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  • Siddharth Kara, Presidential Speaker, Spring 2014


>> It is the worst manifestation of what people can do to other people. Their IDs. [ Speaking a Language Other Than English ] [ Video ] >> I am going to have to die before I go home now. [ ¶Instrumental Music¶ ] >> When he ‑‑ me, I go on the floor. >> We give these kids scars for the rest of their lives. >> Beat the girls to death. >> 13,000 people around the world isn't enough. >> I describe it as a slave‑like ‑‑ on the young unfortunate children. >> ( Inaudible ) doing everything. >> Families have to work ‑‑ you see all around the world. When you exploit and you threaten them you're in trouble. >> Maybe I deserved it. [ ¶Instrumental Music¶ ] >> You file ‑‑ feel like you're not even a person. >> ANNOUNCER: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IT IS MY PLEASURE TO INTRODUCE GONZAGA UNIVERSITY’S 26TH PRESIDENT, DR. THAYNE MCCULLOH. [ Applause ] >> THAYNE MCCULLOH: Good evening, everyone. What you have just seen is a trailer from a documentary film called "Not My Life." "Not My Life" is the first film to depict the cruel and dehumanizing practices of human trafficking and modern slavery on a global scale. Last week through the support of one of our sponsors for this evening's event, we screened this film. And for those of you who have additional interest in the topic, that will be covered by tonight's speaker, we will, again, be screening the full‑length version of "Not My Life" next Tuesday, April 8th, at 7:00 here on campus in the ‑‑ Hall Globe room. I want to take this opportunity first and foremost to welcome all of you to tonight's event. Thank you for joining us as we in‑turn welcome our guest speaker who tonight will speak to us on a topic about which he has become well‑versed due to his many years of committed research and investigation of it. The work of tonight's speaker, Professor Siddharth Kara, unveils the immense social curtain that hides the misery and the horror that is experienced by literally millions around the globe who are in bondage and enslaved, including some that live within our own community. Professor Kara is a leading expert in the field of human trafficking and modern slavery. He has documented over 1300 cases in more than 30 countries. In addition to the research that he conducts, he is a teacher at Harvard University, and he advises a number of governments on anti‑trafficking policy and law and has to date published two books. "Bonded Labor." And "Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery." Opportunities like the one in which we are engaged tonight of exploring provocative and important issues, is a significant part of the work that we at Gonzaga do, which seeks to provide opportunities for thought leaders like Professor Kara, to come and to indeed be part of the educational experience that we provide to our students and to the broader community. In asking Professor Kara to come here, it was my desire that he be able to provide us with an end view into the research that he personally has conducted and to help us all better understand and become better informed about this issue and the dynamics that underlie it. I do in a particular way hope that our students will have on opportunity to understand and to come to know Professor Kara's personal journey which in its own way reflects a movement, away from one career and ‑‑ experiences into a very different sphere, that required courage and very intensive work a tremendous commitment and a great deal of sacrifice. Utilizing all that he had learned through his educational experiences to bring them to bear in the cause of serving humanity. I want to express tonight in particular my gratitude to all of those who have in various ways invested in the success of tonight's event. In particular I want to thank our faculty, and our staff. The Gonzaga Student Body Association, for its support. Our Board of Trustees and our Board of Regents. And our sponsors: Washington Trust Bank and World Relief of Spokane. Would you please in particular join me in thanking the major sponsors who have made this event possible tonight? [ Applause ] >> THAYNE McCULLOH: As has been our tradition at the conclusion of tonight's program, Professor Kara will autograph books and be available to meet those who wish to meet him for a limited time up in the South Concourse. His books are available for purchase in the East Lobby. And as a courtesy to Professor Kara, and especially to fellow audience members, we want everyone to fully enjoy the program and would ask that you not use flash photography and that you please silence mobile phones and electronic devices so that everybody can listen comfortably and hear what Professor Kara has to bring to us tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming to the stage our Spring 2014 presidential speaker, the author and researcher, Professor Siddharth Kara. [ Applause ] >> SIDDHARTH KARA: Thank you very much. [ Applause ] >> SIDDHARTH KARA: Good evening. I first would like to thank you President McCulloh for the very warm and kind introduction. I thank also the faculty, staff of Gonzaga University, the supporters of this event, and indeed all of you for being here tonight. I have been very touched and humbled by how warmly I have been received and I am really very honored and happy to be here. President McCulloh is asking to talk to you tonight about human trafficking and modern slavery and in particular, my own personal journey to this issue. And some of the human faces and voices that I have been documented in the course of my research. And interspersed with that I would like to also give you a little bit of scholarly grounding in this issue so hopefully you come away with a little bit more knowledge, both in the mind and a little bit more feeling in the heart, and perhaps, some of you might be motivated to contribute, to combating this issue around the world by the end of this evening. I will never forget the very first traffic sex slave I met. She was 14 years old in a brothel in Bombay and it was brutalized by grown men each year of day. She looked to me as if she were already dead. She was poor, illiterate and had lost all hope. In many ways of she was the face of contemporary civilization's greatest shame, the failure to protect our children from brutal enslavement. That encounter was 14 years ago and thousands of miles from here. It was one of the pivotal experience that has convinced me that I had to devote my life to combating modern slavery. Since that time my research has continued around the world, spanning numerous modes of servitude and countless women men and children exploited in dozens of industries from sex to labor to the harvesting of organs. To frame my remarks this evening I would like to share with you the story of another young girl I met just last summer right here in the United States. Her name is Maria and reminded me of the same first child slave I met in Bombay. Petite. From a small state in the Chappaqua states of Mexico and had been recruited to leave her home working as a cleaning lady in office buildings in the United States. This is some of what she told me portions of I will edit because they are younger people in the audience. I traveled from my home at Nuevo ‑‑ who wanted to cross the border. Those people mostly from Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador also some men from Nepal. We were locked inside that house and the coyotes ‑‑ people who take you across the border had to take $800 ‑‑ I could repay the fee once I was working in the United States. The cartel soldiers we never saw them again. They threatened to kill us and attacked some of the women. After long time the coyotes took us across the border in the middle of the day. They sent us with other men to the U.S. side and these men took us to a house. Eventually, they took me and two other girls from El Salvador to San Diego. In San Diego, I was locked inside a house like a brothel and the men inside the house attacked