The issue of human trafficking is complex and often overwhelming. Many feel moved to action, but then wonder, how might I best plug into the cause? Well there is a helpful Online Tool, to assist advocates in understanding how they can fit in addressing injustice. iEmpathize (iE) is a child advocacy and media movement that works in the field while also inspiring culture to empathize and engage. They work in prevention, intervention, restoration, and advocacy. They share resources, such as this tool, that can assist you in understanding how you fit into the fight against injustice. Their Justice Personality Profile, is a simple and quick way to gain basic understanding on what kind of advocate you are.

   — Are you a a prevention, intervention, or restoration personality?
   — What historical activist or world-changer are you most relate to?

Take the survey and review the resulting profile which gives you a personality description, highlights efforts that match your personality, and suggests ways to engage that fit you. Then, once you understand the personality type that fits you best, consider matching your talents, skills and interests to one of our MAP initiatives or projects. Join a MAP Community Group to get engaged in local activities in your community that are addressing injustice. What ever your justice style, it takes all of us to end slavery.  Let’s do it together.

— Kathy Maitland, MAP SE Michigan Interim Executive Director

 

Be Faithful

Posted: July 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

When people hear about human trafficking, they are horrified. And then they want to know what they can do to stop it. I was one of those people, so I know that feeling of desperation, that thought the devil loves to plant in our minds: “You’re just one person. You can’t possibly do anything to make a tangible difference.”

I’ve talked to a number of people lately who are asking these same questions. If you are one of them, consider the unique gifts & talents God has given you. Pursue them, develop them, and use them for good. If human trafficking is something you’re passionate about, apply your gifts. I can give you some ideas of things you can do, but what I really love is to see people take their uniqueness and use it in ways I never could have thought of myself. Here are a few examples:

A college student decided he wanted to educate other college students about human trafficking, so he applied for a small grant from his school to put together awareness programs in the dorms. He became an intern with MAP, educated himself, made a presentation, and recruited other students to help him present the material in every dorm on campus.

A statistical astrophysicist (I don’t even know what that is!) heard a MAP presenter speak at a community forum about the lack of data on human trafficking in Michigan and the need for more reliable measurement. He contacted her to see how he might be able to use his skills to change that reality through advanced statistical analysis.

A tattoo artist in Illinois started a nonprofit called INK 180, which transforms painful reminders of the past into beautiful art by offering free tattoo cover-ups to former gang members and victims of sex trafficking, redefining the marks that once labeled them.

A social worker moved his family across the country to start a ministry called Young Heroes Academy, which empowers at-risk youth to change the world by breaking the cycles of poverty and modern slavery. He wrote a book, developed films, and speaks at schools to partner with at-risk youth and the professionals that serve them.

A group of artistic college students decided to put their videography skills to use by touring the country to interview people involved in all facets of the sex industry. Their goal is to produce a documentary that will challenge people to consider how pornography and cultural attitudes about sex fuel the demand for human trafficking.

These are just a few examples. We’d love for you to consider what God has uniquely gifted you to do and then partner with us. The words of C.S. Lewis in the Screwtape Letters should be an inspiration to us all: “The more often he (the human) feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.”

And thus we come upon my perpetual struggle: resting in that uncomfortable place between an understanding that sin will always be part of this world until Christ returns, yet he still calls us to be his hands and feet in it, to be thoughtful, creative, and prayerful in our quest to do good. God continues to teach me that saving the world is his job. How arrogant of me to think that I can do anything good apart from him! But he does call me to be faithful to what he has called me to do, however big or small. So, what is he calling you to do?

~Nikole Krueger, West Michigan Interim Executive Director for MAP

Social Work Podcast LogoRecently, Jonathan Singer (Ph.D., LCSW), creator and host of The Social Work Podcast, interviewed Rebecca J. Macy (Ph.D., ACSW, LCSW) of the UNC Chapel Hill School of Social Work about her research and published work around human trafficking in social services. The two talk about the prevalence of sex trafficking, the intersection of sex trafficking and labor trafficking, and working with sex trafficking victims in multi- and inter-organizational settings (i.e. with CPS, law enforcement, mental health professionals, etc).

This is a fantastic and worthwhile listen for any social service providers and provides concrete strategies for identifying sex trafficking victims you might already be working with. It’s also helpful for anyone looking to understand human trafficking on a deeper level. For more information on human trafficking resources in Michigan contact MAP on our website.

You can listen to the interview or read the transcript here.

You can purchase a copy of Dr. Macy’s article here.

Who are the victims of human trafficking?

When do you become a survivor?

