SFCAHT & Exploring How Other Nations Address Trafficking
As a member of the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking (SFCAHT) IANGEL joins policy advocates, service providers, law enforcement agencies, and community activists in a joint effort to end human trafficking through collaboration, outreach, and supporting survivors. The Collaborative is committed to taking a zero tolerance stance on human trafficking through a strong group of anti-trafficking advocates and experts.
IANGEL recently attended “The Global Fight Against Human Trafficking, International and Comparative Perspectives,” a panel hosted by SFCAHT, the Consulates General of Israel and Mexico, and the University of San Francisco. The panel was moderated by the Honorable Susan Breall (Superior Court Judge, SFCAHT Co-Chair) and panelists included:
– Honorable Shlomi Kofman (Counsel General of Israel)
– Dina Dominitz (National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator of Israel)
– Thomas Floth (Counsel General of Germany)
– Honorable Remedios Gómez Arnau (Counsel General of Mexico)
As SFCAHT Executive Director Antonia Levine noted in her opening remarks, human trafficking is a global threat. The consulates in San Francisco can play an important role in “information sharing and victim assistance.” The Honorable Shlomi Kofman reinforced this sentiment in his opening remarks by stressing the importance of working together in the fight against human trafficking and of sharing both information and ideas. In that spirit, best practices, along with challenges and achievements, were shared as all voiced that more needs to be done to combat the billion dollar industry of human trafficking around the world.
Ms. Dominitz noted that trafficking of humans involves “the eradication of dignity of human and core human values,” and stated that
“if we don’t work together and see each other as human beings we will not eradicate trafficking.”
She explained that Israel’s victim-centered approach includes two state funded shelters, work visas, legal aid, medical and psychiatric assistance for victims, and assistance in returning to the home country. Israel also has a forfeiture fund, requiring the court to allocate a percentage of funds received from convicted traffickers to a victims’ fund. Israel also recently criminalized prostitution by penalizing the purchasers or “johns.” This 5 year law will allow Israel to assess and analyze its effects. Ms. Dominitz also proudly announced a training for judges to focus on how to best approach trafficking cases.
The Honorable Remedios Gomez Arnau spoke about Mexico’s efforts to end human trafficking. She acknowledged that while Mexico is a source, transitionary spot and destination for human trafficking, the country remains committed to combatting trafficking within its borders and in collaboration with organizations and governments abroad. She mentioned Mexico’s commitment to the Palermo Protocol and its agreements with other local governments and agencies to combat trafficking. Thomas Floth spoke of Germany’s commitment to international law and its work with international organizations to combat trafficking.
Dr. Emily Murase, Director of the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, remarked that in the Bay Area, foster youth are particularly at risk and vulnerable, making up the largest percentage of trafficked youth. Ms. Dominitz shared how in Israel, it isn’t foster youth, but youth from low socio-economic communities that are often trafficked, even by their families. And Mr. Floth added that the 2005 European Union Action Plan focuses on protecting minors, including bringing youth from Greek islands to other EU member states to avoid gang conscription.
The panel was another great event by SFCAHT to raise awareness, educate and inspire in the fight against human trafficking. You can read more about IANGEL’s work against human trafficking here and here.