Stopping Child Trafficking Now: How You Can Get Involved In Ending Child Sex Slavery

By Christie Arnold

When most Americans think of human trafficking, few consider the possibility that it is a problem in their own country. Although human trafficking is a global epidemic, it has far-reaching effects that hit home. Each year in the United States, an estimated 100,000 American children are forced into prostitution and pornography, and thousands more are trafficked into the country for commercial exploitation.

Child trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world. It is one of the most common types of trafficking, as up to 50 percent of modern-day slaves are children. There are an estimated 2.5 million children trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor each year, according to UNICEF. Children are often most vulnerable to the schemes and tactics used by traffickers to coerce or force them into slavery.

Although trafficking of adults for commercial sexual exploitation requires force, fraud or coercion, none of these elements need to be present when minors are involved.  Trafficking children into the commercial sex industry, which entails prostitution, pornography and/or stripping, is driven by demand. The men who participate in the commercial sex industry are demanding a specific type of product. As men seek out commercial sex with younger and younger girls, often to recreate pedophilic fantasies encouraged by child pornography or because of their belief that such practices decrease the possibility of acquiring sexually-transmitted diseases, traffickers in organized crime, gangs, and loosely organized networks have answered their demands. In this crime, where the economic principles of supply and demand reign, the products being supplied are increasingly adolescent girls. In the U.S., the average age of entry into prostitution is approximately 12. Children have become sexual commodities to be bought and sold right here in our own backyards as thousands of U.S. men are seeking out and purchasing sex with children across the nation.

The forced prostitution of girls is a hidden crime in our country. Pimps and traffickers seek out vulnerable children and force or lure them into situations they cannot escape from. Traffickers target girls from broken homes with histories of physical and sexual abuse, foster children, runaways, girls with low self-esteem, and other vulnerable groups. Often they first pretend to be a girl’s boyfriend or protector, and then introduce her to the life of prostitution. Many traffickers psychologically manipulate girls with promises of protection and affection, and use physical violence and threats in order to enslave their victims.

Although steps have been taken to rescue victims and raise awareness at the national, state and local levels of government, the demand side of the equation has barely been addressed. Little is being done to stop the demand for commercial sex with children, even though it is driving the entire child sex trafficking industry.

One U.S. organization called Stop Child Trafficking Now has a goal that is urgently needed at higher levels of anti-trafficking work: to stop the demand. Their goal is to put the predators, the pimps and the people buying sex with children behind bars to stop the demand.

SCTNow hosts awareness events throughout the U.S. that raise funds to end child sex slavery. The Nation-wide Walk Campaign brings together communities to participate in their Stop Child Trafficking Now Walks, which raise funds that benefit SCTNow’s investigative teams and partner organizations. Each 5K walk is free and open to the public so that community members can come together to show their support for this work and raise awareness about child sex trafficking.

This year, there are walks in 33 cities across the country, including 3 walks in North Carolina. The walks are great opportunities to fight against these injustices by raising awareness and helping fund the work of SCTNow. To eliminate these horrible crimes, the demand for children for commercial sexual activity must end. If you are looking for a way to get involved in preventing child sex trafficking, consider joining your community members for an SCTNow walk!

Information about the Chapel Hill walk on September 24, 2011: http://events.sctnow.org/site/TR?fr_id=1098&pg=entry and http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=166023846811577 .

Information about the Raleigh walk on September 25, 2011: http://events.sctnow.org/site/TR?fr_id=1111&pg=entry

Information about the Fayetteville walk on October 2, 2011: http://events.sctnow.org/site/TR?fr_id=1081&pg=entry

Christie Arnold is a UNC senior and international studies major. She is a human trafficking intern at the Carolina Women’s Center.


Submit a Nomination for the 2012 University Awards for the Advancement of Women!

