In recent months we have been exposed to the terrorist group the Islamic State (IS), formally known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), slave trade market. Although these sexual slave markets were news to many, they have been used to subjugate women and children in Syria and neighboring areas since at least August of 2014. The highly organized slave trade has been fueled by the abduction of more than 5,000 victims. These survivors range in age from under ten years old to over 50 years old (New York Times, 2015).
At every IOFA training, we start by exploring the importance of language. We talk about words like the conflation of prostitution and trafficking, victim and survivor, and rescuing and empowering. “Why are we even talking about this?” We spend time exploring the words we use around these issues because they matter.
To paraphrase a bumper sticker, what we think affects what we say, and what we say affects what we do. If we truly want to have the desired effect we purport to work for – empowering survivors to recover from experiences of exploitation so they may live happy, healthy, productive lives of their own choosing –then we need to reflect this mentality through the words we use to discuss it.
Like the young people we serve, our organization has seen a lot in fifteen years. With this site, we hope to share the lessons we've learned and the accomplishments we've made to inspire others who share our mission. Let this be your source for research, technical assistance and innovation to address critical and emerging issues affecting young people around the world.
News surrounding the crisis at the border has shed light on the dramatic increase of immigrants fleeing their countries of origin. The number of unaccompanied minors has grown from 6,800 between 2004 and 2011 to 13,000 in 2012, and 24,000 in 2013. This year, that number will reach almost 90,000. According to these estimates, the number of unaccompanied young people coming to the United States has increased by more than a 1000 percent in ten years. However, even with the dramatic increase, the unaccompanied minors who have fled their countries of origin only account for 0.15 percent of the foreign population and 0.4 percent of the population of immigrants fleeing from Central America.