me for two weeks. I tried to protest, but they would attack me until I was unconscious. After that they forced me to take customers after night. Sometimes only 4 or 5 men in a night and sometimes it was 20. They forced me to do unnatural things. The pimp would beat me if I didn't please the customers. When I became pregnant they made me have an abortion even though it was against my beliefs. Every day I prayed someone will help me. Where I am from we dream to come to America, but I didn't know it was such a bad place. I had never been with a man before San Diego. Those men hurt me so much. I hated that place. I knew God sent me to Hell, but I didn't understand why. Maria's is one the millions of voices of modern slavery, from Bombay to San Diego, I have spent ‑‑ speak of archaic modes of exploitation and barbarism involved in the era of global economy with brutal efficiency. These slaves suffer in the dark underbelly of globalization at the bottom of the supply chain, a class of human beings who are literally chewed up in the name of profit. In my short time tonight I would like to frame the phenomenon for you give it some historic context, unpack its economic logic and suggest some basic steps on a how we might tackle this issue. Where did it all begin for me? Well, it started a little more than 20 years ago in this refugee camp in Bosnia. I was in a barracks you can see in the back where we stayed with the refugees and these are some of the refugees who I met and became friends. I was an undergraduate at the time not much older than the students in the room now and this was in the early 1990s and as some of you may recall the former Yugoslavia was falling apart so being young and having energy and enthusiasm ‑‑ I did go and went to a refugee camp filled with Bosnian refugees. I did listen. I listened to the stories that these refugees and others told me of what had happened to them the suffering the genocide, the invasion and I heard stories that drew me to this issue one day. Women these two here told me of Serbian soldiers that would go into Bosnian villages execute the men and rounded up the women and children and bring to rape camps and brothels to the Balkans and from there around the Europe. I was young at the time and didn't know how to process what he was hearing and experiencing. I finished my degree and studied law and got an MBA and working as investment banker in New York in the late 1990s and I started to reflect at that point in my life what am I going to do with myself? How am I going to be most positive and useful to the world? I can sit here on Wall Street and generate a nice income for myself, but what will I be giving back to the world? I reflected on the summer and thought had to myself are these things still happening? And about it so, is anything doing been about it. In the late '90s I didn't see anything being done about it and there wasn't much research going on. I decided to make the radical Shift in my life. I forewent the corporate path and I thought let me go out into the world, look into in issue and see if I can make a difference. And I will tell you this candidly I thought to myself, I will probably realize this is probably something way more too complicated for someone like me and it went completely the other way. I spent four months in Asia that summer of 2004 and it was completely overwhelmed and consumed by what I had seen and heard and also the courage the nobility the grace of those fighting the issues and suffered through them and come through the other side with a positive spirit. And I realized I needed to do something more about this and that there was research that could be done. I saw in front of me an immense global economic crime. It is fundamentally a violation of human rights, but at the end of the day these people are being exploited for profit and if I could understand that economics, model it, track it, trace it, maybe I could make an argument as to what we should do about it. And that began what is now 14 years of traveling around the world doing research firsthand, and, of course, writing, publishing and advocating on this issue. What have I learned in all this time? Well, to start to describe what I have learned, I would like just to go back in history a little bit to this building right here. This is one of the first slave Trading Posts built by Europeans on the West African coast. It's been reroofed and refurbished since 1502, but the structure is still the same. I sent a month in Nigeria one of the places is I went to as the Doddery this trading post built by the Portuguese, African were brought into in building here locked in chains and later taken out to the beach, which was called the point of new return and taken in canoes into large seafaring vessels and ultimately trafficked, taken in ships across the Atlantic and sold into slavery in the Americas. And we here in this country know this story. We know in story pretty well. Because many of those slaves were sold into plantation work in North America. At the same time it's much less known that many of these slaves were being attracted trafficked the other way as well as and the slave trade has gotten much her attention this is something I talk about in my second book. How does this issue and all the slaves that were trafficked relate to what's going on today? I will answer that question by reading to you two brief Narratives. That I think will give you a really good sense of how has informed presence and how slavery has evolved. The first narrative I want to read to you briefly is from a book I encourage you all to read. The interesting life of ‑‑ was born in the ‑‑ Empire of Nigeria. He was sold into a slave ship and enslaved in the Americas for many years on the plantation in Virginia before he ultimately got his freedom and wrote down his story and became a leading figure in the antislavery movement of the 18th Century. Second narrative I will read briefly is from someone I call Mustafa a trafficking victim from Bangladesh I documented two years ago. Just listen and compare in your mind what you hear. The first from Equino. The first object which saluted my eyes when I arrived on the coast was the sea in a slave ship, which was then riding at anchor and waiting for its cargo. These filled me with astonishment, which was soon converted into Terror when carried on board. I would handled and tossed up to say if I was found bit crew and was now persuaded bad spirits and going to kill me ‑‑ differing so much from ours and their long hair and language they spoke, which was so different from any, that the moment that if 10,000 worlds had been my own I would have parted with them all to have engaged my condition with ‑‑ slave in my own country. At last when the ship of we were in this got all cargo ready with fearful noises ‑‑ but this appointment and was the least of my sorrow. Stench of the hold on the coast was so incredibly lowest‑some loathsome bush now that the whole ship's cargo confined together ‑‑ added to the number in the ship so crowded each had scarcely room to turn himself. Almost suffocated us. So that the air soon became unfit for respiration. This situation was aggravated by the galling of the chains now unsupportable and the filth into which the children often fell and almost suffocated. The shrieks of the women and groans of the dying was almost conceivably. In the millions of African trafficked into slavery to the Americas, including here. Now Mustafa. I am from the ‑‑ District of Bangladesh. We are very poor and it is very difficult to find work. Many recruiters come to our village. They promise they can arrange us work in construction in other countries for very good wages. First we have to pay a fee of 4 lot ‑‑ around $5,000 for the training and documents. I didn't have these fund so I took a loan which they said I could repay from my wages. After some months given documents and arranged by ship to go to Kuala Lumpur. The ship left from Port. 20 of us were put inside a container in the bottom of the ship it was dark, but we