Heroes Acting To End Modern-Day Slavery

Trafficking in Persons Report
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
June 12, 2007

Sara Susana del Valle Trimarco de Veron, Mother and Anti-Trafficking Activist, Argentina
To find her daughter, Marita, who was kidnapped five years ago by traffickers, Susana Trimarco de Veron has become an indomitable crusader against human trafficking. She has plunged into dangerous situations, disguising herself as a prostituted person in order to troll bars and alleys in search of anyone who might know where her daughter is. Despite false leads and death threats, she has uncovered evidence of trafficking networks operating in the Argentine provinces of La Rioja, Tucuman, Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Santa Cruz. As a result of Susana's courageous work, 100 young women have been rescued from slavery. She has accompanied police on raids to arrest 24 suspected traffickers, 13 of whom have been formally charged. Susana was one of 10 "Women of Courage" from around the world honored by the U.S. Department of State in March 2007.

Read more about Sara Susana del Valle Trimarco.

Lucy Blacio, Machala TIP Prosecutor, Victim and Witness Protection Coordinator, Ecuador
Lucy Blacio courageously enforces Ecuador's new anti-human trafficking legislation and has initiated investigations or prosecutions of more than 30 trafficking cases. She won the first conviction in Ecuador for the commercial sexual exploitation of minors in September 2006, and the first child pornography conviction in December 2006. Due to her rigorous efforts, both criminals received 12 years in prison. In April 2007, she won yet another conviction and prison sentence of four years for commercial sexual exploitation of minors. Lucy is under 24-hour police protection due to threats from defendants and defense attorneys disturbed by her prosecutorial efforts.

Read more about Lucy Blacio.

Patience Quaye, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ghana
Patience Quaye's work was integral to the first-ever prosecution and conviction of a human trafficker in Ghana. Ms. Qauye negotiated with Nigerian authorities to gain extradition of the trafficker. She personally handled the case until a prosecution was secured. Even as the judge was announcing a 6-year jail term for the trafficker, Ms. Quaye was on the phone negotiating with Nigerian authorities to release two trafficking victims who were arrested and held in Nigeria.

Read more about Patience Quaye.

Kailash Satyarthi, Activist: Global March Against Child Labor, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude (SACCS), Rugmark, India
A global leader in the fight against child labor, trafficking and forced labor, Kailash Satyarthi has liberated more than 75,000 bonded and child laborers since 1980.

Mr. Satyarthi has worked relentlessly to free bonded children, to rehabilitate them with vocational training and education and tilted the force of public opinion against child labor. His organizations provide direct legal assistance and advocacy for victims. His efforts have taken many different forms, some of them on massive international scale. For example, in 1998 he organized the Global March Against Child Labor, across 103 countries with the participation of 7.2 million people, and more than 10,000 civil society organizations. It was the largest peoples' campaign on child labor that led to the ILO Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labor.

Mr. Satyarthi is combating the use of child labor by creating domestic and international consumer resistance to products made by children in bonded labor. He started Rugmark, a program in which rugs are labeled and certified to be child-labor-free by factories that agree to be regularly inspected.

Recently, Mr. Satyarthi lead the South Asian March Against Child Trafficking, a month-long physical march across the Indo-Nepal-Bangladesh border to raise awareness on trafficking of children for forced labor, and to demand a South Asian regional protocol to combat trafficking for forced labor.

Read more about Kailash Satyarthi.

Wahyu Susilo, Founder and Director, Migrant Care, Indonesia
Wahyu Susilo is at the forefront of the battle to protect and secure rights for migrant workers in Indonesia. In 2000, he established an advocacy network of 80 organizations working to improve anti-trafficking legislation. Since migrant workers are susceptible to trafficking during the recruitment process, Wahyu Susilo has campaigned for stronger regulations governing recruitment by employment agencies. The organization he started, Migrant Care, has documented thousands of Indonesian migrant workers who have disappeared overseas and lobbied the Government of Indonesia to locate them. His efforts have significantly raised national consciousness regarding the reality of human trafficking, especially after the "Nunukan tragedy" in 2002, when the deportation of some 350,000 undocumented migrant workers from Malaysia caused a humanitarian crisis in arrival. Due to the government's deficient response, at least 85 people died and thousands of others contracted diseases.

