SI FC announces events and celebrates the joy of our Soroptimist successes on this blog. Welcome!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pause at Noon, March 8, to Consider Modern Slavery Victims

Did you know that slavery is alive and well? It is, and will be unless concerned citizens take a stand and speak out. Slavery is alive and well here in the United States. Slavery is alive and well here in Colorado. Slavery is alive and well, but it’s known by a different name, a softer and less objectionable name. This “modern” slavery is human trafficking and it is just as heinous as slavery of past days.

Soroptimist is speaking out for women and against human trafficking. International Women's Day (March 8th) is the story of ordinary women as makers of history; it is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men. In ancient Greece, Lysistrata initiated a sexual strike against men in order to end war; during the French Revolution, Parisian women calling for "liberty, equality, fraternity" marched on Versailles to demand women's suffrage. Soroptimist asks you to become aware of human trafficking, advocate for laws to lessen its presence and take action to bring perpetrators (not victims) to justice.

Soroptimist International, as one of the leading women’s international non-governmental organizations, promotes empowerment of women and stands for the very essence of the meaning of a day dedicated to women. The importance of International Women’s Day lies in the possibilities of networking, partnering and uniting for women’s causes. Human trafficking is one of those causes.

Human trafficking is “modern slavery.” It retains the same heinous characteristics of a slave/master (trafficking victim/trafficker) relationship. In the most common form of modern slavery, women and girls are kidnapped or bought cheaply throughout the world and sold to customers (throughout the world) at a high profit. Rather than serve one master or in one locale, victims are passed around among a variety of “owners.” And because of the seemingly endless “supply” of women and girls, slaves are nearly impossible to recover and are ultimately lost.

The International Labor Organization estimates that approximately 12.3 million people are enslaved in forced or involuntary servitude at any given time, with approximately 75 percent of all victims trafficked for sexual exploitation. Approximately two million women and children are held in sexual servitude around the world, and 30,000 – 50,000 sex slaves are in the United States at any time.

Natural disasters such as tsunamis, tropical storms, and earthquakes serve as breeding grounds for pimps who swoop in and “rescue” women and children from their seeming plight. Recent stories from Haiti and Vietnam only hint at the incidents of women and children, forced into slavery in the midst of chaos. These same slaves are smuggled over borders, used until used up, and then punished for the crimes they are committing.

Occasionally, women and girls are rescued from traffickers and receive support, care and compassion. More often, though, trafficking victims are treated like criminals. Women and girls arrested in trafficking circles are often processed as illegal immigrants rather than trafficking victims, and are immediately deported to their home countries where, because few economic alternatives exist, they begin the cycle of trafficking and exploitation all over again.

Soroptimist International of Fort Collins thanks the City of Fort Collins for proclaiming March, “Stop the Traffik--End Human Trafficking Month.”

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

2010 AAUW / Soroptimist Used Book Sale Proves to be a Huge Success

The American Association of University Women and Soroptimist International of Fort Collins extend sincere thanks for another fantastic fundraiser! Along with AAUW, we recorded over 720 hours during the sorting process - moving and collecting over 25,000 donated books, pre-sorting, sorting, pricing, and recycling. Our 2010 Used Book Sale brought in over $21,000 to help support programs for women and families in northern Colorado. Thanks especially to:

  • Area readers for donating books to make the sale a reality
  • Foothills Mall for the location
  • Book Rack for ongoing donations
  • Local fraternity gentlemen and sorority ladies for processing truck-loads of books, and most importantly
  • Shoppers for supporting us!

Our nonprofits, and the individuals we serve, sincerely thank you!

Mary Robinson, SIFC Co-Chair

Margaret Grant, AAUW Co-Chair