January 15 is the SC Human Trafficking Awareness & Slavery Prevention media event will seal the profound journey of the new law against human trafficking while setting South Carolina on a forward swath to end this most egregious crime against humanity. Survivors of trafficking in persons ,that is, of slavery and involuntary servitude, have a rallying cry:
Forever Free ! We can now make that happen. Please join us, at the State House on the first floor lobby.
11:25 AM Patricia Ravenhorst, SCIVN Welcome
11:30 AM Lt. Governor Glenn McConnell Opening Statement & Historical Milestone
Reading of the Governor’s Proclamation
AG Alan Wilson Significance of SC Act 258 – Human Trafficking
Rep. Nelson Hardwick – Sen. Bradley Hutto Bill to Law: SC’s Stand & Citizens Politics
Congressman Robert Smalls (1865) Reading of the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution
Solicitor Duffie Stone Closing Statement: Taking the High Road & Citizen Engagement & Impact on SC Future
Congressman Robert Smalls Call to Ring the Bells: Forever Free
11:55 AM Q & A
12:00 PM – 12:05 PM Ringing of the Bells & Honking Horns
CONWAY – Some Coastal Carolina University students aren’t just learning about human trafficking they’re taking a stand against it.
For some students the film Taken hit home.
“I saw the movie Taken but I always thought that human trafficking happened in third world countries,” said John Conner, Senior at CCU.
Conner and his classmates are learning more about human trafficking and that it does happen here.
“It could be you, it could be somebody you know, it could be your next door neighbor,” said Kassidi Efird, Senior at CCU. “It’s so relevant and so proxemic to our area and our state our region, our country for that matter and people just aren’t aware that it’s around them.”
Their professor, Dr. Breede, is helping them to identify what trafficking is and who the victims are.
“A child cannot give consent for sexual activity and so if they are being prostituted, if they’re being pimped out, if they’re on the street working as a hustler or prostitute they’re being trafficked,” said Dr. Breede, Associate Professor of Communications.
Geared with this information, these seniors want to spread the word.
“The stories we hear happening around the state and here in Myrtle Beach, we all share with our friends because we were blown away by hearing them,” said Zach Deritis, Senior at CCU.
To get the community onboard with the cause, they are putting on a human trafficking event.
They hope to raise awareness and money.
“People are survivors and sometimes they don’t have anything after something like this happens to them. They have nothing,” said Nicole Holley, Senior at CCU.
Stand for Something is the name of their human trafficking event.
It’s Thursday November 8th from 10:00am to 2:00pm at CCU.
There will be music and food.
The community is welcome.
From the Myrtle Beach Sun News:
Ever wonder what it takes to get a dream signed into state law? For those dedicated local folks who’ve been fighting the scourge of human trafficking, it took a little more than three years of pushing legislators, sending emails, holding rallies and doing everything they could to raise awareness of the repugnant activity. It’s been a hard row to hoe, but the volunteers have been tireless in their efforts. By their success they show that concerned citizens can make a real difference in the state if they have the will and determination to see their efforts through.
On Monday, the governor signed the law cracking down on human trafficking, a crime that has already taken place across the state in recent years and to which our area, with its high transient and visitor population, is especially vulnerable. The new law seeks to better support victims of trafficking with counseling and financial aid, and it increases penalties for those convicted of the loathsome act. Among the most important provisions are the addition of asset forfeiture to the consequences for trafficking – forcing traffickers to pay for the crime-fighting efforts that will catch the next trafficker – and the creation of a state trafficking task force, charged with both coordinating the state effort between law enforcement, government and nonprofits, and with creating public awareness campaigns to raise the profile of the issue.
Betty Houbion, one of the main forces behind the effort to pass the law, has dedicated the last three years of her life to the cause. She and fellow advocates first asked Rep. Nelson Hardwick to propose the law in 2009, and since then, she said, she has worked on the effort every day. What has that meant for her personally? A shakeup of how she prioritizes her time, for one thing.
“I put my business aside,” she said Wednesday. “I haven’t worked for two years. This is just more important, and I felt without legislation, state legislation, this just couldn’t be done.”
A former business and trade consultant with a master’s in business management, Houbion turned those skills instead to organizing the effort to end human trafficking. Over that time, she saw the effort grow from a core of “a very few people” a few years ago to about 50 who showed up for a Statehouse rally in January and from there to email contacts numbering in the thousands.
Along the way, Houbion and others picked up the support not only of Hardwick – though his efforts in the House can’t be underestimated – but of other legislators, advocates, news organizations and the state’s law enforcement community, which made the bill one of their legislative priorities this year.
“Law enforcement in this state is ready and willing to arrest and prosecute human-trafficking offenders,” said Attorney General Alan Wilson in January, “but there currently is no law on the books for them to use.”
That’s no longer the case.
