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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Hyperlocal Humanitarian

Whitney Houston once said that children are the future. Although cliché sounding, many would agree that it is our children who will become scientists, inventors, policy makers, world leaders and educators. In light of this fact, I am pleasantly surprised to say that Congress seems to have gotten something right. With all the political bickering common in American politics, it is nice to see that we are finally thinking ahead and aiming to protect our most precious resource, our children. So just what is it that Congress has proposed in respects to our children? Allow me to introduce S 3183, the Child Protection Compact Act of 2010.

S3183 was originally introduced in the House by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) in June of 2010. This legislation, if passed, will essentially allow the Secretary of State to monitor and combat trafficking of persons by providing grants, cooperative agreements and child protection contracts to eligible countries with high prevalence rates of child trafficking. To qualify for this assistance, the country must prove eligible by demonstrating a commitment to address the global problem of child trafficking, to ensure the enforcement of existing laws and to support policies and program aimed at eradicating child trafficking.

The thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution officially abolished slavery in 1865, therefore it is hard to imagine that slavery still exists today. On June 16, 2009, Secretary Clinton, speaking about the ninth annual Trafficking in Persons Report,is quoted as saying, “The human trafficking phenomenon affects virtually every country, including the United States. In acknowledging America’s own struggle with modern-day slavery and slavery-related practices, we offer partnership. We call on every government to join us in working to build consensus and leverage resources to eliminate all forms of human trafficking.” It is refreshing to know that our government can admit to wrong doing but even more uplifting that it desires to rectify and prevent such harms.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Kaya Children Internationalfounder, Dr. Chi Huang here at UMass Boston. Dr. Huang discussed the problem of street children in the United States and abroad. His book, When Invisible Children Sing, is a moving portrayal of his work in Bolivia and it is told through the eyes of the children he encountered and treated there. Sadly, there are millions of children around the world who are forced into labor, sexual exploitation or armed conflict. In fact, The International Labor Organization estimates that there are currently 12.3 million adults and children who are engaged in forced labor, commercial sexual servitude and bonded labor.

Childhood should be a time of innocence, learning and play but unfortunately, millions of children are made to endure unimaginable suffering and the number of exploited children grows daily. It is my hope that this bill passes because children all over the world are counting on us to protect them. Current non-government organizations who have endorsed this bill include the International Justice Mission, World Vision, Polaris Project, Equality Now, The SOLD Project, Amnesty International USA, Sojourners, Freedom House and Not For Sale.