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Posts Tagged ‘trafficking’

Special Rapporteur on Trafficking Critiques U.S. Approach to Arrests

NYATN worked with the U.S. Human Rights Network and other anti-trafficking organizations, as well as sex workers rights groups, when the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking came to the United States in December 2016 to take a look at how our governments address human trafficking. We join the USHRN in their statement commending the Special Rapporteur on her report and noting that she could can go even further in supporting the human rights of trafficked persons.

In the statement, NYATN notes: The NY Anti-Trafficking Network applauds the Special Rapporteur for recognizing that ‘criminalisation of prostitution also contribute(s) to vulnerabilities to human trafficking’ and recognizes the need for vacatur of criminal convictions. Arrest is never an appropriate way to try to help someone who may be a trafficking survivor, as it only further drives them into vulnerable situations, creates trauma and chaos in a person’s life, and adds an additional layer of complex legal consequences to their already complicated and difficult situation.”

#PowerOfPop: New Report on Pop Culture and Immigration

The Opportunity Agenda has released a new report on how TV portrays immigrants and immigration, including experiences of trafficking in persons. The report analyzes television coverage, noting the power of popular media in shaping public perception, and offers recommendations to advocates and pop culture producers for making change and creating more authentic images of immigrants as contributors to the fabric of our communities.

Massage Parlors & Raids on Immigrant Workers

NYATN Steering Committee member Mary Caparas wrote an important piece in The Hill on the dangers of arresting massage parlor workers in the name of preventing trafficking. These arrests drive immigrant workers and community members into even more vulnerable situations, and also put immigrant women at risk of police profiling, detention, and deportation. Check out and share her op-ed!

#TalkTraffic: Why Decriminalize Sex Work?

This is the ninth video in our 10-part #TalkTraffic video series, which we are releasing on Human Rights Day 2016. See Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

Trafficking happens in a wide range of low-wage industries, including sex work. In most places around the world, engaging in sex work can get you arrested. This actually makes it harder for sex workers and survivors of trafficking to seek help when they need it. Learn more about why it’s important to decriminalize sex work and keep people out of the criminal justice system.

What You Need To Know

People engage in sex work for a variety of reasons, most often because they need to support themselves and their families, and their other work options won’t pay enough for a living wage. At NY Anti-Trafficking Network, we often say, people engage in sex work because of choice, circumstance, or coercion, with life circumstance being the most common reason.

  • But there are sex workers who face coercion, which is the key element of trafficking. This means they are working in a climate of fear, or in isolation or abuse, and they are afraid to leave.
  • Sex workers who have been trafficked may have someone withhold their passport; advertise a job as waitressing when it really involves prostitution; make threats against their family; engage in physical abuse; or threaten to call the police or immigration to make an arrest.
  • The threat of arrest makes it difficult for a trafficked person to leave, because sex work is considered a crime in most parts of the world.

Many sex workers who have been trafficked are arrested, often repeatedly, before anyone in the criminal justice system understands they need help. Arrest is never an appropriate way to try to help someone who may be a trafficking survivor or is involved in sex work.

  • Arresting people who may be trafficked only drives them further into vulnerable situations.
  • Arrests create trauma, chaos, and unintended consequences in a person’s life (for example, affecting their family, children, housing, and co-workers.)
  • Arrest also adds an additional layer of complex legal consequences into that person’s already complicated and difficult situation. Under U.S. immigration law, even having a prostitution-related arrest on your criminal record can affect a person’s chances to stay on the roadmap to citizenship.

It is also dangerous for sex workers and trafficked people when customers of sex workers get arrested.

  • When customers are afraid of being arrested, it makes it more difficult for sex workers to negotiate safe conditions and decent pay. Sex workers may also be threatened by police so they will cooperate in a criminal case.
  • Actually, customers and other brothel workers are often the people who help sex workers leave trafficking situations, since they know more about their lives and daily routines than most of us.

Ultimately, it is protecting the human rights of sex workers and creating better economic options for people that helps to prevent trafficking and to keep sex workers safe.

Share this video: youtu.be/JJJ_3deYL3A

Connect with us! nyatn.org | @NYATN | #TalkTraffic | Facebook

See the whole #TalkTraffic video project.

Learn more about what you can do to help.

Production Credits — Producers: Juhu Thukral, Jeffrey Yamaguchi, and Suzanne Seltzer. Video Production/Filming/Editing: Jordan Timpy and Cassie Timpy of Agape Visuals (Read their write-up about working on this project). Music: Broke For Free.

Women’s Rights in Sustainable Development: The New Legal Frontiers

NYATN Steering Committee member Suzanne Tomatore will be speaking on a panel entitled “Women’s Rights in Sustainable Development: The New Legal Frontiers” which will take place during the second week of the 60th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW60). The event is free and no pass is necessary. Speakers include Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, Prof. Cynthia Soohoo, Director, Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic, CUNY School of Law, HE Mrs. Toyin Saraki, Founder and Director, The Wellbeing Foundation of Africa, Deborah Enix-Ross, Chair, Business and Human Rights Project of the ABA Center for Human Rights, and Suzanne Tomatore, Director, Immigrant Women & Children Project, City Bar Justice Center. The panel will take place on March 24, 2016 from 8:30 AM-10:00 AM at the Church Center for the United Nations, 2nd fl., 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017.

