U-ACT is a grassroots volunteer organization that partners with existing local and international anti-trafficking NGOs to fight human trafficking. U-ACT is based in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Email: info@u-act.org
~ Facebook.com/IndyUACT ~ Twitter @IndyUACT

Visit the U-ACT website
for current meeting information and projects!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

NO December Meeting

Attention U-ACT members (and others interested in attending a U-ACT meeting):

There will be NO meeting this month. Our regular 3rd Monday of the month meetings will resume in January.

Thank you! Have a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Latest email from Co-Founders of U-ACT

"Hello again, and happy December!

We've come across quite a few interesting and amazing pieces of information and opportunities in the past week and wanted to keep everyone informed. Please respond to this email for further information on any of the following opportunities:
1. Laura Pope is hosting another book club discussion group this coming Tuesday, December 15 @ 7pm. The group is reading The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam. Come and bring friends if you're available! Respond to this email for directions or further info.
2. Attached are two documents from Not For Sale addressing fair trade Christmas purchases and new info about the electronics industry. Please take time to read over the information and pass it along to friends and family! Awareness is half the battle!
3. World Hope International maintains a human trafficking assessment center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. World Hope regularly takes trips to visit this assessment center, and as of now, 2 spots remain open for anyone interested in traveling with the World Hope group. Information is as follows: "There are two possible openings on a trip from Feb. 13-22, 2010. If you--or someone you know--is interested in a trip for those dates, please let me know ASAP."Ginny Cockerill Hope Corps Overseas Volunteer Coordinator ginnycockerill@worldhope.net World Hope International
4. The SOLD Project is looking for Spring and Fall 2010 Interns. Information is as follows: "The SOLD internship is an unpaid 12-week commitment that includes education about child prostitution, helping to expand the SOLD network and leading film screenings. In most cases interns will join the team remotely, so it is absolutely critical that an applicant be a self-starting leader who is able to complete tasks and stay committed with limited supervision." -courtesy of The SOLD Project(www.thesoldproject.com/team/)"

*U-ACT has been having some trouble with sending emails. Please be aware of this issue if you are trying to contact us. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

Friday, November 20, 2009

"A slavery-free Christmas"

A member of U-ACT received and passed along some important information from the Indiana Not For Sale campaign dealing with our indirect consumer involvement in modern-day slavery. As the Christmas season approaches, it is wise for us to consider how our shopping decisions may endorse companies who use unjust and inhumane ways to produce their product.

Sarah Morbitzer, the Indiana State Director of Not For Sale, has provided a list of alternatives for those of us who want to make sure we are not indirectly supporting slavery through purchasing items a slave has made:

"http://www.sweatfree.org/shoppingguide lists companies that are doing their part to make sure slavery and exploitative labor conditions aren't a part of the products they produce."

"http://www.laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/sweatshops/resources/12211 lists some not-so-fantastic companies that carry one or more products in their stores that are tied to slave labor or poor working conditions. I'd recommend avoiding the problem products and finding alternatives at other stores. Depending on the extent of the problem, you may even want to consider avoiding some of these stores altogether (please read the full report - it's not very long - before deciding)."

"http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/ocft/PDF/2009TVPRA.pdf is a broader report. Part II contains an extensive list of products that are tied to slave labor or child labor in specific countries. For example, artificial flowers that come from China have been tied to slave labor. However, artificial flowers from other countries are not connected to slave labor. Bananas from Belize, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and the Philippines are likely harvested by children under the age of 15. However, there are no indications at this time that bananas from other countries are harvested under exploitative working conditions. I'd recommend printing off pages 29 - 44 and taking them with you when you go shopping. It's a fantastic way to use your purchasing power to avoid items that come from countries where these products are tied to slave labor."

Sarah also provided the following extensive list of alternatives (divided by category- clothing and accessories, bath and body, and food):

Shop Differently:

Learn more. Do more.

