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Mujeres Unidas y Activas to Participate as One of the Leaders of the 2016 Beyond Survival Anti-Trafficking Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 14, 2015

 

Media Contact: Karina Muñiz, Political Director

e: karina@mujeresunidas.net

c: 213.308.0715

Mujeres Unidas y Activas to Participate as One of the Leaders of the 2016 Beyond Survival Anti-Trafficking Campaign

San Francisco, CA – To mark this year’s National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA) – a Latina immigrant and worker rights organization in the San Francisco Bay Area — and the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), a network of organizations that represent nannies, housecleaners, and care workers across the U.S., announce the growth of its Beyond Survival anti-trafficking campaign. Since 2013, Beyond Survival has focused on shifting the narrative around human trafficking and building the capacity of domestic worker survivors to lead the anti-trafficking movement. In 2016, Beyond Survival will expand the demographic and geographic diversity of its work and further anti-trafficking awareness by doubling the number of organizations anchoring the campaign, launching its inaugural Beyond Survival Fund as an emergency source of funding that directly supports survivors, and expanding its 2016 policy agenda.

The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 21 million trafficking survivors globally.[1] News headlines, like the one of a Saudi diplomat accused of raping two Nepali domestic workers in India, highlight the prevalence of a multibillion dollar industry that violates basic human rights and impacts domestic workers across the globe.[2] For domestic workers, many of whom are immigrant women not protected under fair labor laws, labor trafficking exists on a continuum of vulnerability in the care sector, which is one of the fastest growing in the U.S. Although different forms of trafficking can overlap (e.g. sex and labor trafficking), domestic worker trafficking deserves more resources and focused attention that humanizes survivors.[3]

“When we think about trafficking, we need to understand not just the ways that traffickers snare people, but the broader situations that make workers vulnerable, and push them to migrate—domestic violence, poverty caused by global inequality, the violence of civil war and its aftermath. Our approach to solving the problem must involve basic workers’ rights, women’s rights, and immigrants’ rights, and solutions shaped by workers and trafficking survivors themselves,” said Claudia Reyes, lead organizer for workers rights at MUA.

“Eradicating domestic worker trafficking means that efforts need to be led by survivors, who are the true experts on meaningful solutions, and courageously speak out to inspire other workers trapped in abusive and exploitative situations,” said Sameera Hafiz, the Advocacy Director at NDWA. “We are thrilled that Beyond Survival will now be powered by six organizations from around the country with expertise in organizing state campaigns to win protections for domestic workers, holding diplomats who engage in human trafficking accountable, and educating workers about their rights before they migrate to the U.S.”

In addition to being anchored by Adhikaar, CASA, and Damayan, Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA) is one of the new anchors of the Beyond Survival campaign along with the Labor Justice Committee, and MataHari. Each of our organizations employs creative tactics in combating trafficking for different communities and geographic regions of the country, while organizing domestic workers to be leaders and policy advocates. For example, Adhikaar was one of the organizations instrumental in exposing the rampant exploitation of New York’s nail salon industry, which lead to the launch of the New York City Task Force on Worker Exploitation. While the Labor Justice Committee, through its focus on wage theft experienced by domestic workers at the U.S.-Mexico border, has also been identifying survivors of labor and human trafficking. And MUA led the campaign and wage theft victory for a member leader and trafficking survivor who lived in isolation and exploitation in San Francisco for over twenty years. http://reimaginerpe.org/20-2b/Muniz-Reyes

Beyond Survival’s 2016 policy agenda will focus on establishing more protections and protocols that would aid in eradicating human trafficking. These include: 1) urging the government and legislators to collaborate with survivors and workers in developing anti-trafficking solutions, 2) creating greater accountability for traffickers, 3) increasing protections and resources, such as legal immigration needs, for survivors of domestic worker trafficking, and 4) building self-sustainability and advocacy capacity of survivors.

January also marks the launch of the Beyond Survival Fund, an emergency fund for domestic worker survivors of trafficking within NDWA’s membership. This fund will provide urgent relief to help survivors rebuild their lives and will be powered by grassroots donations.  The fund will cover the costs of survival and the work that goes beyond survival – building resilience, dignity and lasting change through leadership and organizing.

