Campaigner: We can see the finish line
April 15th, 2013
10:20 AM ET

Campaigner: We can see the finish line

By Jesse Eaves Senior Policy Adviser for Child Protection, World Vision

Advocates are dynamic voices for change. Those voices often have a simple beginning. Two years ago, if 13-year-old Ravi was told that he would become a leading advocate against child labor in India, he would have taken that statement the same way that people treated him  - “as a joke.”

When his father fell ill when he was 8 years old, Ravi was forced to quit school and work to pay off his family’s never-ending debts.  For two years Ravi toiled in a small shack making wire brushes to clean machine parts in the city of Kanpur, India.

It was not the life he wanted to lead. However, Ravi’s life took a turn at age 10 when a social worker for World Vision found Ravi on the streets and got him out of forced labor and back into school.

Now at 13, Ravi wants to prevent his peers from being forced into a life of slavery and is a leading advocate for stronger child labor laws in India.

He has been personally responsible for freeing at least five other children from slavery situations similar to his own. He rose from the ashes of his experience to use his voice as a powerful tool to rescue others. No matter the obstacles he faces, he keeps working for a brighter future for children in India.

The fight against human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery, is not an easy one. There are good days and there are bad days. When President Barack Obama signed into law the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) as part of the Violence Against Women Act on March 7, the U.S. had a really good day. It was a long-awaited day brought about entirely by the power of people’s voices.

For nearly two years, thousands of passionate advocates around the U.S. pushed tirelessly for the passage of the TVPRA - the centerpiece for all U.S. anti-human trafficking laws.

I had no idea how we would get the TVPRA across the finish line, but stories like Ravi’s kept me in the fight; and then in February it happened.

When the advocates got loud, Congress jumped into action. Their voices allowed the most powerful country in the world to reclaim its position as a global leader in combatting slavery around the world and within its own borders.

But the fight is not over. The law is renewed with the president’s signature but now comes the next step: turning that signature into action.

This week the president released his budget request for next year.  It’s definitely a mixed bag.  The Administration is literally putting its money where its mouth is.  It’s now up to Congress to see this goal become a reality.

Right now Congress is deciding where limited amounts of money should go and debating what federal programs will get funded and which ones will get cut. They need to hear again from those same strong advocates that funding the provisions of the TVPRA is critical to the success of the law.

It’s hard to talk about money, but when it comes to implementing our laws against modern-day slavery, money saves lives.

During these times of fiscal restraint, it’s important to point out that what we’re asking for is not new spending. We believe in a responsible federal budget but do not believe cuts should be made on the backs of the most vulnerable, especially when the amounts are so small.

According to the International Labor Organization, human traffickers bring in at least $32 billion a year.  U.S. government funding to fight international and domestic modern-day slavery accounts for only 0.003% of the federal budget. This week the president released his annual budget.  The U.S. is currently spending 10 cents for every $32 a human trafficker earns.  That small amount goes a long way.  It should be protected.

These small but vital amounts of money help support services for trafficking survivors, strengthen law enforcement and prosecution of traffickers, and fund prevention programs both domestically and internationally.

The limited amount that goes to fund the U.S. fight against modern-day slavery is critical and will ensure that the gains that have been made through the passage of the TVPRA are sustained.

The renewal of the TVPRA proved the power of our voices.

In the Senate, the final vote was 93-5 in favor of the law. The yes votes included some of the most fiscally conservative members of the Senate.

Take two minutes out of your day and call or email both Senators and your Congressman.  Thank them for passing the law and then ask them to support funding to implement the law.

We have the momentum and we can see the finish line.  With the power of your voice, you can elevate voices like Ravi’s and work to ensure there are many good days ahead in the global fight against modern day slavery.

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Topics: Government • How to Help • Uncategorized

soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Matt

    Very nice article... too bad it is utterly inaccesible via CNN's mobile site. However, if you'd like to know something about, and share, Justin Bieber's latest trip to Amsterdam, or JZ and Byonce's latest trip to Cuba, you won't be able to get away from that coverage.

    Want to end Modern Day Slavery? Fix the Media first.

    April 15, 2013 at 11:32 am | Reply
    • Sri

      Very well said

      April 16, 2013 at 1:33 am | Reply
  2. Meth

    This is the country (India) that tries to teach regional countries of Human Rights.

    April 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Reply
    • RAO

      THAT KIND OF BLANKET STATEMENT ONLY GOES TO PROVE YOUR BIAS AND NOTHING ELSE. REMEMBER THAT EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS RELATIVE.

      April 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Reply
      • JBS

        That's a rather absolute statement.

