year in America (Office of Justice Programs, 2009). The U.S. State Department’s 2011 TIP Report says there are 100,000 current victims. There are 313 million American citizens. 1 in 1,565 people are trafficked in America each year (based on 200,000 potential new victims). The question that needs to be answered is how many TOTAL victims are there in the USA today?

• Approximately 800,000 victims annually are trafficked across international borders worldwide. (U.S. Department of State). Victims are generally trafficked into the U.S. from Asia, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe. So 1 in 8,750 people are trafficked between countries each year. Between 14,500 and 18,000 of those victims are trafficked into the United States (2005, U.S. State Department). 1 in 17,886 worldwide citizens are trafficked into the USA each year.

• Trafficking is a $34 billion industry worldwide (In 2004 it was $9-12 billion) – $21 billion labor trafficking, $13 billion sex trafficking. (International Labor Organization).

• Age 12 is the average age of a sex trafficked victim, and victims are used as many as 30 to 40 times a day, while the average is about 8 to 10 (if it is 10, then there are potentially an average of 2 million men buying illegal sex from girls and boys, men and women, every day). Over 50% of victims are from the runaway population: two-thirds of runaways return home within the first 48 hours. The other third are abducted by traffickers and are prostituted within 48 hours. 95% of runaways are from fatherless homes (Joy Ministries, NC), One-third of America’s children live in fatherless homes (the Fatherhood Initiative). 85% to 95% of women in prostitution are not there by choice.

• 35% to 65% of the church is viewing or is addicted to pornography, including pastors. Could half of Christian men have a problem with porn, as so many of the statistics say? Porn is reported to be a $12 billion industry in the U.S. 50 percent of men viewed pornography within one week of attending a Promise Keepers stadium event. 54 percent of pastors said they viewed porn within the past year in a Pastors.com survey. In a 2003 Focus on the Family poll, 47 percent of respondents said porn is a problem in their home.

• Where Does Trafficking Take Place? Truck stops; shopping malls (Minneapolis), military bases; prisons; schools; churches; the Internet, sex tourism. American businessmen travel internationally where no one knows them. College fraternities – Travel agencies created just for their convenience.

• The most commonly searched word online by adults across gender lines is “sex.” 20% of men access porn at work. 17% of women access porn at work; 40 million U.S. adults regularly visit Internet porn websites.

• 53% of Promise Keepers men admit they have looked at porn websites. 47% of Christians say they have a problem of porn in their home. 72% male - 28% female visit pornography sites. Larry Flynt states at the end of the documentary film “Pornodemic,” “The Genie is out of the bottle. We can’t put her back in. They’ll just have to live with it.” There are over half a million porn websites on the Internet today!  Most of the porn websites today are dedicated to certain niches to meet the changing appetites of consumers. The Internet is the crack cocaine of sex addiction. It is ruining marriages and ruining lives.

• Pornography, Sex Crimes, and Human Trafficking: The FBI’s statistics show that pornography is found at 80 percent of the scenes of violent sex crimes, or in the homes of the perpetrators. (www.fightthenewdrug.org). The University of New Hampshire did a study that showed that the states with the highest readership of pornographic magazines like “Playboy” and “Penthouse,” also have the highest rape rates.

• They also found that adult pornography was connected with each of the 1,400 child sexual molestation cases in Louisville, Kentucky, and child pornography was connected with the majority of them.

• Many women and children who are being sexually exploited and trafficked are also being used for the production of pornography. Sometimes acts of prostitution are filmed without the consent of the victim and distributed.

• Poverty is a root cause of international human trafficking, according to analysis conducted by the Institute for Trafficked, Exploited & Missing Persons (ITEMP). For the first time, ITEMP can statistically demonstrate poverty’s connection to international human trafficking. By comparing gross domestic product information with source/destination information provided in the State Department’s 2009 Trafficking in Persons report, ITEMP personnel discovered a strong correlation between a country’s per capita GDP and its odds of being a source or destination country for international human trafficking.

• Every $1,000 increase in a country’s GDP makes the country nearly 10 percent more likely to be a destination for international human trafficking victims. Likewise, every reduction of $1,000 in a country’s GDP makes the country 12 percent more likely to be a source for international human trafficking victims.