Beyond Survival is campaign of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Since 2013, Beyond Survival has organized domestic workers to end human trafficking, while building the voices of survivors to lead the anti-trafficking movement. To learn more about the campaign please visit http://www.domesticworkers.org/beyondsurvival.

To learn about the Beyond Survival Fund and make a donation please visit: http://www.domesticworkers.org/news/2016/announcing-the-beyond-survival-fund

 

About Beyond Survival Anchor Organizations:

Adhikaar

Adhikaar’s mission is to support to domestic worker trafficking survivors includes providing emotional support; filing lawsuits for unpaid wages and damages; assisting them to access benefits; and building leadership of domestic workers who have survived trafficking to shape the solutions. Adhikaar’s campaign to end trafficking of domestic workers has strengthened as more people in the community learn about trafficking, and more domestic workers in abusive situations come forward to fight for their rights and speak out to engage and inspire other workers. We have already had numerous victories. We have successfully recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars of stolen wages on behalf of trafficking survivors and seen our members heal and become bolder.

CASA

CASA is the DC-area’s largest immigrant advocacy organization and aids tens of thousands of immigrant families each year with services like English classes, health services, job training and placement, citizenship assistance, and free legal consultations. CASA has also been a major force nationally in the campaign to protect President Obama’s executive order on immigration. Locally, CASA is mobilizing to raise the minimum wage and improve protections for immigrant workers. CASA’s anti-trafficking work focuses on live-in domestic workers, primarily those employed by embassies and international organizations in the Washington, DC region. The leadership of CASA’s Women’s Committee is comprised of a core group of women who are or have been employed as domestic workers, and who have completed extensive leadership training, qualifying them to best reach out to other workers to educate them about their rights and identify cases of abuse.

Damayan

Damayan is a grassroots organization based in New York and New Jersey of and for Filipino im/migrant workers and led by Filipino women domestic workers. Damayan’s mission is to educate, organize and mobilize low wage Filipino workers to fight for their labor, health, gender and im/migration rights; to contribute to the building of the domestic workers movement for fair labor standards, dignity and justice; and to build workers’ power and solidarity towards justice and liberation. In November 2011, Damayan launched its flagship campaign, “BAKLAS” (meaning to dismantle and break free) against the labor trafficking and modern slavery of Filipino workers.

Labor Justice Committee

The Labor Justice Committee (Comité de Justicia Laboral) is a grassroots organization started during the summer of 2009 to combat the rampant wage theft in El Paso, Texas. The Committee educates individuals on their labor rights and supports its members in the fight to recoup lost wages.Many of the Labor Justice Committee members are domestic workers, who due to El Paso’s proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, are also victims of labor or human trafficking. The Committee’s work against wage theft helps identify domestic workers who have also been victims of labor or human trafficking and connect individuals with the resources they need.

MataHari

MataHari: Eye of the Day is a Greater Boston organization of women of color, immigrant women and families who organize as sisters, workers, and survivors for personal and societal transformation, justice and human rights. MataHari’s Mission is to end gender based violence and exploitation. MataHari was founded in 2002 with the mission of creating community solutions to prevent and end human trafficking, family violence and sexual and labor exploitation. Since then, MataHari has focused its work on addressing the root causes of violence against women of color, recognizing that it requires a fundamental shift in power relations that could only be realized through grassroots organizing and collective action

Mujeres Unidas y Activas

Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA) is a grassroots organization of Latina immigrant women with a double mission of promoting personal transformation and building community power for social and economic justice. MUA creates a multi-layered program that meets Latina immigrants where we are, addressing basic needs and dismantling the barriers – low self-esteem, domestic violence, and economic hardship — that could easily prevent us from recognizing our own potential to make change. Since 2012, MUA has been part of the Anti-Trafficking Collaborative (ATC) of the Bay Area, taking on cases that focus on range from sex trafficking to labor exploitation with a strong focus on Latina immigrant domestic workers who are victims of trafficking.

 

 

[1] 9.1 million of whom are migrants or immigrants and 68% of trafficking cases focus on labor trafficking including domestic work.

[2] While no exact numbers exist on the prevalence of domestic worker trafficking in the U.S., smaller studies show that it is one of the most common forms of labor trafficking.

[3] Learn more in this openDemocracy article by Ai-jen Poo, the Executive Director at NDWA.