*this episode originally aired on Robin Hood Radio on Friday, July 31, 2015*
What you’ll hear in this episode is a panel discussion on Human Trafficking with a particular focus on New York state.. This event was held on November 4, 2014, and was hosted by Mariel Fiori, the managing editor of La Voz, the Hudson valley’s premier all-spanish language magazine and the Worker Justice center of New York, in collaboration with the Human Rights Project, The Latin American and Iberian Studies program and the latin American student organization at Bard.
Ron Soodalter is the author of The Slave Next Door, and provides historical context for understanding present-day human trafficking.
Carl Boykin is the Director of Human Trafficking Prevention at New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. He speaks about his experiences as an assistant DA prosecuting prostitution cases, illegal re-entry cases, and how, at that time, he wasn’t making the connection between these activities and the mechanisms of human trafficking. He also talks about the difficulties in enforcing federal and new york state human trafficking laws, and the need to change prevailing attitudes about sex work among ‘old guard’ law enforcement as well as the general public, if any progress in stemming human trafficking is to be accomplished.
Gonzalo Martinez de Vedia of the Worker Justice Center of New York speaks about the importance of public awareness about human trafficking, about human trafficking as not only a criminal justice issue, but also a human rights issue. He encourages us to step back to look at the mechanisms at work in low-wage work situations that create the conditions where human trafficking can so easily be carried out.
Juan Carlos is a victim of human trafficking who traveled from Texas to Bard to share his story.
Further readings and resources
For a comprehensive list of existing laws and legislation addressing human trafficking, see: http://www.state.gov/j/tip/laws/index.htm
Here’s the US Department of State’s 2015 Report on the Trafficking in Persons
Here’s a link to a number of Human Rights Watch reports that discuss human trafficking.
HumanTrafficking.org, though it hasn’t been updated in a couple of years, contains a lot of key documents and references.
Some non-governmental organizations working to combat human trafficking:
Worker Justice Center of New York has been active in the fight against human trafficking in agriculture for over 30 years. In 2001, WJC brought the first case of human trafficking to be prosecuted by the U.S. government under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act – the Maria Garcia Botello case.
Safe Horizon’s Anti-Trafficking Program provides shelter, help accessing benefits and wellness services, legal assistance, and many other needed services. Safe Horizon also advocates through the criminal justice system to bring increased attention to human trafficking.
Know the Chain is a resource to help companies address and prevent labor abuses in their supply chains.
Anti-Slavery International is the world’s oldest international human rights organization, and works exclusively to combat slavery and related abuses.