Friday, March 13, 2015

Unlocking the Chains Conference 2015: Request for Proposals


The 2015 annual conference of the Central Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition, the Unlocking the Chains conference, will be Friday, June 26. Currently we are accepting proposals from presenters interested in sharing their experience and expertise in the human trafficking field with the diverse professionals, students, and citizens who attend our conference each year.

Organizational Background

The Central Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition (CORRC ) is the 21st local network  to be established in the United States under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through their national Rescue and Restore campaign. Our mission is to provide a collaborative community response to human trafficking in central Ohio through education, services, advocacy, and prosecution. Since its inception in July of 2007, CORRC has grown to include over 200 member organizations and hundreds more concerned individuals. 

Members include federal, state, and local government agencies like the Ohio Attorney General and Columbus Public Health; social service organizations like the Salvation Army and Asian American Community Services; faith based organizations like Veritas Community Church and Vineyard Columbus; medical organizations like Mt. Carmel Crime and Trauma and Forensic Healthcare Consulting; law enforcement agencies like the Columbus Police Department, Homeland Security, and the FBI; and human trafficking specific organizations like Gracehaven and Freedom a la Cart.

The Unlocking the Chains Conference

The annual CORRC conference is the Unlocking the Chains Conference (UTC), and will be held at 1980 W. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio on Friday, June 26 from 8:30am-4pm. 

Proposals

The conference will include 3 different break-out sessions with 9 different 90 minute workshops total. If you are interested in presenting a workshop, please send the following to CORRC Coordinator Tabitha Woodruff at Tabitha.woodruff@use.salvationarmy.org no later than FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015:
  • Your resume
  • The title of your presentation
  • A summary and/or outline of your presentation

Evaluation Process

Each workshop proposal submitted will be evaluated by the CORRC Steering Committee (the decision-making arm of CORRC, comprised of the chairs of each committee). The CORRC Steering Committee will select workshop speakers after evaluating all proposals submitted.
Speakers will be selected based on:
  1. Presenter expertise in the area of human trafficking
  2. Relevance of topic to audience (central Ohio anti-human trafficking professionals)
  3. Uniqueness of presentation relative to other selected presentations
  4. Professionalism and quality of proposed presentation
Timeframe
  1. Proposal Submission Deadline: Friday, March 27, 2015
  2. Workshop Speakers Notified: Monday, April 6, 2015
  3. Workshop Speakers MUST Submit Full Presentation and Other Required Documents for Continuing Education Credit Certification: Monday, April 13, 2015
  4. Unlocking the Chain Conference: Friday, June 6, 2015
Payment

The Unlocking the Chains Conference is primarily organized by volunteers and is not independently funded. Since UTC speakers typically do not require a stipend or reimbursement for travel or lodging, CORRC is usually able to break-even on the conference or generate a small profit. If you require an honorarium or reimbursement, please note this in your proposal.

Key Contacts

Please submit your questions and proposals to:
Tabitha Woodruff
CORRC Coordinator
Tabitha.woodruff@use.salvationarmy.org
(614) 437-2147

Monday, July 9, 2012

Ohio House Bill 262

House Bill 262 improved and expanded Ohio’s human trafficking laws beyond merely criminalizing human trafficking (which is as far as previous law went) by creating avenues to target demand; to criminalize traffickers more severely; to aid victims; to train law enforcement and state officials; to track data; and to raise public awareness. A copy of the bill in pdf format can be found here: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/BillText129/129_HB_262_EN_N.pdf The Central Ohio Rescue & Restore Coalition is grateful to Governor Kasich for prioritizing this bill and for signing the bill into law on June 27th.

