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WASHINGTON, D.C. On Monday, March 30, nearly 100 IJM supporters from 25 states converged on Capitol Hill to meet with their elected Members of Congress, Senators and their legislative staff members. Their goal? To speak for the millions victimized by slavery and violent abuse in developing nations around the world. IJM constituents held more than 100 separate meetings with congresspeople and their legislative staff members. They distributed 5,500 signed “Abolition Senator Postcards,” which encourage elected leaders to commit to advocating for victims of slavery. The event was IJM’s first-ever grassroots advocacy initiative with Congress. The focus of Monday’s meetings was to educate Congressional staff, Members and Senators on a new legislative initiative, the “Child Protection Compact Act” of 2009 (CPCA). If enacted, the CPCA, sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), would authorize an additional $50 million over three years for the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP). IJM constituents held more than 100 separate meetings with congress people and their legislative staff members, and distributed 5,500 signed “Abolition Senator Postcards.” The additional resources would be used to provide multi-year funding to facilitate the eradication of child trafficking in eligible “focus countries.” The Act requires a child protection “compact” between the United States and the beneficiary countries... Cont. on page 2
Vol. 1, Issue 1
The work of
International Justice Mission
IJM and Authorities Rescue Seven Victims from Mumbai Brothel
MUMBAI IJM operatives have rescued seven trafficking victims from a Mumbai brothel in which they were routinely beaten, confined and involuntarily sold as prostitutes for as little as 150 rupees or $3.00 U.S. each. The victims were removed from the brothel premises on April 1, when IJM rescue workers and local police conducted an operation at the building. The targeted brothel keeper, against whom evidence had already been collected, was found inside the building, caught off-guard by the appearance of the police and holding a wad of cash. She was arrested immediately. The targeted brothel keeper, against whom evidence of trafficking had already been collected, was found inside the building – caught off-guard by the appearance of the police and holding a wad of cash. She was arrested immediately. Cont. on page 3
- Spring 2009
Former Slave Prepares to Harvest First Cash Crop
BANGALORE, INDIA “Without the water, none of this would be possible,” explains Basavaraj, as he looks across the field bearing his first tomato crop. Pointing to a bare spot of moist, tilled earth, he indicates where he plans to plant peas next. Black piping runs up from the well pump at the base of the hill, jutting out from the dusty earth into Basavaraj’s field. Water trickles from the pipe onto his tomatoes. Basavaraj’s irrigation system has enabled him to cultivate a tomato crop. Basavaraj’s family cultivated ragi and flat beans when he was a child. Then, one day, the dry land simply could not provide for the family any longer. The family needed money for basic necessities and to ensure that Basavaraj’s younger brother could stay in school, so Basavaraj went to look for work, which he found in a brick kiln. The owner of the kiln offered Basavaraj a small advance payment, which he could use to provide for his family’s pressing needs. Basavaraj was glad for the opportunity to support his family, and began what he assumed would be a temporary position. But once inside the kiln, the owner told Basavaraj that he could not leave until he repaid the advance in a lump sum. The owner then ensured that this would be impossible by applying exorbitant interest rates to the advance and paying Basavaraj wages so miniscule that he could barely afford to eat, much less repay the ever-growing debt. Basavaraj and the other laborers were forced to remain within the kiln’s borders at all times, including to eat, sleep and work. They were beaten if the owner’s thugs did not think their pace was fast enough. Basavaraj had become a slave. He dreamed of escaping, but he knew that the owner would track him down and force him to return to labor in the kiln. “I felt doomed,” Basavaraj remembers. “I didn’t have the hope that I would be going back to the village ever, because [the owner] wouldn’t let us leave or talk about the advance. I was totally stuck. I had no hope.” Basavaraj labored for two years, trying to forget about the family he had left behind. He had given up hope of ever leaving the kiln – until one day, everything changed. IJM investigators had discovered the many slaves being held at the kiln, documented the abuse and asked the local government to intervene to protect its citizens. The local government responded, arriving at the kiln along with IJM staff to bring
Continued from page 1 to maximize efficient use of resources and generate political will to locate trafficking victims and to prosecute and convict those who perpetrated violent crimes against them. Eileen Campbell, director of IJM’s Justice Campaigns, noted, “There are so many issues that divide Members and Senators. But everybody is in favor of eradicating slavery.” IJM constituents on the Hill found widespread interest on both sides of the aisle in the CPCA.
freedom to Basavaraj and 38 other forced laborers who had been tricked into slavery there. IJM social workers took Basavaraj to his family and cared for his immediate needs. Then, they set about securing for him the funds of government assistance required for victims of forced labor. IJM aftercare staff persevered for two years to ensure that Basavaraj and the other freed laborers received this vital compensation. Ten months ago, the rehabilitation funds were distributed to Basavaraj and the other slaves freed from the kiln. With his funds, Basavaraj paid for a well, and the pump and the piping that now supply water to his land. Now, Basavaraj and his and his family are anticipating the income of their first cash crop – tomatoes. His brother Govinda is in his last year of high school, an exceptional accomplishment in the village. Surrounded by a crowd of neighboring villagers, Basavaraj updates an IJM social worker on his family’s status and needs. “I am doing good. We earn money on our own,” he said. Then he smiles and looks around: “I am like a person who is out of jail.”