• Absent Father Syndrome: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, of the 72 million children in America, 24 million – one out of three – live in biological-father-absent homes. In the African-American community the figure is two out of three. Consequently, there is a “father factor” in nearly all of the social issues facing America today. Fathers make unique and irreplaceable contributions to the lives of children, boys and girls. Father absence produces negative outcomes for children. Societies which fail to reinforce a cultural ideal of responsible fatherhood get increasing amounts of father absence. Widespread fatherlessness is the most socially consequential problem of our time.

• How is America affecting human trafficking around the world? America is the largest participant in human trafficking around the world. American men are buying American girls and boys.

• Pornography has grown into a $10 billion business – bigger than the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball combined – and some of the nation's best-known corporations are quietly sharing the profits, including General Motors, (Subsidiary DirecTV), AOL Time Warner, Comcast, Marriott, Hilton, and Westin.

• According to Adult Video News, an estimated 11,000 hard-core porn movies are produced in the United States annually, many of them in California's San Fernando Valley, where modern porn was born.

• Pornography Consumption: China, South Korea and Japan seem to be the three biggest generators of porn-related revenue (consumption), with the United States coming in fourth. China, where pornography is officially banned, brought in about $27 billion in 2006, while the U.S. accounted for about half that at $13 billion. Per capita revenue, however, was much higher in the U.S. at $44.67 compared to China’s $27.41, although both countries were way behind South Korea’s per-person amount of $526.76. According to these numbers, South Koreans really love porn.

• Purchasing illegal sex: (Source: The Johns Project – an interview with 4,000 men who have purchased illegal sex). Discovered that the majority of men buying prostituted women are aged 14 to 87; Mostly married. They buy illegal sex 7 to 8 times each week. Some are Pastors, professionals, and youth. Some are fathers teaching their sons to become a “man” for the first time. It discovered some women approve of their mate buying sex, as long as they come home. The report also revealed that many johns had been sexually abused as children.

• Sex Tourism: White-collar American men are traveling internationally and purchasing children (doctors, lawyers, corporate executives). These groups / men go abroad because they are not known at their destinations. Travel businesses have been created specifically to promote sex tours.

Human Trafficking Triangle:

  • DISTRIBUTORS and greed: The question is “What is driving this insatiable thirst for money?”
  • SUPPLY: The question? What is it in our nature (our culture) that has created such a magnet for traffickers to so easily obtain supply, whether for the sex or for the labor?
  • DEMAND FOR PROFITS: Who is creating the demand for sex? Who is creating the demand for cheap labor?

Our Culture: The question is: How do we affect our culture to enable us to provide it free of sexual exploitation and slavery?

Some Strategies for a Slave Free America: Creating a cultural shift in America that will aid in stopping the supply and the demand for sex and cheap labor. What’s the goal? Affecting the next generation to think differently about themselves and about each other to stop the cycle.

Accepting Responsibility: This is not solely a political issue. We, the voting public, have allowed our culture to become as it is. And, we, the people, are the ones to change it.

We need to accept responsibility: As a nation, as individuals, as parents, as educators, as the church, as corporations, as the entertainment industry. We need to put human need before corporate greed.

Education and Prevention: We must reach the men and boys, age group 25 and under. This is the age when boys / men are exposed to pornography for the first time. We must incorporate curricula in America’s schools into existing curricula such as history, economics, health education, creative arts, etc. There are efforts under way to get more prevention curricula spread around the country.

States Need to Own This. We must educate citizens in every city in America through:

  • Town hall meetings;
  • Awareness booths in retail establishments;
  • Resources for NGOs to conduct trainings;
  • Press conferences to create collaborations with law enforcement, educators, citizens, NGOs.
  • We need to engage churches in developing and healing the male population / the buyers of pornography

Prevention (Eradication): We need a Mass Media approach during a high season of television participation – PSAs to run on prime-time television: Survivors to reach youth – “This is how it happened to me”; fathers to reach fathers; youth to reach youth; NFL and other sports figures to speak to youth / to men; NGOs: Legislative support is needed for developing strategic plans with resource support for NGOs working on the ground.

