Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tips & Examples to Fight Trafficking While You Travel: Part 1

Holiday Season Travel
With the Holiday Season upon us, many of us will be flying all over the world. We have to remember that human traffickers use the same routes we do, including flying. Thousands of people are trafficked via standard airlines each year.

I travel about 1-2 times per month for my job with Precision Time, abolitionist events, vacation, etc... Below are some examples and tips I have incorporated into my travels to help combat human trafficking.

Traveling by Airplane
#1 Be aware of children and any red flags

Testimony by Flight Attendant Sandra Fiorini:

"During my career with American Airlines I have seen many instances of human trafficking. While every instance has been different, there were always red flags that indicated that something was not right. Most of us are parents and when children of any age are involved we seem to be more keenly aware when these flags are raised."

Examples of what I
have seen can enlighten you to what is happening everyday:

  1. 18 year old boy with a newborn baby. No diaper bag, just one bottle and two diapers.

  2. 3 adults of same nationality with 5 children of all different nationalities and same age (4-5 yrs old).
  3. Prostitution tents at Redwood, CA campground. I saw men coming in and out.
  4. Young girls 15-17yrs old coming over from Russia thinking they are going to be models and work on TV in NYC, even though they didn’t speak any English. On a Moscow to Chicago direct flight.

#2 Report Suspicious Behavior

Tell flight attendants or airport officials.
Call the National Trafficking Hotline
(Save this in your cell phone!)
Don't be scared to do it. You may be saving a life.

#3 TassaTag Luggage (Spread Awareness)
Raise your hand if you own luggage. Go ahead and raise it for all to see. Now keep your hand held high if you're opposed to human trafficking. Continue to keep it raised if you have $14.50 to spare.

If your hand is still raised, as most of them will be, you can help fight slavery with your own TassaTag. Here is a picture of me with my TassaTag.

As you can see, the TassaTag is very visible, colorful and an attention-grabber. Not only will your luggage standout when you try to find it on the luggage carousel, but the TassaTag stands out to make a great conversation starter and to help you spread awareness of modern slavery.

ECPAT-USA, which stands for End Child Prostitution, Pornography, and Trafficking, is an international network of individuals and companies dedicated to ending the sexual abuse of children. ECPAT-USA's work focuses in research, advocacy, and public awareness campaigns. One such campaign is the TassaTag.

TassaTags, which are bright-colored luggage tags, are made at The Regina Center in Nongkhai, Thailand. The Regina Center allows women within rural Thailand to earn a steady income, stay within their villages, and enroll their children in school. These are essential components in the fight against trafficking and sexual exploitation. TassaTags are a "fair trade plus" product because the Regina Center is a fair trade certified retail producer, and TassaTags support this center, in addition, to ECPAT-USA's work.

You can order your tag for $12, plus $2.50 shipping at TassaTag.org.

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