12-06-2019  3:00 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Black Food Professionals See Opportunities to “Scale Up” in School Cafeterias and on Store Shelves

Two Portland women are addressing disparities in the local food scene with Ethiopian and Haitian flavors, ingredients

Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone Climbing Historic Ladders

In 1995, Boone was the first African American woman hired by Portland Fire & Rescue; this year she became its first African American Chief

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NEWS BRIEFS

Conservation Breakthrough for Endangered Butterfly

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Meet 80 Local Authors at OHS 52nd Holiday Cheer Book Sale and Signing

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Artist Talk with 13-year-old Local to be Held This Tuesday, Nov. 26

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Man who 'freaked out’ on plane, forced landing pleads guilty

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Owners of Thai restaurant chain get prison for tax fraud

SEATTLE (AP) — A couple that used software to hide more than jumi million in revenue at the Thai restaurant chain they owned have each been sentenced to several months in prison and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines.The U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle said Thursday that Chadillada...

Missouri fires football coach Barry Odom after 4 seasons

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri fired football coach Barry Odom on Saturday, ending the four-year stay of a respected former player who took over a program in disarray but could never get the Tigers over the hump in the brutal SEC.The Tigers finished 6-6 and 3-5 in the conference after...

Powell, Missouri snap 5-game skid with win over Arkansas

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OPINION

Will You Answer the Call for Moral Revival?

In embracing and expanding the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Revs. Barber and Theoharis have asked Presidential candidates to consider a debate that focuses exclusively on poverty ...

What I’m Thankful For This Season

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Congressional Black Caucus Members Visit U.S.-Mexico Border: “Mistreatment of Black Immigrants is Another ‘Stain on America’”

Members said they witnessed first-hand the deplorable treatment and plight of Black immigrants ...

Portland, I'm Ready

Last month I had the privilege to stand with hundreds of supporters and announce my intention to run for re-election ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Kansas judge accused of bigotry, profanities in courthouse

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A foul-mouthed Kansas judge accused of bigotry and racism who cursed at courthouse employees so often that a trial clerk kept a “swear journal” documenting his obscene outbursts is facing complaints that his conduct violates the central judicial canons of...

Buttigieg backs black leaders after Indiana event disrupted

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Panel calls for Virginia to purge dozens of old racist laws

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ENTERTAINMENT

Timberlake apologizes to wife for ‘strong lapse in judgment’

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Veteran producer of 'WarGames,' 'Blue Bloods," dies at 85

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'Once Upon a Time,' 'Portrait' top AP's 2019 best films list

Associated Press Film Writers Lindsey Bahr and Jake Coyle name their choices for the best films of 2019.LINDSEY BAHR1. “Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood": Quentin Tarantino’s movie business fairy tale, featuring all-time performances from two of our great living movie stars, and the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Pearl Harbor vet’s interment to be last on sunken Arizona

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Chase with stolen UPS truck ends with shootout, 4 dead

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A locker, a chirp: How tiny clues help solve child sex cases

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Nobel body: ‘Highly problematic’ that peace winner silent

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As 58 migrants drown off Africa, a call to stop smugglers

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Injured journalist seeks answers from Hong Kong police

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McMenamins
Beth Duff-Brown the Associated Press

Singer and actor Common, at left, and Justin Dillon, right, also filmed a documentary about enslaved laborers around the world that aired on CNN this past Thanksgiving.



SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Justin Dillon's rock band was touring Eastern Europe when he met some college students who told him they were about to get work in the West. They were eager to begin what they were sure would be their new MTV-like lives.

Dillon dug deeper and asked to see their documents. He warned the young women they likely were about to be trafficked into the sex trade or sweatshops.

They brushed him off. They wanted desperately to believe the $2,200 they had paid a facilitator to get them service industry jobs would make all their dreams come true.

"They immediately felt embarrassed, but then emboldened," he recalls of the 2003 exchange. "They said, `I mean, look around. I'll take my chances on this. You think I'm going to stick around here?'"

That conversation changed his life - and his life's mission.

Today, the 42-year-old Berkeley rocker heads up a popular social media campaign to combat slavery. With a $200,000 grant from the State Department, he recently launched www.slaveryfootprint.org , which helps people identify the slave labor used for their own consumer goods. It is approaching 2 million hits.

He belongs to a coalition of anti-slave labor groups sharing an $11.5 million grant from Google's philanthropy arm.

