Tag Archives: child protection

The fight to end child trafficking continues

One year ago, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act -- the centerpiece of U.S. policies against modern-day slavery around the world -- expired because Congress failed to reauthorize it in time. Since then, concerned citizens and groups who work to protect children have advocated for the reauthorization bill to be passed.

Below is our latest update from Jesse Eaves, World Vision's child protection policy adviser.

Now or never: take a stand on human trafficking legislation

Recently, Jessica Bosquette shared how she saw the Trafficking Victims Protection Act make a difference in the lives of children in the Dominican Republic. She also shared that if Americans failed to tell their senators they want the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act to pass, the positive results it has yielded will be gone. Today, Jesse Eaves, WV Policy Advisor on child protection, provides an update on the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. He has news that requires a response-- if Americans want to see results, we must act soon.

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There's no doubt about it – it's been a scorcher in Washington, D.C.

Luckily for us, the heat outside is only matched by the heat inside Congress to take action on the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) S.1301.

But now we can turn up the heat.  We have to make it a political necessity for U.S. senators to vote ‘yes’ for this legislation.  

Human trafficking: Consequences of congressional inaction

Upon arriving at the courthouse in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, we walked up four flights of stairs and into a sparse, yet lively courtroom.

We took our seats on the wooden benches and listened as a pastor from a local church translated the defense attorney’s remarks from Spanish into Creole for three young men.

I was witnessing my first human trafficking trial -- and the Dominican Republic’s first forced child begging case.

Child trafficking: Notes from the front lines

June 12 is the World Day Against Child Labor.  Globally, at least 2 million children are trafficked annually for child labor and sexual exploitation. World Vision is working in places like Bangladesh, a human trafficking source and transit country, to protect vulnerable children from trafficking and forced labor. Traveling in Bangladesh to see World Vision's child protection programs in action, Jesse Eaves, our child protection policy advisor, reflects on what he sees at the Benapole border crossing between Bangladesh and India.

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I see the trucks long before I see the actual border -- colorful, well-used, laden with cargo and people, lined up one after another on the shoulder of the road.

In fact, I almost don’t even see the border gates for all the trucks and the mass of humanity congregating at the exit point. The Benapole border crossing is the busiest in Bangladesh. More than 5,000 people a day cross this inauspicious boundary with India.

The first thing I notice is that lots of people are trying to enter India -- and almost no one is coming over to Bangladesh.

Child trafficking is no joke

For more than a year, World Vision has advocated for reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The law, which represents the cornerstone of U.S. policies to fight modern-day slavery, expired on September 30, 2011, because Congress did not vote to reauthorize it in time.

As a result, U.S. efforts to combat trafficking are essentially on hold until the law is reauthorized.

Here is an update from World Vision's child protection policy advisor, Jesse Eaves.

The glamor of a brothel raid

Rich Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., shares a story from his recent visit to Cambodia that highlights the numerous interventions required to fight poverty, injustice, and oppression -- those that are dramatic and highly-publicized, as well as those that are less conspicuous but equally critical.

Standing side-by-side with northern Uganda

You may have noticed that there’s been a lot of talk recently about Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). That’s a good thing.

Kony and the LRA terrorized northern Uganda for 20 years. They continue to terrorize the people of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, and Central African Republic. It’s now time for you to harness your attention and passion: Act to do the most good for the children most hurt by Kony’s campaign of terror.

The LRA continues to kill, maim, and abduct children in DRC, South Sudan, and Central African Republic. Mercifully, though, peace has come to northern Uganda. We now have the opportunity to join hand-in-hand with the people of this region to build a bright future for them and their children.

World Vision is partnering with communities across Uganda to ensure that the conditions that allowed the LRA to form in the first place are never allowed to emerge again.

You can now join in that partnership.

