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Press Releases Published January 22, 2010
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Mayor Newsom and District Attorney Harris Announce Collaborative Against Human Trafficking & Call for Passage of New State Trafficking Law for Child Victims
Public-Private Partnership Formed to End Trafficking via Awareness and Survivor Support

01/11/10 – Mayor Gavin Newsom, District Attorney Kamala D. Harris and Supervisor Carmen Chu today launched the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking. The partnership between city government agencies and community providers was formed to raise public awareness about the crime of human trafficking, develop policy to combat it and provide support for survivors.

“Human Trafficking is an egregious violation of human rights that not only harms the victims, but damages the community as a whole,” said Mayor Newsom. “San Francisco is a city that values an individual’s right to live free from violence, exploitation, or slavery. We are committed to working with our partners to eradicate human trafficking by holding the traffickers accountable, and to getting victims the help they need.”

The San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking is a diverse group of committed government officials, community representatives, service providers, and enforcement officers, working to address the complex problem of identifying, rescuing and rehabilitating victims and prosecuting human traffickers.

“Although Human Trafficking is a global problem, I want to commend the work our City departments and the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking are doing to help combat this criminal activity locally,” said Supervisor Carmen Chu.

“This modern-day slavery will never end unless we raise awareness, strengthen the law and provide comprehensive support so victims can come out of the shadows,” said District Attorney Harris. “That means taking action in our courts, up in Sacramento and out on our streets so that this outrageous crime can be reported and perpetrators can be held accountable.”

Mayor Newsom and DA Harris also called for the passage of AB 559, a bill sponsored by Assemblymember Sandré Swanson (D-Oakland) with support from the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.  AB 559 would strengthen California’s human trafficking law to ensure that prosecutors have the ability to prosecute child trafficking cases without having the onerous burden of proving coercion.  This change in the law would bring California’s statute in line with federal law.

The State Department estimates that 14,500-17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year for involuntary servitude or modern-day slavery. Thousands more are moved across state and county lines as domestic trafficking victims.  Home to a large international port, San Francisco is a major transit point for traffickers.

San Francisco leaders have a longstanding history of fighting human trafficking. In 2005, District Attorney Harris sponsored statewide legislation that made human trafficking a violation of California law. Also in 2005, Mayor Newsom and District Attorney Harris began a campaign to close illegal massage parlors and other businesses that act as fronts for traffickers. Supervisor Chu has continued that battle with her push to ensure that building and health and safety code violations are enforced. The formation of the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking marks the first time that city government agencies and community providers have formed a sustained partnership dedicated to the ongoing battle against human trafficking.

The Mayor’s Office is the lead government sponsor agency of the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking. Jewish Children and Family Services is the chief community co-sponsor. The other public and private partners are The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, the Department on the Status of Women, the Human Rights Commission, SAGE, Because Justice Matters, the National Council of Jewish Women, the San Francisco Women’s Political Coalition, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, New Israel Fund, the Jewish Coalition to End Human Trafficking and Asian Women’s Shelter.

To underscore the City’s commitment to raising awareness of the issue of human trafficking, Mayor Gavin Newsom also declared the month-long period from January 11, 2010 to February 12, 2010, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, International Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The collaborative was launched with a series of activities at City Hall including a panel discussion by service providers and a film screening.  Additional information about the events can be found on the San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission’s website: http://www.sf-hrc.org/index.aspx?page=58.

Polaris Project and LexisNexis Form Public-Private Partnership to Fight Human Trafficking 5/27/2009

New Database System Offers Access to Critical Information

Washington, DC – Polaris Project (www.polarisproject.org), one of the largest anti-trafficking organizations in the U.S. today announced the implementation of a national database to aid in the global fight against human trafficking. The comprehensive database was developed to assist in the operation of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC), which runs the national human trafficking hotline for the U.S. This development is part of a public-private collaboration between Polaris Project and LexisNexis (www.lexisnexis.com), a leading global provider of content-enabled workflow solutions.

LexisNexis® Risk & Information Analytics Group worked with Polaris Project to develop and implement a new web-based system that allows all hotline employees to access the same information in real time. The newly designed solution allows Polaris Project employees to service those in need by being able to field and respond to hotline calls more quickly and provide up-to-date, accurate information about local resources and service providers. Prior to this new national database, Polaris Project used a cumbersome system that contained information in disparate spreadsheets, making it difficult to access, maintain and share vital information.

