The Abduction and Trafficking of the World’s Most Vulnerable

“I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market", said the leader of the extremist group Boko Haram. Boko Haram linked a video declaring their intention to sell the 276 school girls they abducted on April 14th, 2014 in the Nigerian village of Chibok. The school girls were taken from a secondary school at gun point. The kidnapping of such a large number of school girls shocked the world.

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ChildRight: New York

Curious about IOFA's work in New York?

The following infographic highlights the Phase I goals and accomplishments of ChildRight: New York, a special project aimed at developing a coordinated response to child sex and labor trafficking across New York State.

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Child Labor, Chocolate and Makeup: Two Industries

For many people, “child trafficking” invokes terrible images of children locked in dark spaces, being transported, tortured, forced to have sex and left alone, confused and terrified.  Although these images are lived nightmares for many trafficking victims, another reality of child trafficking is forced labor.  Forced labor comes in many forms though the images described above can also be applied to the lives of child laborers.  In recent years, two industries known for using child laborers have received media attention due to well-known companies being involved in purchasing products from these producers: cocoa farmers in West Africa (Huffington Post, 2012; Forbes, 2014) and Indian mica producers (The Guardian, 2014).

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Talibés: Victims of Forced Begging

Annie Vulpas is a MPH intern from The University of Illinois - Chicago with IOFA.  She reflects on her experience studying abroad as an undergraduate student in Senegal and bearing witness to a human rights violation.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized I had been a witness of child trafficking everyday for nearly a year.  To the group of American women studying abroad at the Université Gaston Berger in Saint Louis, Senegal, the talibés were mainly a nuisance and many techniques were employed to avoid the filthy, poorly dressed little boys begging for money.  Sometimes we changed directions or crossed the street while walking when we saw a talibé coming; other times, we rudely ignored them or told them “bayyi ma!” (leave me alone!).

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What’s in a word: “Prostitution”

The FBI's recent recovery of 16 juveniles in a joint operation targeting commercial sex trafficking in New Jersey around the Super Bowl demonstrates law enforcement's vigilance and effectiveness in combating the sexual exploitation of children. However, it also conjures a somewhat misleading image of juvenile victim's experience in the commercial sex trade.

IOFA program development intern, Alexa Schnieders, shares her thoughts on "child prostitution" and how our terminology reflects the identity we impose on a subject: 

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Human Trafficking and the Super Bowl

As sports fans prepare for a showdown between the Broncos and the Seahawks just outside of New York City, conversation about human trafficking is heating up. There is a lot of discourse about a peak in human trafficking surrounding the Super Bowl, but as our partners at the Sex Worker Project and the Urban Justice Center explain, that may be just a myth:

While we commend efforts to raise awareness about human trafficking, allegations that large sporting events, like the Super Bowl, increase the number of persons trafficked into prostitution are simply unfounded. Investigations from past Olympics, World Cups, and Superbowls, have not found large numbers of persons trafficked to these locations by force to engage in commercial sex. These claims can lead to raids and police harassment of adult sex workers, increasing danger for this population. This is a misuse of scarce resources better aimed at preventing human trafficking.

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