PoP 144 | Human Trafficking and Slavery with E. Benjamin Skinner

Today we’re talking all human trafficking and slavery with E. Benjamin Skinner.

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Meet E. Benjamin Skinner


Ben Skinner headshotE. Benjamin Skinner is Founder and Principal of Transparentem. Recently, Skinner co-founded TAU, a private equity firm. Previously, he was Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism of Brandeis University. He was named one ofNational Geographic‘s “Adventurers of the Year 2008.” His first book, A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery (Free Press; 2008), was awarded the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for nonfiction, a citation from the Overseas press Club in its book category for 2008, and a finalist for The Ryszard Kapuscinski International Award for literary reportage in 2011. Also in 2011, the World Economic Forum recognized Skinner as a Young Global Leader.

Previously he held a fellowship at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, served as Special Assistant to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, and worked as Research Associate for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. His 50+ chapters, monographs, and articles have appeared in numerous publications including Bloomberg Businessweek, Time, Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Policy, and others. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

Meet Joe Sanok

consultant headshot JoeJoe Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is one of the world’s leading private practice consultants. He is the owner of the Traverse City counseling practice, Mental Wellness Counseling. Joe helps counselors to start private practices and grow them.



Podcast Transcription

Pop 144 | Human Trafficking And Slavery With E. Benjamin Skinner

[0:00] Music.

[0:08] Is the practice and practice podcast with joe sanok fishing number one forty four.

[0:14] Music.

[0:27] And go to fan out your hose and welcome to the fact that the facts,
podcast here in beautiful radio center to building in downtown traverse city i’m so glad that you’re here and today the.
I am going to be talking with an amazing guy that i met at a keynote presentation he gave all the human trafficking but.
First i wanna tell you but the amazing flow app flow app is our sponsor today.
And they want to elevate the mental health community by strengthening the connections you are the have,
you can build a professional network full of the people you know and trust in you contract for thirty days instead of seven days but going to overflowtherapist.com/joe,
it’s so awesome we actually talk to james and amber episodes ago and he talked about his offers service and his whole process is an amazing episode,
see you gonna wanna check that out that was just a couple of episodes ago go to practice of the practice that com messy right on the home page there well today i have the benjamin scanner and he’s the founder principal transparent tom,
i recently scanner co-founded the you a private equity firm and previously he was the senior follow the schuster institute for investigative journalism,
of brands university has named one of national geographic say adventures of the year two thousand eight and his first book,
crime so monstrous face to face with modern-day slavery was awarded the two thousand nine date and literary peace prize for nonfiction.
Ministers incredible and he’s such a good speaker he talks all of human trafficking it talks about the issue of human trafficking.

[2:03] And he’s been featured in bloomberg businessweek time newsweek travel and leisure los angeles times for policy and others,
he just incredible he’s got her all about human trafficking and what we need to know,
in addition to dive right into it today and so that any further ado i give you benjamin scanner.

[2:23] The benjamin scanner welcome to the practice of the practice podcast.

[2:28] Thanks kitty with john good to be with you to ben and no relation to bs carol to start right there cuz i know all the audience will be wondering how you doing today.
I’m great thanks will we met each other when you are here in traverse city the governor’s task force brought you in to speak about human trafficking,
and hands down in that today training your keynote was by far the best and the most engaging in just the most informative thank you so much for the work that you did here in michigan.
Well thanks for the phrase yeah and i want to start with you told the story when you’re speaking about some fishermen off the coast of new zealand,
and get some things that you learnt through that to register with that story to the philly for me that really resonated the problem of trafficking.
Sure and i think it’s important to san even before that by a explain why,
what i mean when i say try again or what i mean when i say slavery,
is laser rose forced to work out your fraud under threat of violence for no baby subsistence so this isn’t a metaphor that were talking about it’s not some nebulous term that encompasses all kind of work that we don’t particularly enjoy doing,
it’s meant to reference those who cannot walk away from a network because of force fraud or coercion so in the case that,
when i talked about in front of the audience traverse city and my way i should have said,
thank you for the prays also use an honor to be there just the account of the audience at the work of a two day in and day out i stand on that and.

[4:04] This i for ice maker out but those that are there struggling to survive is it is really on fire on but,
this started i told was about a an individual who really don’t have any benefit of back kind of,
are social worker who was.
Traffic on to korean flag for a charter vessels off the coast of new zealand he was in an indigent fishermen from central java in indonesia.