were provided torches. We were only allowed out of container for maybe one night for toilet. Otherwise we had to stay inside the container all the time. It was very hot and the smell was very bad. We tried to wait for toilet when we were allowed outside, but if we had to go otherwise, we could only use a bucket inside the container. Most of us became very sick and were vomiting. I think it was maybe 9 days for us to reach Kuala Lumpur. From there we were taken to dormitories with hundreds of men. We slept mostly on mats on the ground. Each morning at 4 we were taken to the construction sites by bus. My work was with cement. If we didn't work hard enough the bosses would beat us. We had to ask permission to urinate or they would beat us. We were given only two meals a day and then taken back inside the dormitory. I did this work for seven months and didn't receive any wage. Eventually, the please arrested me and I was deported. So you have heard an old world slavery story and a new world or human trafficking story and you have heard a few similarities that offer some they fundamental differences. And this slide here if you rib just one thing from tonight I like you to remember this slide here. This one slide will capture for you the transformation and evolution slavery and trafficking across the centuries and why it's as much a persuasive phenomenon in modern times. In the older world we had lengthy expensive journeys. Weeks at sea, but most people can be transported around the world for a very small cost. Today, in the old World there was limited avenues to exploited people. It was really just agriculture, maybe some construction and domestic work. Today, slaves can be exploited in dozen of industries linked to the global economy. The price of acquiring a slave has dropped dramatically. Around the world, 200 years ago you could buy a slave for a global weighted average of roughly $5,000. Could be as high as 10 or $20,000 for a peak slave hand in Virginia or some slaves were sold for the price of a cup of tea in Bengal. Average of around $5,000 in today's dollars. Today, you can buy a slave on average around the world for a little more than $400. So that's a 90% reduction in price. Some slaves might as well for 9 for $10,000, say, a virgin sold in western Europe. But today you can also buy a slave for 20 or $30: Price has dropped substantially. At the same time the profits have increased reacted so in the Old World your return on investment for buying the slave or ROI was 20 or 30 percent per year. Agriculture was the main work they did limited opportunity to generate profit and income by exploiting slaves. Today, that return on investment is 3, 4, 500% for more in the case of sex trafficking it can exceed 1,000%. Right there you have a very clear picture of why human trafficking and slavery have captured and captivated ‑‑ it is tremendously compelling business. With tons of money to make. As a consequence, of some of these factors, another very important thing to bear in mind is slaves have become much more expendable chewable and discardable. If you spent a large sum of money and can recoup the costs over money years you want to ‑‑ by and large, you wanted that slave for a lifetime and that slave to have children and for them to become slaves. Today if you can spend a few hundred dollars make it back in a few months or generate thousands of percent return on investment in a few years you can chew that person up until there's nothing left and get another slave to take their place. So people have become devalued as a result of the economic logic of slavery. Finally, one last point which I will make because it leads into some other my comments is in the past you could, of course, own other people. For most of human history you could own other people. Now the global slavery abolition movement of a started in England and spread around the world 1865 our important date of Emancipation Proclamation and 13th Amendment. Today you cannot legally own someone, but that doesn't mean they are not exploited in ways that are the same if not worse. So this if only one thing to remember, these comparisons and this new logic of slavery I hope you will register in your mind. Now, I have already used a lot of terms. Slavery human trafficking, debt bondage, et cetera, and truth of the matter is some of these terms are still being worked out. And still being defined particularly in the context of international law. What is slavery today? How do we use that term? So the original kind of contemporary definition of slavery comes in a League of Nations ‑‑ 1926 the concept that involved starting in this Convention was focused on the power that you exert over someone when you could legally own them. To exercising control and power over someone as if you could legally own them and that's a evolution and adaptation of the term slavery to modern terms, but it's really not quite capturing everything we see today and complexities and nuances of the term. So because these legal rights of ownership no longer exist, what is slavery today? Across the last several decades these definitions have been worked out and people have been trying to explore what it means. There's general sense that it's sort of means, some coercion of involuntary labor or services. For those of you who might be familiar with the International Labor Organization or ILO they have a convention on slavery No. 29 and this is kind of their concept. Coercion of involuntarily labor or services. Inherent in that is that someone's liberty has been restricted. They cannot move freely and they cannot change their Vocation freely. They have to do this work and they cannot leave. And they are forced to do it. So these concepts are kind of circling around this idea of slavery in the modern world. But how much coercion is required? How much restriction on liberty is required? These are the questions that slavery scholars are wrestling with and questions of how you identify slaves and how would you prosecute a case and how many of these people are there? Obviously if you are more liberal or broad with how you construe coercion then you will have a larger number of people who would qualify as being slaves in the modern context. Narrower you are more strict the number will go down. In many circles I wanted to point out the term forced labor has been used in place are of the word slavery. Slavery, of course, historically associated with chattel slavery, owning people. Since that doesn't exist we shouldn't use the word slavery, but use the word forced labor. If you hear the word that's where it's coming from. Human trafficking I already used to that. What does it mean? I want to get a baseline of clarity. This term human trafficking, which is kind of ascended until the last 14‑15 years. What does it mean? Most definitions come out of something called the Palermo protocol the United Nations protocol passed in the year 2000 and it has a long boring ten legalese definition I won't trouble you with. But basically there's three elements that are required for someone to be considered a victim of human trafficking. The first is someone has to be recruited harbored, moved obtained. It has to be done through force, fraud or coercion. And it has to be done for the purpose of some sort of forced labor or servitude‑like condition. So basically where you see these three elements you might call this person a victim of human trafficking, so Maria's story she was fraudulently recruited. And told she was going to work as a cleaning lady. She was then transported for the purpose of forced prostitution. So she would be a textbook human trafficking victim. Same with Mustafa and Equino. I wanted to wrap up a few thoughts with slavery and move into a few examples of what it looks like. This is really a struggle in contemporary scholarship on how to define this term, because it has huge implications from prosecutions to empowerment and protection. So is slavery the severe restriction of liberty and free movement and course of labor and services? Is it some denial