The event is sponsored by the American Bar Association Section of International Law, Section of International Law Women’s Interest Network, Section of International Law NGO & Not-for-Profit Organizations Committee and Transnational Legal Practice Committee.

NYATN Statement on 2015 Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act: Calling on the NYS Senate to Pass Additional Anti-Trafficking Legislation

The NY Anti-Trafficking Network (NYATN) is the first network of anti-trafficking service providers, policy advocates, and activists in New York State. NYATN has provided direct legal and social services to several thousand survivors of human trafficking since 2002. NYATN is dedicated to ending human trafficking and to providing qualified and appropriate services that give survivors the help they want and need in reclaiming their lives.

NYATN roots our advocacy work in basic human rights principles. We are dedicated to a nuanced approach to anti-trafficking efforts that reduces reliance on the criminal justice system and instead values economic opportunity, immigration policy change, and gender equality. We stand firm in promoting dignity, self-determination, and opportunity for people of all genders and experiences.

Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (A.506/S.007)

NYATN welcomes efforts to improve New York’s current anti-trafficking law—already one of the strongest and most comprehensive in the country—particularly those efforts aimed at meeting the needs of trafficking survivors. We are extremely pleased that the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (TVPJA) includes a private right of action for survivors of trafficking to seek compensation and economic justice, as well as an affirmative defense for people trafficked into prostitution. We appreciate that the TVPJA streamlines access to services for survivors.

While passage of the TVPJA is an important step forward in providing for the needs of trafficking survivors, its primary focus appears to be on enhanced criminal penalties that neither prevent trafficking, nor protect victims and survivors of trafficking. In fact, some of these provisions—such as the increase in penalties for crimes involving vehicles—actually harm victims of trafficking, as it is often a driver who facilitates escape from a trafficking situation. The provisions focused on prostitution in a school zone do not address trafficking at all. In addition, the provisions adding new offenses to the sex offender registry are not designed to identify traffickers or survivors of trafficking, and they do not prevent trafficking. In fact, they cause greater harm to young people and others at risk of being trafficked. Finally, the TVPJA does not equalize treatment of trafficking into all labor sectors.

NYATN is concerned and disappointed these unnecessary and potentially harmful provisions on criminal offenses have been included in the final TVPJA. We continue to call for responses to trafficking in persons rooted in human rights and dignity for all people at risk of being trafficked.

Next Steps

We applaud Assemblyman Joseph Lentol for recognizing several service-related elements were missing from the TVPJA and addressing this in a separate bill, A.2953. The Assembly has wisely passed the Lentol bill, and we now call on the Senate to take action this coming session. We ask for immediate action on this important additional component of New York’s anti-trafficking response and urge both houses to also pass the End Criminalization of Condoms Act, which would protect those most vulnerable to trafficking into prostitution. NYATN understands that enactment of the TVPJA does not signify that we have met all of New York’s anti-trafficking legislative priorities and recognizes there is more that can be accomplished toward this goal. We look forward to working with the Assembly and Senate to continue to improve New York State’s response to this crucial human rights issue.

Upcoming Panel on Homeless & Street-involved Youth: Intersections with Human Trafficking

HOMELESS & STREET-INVOLVED YOUTH:INTERSECTIONS WITH HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 6:00-8:00pm
New York City Bar Association

Join an expert panel of service providers, policy advocates, and researchers to learn more about homeless and street-involved youth in New York City. There will be a rich discussion of issues that these youth face, including experiencing or being at risk for human trafficking, exploitation, survival sex, interacting with the criminal justice system and issues particular to LGBT or immigrant youth. Panelists will also draw from the research presented in the recently-released report by the “Urban Institute, Locked In: Interactions with the Criminal Justice and Child Welfare Systems for LGBTQ Youth, YMSM, and YWSW Who Engage in Survival Sex”. Policy recommendations will be explored as well as areas where attorneys and other service providers working with vulnerable youth can be more effective in using a rights-based approach.

Speakers: Laura Berger Staff Attorney at the Immigrant Women & Children Project at the City Bar Justice Center
Brendan Conner Staff Attorney at Streetwise & Safe
Kate D’Adamo National Policy Advocate, Sex Workers’ Project
Meredith Dank Senior Research Associate, The Urban Institute

Moderated By: Suzanne Tomatore Director of the Immigrant Women & Children Project at the City Bar Justice Center

This discussion is free; however, space is limited. Please RSVP by October 23, 2015.

https://services.nycbar.org/iMIS/Events/Event_Display.aspx?WebsiteKey=f71e12f3-524e-4f8c-a5f7-0d16ce7b3314&EventKey=CBJC102715

Co-sponsored by: Sex & Law Committee, LGBT Rights Committee, Council on Children, LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York (LeGaL) and the New York Anti-Trafficking Network

NYC Bar Association, 42 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036 http://www.nycbar.org

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