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.
The international Rotary theme for 2023-2024 is "Create Hope in the World". The Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking helps to provide hope in our communities around the world through our commitment to “Service Above Self.” We welcome all individuals who are committed to making a difference in the world and the betterment of their community.
The Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking was formed for good reasons -- fellowship, networking and participation in community service projects. Members join together with passion and dedication to sponsor events, speak about the cause, make new friends and create business relationships. In addition to the typical findings: Programs and Projects, Membership, Public Relations, etc.  We have many committees that address such areas as creating Economic Development and new Rotary branches in underserved areas where human trafficking is prevalent.
Rotary is not just a club that you join; it is an invitation to endless opportunities. We believe in creating opportunities for others and for ourselves. We believe that our acts of service, large and small, generate opportunities for people who need our help, and that Rotary opens opportunities for us to live a richer, more meaningful life, with friends around the world, based on our core values.
In line with our “Year of Action,” this month’s President’s letter is focused on encouraging you to become involved in our club. There are many ways to share the resources and talents that you as an individual bring to our club. Join a committee if you have not already done so. If you are undecided what direction to devote your energy, write to me at president@endhtrotaryclub.org. There are many opportunities for service.

As of today, we are already one third of the way into the Rotary year, and it will fly by in a flash. It is essential for new and more experienced members alike to focus on the real things our club does and dedicate ourselves to the tasks at hand. That is why I am asking you now to participate in whatever way suits you best so that we can proceed with all due diligence to meet the challenges that await.

We have a wonderful club with a proud history of many great accomplishments. We are gifted with many resources and opportunities to be of service. It is an honor and a privilege to be a member of Rotary, and I want to thank you all for accepting the responsibilities that go with being a leader in our community. Let us make the most of what we are to do the best we can.
Yours in Rotary,
Lisa Podonly
Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking President, 2023-2024

One of our Strategic Plan objectives is to encourage and support economic stability in areas that are at high risk for human trafficking. One of our endorsed organizations, Her Future Coalition (HFC), does exactly that via their jewelry program. HFC purchases then resells jewelry made by at-risk women then uses the earnings to repeat the process. This supports the jewelry business of trafficking survivors as well as at-risk girls and women in India and Nepal. Metalsmithing and jewelry design is one of the many options that falls within HFC’s job training program:

“Vocational Training, combined with life skills and financial literacy training, give women a pathway to become financially independent and less vulnerable to being exploited. They gain the power and agency to make choices for their own lives – often for the first time in their lives. Economic independence enables women to overcome stigma, move out of shelters, and support themselves and their children, breaking the cycle of poverty and intergenerational trafficking” – Taken from the HFC website

Are you interested in sporting trafficking survivors?

Are you interested in supporting businesses that keep women and girls from being trafficked in the first place?

Are you interested in a potential fundraiser for your club or group?

Then consider initiating this project in your community. Jewelry can be purchased through Her Future Coalition then resold by a club at a gala or other existing event. Rotary clubs are given a 20% discount off of the labeled price making this a potential fundraiser for the club as well as a wonderful way to support at risk girls and women.

Ready to place your order? SHOP HERE and use ROTARY20 for 20% off during check out. If you want more information, contact Rotarian Robin Singer at msrobinsinger@gmail.com.

The HFC jewelry program has been operating for more than a decade and keeps girls free from being trafficked or re-trafficked in red light and high-risk areas.

Take this step and make a positive difference.

Over the years, I have come to conclude there are few things eviller than children forced into prostitution.

During my initial public health work within South Asian red-light districts, we soon discovered to our horror that some brothels offered very young girls to clients.
Some of them were less than 10 years old and were hidden away and lived on the upper floors in rooms protected by a reinforced door.

I felt sick to my stomach when I learned that pedophiles weren’t the only men interested in having sex with young children. There appeared to be three prominent awful myths associated with this practice that exist to this day.

1. Some believed that having sex with young girls would cure diseases such as gonorrhea or syphilis. This is obviously not true.