of humanity and the dignity of a person and exploiting them to advance your own economic interest? Somewhere in there is the definition of slavery and it is crucial that is internationally recognized and agreed upon definitions be created because the ability to prosecute offenders and ‑‑ vis‑à‑vis this question. Last couple of thoughts, really, are from the practical standpoint. It's not just an academics exercise. Because real people are suffering every day. And sometimes academics get caught in their silos and worry about technicalities, but the fact of the matter is suffering is going on and ‑‑ then we are eliminating a lot of potential people who are suffering. And, of course, if we are too broad then we are losing the meaning of the term. So, again, there's great importance in sort of setting the boundaries and lines organ how this term is to be used and this is a key component of a lot of work that I am doing at present. What does it look like? Slavery? What's it like to go around and come face‑to‑face with slaves? To document them. Well, I want to go through a few examples. So that you can really see and feel what this is like. So here's an example of some child slaves. These are Roma gypsies. Many of you have heard of them. They are a very, very minority disenfranchised policy in eastern Europe primarily, but also in western Europe. They live on the fringes of society, little educated and very little economic opportunity and in many parts of Europe are deemed subhuman. Their children are often exploited and ‑‑ forces begging. So these two Roma boys here were in the capital of Albania, Tirana, and I came across them and they were being held by a slave master and forced to beg every day for his profit. They were sitting across the treat from the U.S. Embassy in Albania and other embassies because they thought the exploiters ‑‑ the children on the ground had a gash on his head is to he would be bleeding and curry favor from the traffic walking by and there was very little empathy or intervention. Not many people were carrying about these people. When I documented groups of these young Roma boys they had an interesting term for themselves. The best translation of the term was they call themselves robots. And this is because they felt completely mindless. And that they had become like automated robots, wake up, beg, sleep, wake up, beg, sleep. Don't think. Don't talk. Don't run away. Don't do anything and it was a horrific encounter. And even more horrific than that there was very little intervention. Very little care and awareness of them. And what they were going through. And what their people as minorities were going through. In Europe. I will talk more and more this evening about how slavery and trafficking is touching your life. Obviously, child slaves on the streets of Albania begging are probably not touching your life in a direct way unless you feel for them as another human being. But slaves are very much touching your lives like these here. A key plantation in Bangladesh and I can tell you all that tea that we consume every day, major tea companies are buying that tea. Major tea and coffee chains in grocery stores. We consume it. I traced the supply chain. Working around the clock, two and three case without break and without sleep until they literally passed out on piles of leaves. What's even more frustrating about this story is these are all tea plantations in Bangladesh first set up by the British 160 years ago. During colonial times. And the British during colonial times trafficked a huge number of Indians from the state of Odisha and Bengal to work as slaves in these tea plantations. And do you want to know what I found when I went to the tea plantations? Every single one of the people I documented traced their ancestry back to the people from Odisha and Bengal who had been trafficked by the British. Their descendants were still making tea which we consume every day. They could not leave these factories. They could not find anything else to do. And the world doesn't even know about them. It was a really startling encourage for me and I want you to know doing in research is not that easy. You can imagine faces like this have guards. Guards are guns who don't want people poking around in a 150‑year‑old slave narrative. Fortunately tea plantations are very big and they can't guard all of them all the time. They span thousands of acres. So you can document what's going on. But this for me was a case study. When the disempowered and the oppressed get no assistance this was what happens. Generations go by and they are still enslaved ‑‑ generations from now we will look back at today's trafficking victims and say their descendants are still being exploited as slaves. Child slavery the idea to legally own people and he it really doesn't exist anymore well, it sort of it does still, too. And there were examples of this. If you can to Mauritania. You can quite, but not legally own slaves. In parts of Nepal you can own child domestic slaves. Legally, not officially, but you can. It's called a ‑‑ system. And once again, like the Roma, like the tea workers, a disenfranchised low‑casts impoverished ethnic group. So these young girls belong to a community called the Taru. And when they get to be 8 or 9 years of age they were recruited and put into domestic work in upper caste homes. And they do that work from the age of 8 to 18. They don't receive wages, but they get room and board. Little bit of food. Maybe some gifts now and then. And they will work 7 days a week, cooking and cleaning, et cetera, and you can imagine young pretty girls like this what might happen to them in the home with the other men in the home. When they are 18 they are sent back to the village and are married and the cycle ‑‑ this is their fate. The challenging thing is when I talk to some of the upper caste home members what are your thoughts on the system as semester slave as domestic slave was sitting there this is better than the alternative. The alternative is those girls will be trafficked to India and forced to be prostitutes and attacked by 20 men a day. Here they have room boards and are safe for the most part. This is better. And I was genuinely stumped for the moment, because on the face of it yeah, it did sound better, but what I realized is just because child servitude is better than child rape doesn't mean it's okay. It just means we are failing the children. And these children. And this conundrum is really at the heart of so many trafficking cases around the world. Many times you will be told ‑‑ or I have been told the alternative would be worse and had many times that's true. They will starve to death in a week. But the fact of the matter is for any human being in my mind so face that devil's bargain between starving to death or being in immense starving or having to enter some sort of servitude to find security it means we have failed as a civilization. Can't exist in it's going to be a legitimate. "Bonded Labor" I do entire lectures on this issue I wanted to give concept in short. This was a dominant mode of slavery around the world everywhere in the world for centuries. It sort of born in feudal economic systems where there's a small upper caste upper‑class land‑owning community and then a huge plethora of disempowered peasants. You see the serfdom peonage ‑‑ or a place to live and what happens is they take the loan and because of the huge asymmetry in power, they are forced to work off that loan for years, for a lifetime. Basically food, water, shelter, medicine. That's this large apply despited around the world dissipated around the world as transitioned to ‑‑ remains entrenched in south Asia ‑‑ you will find that bondage everywhere. Maria's story was a debt bondage story. Work off the cartel story. Mustafa's story ‑‑ training documents you will work it off. But it's really entrenched in South Asia one example. Stone‑breaking. Very basic rudimentary function. These are blue stones granite construction industry essentially. And these bonded slaves work for years