Welcome to the Bridge to Freedom Foundation Blog

Thank you for visiting the Bridge to Freedom Foundation (BTFF) blog, where we look forward to bringing you inside information on the inner-workings of BTFF, inside information on our volunteer team and leadership, in-depth coverage of BTFF and partner events, news and happenings from across the globe and so much more.

Learn more about Bridge to Freedom Foundation and how you can help on the BTFF website. We do hope you will subscribe to and follow our blog and please e-mail us at blog@btff.org if you have any feedback, ideas or contributions.

Thank you for your support!
Cassandra Clifford
Executive Director and Founder of BTFF

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Join Bridge to Freedom Foundation for a a night under the summer night sky as we toast to freedom at Virginia's renowned Hunters Run Winery!

Sip on some of the best of the seasons harvest as you listen to the soulful sounds of Jason Frye and some of Virginia's best singer song writers. Delight in the beauty of the Virginia countryside as you enjoy the tastes of sweet and savory treats as you take a chance on one of our amazing silent auction items.
What: Taste of Freedom Wine Tasting Live Music by Jason Frye and friends Appetizers and Wine Accompaniments Silent Auction Much more...
When: July 11th, 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Where: Hunters Run Wine Barn and Winery
Why: To support Bridge to Freedom Foundation and the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking, through the provisions of resources and empowerment of survivors to lead the thriving lives they choose!
Cost: Human Trafficking Supporter (General Admission ticket) $30.00 Pair of Human Trafficking Supporter tickets $50.00
 Purchase Tickets Here! 
 *All proceeds from the nights event will go directly to Bridge to Freedom Foundation for their Personal and Professional Development Programs. Please see their website for more information on their work!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bridge to Freedom Executive Director Hosts Global Voice Hall Live! Pangaea Forum on Human Trafficking

Bridge to Freedom Foundation's Executive Director Cassandra Clifford was chosen to moderate the recent Global Voice Hall, Inc. Pangaea forum on Human Trafficking.  The live event was held on April 24, 2013 at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies | SAIS, and was attended by students, analysts, advocates and agencies who were all given the floor for a question and answer session.

The live event was then  diligently edited by the amazing staff at GVH, who wove in a number of carefully selected interviews, images and footage highlighting various types of modern slavery. We are now excited to announce that the footage from the live event and post event interviews have now been finalized and the forum episode, Human Trafficking: A Global Plague, is now airing. 

Please view the episode trailer below and then check out the full episode to hear from an amazing panel of of guests including: Dr. Mohamed Mattar - Executive Director of the Protection Project, Johns Hopkins University; Dave Rogers - FBI Supervisory Special Agent Manager of Public Corruption/Civil Rights Section; Holly Austin Smith - Survivor of Child Trafficking/ Journalist; Mary C. Ellison - Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, U.S. State Department; Evelyn Chumbow - Forced Labor Survivor; Michelle Clark - Human Rights Professional /Adjunct Professor, George Washington University

To view the full episode please go directly to GVH's webiste here: http://www.globalvoicehall.com/live-broadcast/2013/forums/forums-pangaea/human-trafficking-global-plague#sthash.H3U87gBo.dpufhttp://www.globalvoicehall.com/live-broadcast/2013/forums/forums-pangaea/human-trafficking-global-plague#sthash.H3U87gBo.dpuf

Thursday, June 20, 2013

2013 Trafficking in Persons Report Released

This week the U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Office released the 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report. Secretary of State Kerry released the 13th annual Trafficking in Persons Report yesterday, June 19th.  The theme of this year’s TIP Report is Victim Identification: The First Step in Stopping Modern Slavery.
There is abuse that can take place in even the most improbable places in the most probable ways. And I learned then, looking in the eyes of young women who had been the victims of these crimes, that they were terrified of being victimized again, by the process, by the system. And nobody quite understood what it meant to a victim or the ways you could help victims through the system. Only when we started focusing on victims, not just as potential witnesses but as survivors, human beings entitled to respect and dignity, that’s when we started to provide people with a greater measure of justice. And that’s when we were able to give people a better chance at rebuilding the future. -Secretary Kerry, from his opening remarks.
"This Report estimates that, based on the information governments have provided, only around 40,000 victims have been identified in the last year,. In contrast, social scientists estimate that as many as 27 million men, women, and children are trafficking victims at any given time. This shows that a mere fraction of the more than 26 million men, women, and children who are estimated to suffer in modern slavery have been recognized by governments as such and are eligible to receive the protection and support they are owed"

Secretary Kerry and Ambassador at Large Luis CdeBaca also honored the 2013 TIP Heroes, who included; Laura Anyola Tufon of Cameroon, Katrin Gluic of Croatia, Simona Broomes Guyana, Mohammed Bassam Al-Nasseri Iraq, Javier Antonio Morazán & Juan Victoriano RuÍz from Nicaragua, Ippei Torii of Japan, Susan Ople of The Philippines, Paul Holmes of the United Kingdom, and in memory of Eunice Kisembo of Uganda.  Read all of there amazing stories and see how they are changing the face of modern slavery here.

Download your copy of the full TIP Report here: http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2013/index.htm

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fair Trade Shopping for Father's Day

Its the American way to look for a deal and a bargain, but does your bargain gift come with a price? Global March Against Child Labor estimates that one in every eight children from 5 to 17 years old, some 179 million, work in the worst forms of child labor. Slavery taints many of our consumer products such as clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, electronics, sports equipment, rugs, agricultural produce, sugar, tea, coffee, chocolate, and many others. Often products, like clothing, may even be tainted at multiple points in the supply chain. For example children may have been used to pick the cotton of a shirt, while workers were held in situations of slavery and forced to sew the clothing.

Why not make your this Father's Day one that not only brings the joy of giving to the man who raised you, but is free from slavery and gives back to individuals and communities in need. Wouldn't Dad be so proud!

Slavery touches each one of us as a consumer, therefore take a stand against child and slave labor and work toward being a more conscious consumer and keeping slavery tainted products out of your home, today in just a few easy steps.

  1. Donate to local organizations that help empower people out of poverty & slavery, many can be found here; Fair Trade and Slave Free Links, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Links, and Child Soldiers Links

  2. Educate yourself about the companies that use slavery in the making of their products. Green America has a sweatshop free guide. Sweatfree Communities: Sweatfree Communities has a great shopping guide with a number of places to buy sweatshop-free apparel for men, women, and children. Fair Trade Federation: You can search their online directory for Fair Trade vendors in your area.

  3. Become a more conscious consumer and buy products made by survivors of trafficking or Fair Trade products. Amanda Kloer summed it up easily with her list of 7 Ways to Fight Slavery at the Grocery Store and this years post on where to find gifts that help human trafficking survivors. You can also see the Fair Trade and Slave Free Links list, which has a number of resources and sites where you can learn more about, and purchase Fair Trade or slave free goods.

Shopping consciously is also a bit about thinking outside the box so to speak. there are a number of other ways you can seek to shop, slave free, fair trade, green, etc.

Make your own gifts or support local artisans, you can also search online for handmade items; Artfire.com has artists from around the globe selling their crafts and art supplies, Etsy features handmade and vintage items, Ebay has a number of used, one of a kind and vintage items and even has a specifically designed sight World of Good, as does sites like Geebo.

Remember to recycle and reuse as much as possible, for not only does it help us reduce waste and maintain fight global warming, you can also help reduce the consumption of slavery tainted goods. Shop your local vintage and charity shops.