DEPARTMENTS OF JUSTICE, HOMELAND SECURITY AND LABOR ANNOUNCE SELECTION OF ANTI-TRAFFICKING COORDINATION TEAMS WASHINGTON –

The Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor announced today the selection of Pilot Anti-Trafficking Coordination Teams (ACTeams) as part of a nationwide Human Trafficking Enhanced Enforcement Initiative designed to better coordinate federal criminal investigations and prosecutions of human trafficking offenses. The Phase I Pilot ACTeams will be based in Atlanta; El Paso, Texas; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tenn.; and Miami, under the leadership of the local U.S. Attorney and the highest-ranking federal investigative agents from the relevant regional FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Department of Labor field offices. The announcement today follows the conclusion of a competitive, interagency selection process led by the Federal Enforcement Working Group, a collaboration of the Justice Department’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys and FBI; the Department of Homeland Security’s ICE Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit; and the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and Office of the Inspector General. On Feb. 1, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis jointly announced the launch of the ACTeam Initiative and the commencement of the competitive interagency selection process. Each ACTeam, which is comprised of federal prosecutors and federal agents from the participating federal enforcement agencies, will implement a law enforcement strategic action plan to combat identified human trafficking threats. The ACTeams will focus on developing federal criminal human trafficking investigations and prosecutions to protect the rights of human trafficking victims, bringing traffickers to justice and dismantling human trafficking networks. Attorney General Holder, Secretary Napolitano and Secretary Solis have each declared the fight against human trafficking to be a top priority, and have committed to collaborating with federal, state, local and international law enforcement agencies, and other governmental and non-governmental partners to further enhance their anti-trafficking efforts.

Advertisements

Underage Sex Ring Run By Florida School Bus Monitor

A Florida cop and a school bus monitor were arrested Thursday in connection with a child prostitution ring, Polk County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Police arrested 27-year-old school bus attendant Paul Rosoan Aaron for allegedly forcing two young teens into prostitution, at least one of whom he solicited while on the job, according to a sworn affidavit obtained by The Huffington Post.

Both Aaron and his accused partner were arrested Thursday in connection with the ring, which police say Aaron ran out of a Haines City home under the name “Genuine Quality Entertainment.”

A second affidavit identifies 25-year-old Haines City police officer Demetrius Lamar Condry as one of Aaron’s clients. He, too, is now facing charges.

Condry allegedly frequented the brothel while still in uniform, his police radio buzzing while he received oral sex from the then-15-year-old victim, the teen reported in her statement to investigators. Aaron typically charged between $60 and $100 for similar encounters, though Condry appears to have been given a free pass in exchange for protection from the law.

“It’s disappointing,” Haines City Police Chief Richard Sloan told HuffPost. “We do great background and go to a lot of trouble to try to hire the best people, but every now and again you still get a bad egg.”

The girl told police she “felt like a sex slave” throughout the seven-month ordeal.

Hershey’s chocolate tainted with child exploitation, group charges

July 15 2011

 

Consumer  rights activists are asking chocolate lovers to think twice before  buying Hershey products this summer  because the chocolate is tainted  with forced and child labor.

Leaders  of the Raise the Bar Hershey Campaign say it’s been nearly 10 years  since chocolate companies, including Hershey’s, signed a protocol  committing them to eliminating abusive child labor, forced labor and  trafficking from their cocoa supply chains. However researchers found  that such abuses continue to exist in West African cocoa farms,  especially in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, where Hershey purchases most of  its cocoa to produce its chocolate bars and other products.

Campaign  leaders are urging consumers to take a stand against Hershey’s labor  violations. Although many of the biggest chocolate companies have  started to use cocoa that has been certified by independent, third  parties to comply with international labor standards, Hershey continues  to lag behind.

Amanda  Kloer, editor of Change.org, said she is getting the word out to  consumers that they should choose other brands for their campfire treats  until Hershey makes a commitment to ending child labor in its cocoa  supply chain by shifting to fair-trade-certified cocoa.