Free2Work: www.free2work.org

Buy Responsibly: http://buyresponsibly.org/

Chain Store Reaction: http://www.chainstorereaction.com/

ASSET Campaign: http://www.chainstorereaction.com/

Clothing and Accessories

Freedom Store: www.notforsalecampaign.org

Cross Cultural Connections: http://www.crossculturalconnections.org/catalog/

Paper to Pearls: http://www.papertopearls.org/

Better Way Imports: http://www.betterwayimports.com/

Freeset Bags: http://www.freesetglobal.com/

Punjammies: http://www.punjammies.com/

Nightlight Jewelry: http://www.nightlightinternational.com/store/

Toms Shoes: www.tomsshoes.com

Abba House: www.abbahousefoundation.org

Invisible Children: http://store.invisiblechildren.com/

The Love Alliance: http://www.thelovealliance.storenvy.com/

We are Overlooked: www.weareoverlooked.com

Love146: http://skreened.com/love146

DCZ Beads and Designs: http://www.dczbeads.com/shop-3.html?vmcchk=1

Global Girlfriend: http://globalgirlfriend.com

Juxtaposie: www.juxtaposie.com

Pendant Star: http://pendantstar.com/

Butterfly Mama: http://www.butterflymama.com

Heaven’s Attic: http://www.heavensattic.co.uk/shop/jewellery/

The Hunger Site: http://shop.thehungersite.com/store

Global Goods Partners: http://www.globalgoodspartners.org

Autonomie Project: http://www.autonomieproject.com/

Pants to Poverty: http://www.pantstopoverty.com/

Green Heart: http://www.greenheartshop.org/

World of Good: http://worldofgood.ebay.com/

Bath and Body

Peace Keeper Cause-Metics: http://www.iamapeacekeeper.com/

Thistle Farms: http://www.thistlefarms.org/

Home and Play

Ten Thousand Villages: http://www.tenthousandvillages.com

Rugmark: www.rugmark.org

Made by Survivors: http://store.madebysurvivors.com/

Global Exchange: http://www.globalexchangestore.org

Fair Deal Trading: http://www.fairdealtrading.com/

Pillow Dreams Project: http://www.pillowdreamsproject.com/

Trade As One: https://tradeasone.com/shop/

Fair Trade Sports: http://retail.fairtradesports.amazonwebstore.com/

Good Weave: www.goodweave.org

Ethical Superstore: http://www.ethicalsuperstore.com/


Mai Thai Coffee: http://maithaicoffee.com/

Divine Chocolate: http://www.divinechocolateusa.com/

Equal Exchange: http://www.equalexchange.coop/

Alter Eco Fair Trade: http://www.altereco-usa.com

TransFair USA: http://www.transfairusa.org/

Fairtrade Labeling: http://www.fairtrade.net

Pristine Planet: http://www.pristineplanet.com

Friday, November 6, 2009

Recap from October 19th Meeting

We hosted our first safehouse meeting at 6pm Monday evening and were very encouraged by the number of people interested and their desire to create a safe space for victims of trafficking in Indiana. If you were unable to attend this meeting, but are interested in attending future safehouse meetings or would like to receive safehouse updates via email, please respond to this email!

Many thanks to everyone who works to keep U-ACT up and running! We are so grateful for all of your time, energy and talent. Thank you to Julia Spangler for her U-ACT logo design! We will finalize the details soon and then post it to our blog and Facebook pages!

We have located three screenprinting companies that purchase fair trade t-shirts and screenprint original designs and slogans and think that working with one of these companies would be a great opportunity for U-ACT members to both raise awareness of human trafficking and raise money for anti-trafficking organizations. Please email us your creative design ideas!

Many opportunities for U-ACT members to get involved in a few Action Areas, specifically fundraising and community awareness, have come to our attention recently. Following is a list and brief description of these opportunities:

1. Purchased Event

*This is a concert/awareness event sponsored by Common Ground church in Indianapolis. It will take place on 11.7.09 from 7-9pm. Volunteers are needed to hang fliers around town prior to the event as well as provide staff support during the event. This is a great opportunity to meet up with fellow advocates and hear some great music!

2. IJM "House Parties"

*International Justice Mission has created "House Party Kits" that can be ordered atwww.ijm..org to help advocates organize awareness parties in their home. You may host the party at your home or at a larger venue. The kits cost $15 and include IJM invitations, a dvd show at the party, and informational cards that can be displayed or used for further discussion after the film.

3. Free2Walk event: February 27, 2010

*Not For Sale has provided a detailed organizational outline to help advocates interested in hosting a fundraising walk/run. It will be held at the Community Church of Greenwood indoor track on Saturday, February 27th- more info about times and registration will be available as the date gets closer.

4. Please visit the Not For Sale website if you are interested in learning more about any of the following opportunities:

-Freedom Sunday

-NFS Fellowship program

-NFS Abolitionist Academy

5. Alternative Gift Markets

*Christmas season is approaching quickly, and we are looking for volunteers to make contacts with local schools, churches, etc. that annually host Christmas or Craft Bazaars (or similar events) and ask if they might be willing to donate space for U-ACT to set up a fair trade merchandise table. All procedes will benefit an anti-trafficking organization.

6. Film Screenings

*We are in need of volunteers to contact Indiana high schools, colleges, churches, etc. and ask if they would like to work in partnership with U-ACT to host a human trafficking awareness film screening. We are asking that the colleges, churches, etc.. allot a minimum of two hours for the screening, which will include a Q & A/discussion time.

7. Victim Assistance Training

*We have been informed by our friend at IPD that if anyone is interested in completing Victim Assistance Training, IPD could utilize those trainees when victims of trafficking are brought in for questioning, looking for shelter, navigating legal procedings, etc. We do not have complete information on this opportunity as of yet, but we will update you as soon as possible. This is a very exciting opportunity to develop relationships with victims and help local law enforcement at the same time!

8. Laura Pope will be hosting a Book Club at her home. The Club will be reading The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam. If you are interested in participating, please respond to this email to coordinate dates, times and directions.

10. The following anti-trafficking organizations and/or advocates are in need of monetary donations:

- The SOLD Project: Thailand --> www.thesoldproject.com. The SOLD Project is attempting to raise $10,000 by January to build a drop-in center in Thailand.

