Welcome to the Rotary Club To End Human Trafficking

 
Are you an established professional who wants to make positive changes in your community and the world?  Our club members are dedicated people who share a passion for ending human trafficking / modern slavery.  Becoming a Rotarian connects you with a diverse group who share your drive to give back.
Done in a Day.
 
There are many ways to make a difference. We are all familiar with the grand campaigns and projects that garner lots of press, but smaller actions can lead to positive results too and that is what I will focus on today.
 
As a part of our club meetings we will include “Done in a Day” actions. These are simple tasks that we can all complete, and by combining our efforts, we can shift things in a positive direction. Are these as impactful as larger, more grand projects? Yes! Both have value and will be supported by our club.
 
First, how Small Actions make a difference.
 
Psychology. It turns out humans do well with short term goals. We all like having clear milestones and pathways to success. These are easy wins that lead to short term achievements which keep us engaged and motivated.
 
Habit. There are 3 components to creating a habit. The first is a trigger - the cue to take an action. The next is to have a routine. 40-45% of decisions are actually just routines. The final component is a reward. We will make taking action a habit by doing something. Cues will occur at our meetings to make Done in a Day actions routine. Then we will lock habits into place by celebrating the results.
 
Community. Where appropriate we will break into smaller groups to work on our Done in a Day actions. This will strengthen our club’s community by allowing everyone to get to know each other better, learn together and become part of the larger Club Team. We will create synergy with our combined wins and better understanding of how we can work together.
 
Network. With a number of our Done in a Day actions we will engage our networks. As we all do this our successes and ideas will spread. Others will learn more about our fight to end human trafficking and will be primed to do more.
 
Influence. As our networks learn and grow, we will expand our influence. Like a ripple in a pond, actions lead to more actions. Those who are busy often shy away from Big Plans of action, but by passing along easy wins, we can get others on board and inspired.
 
Finally, people are drawn to success. They want to be a part of something that is thriving and growing. As we share our actions people will hear more and more about what we are up to, and we will draw others into the fight. As we share achievable actions, connect and communicate, others will take note, and their barriers to action will drop.
 
Any step in the right direction makes a difference and has an impact. It can help you shift your habits and keep you motivated. It can help you connect to others who are on the same path which might help you build your team. You will gain information, learn and grow. With each step you take the monumental mountain in front of us can become more understood and surmountable. You can embrace that you are a part of the solution.
 
Next month’s President’s letter will focus on our larger goals and plans.
 
Moving intention into Action,
Michelle Seets
Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking President, 2022-2023
 

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Have I lived my life all wrong?

 

When I was 16, I read Tolstoy’s short story, The Death of Ivan Ilych.

 

Ivan Ilych grew up in Russia. Like most young men of means, he went to the right school, married the right woman, got the right job, and moved up in the system. But along the way, he followed a traditional path that took him far from his initial idealistic hopes and dreams.

 

Following an accident that resulted in a chronic injury, he had several weeks to look back on his life. During this process, he came to the sober realization that he had lived his life all wrong. But with death nearly upon him, there was nothing he could do to change this dreadful reality.

 

This story had a major impact on my life. I often reflected back on it over the years. I had seen people like Ivan Ilych who had reached a particular point in their life when they suddenly woke up, assessed their life, and realized they were unhappy. In some cases, this evolves into what is often called a ‘midlife crisis.’

 

The reason behind each crisis differs from person to person. Some severely regret not achieving goals related to work, personal growth, artistic and creative accomplishments, or supporting their children. Others feel they could have done more to help others.

 

Most of us have either experienced this or known someone who has.

 

When I hit 40, I also experienced this kind of crisis when I came to realize that I was on a wrong path that wasn’t true to my values and doing work I didn’t want to be doing.

 

I eventually took a risk and took on a new role at the United Nations to focus on fighting human trafficking.

 

The good news is, that it’s never too late to make changes to make our lives better. We don’t have to feel regret, accept this feeling as inevitable and fail to change our lives.

 

But for us to make the necessary changes, we must shine a really bright light on ourselves. Not just any light – but one that truly reveals our present truth – our situation, our values, our actions, our behaviors, our hopes, our dreams, and our failures. 

 

In the best of circumstances, at the end of our lives, there should be few regrets and, in particular, we should feel that our life has had meaning and purpose. 

 

To ensure this happens, it’s important that we regularly take stock of our life by asking the questions, “Am I happy, am I doing what I want, am I living my life the way I want?”