And now - with the help of a groundbreaking anti-slavery retail law going into effect across California on New Year's Day - Dillon believes the movement is reaching that tipping point where the average consumer can make a difference.

"We need cultural critical mass on this," Dillon said in a recent interview. "Modern-day slavery and human trafficking is far too easy to execute, and far too profitable."

After that 2003 band tour, the singer and songwriter became a man obsessed. He learned there are an estimated 27 million modern-day slaves around the world. He wondered how he could fight the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls, bonded labor and indentured sweatshop servitude.

Dillon started offering up his band for benefit concerts. He produced a 2008 documentary, "Call+Response," which included songs and interviews with the likes of Julia Ormond, Ashley Judd, Cornel West and Madeleine Albright.

His first Website, www.chainstorereaction.com , which helps consumers send e-letters to companies, was cited by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and used in the research for the California law signed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010.

While some states already prohibit forced labor and criminalize trafficking, the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act is the first to tackle the global supply chain.

The law affects an estimated 3,200 companies with a presence in California, including Walmart and Macy's. It requires retailers and manufacturers with gross annual receipts of more than $100 million to disclose what they've done to eliminate slavery in the global supply chain of their goods.

Slavery can mean a sweatshop in India or a cotton field in Burkina Faso, where indentured slaves or child laborers dyed or picked the cotton for those cheap-but-chic garments that found their way under Christmas trees.

The legislation introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg requires companies to audit and certify that their suppliers are complying with international labor standards, as well as provide training to supply-chain managers.

The California Chamber of Commerce and California Retailers Association were among those who argued the requirements would carry huge costs and that private businesses were being enlisted as de facto law enforcement agencies.

Supporters note the law simply requires companies to disclose their efforts - even if they've made none - to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their supply chains. While there are no monetary penalties, the state tax board will provide the attorney general a list of those businesses that have not complied and the AG's office will determine what legal action to take.

Monica Richman, a New York partner with the law firm SNR Denton who represents large retailers and fashion brands, said some clients are concerned the law is too broad and the details too murky. But most companies want to do the right thing, she said, and view the law as a tool to benefit business and burnish their brands.

"There are so many really impressive companies in the fashion industry," Richman said. "And they don't want to be known for offering a $500 pocketbook made by a 9-year-old child."

Many big companies, such as GAP, Nike and Ford Motor Co, already adopted clean-labor policies after ugly reports about bonded, child or forced labor in their own supply chains.

Dillon insists Slavery Footprint is not about shaming businesses. It's about educating consumers and allowing them to determine where they will shop - then getting them to tell that story via social media.

"We let everyone know that we're not handing out torches and pitchforks," he said. "But we are developing very sharp carrots in the marketplace."

Slavery Footprint asks visitors to take a survey about consumer products, clothing and food to determine how many slaves might have worked along the supply chain for those goods.

When women are asked about cosmetics, for example, a box notes: "Every day tens of thousands of American women buy makeup. Every day tens of thousands of Indian children mine mica, which is the little sparkles in the makeup."

The consumer can then share the total slave score on Twitter or Facebook, encourage others to take the survey and then get involved by sending ready-made electronic letters to retailers calling on them to be more diligent when sourcing supplies. A mobile app "Free World," allows you to find out more about your products at point of purchase.

"It allows you to mobilize your value set in a way that uses your free time to be able to free people," Dillon said. "We think the only brand that can really ever make sense is, `Made in the Free World.'"

The State Department provided the Slavery Footprint grant so Dillon could try to replicate the highly successful "carbon footprint" campaign by environmentalists.

"He's on the cutting edge," said State Department Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca, who heads up the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and believes social media are key to fighting slavery.

CdeBaca recalls the case of an 8-year-old girl whose Egyptian parents sold her into slavery to a Cairo couple, who then smuggled her into Irvine, Calif. She was forced to work for years as a domestic, living in squalor and not allowed to go to school.

She was eventually rescued and in December, at 22, became a naturalized citizen who hopes to become federal agent.

"You see something like that and you realize that every one of those 27 million is an individual," CdeBaca said. "And we can save them. We can walk with them on their path to freedom, because these are all people who, if you just give them a chance, can do amazing things."

---

On the Internet:

Slavery Footprint: www.slaveryfootprint.org

State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons: http://www.state.gov/g/tip

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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