“As  chocolate lovers we want Hershey to buy better cocoa,” said Kloer. “We  also want the company to be transparent about where they buy their cocoa  and to ensure child abuses are not tainting their products. We need  Hershey to step up and take responsibility for what’s really going on.”

Kloer  said consumer activists are leaving “Consumer Alert” cards on the  shelves in front of Hershey products, as well as on Hershey’s S’mores  promotional displays. The alert cards include a code to allow shoppers  to take action on their smartphones in the store as part of a larger  campaign, including an online petition with over  13,000 supporters.

“Consumers  have tremendous power to change the unethical practices of companies,”  says Kloer. “That’s why activists are using the online platforms and  innovative organizing strategies like QR codes to educate and empower  consumers to take action.”

Maria  Louzon, student organizer with United Students for Fair Trade, said,  “For too long Hershey has ignored consumer requests to buy ethical,  certified cocoa for its chocolate bars. We hope Hershey won’t be able to  ignore the message when it’s placed on its products.”

Kloer  says a broad consumer movement by people who want major companies to  sell ethically produced products is driving the Hershey campaign. She  hopes the campaign will get Hershey’s attention and force them respond  to consumers’ concerns.

Nonprofit  groups Green America, International Labor Rights Forum, and Global  Exchange are organizing the campaign. Over 42,000 consumers have taken  action by sending e-mails and postcards, signing petitions, and making  phone calls to the company asking it to end child labor. Consumers  interested in participating can go to www.raisethebarhershey.org to download a consumer alert card, print it out, and film and upload their own experiences.

“Colors of the Word Fashion Show” brought Fashion for a cause to Tampa

Thank yoou all for attending the Fashion Show that took place this past Saturday! The event was a success!

 

Farrah Estrella's photo

, Tampa Fashion Examiner

July 16, 2011 – Like this? Subscribe to get instant updates.

The First Annual “Colors of the World Fashion Show” celebrated this past Saturday July 16th, 2011 here in Tampa, was a complete success. The show was co-produced by the Youth for Human Rights of Florida and The Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking. The two entities worked together to create awareness about the horrific problem that is Human Trafficking and Child labor.

Singer John Gold opened the show with a soft rock sound followed by Venezuelan born Jessie Laros with a blend of Pop music and acoustic guitar. Jessie also wrote the theme song for the event.

The first models that were on the red carpet were adorable children modeling some beautiful handmade dresses and hats. The models also wore signs saying “No child labor” on them. The children were followed by the male models that walked the red carpet with tons of attitude, rocking man bags and handmade scarves provoking applause and cheers from the audience.

The female models closed the show wearing Jewelry that was handmade in Ecuador and Eco-friendly Handbags and accessories made in Brazil from aluminum pull taps. Some of the accessories were also made out of recycle newspaper. All of the items modeled on the show were supported by the fair trade. Fair trade allows growers and manufactures of goods in developing countries to received adequate payment for their products. Throughout the show several videos were shown about how the goods are made

Update on the Shaniya Davis Case

Fayetteville, N.C. — The mother of a 5-year-old
Fayetteville girl who was killed almost two years ago was indicted Wednesday in
her death.

A Cumberland County grand jury indicted Antoinette Nicole Davis, 27, of 607
Mechanic St., on charges of first-degree murder, indecent liberties with a
child, felony child abuse, felony sexual servitude, rape of a child, sexual
offense of a child by an adult offender, human trafficking and making a false
police report.

She was arrested and placed in the Cumberland County jail. She was denied
bond on the murder charge, and bonds totaling $1.5 million were set for the
other charges.

Shaniya Davis’ body was found in a kudzu patch near the Lee-Harnett county
line six days after Antoinette Davis reported the child missing from their
Fayetteville home in November 2009.

An autopsy determined that Shaniya died of asphyxiation and that injuries she
suffered were consistent with a sexual assault. A medical examiner noted in the
autopsy that investigators believe the girl was used to pay off a drug debt.