Call for Nominations
2012 University Awards for the Advancement of Women

On behalf of the Offices of the Chancellor and the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, the Carolina
Women’s Center
is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the 2012 University Awards for the
Advancement of Women. This award recognizes contributions to the advancement of women at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Each year, three individuals–one faculty member, one staff member, and one undergraduate/graduate
student/postdoctoral scholar–may be selected to receive the award. The faculty and staff recipients each receive $5000 and the undergraduate/graduate student/postdoctoral scholar recipient receives $2500. Awardees are honored in a ceremony during the Carolina Women’s Center’s annual Women’s Week Celebration in February.

Please submit nominations for women and men who have contributed in one or more of the following ways:

    • Elevated the status of women on campus in sustainable ways;
    • Helped to improve campus policies affecting women;
    • Promoted and advanced the recruitment, retention, and upward mobility of women;
    • Participated in and assisted in the establishment of professional development opportunities for women; and/or
    • Participated in and assisted in the establishment of academic mentoring for women.

**To submit a nomination, please use the online form at:
http://www.unc.edu/oira/public/uaaw/women_nomination.html

All faculty and staff nominees must be permanent employees. No self-nominations or posthumous nominations will be accepted. Carolina Women’s Center administrators and staff are not eligible for nomination. The deadline for nominations is Friday, November 18, 2011, at 5:00 p.m.

Previous award winners are:
(2011) Lillie Searles, Bob Pleasants, Caroline Fish
(2010) Laurie McNeil, Melinda Manning, Parastoo Hashemi
(2009) Etta Pisano, Aimee Krans, Annie Clark
(2008) Kay Lund, Cookie Newsom, Emily Joy Rothchild
(2007) Barbara Harris, Annette Madden, Emily Dunn
(2006) Jan Boxill, Terri Houston, Matt Ezzell

Please contact Dr. Donna M. Bickford, Director of the Carolina Women’s Center at dbickford@unc.edu or (919) 843-5620 if you have questions about the awards or nomination process.

Businesses and Human Trafficking

Here’s a great piece on how companies contribute to and can stop participating in human trafficking.  You can also check out the human trafficking section at change.org.  David Arkless at Manpower has been a driving force around corporate social responsibility and human trafficking.  And, End Human Trafficking has special initiatives directed to the business community.  Everyone has a role to play in ending human trafficking.  You do too — see here for some ideas.

Women’s Equality Day

Happy Women’s Equality Day!  Thanks to Rep. Bella Abzug in 1971, Congress designated August 26 as Women’s Equality Day to draw attention to gender inequality.  August 26 was chosen in commemoration of the day the Nineteenth Amendment became law and women earned the right to vote.

Certainly we’ve made great strides toward gender equity since 1920 and 1971!  But there is still more to do.  Consider:  the gendered wage gap, high rates of gender based violence, women disproportionately underrepresented at the highest levels of politics, business, and higher education among other powerful institutions.

What can you do?  Learn more about the Paycheck Fairness Act, new efforts to pass the ERA, or about other issues that impact women and ways in which you might contribute to creating an equitable and inclusive world.

Welcome to the Fall 2011 semester!

Welcome to all incoming and returning students!!  The Carolina Women’s Center and its staff are excited to see you back on campus and eager to see what the next academic year holds for us all.

Over the summer our outgoing web genius, Nicole Kendrot, created our new website, created a new Project Safe – now Safe@unc.edu, and created a new human trafficking website.  Check them out!  We’re thrilled at the expanded content and updated look of each of them.

Our September event calendar and fall programming guide will be posted and available shortly.  Visit our Mary Turner Lane Reading and Resource Room to browse our collection of print and dvd materials, or simply to hang out in the comfortable lounge.

Stay informed about CWC activities! “Like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @UNCWomensCtr, read our blog or subscribe to our weekly email at cwc@unc.edu.

Expanded Human Trafficking Webpage

I am so pleased to announce that our new and improved human trafficking website is live.  Check us out at humantrafficking.unc.edu for information about the anti-human trafficking movement in North Carolina and a host of resources for researchers.  We’re still cleaning up a little of the data, but I didn’t want to wait to release the information.

