Freedom to Walk Learnings Booklet


Published on

Booklet presenting my learnings from Freedom to Walk initiative.

1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Freedom to Walk Learnings Booklet

  1. 1. From the left clockwise: First day of the walk; trip to the temple on the rest day; finish at the Burmese border; end of day 4Report from the anti-trafficking campaign More than $115,000 raised, the day before and, clearly devoid of future. Moreover, I have not only learnt 350km walked and more than parental love, took great pleasure in being about the theory of human trafficking - hugged, carried and us walking together. the trip was also a lesson about Thailand, 25 fantastic individuals whom I Realizing that $20,000 that we raised will wider South East Asia and the world of met and bonded with over the help to create a new home for these non-governmental organizations. last 15 day - Freedom to Walk, children (who currently live in a shack) a campaign to end human was encouraging. Moreover, weve spoken trafficking, was truly one of the to the remainder of our beneficiary A journey of a charities and I know that our money will thousand miles begins most life-affirming and unique go to support hotlines with Polaris Project experiences Ive had. in America, lobbying for compensation in with a single step the US and the prevention of child fishery trafficking in Africa. -Lao-Tzu Multiplicity of perspectives. Walkers came from all over the world and from a very wide diversity of paths: there was a teacher in Myanmar, Argentinian Economist correspondent, former US Presidential candidate, Singaporean Impact. For the very first time, I had a graphic designer, Brazilian BBC child crying after my departure. Promise, journalist, South African Herbalife one of the children at the Dream House Education. Ive learnt a tremendous representative, Swiss wife of an embassy (an orphanage for stateless children amount about trafficking: from practical worker, a New York Times lawyer, Thai located next to Thai-Burma border and advice, such as asking your jeweller about law student. This nicely reminded me one of our beneficiary charities) burst the sourcing of gold to more distant that there is a life beyond Londons into tears when I was driven by one of issues for me such as exploitation of professional services and provided us with our drivers to catch a minivan to the Bangladeshi domestic workers, I feel now very many enriching perspectives in airport. Promise attached herself to me that I can knowledgeably talk about the discussions of sex Thai industry or issue and make informed choices in the stateless Burmese.FIVE ORGANISATIONS BENEFITTING FROM YOUR DONATIONS
  2. 2. Defining KEY STATISTICStrafficking HUMAN TRAFFICKING Every afternoon, we sit down tolearn and reflect on the issue of humantrafficking. The group gathers around the DESCRIPTION NUMBERtable and we read articles, watch moviessuch as Trafficked Women made by UN or Number of victims of forced labour globally 21.9Mlisten to speakers who dial-in for a talk. Human trafficking is a complex Percentage of women who are victims 55 per centissue and, as we have learnt on Monday,complexity starts with the definition. Percentage of adult victims 75 per cent Human trafficking was firstdefined only in 2000 in Article 3 of Percentage of victims exploited in private economy 90 per centUnited Nations Protocol To Prevent,Suppress and Punish Trafficking inPersons, Especially Women and Children. Percentage of victims coming from Asia-Pacific 56 per centThe definition, as Tanny explained, canbe boiled down to three elements: Africa 18 per cent • A set of actions which involve recruiting or moving someone Latam/Caribbean 18 per cent („recruitment, transportation, transfer”) Prevalence of trafficking victims per 1,000 in Eastern 4.2 (highest across • The means by which those Europe the world) actions are carried out („threat or use of force or coercion) Prevalence of trafficking victims per 1,000 in Developed 1.5 (lowest in the • A purpose that is to say forms Economies (US and Western Europe) world) of exploitation for which people are recruited or moved Average period of time that victims spend in forced labour 18 months There are many subtle pointsaround this highly politicised definition.For example, the second of those points WHEN 2012 STATISTICS ARE COMPARED TO 2005 THERE ISdoes not apply to children – even if thechild consents to e.g., work in a brothel orcome to a factory, but is then exploited, it More trafficking on the wholeis trafficked. Another point to note is that Less state trafficking as a sharetrafficking does not have to equate tomovement or transfer of people – Less children trafficking as a sharetrafficking can happen without thetransfer of persons. Less trafficking in Asia-Pacific as a share Moreover, even though weoften equate human trafficking with More trafficking in Africa as a shareslavery, these two are actually different –legally, slavery is specifically concernedwith the ownership of humans. Daily Schedule of the Walk 5am – Wake up  quicker in the morning - the last 5km 5.30am – Breakfast. If the breakfast is always seem hardest! in the hotel, we have an Asian-style broth 2pm – Lunch at the hotel. A Thai-style with pork dumplings; fried eggs (sometimes lunch, consisting of cooked vegetables, done with bits of fish, pork and plenty of cooked chicken, rice, fruit and lots of chili spices). If it’s bought by organisers, we have 3-6pm – Reflection and free time. We cornflakes and milk, sometimes with spend it reading materials on human bananas. One thing that is constant though trafficking provided by Ali, catching up on is white bread, jam and peanut butter – the e-mails, napping and writing Thai definitely have a sweet tooth! 6pm – Dinner. Sometimes it will be at a 6.00am – Pack our bags to the bus, grab local market, sometimes at the hotel.  bottles of water (kindly provided by 7pm – Study of human trafficking. sponsors, Aura), get ready to walk. We reflect on the reading we’ve done, 6.15am – On the road! We try to head followed by a discussion and mental off early as by 12pm it gets really, really hot preparation for a speaker/video. We have which makes walking more strenuous.  heard on topics such as trafficking in supply 6.15am – 2pm – Walking between 20 chains, US hotlines for victims of human and 25km per day. We break every 5km or trafficking, compensation for victims,Listening to IOM Ghana on trafficking in Africa; so at a local petrol station, replenishing trafficking issued in Ghana, conflictresting after another 25km; arriving at the Mon water and snacking – plenty of nuts, fruits mineralsChilai Forest and black sesame milk. We walk much 9-10pm – Off to sleep!