 

The course of our lives is always in our hands. Despite the fact that many of us feel we don’t have choices – we do.

 

I leave you with this inspiring quote:

 

‘I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.’ Lucille Ball

 

#linkedinforcreators LinkedIn for Creators #modernslavery #humantrafficking #people #growth 

#change #inspiration #help

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Rotary members aim to root out the global scourge of human trafficking

Combating human trafficking, a scourge which impacts an estimated 40 million people worldwide, is the goal of the Rotary Action Group Against Slavery and several cause-based Rotary clubs.

 By Frank Bures

 

When Dave McCleary first heard about human trafficking, it seemed like something that happened far away, probably overseas. But not in the United States. And certainly not in his hometown.

 

Then one day he invited a speaker who knew otherwise to talk to his Rotary club in Roswell, Georgia. Her name was Melissa. She was originally from Roswell and had gone to the same high school McCleary’s girls had attended. Melissa dropped out at 16 and was offered a modeling job by a man who turned out to be a sex trafficker. For two years, she was trapped and trafficked in downtown Atlanta before police and a local organization helped her escape.

 

After the meeting, another Rotarian approached Melissa and gave her a big hug. McCleary asked him how he knew the young woman. He said she used to babysit his kids when she was 12, and he had wondered what had happened to her.

"For me, that was when it became real," says McCleary, who is now chair of the Rotary Action Group Against Slavery. "Now it wasn't someone else's problem. And I remember thinking at the time: Rotary — we're in 200 countries, with 34,000 clubs and 1.2 million Rotarians, and we tackle the tough issues. Why not slavery?"

Since I began posting on LinkedIn, many people have messaged me to say, ‘I really want to do something to help address the human trafficking issue. I want to make a difference.’

 

They then ask, ‘What are the next steps?’

 

My response is often: ‘Now that you’ve decided to move forward, accept responsibility, surrender, develop a plan to help and just do it.’

 

I’d like to share some simple actions. Despite what most people might think, each of these small actions add up:

 

- Share relevant articles and stories about human trafficking on your social networking platforms

- Send letters to encourage government officials to place priority on identifying and addressing the human trafficking issue in your community

- Write a simple article or opinion piece for the local paper offering your insight about the relevance and importance of this topic

- Continue to learn about the topic and then pass this information on to your friends, co-workers and family through simple discussions

- Make a presentation or show a film on modern slavery at your company, school, club, or another community event

- Be a responsible consumer. Many companies have statements on their websites regarding their anti-human trafficking efforts. Go online and congratulate those that do. If such a statement doesn’t exist, suggest that they add one

- Raise money or donate to an NGO that works on this problem. A small amount of money to the right organization can really make an impact

- Learn the signs of a potential trafficking scenario and report any suspicious observations to the human trafficking hotline number in your area

- Volunteer for a local organization. This can be done by working at an NGO office. If you choose to volunteer from home, you might be asked to do simple Internet searches to collect relevant information.

 

Depending on your talents and schedule, you could think of other small acts. Many websites offer similar lists that encourage a person to get involved. Googling this can be another effective way to generate ideas. Each action taken out of your comfort zone is heroic.

 

One way to ensure that you complete the activities you set out to do is to develop a simple plan. I find I’m more likely to achieve results when I make a “to-do list”. There is something about seeing a list in a notebook or on a screen that urges a person to act.

 

These small, heroic actions can be a great source of personal growth.

 

I sometimes tell others of my plan and ask them to check in on me to ensure I follow through. These friends keep me accountable. This can also be a two-way arrangement, where both agree to ensure the other achieve their goals. 

 

The world will not heal itself. We all can play a key role in this process of helping those in need. Decide to act, make a plan, and just do it. It’s that simple. 

 

#linkedinforcreators LinkedIn for Creators #humantrafficking #modernslavery #people #volunteering #community #growth #help

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June 1st marks the start of PRIDE month, a celebration of all LGBTQ+ members and their identities. This celebration honors the 1960 Stonewall Uprising and its role as a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the 60s. All across the nation, members of the LGBTQ+ celebrate their identities

 

The Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking also wants to highlight the overlap between the LGBTQ+ community and human trafficking.