- Laura Sands, a Chapman University film student who is producing a human trafficking film for her senior thesis. Please email Laura at lsandsthesis@gmail.com if you are interested in contributing to help offset production costs.

- Shared Hope International --> www.sharedhope.org. For a donation of any size, Shared Hope will send you a copy of their book, Renting Lacy, which deals with trafficking in the US.

- Heather Blanch, a U-ACT member from northern Indiana, is moving to Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 10.31.09 to volunteer at SHE Rescue Home, a safehouse for victims of trafficking. If you would like to donate towards her work, please email Heather athjblanch@gmail.com.

11. World Vision is asking advocates to write to their local Congressmen and ask them to sponsor the Child Protection Compact Act (CPCA). Follow this link to learn more: https://secure2.convio.net/wv/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=285&s_src=trafficking-rgt

Laura Pope and Sarah Blossom

co-founders, U-ACT

Sunday, September 20, 2009

U-ACT meeting tomorrow.. September 21st

U-ACT will be meeting tomorrow, Monday, Sept. 21st from 7 to 8 p.m. at Friedens United Church of Christ church building (8300 S. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN, 46217). Items on the agenda include the following:
1) Review of the Hands of Hope Conference and Forum
2) Updates from Action Areas
3) T-shirt idea
4) Alternative Gift Markets
5) Faith leaders luncheon on Oct. 14t at 12:30 p.m.
6) Campus awareness plans in progress
7) U-ACT group opportunities

If you would like more information or have any questions, please contact us at uact.indy@yahoo.com

Monday, September 7, 2009

Stand Against Trafficking (StAT) meeting

For those of us in the Indianapolis area, there is a meeting we will not want to miss this Wednesday, September 9th. Heartland Church (9665 Hague Road) in Fishers, IN, is hosting an Indiana Community Forum in their auditorium for Stand Against Trafficking (StAT). The forum begins at 7 p.m. and will include information on how to abolish human trafficking through awareness, education, response, prevention and resources. To learn more about this event, please go to the official StAT event information page.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Playground'" Documentary by The Nest Foundation

Recently, I viewed a clip from the "Playground" Documentary, a film produced by The Nest Foundation (with movie star, George Clooney, as one of the executive producers). This film focuses on the domestic sex trafficking of children, specifically the story of Michelle, a victim of the American sex trafficking industry whose sexual abuse began at the young age of five.

To learn about filmmaker Libby Spears, her inspiration for the film, and the film itself, click here.

To view a clip from the "Playground" Documentary click here.

What is Human Trafficking & What can "I" do?

-What is human trafficking? Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery where victims (men, women, teenagers, children) are subjected to force, fraud, coercion, for the purpose of sexual exploitation (commercial sex, including prostitution, stripping, pornography, live-sex shows) or labor exploitation (domestic servitude, sweatshop factories, migrant agricultural work).

-Where is human trafficking happening? Worldwide; approximately 600,000 to 800,000 victims are annually trafficked across international borders.

-How does one become a victim of trafficking? Through force, fraud or coercion, traffickers compel men, women, teenagers, and children to their activities. Traffickers may use forceful violence, especially during early stages of victimization, to make victims easier to control. Traffickers may use fraud to entice people into trafficking situations through false job advertisements. An example of this is promising work as a waitress or maid in another country when in reality the person will become a prostitute once they arrive in the other country. Finally, traffickers may use coercion by threatening serious harm or physical restraint to victims.

-What can "I" do about human trafficking? When reading information on human trafficking, it is hard not to become overwhelmed by the sheer numbers and inhumanity of the crimes. However, it is of great importance that we do not ignore the cries of the victims and assume 'someone else' will fight for them. Gracehaven House, based in Ohio, has compiled a list of '24 things you can do to fight human trafficking.' Although not comprehensive, this list provides a variety of practical advice on how to mobilize and respond to the atrocious crimes.

Who We Are and What We're Doing

Welcome to United Against Contemporary Trafficking (U-ACT)'s blog. As stated in the blog's title, U-ACT is a grassroots organization that supports and assists local and international individuals and organizations in their fight against human trafficking. U-ACT was founded in August 2009 and is based in Indianapolis, Indiana. This blog will be updated regularly with links to online articles and videos pertaining to national and international human trafficking and will also be a convenient way to provide both members and non-members information about upcoming events and meetings.

Although we are a newly formed organization, we are already working to fight human trafficking in eight 'action areas.' Our 'action areas' currently include the following: legislative representatives, facebook group page, this blog, Craiglist flaggers, free2work researchers, fundraising team, community awareness team, and a resource update team. If you are interested in learning more about any of these action areas and how you can be involved, please contact us at uact.indy@yahoo.com.

Our meetings are scheduled for the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Common Grounds Coffee Cafe at the Friedens United Church of Christ (8300 South Meridian Street) in Indianapolis, Indiana. Our next meeting is Monday, September 21st at 7 p.m.