FREMONT (KCBS) – The Freedom Summit, which focused on the problems of human trafficking and modern-day slavery, wrapped up this weekend in Fremont.
Some 1,700 people gathered on the grounds of the Harbour Light Church to tackle the issue, including San Jose Police Lieutenant John Vanek.
“This is a problem that occurs everywhere in the United States in every neighborhood,” Vanek said. “We’re here to talk about the situation and help people understand how they can get involved in stopping slavery.”
KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:
Lieutenant Vanek said sex slavery can occur in normal looking homes, something to be aware of if you notice a steady parade of men for no apparent reason.
He said slavery can also take the form of forced domestic servitude.
“If you’re looking over your back fence and you have somebody who looks to be a nanny or a house servant and they are not dressed and cared for the same way as the rest of the family,” Vanek said. “That would be an indicator to me.”
Conference attendees came from across Northern California and included policymakers, law enforcement, non-governmental organizations, non-profits, church groups and concerned citizens.
Daphne Phung of Fremont is with Californians Against Slavery, an organization looking to put an initiative on the 2012 ballot to prevent and prosecute the crime of human trafficking.
“California’s law is woefully inadequate in defending children, men and women against this crime,” she said. “The federal law is so much more progressive.”
She said she wants to require human traffickers to register as sex offenders and increase time served if convicted.
Dr. David Batstone is president of Not For Sale, a San Francisco-based organization that fights slavery globally.
“It’s a huge problem. We estimate over 30 million people are living in slavery, which is stunning,” he said. “In the United States, that number is somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000.”
Not For Sale has created the free2work app, which grades companies in terms of how much their labor may be associated with slavery.
But Batstone said the magnitude of the problem shouldn’t overwhelm people as individually, people taking small steps are making a difference.
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