Congress: Don't play politics with child slavery

For almost a year, World Vision has advocated for the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVRPA), inviting our supporters to join us in advocating for this bill. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) -- the cornerstone of U.S. policies to fight modern-day slavery -- expired on September 30, 2011, because Congress did not vote to reauthorize the law in time. As a result, U.S. efforts to combat trafficking are essentially on hold until the law is reauthorized.

Here is an update from our child protection policy advisor, Jesse Eaves.

Is chocolate your guilty pleasure?

Abdul is 10 years old.  While many children his age are in school, Abdul spends his days harvesting a bean that is an essential ingredient to a symbol of decadence, love, and happiness in the western world. But to him, it represents pain, toil, and sadness.

Abdul is a child slave working on a cocoa farm in Cote D’Ivoire -- where 35 percent of the world’s cocoa originates -- to make the chocolate you and I love.  Abdul has never tasted chocolate. He says he does not even know how cocoa beans are used.

Combining our efforts to protect victims of human trafficking

It goes without saying that this year has been one of the craziest in the history of Congress. Despite all the ups and downs and swings of momentum in moving the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act forward, one thing has remained constant: our advocates’ dedication to stand up and make their voices heard.

It’s safe to say that neither the House nor the Senate versions of this legislation would be where they are without those voices.

Should U.S. give a free pass to countries that use child soldiers?

As a humanitarian worker, a child protection expert, and as a U.S. citizen, I have certain expectations -- some call them naive ideals -- that the U.S. government will work to reduce the vulnerability of children around the world and here in the United States.

Laws like the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the PROTECT Act, and the Child Soldier Prevention Act have all set in place strict policies that made America the global leader in working to prevent and respond to vulnerability among children.

That’s why, on October 4, I was angry, and, to be honest, feeling slightly betrayed. On October 4, the Obama administration announced the latest round of guidelines outlining how, for the second year in a row, the federal government will provide military aid to countries whose armed forces recruit and use child soldiers.

Your chance to fight human trafficking [Livestream]

It’s easy to get disillusioned with political debate. Frequently, it degenerates into petty point-scoring and partisan bickering. Constructive dialogue, it seems, often disappears out the window.

So it’s nice when an issue comes along on which nearly everybody can agree. One such issue is the problem of human trafficking -- the use of fraud, force, or coercion to exploit a child or adult for profit. It’s estimated that there are more than 12 million trafficked people in the world today -- a $32 billion industry. Every day, children are forced to perform sexual acts or work long hours in filthy, dangerous conditions for the financial benefit of someone else.

Sometimes, I imagine my own children forced into this position, and my mind almost blanks out at the horror of it.

In 2000, Congress unanimously passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act -- widely regarded as the most comprehensive piece of human-rights legislation in U.S. history. The act has done much to protect the vulnerable and support trafficking survivors. At the same time, it has given law-enforcement agencies the tools to prosecute traffickers -- both for crimes committed in the United States and abroad.

Trafficking victims protection: Keeping a law that works

Debating the effectiveness of laws is a tradition as old as our nation itself. But I want to share a story that illustrates how one law is accomplishing exactly what it was passed to do.

From 2003 to 2007, the owners of the U.S. company Global Horizons trafficked more than 600 Thai workers to U.S. soil. The company lured the men with promises of high-paying agricultural jobs.

When the men arrived after having paid exorbitant recruitment fees, their passports and immigration papers were taken from them. Instead of receiving high-paying jobs, the men were forced to work on farms in Washington state and Hawaii to pay off the “debt” they were told they incurred.

In 2007, the owners of the company were arrested. The victims were referred to service providers, who handled everything from medical care and legal services to making arrangements for those who wanted to return home. In June 2011, the eight defendants in the Global Horizons case were convicted of their crimes.

Participating in protection

Editor's note: The following is a message that was shared with our staff around the world from Kevin Jenkins, president of World Vision International. As we share it here, we hope you find it as intriguing and worthwhile as we do.

What helps children to prepare for -- and cope successfully with -- disasters?

Why not ask them?