  • Targeting the Demand
    • H.B. 262 added a provision to the criminal offense “Importuning” (2907.07) to specifically target those who purchase sex with minors (see page 19 of the bill).
      • The criminal offense of “Importuning” (2907.07) already criminalized soliciting anyone under the age of 16 to engage in sexual activity, whether or not the offender knows the age of the victim.
      • Under this new provision, soliciting anyone age 16 or 17 to engage in sexual activity is also criminal, but only if the victim was a human trafficking victim AND the offender knows or recklessly disregards the age of the victim.
      • Depending on the age of the child and whether or not the offender has previously been convicted of similar crimes, the offense is a second, third, fourth, or fifth degree felony.
    • H.B. 262 added a provision to the criminal offense “Procuring” (2907.23) to specifically target those who purchase sex with minors (see page 21 of the bill).
      • The criminal offense “Procuring” (2907.23) already criminalized procuring a prostitute for someone else or knowingly allowing prostitution to happen on one’s premises. The offense is a first degree misdemeanor.
      • Under this new provision, “Procuring” is a fourth or fifth degree felony if the prostitute procured is under the age of 18, whether or not the offender knows the prostitute’s age.
  • More Severely Penalizing Traffickers
    • H.B. 262 changed the criminal offense “Trafficking in Persons” (2905.32) to a first degree felony and changed the prison term to be imposed to 10 – 15 years (see page 19).
    • H.B. 262 changed the criminal offense “Obstructing Justice” (2921.32) so that those who aid traffickers are guilty of second degree felony (see page 23).
    • H.B. 262 added sex traffickers to the list of criminals who must register as sex offenders (see page 41).
  • Aiding Victims
    • H.B. 262 created a specific civil action for victims of trafficking (see page 15).
      • This gives trafficking victims the ability to sue their traffickers in civil court for lost wages and monetary damages.
      • Damaging amendments: As originally written, H.B. 262 specified that the trafficking victim may bring this cause of action whether or not the trafficker had been prosecuted or convicted of human trafficking. As passed, H.B. 262 now says a victim may bring this cause of action for damages “result[ing] from the violation of section 2905.32 of the [Ohio] Revised Code.” Due to these changes, it is now unclear whether or not a trafficking victim may bring a cause of action if there is not a conviction under Ohio’s human trafficking law, such as where the conviction was under federal law or where the trafficker was never prosecuted or convicted at all.
    • H.B. 262 added a provision stating that nothing in the Crime Victims Fund should be construed to block victims of human trafficking from accessing victim fund assistance as long as they were minors when they were victimized (see page 18).
      • This appears to be in response to complaints by trafficking survivors that they have had trouble accessing Crime Victim Fund assistance. The reason trafficking survivors have had trouble, however, was because many of them have long criminal records and/or felony convictions. This new provision will not address those concerns.
      • This new provision also neglects trafficking victims who were first victimized during adulthood.
    • H.B. 262 created a Victims of Human Trafficking Fund to be administered by the Director of Jobs and Family Services (see page 58). The fund will consist of money seized in connection with human trafficking investigations conducted under state law and from money made from the sale of assets seized in connection with human trafficking investigations conducted under state law.
      • The depth of the fund will depend entirely on the amount of human trafficking investigations that occur. H.B. 262 does specify however, that other money from other sources may be deposited into the fund.
      • Typically, money and assets seized through criminal investigations go toward law enforcement. This funds future investigations and incentivizes law enforcement agencies to pursue these investigations. Streaming all of this funding straight into this victim’s fund instead might discourage and de-fund future human trafficking investigations.
    • H.B. 262 created a new avenue for trafficking survivors to expunge delinquency adjudications relating to prostitution (charges under 2907.24, 2907.241, and 2907.25) (see page 11). (Delinquency adjudications relating to prostitution could already be expunged under 2151.358.)
    • H.B. 262 created an avenue for trafficking survivors to expunge criminal convictions adjudications relating to prostitution (charges under 2907.24, 2907.241, and 2907.25) (see page 52). 
      • Under previous law, someone could only have criminal charges relating to prostitution expunged under 2953.32 if it was their first offense.
      • This new provision creates a valuable avenue for survivors of trafficking who sometimes have as many as sixty prostitution related convictions. It does not go as far as to vacate their convictions, however, which would be preferable. Although expungement of a conviction means that the record is sealed, vacating a conviction essentially reverses the conviction as if it never happened. Thus, expunged convictions must still be reported on things like job applications whereas vacated convictions do not need to be reported at all.
    • H.B. 262 created a provision that says that when a child is charged with prostitution (under 2907.24, 2907.241, or 2907.25) the juvenile court must make a determination on whether or not the child is a sex trafficking victim (see page 14). This may include a hearing. If the child is determined to be a victim, the court will hold the complaint in abeyance for ninety days while the child completes diversion actions. Although the new provision does not specify, typical diversion actions ordered by the court are things like therapy and community service. If the child completes these diversion actions, the court may then dismiss the complaint as if it never happened.
    • Training State Officials and Tracking Data
      • H.B. 262 requires that the Attorney General’s office create an extensive training for peace officers (law enforcement agents) on human trafficking that must include information on (see page 6):
        • Identifying human trafficking situations
        • Methods for identifying victims of human trafficking
        • Appropriate techniques for interviewing victims of human trafficking
        • Prosecuting human trafficking
        • Collaborating with social service organizations
        • Protecting the rights of trafficking victims by treating them as victims rather than as criminals
        • Protecting the safety of trafficking victims
      • H.B. 262 requires that peace officers receiving training on human trafficking as part of their minimum basic training (see page 4). This training will not necessarily be the training created by the Attorney General’s office mentioned above.
      • H.B. 262 strongly recommends that all boards, commissions, and agencies that grant licensures or certifications on behalf of the state of Ohio require people receive training on human trafficking before they can be licensed (see page 58).
      • H.B. 262 requires the Attorney General to gather data on human trafficking and publish it regularly (see page 2).
        • Each state agency and each agency of each political subdivision that investigates human trafficking (although it does not specify, this may be referring to local police departments and child protective services) is required to submit human trafficking data to the Attorney General for this publication.
        • Data that is required to be reported includes:
          • Numbers of investigations, arrests, prosecutions, and successful convictions
          • Number and demographic characteristics of traffickers and their customers
          • Number and demographic characteristics of victims, including how they were recruited
          • Discovered trafficking routes and patterns
          • Social and economic factors contributing to the demand for human trafficking
    • Public Awareness
      • H.B. 262 created a provision stating that the Attorney General’s office may, if it chooses to do so, create public awareness programs about human trafficking (see page 7).
        • The provision instructs that these programs should be designed to increase awareness among potential victims of human trafficking and to educate them about how to protect themselves.
        • The Attorney General’s office must consider information and materials offered by nonprofits and other entities with expertise in human trafficking while preparing these programs.
      • H.B. 262 requires the division of criminal justice services to create a poster with the national human trafficking hotline number (see page 59).
        • The division must then make this poster available online and encourage its display at truck stops, hotels, and other places where human trafficking might occur.
        • There is no civil or criminal penalty if these entities choose not to display the poster.