Over the past year, the resources of the NHTRC have been increasingly accessed by community members, service providers and law enforcement. Call volume has grown two to three times the number in previous years – reaching over 500 calls per month – highlighting the critical need for these services and infrastructure improvements. As the fight against human-trafficking grows, the new database will expand to meet this need and will help to increase the number of victims identified, the number of traffickers brought to justice and the number of survivors receiving critical social services.

Using its 35 years of database and analytic modeling, LexisNexis developed a system to help Polaris Project store, manage and access its critical information. This in-kind donation includes 250 hours of employee labor, donated computer hardware and ongoing system support.

"Fighting human trafficking is all about protection for the victims and accountability for those enslaving them," said Ambassador Mark Lagon, executive director of Polaris Project. "Polaris Project deeply values the working partnership LexisNexis has forged with us. In advancing the Polaris-run National Human Trafficking Resource Center, through innovative analytics solutions from LexisNexis, we are together advancing the Rule of Law in the name of the most disempowered."

Nearly 10 years after the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, the anti-trafficking field in the United States has made significant progress but also faces a number of persistent challenges. Polaris Project seeks to combat human trafficking and modern-day slavery by conducting direct outreach and victim identification, providing social services and transitional housing to victims, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, advocating for stronger state and Federal anti-trafficking legislation and engaging community members in local and national grassroots efforts.

Polaris Project operates the NHTRC's national toll-free hotline, which runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The hotline works to help improve the national response to protect victims of human trafficking in the U.S. by providing callers with a range of comprehensive services, including crisis response, urgent and non-urgent referrals, tip reporting, and comprehensive resources and training for the anti-trafficking field and those who wish to get involved. The NHTRC, funded with the support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other private funders, is part of Polaris Project's Training, Technical Assistance, and Strategic Support Program (TTASP), which exists to help improve the systemic response to protecting victims of human trafficking in the United States.

"LexisNexis is proud of this public-private partnership with Polaris Project as efforts to end human trafficking hinge on the ability of corporations, governments and NGOs to effectively work together in creative ways," said Elizabeth Rector, senior vice president, Corporate Responsibility for LexisNexis. "We believe this partnership can serve as a model for other business, government, and non-governmental sector partnerships."

"Having access to the right information is critical to Polaris Project's future; we are honored to support their mission to end human trafficking and slavery," said Jim Peck, CEO, LexisNexis Risk & Information Analytics Group. "LexisNexis is proud to provide advanced data analytics that assist nonprofit organizations like Polaris Project to provide support of those in need."

LexisNexis' commitment to Polaris Project – through direct financial support, legal and technical advice, and research services – is part of the company's significant commitment to combating human trafficking and advancing the Rule of Law around the world. In support of the Rule of Law, LexisNexis works to build awareness and educate the public, law enforcement and government officials about human trafficking, build legal capacity by working directly with pro bono lawyers and support the rescue of victims and serve their rehabilitation needs.

About Polaris Project
Polaris Project's vision is for a world without slavery. Named after the North Star that guided slaves towards freedom along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project has been combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery since 2002.

Polaris Project is one of the few organizations working on all forms of trafficking and serving both U.S. citizens and foreign national victims of human trafficking, including men, women, and children. Polaris Project's programs take an innovative and holistic approach to create both short-term and long-term solutions. We leverage our on-the-ground experience into a comprehensive strategy to provide victim services, inform and empower the public, train law enforcement and service providers, advocate for better state and federal laws, and strengthen the movement to end modern slavery.

About LexisNexis
LexisNexis® (www.lexisnexis.com) is a leading global provider of content-enabled workflow solutions designed specifically for professionals in the legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting and academic markets. LexisNexis originally pioneered online information with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. A member of Reed Elsevier [NYSE: ENL; NYSE: RUK] (www.reedelsevier.com), LexisNexis serves customers in more than 100 countries with 18,000 employees worldwide.

For Informational Resources about Human Trafficking visit www.TraffickingResourceCenter.org

Media Contact
Andrea Austin
Polaris Project
(202) 745-1001 ext. 122
Media@PolarisProject.org

David Kurt
LexisNexis
(312) 899-7805
david.kurt@lexisnexis.com

Kelli Gail
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (for LexisNexis)
(212) 880-5261
kelli.gail@ogilvypr.com

The Kentucky Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking Liberation Awards Honor Outstanding Volunteers

WHAT:

(Lexington, KY) On December 3, seven volunteers will be honored for their efforts in alleviating the hidden crime of human trafficking. These awards will be presented by the Kentucky Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking Program at the Kentucky Alliance for Sexual Assault Programs annual conference in Lexington.

