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Location: New Orleans, LA

What: The Louisiana legislature is considering a bill which would increase penalties for human traffickers.

Read the full article and watch the video here.

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What: The CNN Freedom Project has been devoting excellent coverage to modern-day slavery.  This article highlights the labor trafficking rampant in Florida tomato picking, the efforts of the CIW and change.org to fight it, and what you can do to help.

Read the full article here: http://thecnnfreedomproject.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/21/your-tomato-possible-ties-to-slavery/

Location: Mobile, AL

Type of trafficking: labor trafficking

Update: The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission is suing Mobile-based Signal International for its mistreatment of Indiana guest workers.  The lawsuit is being filed in Gulfport; Signal is also being sued in a New Orleans district court.

Read the full article here: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2011/04/federal_agency_sues_signal_int.html

This post is an update of a previous post.

Location: Pasadena (Houston), TX

Type of trafficking: labor trafficking

Perpetrators: two Vietnam-based companies, International Investment Trade and Service Group (Interserco) and Corporation Vietnam Automobile Industry (Vinamotors)

Charges: violations of the TVPRA (2005), the 13th Amendment, and the Alien Tort Claims Act; conspiracy

Read the full article here: http://www.americanbankingnews.com/2011/04/13/vietnamese-laborers-allege-human-trafficking-conspiracy-according-to-the-buzbee-law-firm/

Location: Tennessee

What: A six-month study by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reveals high amounts of sex trafficking in the state.

Read the full article here: http://www.wkrn.com/story/14450809/tbi-discovers-high-numbers-of-trafficking-incidents-in-tenn

What: Nicholas Kristof has consistently produced excellent reporting on issues of injustice, particularly oppression of women.  Here he spotlights domestic sex trafficking of women, talks to Rachel Lloyd (of GEMS), and highlights her new book, Girls Like Us.

Read the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/24/opinion/24kristof.html

Location: Atlanta, GA

What: A new bill improving services for youth runaways has passed at the end of Georgia’s current legislative session.

Read the full article here: http://jjie.org/child-advocates-legislative-session-success-overall/13412

InVisibility Photo Competition

Along with the youth organization JustUs, Freedom to Thrive has been busy organizing events April 26th through April 29th in order to provide the public with more information about the extent and severity of human trafficking in the greater Birmingham area through documentary screenings, public speaking events, and two photography contests.

The purpose of the events and the photography competition event is to bring awareness to human trafficking. Our theme – InVisibility – was chosen to correspond to the release of “InVisibility: A Study of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Jefferson County, Alabama.” This study will be published and available to the general public at the close of the photography screening event taking place with the support of the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham.

 InVisibility Photo Screening and Study Release Night  

April 29th at 5:00 p.m.

ArchitectureWorks 130 19th Street South.

 Refreshments will be served.

Enjoy artistic expression , meet Freedom to Thrive representatives, and learn more about Human Trafficking in your city.

For the Invisibility competition we are asking local artists for submissions that depict the theme of InVisibility and posing the question, “What does the struggle to become Visible in a world filled with suffering look like?” Submission deadline April 25th at 5:00 p.m. 

Top winners will receive gift certificates donated by local art supply stores, camera stores, and frame shops. We will also acknowledge the winning photographers through press releases identifying them as the InVisibility finalists.

For the Freedom competition (under 18) we are asking youth to capture what freedom looks like in a world filled with suffering. We hope that this contest will give exposure to many local artists as well as lend a voice to the voiceless. Submission deadline April 30th.

All event submission  information can be found at www.freedomtothrive.org

In addition to the Photography Contests Freedom to Thrive are partnering with local universities and groups to screen the Documentary DEMAND and are providing a discussion on the topic of Human Trafficking after the documentary.  

Montevallo:

Tuesday, April 26th at 7:00 p.m. at Farmer Hall hosted by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Montevallo chapter

Samford:

University Tuesday April 26th at Brock Forum hosted by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Samford chapter

UAB:

Friday, April 29th at 7:00 p.m. at the Alumni Auditorium located in the Hill Center, hosted by UAB IJM chapter

Demand is a Documentary produced by Shared Hope International  that reveals  the sophisticated business model behind sex trafficking and tourism, exposing the buyers who bring demand, the traffickers and recruiters who supply the victims, and the facilitators that feed the market. DEMAND. shows that the only way to impede the commercial sex markets and the sexual exploitation of women and children is to tackle demand and stop buyers from buying.Victims and survivors of sex trafficking, pimps, traffickers, buyers, law enforcement agents, NGO (non-government organization) representatives and policy makers speak to the truths behind the thin veneer of legitimacy of the sex industry. DEMAND. reveals these truths and exposes the role of demand in fueling the sex tourism and trafficking markets at work in these four countries and around the world.

We truly need assistance promoting these events via social media and from your own gift of gab to others. We thank you in advance for lending your support!

Location: South Florida

What: Attendees of the Women’s International Film Festival had an opportunity to learn about human trafficking, both from film and from a roundtable discussion that followed.

Read the full article here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/28/2140084/womens-international-film-festival.html