Farewell, U-ACT

To our dear members and friends,

After five years of combating the global crime of human trafficking through education and awareness, U-ACT is officially coming to a close at the end of August 2014. We are so grateful to have served alongside such passionate individuals and are proud of the impact U-ACT has made. We would like to thank each of you for your time, talents, ideas, and determination to see positive change in our community and our world.

We have chosen to bring U-ACT to a close to allow our members to pursue their other passions, obligations, and commitments. We appreciate that our members’ lives change, and we feel confident that everyone can continue to advocate for victims and survivors of human trafficking in their own ways.

We encourage you to support other anti-trafficking community events, to participate in U-ACT’s summer events (outlined below), and to contact one or more of our partner organizations to continue the fight against human trafficking. We also hope to see you at our Anniversary and Farewell Celebration on August 18!

Thank you for five great years!

Sarah Haas
Laura Pope
Julia Spangler

Note: The U-ACT website will become inactive on August 31, 2014.

 Upcoming Community Event:

**Ribfest Indy**

Support local anti-trafficking group Purchased by helping work a lemon shake-up booth at Ribfest Indy from July 24-27! For more information or to volunteer for a shift at the booth, contact Alma Corado at intern@purchased.org

U-ACT Summer Events:

**Summer Challenge**

Our challenge to you over the summer is to contact one of U-ACT’s partner organizations that particularly interests you and ask what opportunities they have for getting involved. Check the minutes from our May meeting for a list of contact information for our partners:  http://www.u-act.org/2014/05/minutes-may-19th-meeting/

**Tread on Trafficking**

Don’t forget, you can fight trafficking this summer just by doing your regular fitness activities! Tread on Trafficking is an annual exercise-based fundraiser for anti-trafficking organization Love 146. Find their online guide and set up your own online fundraising page at http://love146.org/tot/.

**Anniversary and Farewell Celebration**

Our August meeting will be a celebration of U-ACT’s five-year anniversary. We will meet at Sarah Haas’s home on Monday, August 18, at 7pm. Sarah lives on the south side. Please contact us at info@u-act.org if you need the address and we will send it to you.

Trafficking in the News:

Pichu’s Life is an article about a teen boy who was trafficked in the sex industry in Thailand.  http://globalministries.org/sasia/overseasstaff/Pichu-s-Life.html

Minutes – March 17th Meeting

Challenges

We opened our March meeting with Change for Change and a recap about last month’s challenge, which was to share your knowledge of human trafficking with someone new. Tom commented that people have asked him about his anti-trafficking button, and Jeanette shared some trafficking-related links on her Facebook page.

This month’s challenge is to sign a petition to textbook company McGraw-Hill, requesting that they include modern-day slavery in their textbooks instead of perpetuating the story that slavery ended with the Civil War. Click here to sign the petition on Change.org.

Leadership

Carol has volunteered to take over the Freedom Scarves project. Other members discussed their schedules and conflicts that prevent them from taking on leadership roles at this time. I am also unable to take on additional responsibilities at this time. As a result, we will be operating at a low-key level of activity for the near future.

That being said, if you are reading this and have the drive and availability to take on a leadership role, we’d love to have you! If you are interested in leading fundraising events, community awareness & outreach, education about human trafficking, or if you have a project of your own you would like to suggest, please contact info@u-act.org.

Community Outreach

We now have a display window at the Southport Library! Thanks to Sharon and all those who contributed materials for display.

U-ACT display window at Southport Library

U-ACT display window at Southport Library

U-ACT members will be providing a meal for the Sex Workers Support Group on Monday, April 21. Thanks to Abby, Jeanette, Tom, Carol and Sarah for volunteering! If you are interested in contributing utensils to the meal, contact info@u-act.org.

Events

I volunteered at the recent Illuminate fundraising dinner for Purchased (another local anti-trafficking group). They had a human trafficking prosecutor speak about local human trafficking, including cases involving girls as young as 12.