        April 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Guest

      You really are on meth.

      April 15, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Reply
    • Mustapha Kamal

      http://www.indiatribune.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2105&Itemid=524

      April 16, 2013 at 2:00 am | Reply
    • brijesh

      compare India with regional countries you will come to know , India is far better in terms of human rights ,

      April 16, 2013 at 4:57 am | Reply
  3. Bryan

    India truly is a mess. It seems the British left a little too early. I can't believe is mentioned in the same breathe with China. My girlfriend is from Shanghai, and having traveled there several times, it's clear China is a developed country.

    April 15, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Reply
    • Ganesh

      Bryan, It is sad you are commenting about India's situation and comparing it with China. Both the situations are incomparable. China has suddenly grown, out of proportion, because, most sadly Western Countries became lazy and did not want to work anymore. China's development is temporary. Its inequalities are glaring. It is using its huge manpower and pays them peanuts to produce goods in a massive scale, to be sold in Western countries very cheap. This is NOT GOING TO LAST LONG. Your comments about India is very sad and borne out of lack of knowledge – like how Oprah Winfrey went to India to shoot an episode for her faltering Television network and specifically went to a slum to interview a girl and "OFFERED' the little girl an AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP!!!!!! The intelligent, though poor, girl proudly refused!!! That is the greatness of India. Greatness does not lie in living luxuriously, least bothering about what happens to the environment or to the future. Greatness lies in living along with the nature; within own's resources; not grabbing the resources wherever they are available. Lastly, nobody said India is great; nobody even said India is greater than China. YOU IMAGINED it looking and interacting with the miniscule of not-so-matured young computer professionals from India. You think that these young and Western-style liking youngsters are what makes up of India. Fortunately, they are not. They are a few thousands in a country of about 1200 millions.

      April 15, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Reply
    • Ganesh

      Bryan, It is sad you are commenting about India's situation and comparing it with China. Both the situations are incomparable. China has suddenly grown, out of proportion, because, most sadly Western Countries became lazy and did not want to work anymore. China's development is temporary. Its inequalities are glaring. It is using its huge manpower and pays them peanuts to produce goods in a massive scale, to be sold in Western countries very cheap. This is NOT GOING TO LAST LONG. Your comments about India is very sad and borne out of lack of knowledge – like how Oprah Winfrey went to India to shoot an episode for her faltering Television network and specifically went to a slum to interview a girl and "OFFERED' the little girl an AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP!!!!!! The intelligent, though poor, girl proudly refused!!! That is the greatness of India. Greatness does not lie in living luxuriously, least bothering about what happens to the environment or to the future. Lastly, nobody said India is great; nobody even said India is greater than China. YOU IMAGINED it looking and interacting with the miniscule of not-so-matured young computer professionals from India. You think that these young and Western-style liking youngsters are what makes up of India. Fortunately, they are not. They are a few thousands in a country of about 1200 millions.

      April 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Reply
      • Rational

        Ganesh, you are totally ignorant when you say "That is the greatness of India". greatness? how about the caste division created by pseudo Indian religion? or its people? are we Indians equal? Indians are the greatest and filthiest criminals and corrupt of all humans for it practices racism in the form of caste-ism.
        by the how come still Indian uses his own hand to wipe his/her bottom after taking a dump?
        China is truly advanced. India goes to gutter.

        April 16, 2013 at 2:33 am |
    • Sid

      Bryan – just shows your ignorance – you actually believe China (for that matter other developed nations) don't have these sort of problems. your are blinded by love....China "appears" developed because it has no problems moving out a million starving pan handlers from a city using force to a far away part of the country when it wants to put up a high rise or factories. India has a vibrant democracy (free press, relatively free judiciary and free speech) – I will take that any day to shiny airports or roads.

      April 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Reply
    • Dude

      British left too early ? If you had read up a lil bit of history, it would tell you how the place was before all these Europeans infested the place. Also, google Christopher Columbus (ring a bell ?) and you will be amazed.

      April 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Reply
    • Anup Ramachandran

      When I look at how many Indians come to the USA and rise to leadership positions in corporate life and government (Bobby Jindal for example) and how few Chinese do the same the only thing I can say is that India produces leaders and China produces factory workers.

      April 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Reply
    • Ganesh

      Christie: As a person belonging to a voluntary organization, you have tried to justify the good work. Good work is always commendable. But, here the analogy is incorrect. Comparing a voluntary situation to that of "HUMAN TRAFFICKING" is a bit stretch not only too far – but, absolutely beyond any limit. Yes, such efforts are commendable. But, remember out of the estimated global population of seven billion, there must be at least a billion people or so people, may be facing such a situation – not a few hundreds.

