VASMS is joining Aashika Domador, Founder of Survivors Connect, with the Campaign Phone4Freedom. This is a simple and free way to make a difference in ending human trafficking. This program will recycle your unused cell phones for free and support the building of mobile-based networks around the world to combat human trafficking. Using the Survivors Connect program Helpline SMS, vulnerable communities and victims will be able to get human rights information delivered regularly to mobile phones by text at no charge. Additionally, mobile phones will support the growth of anti-trafficking networks, consisting of social service providers, legal advocates, law enforcement, local agencies and others who act as first responders to anti-trafficking. Helpline SMS is a mobile information service that provides timely information to citizens about migration safety, latest trafficking cases and other safety information.
VASMS has been issued our own return shipping label which will allow Survivors Connect to keep track of how many phones VASMS members were able to recycle. Please send this label to everyone on your mailing list --- co-workers, friends, faith groups, and family so that we make this a statement against modern day slavery.
Here is the shipping label link: http://files.meetup.com/1513415/Shipping%20label%20for%20phone4freedom.pdf
Look under the tab "More" above where you will find "files" and there you click on both the shipping label and the flyer. A second simple way to help is to download the flyer and post it at various locations near you!
Below is the Press Release from Survivors Connect so that you can learn more about this campaign.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: 20 April 2010
Aashika Damodar & Joanna Armstrong
Launch: Phones4Freedom Campaign ? Help End Slavery one SMS at a Time.
Fair Oaks, CA: Survivors Connect is launching the Phones4Freedom Campaign to encourage people to donate their old cell phones to support the building of mobile-based networks around the world to combat human trafficking.
Vulnerable communities and victims will be able to get human rights information delivered regularly to mobile phones by text at no charge under this innovative program launched by Survivors Connect. Additionally, mobile phones will support the growth of anti-trafficking networks, consisting of social service providers, legal advocates, law enforcement, local agencies and others who act as first responders to anti-trafficking.
The new program called Helpline SMS is a mobile information service that provides timely information to citizens about migration safety, latest trafficking cases and other safety information. The service sends important tips and acts as a helpline that citizens can text to ask questions and get additional information.
The Helpline SMS Network program has been designed by Survivors Connect, an organization working to build support and advocacy networks of survivors and activists using social media and connective technologies. Survivors Connect is currently working to build these types of networks in Vietnam, Nepal, California (USA) and Haiti.
The goal of Survivors Connect and their Helpline SMS program is to raise awareness about the issue of slavery and to provide a safe and easy space to contact a reliable source of information that is both discrete and cost effective. Organizers at Survivors Connect stated, ?In a generation where the use of mobile phones is skyrocketing (in both the developed and developing world), we find that SMS text messaging is popular in use. Texting is fast, discrete, silent, and is very cheap. Using all of these positive traits of SMS, we are delivering information and services to potential victims much efficiently and effectively.?
Human trafficking is a growing criminal industry. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), there are 12.8 million trafficking victims worldwide and others estimate 27 million slaves total globally. According to the US State Department, trafficking is also a great problem at home, where an estimated 14-17,000 are trafficked to the US each year.
Survivors Connect designs various modules in partnership with grassroots anti-trafficking organizations around the world. No networks are alike, ?In Nepal, our SMS networks are actually small groups which we call ?Community Intervention Teams? that survey and investigate cases of trafficking, and use SMS to report hotspots to law enforcement. In places like Haiti and the US, we?re designing SMS-based helpline programs to deliver information and do referrals for cases.?
The Phones4Freedom Campaign is a partnership between wireless recycling company The WirelessSource and Survivors Connect. By visiting www.phones4freedom.org, one can print out a prepaid shipping label and donate their old phone to the WirelessSource. The WirelessSource can also recycle other used electronics such as mp3 players, computers and more. The WirelessSource will give Survivors Connect credits to purchase back phones in bulk and other equipment needed to build these networks.
Survivors Connect was founded in Fall 2009 to enhance and empower the anti-slavery movement through the use of connective technologies. Survivors Connect is a 501c3 fiscally sponsored non-profit organization, entirely volunteer led and 100% donor supported.
Phones4Freedom is encouraging phone collection drives at schools, local businesses, churches and more. For ideas on how to fundraise and support the project, please visit www.survivorsconnect.org and www.phones4freedom.org.