11 December 2010
Slavery is not limited to the far away killing fields of Africa or the sweatshops of Southeast Asia. It is, in fact, rampant in the towns and neighborhoods in Southern California, contributing to the estimated 27 million people worldwide subjected to bondage, human trafficking and slavery.
The shocking facts of human slavery today were the focus of a December 11 forum in Pasadena, California, hosted by Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI), a secular nonprofit organization sponsored by the Church of Scientology. The purpose of YHRI is to educate people specifically about the articles contained in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Rohida Kahn, Victims Assistance Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, opened the forum with a wakeup call: The United States is the world’s number one destination for human trafficking. She called for government at all levels to partner with educators and community activists as a team to raise public awareness of modern-day slavery, the institutions and procedures established to care for the victims and to deal with the perpetrators.
Logan Clarke, a veteran investigator with decades of experience in rescuing youth from the international and domestic sex trade, described methods used by traffickers to imprison and subject young females to dehumanizing conditions and experiences. Clarke urged action on this issue in the form of "volumes of old-school letters and faxes that cannot be overlooked by their very bulk sent to government officials."
Other presenters at the forum included Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute; Robin Sax, author, media commentator and anti-slavery advocate and Phil Ludwig; president of Teen Rescue, a support group for teens who escape from U.S. trafficking rings.
The forum on human trafficking was part of Youth for Human Rights International’s ongoing campaign to raise awareness of human rights. YHRI's anti-slavery efforts in recent years have included educational seminars, conferences and media briefings in Ghana, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan and the USA.