Friday 26 November 2010

Five Recent Victories Abolitionists Should Be Thankful For Today

This Thanksgiving, anti-slavery advocates across the country have a lot to be thankful for. That's because in the last few months, we've celebrated several major victories in the fight against human trafficking. From a huge drop in online advertisements for child sex trafficking victims to a historic victory for workers' rights in the tomato industry, activists, NGOs, and companies are carving up human trafficking like a roast turkey.
While there has been a lot of progress in the fight against human trafficking in the past few months, here are five of the biggest reasons abolitionists should be thankful this Thanksgiving:
1. Craigslist's decision to end their adult services ads cut total online sex ads in half. Almost two months after Craigslist abruptly closed their adult ads section in the U.S., the AIM Group released a report which shows the site's sudden ban has meant a 48% drop in the overall volume of prostitution ads online. Despite some displacement to other sites like, the online commercial sex industry is projected to shrink by $37 million this year. That includes a reduction in the untold number of children and trafficking victims who have been advertised on these sites.
2. President Obama signed the first major national legislation to label conflict minerals. In July, President Obama signed into law a huge victory for consumers and human rights advocates around the world: a provision requiring companies to label products made with minerals from Congo and the surrounding countries. The legislation promises to make it easier for consumers to choose products made without conflict minerals that support violence, rape, human trafficking, and other serious crimes. Now, you can ask the SEC to include considerations of forced labor and slavery when implementing this legislation.
3. Governor Schwarzenegger signed the California Supply Chain Slavery Act into law. After lobbying from anti-trafficking and corporate social responsibility groups and letters from almost 2, readers, Governor Schwarzenegger signed the California Supply Chain Transparency Act in September. The new law marks a huge leap forward for consumers, who will now have access to information about how some of the largest companies in the world monitor their supply chains.
4. The Washington Post stopped advertising for massage parlors. On the heels of Craigslist's shutting down of their adult services section and's lawsuit from a child trafficking survivor, The Washington Post announced in October they will no longer run ads for massage parlors. The announcement comes after over 3,400 readers and several NGOs complained that these massage parlors are often fronts for human trafficking operations. The WaPo's decision exemplifies the continued trend of businesses making socially responsible decisions.
5. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers made 90% of the Florida tomato industry slave-free.Florida-based farm worker advocacy group the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) scored one more victory in their Fair Food campaign this month. After a 15 year stand off, the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange (FTGE) — a private cooperative of farm owners — agreed to sign CIW's code of conduct, pledging to improve working conditions and pay farm workers an extra penny per pound of tomatoes harvested. This is a historic victory in the fight against farmworker slavery and exploitation.
You've been busy creating social change and fighting human trafficking these last few months. So today, enjoy the bountiful fruits of your efforts and eat and drink up your success. After all, today is a day about being thankful. And I'm thankful for all of you who read this blog, who participate in these campaigns, and who bit by bit are ending slavery in the world.

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