What’s on the other side of the term survivor?

We take on these questions and more in the upcoming issue of Unboundavailable Sunday June 30th.

“The next year I learned the word “prostitute.” I also learned what a drug
addict was. And that Danny’s mom was one. Danny told me that. Kids who
have it rough learn to trust each other. That’s why he could trust me.”

- from: Danny’s Mom by Susie Finkbeiner

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*photo by Luke Hassevoort

Jesus once said, in reference to Deuteronomy, “The poor will always be with you.” A friend of mine is fond of saying it’s because we don’t do anything about it. I’ve become a firm believer in the idea that at some point, if you’re willing, God will break your heart over some form of injustice in the world, and then use that to break your heart over every other form of injustice as well.

The more I talk to folks on the front lines of fighting human trafficking the more I begin to recognize that we can’t do anything to prevent and end trafficking if we don’t also do something about poverty, homeless youth, child abuse, domestic violence, pornography addiction, and a litany of other social ills that I’d at one point partitioned off from trafficking. Now, however, I can’t keep the boxes in separate rooms; there needs to be an evolution of conversation and collaboration between people who find that their primary passion lies in addressing one (or more) of these issues.

Which means we need to be dedicated to the long game.

Because truth be told there’s no magic bullet to ending poverty, or abuse, or homelessness. There are plenty of tangible things we can do to address these issues (more than we can cover in one blog post, though you can certainly find some ideas here) but all of these things take time and energy. And that’s overwhelming. Burnout comes from having too much to do and not enough time to do it all. Similarly, compassion fatigue comes from having too many people to care about and not enough energy to love them all. These are two of the biggest challenges in staying with social justice for the long haul. Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet to dealing with these things either. And they aren’t avoidable.

If you care about fixing social problems you’re going to run into the fact that you can’t fix everything.

If you care about people you’re going to realize that you can’t love everyone all the time (because loving is hard — really).

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*photo by David Nesbitt

What we need, then, is a community of grace-filled people to journey with. We need folks around us who will love us when we don’t have any love to give in return. We need folks who will sit with us in silence, their presence being the only comfort they can offer, when the questions we have (why is the world like this? why do people do this to each other? why can’t we all just GET ALONG?!?!) don’t have any real answers. We need folks around us who remind us that there is so much beauty in the world, and it’s our job to draw that beauty out in others, and point to it when we see it so people notice and find encouragement in it. Without a community like that we’re left with two options: we die or become machines. The dead and the machines both need to be reminded that there’s blood pumping through their hearts and veins, and it’s okay to be a broken(but mending), discouraged (but hoping), tired (with rest right around the corner) organisms. If you’re in a community that supports and loves you, do me a favor and invite others in. If you’re not in a community that loves and supports you, do me a favor and find one (they’re out there, and not as scary as they might seem). If we can do this, if we can learn to love each other well, then maybe, just maybe, we can see this game to the end.

- Luke (Hope for the Voiceless coordinator)

210737-1This past Tuesday, the U.S. Department of State released the 2013 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. Secretary of State, John Kerry, delivered the report stating…

“When we help countries to prosecute traffickers, we are strengthening the rule of law. When we bring victims out of exploitation, we are helping to create more stable and productive communities. When we stop this crime from happening in the first place, we are preventing the abuse of those who are victimized as well as the ripple effect that caused damage throughout communities into our broader environment and which corrupt our global supply chains. We all have an interest in stopping this crime…”

The report is released each year and serves as a comprehensive resource of governmental anti-trafficking efforts throughout the world. It is also used as a tool worldwide to examine where resources are needed most. You can download the full report here.

Some highlights from the United States: 

“Federal law enforcement prosecuted more cases than in the previous reporting period, obtained convictions of sex and labor trafficking offenders, and strengthened training of government officials at the federal and state levels.”

“During FY 2012, DOJ (Department of Justice) convicted a total of 138 traffickers in cases involving forced labor, sex trafficking of adults, and sex trafficking of children, compared to 151 such convictions obtained in 2011. Of these, 105 were predominantly sex trafficking and 33 were predominantly labor trafficking, although some cases involved both.”

“…14 states had enacted “safe harbor” laws to ensure that children are treated as victims and provided services rather than being prosecuted for prostitution.”

“The federal government enhanced its protection measures by continuing efforts to increase victim identification and provide services to identified victims by increasing the scope and availability of services, including access to legal services, and by developing its first-ever federal strategic action plan to strengthen services for trafficking victims in the United States under the direction of DOJ, HHS, and DHS.”

Source: http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/

Thank You!