With that simple question in mind, five organizations who regularly deal with crisis situations -- including World Vision -- asked 600 children in 21 disaster-vulnerable countries around the world what they thought.

The answers were so powerful and informative that we turned them into a Children’s Charter for Disaster Risk Reduction, and presented them on May 12 to the third session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.

World Refugee Day: Highlighting a global crisis

Earlier this month, Collins Kaumba, a World Vision communicator in Zambia, shared his experience visiting a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sudan. His words were jarring: "Indelible memories of the suffering I saw in Darfur have followed me since the day I left Sudan...I have seen suffering and poverty in Zambia and other places in Africa -- but not of the magnitude I saw when I visited Darfur’s camps..."

A reader in Israel commented on the post and made note of the thousands of Sudanese refugees there who are watching the situation in their homeland as the South prepares for its independence in just a few weeks.

Years of conflict in this African country have caused millions to flee for their safety -- not just to other places within Sudan, but internationally as well. This is one global hotspot recognized as an origin of refugees. But the problem is much larger.

Hard facts about labor trafficking

When I was 15 years old, I got my first job as a lifeguard. Before I started, I had to obtain a work permit with my parents' consent and the consultation of my school. There were strict rules governing the hours between which I was allowed to work, as well as how many hours I was allowed to work per week while school was in session. All of these regulations were in place because I was a minor.

I resented them at the time. As an adolescent who longed to be treated as an adult -- and who wanted to earn my own money -- I thought the state had no business telling me when, where, or for how long I could work. It seemed deeply patronizing.

I didn't realize that labor laws in the United States are enforced to prevent workers, especially children, from being exploited. And I certainly didn't understand that in other parts of the world, where such laws either don't exist or are inadequately enforced, the effects of labor trafficking are devastating. I was a middle-class suburban kid. The notion of children, my age or younger, toiling in dirty, dangerous conditions, unable to go to school while earning little or no compensation, was foreign to me.

But it happens -- to hundreds of millions of children and adults around the world. It can tear apart families and ruin children's futures. That's why World Vision is committed to fighting it.

In recognition of World Day Against Child Labor, June 12, World Vision has released a new report, "10 Things You Need to Know About Labor Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region." Though focused particularly on Southeast Asia, the report highlights truths about exploitative labor that are relevant worldwide. How much do you know about it? Read these facts. Then, take action.


1. Men are trafficked onto fishing boats and held as prisoners. Though trafficking has historically been associated with women and children, men are equally vulnerable in Southeast Asia's fishing industry. Hard, dangerous conditions on the job create a labor shortage that leaves men at risk of being held captive at sea for months or years at a time.

Birth registration: The first step in child protection

Editor's note: Birth registration -- documentation that ensures the government knows you exist -- is a growing issue worldwide, especially in fragile states where governments are either unable or unwilling to implement effective birth registration policies. For more on the importance of birth registration, read "Why registration matters: Children are cared for and protected."

When you think about congressional testimony, you think about big rooms, hot lights, and lawmakers peering over their spectacles to ask the hard-hitting questions about the most pressing issues of the day.

When discussing the importance of child protection, you might expect an array of complex and lofty rhetoric that hints at the largeness of the issue, but fails to tackle the concrete steps that a nation, community, or individual can take to ensure that children are protected from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence.

In a congressional hearing that deals with child protection, you can expect to hear lots of statements and suggestions. But do you really expect to hear about birth registration?

Cartoon wisdom

One of my eccentric hobbies is discovering theological insights from animated cartoons. A favorite is “Road Runner.” The dastardly coyote is always devising ever-more fantastic means to capture the elusive bird, but his wicked schemes invariably and hilariously backfire, causing maximum pain and humiliation for the coyote....

Ending modern-day slavery through innovation

You’re at party—laughing with friends, having a good time. When someone comes up and tells you about the excitement going on in the other room, you follow, intrigued. You find yourself joining a group crammed into a small, crowded space. Suddenly the door slams behind you and the lights...