internet: a tool for trafficking

CNN’s Freedom Project reminds us that while the internet can be wonderful for awareness it is also a tool for trafficking people in slavery. It’s shocking to hear that in 2010 slave traders made more than Google, Nike , and Starbucks combined! It’s important to be aware of the ways our participation can affect the issue. Let’s make technology a tool for positive change!

The June 23rd ATEST/CNN International event featured Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, the State Department’s human trafficking chief, Academy Award-winning actress and U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for Human Trafficking Mira Sorvino, CNN International executive vice president and managing director Tony Maddox, trafficking survivor and advocate Rani Hong, and Kevin Bales, president of Free the Slaves.

ATEST is a diverse alliance of U.S.-based human rights groups acting in unity to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking—both at home and abroad. Founded by Humanity United in 2007, ATEST is currently composed of the following organizations: Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), ECPAT-USA, Free the Slaves, International Justice Mission, Not for Sale Campaign, Polaris Project, Safe Horizon, Solidarity Center, Verité, Vital Voices Global Partnership, World Vision, and former U.N. Goodwill Ambassador Julia Ormond, president and founder of the Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking (ASSET).

Watch the full recorded discussion at http://www.vimeo.com/atest/cnnforum. Learn more about ATEST at EndSlaveryandTrafficking.org or follow on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ATESTusa.

There’s been plenty of news coverage since Monday’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report from the U.S. State Department. The report ranks 184 countries on how well they’re combating trafficking and slavery.

On MSNBC and in the Washington Times, stories highlight that the U.S. has nearly doubled the number of countries that may eventually face sanctions if they don’t do more to fight slavery.

Other stories, however, have raised questions about the TIP report’s findings. On CNN, anchor Jim Clancy asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if the TIP process has become “politicized.” (See video of this below). In Time magazine, author Ben Skinner writes that anti-slavery activists are “quietly furious” that several U.S. allies received unwarranted favorable treatment in this year’s TIP rankings.

Read the full 2011 TIP report, and watch Secretary Clinton’s speech unveiling the report, here.

Last Friday, Free the Slaves President Kevin Bales was interviewed on CNN, talking about modern-day slavery in the United States. He stressed that victims of slavery are often the people we overlook—”the people we tend to treat as if they were almost invisible.” Take a closer look, he urges. Learn to see the signs that slavery might be happening. And report it, when you see it. Here is the National Human Trafficking Hotline from Polaris Project1-888-3737-888

Last year singer, songwriter, and abolitionist Jason Mraz joined Free the Slaves on a field visit to Ghana, West Africa to see slavery first hand. The trip gave him something to talk—and sing—about: “A year later I’m still active and learning to use my voice in a way that demonstrates fighting for freedom as a fun and exciting way to spend your time.” In the coming days you can catch Jason using his dignified voice in the fight for freedom as part of CNN’s Impact Your World.