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

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

AAUW/Soroptimist Used Book Sale Scheduled

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Soroptimist International of Fort Collins invite community members to donate good-quality, unwanted books for their annual Used Book Sale. The February 25-27 sale will be open to the general public at Foothills Mall, 8 am-9 pm Friday and Saturday and 11am-6 pm Sunday.

Proceeds of the annual fundraising event support educational projects benefiting women and families. Last year’s sale was a huge success, bringing in $20,000. Community donations will assure an abundant selection of books for this year’s shoppers and keep quality books out of the landfill. All books will be recycled through the sale, donations to needy, or environmentally friendly means.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is a national organization fostering societal change while promoting equity for women, education and self-development over the life span. Soroptimist International is a worldwide service organization of business and professional women working to advance human rights & the status of women.

For information about the fundraiser, to volunteer, or to donate books—call Margaret at 482-8210, or Mary at 227-1398.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Human Trafficking Awareness

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.

Every day, in small towns and big cities in countries throughout the world, women and girls are being trafficked into a horrible life of sexual slavery. Often tricked into traveling for work--education--and betterment, these women face unendurable pain and humiliation. They are stripped of their human rights. They are bought and sold like objects. They are trapped in a life of degradation and abuse. Sexual slavery perpetuates a culture of violence, destroys communities and families, funds organized crime, and ruins lives.

The United States Senate has designated January 11 as the National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness, an opportunity to raise awareness about sexual trafficking and advocate for its victims. Soroptimist has joined the fight to end the widespread scourge of sexual slavery.

I’d like to share a bit about one of Soroptimist programs...Soroptimist STOP Trafficking and the situations leading to it’s adoption.

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. Prostitutes are assumed to have chosen this lifestyle and are punished for serving their masters.

Soroptimist STOP Trafficking is a program focused on raising awareness about sex trafficking. Soroptimist developed a card that provides information about the sex trafficking of women and girls. The information is provided in a simple and powerful way that will encourage readers to get involved by visiting the SIA website to learn more. The cards were designed to be handed out at any time of the year, but especially on December 2nd--the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery and/or January 11th the National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness in the United States.

Soroptimist asks you to become aware, advocate for improvement, and act for the good of women and girls throughout the world