hammering away with a 15‑milligram hammer bashing and they get paid 15, 20 cents a day. As much as possible I wanted to do the work of the slaves to feel what it's like. I couldn't lift the hammer and I am actually a little more fit than those guys, but they managed to do it. I could barely lift it and when I brought the hammer down to the stone I thought my shoulders would pop out of theirs sockets and the thought of having do to thousands of times to break that boulder down into rubble overwhelmed me. It was also 108 Fahrenheit that day and just about every day. And so I was drenched in sweat, parched feeling the suffering for just a moment of what their lives were like for years. I had water. But I wouldn't drink it because they didn't have water. And this is the narrative and the face and the daily detail of slavery around the world. And these people will work their lifetime away. And ultimately die trying to break stones for construction projects and, by the way, I will just finish up by saying these ‑‑ this particular stone quarry was used in construction of buildings of major western multinational corporations. Companies you would recognize. Major tech companies. Child soldiers. Another huge category of the exploitation of children. This is a child soldier in Nigeria. And he had been forced to work for a militia that was expressing a lot of violence about a legitimate issue, which is there there's a huge amount of oil in Nigeria and the money is going into the pockets of a handful people and the rest of the population is starving and some of the militias get violent. And all the oil is going into a city called ‑‑ Porter ‑‑ the Delta coast Delta State and militia attacked the pipelines and they recruit boys to commit some of that violence and he wasn't child soldier who had managed to get out of it and he managed to meet him and his family in the village. The story of what he went through was fairly horrific. Now he had made it out he was hopeful for some better future and he had received an offer to go to Western Europe and train in a developmental football soccer league. He had seen and heard about some of the African stars and make millions in the soccer leagues. The trackers catches on capitalize on the home ‑‑ I can get you to Greece there's a couple of development leagues there and you will be the next star. I just need a limit of money little bit of money and I will get you there. You can imagine what happens to the boys once they get there. It's not becoming a football star. Children and sex trafficking, like Maria, like millions of others, I have documented too many of these. Too many. This is really a prototypical case in Northern Thailand near a city called ‑‑ near the Burmese border. On the bottom floor you see some adult women waiting to give tourists their foot massage and whatnot. Thai massage. It all looks reasonable and legitimate. The woman in the blue top in the door runs the place and if you are a young single male and happen to walk by she says takes you up the flight of stairs and behind the locked door, there are 9 and 10 and 11‑year‑old girls just wearing little robes and they were told to take them off and the man will select the one or two or three he might want. Well, I turned around and I left. I couldn't stomach it. And on the way out she was trying to entice me to transact with her and said look I will give you two for the price of one and it's a really horrific encounters to see these young children in a situation like that and guess what? They were hill tribe people. Disenfranchised. Can't get into school. Don't even have birth certificates. Invisible to the state, but they can be exploited by tourists and I will tell that you every single one of the tourists I saw walk in a rows of these places, by the way, they were all Europeans and Americans. Going in and out of these places. Every last one of them. I want to talk a little bit about sex trafficking in organized crime also. Because more than any other sector aside from organs and organ trafficking, sex trafficking has really been taken over and governed by organized crime and it presents significant security risks to those of us around the world. This is sort of what it looks like. This is a street corner in Copenhagen, Denmark. These are four young girls from Eastern Europe, from Poland and Hungary. What's of interest is during this street corner sorry ‑‑ is owned by Romanian and East European crime groups. They leased it from the local crime groups in Denmark so they can put their woman there and customers with transacts. Couple blocks over is Nigerians ‑‑ these organized crime groups are coordinating in sophisticated ways with each to move and transact and lease and sublease to generate made I sexual exploitation of women like this you can go to other cities like Torino Northern Italy ‑‑ you can go to a street corner and during the day, the east European Mafias have that that area. Paying off the Mafia for the rights. Do we get along and have the shared definitions and investigations protocols and resources to tackle something like this? Not yet. I am hope we will one day, but I want to give you a sense of how sophisticated this exploitation is particularly when it comes to the sex industry. I want to touch just a minute on South Asia in particular when it comes to sex trafficking because this region is home for more sex trafficking than any other region in the world. Nobody really knows how many there are. There could be millions. This is what they look like. They come from Nepal and Bangladesh and into urban centers. A common theme of movement. Rural to urban. This is Bombay and there are and red light areas. Two girls on the right are Nepalese ‑‑ the one on the left is brothel madame. The child is of another girl victim of sex trafficking born in this context a few years earlier. They sit on the streets and you will see here there's a couple of curtains, caged the Hindi words is translated as cage. Women representative in 6 x 10 two or three live in these and just a couple of dirty bunks and you see a little curtain. Men go in and they transact and go out and come out. And a lot of these men are local Indian consumers and from foreign countries. There are Americans going in there and western Europeans. Middle Easters. Africans. Japanese business men going into these places and it's just difficult to see this global consumption of young girls. In these types of contexts and the filth and grime and squalor of it at all and yet a system of thriving business to support the demand for it. This is something that, I think, will really drive home the point of how this issue is touching your life. I don't know if many of you heard this term conflict mineral. But the long and short of it is this: Just about every Modern electronic device in the world, cellphone, laptop, digital camera, chargeable battery, et cetera, has a few key minerals in it that go into the circuit boards and rechargeable batteries. Tungsten, tantium ‑‑ half are coming from one country the Republic of Congo. Why? Because militias are warring run the mines and exploit child slaves. You see the little bit of a blue tints in the stones here that this child has just gathered from deep inside a tunnel? That's cobalt. And cobalt is in every lithium‑ion recharge battery on the planet. Jet plane you might my on as well as your iPhone and laptop and again half of the world's cobalt if not more is coming out of child mines in the DRC. Democratic Republic of Congo. Electronic companies know about it, but not much has really been done to tackle it, because the pressure has not been there from consumers or government for that matter. But billions are at stake and the very fabric of our consumption habits is what is fueling and driving this phenomenon here. Construction I talked about Mustafa and construction actually this is Singapore. And these two guys here were in a shelter and I documented them and they were textbook trafficking for construction victims and if you look at them he's wearing a shirt it says