      April 15, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    • Guest

      Bryan = troll.

      April 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Reply
    • neha

      Bryan, That was a sad sad comment. Ignorance has a new face in the dictionary, its your passport photo.

      April 15, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Reply
    • Chinerrr

      Slavery nd very dirty conditions

      April 15, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Reply
    • Indian

      Mr John,
      How convenient. Do you want to publish the stats on how many rapes happen in your country and in India. Well, that might show a completely different picture .Dont presume that you are living in utopia.

      Secondly, you talk about human rights violation?? what a joke..can we talk about human rights violation in Iraq & afganisthan??

      Indian

      April 15, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Reply
    • Mariam

      Can we all respect human dignity and forget pointing fingers at countries and its people which is a total accident of nature and therefore an illusion?

      April 15, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Reply
    • amistad

      yea, in 1943, they caused a mas famine wiping out 30 million indians or so. a few more years and entire india would have been cleaned out of the mess.
      by the way since you love china, please become a citizen and try to have 2 children

      April 16, 2013 at 6:28 am | Reply
    • Harith

      One way you may be correct with many reservations; this is because of secrecy of military govt in china; what you and me come to know are tip of the iceburg. On the other hand,India is a rapidly evolving democracy with many issues; one main issue is poor uneducated population (>30%); you dont have this evolving democracy problem with china; isn't it? strong and transparent judiciary, independent and highly vigilant press, independent and transparent election commission highly responsive to international monitoring are hallmarks of India;you dont have these problems with china? few people wearing military uniforms in a room will make all decisions shamelessly;.this is the real global mess.

      April 16, 2013 at 11:54 am | Reply
  4. Tim

    I am Indian and I tell you majority of these cases are not forced labor. As a child I won't mind working instead of seeing my family die in starve.

    April 15, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  5. Ganesh

    The Caption line, the example and the main story are sadly incorrectly co-related. Ravi's case was NOT AT ALL that of forced or voluntary slavery. Ravi's situation is not uncommon not only in India, but it should be true in the entire Western world, including the "richest" country America. I heard in my childhood that many 19th century inventors like Thomas Alva Edison used to sell newspapers in their young days. IT IS ONLY THROUGH HUMBLENESS AND EXTRAORDINARY HARD WORK AND CHALLENGES, ANY HUMAN BEING REALLY REACHES GREAT HEIGHTS. This is absolutely true in almost all the lives of the great people who made it big – through out the human mankind's journey. There are a lot of people who possess little knowledge. Before commenting, people – like Meth – should think.

    April 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Reply
    • Sid

      @Ganesh – there is a difference – one is forced labor and the other is not!. Problem of slave labor is just that.

      April 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Reply
      • Ganesh

        The real meaning for "Slavery" is "involuntariness". My post should have read: "Ravi's case was NOT AT ALL that of forced or involuntary slavery." "Slavery" was purely associated for thousands of years, when barbaric armies used to invade other countries and bring back the able-bodied people back to their home countries to work (Babylon and Egypt, and in the recent history, Americas, for example). The term "Slavery" can never be used in a situation like "Ravi's". Ravi should have been felt fortunate enough to have found work to support his family, when his father suddenly died. This situation – at a very young, tender age, forced by TRYST OF EVENTS – not by SLAVERY – happens quite commonly. It happened to many eminent people across ages, across lands.

        April 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • LEA

      It doesn't really matter what you want to call it, He should have been in school not paying his father's debts. That is not voluntary. He didn't decide to get a side job and this isn't the 1800s. He was forced to or his father would have been killed.

      April 15, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Reply
  6. Christie

    Jesse is a passionate advocate to end modern-day slavery. World Vision is very lucky to have him on their team.
    To answer some inquiries, when World Vision takes a child out of a harmful working environment and enroles them in school, they also address the economic situation of the family. Understandably these children are working so their families do not starve but when World Vision comes into an area they also work with the adults of the family on how to increase their family's income AND also allow for their children to receive an education. The holistic approach to community development and humanitarian aid is what makes World Vision unique and extremely effective.

    April 15, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • Katju

      bring them out of forced labor and then into forced faith

      April 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Reply
      • Christie

        Katja, Do your research, World Vision is not one of those organization who forces their faith on those they help.

        April 15, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  7. Scott Dunford

    Reblogged this on Beautiful Feet and commented:
    Ending Modern-Day Slavery. It is 2013 and there are still an estimated 20-30 Million souls in the bondage of slavery today. Christ have mercy on us.

