Meet Emma – An Abolitionist Community Inspiration

On a quiet night in Halifax, Virginia, Emma Smiley hosted a benefit for Abolition International that raised over $7,000. Last year, she raised over $3,000 through bake sales, yard sales, and selling handmade scrubbies. Through prayer and petition, Emma has made an incredible impact on Abolition International and thus, so many lives we are working to save. Oh, and Emma is only 13 years old.


This bold young girl heard about the plight of so many other girls her age imprisoned by sex slavery and was convicted to do anything she could to help. Recently, her parents helped her organize a dinner and silent auction for their community. They invited friends, church members, and family and hoped for a good turnout. To their surprise, the majority of people that attended were strangers. Emma and her parents prayed and believed that God would work through them and this event to reach people who would be willing to give. And so He did.

Emma sharing at her benefit dinner for Abolition International

There is something special about this girl’s heart. She has a willingness to serve, and her courage to speak on behalf of the girls whose voices have been silenced by slavery is truly heartening. Her words and her dedication to this cause are so inspiring, and Abolition is incredibly grateful for her and her community’s contribution.

It doesn’t matter where you live, what you do, or how old you are, you can make an impact. You can help bring freedom to the lives of so many if only you take initiative. Emma’s faith knew no limits. God’s love knows no limits. There is a great need and you, like Emma, can provide hope and a chance for a better life for those who so desperately need freedom. Join the Abolitionist Community.

Celebrity Birdhouse Auction Starts Today!


In partnership with Free the Birds, the Celebrity Birdhouse Auction for Abolition International supports quality aftercare for women and children rescued from sex trafficking in the United States. Each birdhouse up for auction has been hand painted by artists Paramore, Nicole Kidman, Amy Grant, The Fray, Grace PotterAnberlin / Paper Route and Ingrid Michaelson in support of freedom!

Amy Grant’s birdhouse is the first up for auction and starts today at 4PM PST  / 7PM EST


Training healthcare professionals on how to identify and care for victims of human trafficking

In 2011, volunteers within the Christian Medical Dental Association who are passionate about fighting human trafficking became increasingly aware of the need for in-depth comprehensive training materials for healthcare professionals purposed to identify and treat victims of human trafficking. Abolition International’s Dr. Jeff Barrows (VP of Education and Advocacy and Director of the Abolition International Shelter Association) and Dr. Katherine Welch (Advisor to the Abolition International Shelter Association) were among the members of this volunteer group. Working as a team, in association with the Christian Medical Dental Association, a plan was developed to create a series of educational modules that would be placed online and available to continue education for physicians and dentists in learning how to identify and care for victims of human trafficking.

Led by Dr. Jeff Barrows,  Dr. Katherine Welch, Dr. Gloria Halverson, Dr. Clydette Powell, and Ruth Downing, MSN, the educational series was completed and consists of the following 11 modules. Currently, these are the only trafficking educational modules available for continuing medical education credit (CME).

1.     Introduction to domestic trafficking within the U.S.
2.     Introduction to international trafficking
3.     The physical health consequences of human trafficking
4.     The mental health consequences of human trafficking
5.     The identification and medical evaluation of labor trafficking victims
6.     The identification and medical evaluation of sex trafficking victims
7.     Identification and treatment of long term health consequences
8.     Multidisciplinary care of the trafficked person
9.     The healthcare professional’s role beyond the clinic setting
10.   The spiritual basis for a response to human trafficking
11.   Caring for victims in low resource settings

It is available online at no cost (a small fee is added if taken for continuing education credit) at this address:

Abolition’s Founder Natalie Grant Will Be Awarded the 2012 Bishop Ketteler Award


The Sisters of Divine Providence are proud and pleased to announce Natalie Grant as the recipient of the 2012 Bishop Ketteler Award for Social Justice, for her passionate commitment to fighting the atrocities of human trafficking and the child sex trade, her dedication to living out her faith, and her commitment to “making God’s Providence more visible in our world.”
The award will be presented to Natalie on Oct 23rd, 2012 at the special event, An Evening with Natalie Grant. Click here to learn more about the event.



Two to be tried for sex trafficking in Russia

Source: UPI

AMURSK, Russia, Jan. 31- Two residents of Amursk, Russia, suspected of selling young women into sexual slavery, will stand trial, officials say.

Investigators tell ITAR-Tass the suspects recruited and sold 51 young women into slavery abroad. Initially, they were promised jobs as dancers and waitresses, comfortable accomodations and high salaries. They were taken to nightclubs in Israel, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, South Korea and China. Once abroad, their passports were taken from them and they were forced into prostitution, investigators said.

