JadeRider Journeys

Open Letter to the mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, and Houston City Council

by on Mar.22, 2011, under 2011

RE:  Human Trafficking during Final Four

City Council  March 22 2011
Good afternoon Mayor  Parker and members of Houston City Council 

The link between major sporting events, such as the SuperBowl, The Rider Cup, NBA finals etc. and the increase in human trafficking into the cities that host these events has been a major concern for the abolitionist and humanitarian community.  As thousands of fans flood the hosting cities, human traffickers take advantage of the increase in market demand and move their captives into the area, to reap the dark benefits of their trade.a
The Dallas SuperBowl last year provided the general public with significant exposure about this issue, but this has been a concern in the abolitionist community for at least 5 years, since it became apparent during the 2006 World cup.
Houston is about to become the center stage of yet another sporting event, the Final Four.  With an expected 75,000 in attendance, the conditions are here once again to create a spike in human trafficking into Houston with the result of countless to acts of rape,  and abuse being perpetrated against women, boys, girls.
In the last week I have seen the media reports and the efforts that the city has put forward to highlight all the good things that our city has to offer, and the financial and tax benefits that the city will reap from this event.
However, I have also become painfully aware of the total silence surrounding the impact that this event has on Human Trafficking, and how it is hitting Houston’s own backyards.
It has been mind blowing to witness the lack of responsiveness from the media and from city offices when this issue has been brought to their attention.  One has to wonder if people really understand this problem.
I am here today to ask each of you to become a leader in our community, and to engage the media in creating an elevated state of awareness of the dark and inhumane impacts that Final Four, and others like it have on hosting cities.  Fighting crime, any crime, is a more effective endeavor when the community is involved and can help point cases out to the authorities.
You, mayor Parker and Houston City Council, still have time to stand up and say, “Yes The Final Four will bring this city huge benefits in business and taxes, but lets also become aware of undesired side effects. Lets fight these negative effects together.  This is what you can do, as a member of this community to spare men, women, boys and girls from the horrors of human trafficking and modern day slavery.”
It can all start with a very well planned press conference. Furthermore, we are asking you to announce during that conference that you have passed a Zero-Tolerance Resolution on Human Trafficking during Final Four.

If Houston was ashamed, not to long ago, of being labelled the Fattest City in the United States,  it should be infinitely more vexed of being known as the Number One Human Trafficking Hub in this country.
I am urging you today to engage this community and its resources in creating a new label for Houston: The City That Takes a Stand against Modern Day Slavery, at Every Opportunity.  Maybe you can play a major part in letting Houston reclaim the name “City of Sanctuary or Refuge” rather than “City of the Enslaved”.

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