Polaris Project : eNewsletter - Nov 30th, 2011



Sugar Babies – a Human Trafficking Connection Series

The phenomenon of “sugar babies,” – where debt-burdened young people seek romantic relationships with older individuals for financial compensation – has been recently featured in the news. A recent Huffington Post article told the story of a young college student seeking a way out of her college debts and we couldn’t help but draw the connections between these highly exploitative relationships and the potential vulnerabilities linked to situations of human trafficking. Click here to read more.

Part 1: How Student Debt Can Lead to Survival Sex

Survival sex is a term commonly associated with the runaway or homeless youth community whereby young people turn to prostitution as a means of survival – exchanging sexual services for basic necessities such as food and shelter. Today, educational debt is putting some young adults in the same dire situation. Click here to read more.

Part 2: Why Debt is Not the Only Vulnerability for Sugar Babies

Vulnerability to any crime is subject to a variety of socioeconomic, cultural, and independent factors that place some individuals at higher risk of entering dangerous situations than others. Although financial insecurity is a huge vulnerability for many college students and recent grads, it is not necessarily the only factor in a persons decision to be come a sugar baby. Click hereto read more.


This month’s vignettes highlight calls to the NHTRC hotline from health-care professionals.

A young girl came into a hospital following a sexual assault and confided in the sexual assault nurse examiner treating her that she had been involved in commercial sex because of a pimp. Click here to read more. 

*Note: Vignettes are based on hotline calls received by the NHTRC. Names, locations, and other identifying information have been changed and/or omitted to preserve the confidentiality of the individuals we serve. Vignettes are meant as examples of the types of calls received by the hotline and are for informational purposes only.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An Hour in the Life of a NHTRC Call Specialist

Dear deZengo,

Last week we shared a video with you about the national human trafficking hotline and our nationwide impact. But have you ever wondered what it’s like to actually be in our call center? What does it take to operate the national hotline and what kinds of requests and tips do we get?  One of our call specialists gives us an inside look:

“2:19 p.m.  A call comes in from a Spanish speaker to my colleague, I’m fluent so I take the call and ask, “Como le puedo ayudar?” He tells me that he came from Mexico on an H-2A visa and works 80 hours per week harvesting wheat. He is not paid overtime and not given lunch breaks or days off. I ask the caller a few questions to determine if the labor exploitation has risen to the level of labor trafficking. I tell the caller to report his employer to the Department of Labor and set up a three-way call to connect him with a specialized attorney.”

This is just one call out of thousands taken by Polaris Project’s call specialists. Read more here for a glimpse of an hour in the call center. Click here to read more.

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Celebrating Massachusetts first anti-human trafficking law!

It is with great excitement that we share with you that the state of Massachusetts has taken a crucial step to reduce trafficking by passing the state’s first anti-human trafficking law. Last week, Governor Deval Patrick signed HB 3808, finally making it a criminal offense to traffic people for forced services or sexual servitude. Prior to this legislation, Massachusetts was one of only three states to have no law against human trafficking.

By passing this crucial bill, Massachusetts legislators are sending a strong signal that the enslavement of men, women and children is simply not acceptable. We are thrilled to see Massachusetts catching up to the 47 other states that have already passed anti-trafficking legislation. There is still more work to be done, with the passage of this bill, West Virginia and Wyoming are the only two remaining states that have no criminal laws against human trafficking. We thank you for your continued [to] support to help us fight trafficking. Read our reaction to the state legislature's passing of this bill. 

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Answering the Call: State Legislators From Across the Country Participate in Historic National Call to End Human Trafficking

On November 15, Polaris Project hosted the first ever National State Legislators Conference Call on Human Trafficking. More than 40 legislators from 26 states joined a conference call and webinar to collaborate, share ideas, and advocate for anti-trafficking legislation. Many of these legislators were champions for anti-trafficking legislation in their own state, and this call gave legislators an opportunity to learn more from each other on successfully passing anti-trafficking legislation. On the call, State Senator Adam Ebbin of Virginia noted, “Besides it being morally right, we need to help with a victim service response so that when victims are found we can help them rebuild their lives.” We couldn’t agree more.Click here to read more.

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Polaris Project | P.O. Box 53315 Washington, DC 20009 

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