  3. 3. Thai sex trade Why it’s so difficult to get compensation for victimsTrading WomenOn one of the days we got caught in the rainwhile walking - and probably for the better, aswe had a chance to watch Trading Women, a2003 documentary about sex industry in Asiaproduced by David Feingold, now director ofUNESCO Trafficking Project and narrated byAngelina Jolie.About the movieTrading Women investigates different aspects of sex industry in Thailand: from Thai girls in Bangkoks Karaoke bars to stateless hill tribes that work in brothels. I was struck by the breadth and casual nature of sex in Asia (women are literally In any Western country, if you • Only possible for ‘easy’ cases commodities), but have also have been mistreated by an organization, which are not too complexrealised how complex the sex trade is. you have the right to seek compensation – • State will collect money from think only of banks in the UK paying out trafficker (e.g., seize his assets),Best job opportunity for stateless? money to their customers for misselling trafficker pays for compensation insurance products (PPI) or many US law • Legal aid is providedWe need to respect the decision of women who firms that live off successfully seeking • Hard to get compensation for allwant to be in the industry, however demeaning damage claims. Given the strength of the damagesit is. Girls from ethnic minorities lack rights of a consumer, it is very dispiriting • Civil proceedingcitizenship - they are not considered Thai as to hear that compensation is one of the • Case can take a very long timethey are from Burmese ethnic minorities, but weakest rights of trafficked people.  (particularly when trafficker isthey are not Burmese as they do not live on acquitted)Burmese land but in Northern Thailand. As a On Thursday, Freedom to Walk listened to an educating talk by Wiesje • Victim has to initiate theresult, they cannot own land or business. procedure and show the evidenceEntering the sex trade is usually the best Zikkenheiner, La Strada’s Project Manager, on the topic of compensation • Victim pays for the lawyer fees ofeconomic opportunity they have. the perpetrator if he loses the case for traffic victims. La Strada is anLack of other jobs European network against trafficking • Compensation fund operating in eight European countries • Happens when the trafficker doesThriving sex industry is usually an effect of not have any funds or is absentlack of broader (among others my native Poland) that works on awareness-raising, networking, • Main focus for La Stradaeconomic opportunity. • However, eligibility criteria forThis is particularly true data collection and dissemination. One of their recent projects is COMP.ACT, compensation are very difficultfor the earlier The uptake for compensationmentioned hill tribes of European Action for Compensation for Trafficked Persons, which via human- funds is very low for several reasons.Burma, Laos and Firstly, the eligibility criteria: victims needChina. The film says rights based approach aims to improve compensation and legal address. This to cooperate with the police (hard forthat the destruction of victim to collaborate with the police iftraditional upland embodies a paradigm shift: we move from perceiving an individual as a victim in they are illegally in the country – they willeconomy with a combination of well-meaning probably be arrested and deported todevelopment and opium suppression programs need of counseling to a human being with rights, able to claim legal damages. their country. Police very much focuses onin Thailand, and civil unrest, economic the resident status); the application has todislocation and political repression in Burma There are two types of damages be submitted within one year from whenresulted in lack of economic opportunities for a victim can claim:       the trafficking took place (this is a veryhill girls. Today, while hill tribe girls are 30% of • General damages – compensate the short time if you consider the time neededtotal number of sex workers in Thailand, they claimant for non-monetary aspects of for a victim to recover from the shock);are disproportionately represented relative to specific harm suffered, such as behaviour of the claimant is taken intotheir total numbers in the population. physical or emotional pain and consideration when deciding whether toMoreover, they are often employed in the suffering. The psychological aspect is award a claim or not – victims must bemost exploitative part of the industry. much harder to prove shown to be blameless. Western tourists are not the problem • Special damages – compensate the Secondly, there is the issue of claimant for the quantifiable communicating to those eligible that theyFinally, Western tourists are not the root of the monetary losses suffered such as out- are victims, and that compensation fundsaforementioned problem. In fact, Bangkoks of-pocket medical expenses, unpaid exist. Particularly men who suffer fromPatpong district has girls who are well-treated wages, fees for bad behaviour. It is labour exploitation do not think they areas the district is under