    April 15, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  8. krehator

    This is what big business wants here in the USA. Judge them by how they conduct themselves with little oversight. It shows true intentions.

    April 15, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  9. Rev Dr Felix Nwosu

    good job keep it up and God bless.

    April 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  10. Insight

    Indian politicians like anywhere else are corrupted to the core. Growing up poor, getting sick, and dying in poverty, are normal and Politicians and the so called leaders don’t give any damn. It is either Karamma faala (The fruit of one’s action)or fate. And, it is the blessing of the Goddess Lakshmi or Karma fala that many crooked politicians are able funnel money into Swiss Bank. If Indian politicians pull their money from Swiss Bank, it will be sufficient to pay off the debt India owes in a day.

    April 15, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  11. CDVORG

    In domestic Violence situations I think one of the things that get swept under the rug are the children of domestic violence. Here are some statistics that paint a grim picture for children of domestic violence unless they get help – http://cdv.org/blog/10-alarming-domestic-violence-statistics/ Reaching the children is the thing to do in order to stop they cycle of violence.

    April 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Reply
  12. Nick

    Who do you think will have to pay today's debts? You know? The 16 trillion? That will be our kids. The only difference is, we wait until they are 18 and make sure the debts triple until they can start to pay income tax.

    Effectively, our kids and theirs and their grandkids are the slaves of our military-industrial-complex.

    April 15, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Reply
  13. John

    From rapes of young women to child slavery Indians needs to focus on these basic problems instead of wasting money on Asian games, space programs and bullying their neighboring countries and preaching to the whole world about human rights - not to mention gross human rights violations in occupied Kashmir..

    April 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Reply
    • neha

      John, You only see what is being reported by the media.. Are you forgetting the rape in Canada of a teenager by 4 boys? Ignorance is one thing.. and then bucketing all third world countries based on a few articles you are privy to on BBC or CNN is totally another..

      April 15, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  14. LEA

    Bad things happen everywhere, lets stop being racist and ignorant, that being said, Indians (and being Indian myself) cannot pretend that there isn't a serious problem in India. There are a billion people in a tiny space and corrupt politicians. I know a lot of people still blame the British but the British are long gone. I hope now we all just help each other.

    April 15, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Reply
  15. wangh dee

    Congratulations World Vision...thanks to God for using you to make this difference.

    April 15, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Reply
    • Ganesh

      If "God" wanted, He or She would have prevented in the first place the illness that happened to Ravi's father. Just by "helping" one Ravi for publicity, does not prevent millions and billions of people who suffer ages from having to work very early in their lives, because they were not born in a rich family. Rich families in each country are fewer in number – as in this great country – which is something about 5% of the entire population. The report here that was supposed to commend the U.S. Congress efforts in passing a "domestic" human-trafficking law, has been converted into an "international law" story. For that purpose, unfortunately, Ravi has been dragged into this.

      April 15, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  16. Wicky Wu

    Anti-anti, you have been summoned. Come and see your Dominus

    April 16, 2013 at 1:03 am | Reply
  17. Pius

    Agree India have problems and step by step it will be solved.... The British and others looted us, but for sure God will lift us up.... We love our nation and would leave together in harmony...... God bless INDIA and all NATIONS...............

    April 16, 2013 at 1:05 am | Reply
  18. brain

    i dont thinks Indians need to worry about what "others " perception about INDIA. India does have its fair share of issues to deal with and being a mammoth sized democracy which is why most" neighbouring countries" seem amazed at the way things run in India.It is therefore not important to India to being compared, least of all to a communist dictatorial , bully like China , where there is no respect for any of the values that democracies stand for.Being hyper nationalistic and resorting to Hacking and cyber bully is the bedrock of the Chinese foreign policy.

    April 16, 2013 at 1:13 am | Reply
  19. vatika

    india produces leaders, Yes, thats why they are having child labors

    April 16, 2013 at 1:37 am | Reply
  20. indianslave

    The white man in shining armour is coming to liberate us all. May God help us.

    April 16, 2013 at 5:10 am | Reply
  21. amistad

    such a practive in india is still prevalent only goes to show that people are not aware of their rights.
    but this is not slavery and this term is being loosely used here. its called bonded labour.

    April 16, 2013 at 6:26 am | Reply
  22. John Bosco

    Wonderful, what an inspiration, thanks to World Vision.

    It reminds me of another NGO in India, The George Foundation which does similar work.

    April 16, 2013 at 8:13 am | Reply
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  24. Lexis

    Funny how we're quick to say slavery's over. But really you must ask yourself, did slavery ever truly end?

    April 29, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Reply
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