    Friday, February 17, 2012

    Words from Megan, Gracehaven Case Worker

    Last week I drove two hours away to testify in court for a young woman I had been working with. She was incarcerated for a crime committed while she was being sexually exploited. I was there to testify about the work I had done with her over the last year and a half and the type of character I saw in her.

    Standing in that courtroom and telling the judge what my experiences were with her took about two minutes. I drove 4 hours for 2 minutes. I got up at 5:00 AM for 2 minutes. A lot can happen in 2 minutes. A life can change in 2 minutes.

    The judge asked me, "You drove here from Columbus to be here today?" Then he mentioned it about two more times. Apparently, it was a big deal to him. After the hearing, I found out why. The parole officer came up to me afterwards and said, "I have been working in this job for 20 years and in 20 years I have never seen anyone testify in a juvenile case. If they are lucky, their mothers come. That's it. No one has ever testified in a juvenile case. It's unheard of." The public defender came up to me and said, "Make no mistake, your testimony made all the difference, no one testifies in a juvenile case."

    I was a little surprised, but then I got to thinking about it and it made sense. These kids don't often have any support. And the people going into the correctional facility to work with these kids are few and far between. Who would know them? Who would know about their lives and be able to testify about their potential? And when I thought this, I teared up. It was too painful a thought to think of all the kids, faces I know, who don't have anyone to get to know them, support them, believe in them. And I was really grateful for what Gracehaven had been doing.

    Oh, and she got out of the correctional facility and was put on parole so she could go back home to her two children.

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    Holiday Shopping Guide by Tabitha Woodruff

    Excited to start your shopping but upset about how the holiday demands for cheap products encourages labor trafficking around the world? Here are some ideas on how to keep your holiday slavery-free!

    Global Gallery
    Global Gallery sells Fair Trade clothes, coffee, chocolate, musical instruments, toys, purses, paper, household wares, and much more! There are two Global Galleries in Columbus: one in Clintonville (3535 N. High St.) and one in the Short North (682 N. High St.). 