Purchased has three different curricula for middle school and high school students. I have a copy of their sample book if anyone is interested or knows someone who works with youth. The curriculum can be presented at a school or any other program for youth.

Purchased’s other annual fundraising event Run for One will be held Saturday, June 14 at the University of Indianapolis. It is a 5k walk/run, and dogs are welcome. Registration is $20 per individual with discounted rates for groups and families.

Several central Indiana chapters of IJM are hosting Stand for Freedom events on Wednesday, April 9. These events are mainly being held by college groups and aim to raise awareness and funds and gather petition signatures. Learn more about local events on the Stand for Freedom website.

News Articles

In-Depth Report Details Economics of Sex Trade (New York Times)

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be Monday, April 21 at 7pm at Zion Evangelical United Church of Christ. NOTE: The time of the meeting may be pushed back 30-60 minutes since the support group meal delivery time is also around 7pm. I will include the final official time in the reminder email. Hope to see you there!

Minutes – January 20th Meeting

Survey

Have you taken the U-ACT survey? Your responses will help us shape our activities for 2014. Click here to take the survey—it only takes 2-3 minutes. We appreciate your time!

Fundraising

We began the meeting with an update on the sale of Freedom Scarves over the holidays. Julia raised $97 and Lesley raised $220, for a total of $317 raised for Not For Sale!

As we passed the Change for Change jar, we also decided to give that money to Not For Sale now that the jar is about full. Once the money is counted we will let you know how much it totaled.

Monthly Challenges

Last month’s challenge was to buy a fair trade or slave-free holiday gift. Several members fulfilled this challenge by shopping at Global Gifts. Tom purchased chocolate there, and Julia bought a scarf, an ornament, and some salsa. Beverly purchased heart-shaped stones for her family members from Global Gifts and also bought a kit of body care items from a group that provides employment to victims of human trafficking. Sharon shopped at Global Gifts and Global Girlfriend, an online shop of fair trade items.

This month’s challenge is to “Flaunt the Fight” to raise awareness for National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Some ideas are to wear an anti-trafficking shirt, pin or bag; put an anti-trafficking magnet or sticker on your car; or change your Facebook profile image or cover image to the U-ACT images provided here.

Opportunities for Action

In November we told you about the IJM 1Step1Voice Day of Action. This was a movement to call Congress and tell them to support legislation that would reclassify the Trafficking In Persons office as a bureau, which would give it greater influence in the State Department. This day of action resulted in 4,700 phone calls to Congress. You can now take action online by sending an email through their website.

Contact has not yet been made with the Southport Library regarding a human trafficking book display. However, Lesley and Matthew plan to reach out to the library before the next meeting.

We discussed the possibility of cooking a meal for the Sex Workers Support Group that meets on Monday nights. This is an opportunity promoted by IPATH. Julia will get more information to share at the next meeting.

The Drop-In Center for Sex Workers is accepting donations of food, clothing and sanitary items. Contact bdawson@hhcorp.org for more information.

Events

Due to the absence of a leader for the Free2Walk effort, we discussed the possibility of skipping the event for a year. A final decision will be reached upon evaluation of our survey results.

On Jan. 31-Feb. 1, Purdue University will host the Symposia Christi, an event featuring debates and talks on topics of faith, life and reason. This year’s theme is “Human Dignity, Slavery, and Sex Trafficking.” The event is free to the public. Learn more at www.symposiachristi.com.

The Justice Conference is a networked national conference that educates, inspires and connects a generation around a shared concern for the oppressed. The University of Indianapolis is hosting a live simulcast of the conference on February 21-22 at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center. There will also be an exhibition of local justice organizations. The cost to attend is $29/person. Learn more and register at www.thejusticeconference.com.

The Fair Trade Federation will host their annual conference in Indianapolis this year on April 1-3. The conference will include an open-to-the-public film premiere on Wednesday, April 2. The film is a documentary about fair trade coffee and how it improves the lives of coffee farmers. Julia is excited to be promoting this event via the Fair for All Shopping Guide and will share more details as they are released!

