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  • Author: Joey White
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: Our sister organization, Human Trafficking Center (HTC) are the experts on the matter of human trafficking and use academic rigor, sound methodology, and reliable data to promote understanding of human trafficking and its causes, conditions, and cures. In a recent blog, HTC defines the connection between trafficking and migration: “Trafficking is migration gone terribly wrong.” – David Feingold. These words given by David Feingold in his piece Trafficking in Numbers: The Social Construction of Human Trafficking Data give a whole new insight into what human trafficking is, what realms human trafficking occurs within, and how human trafficking happens. Indeed, human trafficking and migration are inextricably linked. Human trafficking is heavily influenced by migration. Any policies regarding one have a tremendous effect on the other. This is why it is so vital to examine immigration policies and take into account what impacts they will have in the anti-trafficking sphere, particularly in today’s political climate.”
  • Topic: Human Rights, Migration, Immigrants, Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cat Galley
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: This year, The Center on Human Rights Education chose the theme of DISPLACEMENT to investigate and research in the context of human rights. To begin under this theme, we began with homelessness and evolved into immigration. We focused on homelessness in the context of the Denver-metro area and the state of Colorado. Immigration held a national focus during the winter quarter. In the spring, COHRE will investigate into the topic of refugees and displacement. Throughout the Fall Quarter, the connections between displacement and homelessness came to be understood. On a more national scale, in 2013, there were approximately 610,042 homeless individuals. This number includes US citizens, immigrants, and refugees.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Immigrants, Displacement, Homelessness
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Elizabeth Kirchhoff
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: We are living in a tremendously important time in history, and the decisions being made by our social, economic, and political leaders today will go on to affect the trajectory of our societies for generations. With this in mind, the protection and promotion of human rights are even more crucial. And yet, while the Trump Administration’s cabinet already contains many problematic figures, Trump’s choice for U.S. Secretary of Labor is especially disturbing. Simply put, from a human rights perspective, there are many reasons why the Trump Administration’s nomination of Andrew Puzder as U.S. Secretary of Labor is the wrong choice.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Labor Issues, Domestic politics, Socioeconomics
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Kushagra Pokhrel
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: Facing international criticism, in 2015, Qatar promulgated a new law regulating treatment of migrant workers – replacing the old Kafala (Sponsorship) system which tied the employment, as well as the immigration status, of a migrant worker to his or her employer. The Kafala system, which allowed the sponsor (often the worker’s employer) full control over a worker’s entrance and exit from Qatar, as well as their ability to transfer employment while in the country, was routinely accused of generating conditions of extreme worker abuse, including that of Forced Labor. Having been in effect since December 2016, the new Public Law No. 21 of 2015 does not, however, protect workers from the most serious abuses that came to typify Qatar’s construction industry as well as other low paying labor sectors. While the language has been altered – using the word Recruiter, instead of Sponsor as done previously – and there are modest alterations on job transfer and exit requirements, the new law, nonetheless, keeps the most exploitative features of old system largely intact. Under Article 8, it is still incumbent upon the Recruiter to acquire Residency Permit for its employees, with no consequences for the Recruiter for a failure to do so. Many laborers previously living under risk of deportation due to lack of Residency Permits find their situation unchanged under the new law.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Migration, Labor Issues, Migrant Workers
  • Political Geography: Qatar, Persian Gulf
  • Author: Morgan McDonald
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: According to Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers”, meaning that freedom of expression is guaranteed globally by international human rights laws. Therefore, journalists and news sources are, or rather, should be protected by these international laws to form opinions and report stories to share publicly. Both globally and nationally freedom of the press is threatened daily as journalists and news outlets are continually reprimanded for their reporting. In the US, journalists and the media are protected by the First Amendment, a right that allows individuals and institutions to freely report and present the news. This freedom of the press is essential to a democracy, contributing to a transparent, accountable government, giving the press the right to produce high-quality stories, without fear of retribution from the government. But what does this mean for the responsibility of journalists and what role does, or should, the government play in this freedom of the press?