government regulation sometimes difficult to prove how trafficked – hence they never reach out forand girls have a choice whether to sleep with much money victim earned in a day – help. When they are identified, traffickedthe relevant man (prostitution, interestingly, is particularly for sex workers – so victims are not informed about theillegal in Thailand). As a group, we have difficult to ask for relevant damages. compensation (there is a priority to getdiscussed the issue of demand for a bit and Recent estimation of earnings (post- people deported to their home country –have concluded that this is truly not possible - expenses) of a sex worker in Western not to enable them to claim salary).the more so that the abundance of women in Europe was €100/day. Finally, there are the logisticalThai culture results in many boyfriends going There are three types of enforcements issues: the procedure is costly and lengthyto brothels regardless of whether they have a that a victim can pursue:       and necessitates the availability of victimgirlfriend to have some fun… sometimes Im • Criminal proceeding support services that might not be there.very very glad to live in an European culture!
  4. 4. Goodbye conflict minerals I feel like one of the most tangible Unfortunately, the jewelry topics we’ve discussed so far are conflict industry presents a much bleaker story – the minerals. This is because despite the conflict-gold rush is thriving in Eastern complexity of the problem, we could come Congo, partly because of its skyrocketing up with several solutions and take actions as price and the ease of smuggling it in small consumers. pouches for extremely high profits. More Conflict minerals are sourced in than $600M worth of gold is estimated to Congo mines controlled by militia and leave Congo every year, and armed groups rebels and the sale of these minerals funds are funding their operations through control the groups’ livelihoods and weapons. The of a significant percentage of that amount. issue can be divided into two main buckets: Eastern Congo’s gold mines are the prevalence of conflict minerals such as among the most abusive and dangerous tungsten, tin and tantalum (so-called three places to work in the world as they are ‘Ts’) in consumer electronics supply chains unregulated by Congo’s government, and and the prevalence of conflict gold in controlled by armed groups and their jewelry stores and consumer gadgets. criminal networks. 40% of miners are The electronics industry has children and can be as young as 8. moved far in eradicating conflict minerals Thousands of people die in those mines from its supply chain, spurred mainly by every year. Gold mined in Congo is consumer activism (as led by John smuggled, usually to Uganda, to conceal the Prendregast’s Raise Hope for Congo) and origin. Telling statistic – Uganda makes only the 2010 Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection $500 worth of gold but exports $75M! Act which requires certain companies to From Uganda, gold would be publicly disclose their use of conflict smuggled to Dubai where it would be sold minerals that originated in the Democratic to refiners and cash-for-gold dealers. Republic of Congo. The act brought the Smugglers normally fly to Dubai with the issue of conflict minerals to the attention of gold in their briefcases on Emirates Airlines approximately 6,000 companies. flights (potential to lobby Emirates to Electronics companies have made progress introduce screenings??) with their hand in three main areas: luggage. Dubai is an attractive location for • Tracing – firms trace where their smugglers because of its refineries and its minerals come from reputation as a laissez-faire trading centre. • Auditing – smelters are audited by third 1/4 of the world’s gold is now traded parties to ensure they do not source through Dubai where dealers reportedly materials from conflict areas pay 10% less for undocumented gold than • Certification – Congo mines are for gold with official paperwork because it is certified to be conflict-free more difficult to sell – this actually makes Intel deserves particular praise as their profit margins high, as they can sell it the first company to publicly commit to for a high price as recycled gold. making a fully conflict-free product within a From Dubai, gold goes to Middle deadline – microprocessing chip by 2013. East or China as jewellery, or to Swiss banks However, there is still a way to go. for investors. The latter destination presents Companies need to ensure that their a tricky issue, as one cannot apply direct minerals are conflict-free, but not Congo- consumer pressure to source conflict-free free so that mining communities in Congo gold – physical placement of the gold (bank) are not left behind. Moreover, for smelter is separated from the owner (investor). audits to have a meaningful impact, However, with regards to jewellery stores companies should require their suppliers to consumers could put pressure on jewellers only purchase from conflict-free smelters. to ensure their gold is conflict-free. This Finally, we need to