April 7: Day of Action Against Human Trafficking
On April 7, 2012 the Radical Feminists of San Diego will mobilize a direct action in solidarity with 2012’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) campaign on a local, national and global level to demand the abolition of human trafficking, the modern-day form of slavery.
The event will start at noon on the southeast corner of 30th Street and El Cajon Boulevard in North Park. There will be a march east ending at the south-side bus stop at the intersection of El Cajon Boulevard and the Route 15 on-ramp, where there will be a dynamic group of human-rights advocates attesting to their own fight against human trafficking, as well as a speak-out for all to share their stories of modern-day slavery.
Confirmed speakers include a representative of Af3rm San Diego’s Purple Rose Campaign against sex trafficking on a transnational level; Estela de los Rios, executive director of the Center for Social Advocacy; Dilkhwaz Ahmed, M.S., executive director for License to Freedom, on forced marriage and torture in Middle Eastern cultures; Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels, on immigration and trafficking; and more to come.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which people profit from the control and exploitation of others. As defined by U.S. law, victims of human trafficking include children involved in the sex trade, adults 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of labor or services, such as domestic workers held in a home or farmworkers forced to labor against their will.
The factors that each of these situations have in common are elements of force, fraud or coercion that are used to control people. That control is tied to inducing someone to perform commercial sex acts, labor or services. Numerous people in the field have summed up the concept of human trafficking as “compelled service.”
Every year, human traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing millions of people around the world, including the United States. Human trafficking is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world. Already it has surpassed illegal weapons trafficking as the number two source of income for criminal gangs in the U.S. (the illicit drug trade remains number one). Law enforcement agencies in San Diego have identified this city as an international gateway for sex trafficking and one of the 13 U.S. cities with the most trafficking of children for the commercial sex trade.
Human trafficking affects every country in the world, regardless of socioeconomic status, history or political structure. Human traffickers have created an international market for the trade in human beings based on high profits and demand for commercial sex and cheap labor. Trafficking is estimated to be more than a $40 billion industry, affecting 161 countries worldwide. In the U.S., sex trafficking has been found in a wide variety of venues in the overall sex industry, including residential brothels, hostess clubs, online escort services, brothels disguised as “massage parlors,” strip clubs and sale of sex on the streets.
The Radical Feminists of San Diego, sponsors of the April 7 event, are a group that sprang up out of Occupy San Diego (OSD) with the intention of increasing women’s participation in OSD and helping build a feminist movement. They describe themselves as “a dynamic bunch of feminist rebels of all colors, sexualities and ages” who “gather to take actions, share our stories, educate each other and more.” For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/phoenonimalcat