Read more about Wahyu Susilo.

Esohe Aghatise, Founding Director, IROKO Association, Italy/Nigeria
Activist Esohe Aghatise founded the NGO IROKO to provide assistance for women and girls trafficked to Italy from Nigeria. Trafficking survivors actively participate in the creation and implementation of programs and strategies for the community. Through Esohe's steady leadership, the IROKO Association provides assistance to women who have been trafficked and prostituted in Italy by providing transitional housing and child care, counseling, legal advocacy, immigration and economic assistance, vocational training, and employment placement. IROKO has initiated a new program in two senior high schools in Turin to combat the demand for prostitution. One point made in the curriculum is that male demand is a key factor in the promotion of sexual exploitation of women and girls. The program targets youth between the ages of 15 and 19. The IROKO Association will soon start a new program in Nigeria to assist trafficking victims returning home from European countries.

Read more about Esohe Aghatise.

Lydia Cacho Ribeiro, Author, Journalist, and Social Activist, Mexico
Lydia Cacho Ribeiro runs the Centro Integral de Atencion a la Mujer (the Integrated Service Center for Women) for sexual violence victims in Cancun. The center is considered one of the safest and most comprehensive facilities in the country, and it helps victims of human trafficking as well as sexual violence. She is one of the most vocal activists regarding the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children in Mexico, drawing considerable pressure and regular threats to cease her public advocacy for victims. Her book, The Demons of Eden: The Power Behind Pornography implicates Mexican businessmen in child pornography and child-sex tourism rings while tracing their connections to high-ranking government officials. Due to disclosures made in the book, Ms. Cacho was arrested in Cancun, driven 21 hours to Puebla by Mexican police and detained as a criminal on defamation and libel charges, until international outcry prompted her release on bail. Ms. Cacho fought the charges for more than a year until all were dropped in early 2007.

Read more about Lydia Cacho Ribeiro.

Yasmina Baddou, Secretary of State for Families, Children, and the Handicapped, Morocco
Yasmina Baddou is an indefatigable advocate for children's rights. She is dedicated to rescuing child laborers and child maids in Morocco and has brought to light the once taboo subject of children in domestic servitude. Ms. Baddou initiated Morocco's new Plan of Action to combat child labor to ensure that all children are protected from forced labor, and she launched rescue units to assist street children at risk of being exploited. A public awareness campaign aimed at sensitizing Moroccans to the dangers of employing child maids kicked off the Plan of Action. Although once widely accepted, more Moroccans now hesitate to employ children, which may deprive them of their education and normal development.

Read more about Yasmina Baddou.

In Memoriam
Mrs. Vipula Kadri

The global anti-trafficking in persons community lost a valuable ally and friend on April 24, 2007 with the passing of Mrs. Vipula Kadri. Vipula was the founder and National Director of Save the Children India, an organization charged with preventing the abuse and exploitation of children. In 2000, Save the Children India launched the "Save Our Sisters" initiative, which brought together representatives from government, law enforcement, civil society, Bollywood celebrities, media, and private industry to raise awareness about trafficking of women and girls into commercial sexual exploitation in India.

Vipula was passionate about ending trafficking in persons and worked tirelessly to develop community-based initiatives and expand education and vocational opportunities for the most vulnerable. Save the Children India collaborated with over 250 like-minded NGOs in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh to raise awareness, share information, and assist victims of trafficking. Vipula was innovative in partnering with corporations throughout India. In 2003, she worked with a large hotel chain (Taj Hotels) to implement a sensitization program to prevent sex tourism and trafficking. She partnered with Jet Airways on the Magic Box to collect spare change for at-risk and trafficked children. She has left an indelible mark on the global effort to eradicate modern-day slavery.