Thursday, August 4, 2016

A New Tool in the Fight Against Bad Data on Human Trafficking

When information on human trafficking is only a mouse click away, it is easy to get directed to bad data and harmful stereotypes that hurt rather than help anti-trafficking efforts.  The Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force is pleased to unveil its newwebsite which it hopes will be a useful resource for individuals and agencies seeking to break the silence about human trafficking. 

The mission of the MHTTF is to facilitate a collaborative effort to prevent trafficking of persons within the State of Michigan, to pursue prosecution of perpetrators, and to protect and actively support rehabilitation efforts for trafficking victims. 

The website explains who we are and what we do. The MHTTF engages more than 100 agencies to work together for the collaborative impact of awareness, support prosecution of offenders, and identifying victims and putting forth every effort to assist them to become survivors.

Features of the website include: clear definitions of whathuman trafficking includes as well as the warning sides and venues were it occurs, information on Michigan and Federal anti-trafficking laws, information on how to get involved in the fight against trafficking in Michigan, and usefulresources for learning more about human trafficking including videos, films, articles and books.

TAKE ACTION: Please visit the MHTTF website. Use it in your work and join us in the fight against human trafficking in Michigan.  Together we can break the silence.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Act Now to Fight Human Trafficking in Michigan

Act Fast!  We need your voice!

Senator Judy Emmons (33rd District) will be holding several focus group meetings for phase 2 of a bill package that she and others will introduce this session on human trafficking.

Your input is important! If you want to be part of the focus group and share your thoughts on combating human trafficking in our state, please choose a date and time you'd like to come to Lansing to meet.

Monday, August 1 from 10:00am-12:00pm
Tuesday, August 2 from 12:00pm-2:00pm or 2:00pm-4:00pm
Wednesday, August 3 from 12:00pm-2:00pm or 2:00pm-4:00pm

Due to limited space, please rsvp by Wednesday July 28 by 4:00pm.  Contact Gina at 248-986-5348 or

Please provide your name and your organization, if you represent one, and the date and time of your desired participation.

The focus groups will take place at Farnum Senate Office Building on the 8th floor, 520 W. Allegan St., Lansing, MI 48933.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

How Can I Help?

Are you reading current news articles and getting upset about the stories you've read about innocent people being lured and/or forced into sex and labor trafficking industries? Have you often wondered what you can do but don't know where to start? Here are some recommendations:

  • The first, and most important, thing you can do is educate yourself about human trafficking. Find out the truth about this terrible crime - know the facts. Then you can educate the people around you. A couple weeks ago I was driving with my daughter and son-in-law. We were talking when my son-in-law said,"Hey, did you hear that Michigan is number 2 in human trafficking?" Having participated in several trainings on human trafficking, I knew that this was a bad statistic. I explained to him that there is no way to know how many victims there are because of the secretive nature of the crime. Also, with the movement of victims around the country it makes it very difficult to track accurately.
  • Read Kevin Bales book, Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World.
  • Look for agencies in your community that provide either direct or indirect services to human trafficking victims. You can help them by becoming directly involved or by supporting them financially.
  • Volunteer with the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force or make a donation to support its important work.
  • Watch for potential human trafficking situations around you. If you see something, report it.

Even if the only thing you do is to educate yourself and turn around and educate others, you are providing a valuable service to human trafficking victims.  You can be their voice when theirs has been taken away.

Take Action:
  • If you suspect a situation of human trafficking, report it to the National Human Trafficking Resource Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP to BEFREE (233733).  The national toll free hotline is available to answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year in more than 200 languages.
  • To contribute to the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force, you can mail a check to MHTTF, 717 US 27 North, Marshall, MI 49068.

Roberta J. Haney-Jones, MS, CT, CA is a Victims Rights Program Director for the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan and a member of the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Task Force Members Tackle "Bad Data and Bad Guys"

Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force members Bridgette Carr and Jane White (Executive Director) are featured in this month's Bridge Magazine. In an article titled, "Human Trafficking fight plagued by bad data, as well as bad guys" Carr and White address the scope of human trafficking in Michigan and misconceptions about the crime.

Explore the excerpts below and then read the entire article here

More common than a young woman being kidnapped from airport taxi stand or shopping malls, a more common sex trade victim according to Carr, "would be a woman of any age, living a full life of poor choices or simple bad luck, stuck with a pimp who may beat her, control her access to the drugs she's addicted to, or simply string her along with a bunch of empty promises. She may not even realize she's been trafficked, and she may return to her trafficker after she's been freed."

"Something bigger or scarier happens in the trafficking world when stories like (the "Taken" myth) are told, Carr said. If you don't match that origin story - if you're poor, black, made bad choices, used drugs, are homeless etc. - then you are just a prostitute. (The kidnapped young woman from the movies) is a victim, (but the more common, often less sympathetic women) are a prostitute. That translates into how law enforcement treats my clients.

The result: when a woman as a criminal rather than a victim, she is less likely to be offered shelter or other resources to help her exit a life she may not have freely chosen, Carr said."

According to Jane White, "the three magic words of human trafficking are simple: Want A Job...It's enough to attract both the ambitious and desperate, followed by the promise of some gain down the road - money, usually, but sometimes more ambiguous promises of love, commitment, family. Activists say that trafficking happens when the promise isn't fulfilled."

"White, at MSU, wishes the conversation around trafficking was less about sex and more about what she sees as the complicity of the rest of the world in forced or unfair labor. 

When you buy five blouses for $60 what does that tell you about the people who made them? The chocolate industry uses child slave labor. Does the global issue impact me? Yes, it does, White said. These are supply-chain issues. They should be taught in business schools."