Sex trafficking

“Look at me. I’m for sale. On your street. On your browser” (Salon)

9/12/2014 -- Salon -- “Look at me. I’m for sale. On your street. On your browser” A Day in the Life is a one-act play drawing on the real experiences of ordinary teenage girls whose lives have intersected with the world of commercial sexual exploitation.

NY Must Protect Sexually Exploited Girls (Daily Beast)

5/16/2014 -- Daily Beast -- "NY Must Protect Sexually Exploited Girls" Trafficking Program Officer Kristen Berg on the TVPJA:

United States: Pass the Trafficking Victims Protection & Justice Act in New York

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2014 May 12
Update: 

8 JULY 2014 UPDATE – During the spring legislative session, Equality Now, trafficking survivors and our partners twice traveled to Albany to meet with members of the New York State legislature and urge them to pass the TVPJA, as well as to raise awareness of human trafficking and the need to reform New York laws. While the bill unanimously passed in the Senate, unfortunately, it did not pass the Assembly once again due to larger political issues. However, we remain optimistic that the bill will ultimately be passed and continue to work with our partners and trafficking survivors to advocate for the reform of New York’s anti-trafficking laws. Thank you to all of our supporters who joined us in calling on New York to better protect victims of trafficking and hold sex buyers, pimps and traffickers accountable!

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What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

  • Write the government officials below and urge them to pass the TVPJA during the June 2014 legislative session;
  • If you live in New York, contact your district’s legislators and ask them to pass the TVPJA. Click on these links to find your Assemblyperson or Senator;
  • Visit Equality Now’s campaign, Survivor Stories, which showcases survivor voices and leadership in the anti-trafficking movement.

Letters should go to:

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Email: gov.cuomo@chamber.state.ny.us
Social media links:
Twitter: @NYGovCuomo
Facebook: www.facebook.com/GovernorAndrewCuomo

Speaker Sheldon Silver
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Legislative Office Building, Room 932
Albany, NY 12248
Email: speaker@assembly.state.ny.us

Senator Jeffrey D. Klein
Temporary President and Majority Coalition Leader of the New York State Senate
Legislative Office Building, Room 913
Albany, NY 12247
Email: jdklein@senate.state.ny.us
Social media links:
Twitter: @JeffKleinNY
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jeffrey.d.klein

Letters: 

Dear Governor Cuomo, Speaker Silver, Senator Klein:

I am writing to request your support of the New York Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (TVPJA, Paulin/Lanza A.2240D/ S.5879B) and urge its passage during the June 2014 legislative session. According to the New York Office of Child and Family Services, thousands of children are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation in New York annually, yet the sellers and buyers of these children are rarely held accountable.

New York must do better to protect girls and women from trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. Please pass the TVPJA so that penalties for buying sex from a minor are aligned with those for statutory rape; that persons accused of engaging in sex with minors cannot use the defense they did not know the age of the child; that penalties against those who pimp minors will be strengthened; that prosecutors will be able to wiretap pimps; that trafficking survivors arrested for prostitution can use the affirmative defense that they were trafficked; and that the stigmatizing word “prostitute” is removed from the Penal Law. In doing so, New York’s law enforcement will have better tools to target and arrest the pimps and buyers who are supporting this multi-billion dollar trafficking industry – instead of focusing their resources on arresting victims.

New York has consistently been at the forefront of anti-trafficking efforts. I encourage you to keep up this incredible effort by taking all legislative and policy measures to pass the TVPJA before the legislative session ends on June 19. Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

Girls for sale: “A Day in the Life" (Thomson Reuters)

3/26/2014 -- Thomson Reuters -- "Girls for sale: 'A Day in the Life'"

A diverse, fresh-faced group, the 20 American girls standing still and expressionless on stage create a striking opening tableau. Between the ages of 13 and 17, they could be anyone’s daughter or sister or cousin - or any sex trafficker’s prey. [read more...]

Canada: Pass legislation to prevent the sexual exploitation of women & girls

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2014 Apr 14
Update: 

UPDATE 12 NOVEMBER 2014: Fantastic news — Bill C-36 passed in Canada and received Royal Assent on 6 November, which will make it official law on 6 December! Many thanks to all of you who took action! Equality Now and our partners welcome the law's focus on buyers and pimps, and while certain problematic provisions criminalizing the selling of sex remain we hope these are addressed in the future as the law is reviewed. In the meantime, Equality Now will continue to support our partners in Canada to ensure the law is implemented and work toward a culture of equality where women and girls are free from exploitation. Thank you for all of your support!


7 OCTOBER 2014 UPDATE: Great news - On 6 October, Bill C-36 passed Canada's House of Commons. Thank you for all of your support and for writing to lawmakers! The bill now goes back before the Senate to be voted on. Stay tuned for further updates.


9 SEPTEMBER 2014 UPDATE: The bill to reform Canada’s prostitution laws, Bill C-36, is making its way through Canada’s legislature and is currently in the Senate, Canada’s upper house of parliament. In early July, our partners gave powerful testimonies at the House of Commons Justice Committee hearings on the bill, detailing the realities of prostitution and emphasizing that the decriminalization of people in prostitution, combined with the criminalization of buyers, pimps and brothel keepers, is the most effective way to reduce sex trafficking and exploitation (access videos and hearing minutes here). Though the House made changes to the bill, we remain concerned that Bill C-36 still allows criminalization of people in prostitution.

