January 26, 2015

Human Trafficking Bills in Congress

Below are the current bills in congress right now related to Human Trafficking.  I have not had time to vet these bills so I want to be clear that I'm not saying you should or shouldn't vote for them, but just wanted everyone to know what was in the works.  You can find pending state legislation here..

  • Human Trafficking Prioritization Act (HR 514): — Bipartisan — To prioritize the fight against human trafficking within the Department of State according to congressional intent in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 without increasing the size of the Federal Government. 
  • International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking(HR 515): — Bipartisan — “A serious attempt to mitigate child sex tourism by noticing countries of destination concerning the travel plans of convicted pedophiles. And to protect American children, the bill encourages the President to use bilateral agreements and assistance to establish reciprocal notification so that we will know when convicted child-sex offenders are coming here,” according a floor statement by the sponsor in 2014. 
  • Human Trafficking Prevention Act (HR 357): — Bipartisan — “Requires additional training for Department of State officials related to human trafficking,” according to the bill sponsor.
  • Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act (HR 398): — Bipartisan —  “Trains healthcare workers to recognize the hallmark signs of human trafficking, thus allowing professionals to intervene on a patients’ behalf. This legislation trains healthcare workers to recognize the hallmark signs of human trafficking, thus allowing professionals to intervene. This legislation requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award a grant to a medical or nursing school within each of the 10 administrative regions to develop best practices for health care professionals. These best practices will allow for them to recognize, respond, and intervene on behalf of human trafficking victims,” according to the bill sponsor. 
  • Human Trafficking Detection Act (HR 460): — Bipartisan — To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to train Department of Homeland Security personnel how to effectively deter, detect, disrupt, and prevent human trafficking during the course of their primary roles and responsibilities.
  • Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act (HR 350): — Bipartisan — “Launches a review that will look into federal and state trafficking prevention activities in order to identify best practices to stop human trafficking; requires an inventory of existing federal anti-trafficking efforts to make sure all federal agencies and programs work together and that federal resources are being targeted where needed; and improves existing Department of Justice grants, ensuring that the grants also support shelters for survivors, according to the House Judiciary Committee. 
  • Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act (HR 159): — Bipartisan — “Provides incentives to states to adopt safe harbor laws that treat trafficked children as victims, rather than as criminals or delinquents. The bill also provides an avenue for victims to access job skills training so that they can begin to rebuild their lives,” according to the House Judiciary Committee. 
  • Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (HR 181): — Bipartisan — “Boosts support and protection for domestic human trafficking victims by increasing and streamlining law enforcement resources, enhancing victims’ services, and strengthening our laws to ensure that both buyers and sellers engaged in sex trafficking are held accountable for their crimes,” according to the House Judiciary Committee. 
  • Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act (HR 285): — Bipartisan — “To criminalize those who knowingly advertise or profit from advertisements that offer the commercial exploitation of children and trafficking victims,” according to the House Judiciary Committee. 
  • Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims for Youth Trafficking Act (HR 468): — Bipartisan — Would “improve support provided specifically to runaway and homeless youth who are victims of sex trafficking,” according to the House Education and Workforce Committee. Enable the Secretary of Health and Human Services to apply existing grant resources to train relevant staff on the effects of human trafficking in runaway and homeless youth victims, and for developing state-wide strategies to serve such youth. Allow the secretary to utilize the Street Outreach Program to provide street-based services for runaway and homeless youth who are victims of trafficking. 
  • Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act (HR 469): — Bipartisan — Would “improve practices within state child welfare systems to identify and document sex trafficking victims,” according to the House Education and Workforce Committee. Direct states to have procedures to identify and assess reports involving children who are victims of sex trafficking, and train child protective services workers on how to do so. Require states to identify services that address the needs of children who are victims of sex trafficking. 

January 23, 2015

Slavery: Then and Now (+ Giveaway)

giveaways to raise awareness of modern slavery


"I want to be very clear:  I'm talking about real slavery.  This is not about lousy marriages, this is not about jobs that suck, this is about people who can not walk away, people who are forced to work without pay, people who are operating 24/7 under a threat of violence, and have no pay.  It's real slavery in exactly the same way that slavery would be recognized throughout all of human history."
           - Kevin Bales (from his TED Talk in 2010.)

I think sometimes when people first hear about millions of people in modern slavery today they wonder, "Is it REAL slavery that we're talking about?  Or is this just some metaphor for being trapped in bad circumstances?"  But the more I learn about slavery today, the more clear it is that this is LITERAL slavery.  I have read stories of people beaten if they would not work, people's lives being threatened if they tried to leave, and even some branded with tattoos so that they could be found again if they escaped.  Slavery today, looks a lot like slavery a few hundred years ago (though there are some differences).  Read on...

