Microcredit and the Alternative to “Job Creation”

When money is lent to the right people under the right conditions, it can transform lives and even entire communities.  This principle has been driving a revolution in international development: the microcredit revolution. Normally, the only financing available to impoverished communities comes from loan sharks, who require such exploitative rates that borrowers can never escape … Continue reading

“Roadkill” – a Bus Ride to Human Trafficking

I’ve received a lot of invitations to plays about human trafficking. At first, I’d go. I wanted to support the organizations fighting this problem and see how they use theater to raise awareness. But, I have to be honest, many of them felt contrived at best. Most seemed to glory in the suffering, a la … Continue reading

Monticello and Lost Genius

A highlight of 2012 for me was visiting Jefferson’s Monticello on our way back up to DC after the holidays. See, I have a strange and unshakeable crush on Thomas Jefferson, and have for a long time. I told my husband this was like the hometown date on The Bachelor. I was checking out Thomas’s … Continue reading

Potential Step Forward on Forced Labor in China

In November 2011 I visited the Laogai Museum here in DC and spoke with its founder Harry Wu. You may remember from that interview that the Laogai system is a form of “re-education through labor” used in China against dissidents for the last 50 years. In that interview Wu said, “No one should be able … Continue reading

Thanksgiving Over Not Writing (About Some Things)

Don’t be fooled by the title. I’m planning to write over Thanksgiving, and I’m planning to love it. However, I won’t be writing about human trafficking. And that’s something I’m grateful for this year. Leading up to Thanksgiving, I’ve noticed an onslaught of information about human trafficking on the web and in conversation. First there … Continue reading

“Happy Halloween” as a Journey

It’s that time of year again: the time of year when everyone eats a ton of crappy, cheap candy and brags about it. And it’s the time of year I become tempted by cynicism. A few years ago, I found out much of our chocolate has a connection to human trafficking in West Africa. It … Continue reading

Hershey Is Now Certifiably Something

Long time readers of this blog know that I’ve been after chocolate companies for years, ever since finding out their supply chains often take advantage of child slave labor on some West African farms. Hershey has been particularly unresponsive to campaigns calling for reform – up until now. After years of staying silent on the … Continue reading

Convict Porters and the Long Mile

Earlier this week, I interviewed my husband Michael about some of the human rights concerns in Burma / Myanmar. In his answer, he cited the problem of forced portering, in which the Burmese army takes people from villages and forces them to walk with heavy loads on their backs. This form of slavery has particular … Continue reading

Something We Can All Agree On

China and the United States produce the largest CO2 emissions in the world. But do you know who comes in 3rd? No, it’s not the E.U., Brazil or Australia. It’s not India or the state of Texas. It’s slavery. Earlier this week I heard from Kevin Bales – author and co-founder of Free the Slaves … Continue reading

Tweets Re: North Korean Gulags

Thank you to everyone who followed along yesterday with my live tweets from the Hidden Gulag conference here in DC. It was a really fascinating event, and as you could probably tell I tried to capture as much as possible on Twitter. Before I post any further thoughts and resources, I wanted to give you … Continue reading

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