    Ten Thousand Villages
    This is by far the best place to find the widest variety of Fair Trade products in my opinion. They have everything: jewelry, bags, scarves, hats, frames, vases, dishes, rugs, planters, baskets, lotions, soaps, stationary, toys, instruments, holiday decor, and more! The nearest physical locations are 115 S. Main St., Bluffton and 2011 Madison Rd., Cincinnati. http://www.tenthousandvillages.com 

    Made by Survivors
    The variety of Fair Trade products here is nearly as vast as that found at Ten Thousand Villages. Buy their high quality silver jewelry, bags, t-shirts, ties, scarves, paper, rugs, and more! http://www.madebysurvivors.com

    Thistle Farms
    Thistle Farms is a social enterprise run by the Magdalene program, a program for sex trafficking survivors in Nashville, Tennessee. Program residents and graduates make a living wage through Thistle Farms by making soaps, lip balms, lotions, candles, and more! http://www.thistlefarms.org

    Sari Bari
    All products are made from used saris and by women rescued from the red light district of Calcutta, India. Find quality purses, bags, scarves, quilts, pillows, baby blankets, and more at incredibly cheap prices! http://saribari.com  

    Divine Chocolate
    Much of the world's cocoa is harvested by children and slaves, but all the cocoa used to make Divine Chocolate's delicious chocolate is Fair Trade! Their candy bars are available at Global Gallery, while their cooking cocoa, mini chocolate pieces, fudge, chocolate after dinner mints, and other products can be found through their website. http://divinechocolate.com

    Fair Trade
    Everyone keeps talking about Fair Trade products, but what does Fair Trade mean? Fair Trade companies sign an agreement with a regional Fair Trade organization (like http://fairtradeusa.org) operating under Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International (http://fairtrade.net) which allows Fair Trade certifiers to inspect them and ensure that they comply with Fair Trade standards, including: living wage for all workers; no child labor; no forced labor; safe working conditions; environmentally sustainable practices.

    Social Accountability International
    There are a number of popular retailers who might not be Fair Trade certified, but who work with organizations similar to Fair Trade to ensure that their products are not produced by slaves. One such organization is Social Accountability International, which works with Crate and Barrel,  the GAP, and other major retailers. Keep an eye out for certifications that model the same values as Fair Trade! For a list of organizations that work with SAI, visit this website: http://www.sa-intl.org 



    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Current Volunteer Needs

    CORRC volunteers are some of the most amazing people in the world. Linda Gunther provides us with magnets with the hotline number; Sue Helmreich handles speaking engagements; both Sister Nancy Miller and Ellen Rapkin bring us donations regularly; Amber Evans brings dinner to the drop-in center; Janice Cahill helps staff the hotline; the list goes on and on without end. Without you, we could NOT do the work that we do with such great staff and funding restraints. You are amazing.

    Please join in and become more involved with our anti-human trafficking efforts!

    Right now, we are in desperate need of trained volunteers to staff the 24/7 human trafficking hotline and to staff the Well, our drop-in center for sexually exploited women.
    You can sign up for shifts here: http://salvationarmycolumbus.eventbrite.com
    If you are not trained for the hotline, you can get trained by registering here: http://humantraffickingcellphonetraining.eventbrite.com
    If you are not trained for the Well, you can get trained by registering here: http://thewelltraining.eventbrite.com

    Here are all the upcoming volunteer trainings for the month of October:

    If you have any questions about volunteering or getting involved, please email Tabitha at woodruff.115@buckeyemail.osu.edu! 

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Learn How Attorneys Can Fight Human Trafficking!

    Anti-Human Trafficking Attorney Training


    Wednesday, September 28
    9am - 5pm
    OSU Moritz College of Law, Saxbe Auditorium
    55 W 12th Ave., Columbus, Ohio


    This training is open to all areas of law, including, but not limited to Criminal, Civil, Juvenile, Family, Immigration, etc.This training also has limited space for non-attorneys.

    Purposes of this training are to raise awareness of human trafficking among legal professionals and to train and recruit attorneys willing to provide pro-bono services to victims of trafficking throughout the state of Ohio. Any participant who provides 10 hours of pro-bono services to victims of trafficking will be refunded their registration fee.