The law goes into effect six months from now, a date Houbion finds significant, and for good reason. It seems proper that this new fight against slavery gets added help on the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Houbion already has plans for the next phase of the effort, for training events, efforts to open new shelters and more advocacy for victims on every level. While the signing this week has been an important milestone to celebrate, it’s not the end of her efforts – or that of the other dedicated advocates Houbion repeatedly mentioned – by any means. And Houbion has no intention of calling it quits now.
“If we can’t end human trafficking in this country, I don’t know what we can do,” she said. “I guess I can’t go back to work yet.”
How to help
- Houbion said Wednesday she’s been involved in giving a number of recent tips to local, state and federal authorities about suspecting trafficking. Some of those tips have already borne fruit.
- “It shows that citizens can speak up and let law enforcement know what they see and what they know about human trafficking,” she said.
- Think you see an instance of human trafficking? Call in tips to the national hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
- Human trafficking along the Grand Strand (traffickinginsc.wordpress.com)
WASHINGTON, DC, May 23, 2012 – Meet Antonia “Neet” Childs, Founder and Executive Director of Neet’s Sweets Incorporated in Charlotte, North Carolina. Neet, a survivor of human trafficking, discusses the difficulties and rewards to being a young entrepreneur:
“[I thank] God for this day, as well as every day, that I can continue to keep fighting and pushing [for] my dream. As I embrace 27, I think about what it has [taken] for me to get to this point…I am not even supposed to be here. Just being a young black woman starting a business is tough, so I am forever grateful that I am able to use my past as my strength to inspire others to use theirs, because that’s what it’s about.”
Neet says she dreamed of having her own bakery ever since she was a little girl. Neet’s Aunt Koona owned a catering business and, as a child, Neet followed her around the kitchen.
“It fascinated me,” Neet said, “to see her so passionate about making dishes that left everyone smiling, including me.”
Neet says she was captivated not only by her aunt’s cooking and baking but also by the fact that she owned her own business. Neet and her sister lived in upstate New York where their mother struggled to provide for them.
“My mom worked hard to take care of us,” Neet said, “and I always felt like I needed to help and support her.”
Living in a low-income, single-parent family, Neet was at-risk for exploitation and abuse. After moving to North Carolina as a teenager, Neet’s vulnerability was recognized by a 38-year-old man. This man befriended Neet and began to shower her with gifts. Having grown up without a father, Neet naturally craved the attention. One day, the man asked Neet for a favor…a favor which eventually and ultimately led Neet to be recruited and trafficked through an escort service. In a recent interview, Neet said she felt “controlled and trapped.” Neet’s dreams of owning her own bakery began to fade away.
- Human trafficking along the Grand Strand (traffickinginsc.wordpress.com)
- Human Trafficking: One of the Fastest Growing Crimes – Blog: Walk the Talk (wilmingtonfavs.com)
MYRTLE BEACH — People buying and selling other people like commodities. When you think of human trafficking, you might think of a foreign country but it happens along the Grand Strand andPee Dee. Local experts reveal what really goes on.
“I was a typical American girl in a typical American neighborhood,” said Holly Smith, sex trafficking survivor. “I was 14.”
Holly was at the mall with friends when she met a man who convinced her to runaway.
He then forced her into prostitution.
What happened to Holly is called human trafficking.
“Human trafficking, simply put, is modern slavery,” said Betty Houbion, human trafficking advocate. “It’s the buying and selling of people. It’s making money off of those sales.”
“Human trafficking is the second largest illegal criminal activity,” said Gloria Davis, Family Violence Services Coordinator, Pee Dee Coalition.
The Department of Justice estimates about 17,000 people are trafficked to theU.S.every year.
Holly was one of them and remembers one of the men her trafficker sold her to.
“He told me that I reminded him of his granddaughter,” she said. “And so, after that point, a light just shut off and I turned into someone else who had to do what she had to do to survive.”
“Throughout the country, sex slavery, commercial sex is the number one form of human trafficking that we see here,” said Lieutenant Michael Hildebrad, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s kind of specific to our area because of tourism.”
Captain David Knipes with the Myrtle Beach Police Department says there are certain questions you should ask if you think someone is a victim.
“Are they being forced into prostitution or forced into some sort of labor?” he said. “Are they always being escorted by somebody? Are they in an area where they’re very rarely allowed to leave or leave by themselves?”
It’s important to recognize victims becauseDavissays they don’t normally seek help.
“Their lives are being threatened,” she said. “They’re being forced against their will. Most of them don’t speak English. So, it’s hard for them to get help.”
Even though it was hard, Holly decided she didn’t want to be a victim, she wanted to be a survivor.
“A police officer spotted me on the street,” she said. “I knew if I didn’t call out right then and there something bad was going to happen.”
That’s when she asked the officer what would happen if she wasn’t of age.
He then handcuffed her and took her to the station.
Her parents then came to get her and her nightmare was over.
However, it continues for thousands more, right now.