Thanks to our former web genius, Nicole Kendrot, for all her creativity and hard work on this.  Thanks as well to Dr. Pam Lach, who proposed the idea of creating a research database in the first place, and recruited and managed the team who developed the data.  Thanks also to Christine Abernathy, our 2011 Spring Apples intern, who put the finishing touches on this database, as well as compiling an annotated bibliography of the human trafficking resources available in the CWC’s Mary Turner Lane Reading & Resource Room.

I hope you find it useful.

SAFE@UNC.EDU

Check out the new and vastly improved Project Safe website:

http://safe.unc.edu

You’ll find all kinds of information about interpersonal violence prevention, education, advocacy, training and support.

Thanks to Nicole Kendrot, Ashley Fogle and Kelli Raker for all their hard work on this site – as well as for their creativeness, imagination, content knowledge and just plain smarts.

Comings and Goings

If you haven’t seen our new website, check it out at womenscenter.unc.edu.  Thanks to Nicole Kendrot and Ashley Fogle for their creativity, thoughtful approach and hard work.

As most of our friends and allies know, Ashley is leaving the CWC at the end of the month to relocate with her family to California.  I’ll miss her savvy, smart, enthusiastic, strategic, inclusive self more than I can say.  I hope you’ll join us on Monday, July 25 at 3:00 p.m. in the CWC Carriage House to say goodbye to Ashley and wish her well.

 

Assessment of Policies to Combat Human Trafficking and Implications for Massachusetts

Title: Assessment of Policies to Combat Human Trafficking and Implications for Massachusetts
Location: Toy Lounge, Dey Hall
Description: Dr. Jeff Gulati, professor of political science at Bentley University in Massachusetts, will give a presentation about his recent research assessing policy initiatives and programs on human trafficking and their implications for Massachusetts.
Start Time: 15:00
Date: 2011-08-15
End Time: 16:30

Spring 2011 CWC Faculty Scholar Presentation

Tuesday afternoon the CWC hosted our Spring 2011 Faculty Scholar, Dr. Sahar Amer from the Department of Asian Studies. 

Sahar's talk was entitled "Naming a Taboo, Recognizing an Identity:  The Challenges of Homosexuality in the Arab World Today."  There was a large audience for this event, which speaks to the level of interest in the topic.  Thanks to all our friends, colleagues and students who helped spread the word about this learning opportunity.

Sahar began by noting that one of the most significant challenges for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex folks (LGBTQI) in the Arab world today is a linguistic one:  there is no consistently accepted, non-pejorative term that encompasses this broad range of social identities.  In her view, dealing with this lack of language will help make such social identities more acceptable, which should then lead to policy and political changes.

Sahar shared several terms commonly used in Arabic to refer to LGBTQI identity or sexual behavior, none of which seemed very welcoming and some of which seemed overtly hostile and offensive.  She is compiling a glossary of terms currently in use in Arabic and referred to the development of an Arabic gay vocabulary as a vitally necessary basic task and a reclaiming of language.  The usage of untranslated English words (such as homosexual or lesbian) has become a solution for some, but this is a problematic move and leads to assertions that homosexuality is a Western imposition, implying that otherwise there would be no LGBTQI individuals in the Arab world — an assertion, Sahar notes, that devalues and makes invisible the rich history of what she referred to as "alternative sexualities" in the Arab world.  

In 2008, Sahar published her work on medieval Arab lesbian erotology, *Crossing Borders: Love Between Women in Medieval French and Arabic Literatures.*  This earlier research enables some of the recommendations Sahar makes for the current linguistic challenge she's identified:  recuperating terms and language used in these earlier texts.  One thing such a move could accomplish is to reconnect present-day LGBTQI communities to their history in the Arab past.  

Audience members had many questions for Sahar including: Why is lesbian identity less visible than gay male identity in the Arab world?  What are the implications of this work for interrupting the Orientalist lens too often used by the West to frame anything related to the Arab world?  How will the current movements toward democracy in Egypt, Tunisia, and other Arab countries impact LGBTQI civil rights?  

Thanks to Dr. Sahar Amer, our Spring CWC Faculty Scholar, for such an engaging and thought-provoking talk!  Read more about Dr. Amer's work in our Spring newsletter, available in late April.