England and he's a cellphone and looks like a normal fellow. Point of fact this is what many trafficking victims look like. You wouldn't otherwise take a second look, but he had been trafficked from Bangladesh into Singapore, will be working for one and a half years without pay building beautiful big office buildings and it was ultimately arrested for not having probable documents, because not given to him and it was in the shirt ‑‑ shelter to find food to eat. You may have heard some of the stories of human trafficking for the World Cup construction in Qatar happening right now. Host of them are from Bangladesh, India, exactly stories like this. No one is really shining a light on it ‑‑ the work gets do not construction company ‑‑ we go to the sporting events and enjoy the events, but it's built on their backs. I have mentioned organ trafficking a couple of times I am kind of going through all the faces of slavery and trafficking to give you a sense of how persuasive and broad and horrific this all is. Some of you might have said wait a minute, organ trafficking, I understand forced labor and human trafficking and construction, but what does it mean by organ trafficking? I don't think he means what I think he means. Well, I do. Organs are being ripped out of vulnerable migrants ‑‑ along the south Texas‑Mexico border one of the most violent places in the world. And like Maria there's a flow of migrants coming up to the border and they fall into the hands of cartels that run the border. To get across you have do something for them and in many cases organs are pulled out as payment. And to hospitals in South Texas, Houston, Galveston. And I have traced them all the way to the transplant wards or they are used in medical clinics south of the border and transplant tourists we go south to get transplanted down quickly, because there's a long waitlist here. If you have enough money you can do that. Well, I spent a lot of it time as I said trying to document how is this happening? It can't be happening, right? There's controls and rules and how can this even occur? But it does. It does. There are a enough loopholes it does. This is the Rio Grande: Mexico on one side and the Texas on the other. During the time this pathway here was a common route used to traffic people and organs. Kidney will last 22‑24 hours on ice. It will shift week‑to‑week, but when I was there it was right here not far from a place called Sullivan City. In Texas. You walk through this and up brush and trees and ultimately you get to a stash house and then you are off to the hospital. Or if it's labor trafficking victims the stash house the labor state, what have you. And this research I had to stop ‑‑ because if got too dangerous. For those of you familiar with this part of the country all of the border towns on the Mexico side, they have cartel lookouts and when you across there's always someone looking for a high‑value targets. FBI and INS will not cross the border. To go across with me just for the day. The lookout is looking for high‑value targets. Someone to ransom ‑‑ talking with people who had kidneys taken out by cartels and forced to go through the transplant procedure in clinics. Though team said to me, Kara we have intellectual you're on the list now. You have been asking questions and you are on the list. You can cross, but it's going to cost you more and we can't guarantee your safety. You can only push to far, but others need to continue it work. Not just here organ trafficking is happening across Europe and the poor and vulnerable are finding their way not terrible situations where they have to exchange for money or coercion. Seafood. We like seafood and eat seafood. U.S. is the largest importers of just about everyone seafood commodity in the world, including commodity shrimp largest in the world. To host of the shrimp is coming from East Asia is ‑‑ this is Bangladesh, along the coast, not far from the coast. And the entire part this country has been transformed into shrimp farms and millions of people are working in servitude harvesting shrimp. First catch baby shrimp descale de‑vein de‑head, flash freeze and ship. Larger amount in the U.S. and smaller amount to Europe. In my second book I give the statistic, which is that roughly 1 out of 57 shrimp consumed in the United States can be traced to slave labor in Bangladesh alone. Bangladesh is a tiny player in the global shrimp marketing so when you add in Thailand, Vietnam, China, that ratio is going to get much more worrying. But this is what it's like walking along fishing farms and meeting and documenting with slaves working in these industries in the far, far reaches of the world. I have mentioned Nigeria a couple of times ‑‑ Equina ‑‑ and I want to talk to you this is one the most scary and challenging and dangerous aspects of human trafficking that I have ever researched. Going back a few years I started meeting a lot of Nigeria girls, 15, 16, 17 years old, throughout Western Europe. Copenhagen, Munich and they all sold me these stories. I took the juju oath walked across the desert for a month or two until I got to the coast took a raft into Spain. I was sold to the mammoth Madam and then I was in one brothel in Europe ‑‑ if I didn't ‑‑ the juju priest would curse me. He would curse my unborn child. Curse any child I ever had. My whole family's life and eternal spirit would be damned. Testify against those who the exploited them I was at the very first trial in Torino ‑‑ she was terrified and the very first question was asked of her by the prosecutor and she started to have a fit and went into a trance. And she couldn't talk. The trial ended. She was in that much terror of the penalty coming to her if she spoke about her ordeal. I needed to understand it. It took me a few years to get the links and ties required to go to Nigeria which I did and I spent a month there. Couple years ago. I talked about the child soldier. I came across a baby factory you may have seen recently the women forced to be pregnant and children are forced into international adoption. I went to the ‑‑ I built a lot of trust with them I kept coming back and meeting with them everywhere they were. And I went into the villages in Benin state and they talked about a few juju priest and one main Juju priest for all the spiritual advisor to the king of Benin state. I would like to meet this person and understand what's happening. Not supposed to talking about the ritual, but if involves the priest taking nail clippings, hair and menstrual blood and swearing to an oath to repay debt. If you get deported go back until you payoff your debt. Anyway, I got into the villages and my driver happened to be someone who was taking girls now and then to the head priest to take the oath, which was, by the way, arranged primarily by the Nigerian Mafia. A great way for them to control girls and they were paying the head priest in exchange. One young girl driver and I got if a car and went deep into rural area in ‑‑ state. I have no ideas really where this was. We went for a couple hours anyway, we were getting close and one girl who was with me who said she would take me started to get terrified and said I can't get any closer. Just leave me here and you go it's not that much further down. She said look it's not much further down. I left her literally by the side of the tree she wouldn't go further and my driver continued on and sure enough we came across this shrine just in the middle of the jungle. I came out of the car and looked at the shrine and some young children this tall, started hissing at me. You will think this is a Hollywood bad Hollywood movie, but really happening and my driver said, two words. He didn't speak that much English, but he said which children? Which children? I had no idea what that meant. I approached the shrine and on the outside wall there were probably 100 framed pictures. Of all these people he had cursed. And had they were deformed distended and grotesque. They had broken their oath and he was showing what happened when you broke your