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.

Live longer through friendship and kindness

 

There are a number of studies out there that link longevity to having a strong social network. In one book on the topic Marta Zaraska puts forth that focusing on social relationships and kindness might have more significant positive outcomes on longevity than diet and exercise alone. She points out one meta study found that those with a large social network were 45% less likely to die than those focused on good nutrition and exercise alone. Equally there are quite a few studies out there that link kindness and volunteering to longevity. If you're interested, just google it and you will find weeks of reading material. 

 

So combining volunteering, kindness and a social network will help you live longer. Enter Rotary. While our club is virtual you can still form fantastic friendships with members of our club. For me personally I find committee work the easiest and most enjoyable way to get to know my fellow club members better while being productive and making a difference. If you prefer a more socially focused encounter join one of our general meetings early or stay late to chat with others who do the same. Or join one of our upcoming group socials. If you would rather get to know someone one on one reach out to any of our members to set up a chat. While it might not feel as easy to form friendships from afar it is certainly doable. I feel quite blessed to have gotten to know so many wonderful people from all over the world working on this cause and consider them to be fantastic friends.

 

While all volunteer groups need people to step up to contribute in order to make things happen I fundamentally value kindness more. Kindness can be small acts that include a genuine smile, words of encouragement or a contagious laugh. Anything that opens someone’s heart will have a positive effect on those around them. And this, in turn, will make you the friend everyone wants to have so that social network will just weave itself. Way easier than doing pushups! Maybe some smart doctors out there should start prescribing Rotary membership. 

 

Moving intention into Action,

Michelle Seets

Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking President, 2022-2023

 

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Several years ago I was hired as a contract English teacher for a school in Northern Thailand.  Rotary became a part of my life during those years and I became involved with many disadvantaged students, several having no Thai ID.

While working on a Global Grant for a mountain school, I became acquainted with a gentleman from Washington state.  His foundation focused on the education and well-being of women and girls.  We began to work together. 

Another friend, one of my fellow Rotarians, had a student needing help for her education following graduation from M6.  I had another and wrote my friend in Washington to see if he might be interested in helping the two girls.  He said yes and sent me money to begin the process. 

The Rotarian was out of the country and wanted to wait until his return to contact his student.  He learned his student had already obtained support from another organization when he returned home. 

Not wanting to give up available money, I began to search through my scholarship applications.  None met the criterion needed for the available money.  One day, I was on the mountain school checking on the grant and asked the teachers who were there if they knew of any students who might fit out guidelines.  After a bit of thought, one said, ”We have two.  They are twins.”

It turned out that the girls had dropped out of school after graduation from M3 in order to support their mother and grandmother.  They moved off the mountain and went to work even though what they really wanted was to continue their educations.

I wrote my friend with the information and suggested that if he would sponsor one girl, I would find someone for the other.  He wrote back saying that they should not be separated and he would sponsor both.

The school staff assisted and the girls both returned to classes.  All seemed well until I received an email saying the mother wanted the girls to leave school again and go back to work.  One didn’t want to go and the other said, ”But mother says…”  My response was to ask the teachers to keep them in school until my friend and I could visit I person.

The two of us went to the school as quickly as we could.  We picked up the girls and two teachers and drove to the family home.  There we were met by a very dour faced lady who turned out to be the mother.

It took a while, but after observing the interaction between the girls, the teachers and the two of us, the mom relaxed and became more friendly.

We discovered that the Mom had been concerned that because she did not know us or her girls and we did not know them, she feared we were going to steal her girls.  I had not thought of that before and was rather taken aback.  We were simply out to help.

While she was wrong in her assessment of us, she was right to be concerned.  We could very well have been traffickers as what we did was exactly what traffickers might do; gain their trust and then move in on them.  I told her we appreciated her concern and congratulated her on her astuteness.

By the time of our departure, mom was smiling and accepting of what was being offered her daughters.  My friend said laughingly that he was unable to take her home with him as he already had a wife.   All in all, it was a very good visit.

This was a defining moment for both of us; be aware of traffickers’ methods and make sure all parties are fully aware of who you are and what you are willing to for them.  Establish guidelines agreed to by all.  It was a lesson well learned.

It should be noted that the two girls completed secondary school.  One chose to enter the HomePro work/study program and the other went on to the university and, just this year, is completing her student teaching.

