Task Force on Human Trafficking Site Launches

Today Matzat & ATZUM launched the website for Task Force on Human Trafficking (TFHT), an organization seeking to end human trafficking in Israel. The launch corresponds to an event being held at this very moment in Tel Aviv to raise public awareness of this grave issue.
I implore you to visit the site, sign their petition, and learn about steps you can take to put an end to this awful practice.

The homiletical explanation of the Talmud Yerushalmi Rosh Hashana on the sentence “and He commanded the Jewish people” is that He commanded that they release their own slaves. This is deduced from Jeremiah (34.13):
“Thus says the Lord, I made a covenant with your Fathers on the day I took them out from the Land of Egypt, from the house of bondage saying at the end of seven years each person shall release his Hebrew slave.”
The Rabbis explain that the meaning of the phrase “On the day that I took you out” indicates that this command to release slaves was given in Egypt before the receiving of the Torah.
Thus the sentence “and He commanded the Jewish people and Pharoh King of Egypt to release the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt” is explained as referring to the Jewish people as well.

Help us call on Israel to fulfill this primary obligation. Visit TFHT.org today!

9 thoughts on “Task Force on Human Trafficking Site Launches

  1. On October 30th, in New York, the national U.S. group `Jewish Council for Public Affairs’ received a powerful briefing from the Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons to the U.S. State Department’s Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs.
    Her remarks are online at http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls… and summarized below:
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~
    Trafficking in Persons: A Global Challenge
    Dr. Lederer framed the human trafficking issue as one that has been defined by both the U.S. President and Congress as a “vital human rights issue.” The U.S. State Department has made it a priority to collaborate with interested organizations to address human trafficking. Until recently, the government was largely unaware of the trafficking problem. Today, many actions have taken place due to this awareness. For example, today trafficked human beings are more likely to be treated as victims, rather than criminals, which was likely in the past.
    The U.S. Department of Justice reports that human beings are trafficked in almost every state. The annual total amounts to 600,000-800,000 nationally, and tens of millions worldwide. The majority of trafficking is for sexual exploit, with forced labor as the second most prevalent rationale for human trafficking.
    The State Department has classified countries into three categories according to their role in human trafficking, of which it is possible for states to hold more than one of the classifications: destination countries, countries of origin, and transit countries.
    Dr. Lederer pointed to the Trafficked Victims Protection Act (TVPA), passed in 2000, as paradigm legislation for other countries. TVPA contains elements that: defines individuals involved in the trafficking process in every stage, increases penalties for those that traffic human beings, includes measures to treat victims of trafficking compassionately and appropriates $250 million for the act’s implementation. The President’s Interagency on Human Trafficking, a cabinet level task force chaired by the Secretary of State, was established. The taskforce publishes an annual report that assesses states’ progress on combating human trafficking and rates every country based on that progress. States that receive superior reports are eligible for monetary U.S. support, while those that fall below the level of acceptability may lose their trade status with the U.S.
    The State Department currently focuses on addressing countries of human trafficking destination. The goal is to decipher the cause for demand and ways to respond. Dr. Lederer described three methods the State Department is weighing to combat human trafficking:
    1. Creating new social programs designed to educate boys and men on the inequity of buying sex;
    2. Establish “john schools” that act as an educational resource for first time offenders; and,
    3. Creating a human trafficking prevention campaign, making it a public and private health issue.
    Another presenter, New York Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, explained how state legislation has addressed this issue. State legislation could provide important tools to state and local law enforcement to combat trafficking. The Assemblyman wrote legislation on the matter earlier this year that will be brought to the state assembly in the near future. The legislation emphasizes both sex and labor trafficking. In addition, Dinowitz explained that the legislation also focuses on sex tourism and defines New York firms that promote sex tourism as offenders of human trafficking. A companion bill will be introduced that details assistance to trafficked victims. Additionally, he finds that legislation should have an emphasis on those that profit from trafficking in every stage of the trafficking process.
    In the question and answer session, Dr. Lederer urged that proactive law enforcement can play a substantive role in combating human trafficking. Specifically, multi-disciplinary law enforcement task forces—linking federal, state, local and community law enforcement—is already intact in 27 cities, with plans to implement this model in another twenty.
    Dr. Lederer recounted that Israel received a tier 3 ranking in the first year of the President’s Interagency on Human Trafficking. However, after working closely with the U.S., Israel has improved its ranking to a tier 1 country.

  2. What kind of guy is Mobius, anyway? Well, for one, he’s the kind of guy who tries to ban people that disagree with him from his boards. So much for his much-flaunted Anarchism. He seems to resort to some pretty fascist tactics as he sees fit. Trying to ban free-speech, lemonsucker? Mobius the Lemonsucker cannot stop me.
    Suck those lemons Il Duce Lemonsucker. Suck suck suck.

  3. Dan,
    Thank you so much for posting our site. We are extremely grateful for the hours and hours or work you put in. Your overhwleming commitment to this cause is remarkable. Thank you!
    Just a correction- Arieh is mistaken. In the June 2005 US State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, Israel was given a Tier 2 ranking. Israel is making some significant efforts to control human trafficking within its borders, but not doing everything within its power to stop it. That’s why it’s important to take action to help Israel put an end to this atrocious phenomenon. Please visit our site for more information. Thanks.

  4. I’m one of those lurking jewschool readers who never says anything, but just wanted to make a small point – I signed the petition, but it seemed to me that the presentation of the issue was a bit evasive, at best – the info about trafficking in israel repeatedly referred to bedoins who smuggle women across the desert and “nationals of the FSU” who sell the women in the first place, but the site implicates Israelis only in a very veiled way. At one point in the FAQ they refer obliquely to “men from all backgrounds, ethnicities, and ages” who are the “clients” of these women (or their owners), but this is far from direct. Readers come away from the site feeling that Bedoins and former Soviet nationals are somehow pulling the wool over Israelis’ eyes, trafficking in women in Israel with minimal Israeli involvement. It would seem that organizations who are doing such crucial work could, at least, be fully honest about who is to blame.

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