2. Some believed they could not catch diseases such as AIDS by having sex with someone much younger and seemingly healthy. In reality, the opposite often happened. Since these girls were undeveloped, sex with a child significantly increased their chances of becoming infected.

3. Some men thought that it would rejuvenate their virility as if the girl’s youth would be transferred to them.

For these reasons, and the high prices they could command, the brothels highly valued selling children, but only until they turned 12 years old or so, and only as long as they remained healthy.

The standard rate for sex with a ‘child virgin’ was sometimes more than half the entire price paid to buy the child.

One brothel boasted that rich middle-east businessmen were willing customers for child sex slaves, providing windfall profits for them. There was even an arrangement made that if a new child was brought in, the businessmen would fly in to spend a weekend.

Due to the legal difficulties associated with keeping child sex slaves in brothels, these girls were isolated most of the time, seldom coming in contact with others. If caught and charged by the authorities, the brothel owner could receive up to 20 years in jail.

However, when a child sex slave would be found, arrests almost never occurred. The police could demand enormous bribes for turning a blind eye. The financial burden to the brothel madam could be tremendous.

I never personally observed any of these very young children who had been forced into prostitution. Most brothel owners were careful enough to ensure that if either strangers or the police entered the building, steps would immediately be taken to hide them where they would not be found.

But on a few occasions, I observed a child’s toy like a teddy bear in a brothel room. It is still traumatic and difficult for me to fathom that a girl child could be playing with a doll one minute, and then be forced to have sex with an adult a few minutes later.

What kind of evil allows this to happen?
The Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking is a very proactive and dynamic club that is setting the standard of excellence for e-clubs around the world. As we begin the second month of the Rotary year, we are already making a huge difference in our global community.
Heading into the 3rd year of our Strategic Action Plan, the Club’s emphasis has pivoted from planning to Focus on Action.  This month’s Action Day centered on one of the key drivers of slavery - that is, poverty - through economic development. Socioeconomic factors can play a significant role in creating conditions that make individuals vulnerable to trafficking, such as poverty, lack of education, gender inequality, and lack of access to healthcare. With promises of good jobs or financial support, traffickers frequently lure victims to work in the sex trade or other forms of forced labor.  Lack of job opportunities and low wages can also push people to migrate in search of work, making them vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers.  Moreover, countries lacking economic opportunities may have weaker law enforcement and weaker protection systems for vulnerable populations, making it easier for traffickers to operate with impunity.  Overall, while the lack of economic development is not the sole cause of human trafficking, it is an essential contributor to the conditions that make individuals more vulnerable to exploitation. Addressing economic inequality and promoting sustainable economic development is crucial to preventing human trafficking and protecting vulnerable populations.
While are members are incredibly active and engaged, for us to make the greatest impact against human trafficking we need even more Rotarians to get involved to help enact programs like the Economic Development Program. We meet twice monthly on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month at 7am CST. Our PR, Fundraising, Membership, Programs and Projects, and other committees are always looking for new members and fresh ideas. Please contact us at president@endhtrotaryclub.org to get involved!
I truly believe we are furthering RCEHT’s Strategic Action Plan by increasing our impact, expanding our reach, enhancing participant engagement, and increasing our ability to adapt.  Our Strategic Action Plan honors our past and embraces our future. It is our path to achieving our vision of bringing even more people together to create lasting and positive change in ourselves, in our communities, and across the globe. What has not changed are the values that define Rotary: fellowship, integrity, diversity, service, and leadership. YOU are living these values.
Yours in Rotary,
Lisa Podonly
Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking President, 2023-2024

The recent emergence of human trafficking into scam centres across Southeast Asia is a grave and multifaceted issue that intersects organized crime, technology, and the vulnerability of marginalized populations. This illicit activity involves the coerced recruitment and exploitation of individuals, often from educated backgrounds, to work in fraudulent call centres that engage in various types of scams targeting victims globally. 
The scam centres, typically located in countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and the Philippines, perpetrate a range of scams, including tech support, online fraud, “pig butchering,” and phishing schemes. They take advantage of the region's lower operating costs, skilled workforce, and access to technology infrastructure to carry out their operations. What makes this problem particularly troubling is the link between human trafficking and these fraudulent enterprises Victims of human trafficking into scam centres are often lured with promises of legitimate employment and better living conditions. Recruiters prey on their desire of adventure and a well-paying job, using deceit, coercion, and even violence to trap them into a life of exploitation. These victims find themselves working long hours in deplorable conditions, subject to physical and psychological abuse, and living in cramped spaces. 