[4:36] And have really been facing a tough situation where you need to take work off who’s excited to get on one of these for charter vessels fishing off the coast of,
new zealand because he thought of using on i will be paid a living wage off the,
i treated well my general human rights will be respected,
and what i found on board is for a charter vessels was that none of that was true according to him he was abused by the korean officers and board the ship,
this abuse included verbal physical and endemic sexual of,
various others on board the ship reported as well and some of them on hypothesize that was because they were muslim and this is a means subjugate them to keep them from speaking out.

[5:29] I have a party there so hot is he find himself on this fishing vessel because i feel like.
It the when you told there is was america contractor something he thought he’d tickets are kinda how he ended up there to.
What soup and the smoking gun for us was actually getting a hold of the quote unquote real labor contracts out a,
this young man we call on you stroll which isn’t his real name is to change it to protect his identity um,
but the is the contract if he in the other is signed was one of three,
i want them in english one of them was entry and those were for presenting.

[6:13] And not that the real terms work but i want the real one wasn’t bahasa indonesian and it was it laid out essentially the terms of that bondage and it said,
what is the workers could not walk away for any other eyes reason if they did.
They’re assets or their families assets will be seized and he had to turn over a deed to his in laws house as collateral for that,
they can not turn down any requests made by the officers and if they.

[6:48] If they did not leave before their term of service was up they would not be paid anything,
and they will not get anything regardless of the first three months,
i’m so it was it is the time conditions that you’re in prison would never signed a contract with is with those the terms of work when you are in when your back is against the wall,
when you are.

[7:18] Has he was looking at a wife who is eight months pregnant and i know where he are is stanley,
i am with the belief again that in new zealand,
lisa’s basic minimum human rights to be respected you know he made the decision,
it was a bad decision anyone up in a situation slavery on board the vessels again and danica views,
to know why and take to get a hold of a sense of what is right should be in this was true.
What is essentially an and insurgents number of the,
mystery or the office of integration and in new zealand translated using a labor law into bahasa indonesian ice insurgent because he was always do this by superiors.
Praying you’d said that you have some people that saw these abuses were told by their higher ups that they were just on board to count fish like you’re not there for this reason.
Exactly there’s another ministry the ministry of fisheries i was supposed to be.
Police and i went on or the dresses and there were these on board new zealand observers on sunday specials and it,
they are one a reported the.

[8:50] Love you isolation saying no included just share violence visited on these on these workers.

[8:57] They were told according to those that that spoke to me that.
They are that their only job is to count the fish was to make sure that the one that the biological resource as they call it was protected never mind,
baby we welfare of workers or i’m so you know if this the,
when will you stroll and the others finally,
i am gonna holder what they want their right should have been made present that to the to the captain of the ship and capital ships that will you have a piece of paper,
we know where your family’s are i get back to.
Harley just like crap they walked off they were given shelter and a church in and little sandwiches what’s up or christ church in new zealand and.
And they were essentially,
this stickers at that point and new zealand refused to grant an asylum and comply with,
the new zealand fishery that was buying the fish ass lady deported so they can testify on ebay they were deported and when he got back to indonesia,
the traffic is again the recruiter turned out to be traffickers target as predicted.

[10:29] So the,
the outcome of the story and this is this is where it gets in praying for me as a journalist.
After the piece came out we name not only.
The agents and fishing vessels but we also named the new zealand companies that were landing the catch is processing charges were selling them,
alright we companies that were important and north america and ultimately the restaurants retailers wholesalers.
That were consumer facing and were selling as bloomberg as my orders of lumber later put it this cruelest catch.
Um and something remarkable happens when the when you name,
what major fortune five hundred on a in several instances fortune fifty company and you connect with slavery in that name and the stock ticker symbol and the word slavery goes out over,
oh bloomberg terminals others there’s a response and,
many of these companies cancel the contracts they ship to the strategies of the largest publicly traded pressure in new zealand loss of or even share price of the next quarter and um and zealand ultimately.
Three months later parliament voted to phase out and ultimately banned for a charter bus so transparency actually.

[12:03] Let considerable change in this shithead human reporting and trafficking and slavery for a while at that point it was that,
something that was like new are the recovering is a journalist.
I’m so this is this is actually sort of capping off not quite capping off but i the progression.
About thirteen years of recording at that point on slavery and trafficking really since the i started recording i just after that.
The passage of the american the complex of american law on human trafficking and human trafficking i should say one more definition,
are you human trafficking is the recruitment the transport of the harboring of individuals.
For the purpose centrally of turning them into slaves for the set for the purpose of a compelling that work on a case of children if they’re put into,
commercial sex there soon to be trafficking victims as well so the law was passed that define all the car idle at two thousand call the trafficking victims protection act,
i’m not to me was interesting you know it was it is actually wasn’t all acknowledging through a letter.
That is five thousand year-old crime that we assumed and then goes away with hundred seventy five years earlier.
I was in that,
as numerous today as ever in a row numbers there are more slaves in the world today at any point in human history there is the global slavery index releases report last week.