PP Carol Acosta
Rotary Club of Mae Chaem, District 3360
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OPPORTUNITY TO DONATE TO THE ROTARY CLUB TO END HUMAN TRAFFICKING NOW AVAILABLE.
 
The Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking Foundation has activated a DONATE button located at the top of this website.  This button allows you to easily support the activities of the club and our foundation.  As the only global Rotary Club focused on Ending Human Trafficking, this club is uniquely positioned to partner with global organizations developing education and prevention programs and partner with Rotary clubs around the globe who are committed to ending human trafficking in their communities.
 
Our goal is to support 2-4 organizations in the next year which would require more than $10,000.  Giving is easy and any contribution is welcome.  Consider a donation of $100 or more.  There are also several companies that offer a match to your donation so consider that as well.  
 
The Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking is a registered 501c3 charitable organization the U.S.A. (EIN=87-0896985).  If you have questions, or wish to make a contribution please contact treasurer@endhtrotaryclub.org
 
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Every sex trafficking victim had a childhood, a family, a home, and a personal history.

 

These people love. They dream. They want love. They have the same hopes that each one of us has.

 

Sushma wanted to be a teacher. When I interviewed her in Nepal, she talked excitedly about her favorite teacher who inspired her to draw pictures and write.

 

Pari talked about how she had wanted to have a family of her own. She described how her family’s farm overlooked the Annapurna Mountain range in Nepal. She described her home as one of the most beautiful places on earth.

 

Prachi had four brothers and two sisters. She was the third child. Her dream was to have the entire family together. Since they banished her following her trafficking episode, she doubted that this would ever happen. But this dream persisted.

 

Sanjita had a simple desire – to have someone love her. Nothing more. Just one person.

 

Maya said she wanted her story to be told to help others. When I describe that there was another trafficking survivor who roamed the hills in Nepal to tell her story, she got very excited. She said, on the spot, this is what I’ll do with the rest of my life.

 

Zara’s dream was to have her mother forgive her for what she did. When I explained that it wasn’t her fault, she replied, ‘It must have been something in my past that I did to bring this on. It IS my fault.’

 

Nima said her dream was to find a man who would accept her past and love her anyway.

 

Rekha said that she just wanted to fear going away. She described that every time she was touched by someone, it sent a shock throughout her entire body.

 

Mina talked about wanting to eat village food. She described how her mother’s cooking was second to none.

 

During the time I was in Nepal, I interviewed hundreds of sex trafficking victims. Each one of them had a story to tell. As one of these interviewees stated.

 

‘I don’t know why these bad things happened to me. Why me? I’ll never know why. I just wish I could have lived a normal life like everyone else. If my story will help even one person from avoiding the hell I experienced, then please tell it. I only wish my story was something else.’

 

Each of these stories is etched into my memories. I can still see these girls’ faces in my mind.

 

Each of these stories also has great value. Each of them deserves to be heard.

 

But this is not enough. If we hear what they have gone through and we don’t do something to stop this from happening, then we are part of the problem.

 

Enough is enough. It is time for us all to act. My comments include a link for what we can all do.

 

‘You can choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.’ William Wilberforce

 

#linkedinforcreators LinkedIn for Creators #humantrafficking #modernslavery #storytelling #people #compassion #help #india #nepal #socialimpact

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This riveting story appeared in the Pattaya Mail on 21 August 2022 --

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/news/please-kill-me-more-than-one-year-they-rape-me-they-hit-me-every-day-407348

Frequently wiping away tears, Rose of Myanmar shared the gut-wrenching tale of her life: Alone:..the most moving talk in the history of the Expats Club.

“I’ve never seen a more riveting speech in my life than this one right here.”

 “This story can change lives for people. The things that you’ve shared – the things that you’ve gone through – have been so hard, so rough, but there might be one other person – or there might be many other people in the world – who are going through stuff like this and facing stuff like this. Whether it’s online… or in person… your story can change the next person’s life.”

 “The most moving talk I’ve ever been too. I had tears in my eyes. Rose is an inspiration for everyone in how she has overcome the traumas in her life. It was worth the price of a flight from Australia just to be at this talk.”

