Our day began with breakfast and conversations
The formal part began in chapel as Rachel encouraged us to leave our cares at the altar so that we could focus on the task God has given us this day
Our first group activity was to pick a word that described our motivation — lots of justice, compassion, but some interesting individual choices — I chose thanksgiving, but craziness would have worked well
Rachel gave an overview of the goals and agenda of the consultation
We were divided up into the 6 p’s
Prevention — Luis, Delene, and Subarshan
Prosecution — Anne & me
Protection — Holly, Noah, Prodip, & Luis
Policy — Alastair, Eraste & Ken
Participation — Charles, Kirsten, & Fulata
Partnership — Anne, Antonia, Olga, & Terrie
Olie from the Walk Free Foundation kicked things off with an overview. What would it look like if we were successful? Enforcement of policies and laws, socially unacceptable everywhere, and no business provides goods tainted by slave labor. walkfree.org has a movement, business engagement, fund, awareness. Slavery Index will be out 18 November.
Fulata raised the question of teaching women in particular about individual liberty in cultures where women have none. Olie appealed to the UN. I appealed to Genesis and the imago dei.
They estimate 36 million currently enslaved
They will be breaking down by total number of slaves and per capita — difference in terms of income, type of government, types of slavery, etc. (882 from Nepal and India have died constructing World Cup stadia in Qatar) . The numbers discussed will become official on November 18.
The second morning session kicked off with Delene and her campaign, Operation Hlompa Motho (Restoration of Dignity). In her context, it is more the rural poor that are victimized by the wealthy city dwellers. Obviously, in many places in Africa, speaking out on this issue is very dangerous. Used the World Cup to get increased funding which was used to promote awareness. 40,000 women were trafficked into South Africa, primarily from Eastern Europe. Given the AIDs culture and misconceptions, children were at particular risk (6 week holiday from school).
Subarshan focused on his faith-based organization, the TEARfund.org. 3 million displaced from the tsunami led to his discovery of the trafficking problem. They encountered moms who had sold their children because they could not care for them. Their goal is to prevent 50k children from being trafficked this year (modest goal) — built around their version of a FoodNetwork Cake Baking program. What drives the problem is economics. China is forcing through in 12 years and India is forcing through in 16 years what America did in three to four decades in the early 20th C. A big focus is the education of elders and mothers not to sell their children. That is accomplished by a biblical based program which speaks to God’s will for families — He gives us daily bread to face the day’s obstacles. Small group structures help the women as they discover they have not helped a childless couple or have not sent their children to a better life.
Luis shared his work with Centro de apoio e pastoral do migrant de Brazil. (CAMI) It is an NGO that focuses on eliminating abuses of migrant populations. Some native groups are trafficked within the borders of Brazil, and others are trafficked into Brazil. Bolivia, Peru, and Paraguay constitute the lion’s share of slaves in his area. The lure is a whopping $4-500 each month job (by comparison, El Salvador is $175). The challenge is to be seen as an ally rather than an enemy. They offer owners the same opportunity to be an ally rather than enemy. cami-spm.com.br Citizenship is one of the cures for this evil in Brazil. The thought is that it is much harder to enslave fellow citizens. In the US and Europe the same fight is being waged. those trafficked want citizenship, but citizens want to deny citizenship. Easier to traffic those beneath us.
Anne, from the Salvation Army, led off the early afternoon session on Prosecution. The Salvation Army has the contract for that work in the UK. She led off the discussion with Stop the Traffic slogan. We need to turn the low risk, high return of human trafficking into a high risk, low return venture. Blockages to successful prosecution: Corruption, laws (jurisdiction), how cases are handled (survivors kept near the ones being prosecuted who threaten), societal assumptions, length of time for prosecution, the survivor is often prosecuted for a crime committed under duress or threat, fear of reprisal. Solutions?: Cannot be done on our own (need a network). Transform police attitudes and protocols, transform prosecutors, transform defenders, transform the judicial process, strengthen laws, transform migration control, civl compensation.
Charles joined me in calling for personal relationships leading to quality of care. Police in metropolitan London prefer working with the religious organizations and Women Religious because the quality of care includes a focus on empowering survivors to reclaim their lives by assisting in the prosecution of the slavers.
The late afternoon session focused on Protection.
Holly shared her organization’s work — Helpers for Domestic Help from the Philippines. As the name suggests, she is heavily involved in maids, ammah’s, and the like. Overwhelmingly (as in 98%) of those who seek their help are women. Are men not being targeted? Or are men simply unwilling to come forward in a shame culture and complain? Hong Kong is tough on the sex trade but very week on labor slavery. The difficulty in proving slavery revolved around the unwillingness of slaves to complain. In 2013, 18% experience physical abuse, 58% experience verbal abuse, and 6% sexual abuse. Part of the problem are government policies—2 week rule, Live-in requirement, narrow definition of trafficking, and criminalization of victims.
Noah spoke about the violence that is pervasive in the northern triangle of Central America. One is more likely to die a violent death in El Salvador than in all but three countries worldwide. Cristosal did not intend to get involved in the human trafficking fight, but so many of those who sought their help were victims/survivors of modern slavery. His work touches on the discussions in Iowa about the children at the border. 70% of those of El Salvador are claiming asylum, which gives us a beginning insight as to how well the government protects its children. To date this year 30,000 youth have been returned from Mexico alone. Those of us trying to get a grip on the crisis at the border truly are seeing only the smallest tip of the iceberg. Trying to build national capacities to protect its people by building small pilot homes. The state has lost its monopoly on violence and on justice. Amazingly, women claiming gender-based violence have a better chance of sanctuary in the United States than one who has been trafficked. We need to focus on the interview process/questions for those on the border!
Prodip spoke on his work in Bangladesh with the Church of Bangladesh Social Development Programme. The context is very poor and highly populated. The Church has to lead the politicians, the citizens, and everyone else in the fight against slavery. Mamun and 500 others were trafficked to Saudi Arabia to be camel jockeys. CBSDP was instrument in their rescue, public pressure, and after-care support. Church is mandated to work for those marginalize. Problem is the lack of skill and financial resources.
Luis also was invited to share in the Protection focus of the Consultation. Biggest slavery problem is in sweatshops. Women come with husbands or boyfriends for economic opportunity. Some come to Brazil fleeing violence in their country of origin. Also, slavers are excellent at victimizing the indigenous people groups. Most of his experience in the sex abuse has been perpetrated by owners and managers of those working for them.
The day ended with Compline and included a visit to the home where Paul served his imprisonment! I am wiped, too drained to reflect. Hopefully some sleep will give me clarity!