[13:43] That puts the number at around forty five million slaves in the world staggering shifts with you think about.

[13:53] What new zealand i think it’s easy for people say well that that’s like developing world you know that doesn’t hit home with that look like in america and the united states because a there’s a lot going on in the united states that,
the average person the average counselor doesn’t even know that take us through what’s happening here.

[14:12] Yes so what you know of course new zealand is very much needed the,
the developed world there are not at the top of the list in terms of transportation nationals crushing perception and next christmas to be the police crock,
country in the world but at the same time as in the united states,
i’m in both countries have a real problem where certain populations by virtue,
eight i think and dozen both instances of their immigration status and be below the radar of the best intention of law and the best intent of,
i love the potential social service providers in the united states according to justice department.

[15:04] There are many as fourteen or even fifteen or sixteen thousand that are trafficked in to slavery every year but doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re all crossing the us border,
i am in coming in united states and pick up that will many of our i’m it means that,
they are being recruited in some cases they are being recruited from a condition of vulnerability in almost all cases are being recruited from a position of a or billy heater vulnerable,
mabel will either immigration status about stayed there,
would you please and are here and under in on undocumented way that means that if a crime is being committed against them,
they’re gonna think twice before going to the authorities because they go to the authorities then i get processed for deportation,
it makes them very vulnerable,
i also gonna boiler victims of child sexual abuse also vulnerable or are our runways am also all alarms severely neglected children,
and also borrow those that wind up in commercial sex at an early age is seventy two,
and i would say they are beyond that there’s an industries where.
With the exception of a few counties is very little regulation on these industries and therefore anybody working in that industry tends to be quite volleyball on saturday and one counties and in top of that list.

[16:41] Is mistake work.
I’m work it takes place inside the home is it is too often not subject.

[16:51] To the car regulations that work it takes place outside the home is subject to and so what you gat are these kind of informal relationships where automatic workers are rarely given,
any kind of benefits they’re really even given contracts i’m and,
if it’s the case of domestic worker who is was brought in by their employer a very often they are completely control,
but in order for can be completely controlled by their employer in so i’m instances like this i think or where.

[17:32] The first responders,
oh in many cases can be therapists they can be a social workers they can be health worker is they can be police really need to understand what warning signs are,
for trafficking and begin to begin to the screen their clients.
How to turn to watch out for those and enter respond in a bit more in a way of if they if they find,
when i was a foster care supervisor and thinking about,
what should i’ve been training my a foster care workers on to look for these kids that were aging out of the system or even when they are working in their late teens.
So what are some things that.
You as cfo mr care worker a lot of the listeners they have a full-time job with community mental health and have a part-time private practice what should they be looking for.
You know with those vulnerable pop.

[18:32] Well i should say at the outset you know as i said the audience in traverse city i’m in the,
baby is there your listeners are having more i doubt understanding that,
that particular operation of the foster population i’m certainly though i would say.
I did and i believe the players project has a pretty good list,
no indicator is the and the players project runs national human trafficking hotline which is an eight three seven three seven eight eight.
If you have any of the indicators are dropping our present,
that’s a good number to call to be connected to professionals in the communities that,
actually specializing in dealing with center i trafficking that goes on but,
i ordered um i have what what i hear others talk about are things like well if,
if somebody has the is has a.
Are you cortical boyfriend who has had a criminal record is as been involved in slow and in return for prostitution before obviously something like that is gonna be a.

[19:54] Fuck a pretty strong indicator shift if there is a somebody is coming out of the foster care system who.
Has a.
Oh you know i has a history of arrests history in prostitution first of all.
The loss of a while i for the most part laws of been performed on so that i’m children,
who are i working a commercial sex for the most part state by state should not be treated as criminals should be treated as victims but in any case is there a criminal records how to bake it.
I am,
and is so i think the important thing to recognize is that a child has been working and in.
In commercial sex they were a victim they wanna criminal and are also very vulnerable to being victimized again.
Those are some great points i really appreciate taking us through that i’m interested in just as we have about ten minutes left talking about your current work what you doing now little bit about your book your book crime so monstrous,
i would love to hear more about you know you eve done all this work to investigate what’s going on and then.

[21:21] All most of us then they will what’s action that we can take and so would love to just hear how that’s inspired your own personal action.

[21:29] So i am currently.

