22.May.2010

501(c)(3) Paperwork

I submitted paperwork to the IRS requesting that we be designated a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. This designation does not affect our ability to operate, but allows any contributions to our organization to be tax deductible.

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15.May.2010

Cumbre Immigration Conference

Jasney and I attended the Cumbre  (Summit) 2010 Conference, which was co-sponsored by the Office of Latino/Latin American Studies (OLLAS) from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. It was entitled Human Mobility, the Promise of Development and Political Participation. Jasney presented her research in a presentation entitled “Colombian Fiancées, International Marriage Brokers and the Migration Industry.” There were several other interesting presentations, but perhaps the notion most pertinent to trafficking was one discussed indirectly at several of the presentations: the idea of marginalization of immigrants. While this conference dealt with immigration to the U.S., the treatment of undocumented people around the world is similar. They are frequently stripped of their human rights, presumed guilty and driven underground. Combine a lack of documentation with the marginalization of women in general and sex workers (willing or not) specifically and a trafficking victim’s fear of reprisal and you have a perfect storm of vulnerability. Only by treating immigrants of all stripes as human first and a category on a form second can we hope to offer these people any hope.

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23.Apr.2010

Corporación Espacios de Mujer

I met with Betty Pedrazo and her staff at Corporación Espacios de Mujer in Medellin, Colombia. We spent part of the day discussing our respective organizations.  Espacios works with prostitutes on rights education, empowerment and employment alternatives. I had previously spoken about the possibility of our partnering on the production of a public service type video. It was good to hear that they had experience with women reaching a “decision point,” a crossroads at which they have a choice to enter or not enter into prostitution, since that was one of the concepts we were planning on highlighting in the videos. At the end of our time together, they agreed to work with us! They offered to identify women interested in giving testimonials as to their experience and their help will be invaluable in securing actors, locations, etc. They are tied up for several months, but this will give us time to draft the scripts, gather equipment, etc.

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03.Apr.2010

UN.GIFT Application

I submitted an application to the UN.GIFT (the UN’s Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking) Call for Project Proposals for our video project (described in more detail under Current Projects). This grant is offered by the United Nations “[i]n order to support CSOs [Community Service Organizations] in their counter-trafficking activities.” However, since one of their criteria is that “[t]he organization must have been established before 01 January 2008,” I’m not too optimistic, but it is certainly worth trying for and was at least an excellent exercise in precisely defining the scope and budget of the project.

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