    The training will include the following: the definition and scope of human trafficking, Federal and Ohio Human Trafficking Law, Victim Advocacy, a Panel on Collaboration, and a discussion of human trafficking cases. 
    AGENDA
    9:00-9:10  Welcome (Carter Stewart Invited)

    9:10-9:45 - Human Trafficking 101

     9:45-10:15 – Overview of Federal Human Trafficking Law 

     10:15 -10:30 – Break

    10:30 -11:00 - Overview of Ohio Human Trafficking Law 

    11:00-12:00 - Victim Advocacy

     12:00-12:45 - LUNCH

     12:45 - 1:45 Panel Discussion: 
    The Importance of Collaboration 

    FBI  - Kristen Cadieux
                      ICE – Amy Allen
    Dept. Of Labor – George Victory
    CATCH – Judge Paul Herbert
    CPD – Aaron Dennis

    1:45 - 2:45 - Case Review: Break-Out Groups

     2:45 – 3:00 – BREAK

     3:00-5:00 - Case Review: Large Group Discussion

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    How Can I Impact Human Trafficking Legislation?


    You may think that it’s impossible to influence legislators if you’re not a corporate lobbyist. That is a myth! In a democracy, the most powerful lobbying tool is your vote as a constituent! Your legislators want to know what they need to do to win your vote!

    Lobbying Basics:

    Contact the legislator who represents you and your district. If you’re a voter from District 19 and you contact a legislator from District 7, he or she has no reason to listen to your concerns. Legislators must represent the interests of their own constituents and district.
    When collecting letters, have everyone sign their name, print their name, and provide their full address. Later, look up their legislator online using their address and then fill in their legislator’s name.

    Don’t assume your legislator knows the issue. Your legislator probably doesn’t know how to stop human trafficking and may not even know what it is. Be sure to explain the problem and the solution.

    Be specific. Simply asking a legislator to fight human trafficking is vague and un-measurable. Give your legislators clear measurable goals like “become a co-sponsor of bill S.1301” or “vote S.1301 out of committee.” 

    Follow-up with the legislator later with a ‘thank/spank.’ Thank her for listening to your concerns then ask her if he or she’s followed through with her commitment. If he or she has, thank her again. If he or she hasn’t, politely express your disappointment.

    Be brief and courteous. Legislators and their staff are very busy people. Keep your meetings, letters, and phone calls as brief and direct as possible. Do not be rude and never be late to an appointment.

    How should I get in touch with my legislator?

    The more personalized and genuine your communication with your legislator is the better. The following techniques are all effective, but are listed from least effective to most effective.

    Petitions
    If you have people sign a petition to send to a particular legislator, be sure they write down their address to ensure that they’re all from that legislator’s district. 

    Draft Letter
    These can be done online or in hard copy. For them to be more effective, deliver hard copies in person to the legislator’s office and leave a space for people to write in a personalized message. 

    Handwritten Letter
    Leave five minutes at the end of your next meeting for everyone to write a short, handwritten letter to their legislator! 

    Phone Call
    Have a call-in day! Ask all your colleagues and friends to call-in to their legislators on a particular day. 

    In-Person Meeting
    This is most effective. A legislator will not refuse a meeting to a constituent with a clearly articulated concern. If the legislator is too busy to meet with you, her staff will meet with you. Go to this meeting with one or two other people. Bring materials to leave with the legislator. These meetings typically last less than twenty minutes.

    How do I figure out who my legislators are?

    First, use your full address to find your zip code +4 at this website: 
     http://zip4.usps.com/zip4/welcome.jsp
    You’ll use your zip code +4 to find your legislators at the websites below.

    Federal Level:

    At the federal level, you have two senators and one representative representing your interests.

    Each state has two senators who represent the entire state. Each state has handful of representatives (the number of representatives is determined by the population of the state). States are divided into districts, and representatives each represent a different district in their state. Thus, while you and everyone in your state have the same two senators, you and your neighbor may have different representatives depending on where the district lines are drawn.

    To contact your Ohio senators, visit this website:
     
    To find your federal level representatives, visit this website: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
     
    State Level:

    At the state level, you have one senator and one representative representing your interests. The state of Ohio is divided into 33 senatorial districts and 99 representative districts. Each senator and representative represents a different district in the state. 

    To find your state level senator, visit this website: http://www.ohiosenate.gov/
    To find your state level representative, visit this website: http://www.house.state.oh.us/