Washington D.C. Raises Awareness for Transnational Crimes

Posted: October 14, 2014 at 7:17 pm, Last Updated: October 15, 2014 at 3:19 pm

By Kasey Kinnard

Saturday, October 4 was a day ripe with opportunity to raise awareness in Washington DC for issues that TraCCC has been studying and bringing attention to for years. The National Mall played host to events centered on Human Trafficking/Modern Slavery and Elephant Poaching and the ivory trade. Each had the additional goal of attracting the attention of lawmakers that share the same space as the activists.

DC SMS Walkfest October 4, 2014

Photo courtesy of Kasey Kinnard

DC Stop Modern Slavery (DC SMS) held its 6th annual Walkfest on the 4th. DC SMS is a network of community based and non-profit organizations working, in the DC area, on the issues of human trafficking and modern slavery. Their members, supporters, and partner organizations came out to draw needed attention to the issues, which are larger in the DC area, and around the globe, than much of the public tends to realize.  The Walkfast set up at the Washington Monument and included a resource fair showcasing the work of more than 20 agencies and organizations working on these issues. Among them were TraCCC friends, like Boat People SOS; organizations working in DC, VA, MD, and nationwide; as well as global players, like Beyond Borders and the Restavek Freedom Foundation who work to end Restavek practices in Haiti. TraCCC director, Dr. Louise Shelley was acknowledged in the event brochure for her contributions and advice on the day.  Learn more about DC SMS at https://www.facebook.com/dcsms

Meanwhile, at the Lincoln Memorial, Elephants DC was starting its 2nd annual March Against Elephant and Rhino Extinction, to the White House, to push for a complete federal ban on all ivory and rhino horn trade and imports to the U.S. The topic of a full American ban has been discussed before, but has been resisted by antiques dealers and gun rights groups, among others, over concerns of preventing the sale of valuable items. The march was part of the global International March for Elephants, which took place in cities around the world. Marchers moved in cadence to chants like “E is for Elephant, not Extinction” and “1,2,3,4. Ivory’s what they’re dying for. 5, 6, 7,8. Stop the trade, it’s not too late!” Once at the White House, speakers like NJ State Senator, Raymond Lesniak, called on Congress to follow the example of the NJ Senate, which passed a statewide ban on the sale of elephant and rhino horn. Learn more about Elephants DC at http://www.elephantsdc.org/.

While these issues may seem worlds apart, neither human trafficking, nor wildlife poaching happens in a vacuum, and both are used to fund additional heinous crime and terrorism. How very nice that both came to the fore on the same day, in the same place. Hopefully attendees of each event learned a bit about the cause of the other.

 

Photo courtesy of Elephants DC

Photo courtesy of Elephants DC

 

Write to traccc at traccc@gmu.edu