Antoinette Davis was initially charged with human trafficking, felony child
abuse–prostitution, filing a false police report and obstructing a police
investigation. Arrest warrants stated that she “did knowingly provide Shaniya
with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude” and “did permit an act of
prostitution with Shaniya.”

She was released after posting bond on those charges in February 2010.

Gavin MacRoberts, a spokesman for the Fayetteville Police Department, said in
a statement that police presented the murder charge against Davis to the grand
jury “after an extensive review of the investigative file.”

Mario Andrette McNeill, 30, has been charged with murder, kidnapping and rape
in Shaniya’s death. Police have said he was a friend of the family.

McNeill still hasn’t been indicted in the case, and he recently sent a
hand-written note from Central Prison in Raleigh, where he is being held for his
own safety, to the Cumberland County Clerk of Court to request his release while
awaiting trial.

“Release me. It’s easiest,”  he said in the note.

Is ‘planking’ connected to the slave trade?

For those of you who may not know what “planking” is, according to Wikipedia, planking is defined as :

The lying down game (also known as planking,[1] or face downs) is an activity, popular in various parts of the world, consisting of lying face down in an unusual or incongruous location. The hands must touch the sides of the body and having a photograph of the participant taken and posted on the Internet is an integral part of the game.[2] Players compete to find the most unusual and original location in which to play.[2] The location should also be as public as possible, and as many people as possible should be involved.[3]

View Image

This is apparently the newest craze here in the U.S. Even celebrities have jumped on the planking band wagon. BUt one celebrity spoke against it and stated that there is a connection between planking and slave ships. If in fact there is a connection, should people be planking? Please read the article below and feel free to share your thoughts on the planking issue?

By  Sarah Anne Hughes
Four Thai people performing the lying down game, also known as “planking,” on the stairs of a shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand. (APICHART WEERAWONG/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

“Is planking racist?”

This is the question poised about the popular fad after rapper Xzibit and other Twitter users said the seemingly innocuous trend has a sinister past. (In case you’re not familiar with it, planking requires you to lie straight. Face down. That’s it.)

“Planking was a way to transport slaves on ships during the slave trade, its [sic] not funny,” Xzibit tweeted. “Educate yourselves.”

Planking has risen in popularity over the past year as a viral prank with people posting photos of themselves lying face down stiff as a board in random locations. A “plank” is “a heavy thick board” by definition. The game was created by Brits Gary Clarkson and Christian Langdon, who called it the “lying down game.” Shortly after, Australian Sam Weckert and his friends rebranded it as “planking” and it caught fire on the Internet. Even celebrities — such as Usher and Rosario Dawson — are doing it.

Gawker’s Adrian Chen addressed the question Thursday, coming to the  conclusion that it’s not racist: “It’s just stupid.”

“Just goes to show the lengths that old people of all races will go to to squash the latest thing their kids are doing to freak them out,” Chen wrote.

But the term does have a connection to the slave trade, said Marcus Rediker, a professor of Atlantic history at the University of Pittsburgh and author of “The Slave Ship: A Human History.”

“To plank” was not necessarily a verb used by slave ship merchants and captains, Rediker said in an e-mail. But the planks “of the lower deck are precisely where millions of Africans were forced to lie and sleep on the Middle Passage, in conditions of utter horror that defy description,” he said.
The Brookes print of a slave ship.

Rediker points to the “Brookes” image of a slave ship, showing what he calls “the flat, stiff arrangement of bodies on board,” created by the Plymouth Chapter of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade.

“What I find most powerful about the controversy is the way in which we are haunted by the popular memory of the slave ships,” Rediker said. “No matter what the intention of the founders of the recent fad, there is a connection to the slave trade and it is a painful one, not least because we have been reluctant to face this part of our common history.”

We have reached out to Weckert to comment on how he came up with the term and his take on the controversy. Unfortunately, it’s night in Australia, so we will update with comment when it becomes available.

But based on a BBC interview with Weckert, there is no evidence that he or the other “planking” term creators had any idea about the word’s past.