Posted: April 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear Fellow Abolitionists:

After much prayer and discernment, I resigned as the Executive Director of MAP in March and have accepted another position. As you read in the letter from the MAP Board of Directors, I’m also transitioning to a new role with MAP and will serve on the Board.

This is not a decision that came lightly. For several months, I have been going through a period of discernment about my career and through prayer have come to the conclusion that it’s time for me to transition. I’ve been doing anti-slavery work for 6 years now and while I’ll continue to be devoted to  this cause, I’m ready to put my full-time energies elsewhere. I have accepted a position as Project Manager with the Cultural Intelligence Center, LLC. I’m very excited about what’s next for me and for MAP!

I believe God used my dedication to anti-slavery work to start MAP and therefore, it made sense for me to be the Executive Director in the beginning. Now, I feel it’s time for MAP to move forward with new leadership, ideas and innovations.

With all of your dedication, together we have been able to accomplish quite a few milestones for MAP. We’ve been able to secure a start-up grant; grow the ministry to Southeast Michigan; partner with the Manasseh Project during ArtPrize to raise awareness to over 20,000 people; host our first Corporate Responsibility Conference; educate numerous churches, schools and businesses; bring on Hope for the Voiceless; mobilize hundreds of volunteers; train community educators; and empower communities state-wide to dig out root causes of injustice and plant new life giving trees. I am so grateful for all the time and energy you put into MAP and for the wonderful encouragement you’ve given me.

MAP is preventing slavery state-wide and that’s because of YOU! At the core of MAP is each of the abolitionists who give time, resources, money, and you use your gifts and talents to help the oppressed and enslaved in our world. THANK YOU!!

I’m very excited about MAP’s future and look forward to supporting and volunteering with you in the years to come!

Many thanks,
Julie

IMG_1044It is with great enthusiasm that we announce Hope for the Voiceless (HFTV) has joined Michigan Abolitionist Project (MAP)!

HFTV formed in the summer of 2010 with the desire to help put an end to human trafficking. Comprised primarily of college students, they wondered what they could possibly do to make a difference. They didn’t have the training to assist in survivor rehabilitation, and didn’t have the authority to arrest and prosecute traffickers and johns. They did, however, have passion, creativity, and voices. That’s why HFTV decided to make a documentary about the demand for human trafficking in the United States. They felt an attachment to the conversations surrounding the cultural roots of human trafficking, exposing and exploring the way individuals and systems can interact and lead to injustice and abuse.

For the last couple of years HFTV has focused on engaging as many people as possible in conversations about social constructs of gender and sexuality, and the way exploitation in mainstream media and pornography fuels the demand for commercial sex. They’ve also been researching and filming interviews with law enforcement, academics, human trafficking activists, survivors of prostitution and trafficking, and former johns. Currently, HFTV is in the process of putting together a series of short films about human trafficking and media exploitation using the footage from their U.S. film tour that took place in 2012.IMG_9474

MAP has three focus areas: community engagement, training and education, and creative projects. We have known the HFTV team for a couple years and have been encouraged by their work. In order to prevent slavery we need to address the root cause of demand. Their contribution to the field of anti-slavery work is vital and fits into all three of our focus areas.

We learned recently that HFTV was looking toward what was next in terms of their structure. With their vision aligning with MAP’s mission, we approached them to become a division of MAP. And with a unanimous and resounding, “YES” from both the MAP Board of Directors and HFTV, we are pleased to introduce you to HFTV.

Hope for the Voiceless believes that our freedom is intimately connected with the freedom of our neighbor, and will continue to speak out and provide a platform for those who have been silenced by those who exploit them.

IMG_9536The people behind HFTV are: Luke Hassevoort, Mark Bauer, Andrew Moore, Kim Somerville, Ellen Reilly, Jenna Fox, Megan Owczarski, and Leah Steinhauser. Please join us in welcoming them to the MAP team! And save the date – you’ll be able to meet them and hear more about their vision on April 5 at 7pm in Grand Rapids (more details will be available soon.)

You can stay connected with HFTV through all MAP general communication, as well as the HFTV website and social media:

Website: hopeforthevoiceless.org

Email: info@hopeforthevoiceless.org

Like HFTV on Facebook

Follow HFTV on Twitter

MAP-ButtonJanuary is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month, a time to let the world know that the buying and selling of human beings needs to stop. We invite you to spread the word using Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets to help others understand the importance of preventing and ending modern slavery.

The following are a few things you can do:

Help us keep the discussion going all month by adding the following weekly posts to your Facebook page. To help spread the word further, encourage your friends to share the posts…or get creative and discuss how to implement these action steps and more with your co-workers, church community, friends and family.