Members of this community, more specifically youth, are disproportionately vulnerable to human traffickers. LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately more likely to be forced out of their homes and be outcasts of their communities due to their sexuality and gender identities. A lack of funding in homeless shelters and the discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community in some spaces, leave these youth with very few resources and safe spaces. A lack of bed spaces and shelters willing to take them in leaves many to find refuge in the streets. From here this homeless population from this community is incredibly vulnerable to traffickers and sexual exploitation. Reports are that within 48 hours of being on the streets, one in three homeless youth will be recruited by a trafficker into commercial sexual exploitation. The individuals captured by traffickers are victims of physical, mental, and sexual abuse. The abuse coupled with a lack of resources and the stigma surrounding same-sex prostitution leads to a continuous cycle of abuse.

 

The LGBTQ+ community’s presence in human trafficking is often ignored and shunned from the spotlight. This community relies on specialized outreach and support programs, and they need funding.

 

The Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking wants to highlight organizations and programs to help LGBTQ+ victims of homelessness and human trafficking:

 
Two years ago, I received a call from a woman in China who described what happened to her 17-year-old daughter. Her daughter felt insecure and unattractive. To find validation, she joined several online chat rooms. At first, she just simply listened and watched. Then she began to join some of the discussions.
 
A young man began to initiate more conversation. He described himself as a 17-year-old boy from Kunming, her hometown. Like her daughter, he appeared shy and reserved at first.
 
Over time, they began to correspond more and their online relationship grew. Whenever she had free time, she would contact her secret friend. He repeatedly told her how beautiful she was. Within 2 weeks, he said he had fallen in love with her. 
 
She thought the boy was a teenager, but he was actually a middle-aged trafficker. He asked if they could meet for ice cream. When she arrived at the appointed place, the boy seen in the platform photos was there. He was part of the trafficking scheme.
 
In-person, he seemed less enthusiastic and much different from their chats. But she didn’t care. They were in love! He picked her up from the train station and drove to a small café in the countryside.
 
Without knowing what happened, she woke up in a hotel room. She had been given a strong sedative that completely knocked her out for hours. The boy revealed explicit photos of them in bed naked. In a menacing tone, he told her that if she didn’t follow his orders, he’d share the photos with her school and her family. He told her she would have to sleep with men now or else.  
 
This tragic scenario happens to many young girls in China and in fact, all over the world. While many of these victims are forced into prostitution to avoid losing face and hurting their families, in this case the girl straight away asked her parents for help and they went to the police.
 
They managed to identify the ‘boyfriend trafficker’ and the middle-aged man who was propping him up. This young woman was able to get out of this trafficking trap. 
 
What I described is called grooming for sexploitation. 


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Here are 3 steps that parents should take to protect their children from online grooming. 
 

1.     Teach your teenager to keep all personal information private. Do not share a full name, age, gender, phone number, home address, school name, and photographs with strangers. 
2.     Teenagers must be taught about having boundaries and to be guarded about what stories they share about themselves with strangers online. Remind them that even though people they’ve met online might feel like friends they may not be whom they say they are. Details offered can be used to further manipulate them.
3.     Share this post or similar stories, so they understand how predators act and behave. There are many resources available for parents to learn more about this issue.
 
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Edith Onyemenam is a retired Assistant Comptroller-General from Nigeria's Immigration Service. Over the span of her 35-year career, she has served in the Directorates of Migration, Passports, Visa, Quota, and several others.
 
Today, human migration – in its connections to a multiplicity of issues good and bad – is right on the front burner of global conversation: making headline news, forming the basis of protests and influencing strategic government action.
 
In the UK and the USA, two countries which often top the list of immigration destinations for Nigerians, recent political discourse has featured a surge of anti-migrant rhetoric. 
 
On the one hand, Donald Trump’s tenure as president of the US trained its focus on building a wall to hold back the steady tide of Latin American immigrants. On the other hand, the influx of European migrants in the UK was a pivotal issue in that country’s withdrawal from its nearly three-decade-long membership in the European Union.
 
These issues have highlighted Canada’s favourable immigration policy, which has welcomed skilled migrants through its fast-track programme for the acquisition of permanent residency. Immigration and its exponential increase over the course of the last century led to the phenomenon of globalisation, which is now reckoned with as a major catalyst for worldwide development. It is no secret then that immigration policy is at the backbone of successful governments around the world.
 
In Nigeria, immigration policy and its consequences have been a major contributor to the state and fate of the nation. Statistics available to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) confirm that non-state actors smuggled in from neighbouring countries have swelled the ranks of militias who have participated in the destruction of lives and property across the country.
 
Domestic insecurity, despite Nigeria’s peaceful relations with its neighbours and the international community, has been a national concern since the return to democracy in 1999. In tackling these clear and present dangers, the NIS has been on the front lines and has played a crucial role in mitigating the effects of these pressing matters. But there is still a lot to consider.
 
