CA Statewide human trafficking initiative for November 10 Ballot
- National Immigrant Solidarity Network
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Upload your activism video at our Activist Video Service! http://www.ActivistVideo.orgCA Statewide human trafficking initiative for November Ballot and Women's Day Event
Dear Human Rights Advocates,
Human trafficking has become a social epidemic in our nation and state. Not only are thousands of slaves trafficked in from abroad each year, the US Congress confirmed on February 17th that over 100,000 American girls are exploited for sex trafficking. Human trafficking is violent, obscene, and a repulsive crime of greed at the expense of trafficked victims and our society. 80% of trafficked victims are women and children.
The reality that slavery exists today is a tragedy; and the fact that it is flourishing in our own backyard is absolutely appalling. Its growth is propelled by a lack of deterrence and awareness.
With less than 1 percent of the offenders apprehended and less than 1 percent of the victims freed, the flow of human ‘product’ into America continues practically unchecked. (Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter, "The Slave Next Door," page 7, 2009, UC Press )
California, the largest state in the Union , has its equal share of the problem. Under California 's current anti-trafficking laws, a trafficker will walk away with a 3-5 year sentence (and a maximum of 8 years only if the trafficked victim was a minor)! Suffice it to say that current laws fail to deter traffickers from committing these heinous offenses. KTLA News had a story last week that shows how prevalent the issue is in our state.
California Against Slavery (CAS) began last August as a group of citizens who recognized the urgent need for change in the legal system to combat this evil that preys on the vulnerable. CAS is now gathering signatures for a state ballot initiative to strengthen human trafficking laws in our state. The initiative would deter traffickers with stiffer criminal penalties, aid district attorneys in prosecuting human trafficking offences, increase protection for human trafficking victims, and mandate human trafficking training for law enforcement officers. (Please see endorsements below.)
CAS needs to collect 600,000 voter signatures by March 31, 2010 to place the initiative on the November 2010 ballot. IT CAN BE DONE with your help.
We respectfully ask that you
▪ Tell your members about the CAS initiative. The petition can be viewed and downloaded online at www.CaliforniaAgainstSlavery.org
▪ Are you doing a Women's Day events? Allow CAS to come and collect signatures at your next event
Your local CAS representative is also available to come and speak about our effort. Please send us an invitation at info@....
Human trafficking is NOT a political issue or a cultural issue; it's a human dignity issue. This initiative is an opportunity for all Californians to speak with ONE VOICE against this growing evil. I look forward to hearing from you. Please visit our website for more information.
Executive Director, Founder
California Against Slavery
ENDORSEMENTS: The California Against Slavery initiative is endorsed by many organizations combating human trafficking, including Breaking Chains, Captive Daughters, Courage to be You, International Justice Mission (IJM), Lotus Outreach, MISSSEY, Oasis USA, Polaris Project, Shared Hope International, and Stop Child Trafficking Now.
"We support and desperately need to see revision in our state law with regard to human trafficking," said Jenny Williamson, founder and president of Courage to Be You, a Sacramento-area organization that rescues and restores victims of child sex trafficking. "Severe fines and extended jail time for the perpetrators of this evil must be enacted if ever this crime is to be deterred. Our courageous law enforcement officers must be equipped and encouraged with mandatory, specific training so that rescuing these vulnerable victims and putting their perpetrators away becomes a priority within our state."
" California is a major hub for human trafficking," said Linda Smith, founder and president of Shared Hope International. "We fully endorse the California Against Slavery initiative because we see the strategic importance of having stronger state laws in place in the fight against human trafficking."=================================================================
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