oath. I walked in a little further my driver came with me and I entered. And I saw that man there. And he was the head priest of Edo state, his name was God's time. This was his shrine. This is where he ministers the oath. You see on the ceiling some little framed mirrors. I had no idea what any of this was until later. You will see a couple guys in red over here. As priests. He spoke very good English. You can't tell because of the perspective, but he was a very big man probably 6'5", really big man, imposing, intimidating. I walked into the place and I was terrified and I thought this guy could probably curse me. I don't know what's happening in this little piece of the world. I can't explain it, but I have a bad feeling. And I thought to myself, imagine I am a.young 15‑year‑old girl who can't read or write and meet that man and he puts me through 8‑hour ritual? I understood what was happening to all the girls he met and where they were terrified. At Red Cross shelter he knew where they were warning them don't speak. And then they have us in front of them and I realized I know why they are afraid and when they get they come back. I felt it. I spoke with him for a few minutes and said I was a tourist interested in his culture. Just wanted to talk about his religion, and rituals we spoke for a little while and I have done this long enough that I can kind of sniff out and sense whether someone is starting to get suspicious. And believe me most people are pretty good at hiding whether they are getting suspicious. But there's a couple of ‑‑ you pick it out ‑‑ so I could tell when he was getting suspicious. More of these red‑robed guys started filing in the room. He started asking me where I was staying. Could he bring someone back to see one of his rituals. I knew it was time for me to leave. I left a large donation and said I am staying at this village and I would be honored to bring someone to bring me back tomorrow. That village was 100 kilometers away from where I was staying and I got out and I didn't need to see or understand anymore. I really understood then. The things I saw what were all the photos? Yeah, that's what he does to curse people. These children they hissed at me what was that? The children of the cursed people. They are witches and have delves ‑‑ what about the mirrors ‑‑ he releases one of them if you break your oath. You might say how do we begin to tackle something like this? Isn't this also just an extremity, an anomaly at the margins, but the cultural force that has put people in a feeling of being coerced are present. It could be a sense of duty. It could be a sense of this is the fate for my people, I am a Roma. I am a low‑caste. This is what my only opportunity. And it could be taking an oath in front of this man, but there are forces at play that coerce people and pressure them and push them into doing these things and when you meet them and stay, what were you doing it by choice? They say yes, many times there's the end of the conversation and they are not classified as a trafficking victim. One of the facets of my work is to expand awareness of what coercion looks like in the modern world. It's not chains in slave ships. It's encounters like this when we are talking about a menace portion of the planet that doesn't have access to education and literacy, and has cultural norms that are hard to understand, this is what we have to face and tackle of the human trafficking and some of the faces of human trafficking and slavery. So those are some of the faces of slaves today. Some of forces, some of these I have been and I have scene and wanted to bring to you I want to wrap up by giving you a 20,000‑foot view of, again, what is driving off this from the global economic standpoint? What are the supply and demand forces promoting this? If we can understand the forces we can tackle them better. So supply. What is it that feeds into the supply of vulnerable people? Through these examples you have a pretty good sense. It's poverty. It's economic disenfranchisement and minority status being a female and corruption and lawlessness all the things that make people imminently and perpetually desperate ‑‑ sustained and significant basis is what is ensuring that there are one or two billion people at any given time that are always on the verge of something terrible happening to them. What about demand? I have talked a little bit about this and this is really where we come in. So every slave industry will have a slightly different facet of the demand, but always two transactions. And in a is the exploiter's demand to maximize profit and our demand, you, me everyone we know our demand to pay less for things. As cheaply as possible. How does this work? How does our demand fuel into slavery? Tended to be the one of the most expensive. How do we minimize for eliminate the pesky labor costs having to pay labor to do work. Slavery is extreme. Let's pay them nothing for almost nothing. No one wants to work for nothing so we will force them that's basically slavery in a nutshell. One, you make your business more profitable or two you can lower the price of whatever it is you're selling to be more competitive how determined? By the cost and ‑‑ take out labor costs go down and sell little bit less still make money. The price competitive. This element is the fundamental economic difference between old World slavery and New World slavery. This globalization of price competition. Or competition in general. So in a globalized economy in our economy at this point in history, where products are available from all over the world right near in front of us in shops on any given day, slavery has transformed the Old world into the New world as one of the chief ways that unscrupulous producers can lower operating costs in order to find balance, their desire to boost profit and be price Competitive. And so you've got iPhones not manufactured here, but in China. And in cases at Foxconn plants and children work 20 hours a day. You have apparel from Gap ‑‑ profits to Gap, Apple, et cetera, a little more. That's the globalization of competition. That's where human trafficking and ‑‑ have evolved and insinuated. The entire production chain I have documented as being tainted by slavery in child labor are frozen shrimp, tea and coffee, agricultural products, granite and limestone on your countertops and bathrooms, apparel, sporting goods, the conflict minerals I talked about and palm oil and carpets. I will use handwoven carpets as a case study. I have recently published a report which you can get online for free through the Harvard School of ‑‑ called tainted carpets. I encourage to you download and read it. I started with this one a series of commodity projects ‑‑ I wanted to do ‑‑ [ Audio breaking up ] Woven by hand, they bring into focusing one essential ‑‑ human trafficking and that is the suffering of children and slaves transformed into the beautiful things we buy. Every day. That we like to buy that we adorn our homes with. It's that transformation that is at the essence slavery today. What does it look like? How many of you have handmade carpets in your home? Maybe not the expensive ones ‑‑ you will two and two horizontal rods. Hundreds of vertical cords. People sit down on that bench, and take a piece of yarn and go in and out of these cords all way across one yarn at the same time. It's painstaking work. It takes weeks and months to make some of the big carpets by hand. Across northern India ‑‑ to document conclusively the conditions being used to make these carpets and trace those carpets companies like Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Sears, Ikea, Crate & Barrel and others, every carpet you see here is sold in these stores. This is what the loom looks like and the tools used that claw used to ‑‑ you trim with the scissors ‑‑ yarn is nice and thick. A lot of these looms are in people's huts thousands of them spread across Asia and they will look like this, cramped dark humid sold at beautiful showrooms here, but these are where they are made. The