A reader, Krissy, left a comment yesterday on a previous post Women Change the World. I think that the comment needs some special attention and have copied/pasted it here for your reading pleasure:
I have more good news about how women are working to change the world!
Women of Global Action against Human Trafficking
On Sunday, July 1st, approximately one hundred women gathered at Silverlake Community Church in Los Angeles for an evening conference hosted by Women of Global Action (see http://www.globalaction.nu/woga.php). The event was organized for women of faith to explore the subject of human trafficking and included a panel of experts who are working to stop sex trafficking at global and local levels.
The 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report issued by the U.S. State Department estimates that as many as 27 million people, mostly women and children, are being trafficked at any given time for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and bonded labor. In addition, according to a report from 2004, as many as 800,000 people are being trafficked across our national border each year.
The event was hosted by Women of Global Action (WOGA) and produced by LA LOVES (www.laloves.org) with the goal of educating their constituency about this epidemic and providing tangible actions for participants to take in order to take a stand against trafficking and the commercial sex industry.
Women of Global Action has active networks throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and the United States. Their networks in both Burma and Ethiopia are actively working to combat sex trafficking.
Organizations taking part in the evening were:
• Trade as One who sell products made by ex-trafficked women in order to provide an alternative income,
• NightLight who run a business in Bangkok that provides women from the commercial sex industry an alternative life of making jewelry,
• Tiny Stars who provide law enforcement with on-the-ground agents who collect evidence of US citizens engaging in child prostitution abroad,
• The Salvation Army’s Safe Refuge Project which partners with churches to raise awareness on these issues and which fights the commercial sex industry,
• After Hours who work among the pimps and prostitutes on the streets of LA,
• LA Loves who use the arts to educate and inspire action.
Practical steps of action taken as a result of what people learned that evening were:
• Buying products made by people released from trafficking – Over $1,500 was bought on the night,
• Donating to extend the work of NightLight in Bangkok where 75 women are employed and where a waiting list for employment exists – one person donated a month’s salary for a woman at NightLight,
• Signing up for more training on how to combat the commercial sex industry and reach those in it in LA,
• 11 new women joined the Women of Global Action: LA Chapter as a way to unite themselves with other women in their city who are concerned with justice issues impacting young women globally.
Nathan George, founder of Trade as One commented: “The subject of exploiting the poor and vulnerable for the purposes of rape for profit is one of the most emotive subjects today, made all the more important because of the sheer scale of the industry. More people are trafficked today than in all of the 400 years of the transatlantic slave trade. 80% of them are women and children, and the majority are for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Combating a trade as large and powerful as this requires much wider general awareness not just of the issues but more specifically of tangible actions that can be taken by ordinary people to stop it. What WOGA and LA Loves put on tonight was a beautiful snapshot of exactly the sort of awareness building and practical action that is needed all around the country. We were very privileged to be a part of it and hope that many more like it take place in the coming months.”
“The small role that Trade as One want to play is to create a route to market in America for the products made by those released from trafficking in order to allow businesses like NightLight in Bangkok to flourish. Our focus is on selling products that provide the poor with dignified jobs that keep them out of the clutches of the traffickers.”