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Today Pathways To Peace Features our Partner that Invites Citizen Engagement in Ending Human Trafficking:

Operation Big Sister

Pathways To Peace (PTP) is honored and delighted to feature Operation Big Sister (OBS). OBS was inspired by 85 Icelandic women and birthed at the United Nations by Sheva Carr, Pathways To Peace (PTP) Co-Vice President and a core partner with PTP through programs she has founded and directs. Sheva is the head of PTP's United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) Delegation.

Small Group of Women Inspires a Global Movement

Operation Big Sister (OBS) is a funny, poignant, and tender story about a group of women who saw a problem, took action and made a difference in ending sex trafficking. It also reminds us that it only takes one person to start a movement and a small group of people to change the world. 


Human Trafficking: Did you know?

Many of us underestimate the problem of human trafficking. Or, we might think human trafficking happens in far away, foreign countries. In a 2012 UN report, 2.4 million people throughout the world are victims of human trafficking at any given moment. The FBI documents sex trafficking in all 50 United States - so it's probably happening in your community right now. This form of slavery is so vast the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has suggested that human trafficking is set to outpace both the drugs trade and the arms trade as the largest illicit industry in the world. In the United States, this represents an annual 32 billion dollar industry. Although human trafficking is underreported, estimates are that up to 75% of all victims of trafficking are women and girls. Victims are often vulnerable and marginalized, and they become trapped in coercive or abusive situations from which escape is both difficult and dangerous. When faced with a challenge of such darkness and complexity as human trafficking, it's easy to fall into the trap of viewing the problem as intractable and believing there is nothing you can do to help. But you can be a part of the solution! Operation Big Sister can tell you how! 

Big Sisters in Action

 According to the website, "Operation Big Sister" is a true story inspired by 85 anonymous Icelandic women. Representing average everyday people from all walks of life, these women instigated a successful sting operation to deter human trafficking in Iceland. Posing as prostitutes in decoy ads, the Sisters intercepted the phone calls and chats from buyers of sex with a completely new (and hilarious) conversation. Their Operation went viral via the "jungle telegraph" in Iceland- kitchen table to kitchen table. A big part of the power of the 85 original Big Sisters is their anonymity. They used the same tools the Traffickers do to stop traffickers in their tracks: media, technology, and anonymity. When men would call to buy sex from one of their decoy ads, they got a voice on the other end saying "Your big sister is watching you." To the traffickers, it could have been their wife, sister, mother, girlfriend, or other relative on the phone. This action was key to the Big Sister's capacity to disrupt the sex trade in Iceland. A big part of the power of the 85 original Big Sisters is their anonymity. They used the same tools the Traffickers do to stop them in their tracks: media, technology, and anonymity.

"
Operation Big Sister (OBS) seeks to change the conversation about sex trafficking in a way that breaks down barriers and invites dialog by telling the story of average, everyday people who stood up and found a way to make a difference." - Sheva Carr, OBS Visionary and Executive Producer


Big Sisters at the United Nations

Sheva Carr is the visionary behind the Operation Big Sister Project and its Executive Producer. Sheva is also a Pathways To Peace (PTP) Co-Vice President and the head of PTP's United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW). It was at UNCSW that Sheva met the Icelandic women and the NGO community that had stopped human trafficking in the face of government and law enforcement apathy. Sheva was inspired by this effective grassroots approach and the women leading it, which ultimately gave birth to Operation Big Sister (OBS).  

Since the inception of OBS, Sheva and the PTP UN Delegation have been spreading the word about the problem of sex trafficking and its devastating effects. OBS has hosted panels on sex trafficking the past two years at UNCSW. At CSW61 last March, Sheva and a PTP delegation of 20 presented a panel focused on ending sex trafficking by intercepting demand, based on the citizen engagement model of Big Sisters. The stories of the Icelandic women and their success at disrupting demand also inspired the involvement of Diane Graham, OBS staff member, and PTP Delegate. Diane shared that the experience of OBS at the United Nations truly grounded and validated the work of OBS, provided opportunities for important and meaningful connections, broadened awareness of the issues of sex trafficking on a local and global level, and connected the issue of sex trafficking to local and global Peace. Diane goes on to say: 

"My role as a PTP delegate has increased my commitment to widespread Peace and my awareness that everyone is a pathway to Peace. If we are to achieve Peace, we need everybody to care for everybody. We all need to care for people who are vulnerable, marginalized, and victimized so we can engage our collective pathways to Peace."

