October 2016


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The holidays are upon us—a season of thanks, love, and spending time with family, but also of sharing food with loved ones.

Learn how to make Thai fried rice—a common local dish in Thailand—and explore how food is a global language for all we share it with.

As the days continue to fly by, I realized that next week is November … which means Thanksgiving is mere weeks away! And Christmas is finally “next month!”

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By Catie Fowler, Projects Manager

The HTC was honored last Wednesday to have Yvonne Zimmerman, a noted theologian and the author of Other Dreams of Freedom: Religion, Sex, and Human Trafficking, return to speak to our students for the sixth consecutive year.  Zimmerman’s speech, which highlighted the theological foundations of popularized sex trafficking narratives, also brought to light points relevant to the fight against forced labor in global supply chains, a topic often relegated to a secondary position within the human trafficking discourse.

As a theologian, a large portion of Zimmerman’s professional work has focused on the way sex is moralized—and overemphasized—in US anti-trafficking policy.  By emphasizing the moral significance of sex, and by saying that only marital sex can be virtuous, the impact of Protestant thought on the American anti-trafficking movement has led to a focus on sex trafficking and led to the omission of global forced labor.

Zimmerman declared that “sex trafficking is something Americans love to hate.”  It speaks to our Protestant abhorrence of sex as sinful and as something that is easy for many to speak out against.  By contrast, forced labor for industrial purposes has an almost opposite effect.  As some of the top consumers in a global supply chain, Americans have an active aversion to the conversation on forced labor in global supply chains.  It causes Americans guilt, rather than a sense of moral righteousness.

Consideration of forced labor should be brought to the forefront of the anti-trafficking movement, in order to better reflect the reality of the problem.  While there is no surefire way to guarantee global estimates on the prevalence of human trafficking, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that, of the 18.7 million persons subject to trafficking by the private economy, 68% are victims of forced labor.  This is in comparison to only 22% of that same population estimated to be victims of sex trafficking.  Still, US policy and political rhetoric continues to focus on sex trafficking, rather than on labor.

The need to focus on forced labor, particularly in global supply chains, is crucial.  Zimmerman illustrated the difficulty in doing this, as forced labor, the cheapness of goods, and the American economy are almost inseparably linked.  She pointed out that neoliberal values–those in which the state exists to serve the economy–only facilitate this, going so far as to say that, under neoliberalism, Americans almost view the “market as God.”

There is a need to address the role of the market in human trafficking and there is already good work being done on exactly that.  Notably, a number of organizations and companies are beginning to address this problem from a variety of standpoints, from awareness campaigns to auditing services. (Several of these companies are listed and briefly described below). In order to combat all forms of human trafficking it is necessary to recognize our aversion to discussing forced labor and abuses within the global supply chains from which we often benefit. Perhaps if we expand our concern beyond the “easy” crime to hate, the anti-trafficking movement will begin to see a more significant impact on the crime as a whole.

Organizations addressing labor issues in global supply chains*

  • The Enough! Project has worked to raise awareness of forced labor in coltan mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Auditing organization Verité helps companies form a better understanding of the labor issues and potential abuses taking place in their supply chains
  • The Cotton Campaign focuses on working to end forced and child labor in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan, a major global cotton supplier
  • Global risk analytics company Verisk Maplecroft has recently released a Modern Slavery Index ranking the risk of forced labor or other modern day slavery being a part of goods and commodities produced by individual countries
  • Tech company Provenance has developed a tool to track products through the supply chain using blockchain technology

*This list is not extensive, but rather a sampling of the different ways companies are addressing the issue

Photo Credit: NilsW via Pixabay


About the Human Trafficking Center

The Human Trafficking Center, housed in the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, is the only two-year, graduate-level, professional-training degree in human trafficking in the United States. One way graduate students contribute to the study of human trafficking is by publishing research-based blogs. The HTC was founded in 2002 to apply sound research and reliable methodology to the field of human trafficking research and advocacy.

Founded in 1964, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies is one of the world’s leading schools for the study of international relations. The School offers degree programs in international affairs and is named in honor of its founder and first dean, Josef Korbel.

 

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As the world celebrates International Artist Day today, join us in honoring Ibrahim—a painter from Mosul, Iraq who was displaced from his home two years ago.

His powerful work captures the heart and soul of a Christian artist whose home has been destroyed by a war that is intensifying today.

See Iraq through his eyes.

If you’ve ever been to The Louvre in Paris, you’ve seen it: that mysterious smile and those eyes that seem to follow you. The Mona Lisa is captivating, protected behind a wooden railing from zealous art lovers, raising their camera phones high to capture her mystique.

I love the Mona Lisa, but my favorite painting in the Louvre hangs directly opposite—The Wedding Feast at Cana by Paolo Veronese.

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Not only does emergency food aid help keep people alive and nourished in times of crisis, it can also give them a sense of normalcy during times of trauma and change.

See how innovative projects through the World Food Program are empowering people like Saeeda—who was displaced from Mosul, Iraq two years ago—to cook her favorite recipes from home.

And try making Dolma yourself!

Saeeda Nouri, 45, is one of tens of thousands of Iraq’s Christians who fled religious violence in Mosul, Iraq in June 2014. She now lives with her husband and youngest son in Ashti Camp for displaced Iraqi families in Erbil, in the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq.

The World Food Program’s Marwa Awad visits Saeeda to hear her story and learn about one of Iraq’s most famous dishes.

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On the plains of Mongolia, the cuisine is focused on meat and dairy, especially for nomadic herding families.

See what it’s like to cook in this harsh climate, and try a recipe at home … “buuz,” traditional Mongolian steamed dumplings!

Last Christmas, we featured the story of sponsored child Dulamsuren in Mongolia, whose family are nomadic herders in the country’s central plains, as we followed Billy and Grampa Goat’s journey around the world.

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When it comes to children’s nutrition, food quality is more important than quantity. Without the right foods, malnutrition can still limit a child’s development and weaken the immune system.

See how new recipes and cooking techniques are helping to keep children healthy in Nicaragua!

Often the picture of severe malnutrition is a child from Africa with a thin body or distended belly. However, in Central America the issue can go unnoticed.

Even though many children may eat enough to feel full, the lack of nutrients contributes to weaker immune systems and limits mental and physical development. Malnourished children are more likely to get sick and not perform as well in school.

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