The Senate’s Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs is holding hearings on the bill between 9 -11 September. Equality Now and our partners need your support to help ensure that the bill adequately addresses sex trafficking and protects the most vulnerable! Please take part in our social media campaign and call on the key Senators below to ensure that the bill fully decriminalizes people who sell sex, while maintaining criminalization on pimps, brothel-keepers and those who buy sex. During the upcoming hearings, please also watch and support our partners EVE, SexTrade101, and the London Abused Women’s Centre when they testify on 10 September (all hearings will be streamed live ). Thank you!


23 JUNE 2014 UPDATE: On 16 June, the government’s bill reforming Canada’s prostitution laws passed its second reading in the House of Commons and was referred to the Justice Committee (note: bills must undergo three readings and a committee stage in the House of Commons and also pass in the Senate, and then receive Royal Assent before becoming law). The Committee will meet the week of 7 July to hear testimony on the bill. This will be a good opportunity for the bill to be amended to truly protect the human rights of people in prostitution. Please continue to call on the Canadian government to ensure that the bill fully decriminalizes people who sell sex, while maintaining criminalization on pimps, brothel-keepers and those who buy sex.


6 JUNE 2014 UPDATE: Thousands of you called on the Canadian government to introduce a law to better protect women and girls – in line with the Nordic model – and we can report that we’re halfway there! On 4 June, Canadian Justice Minister Peter MacKay introduced a bill to reform Canada’s prostitution laws. The bill criminalizes those who buy sex, pimps, brothel-keepers and those who advertise another person for prostitution. The government has also pledged C$20 million in funding for support services, with an emphasis on assisting those who would like to exit prostitution. Both measures are vital in helping to rectify the stark gender, race, ethnic and socio-economic inequalities evident in the prostitution industry.

Equality Now and our Canadian partners welcome these measures, but we are very concerned that the bill does not fully decriminalize those who sell sex. While the bill protects people in prostitution from criminal sanctions in many areas, it also maintains some criminalization. We and our partners – including survivors of sexual exploitation, many of whom entered prostitution as children – recognize that, more often than not, prostitution is not entered into out of choice, but rather through lack of choice. Any criminalization of people in prostitution would result in the added punishment, further victimization and increased marginalization of many who are already victims of heinous crimes and human rights violations.

We are working to ensure that Canada enacts legislation that will truly protect the human rights of people in prostitution while preventing future exploitation in the commercial sex industry. Stay tuned for further updates and information on how you can help.


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What You Can Do: 

Please join Equality Now and our Canadian partners EVE, Sextrade101, and the London Abused Women’s Centre in calling on the government to enact legislation in line with the Nordic Model that will protect the human rights of people in prostitution while preventing future exploitation in the commercial sex industry.

Letters should go to:

The Honourable Senator Bob Runciman
Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs
Email: bob.runciman@sen.parl.gc.ca
Telephone: (+1) 613 943-4020
Fax: (+1) 613-943-4022
Mailing address:
351 East Block
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A4

The Honourable Senator George Baker
Deputy Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs
Email: george.baker@sen.parl.gc.ca
Telephone: (+1) 613-947-2517
Fax: (+1) 613-947-1525
Mailing address:
Senate of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A4

The Honourable Senator Mobina S.B. Jaffer
Member of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs
Email: mjaffer@sen.parl.gc.ca
Telephone: (+1) 613-992-0189
Fax: (+1) 613-992-0673
Mailing address:
140 Wellington Street Suite, 900
Senate of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A4

Letters: 

Dear Senator,

I urge you to listen to the survivors of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation advocating for the Canadian government to pass legislation that criminalizes those who pay for sex acts while decriminalizing and ensuring support for women in prostitution – known as the “Swedish” or “Nordic” model. After the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the prostitution laws as unconstitutional, your government has a vital opportunity to better protect people in prostitution, prevent sex trafficking and promote gender equality by joining other progressive countries that have adopted the Nordic model.

The exploitation of women and girls in the commercial sex industry is a human rights violation and a cause and consequence of gender, racial, ethnic, economic and other inequalities. While precise numbers are difficult to obtain, it is clear that the vast majority of those in prostitution are women, and that many enter as children. In addition, women and girls from marginalized communities are overrepresented. As many women and girls are not in prostitution through choice, but rather lack of choice, people in prostitution must not be criminalized, but instead should have access to comprehensive assistance and services.

The Nordic model has been adopted in Sweden, Norway, and Iceland, and is currently being considered by the parliaments of France, Ireland and Northern Ireland. I join Equality Now, EVE (formerly Exploited Voices now Educating), Sextrade 101 and the London Abused Women’s Centre in calling on the Canadian government to live up to its obligations under international law, including the UN Trafficking Protocol and UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, to address the demand for prostitution that fuels sex trafficking and to protect people in prostitution by ensuring that Bill C-36:

1.    Decriminalizes people in prostitution (i.e. people selling sex),
2.    Criminalizes those who pay for sex acts, brothel-keepers, pimps and procurers, and
3.    Mandates robust funding for services for people in prostitution, including assistance for those who wish to exit prostitution.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

When Girls Are Part of the Solution Everyone Benefits (Huffington Post)

3/7/2014 -- Huffington Post -- "When Girls Are Part of the Solution Everyone Benefits" New York office Director Lauren Hersh on Project Impact, an arts-based leadership workshop for teen trafficking survivors.

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