  • Topic: Human Rights, United Nations, Journalism, Freedom of Press
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Fawn Bolak
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: Last September, thousands of incarcerated individuals in the United States launched an organized protest on the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison Uprising, in an effort to protest racial discrimination, excessive force, and demand an end to the current state of legalized slavery within the U.S. prison system. Across the nation, prisoners in state and federal correctional facilities are exploited for their labor in industries related to agriculture, clothing production, machinery, and technology. While prison officials who strike up deals with large corporations like AT&T and Walmart share in the profits of cheap production, the incarcerated laborers themselves make mere cents per hour for full time work. Additionally, those locked up in federal institutions, who are physically capable of full time work, are mandated to do so as prescribed by Title 29 of the Crime Control Act of 1990. Over 2 million people are currently incarcerated in the United States, making the U.S. the #1 jailer in the world, surpassing Cuba, Russia, and China. Moreover, inmates in the U.S. are disproportionately people of color. According data from the Sentencing Project, black men are incarcerated at a rate 5.1 times the rate of white men, and in 12 states, predominately in the south and east coast, more than 50% of the total state prison population is black. There is a prevailing conservative narrative that asserts that the disproportionate incarceration of black individuals in our criminal justice system is a product of a “culture of violence” centered in “inner cities” and predominately black neighborhoods, rather than a product systemic institutional racism. However, a quick glance at U.S. history indicates that the mass incarceration of black men, current use of exploitative prison labor, and our past economic system built on slavery, is not a mere coincidence.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Race, Labor Issues, Prisons/Penal Systems, Slavery
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Joanna Beletic
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: US economic strategy has been rooted in the belief that the benefits of liberal policies outweigh the associated growing pains. The new Administration’s stance on dismantling trade deals will have a ripple effects throughout society. Global trade has allowed lower income consumers in the US to purchase cheaper goods. Goods are now produced across the globe; without trade deals the costs of inputs needed for US exports will increase, threatening US competitiveness. As global consumers purchase products elsewhere this may lead to further job loss and economic destabilization. Therefore, liberalized trade is fundamental to the US economy. From the get-go liberal economic strategy should have been coupled with efforts to redistribute the benefits to counter the impact on the ‘losers’. This is where the US has failed. There is not only an economic need but a rights obligation to tackle these challenges. Across the aisle ideas have included: the implementation of apprenticeship programs, fortifying workers’ unions, and worker relocation assistance. Hilary Clinton’s plan was rooted in the creation of a clean energy economy in locations that were previously manufacturing heavy, including infrastructure expansion and job training. None of these options have managed to pick up steam because none of them are easy and none of them act as a ‘cure-all’. What is needed is a thorough discussion on how to utilize a combination of such strategies. The Trump Administration introduced an easy solution: bring back exported jobs. Sadly, it is unrealistic for several reasons. First, many manufacturing jobs are not exported, rather disappear due to increases in automatization. Further, as companies consolidate, jobs are often relocated within the US rather than abroad.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Labor Issues, Employment, Labor Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Claudia Castillo
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: Colorado’s need for a flexible labor force capable of surging during certain seasons without creating a significance increase in the immigrant population is the crux of the problem for the state. The realization that there may be trafficked laborers into forced labor on Colorado farms is not a novel idea but the difficulty of obtaining evidence that proves to what extent these human rights violations occur has proven to be extremely challenging. With such a huge population of undocumented agricultural laborers and the lack of oversight throughout Colorado, one can only surmise that violations of the Colorado immigration, human trafficking and forced labor laws implemented in 2006 exist. The lack of research and data of Colorado’s agricultural labor force coupled with the scarce numbers of prosecuted human trafficking and forced labor cases in the agricultural sector is not indicative that the problem does not exist; it just makes the argument for developing a research initiative to determine the extent of the problem. It is not enough to extrapolate human trafficking and forced labor data from national reports or adjacent states to try and identify Colorado’s level of trafficking and forced labor activity in the agriculture sector.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Human Rights, Labor Issues, Labor Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, North America, Colorado
  • Author: Elizabeth Kirchhoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: How would you know if you met a victim of human trafficking? Would you know what to do? Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery where human beings are recruited and forced to work through abuse of power, coercion, intimidation, or other means, and effects every nation in the world. According to a recent report from the anti-trafficking organization, the Polaris Project, more than 21 million people are victims of human trafficking today, who are often hidden “in plain sight,” in many different industries—including agriculture, prostitution, domestic work, prisons, restaurants, hotels, and construction. And while the statistics on modern slavery in the United States and globally continues to be reliably grim, there are actually many ways—large and small—to combat it.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Trafficking , Slavery, Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Joey White
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: ver the past 20 years, marijuana talk has been a hot subject for law makers in the United States with 21 states decriminalizing marijuana, 29 allowing medical marijuana, and 8 states having legalized the recreational use of cannabis products. Illinois may be next to join the ranks of recreational marijuana, as lawmakers have introduced a bill late last month proposing the legalization of recreational cannabis. Based on sales trends in Colorado, it is estimated that for Illinois, legal cannabis could generate between $350 million to $700 million per year in revenue.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Finance, Drugs, Marijuana
  • Political Geography: United States, North America