Week of January 7th

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The U.S. State Department estimates there are 20.9 millions slaves in the world. A percentage of those are right here in Michigan. Michigan Abolitionist Project (MAP) urges you to take time to get educated about what is going on in our communities and discover how you can help make a difference. Learn more at: www.MichiganAbolitionistProject.org

Week of January 14th

Does modern slavery/human trafficking exist in Michigan? The unfortunate answer is, yes. And one of the reasons we need to make more people in our state aware of this reality is the “F” that Michigan received in a recent study of the states human trafficking laws. Watch this video produced by the Manasseh Project to learn more about modern slavery in Michigan.

Week of January 21st

Have you ever wondered where your consumer goods come from? Millions of people around the world are forced to work in dangerous conditions for 12-14 hours a day, 6-7 days a week…for little to no paycheck. Find out how many slaves work for you, by visiting theSlavery Footprint to learn more about “the story behind the barcode.”

Week of January 28th

This is the last week of Human Trafficking Awareness Month and a great time to recognize the amazing efforts of groups and individuals that strive to make a difference in the lives of so many people. To learn more about how to get involved in your community or to help organize a fundraiser to support our mission, please visit www.MichiganAbolitionistProject.org/Fundraise

Thank you for your support as we raise awareness, in order to prevent and end modern slavery in Michigan and beyond.

~ The MAP Team

Stand With Us

Posted: November 29, 2012 in Abolitionists, Awareness, Justice, Root Causes

“What should move us to action is human dignity: the inalienable dignity of the oppressed,
but also the dignity of each of us. We lose dignity if we tolerate the intolerable.”
– Dominique de Menil

Two thousand thirteen marks the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, a historic executive order issued by President Abraham Lincoln that set the framework for abolishing slavery in the United States. With this monumental step as the start, slavery was made illegal in 1865 with the addition of the 13th Amendment—illegal, but not abolished.

Sadly, slavery still exists today. And it exists right in our own communities.

Today, the U.S. State Department estimates there are 20.9 million slaves throughout the world—more than when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into order. And, of those 20.9 million slaves—a significant percentage are right here in Michigan.

But, it can be stopped. Organized criminals run the slave trade, but we—you, me, any person, the Church—need to be better organized than the slave owners. The more people who are aware of the issue, the more we can help uproot this atrocity.

At Michigan Abolitionist Project (MAP) we seek to do that. We exist to help others use their gifts and talents to help prevent and end modern slavery. In May 2011, MAP began its humble beginnings. It all started with a day of education and action and quickly led to monthly Community Group meetings, which still take place today. These meetings are an opportunity for people to learn more about modern slavery and find ways to respond.

And they have responded! In just over a year and a half, we now have committed volunteers throughout the state leading initiatives such as, community groups, community outreaches, a prayer initiative, a freedom marketplace, and a running team. There is even a team that produces a bi-annual awareness magazine called Unbound. And we’re also adding other areas, including corporate social responsibility. In fact, at the beginning of November, MAP held a conference in collaboration with Cooley Law School addressing this very topic.

Through all of these initiatives, we’re educating and raising awareness within businesses, churches, health care facilities, schools and social service agencies. And we’re equipping community members to go out into their communities and educate.

We have made great strides, but we have so much more to do. And we need your help. We need your commitment to stand with us and put an end to this abomination of human dignity.

With your gift to MAP, you can help us prevent and end modern slavery. Whether large or small every gift makes a difference. You can give online at: www.MichiganAbolitionistProject.org/Give. On the website you will also find a list of specific needs. If you would prefer to mail a check, please send to: Michigan Abolitionist Project, PO Box 541, Jenison, MI  49429-0541

We also invite you to partner with us in prayer. We publish a bi-monthly MAP Prayer Calendar with specific intentions to pray for the end of modern slavery. Email us for the current calendar and to be placed on the distribution list.

God continues to open doors, and we’re amazed at what He has done thus far. As we follow His lead, we couldn’t do any of it without supporters like you. In fact, thanks to a generous gift from friends of the ministry, MAP was able to recently lease office space, which allows us to be more effective in equipping volunteers and gives us a physical presence in the community. And we pray this space will be filled with not only the volunteer abolitionists who are at the core of who we are, but eventually with needed staff to help carry out the vision deeper and wider.

As we move into this advent season we are looking to the hope of freedom, justice and dignity for all. I thank you for your continued support and prayers not only for the mission of MAP, but for all those enslaved around the world.

In Christ,

Julie Slagter
Founder, Director