Poets in the Library | Spencer Reece
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The Foundation’s Justice Initiative emerges from a commitment to protect and support some of the most vulnerable in society. By activating local and international organizations through programs at Grace Farms, the Justice Initiative fosters the development of comprehensive strategies and partnerships to disrupt and combat human trafficking and gender-based violence. To realize this vision, Grace Farms Foundation utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach, including awareness and prevention education, advocacy for policy and legislation, and gatherings of experts from government, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations.
Programs and Impact
Legislation and Policy
Grace Farms worked with state legislators, law enforcement, international experts, and local not-for-profit organizations to draft amendments to state legislation, which were adopted to create one of the most comprehensive state laws against human trafficking. Public Act No. 16-71, made law in May 2016, includes significant new measures designed to increase investigations and prosecutions of traffickers, expand the age of the protected persons in various statutes from 16 to 18 years old, and require data collection to enhance an understanding of the scope of this crime in Connecticut. Each State’s Attorney and each municipal police chief will report data relating to investigations and prosecutions to the state legislature. Key amendments of the law require adult entertainment establishments and the lodging industry, including hotels, motels, and inns, to post conspicuous signage displaying the trafficking hotline phone number, making Connecticut the first state in the country to do so, and to maintain a system to keep records of all guest transactions and receipts for at least six months. The law also initiates the annual reporting of referred trafficking cases, the development of hospitality staff training programs for identifying and reporting human trafficking, and the expansion of trafficking offenses to include the use of computer services to entice a minor.
On June 30th and July 1st, Grace Farms Foundation hosted an invitation-only workshop on human trafficking, which brought together a select group of international experts to develop recommendations and solutions to end the enslavement of women, men and children. The outcomes of the workshop will contribute to a substantive report, to be published by United Nations University (UNU) in early September.
The workshop was convened by UNU with the support of Grace Farms Foundation, the Permanent Mission of The United Kingdom to The United Nations, the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein to The United Nations and Thomson Reuters to foster collaborative partnerships to eradicate modern slavery.
Education and Training
Since its launch, Grace Farms Foundation has hosted monthly training sessions for law enforcement officials and not-for-profits on how to effectively use a big-data platform to locate and apprehend traffickers and survivors. The revolutionary tool empowers law enforcement in its fight against child sex trafficking. Using advanced algorithms, the platform processes and analyzes information from publicly available classified advertisements, presenting law enforcement with actionable leads. Since November 2015, with the assistance of this new tool, law enforcement officials have executed 14 arrests and located 2 survivors. Grace Farms Foundation will provide a space to serve as a training center for the law enforcement community, conducting all types of human trafficking investigations.
“The internet is the crime scene of the 21st Century”
—Dr. Sharon Cooper, Faculty, UNC School of Medicine; CEO Developmental & Forensic Pediatrics
Grace Farms Foundation’s Justice Initiative also offers opportunities for the public to learn about gender-based violence prevention. In the past six months, 62 women and teenage girls have participated in free domestic violence and sexual assault prevention classes at Grace Farms. In June, the Foundation co-hosted a panel discussion with the local New Canaan Domestic Violence Partnership, to educate incoming college freshmen about sexual assault on campuses and preventative measures.
“The business of rape for profit is massive, brutal, and preventable.”
Gary Haugen, President & CEO, International Justice Mission
Almost 21 million people are victims of forced labour – 11.4 million women and girls and 9.5 million men and boys. (Source: ILO)
Almost 19 million victims are exploited by private individuals or enterprises and over 2 million by the state or rebel groups. (Source: ILO)
Forced labour in the private economy generates US $150 billion in illegal profits per year. (Source: ILO)
“We plan to disrupt and eradicate; first in Connecticut, and then across the nation”
"Do what you do; everybody has a role to play in this movement"
"There is no such thing as a child prostitute"
"This effort will require courage, collaboration, and relentless dedication"
"You're only as happy as your least happy child."