Victims of human trafficking into scam centres are often lured with promises of legitimate employment and better living conditions. Recruiters prey on their desire of adventure and a well-paying job, using deceit, coercion, and even violence to trap them into a life of exploitation. These victims find themselves working long hours in deplorable conditions, subject to physical and psychological abuse, and living in cramped spaces.  

Every great story has a villain and a hero. We believe that the heroes of the anti-trafficking story are the survivors of sex and labor trafficking.

Shedding light on the issue of human trafficking is paramount, and while the movie Sound of Freedom aims to create awareness about trafficking, its portrayal perpetuates an oversimplified, dramatic depiction of rescue that reinforces outdated stereotypes.

As a movement, we acknowledge the significant investments that were made to bring this movie to cinemas around the world, and we welcome critical conversations about human exploitation and suffering.

There is potential for weak narratives, however, to widen the gap between general knowledge and the actual complexities of human trafficking.

We hope that Sound of Freedom acts as a starting point to initiate broader conversations about modern exploitation.

With this in mind, we have created a list of important things for viewers to consider as they process the movie’s content.

The following statements were drafted through roundtable discussions at the 2023 Asia Region Anti-Trafficking Conference, and informed by the voices of survivors and practitioners across the sector.

“Whether or not the ethical climate in business is higher or lower today, each of us has an opportunity to speak up for higher standards. And for each person willing to voice his conviction, there are others who are willing to follow and be influenced by that kind of leadership”. (RI President Robert A Manchester 1976)
The global reverberations following the unlawful killing a few years ago, of George Floyd in the USA, poses a particular predicament for Rotarians. That is to say, if we do publicly comment on that unfortunate situation, would we be guilty of contravening Rotary’s policy of political neutrality. If public servants appear to be violating basic human rights and we adopt former RI President Robert Manchester’s exhortation of speaking up for higher standards, would we be seen to be crossing the line. This article offers a few thoughts on this dilemma, touches upon Rotarians’ implied human rights responsibilities and informs readers of a Petition submitted by the Rotary Club of Norwich St Edmund, England, to the Board of Rotary International (RI) asking for the reinstatement of previously recorded exhortations for Rotarians to make every effort to ensure that peoples basic human rights are protected.
The former RI President, Kalyan Banerjee proffered this question at the RI Convention in New Orleans – Why are we in Rotary ? He answered his own question. “I believe we are here because we care, and because we see both what’s wrong in the world and what is right”. He stressed that we should take a hard look at what needs to be changed and then do our best to change it. In reminding us of his favorite Gandhi quote (you must be the change you wish to see in the world), he declared  “I believe we are in Rotary to change the world – for why else would we be Rotarians ? We are not here to listen to the naysayers, the doom mongers, those who say the world can be no better than it is, so why even try to change ? We are here because we believe in change.”
Forced Labor and Exploitation in Cleaning Companies in Asia and around the world

In recent years, there has been growing concern over the prevalence of forced labor and exploitation within third-party cleaning companies.

These companies, often operating within the shadows of society, subject vulnerable workers to deplorable working conditions, including forced overtime, debt bondage, and the withholding of identification documents.

One of the most distressing aspects of forced labor within this industry is the imposition of excessive and involuntary overtime.

Workers, desperate to earn a meager income, find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of never-ending work hours.

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.
Consider a donation of $100 or more.  There are also several companies that offer a match to your donation so consider that as well.
You can donate via PayPal
Zelle deposits can be sent to treasurer@endhtrotaryclub.org
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 in another way please contact treasurer@endhtrotaryclub.org
About Our Club

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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