Past and Present Slavery
A Side by Side Comparison 

Then Today
For most of history, in most places, slavery was legal. (1b, 1c) Today, slavery is officially illegal around the world, though laws against slavery are not always enforced, and some countries lack laws covering some forms of slavery.  Still, slavery as a criminal activity exists worldwide. (1c, 2)
The average cost for a old-world slave was around $12,000 to $40,000 (adjusted to today's currency), and were treated as a long term investment (1d, 2)The average cost of obtaining a slave, worldwide, today is somewhere between $90 - $400.  In North America, the cost is around $3,000 to $8,000--still a fraction of what it cost when slavery was legal here.  The result of this is that today's slaves are often treated like disposable resources. (2)
Slaves were subject to beatings and other forms of violence and abuse. (1d) Beatings and other forms of  violence are still a tool traffickers used to keep people enslaved today. (2)
Women slaves were often raped by their masters and subjected to other sexual exploitation. (1d) Women in slavery today are still subject to rape, even when they are trafficked primarily for labor, not sex. (2)
Tattoos were used to mark people as slaves in ancient China, Greece and Rome, and branding was common during the trans-atlantic slave trade. In both ancient Rome and in the U.S. south, metal collars were sometimes put on slaves who tried to run away. (1d, 1e, 1f, 1g, 4)Today, sex traffickers sometimes tattoo their victims so that they can mark prostitutes as "theirs" and track them down if they try to leave.  These tattoos may be names or designs like logos, and often  incorporate bar codes that can be scanned by smart phones.  In Niger, Wahaya slaves are sometimes made to wear heavy brass ankle bracelets to signify their slave status.  (5,6, 7a, 7b)
In the past, slavery was an important part of world economies, and a large percentage of many nations were slaves.  Here is a sampling of nations who's historical slave prevalence we know (numbers are rounded).

Percentage of 
Population Enslaved
(by Year Recorded)

150 BC - Rome - 30-40%
1086 - England - 10%
1930 - Ethiopia - 12% to 25%
1910 - Korea - 30% to 50%
1860 - United State - 13%


The percentage of the world population enslaved today is lower than at any time in modern history, and the money generated by slavery today is "tiniest proportion of the global economy to ever be represented by slave labor." (2)   The exact percentage of slaves in the world today is impossible to  determine slavery today is  mostly a criminal, underground activity, and no longer publicly recorded as it often was under legal slavery.  But the largest  slave population in the world today is most likely Mauritania, where an estimated 4% of the population is still enslaved. (2, 8, 9) 

"The past, the present, and the future are really one:  They are today"
~Harriet Beecher Stowe, 18th Century Abolitionist

Sources listed at the bottom of this page.


One winner will receive the items pictured above...

Set of 3 "Voices of Freedom" Bookmarks by 8th Wonder Creations

This giveaway is open to residents over 18 of the United States, Canada (except Quebec), and the United Kingdom. Enter on the Rafflecopter below.  Read complete rules here.

(NOTE:  I'm so sorry I can't offer these giveaways in more places right now.  If where you live isn't on this list, please help me bring next year's Heart's Should Be Free giveaways to your country by helping me researching giveaway laws there.  e-mail me at ecarian@yahoo.com for more info).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


1.  Wikipedia: 
1b. Slavery
1c. Abolition of Slavery Timeline
1d. Treatment_of_slaves_in_the_United_States
1e. Human Branding
1f. History of Tattooing
1g. Slavery in Ancient Rome
1e. 1860 US Census

2.  How to Combat Modern Slavery, 2010 TED Talk by Kevin Bales (Transcript)

3. Sexual Violence in Labor Trafficking

4.  Object Record:  Slave Collar

5.  Tattood Trafficking Survivors Reclaiming Their Past - The Guardian

6. The Ink 180 Story

7.  Anti Slavery.org
7a. Descent Based Slavery
7b. Wahaya:  Young Girls Sold Into Slavery

8.  Global Slavery Index - 2014 Report

9.  "The Global Markets in Modern Day Slavery" by Gary Craig Criminal Justice Matters, Volume 97, Issue 1, 2014

10 "Twenty First Century Slaves:  Combating Global Sex Trafficking" by Siddharth Kara

January 15, 2015

10 Facts About Slavery - And a Giveaway

I remember when I first read about modern slavery...I was spending some time flipping through a magazine waiting for my class to start, when I turned a page and read a headline about people trying to free slaves, TODAY.  I was shocked!  Didn't slavery end with the civil war?  Why had I never heard about this before?  What I read described children Africa being kidnapped, forced to work as slaves, and desperate parents trying to buy their children back.

But it wasn't until years later that I would learn how widespread slavery still is.   While legal slavery in the US ended with emancipation, throughout the world and even in the US, slavery continues.   I'm not talking about people paid too little, or "enslaved" by their circumstances, but REAL slavery, where people are forced to work or prostitute themselves and kept enslaved through  fraud, coercion and threat of violence.