[21:34] About working as the founder of the principle of a of a discreet.
Intelligence unit that uses frontline reporting ethics and friends it happened so understand what goes on a streaming corporate supply chains and when we’re not public facing we don’t public publish very much but we are,
completely independent non-profit and what we what we use information to do is essentially and inform brands retailers of problems upstream in the supply chains and,
through various means convince them that it’s in their interest to work one,
and get rid of things like the ranger labor upstream in there in the supply chain i’m,
more broadly you know i’ve been involved for three years and,
discussing i am i think i whole proselytizing on the basic notion that slavery,
today has really terrible definition and sadly is,
go to slavery next last week pointed out it’s more and more rampant today in gross number is the number for and.
The accommodation that and in a sense is the book which was an attempt to lock,
at slavery in different contacts so in the war in southern sudan in the midst of the war in southern sudan.

[23:06] In in the context of collateralized hereditary dad on the age,
which is the most the most numerous form of slavery the most popular form of slavery in the world in places like in the ass and,
in match in the hall in pakistan.

[23:28] And and right here in the united states the last chapter focuses on,
who was trapped into a domestic labor southwestern mistake labor situation and can rock white pines in florida and in three hundred and the two thousand dollar house in a gated community,
and you know again to your earlier point.
The problem is everywhere and nowhere meeting these are not able to stand line raise their hands and wait for the senses to be taken.
My attempt was to give them some voice through this book and to empower others.
How to make your listeners to reach out to provide them with an opportunity to,
two just to speak to seek help should i think it’s nice to see is that more pop tv shows are having this,
can a message as being a part of it i was just watching what was the show called every other the show and they’re talking about trafficking and it was a part of what they were.
Can a combatting and so i think as things become more people more conscious of it in the think through it and the sea even fictional characters talking about it,
they are able to that identify with some of those characters and it becomes more of an awareness issue where,
hopefully people’s eyes and ears are open to looking for those warning signs because it’s been reported on by people like yourself its being a part of.

[25:06] Can of pop culture discussions,
even when the super bowl comes even though we know that there’s traffic in going at every single day even the people’s radars are up a little bit more during that time it seems like awareness is starting to grow back some more work needs to be done.

[25:21] Yeah i grew the i,
i think it’s a very good thing there’s a broader knowledge certainly then there was fifteen years ago of the back of trafficking exists i worry a little bit i in the media portrayals of trafficking where,
it has the baby there tends to be a perfect quote unquote perfect victim that is portrait somebody who can now who is,
yeah held in chains or are and in in many cases trafficking just doesn’t look like in many cases the force fraud or coercion that comes and comes in through something that is less hard to find like that,
like a contract and efficient and case on it comes in with the with the death of his inherited,
my poor worker in india or comes in with the,
with a foster care child from a foster child who has been.
Pass from house to house but he’s been true off and follow to a station by a trucker who is exploiting them on the side and a situation like that the.
The child may be that rocker as a boyfriend as somebody who is actually an outlet and a giver of love.
And so in a situation like that it’s it’s a lot more complicated and this is exactly where therapist shh play such a critical role.

[26:57] Is nine am and seeking to build bonds to build real bonds of trust and understanding of truth with those clients.

[27:07] Three hundred eleven scanner it every counselor in the world were listening right now what would you want them to know.

[27:13] I think just that last point which is that they pay they play a critical role they will play a potentially critical role in on an individual basis giving,
victims of slavery and trafficking a chance at survival a way out but beyond that really.

[27:39] Providing the avenue alternately to the right occasion of the problem once and for all and i think the laws are in place,
but i take the front line workers and therapists counselors who are were in those positions are going to be just that.

[27:57] What events are on skin or his book is a crime so monstrous you can head over to a crimesomonsterous.com,
he’s written for bloomberg he’s been for time newsweek he got the two thousand eight national geographic adventurer of the year.
Thank you so much for taking time of your day and be on the podcast for sharing with us and joey was a it was a pleasure to be on practice practice.
Have an awesome day thanks to.

[28:23] Music.

[28:29] Well i hope you have an awesome rest of your week thanks so much for letting you benjamin scanner and i into your years and into your brain,
again check out flow app you can head over to practiceofthepractice.com/144for all the show notes links and ways to share it.
Thanks so much for all that you’re doing to promote this community i know that you are creative intellectuals are growing amazing practices and i’m just so encouraged by the work you’re doing have an awesome week out.

[29:01] Special thanks for the dance ounces sexy and killing me as we like music in this podcast is designed by acting thirty two information in regard to the subject matter covered.
Is gonna understand it either the host a publisher or the gas surrendering legal accounting clerical or other professional information from the professional he’s fine with the f.

[29:22] Music.

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