by Dana Bruxvoort, Communications Coordinator
If you missed any HTC postings from July, here’s our monthly round-up of human trafficking news.
HTC Communications Coordinator Dana Bruxvoort unravels the current immigration crisis and looks at its relationship to human trafficking legislation. A provision in the 2008 TVPRA mandates court hearings for Central American minors prior to deportation, which has accounted for some of the current backlog in immigration courts. Dana argues that a change to the TVPRA is not the best course of action, as its provisions provide vital protection to children who may have been trafficked or exploited.
Associate Director of Advocacy Ashley Greve analyzes the controversies behind state Safe Harbor laws. There are many variations of Safe Harbor legislation — legislation that intends to protect juvenile victims of sex trafficking. Some states fully decriminalize victims while others divert them to court-ordered rehabilitation services. Ashley recommends that states considering Safe Harbor provisions analyze all angles before enacting legislation.
HTC Project Manager David Esarey discusses whether the use of the terms “slave,” “slavery,” and “modern-day slavery” is appropriate in anti-trafficking discourse. David notes that these terms – particularly the term “slave” – are often used to incite emotional responses from an audience. The terms we use define how we perceive and approach the issue, and David recommends critically examining the appropriateness of the words we choose.
Ashley Greve follows-up David’s blog with an analysis of three often-heard terms in anti-trafficking jargon: demand reduction, victim-centered and trauma-informed. She shares three definitions the HTC decided upon after extensive research and discussion.
HTC associate Ryan Goehrung blogs for the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, discussing the fall of Somaly Mam. Ryan argues that fundraising and awareness-raising strategies relying on falseties undermine social justice causes. He emphasizes how important it is for donor-funded nonprofits to uphold high ethical standards.
Federal authorities are investigating an Idaho forestry company for allegations of labor trafficking. The owners of the company are accused of trafficking workers from Mexico, threatening them with violence, and forcing them to work 70 hours a week in dangerous conditions for little pay.
The debate about decriminalization versus legalization of prostitution is an ongoing debate in anti-trafficking efforts. In this TIME article, one author argues total decriminalization of prostitution is the best option, as it would protect women in the commercial sex industry while not robbing them of their agency.
The House of Representatives passed several human trafficking bills last week, including the Human Trafficking Detection Act of 2014. This law requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to train DHS personnel to deter, detect, disrupt and prevent human trafficking.