Every year for Hearts Should Be Free I update a short list of facts about slavery to share on the first giveaway post.  I'll go further into detail on some of these aspects of slavery in some later HSBF giveaways, but here just a few brief facts to get you started:

10 Facts About Modern Slavery
  1. Millions of people are estimated to be in slavery today.  
  2. Slave traffickers maintain control of their victims through various means, including violence, coercion  and threats of harm to loved ones.  
  3. The modern "slave trade" is commonly referred to as "human trafficking."  
  4. Though slavery has been banned throughout the world, in many countries laws against slavery are not enforced, and it others they are inadequate (only covering certain types of slavery, or certain victims).  At least nine nations have no legislation specifically criminalizing slavery. 
  5. Sex trafficking accounts for 58% of all human trafficking.  Forced labor makes up around 38%.  Other forms of human trafficking include forced marriage and forced enlistment of child soldiers.  
  6. Victims of forced labor have been found in nearly every job setting imaginable...including factories, restaurants, private homes, medical facilities, farms, and construction sites. 
  7. 33% of trafficking victims identified worldwide are children. 
  8. While poverty can leave people more vulnerable to enslavement, this is not just a third-word problem.  Slavery is present even in developed nations like the United States.
  9. There are reported cases of modern slavery in every country of the world, except Greenland. 
  10. We are closer to ending slavery than ever before.  The number of people in slavery today is the smallest percentage of the global population enslaved in modern history. Some experts believe that slavery could be eradication within 30 years.  

*Identified victims are victims of trafficking that have been in contact with an institution (such as the police,  social services, shelters run by the state or by NGOs, etc.)

SOURCES:  U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report - 2014 (1,2), International Labor Organization (1, 3)  Polaris Project (3) UNDOC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons - 2014  (4,5,7) SlaveryFootprint.org  (6) See my collection of links to stories about victims in various industries (8,10) Kevin Bale's TED Talk  (9) Alliance Against Modern Slavery  (10) BBC

    Would you like to do something to stop slavery?  One simple thing you can do is spread the word!  Please feel free to copy this list and share it on your blog, tweet about it, etc.  Please include the sources, and if you use this list verbatim, let others know they are allowed to share it.

    For more ideas on how to fight modern slavery, click here.

    Bethany of Fret Knot Jewelry has graciously offered to give one of you one of her Arrow Bracelets, in the size and color of your choice.  These beautiful bracelets also have a beautiful story, which you can read below.   And they are doing something beautiful too---for each of these Bracelets sold on Etsy, $4 will be donated to help victims of human trafficking.

    "This design came to life when I was asked to make something as a symbol of hope for two trafficked girls who had been rescued. Some friends made them each a handmade hope chest, and filled it with things that represented a fresh start, and of course, hope (including the first two arrow bracelets I ever mailed off). The teens have since gone on to speak out and be a voice about human trafficking in their home state and even across the country--truly inspirational to many others."
    ~ Bethany

    Find Fred Knot Jewelry At

    Enter on the Rafflecopter below.  Giveaway is open only to residents of the US, UK, and Canada (excluding Quebec).   You must be 18 or older to enter.  Read complete rules here.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Hearts Should Be Free - 2015

    Did you know that slavery still exists today?  I don't mean metaphorical slavery...I mean actual slavery where people are forced to work without pay, beaten, threatened, and not allowed to leave.

    Heart's Should Be Free is an event I first started January 2012 using giveaways to spread awareness about this injustice, because people can't change something they don't know is happening.

    Sponsors have donated some beautiful prizes you can win, and each giveaway post will help you learn about a different aspect of modern slavery.   

    The Giveaways

    Arrow Bracelet Giveaway 
    Sponsored by Fret Knot Jewelry
    Ends January 29


    Hearts Should Be Free Giveaway Rules

    2015 Hearts Should Be Free giveaways are only open to residents of the US, UK, and Canada (excluding Quebec).   You must be 18 or older to enter.    Immediate family members, employees or contractors of the sponsor or blog host are not eligible to win.

    • No purchase necessary.  Void where illegal.
    • Entries that do not follow the submission guidelines are invalid.
    • Winner will be announced on the blog post no more than 2 days after entries end, and notified by the e-mail they provided through Rafflecopter.  Prizes not claimed within 7 days will be forfeited.
    Canadians will be required to solve a trivia or math problem to meet the Canadian giveaway law requirement for a skill test.  (Sorry about that).  

    By entering you give us and the sponsor permission to use your info to contact you to notify you if you win and deliver your prize.     Your info will not be sold.   If you sign up for a newsletter, updates, to volunteer, or ask for any additional information as part of this giveaway or otherwise, than your info will be used for those purposes.

    If for some unforeseen reason the prize pictured/named can not be delivered, a alternate prize of similar value or equivalent cash amount may be substituted.  Neither the sponsor nor Such Fun to Give/Hearts Should Be Free is responsible if item is damaged or lost in the mail.

    I am in no way affiliated with CNN, The Polaris Project, or any of the other sources for information about slavery I link to or otherwise promote on these giveaways.

    You can contact the giveaway host at ecarian@yahoo.com.

    January 14, 2015

    2015 Heart Should Be Free Starts January 15!

    I wanted to give a shout out to the wonderful shops who have signed up to sponsor a giveaway for Hearts Should Be Free, and to thank these artists for helping helping with this event to spread awareness of the millions of people in slavery today. Below are some of the great gift items you can find in their shops  (no, this isn't a list of the prizes...though a few of the prizes may be among what's pictured).










    Rose on Weathered Wood Guitar Pick Heart of Flowers Ornaments Scribbleprint Heart Photo Card Business Card Templates Inner Child Button