"There are more human slaves today than there have been ever before in our history"
"Love is the foundation of our motivation"
"You rescue a body; you transition a mind"
"It's rare to have this caliber human being all in one room; these are the pioneers of our movement"
"We need revolutionary solutions"
In November 2015, Grace Farms Foundation, under the leadership of its Justice Initiative Director and General Counsel, Krishna Patel, brought together experts from the public and private sectors to identify innovative techniques to eradicate child exploitation that could be replicated in communities across the country. During the workshop, participants laid the groundwork for new legislation, training, and increased awareness to help abolish this brutal and widespread, yet preventable, crime. The workshop also provided the policy resources necessary to fight child trafficking that occurs using the Internet through the development and deployment of effective big-data technologies. It identified tools for those who are on the frontlines and best positioned to disrupt the criminal networks that exploit children.
The meeting marked the launch of Grace Farms Foundation’s Justice Initiative, which has now expanded to include advocacy for policy and legislation; education and training; grants of space to not-for-profit organizations; and collaborative workshops to generate results for social change. While no single group or governmental organization alone can provide a comprehensive response, a multi-faceted approach can help create integrated solutions. The Foundation recognizes that the root causes of trafficking can be interrupted when law enforcement and the private sector work together.
Justice Initiative Team
Krishna R. Patel
Krishna R. Patel serves as General Counsel and Justice Initiative Director at Grace Farms Foundation. Ms. Patel, along with Rod Khattabi, the Foundation’s Justice Initiative Advisor and Safety Director, who was a federal agent for over 20 years, leads the deployment of an innovative big data platform that enables law enforcement to locate and apprehend traffickers and rescue survivors.
From 2003 until July 2015, Ms. Patel served as an Assistant United States Attorney and since 2010 as the Deputy Chief of the National Security and Major Crimes Unit, where she was responsible for supervising and prosecuting a variety of investigations including international and domestic terrorism, civil rights, child exploitation, cyber-crimes, terrorism, financial crimes, money laundering, and international weapons and human trafficking. She created one of the first court-monitored restitution funds for victims of human trafficking in the United States and for foreign victims.
Rod Khattabi serves as Director of Safety and Justice Initiative Advisor at Grace Farms Foundation. His work for the Foundation includes the monthly training of law enforcement to effectively use innovative big data software to find traffickers and survivors and educational programming for female teens and adults on how to reduce chances of becoming victims of assault.
Prior to joining Grace Farms Foundation, Mr. Khattabi oversaw the New Haven office in Connecticut with the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Mr. Khattabi has received numerous awards throughout his federal law enforcement career including the Medal of Valor for his heroic actions during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Connecticut U.S. Attorney's Award for Exceptional Contributions to Law Enforcement, and the Director’s award from the Department of Homeland Security.
Grace Farms Foundation is a member of Made in a Free World, and has been certified as an organization with a clean supply chain, free from connections to slave labor, and is advocating awareness of the presence of slave labor in global supply chains. Find out how to become a member of Made in a Free World and reduce your slavery footprint here.Visit Website
Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., Polaris systematically disrupts the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their freedom. Donate here.Visit Website
The Department of Children and Families works together with families and communities for children who are healthy, safe, smart, and strong. For volunteer opportunities, contact Dayna R. Snell.Visit Website
The International Institute of Connecticut (IICONN) is a statewide not-for-profit human services agency that provides services to new immigrants and refugees in Connecticut to help them become self-sufficient, integrated and contributing members of the community. IICONN also provides special services to victims of serious crimes such as human trafficking, torture, and domestic violence. For more information about donations, contact Luke Sharples. For volunteer opportunities, contact Mentor Coordinator Helen DeKorne.Visit Website
Love146 is an international human rights organization working to end child trafficking and exploitation through survivor care, prevention education, professional training and empowering movement. Donate here. You can also join a Love146 Volunteer Team near you, or register a new Volunteer Team.Visit Website
The Domestic Violence Crisis Center provides confidential services at no charge to anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse or domestic violence. For volunteer opportunities, contact Allison RoachVisit Website
Family ReEntry’s mission is to develop, implement, and share innovative, sustainable, cost-effective solutions to the unprecedented numbers of people involved in the criminal justice system. For volunteer opportunities, email Jeffrey Earls, Director of Development, or call 203-290-0865.Visit Website