“InSouth Carolinacurrently we do not keep track of active cases or cleared cases,” said Lt. Hildebrand. “Over the last seven or eight years or so, we’ve seen a handful of cases here inSouth Carolina, maybe five or six.”
Holly made it her mission to help trafficking victims and show the world this really happens inAmerica.
“I started to keep a list of news reports about girls being trafficked underage and there are so many every week across the nation that I couldn’t keep up with it anymore,” she said.
“This is one of those topics a lot of people don’t like to talk about just because it is a dirty topic and it’s not pleasant,” said Lt. Hildebrand. “But this is something that needs to be in the forefront of everybody’s mind.”
“I haven’t had a moment yet when it really hit me,” said Holly. “I almost feel like I’m telling a different girl’s story.”
Right now,South Carolinalawmakers work to pass an updated human trafficking bill.
Supporters say it better protects victims and is less broad than current legislation.
- DOJ to focus on human trafficking at summit (channel3000.com)
- Govt. maintains human trafficking not a major problem in Guyana (kaieteurnewsonline.com)
- Facts about Human Trafficking (hopeforslaves.com)
- The Signs Are Incontrovertible (hopeforslaves.com)
- Keep human trafficking out of Iowa (thegazette.com)
- UN: Human Trafficking Victims in the Millions (abcnews.go.com)
Hello Advocates ! Still riding the wave of the uanimous vote on Thursday? One of our advocates sent a message this morning about seeing a WIS TV report yesterday, and not just once but at least twice. It’s a good report, and mentions how now passage of H.3757 rests on the Senate’s shoulders. H.3757 has moved to the Senate, and is being linked with its twin bill S.1135.
To see the video or text report: CLICK HERE
The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee will hold a hearing on S.1135 on Thursday, April 26, at 9:00 AM, in Gressette Room 209. Keep a watch on the Senate calendar and meetings, on www.scstatehouse.gov , to make sure that this meeting is still scheduled.
Be at the hearing if you can. Whether you can be there or not, pull out all stops. Send an email or letter or tweet or text or phone call, to the Judiciary Subcommittee and the Judiciary Committee members, to ask them if they will support this bill. Thank the sponsors of S.1135 . Send a big thank you note to Rep. Hardwick, and Rep. Bruce Bannister. He presented the bill, and really hit the points right on. My thanks goes out to you all over the past months. Four years ago, Rep Hardwick was alone among his peers, and we were too. We got the word out. Our legislators heard.
I wish the news coverage had mentioned how much you, the citizens of this state, are behind this bill, and how you through all your initiatives have raised this importance of this bill in the eyes and minds of our legislators, and how you eased Rep. Nelson Hardwick’s hard-won fight to make sure this bill kept gaining solid support among his peers. We can never, never, never ! underestimate the power of citizens politics.
Now, onward to the Senate!
- “Caught in the Creative Act” Women’s Panel Discussion (traffickinginsc.wordpress.com)
- H3757 The Next Step! (traffickinginsc.wordpress.com)
- Sheryl WuDunn – Keynote Speaker for Atlas Week! (sluphojo.wordpress.com)
- Pulitzer-winning NYT columnist partners for humanitarian social game (gamasutra.com)
- “Half the Sky” By Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn (finallyreading.wordpress.com)
- ADVOCATE ALERT: BREAKING NEWS: H.3757 Full Judicairy Committee Meeting (traffickinginsc.wordpress.com)
- ALERT: Second H.3757 Human Trafficking Hearing, Wednesday 21, 9:00 am, Blatt 516 (traffickinginsc.wordpress.com)
- UPDATE on H.3757 the Bill is Good! (traffickinginsc.wordpress.com)
- Activists Join South Carolina Officials to Combat Human Trafficking (traffickinginsc.wordpress.com)
- South Carolina Human Trafficking Lobby Day (traffickinginsc.wordpress.com)
Spring 2012 “Caught in the Creative Act” Women’s Panel Discussion on issues of economic development, health, human trafficking and political involvement
6:00 pm, Monday April 9
Breed Leadership Center on the Columbia College campus.
This panel precedes Sheryl WuDunn’s event on Wednesday April 11 co-sponsored by Columbia College and USC at USC’s Gambrel Hall. WuDunn will speak about her book, Half the Sky.
The panel, moderated by Janette Turner Hospital, will focus on each panelist’s expertise in women’s issues- internationally, nationally and in South Carolina. The five panelists bring a wealth of experience and knowledge that will set the stage for WuDunn’s insights.
· Henri Baskins: international experience in assisting women address and reset community norms in areas of domestic abuse, prostitution, political involvement and economic development; national and state-wide expertise in women’s economic autonomy.
· Heather Brant: national, international and state-wide expertise in women’s health
· Betty Houbion: international and state-wide expertise in the realities of trafficking; national and international expertise in women’s economic development
· Mickey Layden: international expertise in realities of trafficking; national and international expertise in women’s economic development
· Carolyn Sawyer: national and state-wide expertise in women’s economic development