I’m writing to tell you about an extraordinary man and his remarkable legal clinic in India.
The man is Roshan Lal. He was raised in a family of slaves. Now he is free and helping those still in slavery.
Roshan’s clinic is a testament to his courage and dedication. It’s a small brick outpost surrounded by vast fields of wheat. Women and men crowd inside on a bare floor.
What Roshan accomplishes in this simple setting – work made possible by your continuing support – is proof that victory is possible. Victory against violent moneylenders, contractors and gangsters who afflict this part of northern India.
Roshan’s story is an inspiring example of how your investment in Free the Slaves is an investment in freedom.
Where Roshan lives, slavery endures. His neighbors are forced to make bricks, crush stones and harvest crops under the harshest conditions. They are not paid. They suffer physical and sexual abuse. Roshan knows these hardships. He endured them too.
Fortunately, activists supported by Free the Slaves reached Roshan’s family several years ago. They broke the hold of traffickers. Roshan’s family started new lives in freedom.
This is the transformation that you’re making possible by donating to Free the Slaves. Preventing slavery, rescuing the enslaved, helping freed slaves build new lives, promoting the prosecution of slaveholders.
We work with local partners to combat the schemes and conditions that force people into slavery and allow slavery to persist. Our strategy is effective. We need your help to bring it to many more people like Roshan.
Once free, Roshan was able to resume his education. He’s now in law school, and works as a paralegal in the tiny brick clinic.
“I want to help everyone get their human rights,” he says. “My dream is to bring freedom to everyone who is enslaved.”
There are heroes like Roshan in all our programs. Freed slaves, inspired to help those still enslaved.
I hope that you will take this opportunity to make or renew your contribution to Free the Slaves.
Your gift enables Roshan and others to spread freedom around the world.
Anticipation is building for the release of this year’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report from the U.S. State Department. The report has become an important diplomatic tool in the fight against modern-day slavery. Businesses also use the rankings to understand the risks of slavery connected to their supply chains. This year’s report will be the first for Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama administration’s second term in office.
The annual TIP report is a global country-by-country evaluation of efforts to combat trafficking. Countries are graded on a scale from 1 to 3 (Tier 1 is the best, Tier 3 is the worst). Sanctions are possible for underperforming nations. A Tier 2 Watch List includes several countries who aren’t doing enough. By law, they must be demoted to Tier 3 if they don’t improve after two years on the watch list, although waivers of the sanctions are allowed.
The Tier 2 Watch List has caught the attention of several members of Congress. They recently wrote to Kerry, laying out their concern about countries lingering on the list.
“We wish to convey our concern about continued, severe trafficking issues in several countries that are on the Tier 2 Watch List, including China, Uzbekistan, Russia, Iraq, Republic of Congo, and Azerbaijan. These six countries have exhausted under U.S. law the time they can remain on the Tier 2 Watch List and must be elevated to Tier 2 or demoted to Tier 3 in the TIP report this year. We are confident you agree that the Watch List protocol was designed to offer countries a brief added opportunity to make needed changes and should never be used to push countries into a higher ranking than their records merit.” (Read the full letter here).
The letter was signed by 16 members of Congress: Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Rep. John Carter (R-TX), Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA).
FTS Director of Programs Karen Stauss says the TIP ranking system has to be “impartial.”
“The U.S. government uses it to target assistance to governments who’ve demonstrated the political will to make progress, but just lack the resources. In other words, places where we can get the most bang for our buck, and won’t be pouring money into a black hole of corruption.”
Stauss believes the 2013 TIP report will be a “moment of truth.”
“We need the U.S. government to keep the pressure on countries that haven’t made any genuine improvements. In other words, no ‘automatic upgrades’ for governments that are not making progress.”
The 2013 TIP report is tentatively scheduled for release in mid-June.
The campaign has been honored in the “New Approaches” category, in recognition of its innovative techniques to build awareness about trafficking among college students.
Broadcast to more than 750 college campuses nationwide, mtvU reaches nearly 9 million U.S. college students – making it the largest, most comprehensive television network just for college students. mtvU can be seen in the dining areas, fitness centers, student lounges and dorm rooms of campuses throughout the U.S.
The Against Our Will Campaign was launched in 2011 at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. The campaign amplifies America’s college students’ efforts to end modern-day slavery in the U.S., and empowers them to learn more and get involved.
The campaign’s website features remarkably creative material – including slavery survivor poetry read by A-list musicians and actors such as Alicia Keys and Jada Pinkett Smith, as well as interactive stories depicting how young people become enslaved, portrayed by interpretative dancers from Ailey II of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Fingers crossed! The Daytime Emmy winners will be announced in mid-June.
There’s a terrific online opportunity today at 1 p.m. ET to learn about the loosely regulated world of international labor recruiters, and what needs to be done to stop traffickers from posing as legitimate labor brokers.
With millions of people on the move from poorer countries to wealthier ones, looking for a chance to build a better life and send money back home, conditions are perfect for traffickers to pretend that they are legitimate labor recruiters. One activist says there’s a “Wild West” atmosphere in parts of the labor recruiting industry, allowing traffickers to operate openly, without fear.
Today at 1 p.m. ET, the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) will present a half-hour webcast and online discussion forum to raise awareness about the problem and potential solutions.
“Hidden in Bondage: Labor Intermediaries and Human Trafficking”
Wednesday, May 1, 1:oo p.m. ET.
ATEST experts will be joined by a survivor of labor trafficking to discuss the ways in which labor intermediaries not only facilitate, but also engage in human trafficking for sex slavery, domestic servitude and other forms of forced labor slavery.
The interactive webcast will explore the exploitative recruitment practices used by labor intermediaries, the potential regulations to prevent abuses, and the solutions to hold traffickers accountable.
As a participant, you will be able to chat live with our panelists throughout the event. Please note that you do not have to register in order to attend. Simply click on the link the day and time of the event, and you’ll be set!
Labor recruiters are often complicit or directly involved in the trafficking of workers. Last week, U.S. senators introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill, S. 744, which incorporates provisions that strengthen regulations of foreign labor recruiters for the prevention of human trafficking and forced labor slavery.
Today is May Day throughout the world, a day of international recognition of workers. A good way to spend one hour of your May Day could be to learn the latest on ways to protect workers from becoming slaves.
With Mother’s Day fast approaching, here’s a stylish way for your mom to show her love for children everywhere.
Inspired by the Free the Slaves padlock logo, jewelers designed a pewter key with the letters FTS, which can be worn on the neck or wrist.
They cost $32, with $12 from every purchase going to FTS projects that help slaves break free and stay free.
If your mom prefers just a bracelet, FTS also receives 50% of the proceeds from the beautiful iHeart Freedom & Social Justice bracelet, which costs $24.
Both are unique, limited edition fashion accessories that help make the world a more humane place. All the jewelry is made under fair-trade slavery-free conditions.
If neither of the pieces fit your mom’s style, both are still inexpensive gifts to give to a friend, while giving slaves the gift of freedom.
Visit Hearts to order yours today.