conditions are write horrific so the ailments these people suffer never mind exploitation, spinal deformation, muscle atrophy, respiratory ailment ‑‑ the conditions are worse so you will see thousands of huts like this with little carpet looms sitting there people working 16 hours a day weaving carpets for sale to us. No one can get in. Guards lock the door. What's behind that? What's behind that is something like this. Workers locked inside as slaves. They sit at the carpet loom all day they move a few feet over and ‑‑ sleep under mosquito net at night. Nepal this factory exports carpets to Williams Sonoma. Been there are for months not been paid they get food, but not much more than that. Or you see something like this. This is a shack in rural India and the shacks that have children in them are a little more heavily guarded. When children are involved they get especially protective they know it's a no‑no. When we know guards not there ‑‑ sometimes they have guns. When we know they are not there we go in. Inside this shack we saw more than a dozen boys. Some of them still asleep early morning. Some of them up already at looms waving carpets. Here was another one we managed to get into. Locked gate with children inside. Took us a couple of days to get access. Children bathed ‑‑ the previous shack in one linked to Macy's and Bloomingdale's. This one made it clear. So what were the findings of this report? This comprehensive study across the entire industry and supply chain of carpets we found 45% of the workers were in some sort of the forced labor. About 20%, bare minimum 20% were children and I saw that because for every child we documented there were five ‑‑ we saw children and we were beaten away and couldn't document them so there are many more than we were able to document. We captured the production sites of about 95% of the export market, 172 different exporters responsible for 95% of carpet exports from India and just about every export into the United States. On average people making 21 cents an hour. You saw what the work involved for carpets that sold for thousands or tens thousands of dollars. Imagine working 12‑14 hours a day under slave liken conditions. 99.9% of the cases we documented were low‑caste individuals. This has been a recurring theme. Muslims and groups called ‑‑ and other backward classes are kind of political terms used to identify outcast people. 99.9%. The workers were from age 8 to 80. And they worked 10 to 12 hours six to Seven days a week and the production sites were linked to this list among many others of major retails. It's not our fault. Those companies might be getting some assurance downstream, no child labor here everything is fine but that certification is worthless. What's really happening is what you find when you go deep in and conduct the research. And so the next series of projects I am going to do is take this model and go commodity by commodity and just last week, second part of the model is I take the findings and I met all day with the Department of Labor and Department of Justice, State Department of International Labor Organization to create a ‑‑ were ‑‑ protocol. My final thoughts and I went way over my time and I'm sorry, but I have so much to talk about you and share with you on the subject. Few concluding thoughts supply chain issues. Go back to the ‑‑ and that comparison is evident slavery and human trafficking are centuries‑old. But they are far more profitable and far more intimately and intricately woven into the global economy than ever before. This means human trafficking and slavery single inevitably touching our lives even when it's occurring on the far side of the planet, but rest assured there's something happening closer than as well. If it's not clear the need for research, young people perk up for a minute, please you need to go out and take your energy and add it to the immense research dearth we need you out there doing research learning documenting and bringing back voices and keeping having evenings like this all over the country and world until there's enough people who say no more not on my watch. When I leads to my final thought, which is there's tremendous space for new leadership on this issue that the field is begging for leaders. Leaders with the integrity and the discipline and the ethics to go out and do this work and contribute in whatever way works for you. My final thought this evening, remember, the young girl I told you about in Nigeria when we went in the car and she just couldn't go further. Nigerians have interesting names, beautiful names, That belie horrific conditions they live in. Anyway, Peace, we made our way back and went back to her village and sat down with her family and Peace was really shaken up so he was talking to me a little more about what she had been through taken the juju and leaded to Europe, but the conditions where they were living were so horrific she felt she had no choice. She told me more about her story and in fact, it was only then I learned she had already been trafficked. Her sister didn't tell me that. She had been trafficked to Europe and deported and it was trying to get back to pay off her debt and she was feeling help us and struggling with this.Ed at the end of her story she was filled at that with tears and she said, do you really care about me? Does anyone really care about people like me? And I didn't know what to say. I really didn't know what to say. I knew at some level I cared, but I knew what she was driving at. What was I going do about it? When was I really going do about it so she didn't have to go back again and again. So I posed this question to you: And I think the answer has to be obvious: We all must care about people like Peace. If our world is going to be decent and sustainable and judgment and just and good, we have to care about people like Peace. It's very pressing that far more effective efforts be undertaken to address the suffering of women men each and every day must be done for them and Peace and must be done for us and our souls. Because it is fundamentally in the shadows of inaction and apathy that atrocity are committed. My humble plea to all of you is we all find a way some way to be active and is to shine a light and contribute in whatever way you can for us and for them. Thank you. [ Applause ] >> Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to ask once again to please thank to our speaker tonight. Professor Siddharth Kara from Harvard University. [ Applause ] For those of you who have an interest in his work, two of his books, have now been published he's working on the third. And a feature film is currently in production based on his first book. These are available for purchase here and if you would like the opportunity to meet him personally and greet him since he's here just this evening you are welcome to do so. Thank you so much for being here tonight and for those of you who would like to meet him, he will be up in the South Concourse. Thank you very much. [ Applause ] [ End of File ] 11:43 PM E.T. * * * * * This is being provided in a roughdraft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) or captioning are provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings ****



The APS Hall of Fame award was founded at the 1940 American Philatelic Society Convention. The award is intended to honor those deceased philatelists who have made significant contributions during their lifetime to the field of philately.

The award is not to be confused with the society's Luff Award which is presented to outstanding philatelists who are alive at the time of award.


Requirements for the APS Hall of Fame are:

  • only deceased collectors may be considered for nomination
  • those nominated must have made "outstanding contributions to the advancement of national or international philately."


Philatelists who have received the APS Hall of Fame award are listed below. Note that some years have no nominees selected.

External links

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