News Articles

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be Monday, February 17 at 7:00pm at Zion Evangelical United Church of Christ downtown. See you then!

March Recap

Since we did not have our regular meeting in March, here is a brief recap of our recent activity and some things to keep in mind before our next meeting in April.

1. Free2Walk – The walk is happening Sunday, April 21 at 2pm! We still need 1-2 more volunteers to help with registration and staffing the U-ACT table. Please contact us if you are interested in volunteering.

If you had sign-making materials to contribute, please bring them to our April meeting. We will also need someone to lend us a folding table and water jug for use at the water station at the mid-point of the route. Please contact us if you can lend us these items.

The best way you can help Free2Walk at this point is PROMOTION! Be sure to invite your family, friends and coworkers to attend! All funds raised go to the Not For Sale Campaign. In addition to the 3-mile walk/run, the event will include a fair trade exhibition.

Download the promotional flier
Join the Facebook event
Register online

2. Purchased Fundraising Event – On Saturday, March 9, Katie and Julia volunteered at the fundraising dinner and silent auction held by Purchased, an Indianapolis group that works to raise awareness about human trafficking and provide educational curriculum to at-risk youth. Katie volunteered as a server and Julia assisted with the silent auction. The event raised almost $23,000, which is an increase of $7,000 over what the same event raised last year. Learn more about Purchased’s mission and activities at www.purchased.org.

3. Speaking Engagements – Sharon spoke this month at Faith United Church of Christ to a group of about 30 people. Katie spoke at the Avon Public Library to a group of about 10 people, who enjoyed receiving a list of resources for learning more about human trafficking. Many thanks to Sharon and Katie for their awareness-raising work!

4. Legislation – Senate Bill 509 has passed both houses of the Indiana legislature and is now with Governor Pence for approval. This bill raises the age at which force, fraud or coercion must be demonstrated for a case to be labeled human trafficking. The current law sets the age at 16, and SB 509 raises it to 18. This change will extend additional legal protections to 16- and 17-year-old victims of human trafficking.

5. Upcoming Events
Resolution Hope concert – Wednesday, April 10 at Butler University. Raises awareness about domestic child sex trafficking. Learn more at http://www.resolutionhope.org/13a-concert-tour/

Tread on Trafficking, a fitness-based fundraising initiative for Love 146, runs from now until June 30. Learn more and sign up at www.love146.org/tot 

6. Next Meeting – Our next U-ACT meeting will be held on Monday, April 15 at 7pm at Zion Evangelical United Church of Christ in downtown Indianapolis. A representative from International Justice Mission will be joining us to talk about her upcoming work in South Asia.

I look forward to seeing everyone in April!

Pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act!

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act is a key piece of legislation that strengthens programs and dedicates vital resources for the U.S. government agencies that fight human trafficking. This important act, passed originally in 2000, is about to expire. Many anti-trafficking organizations are asking citizens to contact their legislators to ask them to sign on as co-sponsors of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which will extend this crucial law for at least two more years.

The Not for Sale Campaign sent out an email with these instructions:

Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senator. Tell them your town and state and say:

“It is important to the people of this state that we reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act this year. I would like to ask the Senator to please sign on as a co-sponsor to Senate bill 1301 to help ensure the passage of this very important piece of legislation”. 

Time is of the essence because the legislative calendar is in its final weeks, and if the TVPRA is not passed by the end of the session, important programs for victims could lose funding.

Find out who your Senators are here.
Check out the full text of the bill here.
Learn more about the TVPRA at International Justice Mission.

Dept. of Labor Releases New Reports on Child Labor

The Department of Labor recently released three new reports about child labor. The reports contain images and statistics that show how child labor remains a major and tragic problem throughout the world, as well as accounts of what countries are doing to combat child labor. I was stunned to see images of children toiling in coal mines and carrying stacks of bricks, but I was encouraged to read about good efforts like Brazil’s robust plan to reduce child labor. I highly recommend taking a look. Find summaries and links to the reports at the Labor Is Not a Commodity blog.