National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Human Trafficking is an issue that I often discuss on Fil-Am Ako and what is surprising is that it happens in America. January was declared as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month by President Barack Obama and the month will culminate in the annual celebration of National Freedom Day on February 1st.  This update is to inform everyone that Modern Day Slavery is not just happening in under developed countries (I hate to say but it is a huge problem in the Philippines) but in America as well.

January 11th kicks off International Human Trafficking Awareness Month

There have already been events in cities on January 11 that will help launch a worldwide effort to raise awareness of the growing crime of human trafficking.  As previously stated, President Obama and other world leaders have issued proclamations urging citizens to learn more about human trafficking.  According to an article by Paul Bernish, slaves today are not owned, but rather bought and sold through illegal underground networks.  These networks involve crime gangs, but also “mom & pop” operations and even members of families.  The International Labor Organization (ILO) puts the figure at 12.3 million, while recognized contemporary slavery expert Kevin Bales says upwards of 27 million are enslaved worldwide.  In the U.S. alone, around 14,000 – 17,000 people are trafficked each year, according to the State Dept.  Law enforcement agencies say the business of slavery is now a $32 billion industry, on par with illegal drug and weapons sales.  In Ohio, considered a major trafficking portal due to its extensive network of interstate highways,several days of events and programs are scheduled in Columbus.

MTV EXIT has played a major role in raising awareness in the Philippines and the award winning animated feature Intersection features the voices of some the biggest names in Philippine entertainment.

“The purpose of the MTV EXIT campaign is to raise young people’s awareness and increase prevention of human trafficking and exploitation. Unique programs like Intersection are a creative and innovative approach to educating our audience about this critical social issue. I’m honoured to be recognized by the Artivist Film Festival and hope that our film will continue to empower young people and their peers to avoid the dangers of human trafficking,” said Simon Goff, MTV EXIT’s Campaign Director.

Sex+Money: A National Search for Human Worth is what made me research this issue on Modern Day Slavery in the America and one of the reasons why I wanted to inform everyone in this post. This feature length documentary documents a group of students as they travel in an RV across the United States, seeking to understand how the sexual exploitation of children has become the nation’s fasting growing form of organized crime.

So do your part to raise awareness on National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month (you can blog, twitter, and post updates on facebook).

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