make certification a could be very labourious as jewellery From the top: end of day 11, process in which civil society and the industry is very fragmented (in contrast to government can participate in – expanding consumer electronics), but still definitely walking behind Sam on our route, beyond industry control would prevent the worth pursuing as only in this way we will speaking to La Strada program from being hamstrung by rules put pressure on jewellers to source their that do not allow the publication of the products responsibly. International, departing on day 2 names of failed smelters . First impressions - Thailand It’s the first time I’m in Thailand, this 67M, $5,400 GDP per capita country primarilyknown in the UK for its film-starring beaches, full moon parties and green chicken curry. Having spenthere three days, I am yet to bump into my very own Leo Di Caprio (if only!), but I have beenoverwhelmed by the kindness of the locals and, less surprisingly, good quality of life for extremely lowprices. Thailand is so far exceeding my expectations, but I don’t know if it’s because I really detestedIndia & felt so-so about Shanghai (unfortunately that spiritual turnaround turned out to be never for me)so low expectations were set or Thailand is genuinely a unique Asian country.  Kindness of the locals. We were kindly guested (and treated to water and rice pudding!) bythe church community we walked by, a wallet lost by a friend was kindly returned to him and the girlshere are never really called on (yes, we do attract attention, but it is never in a threatening kind of way!). Level of civilisation. As BCG’s report I helped to write keeps banging on, developing countries ARE outpacing developed ones inInternet access!! Am amazed that pretty much every hotel we’re staying in has some form of Wi-Fi. There is Tesco here, 6,000 7-11s and so farpretty good sanitary standards. The airport is very pleasant and far more efficient than Heathrow. Ok, I could complain about quality of roads,some dirt around the roads and the unfortunate pollution, but overall experience has been above expectations.  Great quality of life at ridiculously low prices. 0.5L coke in the UK can cost up to £1.89. Here it costs about £0.5. No Iwouldn’t define this as ‘great quality of life’, but fresh food on the markets in Thailand are similarly cheap, or even cheaper – that same £0.5can buy you a soup, and for £1.5 you will get a three course lunch. On another point, Thai cuisine is extremely sweet – they pretty much addsugar to everything (from seaweed to iced coffee) so you always have to specify that they should not add sugar. The results of this diet areunfortunately seen – one in ten Thai has diabetes (compare this with one in twelve Americans and you can see the scale of the problem). Halfof Thai people are unaware of the fact that they do have diabetes.
  5. 5. Actions you can do to combat trafficking Support UK Transparency in Fundraise Company Supply Chains Bill Organize a fundraiser and donate the Requires all companies grossing over GBP proceeds to an anti-trafficking 100 million annually to publicly report on organization - contact Marta if you would their annual reports what they are doing like to learn more about our current to ensure their business is slave free. Sign beneficiaries or for some pointers or where the petition online: to donate. Please also donate at actions/uktransparencybill Be a conscientious consumer. For Attorneys Check out the US Dep of Labor’s List of Look for signs of human trafficking Goods Produced by Forced Labor or among your clients. Offer pro-bono download Free2Work app. Encourage services to victims or anti-trafficking companies to take steps to investigate and organizations. Learn about and offer to eliminate slavery in their supply chains human trafficking victims the legal and to publish the information for benefits for which they are eligible. Assist consumer awareness. Purchase items anti-trafficking NGOs with capacity made by trafficking survivors such as from building and legal work. Jewel Girls or Made by Survivors. For Mental Health or Medical At the Dream House Volunteer Providers (orphanage): teaching children Volunteer to do victim outreach or offer Extend low-cost or free services to human your professional services such as Unseen trafficking victims assisted by nearby anti- ballet 101, walking on the final UK or La Strada International. trafficking organizations. Train your staff day with Promise, dinner at the on how to identify the indicators of Dream House with children human trafficking and assist victims.Want to find out more? General InformationMore detail on some of the issues discussed in this booklet Reach out to Marta Szczerba (myself !) on • Reach out to the founder, Alison I can: Weiner on • Provide you with syllabus materials on any of the topics discussed in this • Visit Freedom to Walk website on booklet to donate • Direct you to relevant organization and resource • Reach out to Anthony Kingsley on • Visit to learn more about the project of building a house for stateless Burmese children at risk of trafficking