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From the office of Migration and Modern Slavery.
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National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

 

President Barack Obama has declared January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. It is often believed that slavery does not exist in our world, let alone our country. Many people and organizations, including Just Freedom, work everyday to prove this myth false using reports and videos. (Click here for one example.) This month is dedicated to educating those on the realities of modern-day slavery. Click here to read President Obama's full proclamation.


Other important upcoming Migration & Modern Slavery dates:
- January 11: National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
- January 15: World Day for Migrants and Refugees
- February 1: National Freedom Day


Thank you for subscribing to receive this newsletter. Please visit my blog for more information. Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest to keep up to date with news, tips on how to help, and stories.

Prayer for Human Trafficking Victims


"I'll tell you what it really means to worship the Lord. Remove the chains of prisoners who are chained unjustly. Free those who are abused!" [Isaiah 58:3,6]

Pope Francis has declared January 15, 2017 the World Day for Migrants and Refugees with a focus on "Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and Voiceless." Click here for his full announcement.

Immigrant Story of the Month

 

Thousands of women, men, and children living in Central America attempt to enter into the United States every month. Many risk their lives to do so.


Picture this: a pregnant woman sitting on the top of a moving freight train, one arm clinging onto her 16-month-old child. They are surrounded by other children and mothers sitting, jumping between cars, or gripping onto the metal sides for their lives.


These individuals are not doing this for fun. This is their chance to escape Central America. They are doing this to save their lives.

Some of these refugees will fall off and have an arm, leg, or entire body chopped up by the train. Some will die of dehydration. If they survive the trek to Northern Mexico, some will pay thousands of dollars to be smuggled into the U.S., only to live their life as an outsider. Others will be caught by Border Patrol, processed, and sent to await an immigration trial.


This is not just a story. It is a common reality for some migrants, trying to escape from violence so severe that they are willing to endure these conditions.

Survivor's Story of the Month

 

Ima is an Indonesian native. In 1997, at the age of 17, she was working as a housekeeper in her home country when her employers told her about their cousin who was looking for a nanny in Los Angeles. Ima recalls being very excited. “Who doesn’t want to come to the U.S.? It sounded like a great opportunity at the time.”

 

However, immediately upon landing in the U.S., things began to turn negative. The woman she’d be “working” for took her passport away, saying she was “holding it” until it was time for Ima to return to Indonesia.


The $150 a month she had been promised never showed up. Neither did the one day off per week. And over the next two years, conditions worsened. Ima spoke no English. She was worked seven days a week with no pay and little rest. Often the victim of threats and assaults, she was taken to the hospital on occasion.


But Ima didn’t run. Her captors told her that she would be arrested without a passport and then raped in jail.


Eventually, Ima was able to write a letter which she sneaked to a nanny working nearby. It simply read, “Please help me.” She received a response a few days later with instructions to have her bags packed and stashed in the garage until the appointed time.


One morning, the neighbors were waiting in a car around the corner. Ima grabbed her belongings and was taken to a shelter run by the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST). She stayed here for the next 15 months, studying and working a real job cleaning houses. It was the first time she got paid.


Now, Ima has her GED, is married, has three children, and is the Survivor Organizer at CAST.


Click here to read Ima's full story.

The Importance of Casa RAICES and the IWC


This past month, Sister Denise LaRock, D.C., received the Kelly Allen Service Award for her gracious and willing spirit which blesses the Interfaith Welcome Coalition (IWC) and the women and children she serves at Casa RAICES.

Night after night, staff and volunteers--including Sister Denise LaRock--at Casa RAICES find themselves housing new individuals seeking asylum, sometimes adding up to more than 800 refugee children and mothers every month.


Why are so many people finding themselves here? Case RAICES is the place where thousands of families stay after being released from one of two nearby immigrant detention centers before traveling elsewhere, often to meet up with other family members or friends already in America. Many women and children spend weeks, sometimes months, in these centers after fleeing their homes, enduring months of migration, and seeking asylum from gang violence, domestic violence, or abuse back in their home countries.

Casa RAICES is a part of the Interfaith Welcome Coalition (IWC), an organization designed to help immigrants seeking asylum in the United States. The IWC was started by Kelly Allen who brought together churches and other groups who were interested in making a difference for these refugees. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) take women and their children from the detention centers to the bus stop and airport. When IWC learned that some of these families were staying overnight at the bus stations, volunteers began taking immigrants into their homes. Allen and the others quickly realized this wasn’t a temporary situation and, together with the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), formed Casa RAICES.

Click here to read about Casa RAICES, the IWC, and Sister Denise LaRock's thoughts.

The United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking has released their 2016 Annual Report. Click here to read it in its entirety. 

If you or someone you know needs assistance, please call the toll-free National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1.888.373.7888.

Copyright © 2017, All rights reserved.

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