OBS is an example of the power of civic engagement to bring about change around the most critical issues our planet is facing. To view the stories of women who are survivors of sex trafficking from the 2016 UNCSW, click on this video:   www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2ytn5ao-Qw  


A Call to Action through the OBS Website

" We need to engage a Civilian Army that is both bigger and more coherent than the problem. The coherence is sourced in compassion, humor, vision, purpose, and non-negotiable clarity and unshakeable commitment to change this. All of which yields resilience, innovation, and collaboration. It is our commitment to educate the public about what each of us can do, at no personal risk, to join the civilian army. We really CAN do this, if we all do it together." - Sheva Carr

OBS has recently launched a new website that can help each of us play a role in ending sex trafficking. The OBS website also has a "take action" platform that provides ways that each of us can have an impact: http://www.operationbigsister.com/take-action

"Our mission to solve the global puzzle of human trafficking in our lifetimes is within reach, but we need all hands on deck!" - OBS website



With the Real Big Sisters as its inspiration, OBS is committed to solving the intractable puzzle of sex trafficking - but they can't do it alone! Operation Big Sister is the story of 85 Icelandic Women, from all walks of life who came together and successfully stopped human trafficking and the child sex trade in their country. OBS is calling us into action and giving us ideas and tools to effectively confront the problem of human trafficking in our own way and on our own terms. 


OBS recognizes the urgency to act, as human lives are being impacted by our belief that there is nothing we can do. OBS needs all hands on deck to build a civilian army that is bigger than the problem. By donating and sharing the Operation Big Sister website with others, you will have made a difference to help end sex trafficking.    Each of us can join others in the civilian army and contribute to ending sex slavery!

"Sex trafficking can be a dark and disturbing topic to talk about. But I often wonder what it would be like if each and every one of us picked up a flashlight and shined the light on even one small aspect of it."  - Diane Graham, OBS staff member, and PTP Delegate

You can be that light! Learn more about OBS and join the effort to end human slavery by checking out the OBS website:  www.operationbigsister.com 

You will also find some great videos of CSW and OBS on the site:   www.operationbigsister.com/videos


About Sheva Carr


Sheva Carr is the visionary behind the Operation Big Sister Project and its Executive Producer. She is also the founding CEO of HeartAmbassadors and The Fyera Foundation, and Co-Vice President of UN Peace Messenger Organization Pathways To Peace, the three umbrella organizations sponsoring Operation Big Sister. She is an author, speaker, doctor of Oriental Medicine and expert HeartMath trainer and coach, and loves to help people find fulfillment and peace within the power of their hearts. Featured as a "love luminary" in Marci Schimoff's New York Times bestselling book "Love for No Reason," she founded the Sunflower SunPower Kids program in Nicaragua, she collaborates closely with www.mediaimpact.org to create media for social change, and brings teens from Israel and Palestine together with www.creativityforpeace.org under the motto "An enemy is a friend whose story you have yet to hear."

Students in Sheva's HeartAmbassador Program master multiple personal development and healing techniques for self-empowerment, which liberate their capacities for the service projects they create and participate in worldwide. In her role as the architect and director of HeartMath's HeartMastery Program, and a collaborator on the HeartMath Institute's Health Care and other initiatives, she speaks to people all over the world on how to access heart intelligence and peace of mind, in order to receive the benefits of the heart's impact on their relationships, health, performance, creativity, contribution, legacy, social change, and the building of a global culture of peace.

For more information about Sheva's work at the Fyera Foundation, as it connects to OBS, check out the following website:





 
What is Your Pathway To Peace?

We'd love to hear about it! Pathways To Peace honors, celebrates, and supports Peacebuilders around the world. You can contact us by emailing:  Tez@Pathwaystopeace.org 

About Pathways To Peace and the Culture of Peace Initiative

Incorporated in 1983 , Pathways to Peace (PTP) is an international organization dedicated to making Peace a practical reality in our world today. PTP is an official Peace Messenger of the United Nations and has Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. PTP works locally and globally, inter-generationally and multi-culturally, to promote Peacebuilding, Peace education, and to collaborate with other organizations in initiatives that help further the Culture of Peace Initiative (CPI). 

With participants from around the world, the Culture of Peace Initiative (CPI) is a cooperative local-global Peacebuilding Initiative uniting the strengths of organizations, networks, projects and people to realize a Culture of Peace for the Common Good. The CPI also serves as a vehicle for bringing to light many previously unseen and unheard Peacebuilders working along diverse paths, who are embodying the emerging Culture of Peace within Humanity.  The annual highlight of the Culture of Peace Initiative is the International Day of Peace, which provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and nations to work together, on a shared date, to create practical acts of Peace with a year- round impact.

  For more information about Pathways to Peace, please visit our website: www.pathwaystopeace.org 

About the International Day of Peace

An annual focus for PTP is the International Day of Peace (Peace Day), held annually on September 21st. Pathways To Peace has worked with the UN to observe and promote the International Day of Peace since its inception in 1981 and has grown International Day of Peace from a single event of a few hundred people into an annual global observance that now reaches hundreds of millions of people. The International Day of Peace ("Peace Day") is observed around the world each year on 21 September. Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.   http://internationaldayofpeace.org 

"Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All"
Is the theme for the International Day of Peace -
September 21, 2017

This theme relates to the UN's "Together" campaign which relates to the fair and compassionate treatment of refugees and seeks to promote awareness of our global community and a common desire for Peace. We all are One. 

Download the IDP poster at



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