Success! Thanks in part to the support of Care2 members like you, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels approved Senate Enrolled Act 4, legislation that will enforce tougher penalties on human trafficking in Indiana. This bill passed just in the nick of time, as Super Bowl 2012 commences on Sunday.
by Donna Butler
Super Bowl 2012 provides a unique opportunity to address the profoundly tragic issue of human trafficking. While the increase of human trafficking surrounding events such as the Super Bowl is no secret in the criminal world, efforts to create a sporting event without such exploitation has brought to light the ordinary citizen’s lack of awareness.
Human trafficking, a modern form of slavery, is when someone obtains or holds a person in compelled service. At major sports events, this crime dramatically escalates, providing great financial opportunity for the traffickers. While trafficking affects many adults, especially women, I would like to focus at this time on how it affects millions of children every day all over the world.
Many children are sold into this type of slavery. It may take the form of sexual exploitation or extreme hours of grueling physical labor/military service. Sometimes parents in dire need are promised financial and educational opportunities for their children that never transpire. Other people are vulnerable because they are homeless, runaways, have disabilities, are living in institutions, or are victims of drug users. Youth are easily lured by someone who appears to have their best interest at heart. Adults who have professional access to children/teens often take advantage of their authority, using deception, bribes, drugs and fear tactics to gain a kind of control from which it seems totally impossible to escape.
Is there any good news? Yes, there are things we as ordinary citizens can do!
First of all, we can become advocates of adequate protection in the law. Senate Enrolled Act 4 provides greater protection for children, widening the circumstances under which traffickers may be prosecuted and taking into account even if a child consents, he/she is not to be held responsible for this crime.
Secondly, free brochures entitled “Look Beneath the Surface” can be ordered from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. These can be distributed in businesses, libraries, church and service groups, and at parent/teacher association (PTA) meetings in order to increase the ordinary citizen’s awareness and ability to act.
If you live outside the U.S., www.ecpat.net provides pertinent information in a variety of languages as well as a code of conduct for businesses.
If you think someone is a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-3737-888.
Care2 member Donna Butler, part of the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, worked hard to support the passage of this law. The Sisters of Providence put a priority on addressing women’s issues as well as urgent global issues, and are proud to make human trafficking a top priority. For more information, please see www.spsmw.org.