Spring 2009 -
Continued from page 1 IJM’s operatives had determined prior to the operation that the girls in this brothel were habitually subjected to brutality, including physical violence and sexual abuse. The victims were confined to the brothel under prison-like conditions and were prevented from having any outside contact. One victim in the brothel told IJM operatives prior to the raid that she was forced to prostitute under threat of beatings, and that the madam had been controlling her by restricting her access to her infant son. Both the woman and her young son were removed from the brothel and brought to safety at the time of the rescue. Another rescued victim stated that she had originally been trafficked when she was between 10 and 12 years of age. IJM’s strong relationship with Deputy Commissioner of Police Sanjay Mohite was an instrumental factor in the operation’s success. DCP Mohite ensured that the girls would not be released back to the pimps and that the police reports were filed with utmost accuracy. One of the rescued victims has since opted to participate in rehabilitation programs with IJM, while the others have elected to return to their families. IJM aftercare staff are assisting all victims with their transition to life in freedom. All of the victims were extremely grateful to have been rescued. IJM Mumbai’s legal team will now attempt to secure a conviction against the brothel keeper who entrapped these victims.
IJM Manila Office Launches Art Therapy Program
MANILA, PHILIPPINESLast month, IJM Manila staff launched a new art therapy program for victims of child abuse and sexual exploitation. The new program’s first session, which was led by prominent art educator Bambi Mañosa-Tanjutco, gave 21 of IJM’s clients a chance to express their creativity and learn the basic principles of drawing and painting. Only a handful of the participants had ever held a paintbrush before, and the excitement was palpable as each girl concentrated on painting her canvas. The new program’s first session gave 21 of IJM’s clients a chance to express their creativity. Only a handful of the participants had ever held a paintbrush before, and the excitement was palpable as each girl concentrated on painting her canvas. “We know that the healing process for victims of abuse is multifaceted, and this is another example of our aftercare department looking for unique ways to assist in that,” said IJM Senior Vice President of Education Larry Martin, who was present in the Philippines for the program’s launch. “It was wonderful to see how the clients started the painting process fairly cautiously, but as they proceeded and grew confident, their expression began to flower and the colors in their pictures grew more vibrant.” The finished paintings from a therapeutic art session sit to dry. IJM organized the logistics of the program and arranged for an art professional to volunteer her time to teach. Subsequent sessions over the next six months will cover charcoal drawing, painting with hands, collage and clay sculpture. In total, 210 girls will be given the chance to take part in the art therapy classes, all residents of an aftercare home in Metro Manila. The goal of each session is to show the participant that she is capable of making something beautiful on canvas, just as she is able to make something beautiful of her life. The paintings will be collected for a gallery show that will open in the fall. “IJM is overjoyed to start this art therapy program for all the residents of the home,” said Carmela Andal-Castro, Director of IJM Manila. “We believe that this kind of endeavor will go a long way in uplifting the lives of our children and building the capacity of our government facilities.”
Everybody has a story! Visit www.IJM.org to see more.
International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local governments to ensure victim rescue, to prosecute perpetrators and to strengthen the community and civic factors that promote functioning public justice systems. IJM’s justice professionals work in their communities in 12 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America to secure tangible and sustainable protection of national laws through local court systems. IJM Collaborative Casework IJM investigators, lawyers and social workers intervene in individual cases of abuse in partnership with state and local authorities to ensure proper support for the victim and appropriate action against the perpetrator. Such collaboration is essential to obtain convictions against individual perpetrators and to bring meaning to local laws that are meaningless if not enforced. Founded in 1997, IJM began operations in response to a massive need. Historically, humanitarian and missions organizations worked faithfully and courageously to bring healthcare, education, food and other vital services to those who needed them. But little had been done to actually restrain the oppressors who are a source of great harm to the vulnerable. Through individual casework, IJM confronts aggressive human violence: violence that strips widows and orphans of their property and livelihoods, violence that steals dignity and health from children trafficked into forced prostitution, violence that denies freedom and security to families trapped in slavery. Violence against the poor is not driven by the overwhelming power of the perpetrators – it is driven by the vulnerability of the victims. This violence can be stopped when the power of the law is brought to bear on behalf of those who need it, and when people of good will contribute their financial and professional resources to insisting it stop. IJM’s casework model combats victimization and violence on the level of the individual, and supports functioning public justice systems where the poor urgently need an advocate.
Who we are and What we do
IJM At A Glance:
* Established in 1997 * 14 field offices, located in Bolivia, Guatemala, India, Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia * 2 casework alliance offices, located in Peru and Honduras * Headquartered in Washington, DC * 335 staff (90 percent are nationals of the countries in which they work)
International Justice Mission
PO Box 58147, Washington, DC 20037 (703) 465-5495 - http://www.IJM.org
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?