Welcome to the conversation!

Welcome to the conversation!

Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), made her the most famous American woman of the 19th century and galvanized the abolition movement before the Civil War.

The Stowe Center is a 21st-century museum and program center using Stowe's story to inspire social justice and positive change.

The Salons at Stowe programs are a forum to connect the challenging issues (race, gender and class) that impelled Stowe to write and act with the contemporary face of those same issues. The Salon format is based on a robust level of audience participation, with the explicit goal of promoting civic engagement. Recent topics included: Teaching Acceptance; Is Prison the New Slavery; Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North; Creativity and Change; Race, Gender and Politics Today; How to be an Advocate

This blog will expand the reach of these community conversations to the online audience. Add your posts and comments to keep the conversation going! Commit to action by clicking HERE to stay up to date on Salon and social justice news.

For updates on Stowe Center programs and events, sign up for our enews at http://harrietbeecherstowe.org/email.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Re-Abolishing Slavery: Information to Action

Check out our Action items taken right during the Salon! 

- Be a conscientious consumers: know what you are buying, where it comes from and demand changes if it is a product of slavery.
- Look critically at your surroundings; report anything suspicious.
- Domestically we need better services for victims.
- Work to get better international laws to protect victims and prosecute traffickers.
- Reduce the demand for services: educate young people that human trafficking is unacceptable.  
- Get involved: work to help victims; educate yourself and others; learn about the peoples lives that are touching your life.
- Support organizations that work to end poverty, support democratic processes.
- Participate in Free to Walk: March 19 2011 in Farmington, CT.
- Check out slavery map at NotForSale.Org
- Go to a "Not For Sale" Academy
- Become a Backyard Abolitionists for $28/month
- Support the Freedom Store: Do your holiday shopping by supporting goods made by survivors.
- Be passionate.
- Tell other people what you learned tonight.
- Host a screening for Friends and Family. 
- Create hygiene backpacks for victims and survivors.
- Support HR55-75 Bill
- Train Law Enforcement
- Make a commitment to become an abolitionist. 

Information and Ways YOU Can Take Action:

Additional Resources:

Borderland Comics.com

Change.org - Cause: End Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking.org

The International Institute of Connecticut, Inc.

Free to Work


Not For Sale Campaign

The Project to End Human Trafficking

United States Department of Health and Human Services

United States Department of State

Friday, November 19, 2010

Re-Abolishing Slavery

Kathleen Liner, Victim Specialist – FBI – Connecticut

The legal perspective:  The Trafficking Act of 2000 addresses human trafficking – a hidden and under-reported civil rights violation. Every state in the USA has had a least one case of trafficking. 

Karen and Steve, Not for Sale Campaign volunteers (Karen became involved with her daughter, who rescued two boys in Peru.)

Building community awareness is key to combating human trafficking.  NFS – a global organization - partners with law enforcement agencies. 

Be aware - notice possible warning signals - trafficked people are used to produce cheap goods.  For example: a t-shirt selling for less than $4.80 is likely made by an unpaid person.

Watch and get others to watch movies that expose the problem:

Trafficking in Souls, (1913)
The Dark Side of Chocolate (2010)

Audience discussion:

What does NFS do? 
 Advocates locally and nationally:
NFS website rates corporations that eliminate slavery in their supply chains. 
Information can be used by public to pressure businesses enslaving and exploiting people to  make money.  Hold these businesses responsible and getting them to change their practices.

What about sex trafficking? 
 What if someone runs away from home with the intent of selling themselves and someone helps them.  No one under 18 can agree to this so it falls under coercion  

Trafficking is a $32 billion industry. 

How do you know if products are produced without the use of trafficked /unpaid labor?

Look for the Fair Trade sticker. (Audience member reported that of the 60 chocolatiers at the NY Chocolate Show, (many from Cuba and Haiti) , none had that label! 

Google “fair trade” for more information about organizations that qualify for the designation.

Relationship between low wages/poverty and people forced into sex trade?

            People in poverty are at high risk for being victims of trafficking – either for sex or for labor (or both).  Parents have sold their child to an organization/person because they needed the money. 

Pimps force women into sex trafficking

Human Trafficking in CT on 95 corridor – woman (children and adults) are trafficked from CT to NJ.  (Overwhelmingly females.). 

CT Anti-trafficking law of 2004.  Someone does not need to be trafficked over the border.  Things happen all the time over the internet: craigslist and many other sites.   

Air travel:
Airlines need to educate personnel to be more aware of trafficking. 

Tips for Awareness:
            Look critically at your surroundings. 
Take off your blinders!
We are all powerful and can make a difference. 
Be aware of workers at cleaning services, landscaping, agricultural, casinos, housekeeping, nail salons, strip clubs and massage parlors.

Is organize crime involved?
Depends, could be a “corporation” or a “family”
Pimps can use women are used to keep other women in control and/or to “recruit.”. 

What services does the FBI offer to victims? 
            Victim needs assessment (health, medical, basic needs. Life expectancy of a trafficked young woman     
             is seven years.)  

What other organizations are engaged in this issue?
International Institute (CT-based) helps foreign born victims. 

Paul and Lisa Program – and organization to work with victims.  

What about the schools? 
US Department of Education has a fact sheet out about trafficking.
Schools do not include it in their curriculum.  Organizations have to find a way into the school system. 

How much money is made in trafficking?
$32 billion, projected profits world wide. 
One of the fastest growing criminal industries after drug and gun trafficking. 
CT and Chicago see a lot of domestic trafficking.  Texas, Florida see a lot of labor trafficking. 

What is needed?
            Better victim services, broader education and community awareness, and reporting. 
Support businesses in other countries that support their communities. 

United Nations set up a trust fund for trafficked victims. 

Understand that victims are not at fault.

            Work with organizations that support an end to poverty. 

Report! A runaway has about 48 hours before being subject to being trafficked.


HR 5575: federal legislation to increase law enforcement specific to domestic violence and sex trafficking. 

CT State bill:  2007 anti trafficking law.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Featured Guest Bios: Re-Abolishing Slavery

Where does modern-day slavery exist?  What allows one person to “own” and control another?  How do we recognize it and more importantly, how do we stop it? 

This week’s Salons at Stowe featured guests:

Karen Herbert
Co-State Director, “Not For Sale” Campaign

Karen became aware of “Not For Sale” when she visited her daughter in Peru and was shocked at what she saw and the stories she heard. Deciding that something needed to be done, Karen began a ‘Freedom Store’ in her clothing boutique which allows her to talk about “Not For Sale” and give a voice to the voiceless. In 2009, she attending the Global Forum and became passionate to learn and teach others about how they can be a resource to end slavery in our time.

Kathleen Liner
Victim Specialist, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Ms. Liner is responsible for direct services and on-going support to all federal crime victims identified in FBI investigations in Connecticut with priority to crimes against children, violent crimes, and civil rights matters.  Ms. Liner serves on the FBI Human Trafficking Working Group, the Innocence Lost National Initiative, federal task force, and a local coalition to represent and support federal law enforcement in their ongoing efforts to investigate, combat and prevent Trafficking in Persons (TIP).  She has provided training on the global and individual effects of TIP to a variety of local, national and international groups and organizations.

Steve Ferraro
Co-State Director, “Not For Sale” Campaign

Steve is currently a Director of Engineering for a privately owned manufacturer.  During his career he has learned many strategies for creating training materials and training diverse groups of employees. Steve hopes to use these talents to the best of his abilities to further the message of “Not For Sale” in his community and in his state working along side Co-State Director Karen Herbert. Long term Steve would like to find a second career working at fair trade and supply chain compliance.