Engaging the Parent(s): How can we get the information to parents about human trafficking so they can learn the signs that their child may be being coerced or threatened into performing sex acts? PTO meetings, parent groups, church groups, etc. in order to engage youth to protect themselves from sexual exploitation. We all must get involved in helping one another.

TIATF suggests that a steering committee be formulated to create specific strategies with goals for the next 12 months to work towards demand reduction. And that we meet again in 12 months to report on the progress.

Remarks by Julie Southwell, a Field Organizer with the Mid-Atlantic Region of Amnesty International:

Amnesty International unites people from all over the world to fight for human rights, using its signature tactics of research, action, and advocacy.  Amnesty International supports civil liberties by keeping a vigilant watch on the rights of people around the world.  Through Amnesty’s dynamic campaigns and long-term casework, its members propel key human rights concerns and stories of individuals at risk into the international media to demand the attention of government officials, corporations, international institutions and policy makers.  Amnesty also combines high-level legislative work, media outreach and grassroots mobilization to shape and promote legislation and policies to protect individuals and advance human rights.

Amnesty International, a grassroots human rights organization, was founded 51 years ago. It has 3 million members worldwide, and 300,000 members in the United States. AI works in many areas, including human trafficking.

AI takes a three-step approach that includes education, action and advocacy. It has been instrumental in pressuring for passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, leading local advocacy campaigns directed towards authorities failing to provide protection, as well as on the international level.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 is the main U.S. law on trafficking. It created multiple levels of protection for victims of trafficking.

The U-visa status was created by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. It is designed to provide lawful status to noncitizen crime victims who are assisting or are willing to assist the authorities in investigating crimes. To obtain a U-visa, survivors of sexual violence may need to undergo a medical examination. However, many are reluctant to go to a hospital or clinic because they fear medical personnel will report them to immigration authorities. The reporting of undocumented survivors of sexual assault to immigration enforcement by hospital staff impedes the ability of survivors to seek justice and remedies that are available to them. Less than 20% of immigrant women who are undocumented and experience violence due to trafficking seek help from law enforcement agencies. The reason most often given for not reporting was fear that they would endanger their immigration status. Abusers often use their immigration status as a tool of control to prevent the victim from seeking help.

A T-visa gives temporary non-immigrant status to victims of “severe forms of human trafficking” on the condition that they help law enforcement officials investigate and prosecute crimes related to human trafficking. If the victim is under 18 years of age, the law does not require cooperation with police to obtain a T-visa. Of the 5,000 T-visas available annually to survivors of human trafficking, statistics show that only 6% are actually utilized.

On Nov. 13, 2005, more than 100 officers from federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies raided five cantinas in northwest Houston, freeing approximately 120 women and girls. Agents arrested eight members of a human trafficking ring run by Maximino “El Chimino” Mondragon of El Salvador. Despite the cooperation of the trafficking survivors in the investigation and arrest of Maximino, more than 2 years after the raids, only 67 of the 120 women and girls present during the cantina raids had received T-visas. In some cases, survivors were initially mistaken as criminals.

Closing Remarks by Dr. Betancourt:

The Universal Peace Federation, established in 140 countries, is working actively to establish the culture of peace. A culture of peace centered on love as presented by the WFWP is cemented on the logic and the ethics of true love in all dimensions. This is a new area for us, but since the UPF Office of Peace and Security Affairs conducts one program every month related to hot spots of the world where the international system is at risk of being destabilized, we realize that human trafficking is one of them, so we are very grateful to the organizations that agreed to co-host this program.

Closing Remarks by Mrs. Selle:

I thank everyone for coming today. I especially want to honor the individuals and organizations that are actively engaged in confronting this terrible evil of human trafficking. Remember, you do not need a title to take on this battle. You all are powerful. We have many resources, beginning with our personal determination. Thank you very much.

If you find this page helpful and informative please consider making donation. Your donation will help Universal Peace Federation (UPF) provide new and improved reports, analysis and publications to you and everyone around the world.

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