Human trafficking
 
One rather disturbing immigration concern in Nigeria continues to fall through the cracks. A ‘Human Trafficking Fact Sheet’ published by the Pathfinders Justice Initiative in September 2020, addresses the problem of human trafficking as it affects Nigeria.
 
According to the publication, the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain is a multibillion-dollar global industry raking in some $150bn in profits. As with arms dealing, drug smuggling and piracy, human trafficking often takes place across international borders, circumventing immigration law and policy.
 
However, human trafficking does not have the same high profile because of the sordid nature of the reasons for trafficking and the fact that they occur strictly in black markets conducted by shadowy operatives. Unlike arms dealing and piracy which occur at the intersection of legitimate trade and illicit activities, human trafficking is always off the radar and very difficult to track.
 
Who is punished?
 
According to a US state department report (2020), there were only approximately 12,000 prosecutions and 10,000 convictions for human trafficking worldwide, while a very small number of the individuals trafficked were identified.
 
Although the overwhelming majority of human trafficking involving Nigeria occurs within our borders (an estimated 98% of those incidents happening within Nigeria’s land borders both inter-state and intra-state), the numbers are so overwhelming as to make the remaining 2% who are taken abroad against their will, and against the law, a significant number.
 
It is even more horrifying that two-thirds of global profits from human trafficking are generated from the commercial sexual exploitation of girls and women. As a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking, Nigeria has been ranked by CNN as the most trafficked-through country in all of Africa. This is an economic challenge when one considers the effort currently put into forging a better reputation for the country as a location for foreign direct investment, trade and tourism.
 
Relocation?
 
Of course, there is no gainsaying the political truths undergirding the persistence of human trafficking. It is not immigration policy but rather factors such as unemployment, inflation and poverty that have left Nigerians struggling to make a living. Among young Nigerians and increasingly among middle-aged Nigerians, relocation is the premise and punchline of many jokes and conversations.
 
Leaving Nigeria rather than staying back to contribute to the rebuilding process is the more common sentiment. Nigerians have besieged embassies representing foreign governments all across the world with applications for visas and other migratory documents, desperate to seek better living elsewhere, outside our shores. And that is where the snake-oil salesmen of the underworld have stepped in with promises of a better life, in order to deceive Nigerians into the schemes and traps that are crucial to human trafficking.
 
Therefore, it is easy to conclude that the first defence against irregular migration and, by extension, human trafficking, lies with boosting development outcomes and improving the indices that measure the standard and condition of daily life in Nigeria.
 
What needs to be done?
 
While the current administration continues in its efforts at economic and socio-political growth, the  the NIS must play its part in issuing and enforcing policy directives and regulations and adhering to extant laws that regulate immigration into and emigration out of the country. At present, the wide-ranging powers afforded the NIS by the Immigration Act, including to inspect, investigate, detain, deny entry or exit, and mandate conditions for migration inter alia, must be better used to verify the identities and reasons for travel of people passing through Nigerian borders.
 
Perhaps more important is the need to establish transnational inter-governmental ties. The UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime is an important creation of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime which, if codified through legislation, would enable Nigerian participation in cross-border policing.
 
Working together with agencies from all the state parties signatory to the convention, which includes some of the most powerful nations in the world, is important. The exchange of information and expertise can only help in building a more sophisticated system for regulating migration and preventing human trafficking.
 
The UN convention is a powerful instrument designed in particular to combat crime, corruption and human trafficking. Its second and third protocols specifically proscribe human trafficking and migrant smuggling, twin forces of the same evil. If the government follows through, Nigeria would be signalling its clear intent to overcome, through coordinated policing and common immigration objectives, the scourge of human trafficking.
 
Nigeria’s people are at the core of any government’s agenda and the NIS subscribes to orderly, legal migration in all its forms. Human capital development – key to unlocking a knowledge-centred economy which is vital for growth and prosperity – cannot proceed if human capital continues to leave through the front door of relocation and, especially, the back door of human trafficking.
 
The prevention of this illicit activity and the grave issues it raises, protection of the vulnerable from exploitation by uncivil society and prosecution of the unruly factions responsible must become pillars of Nigerian immigration policy overall.
 
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About Our Club
RCEHT

Service Above Self

We meet In Person
Thursdays at 7:00 AM
Online via Zoom
Eden Prairie, MN
United States of America
We meet on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month at 7:00 AM Central Time. Contact President@endHTrotaryclub.org for the meeting link.
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