“The time and talent provided by these individuals has been integral to the success of the project,” said Marissa Castellanos, Kentucky Rescue and Restore Program Manager.

In February 2008, Catholic Charities of Louisville and its statewide partners Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center in Lexington, the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs in Frankfort, and the Women’s Crisis Center in Covington were recipients of federal Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking Regional Program funding. Since the Kentucky program’s inception that spring, 81 victims, including both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens, have been identified and served.

In addition to victim identification and assistance, the KY Rescue and Restore project is charged with raising public awareness about the crime of trafficking. The Kentucky Rescue and Restore Coalition has been established, which includes six regional task forces: Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, Covington, Somerset and Lake Cumberland. To date, the coalition has provided 164 hours of training regarding human trafficking to 2,803 persons. These workshops provide the information necessary for community individuals, especially first responders such as emergency medical services, fire departments, and law enforcement, to identify and appropriately refer victims for services.

"In addition to first responders,” said Castellanos, “anyone can help identify a victim by referring a situation that doesn’t look quite right. Some victims have been identified by letter carriers, meter readers and neighbors willing to refer a situation in a home or business that raised suspicion.”

WHO:

The 2009 Kentucky Rescue and Restore Liberation Honorees:

Robin Valenzuela, Student Award Winner
Marilyn Jones, Volunteer Award Winner
Maxwell St. Legal Clinic, Agency Award Winner
Monica Woods, Community Advocate Award Winner
Gretchen Hunt, Dr. T.K. Logan and Senator David Boswell, Kentucky State Advocate Award Winners

WHEN:

12:00 Noon - December 3, 2009

WHERE:

Griffin Marriott - 1800 Newton Pike, Lexington, KY 40511

ABOUT THE HONOREES:

Robin Valenzuela worked as a student intern for the Kentucky Rescue and Restore Project in 2008. She arranged training for students, faculty and community members through the University of Louisville. Since her services with the Kentucky project, Robin continues her awareness efforts and received a fellowship with the Polaris Project, an anti-human trafficking organization in Washington, D.C.

Marilyn Jones has spent many hours providing information throughout the Kentuckiana region despite working part-time and serving other organizations. She has visited more than 200 businesses and agencies disbursing literature to help identify traffickers and also information about how victims themselves can obtain services.

Maxwell St. Legal Clinic (Lexington, KY) has offered services to marginalized populations since 1999. This organization’s willingness to identify and provide much-needed legal assistance allows victims to regain control over their circumstances and work toward self-sufficiency.

Monica Woods was a key individual in establishing the Bowling Green Human Trafficking Task Force. Through her role as Multi-Cultural Affairs Coordinator with the Bowling Green Police Department, Officer Woods has raised awareness with regional law enforcement agencies and has provided screening for potential victims in the Bowling Green area.

Gretchen Hunt is a staff attorney with the Kentucky Division of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Services. She played a major role in developing the Louisville and Lexington Human Trafficking Task Forces and was largely involved in the movement for trafficking legislation at the state level and the development of local research on this issue. Gretchen was also instrumental in the application and receipt of the federal Rescue and Restore funding.

Dr. T.K. Logan is the author of the 2007 report, Human Trafficking in Kentucky, and is a professor at the University of Kentucky. Her vision also aided in the creation of the Louisville and Lexington Human Trafficking Task Forces. T.K.’s research proved a vital resource for the Rescue and Restore application process, and she has devoted her time and knowledge on multiple occasions to speak about the findings of her research and raise awareness about trafficking in our state.

Kentucky Senator David Boswell is from District 8 and has been a powerful force in the Kentucky state government in raising awareness, developing support and sponsoring legislation that criminalizes human trafficking at the state level. This legislation has been significant in engaging law enforcement in this effort. Senator Boswell continues advocating within the legislature to advance and improve human trafficking legislation.

Human Trafficking
After narcotics, human trafficking ties the illegal arms trade as the second largest criminal industry in the world today. Approximately 600,000 to 800,000 men, women and children are subjected to modern-day slavery as they are trafficked across international borders each year. Based on data from the U.S. State Department, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops estimates that one-third of those victims are children. About 14,500 to 17,500 of those men, women and children come to the United States, and unfortunately, some make their way into our Commonwealth. Furthermore, not all victims are transported here. Our own citizens can be forced to perform acts against their will through fraud and coercion.

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