October 20, 2019
The Global Hope 365 was honored to attend the United Nations Association- Orange County (UNA-OC) Chapter’s United Nations 74th Anniversary Gala event on Saturday, October 19th in Costa Mesa. UNA-OC’s event was titled- "Human Life, No Price - Modern Slavery: A Crisis in Orange County" to shine a light on the human rights crisis of human trafficking in Orange County.
The Orange County Chapter of the United Nations Association, like all local chapters of the United Nations Association, is comprised of local leaders focused on global goals. “The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.” Sustainable Development Goal 8 is to “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all” and more specifically Target 8.7 is “Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms.”
SDG 8 and Target 8.7 are especially relevant in Orange County, California. “The OC” has a human trafficking problem. Human trafficking for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation is the third largest crime industry in the world, Traffickers are motivated by money and the OC is an affluent county. Traffickers transport victims from other geographical areas to the OC to increase their profits.
The panel discussion engaged the audience with “on the ground” accounts of the challenges professionals face in preventing human trafficking and attempting to both hold perpetrators accountable in the legal system and provide rehabilitation to victims. Paul Cheng of the US Department of Labor described the challenges of identifying and ending labor trafficking. Derek Marsh of the Global Center for Women and Justice, also a retired police officer, discussed the evolution of understanding the psychological complexities of the enslaved and the motivations of the criminal traffickers. Mr. Marsh spoke of the efforts we can all take in our personal lives to end sex trafficking such as respect for women in our every day lives. Linh Tran of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) focused on the need for prevention as the OCHTTF has firsthand knowledge of the trauma experienced by the victims. The trauma is deeply significant, and the victims have so many obstacles to overcome to live normal lives. Prevention is the key.
The messages resonated with Rima Nashashibi, Founder and President of Global Hope 365 and UNA-OC Board Member. Global Hope 365 advocates for stiffer penalties for traffickers including (1) increase the penalty of Human Traffickers from a felony to a violent felony and (2) increase the penalty of buyers of sex with a victim of human trafficking from a misdemeanor to a felony. In addition, Global Hope 365 supports the concept of a national registry for both the perpetrators and buyers of sex.