Suspects were paid about $1,000 for every girl they smuggled abroad.

Russia’s Far Eastern Federal District Police, in collaboration with Greek law-enforcement agencies, freed victims in Athens. In a special operation, 10 strip clubs were shut down, more than 180 people arraigned and 19 members of criminal organizations arrested.

40 Arrested in Internet Child Sex Operation

Source: My Fox Orlando

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) – Following a week long undercover operation, 40 people, including a head swim coach, a professional golfer on the Senior PGA Tour, an eighth grade teacher, business professionals and consultants and eight college students, have been arrested and charged with soliciting sex from a child via the Internet and other sex and drug related crimes.

Led by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Operation Red Cheeks was conducted January 8-16, 2012, in conjunction with detectives, officers and special agents of the Central Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement worked with Citrus, Lake, Orange, Sumter, Polk, Hardee and Manatee County Sheriff’s Offices and Ocoee, Kissimmee, Sanford, Orlando, Longwood and Casselberry Police Departments. During the operation, undercover detectives from the agencies listed, posed as juveniles or the parent or guardian of a juvenile to talk with individuals in chat rooms and instant messaging programs on the Internet. Suspects would travel to an undercover house or secondary meeting location located in Osceola County with the purpose of having sex with a child. During the chats, some of the suspects sent pornographic images to the undercover detectives and they also brought alcohol, drugs and other items to the meeting. One suspect traveled from Georgia and another was on vacation from Alaska, but most were from cities in Florida. All the suspects were arrested in Osceola County.


Cab drivers enlisted to combat sex-trafficking at the Super Bowl

Source: News and Tribune

Training is part of plan to show hospitality


INDIANAPOLIS — Hundreds of Indianapolis cab drivers being trained in how to show Hoosier hospitality for soon-to-arrive Super Bowl fans are also learning how to recognize sex workers brought in for the event.

The cab drivers are part of a larger group of hotel, restaurant and other service workers in Indianapolis being asked to help identify potential victims of the commercial sex-trafficking industry.

Driving the effort is the National Football League championship game that will be played in Indianapolis on Feb. 5, and all the alcohol- and sex-infused parties and events that transform the game into a week-long spectacle. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has said the Super Bowl is the largest sex-trafficking event in the nation.

In recent weeks, more than 700 cab drivers have taken part in the “Super Service” hospitality training offered by staff and volunteers with the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee. It includes a session on sex-trafficking and the fast-tracked legislation aimed at cracking down on the crime.


Obama Declares Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Source: USA Today

President Obama is declaring January to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

“We stand with all those who are held in compelled service,” Obama wrote in a proclamation issued today. “We recognize the people, organizations and government entities that are working to combat human trafficking; and we recommit to bringing an end to this inexcusable human rights abuse.”

Obama wrote that “trafficking networks operate both domestically and trans-nationally, and although abuses disproportionally affect women and girls, the victims of this ongoing global tragedy are men, women and children of all ages.”

In declaring National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, Obama noted that Jan. 1 is the 148th anniversary of the effective date of the Emancipation Proclamation.


Times Square Candlelight Vigil for Homeless Youth

With Special Guest: Natalie Grant

Abolition International is partnering with Covenant House for a Candlelight Vigil for Homeless Youth. Covenant House is an organization that provides food, shelter, and 24/7 crisis care and services to homeless kids. The vigil in Times Square will feature Natalie Grant, who will be performing, followed by a powerful candlelight ceremony. Together, Covenant House and Abolition International will raise awareness about youth homelessness and the trafficking of homeless youth today.

The vigil will also feature homeless youth from Covenant House, who will share stories of their journey through homelessness to independence. Following the vigil, Covenant House will host the CEO Solidarity Sleepout on the concrete near the shelter at 460 West 41st Street, with numerous CEOs and business leaders hoping to improve this corner of the world.

How you can help: Join us in Times Square on November 17 at 6:00 PM, and help us spread the word.

CNN Report: Inside a Forced Prostitution Raid

Source: The CNN Freedom Project

Undercover police are on the front lines of the fight against human trafficking and the Freedom Project has accompanied several agencies that have given CNN unprecedented access to ongoing investigations.

This week the spotlight is on Mossos d’Esquadra – the human trafficking unit in the Catalonia region of Spain. A few months ago, CNN showed how the unit solved one of Europe’s largest forced labor cases. This time, CNN takes a look another major investigation into Chinese prostitution in the region.

In part 1 of the video series (above), CNN examines the background of the case and how it came to the attention of the Mossos d’Esquadra.

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