On Wednesday 17th August, a spellbound audience sat in pin-drop silence through the most moving talk in the history of the Pattaya City Expats Club.  Frequently wiping away tears, Rose of Myanmar shared the gut-wrenching tale of her life: Alone: My Life as an Abandoned Baby in Myanmar. The talk was poignantly illustrated by paintings done by Rose – even though she only took up painting in February this year. The talk was all the more remarkable because English is only her fifth best language after two Myanmar languages, Thai and Isaan…
 
“Two years ago, I stand in a hotel room in Chantaburi. And Ren ask me why I crying… And I said, ‘Because the first time… I happy in my life.’”
Rose’s father died while her mother was pregnant with her. Before he died, he asked his best friend to look after his wife and soon-to-be-born child. But instead of doing this, this friend started up a sexual relationship with his dead friend’s wife. In this traditional Myanmar village, this was considered bad and wrong. They were told to leave the village.
 
Her mother’s elder sister told the pregnant mother she had to give the baby to her and leave the village. And because she would look after the baby, she had to get possession of the father’s house and small farm. Her stepmother already had five surviving daughters.
Her stepfather died when Rose was four. So the stepmother got the house and farm which should have come to Rose. Even so, Rose was never treated as a member of the family.
 
The stepmother sent her own children to school but refused to spend money on Rose. So Rose would watch her friends and sisters go to school while she was all alone all day. “I wanted to go to school.”
Her step-sisters consistently told her she was ugly and dumb and not really a sister. ‘She tell me I very ugly, I stupid, I black.’ At the age of 8, Rose was so upset by the abuse of a step-sister that she attacked her. The older and stronger stepsister bit her so hard on both knees that she still bears the scars.
One day a neighbor was missing money. The stepsisters just decided that Rose had stolen it so they hit her with a thick wooden stick. Hit her on her face and mouth and hands and head…
As a child, the villagers called Rose ‘Black’ because she had dark skin. She was told she was very ugly and would never get a boyfriend or a good husband.
 
When she was 12 years old, a neighbor told her that she could find work in nearest city. So she went on a two-hour bus trip and started working in water-bottling factory. This led to a slightly better-paying job as a house-keeper.
 
“Some months I work for nothing because my eldest sister come and take my money from my boss.” She worked for this family for over a year with not one day off. So she asked for two days off to visit her village.
When she went back to the village, there was a strange woman there with her stepmother. The woman said that Rose could get much better job in China. “I’m very exciting. I want to find money for my Mum because they never hug me, never speak good to me, never look at me good, and I don’t know why they hate me…. Maybe I can find money, come back to my Mum, my step mum will love me. I think money can buy everything. Can buy family. Can buy love.”
 
So she went with this woman. In the far north city of Muse, she was handed over to two other women who took her across the river into China. Then there was a long bus trip. Rose gets off the bus with one of the women who walks her into a Chinese village and a particular house in it. The woman says to her: “You have to stay here. You have to work here…. This room you have to sleep… Don’t worry about the money. We send to your Mum already.”
“I very happy. My mother have money, she maybe love me. She will be happy because I find money for her.”
 
After dinner, she is told to shower and relax. After the shower, two men follow her into the room. The door is locked the door. “And two men raped me. I scream and I cry. I not had period yet… and I have blood in my body. I very scared. I never see blood like this. I very hurt. And they hit me when I scream. Do everything very bad. Smell very bad… I have to sleep with blood and hurt.”
 
In the morning she is taken to a farm where she is made to carry “Night soil” to fertilize sugar cane. If she didn’t work fast enough, they hit her on the face.
“Night-time, when they drunk, they rape me again. And they hit me again… I’m crying every day.”
“One day the grandmother came to my room, and I beg her: ‘Please kill me.’ More than one year they rape me. They hit me every day.”
 

One day, she was screaming so much as they raped her, that they covered her mouth and strangled her. Then they threw her into the yard and threw icy water over her. She was so cold, she couldn’t see. She was thrown into the dog house with their dog. She talked to the dog. ‘Let me go out this house. If I cannot go out this house, let me die. “This dog go out of the kennel to poo. So Rose realized she hadn’t been locked in the kennel. So she got out of the kennel and decided to climb the wall to escape. She didn’t know that there was broken glass cemented into the top of the wall. She sliced up her body on the broken glass pulling herself over the wall. Bleeding, she jumped from the top of the wall.

This riveting story appeared in the Pattaya Mail on 21 August 2022 --

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/news/please-kill-me-more-than-one-year-they-rape-me-they-hit-me-every-day-407348

To bear witness to the rest of Rose’s story, go to https://youtu.be/fQX2GRZdl2I

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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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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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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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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?"

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