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Posts Tagged ‘trafficking’

#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

#TalkTraffic: What You Can Do to Help Survivors and End Trafficking

August 3, 2015 Comments off

This is the eighth video in our 10-part #TalkTraffic video series. See Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

Trafficking in persons is a global problem, and it can feel overwhelming. But there’s a lot you can do to help. This video explains how we can all come together to support survivors and end trafficking.

What You Need To Know

At NY Anti-Trafficking Network, people ask us all the time, “What can I do to help end trafficking and to help survivors directly?” While trafficking is a global problem, there’s actually a lot you can do to help.

THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW INCLUDE:

Learn what trafficking is and map out your action plan.

  • Trafficking is about people living and working in a climate of fear, working under force, fraud, or coercion, usually in low-wage industries.
  • Watch and share our #TalkTraffic video series to learn about trafficking and to teach others.
  • Share this information with friends, co-workers, family, and people in organizations you belong to. Be aware of the conversations people have. When you hear people making jokes or saying things that don’t respect the dignity and voices of survivors, point it out and explain why that’s wrong.

Plan your donations to qualified legal and service providers and advocacy groups with a proven track record for respecting the dignity and human rights of survivors.

  • In the United States, members of the national Freedom Network serve survivors and advocate on anti-trafficking law and policy.
  • NY Anti-Trafficking Network works with survivors and has changed the legal response to trafficking in New York City and State.
  • Internationally, the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women leads global advocacy and its members from around the world follow a human rights approach to ending trafficking.

Be a media activist.

  • When you see stories about trafficking that don’t respect the dignity and voices of survivors, post a comment online, or write a letter to the editor, and hold the media accountable.
  • Share our #TalkTraffic video series to teach others about trafficking, using the hashtag #TalkTraffic and follow us on Twitter @NYATN.
  • Other hashtags to follow include #trafficking #forcedlabor #humantrafficking #modernslavery and #supplychains.

Look into supply chains for goods and services you consume, for transparency and accountability.

Host a fundraiser or awareness event.

  • Show our #TalkTraffic video series to teach others about trafficking, and lead a discussion after.
  • Movies about trafficking you can screen and discuss include Not My Life, Normal, and Food Chains.
  • Hold a clothing or food drive and donate to survivors in need, working with a relevant organization.

Share this video: youtu.be/a-Or4J_HlRY

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 and Jeffrey Yamaguchi. 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.

#TalkTraffic: Solutions to End Trafficking

July 27, 2015 Comments off

This is the seventh video in our 10-part #TalkTraffic video series. See Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Our goal is to end trafficking, and to prevent it from happening in the first place. We also want to help survivors reclaim their voices and their lives. This video delves into the solutions we need that will put an end to trafficking.

What You Need To Know

At NY Anti-Trafficking Network, we focus on helping survivors reclaim their voices and their lives, but we are also working to prevent and end trafficking at the root causes. Prevention is key – and therefore requires taking on the issues that lead people to the vulnerable situations that put them at risk for trafficking in the first place.

These are the long-term solutions we are working toward and calling for:

  • Safe and affordable housing.
  • Supportive and qualified legal and social services.
  • Commonsense immigration policy.
  • Living wage jobs, opportunities to build financial assets, and anti-poverty policies.
  • Supporting low-wage workers organizing for their rights.
  • Sexuality education, which survivors say would have helped them navigate vulnerable situations.
  • Reduce reliance on the criminal justice system and remove heavy oversight by law enforcement.
  • Safe, qualified, and appropriate services and housing for LGBTQ young people, especially those at risk for homelessness and/or family rejection.
  • Promoting a global culture that values women and girls.
  • Protecting fair working conditions and labor rights.
  • Protecting human rights.
  • Transparency and accountability in supply chains for goods and services.

If you do any of this work, you are doing important anti-trafficking work.

Share this video: youtu.be/HSak84Jtd84

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 and Jeffrey Yamaguchi. 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.

#TalkTraffic: The Importance of Legal Services for Trafficking Survivors

July 20, 2015 Comments off

This is the sixth video in our 10-part #TalkTraffic video series. See Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Survivors of trafficking need a wide range of legal services. It takes expert legal knowledge and experience to work with a survivor as he or she moves through immigration, criminal justice, housing, civil litigation, or family law issues. This video explains how survivors can work with their lawyers on navigating different legal systems.

What You Need To Know

Properly trained lawyers are a critical part of a trafficking survivor’s support team. Expert and qualified lawyers work to protect survivors’ legal rights, which helps people re-gain their own voice and make decisions about how they want to move forward with their lives.

Lawyers who understand the dynamics of trafficking can help survivors tell their stories in a safe way that protects their legal rights and gets them the help they need and deserve. This means:

  • Listening to survivors explain their understanding of their own experience.
  • Helping survivors figure out what they want from different legal systems and what their goals are, so the survivor can decide how he or she wants to move forward.

For this reason, lawyers working with trafficking survivors or people at risk should be qualified to provide appropriate legal services, and have the necessary training and expertise in this work. They should also be able to provide linguistically and culturally appropriate legal services.

    Trafficking survivors have a wide range of complex legal needs:

  • Immigration.
  • Housing.
  • Civil litigation.
  • Family law.
  • Child protection system.
  • Criminal justice.

Within the criminal justice system, survivors’ legal needs include:

  • Criminal defense, where a survivor has been arrested, often multiple times.
  • Essentially erasing the criminal convictions from a survivor’s criminal record (from prior arrests) so he or she can find future employment and safe housing.
  • Protecting a survivor’s rights and interests as he or she cooperates with law enforcement and prosecutors against a trafficker, if the survivor decides to do so.

Lawyers need to remember, each survivor has a different approach to what he or she wants and needs in order to move forward. Listening and supporting the survivor’s self-determination is key!

Share this video: youtu.be/jJCcifh__U4

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 and Jeffrey Yamaguchi. 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.

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