Posts tagged human trafficking

Entitlement, Victim Mentality vs. Responsible Accountability

I just finished having an hour long conversation with a very sensitive coordinator who got some negative feedback from a high school teacher about my rating of their students’ writings. I don’t know who these students are, they don’t know who I am. Everything is anonymous and usually that is good, right? The teacher gets involved when the students feel hurt about the feedback I give. For instance, I may give a student a poor rating because their writing is not up to the level it should be. I am an outside, objective person who doesn’t know what the exact assignment requirements are, however, I DO know what a good essay should look like and read like. Then, I am finding out, when I give a negative on the writing it reflects poorly on the teacher.

Therefore, I have had the support of my coordinator thus far. He knows my work and appreciates what I write for feedback. However, he had to tell me that I have to curb my comments on the students’ ideas because I might be stepping on their toes. Some of them might be feeling down already and NOT confident in their writing abilities. Others, however, might be feeling over-confident in their writing skills. I told my boss that in some cases I see that the students are being passed on through and are ill prepared to go on to college. The high school writing teachers are overburdened with much pressure to succeed. I can only empathize with the teachers who are expected to perform well in getting the high school students up to a certain standard.

In my case, I wrote feedback challenging their thinking so that they would actively think about other perspectives. I KNOW some of them are just receiving the cookie cutter way of thinking and narrow scope. Whereas, I bring out my globalized thinking when it comes to human trafficking. It is an awful topic to explore but I believe it is something that the students need to think about and not how blacks were treated unfairly in ALL cases. This creates the entitlement attitude and also perpetuates the victim mentality. I am flummoxed why this has to be discussed when what is a present day problem is swept under the rug.

Suffice it to say, I have been reprimanded in a very kind way. I have gotten feedback from a stressed out composition teacher that she believes that I have a racist agenda. She is accusing me of things that are not true and is defending her students, they are theater types and probably the touchy feely types. Anyway, I think students need to learn these days about being accountable and responsible. They are not getting that lesson if they are whining about the rater’s score which is low. I don’t know, I think I will let this slide off my back. The coordinator thought I would be wounded by this. I was not. I pity the teacher, they are going through a difficult time trying to teach these kids to write better. I’ve been there and done that!

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Giving a Talk on H.T. Issues…Again

Recently I was asked by someone I know from my hometown, through Facebook, if I still give talks on human trafficking issues.  What evolved from my affirmative answer was a whirlwind of phone conversations on her end to get me to be the speaker to 20-30 people in one month. (my guess is their other featured speaker must have cancelled on them at the last minute)  On my end I wrote the following to convince the promoters of this event and eventually the audience participants that I mean business.  I will be paid by some federal grant for my gas mileage, hotel and meals and speaker’s fee.  I hope that I can do this two day conference justice. Surely they have many speakers in the Twin Cities who can talk on this subject rather than getting me from five hours away.

In any case, I will go and do the best I can in 90 minutes to convince those in attendance that this is a plague amongst all of us throughout the whole world. Not only domestic abuse and violence against women, but men and children are also enslaved. That is my main message. Slavery and using humans is an age old and troubling problem that has been with us for thousands of years. Wherever you have the powerful and dominating culture, you will also have the vulnerable and weak. Those in the middle need to rise up and do something about helping those who can’t help themselves. The abolitionists did it before with changing laws and trends, people like Wilberforce, worked within his sphere of influence.  Surely we can do the same.  Here is what I quick wrote based on what I had written earlier on this blog.  My eyes had been opened up to this tragedy of human trafficking after living three plus years in Kazakhstan. For some inexplicable reason, this dreadful topic will not go away for me. I need to stay on the front lines to help in the fight.

“Modern-day traders in human property know their business inside out and respond to changes in the market with a speed unmatched by even the most competitive corporations.  Their expertise and ability to exploit the market are surpassed only by their disregard for human life. Women are bought, sold and hired out like any other product. The bottom line is profit.”

We, as westerners, should NOT be complacent about human trafficking. I have seen with my own eyes the slavery mentality in countries I have lived in or visited from the Philippines, China, Hong Kong, to the countries of the former Soviet Union of Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. I have lived 15 years outside of my own country to know that human trafficking exists and is getting worse than ever. Maybe out of willful ignorance we do not care to know about those trapped in sex trafficking who need an outside advocate. Maybe it is because we think slavery was abolished since our “Civil” War in America, that it doesn’t exist elsewhere in the world? It does exist and the numbers of trafficked victims far exceed the total number of slaves during the hundreds of years of the trans-Atlantic trade from Africa to the U.S. My main question is: “Shouldn’t there be an all-out war and campaign against human trafficking?”

My answer as an educator is that I am convinced when people are presented the facts about human trafficking, they respond in wanting to help or donate in some way to alleviate the suffering.  We must admit that we live in a privileged, first world environment that is comfortable while many languish in poverty and grab at any opportunity that will possibly help them out.  In my presentations that I give about human trafficking, I set forth some of the things I have learned along the way about child soldiers, child labor, building construction, tobacco/cotton fields, begging in streets, forced marriages, surrogate maternity, harvesting organs, pornography and prostitution. Whoever listens to what I have learned, will come away knowing that this is not just a war against women but men and children as well.  They will also find out there is hope because there are international organizations (i.e. Polaris Project, Freeset, Remember Nu, Not for Sale, etc.) which are mobilized to do something about trafficking.  We are NOT alone in this fight against human trafficking.

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Student’s Paper on “Half the Sky” and more (Part II)

A continuation from yesterday’s blog about sex slavery and how education can help to eradicate the problem. I am saved by my students’ papers that took on this tough topic of human trafficking.  Marcus read the book “Half the Sky.”  I am doing other writing about my hometown, thus, I am not using my own words to write in this blog.  I have other students’ papers that need a little editting but continue on the same theme of human trafficking.

“There is a cynical belief on whether support groups are actually benefitting the victims in need of assistance. These beliefs are aided by the continuous rise and fall of organizations trying to make changes in struggling societies. To the general society (people provided only with information given from commercials) are brought to confusion of what is actually happening on the other side of the earth. In these organizations defense, the reason for some of them having troubles and falling out of operation is because their initial plans of helping these societies in scope did not pan out to their expectations. In WuDunn’s (2010) chapter Investing in Education, it explains how aid from outside sources to help an inner society problem can have many issues. Since it is highly likely that outside sources would not have the same knowledge of the situation as the locals, oversights on solutions would not be uncommon. In parts of Nigeria, women would raise cassava (a widely eaten root, similar to the use of a potato) and use it as a household food, selling the surplus to local markets controlling the money earned from the sales. The organization at the time in Nigeria, were looking for ways that women could attain a stronger in society. Having this opportunity their idea was as followed: “If we give them better varieties of cassava, they’ll harvest more and sell more. Then they’ll make more money, and spend it on their families.” What was overlooked was that with the increase in cassava grown, there were not enough women to manage the entire harvest, leaving much of the leftovers unattended. This led to problems between the men and women in these communities. The increased profit from the cassava attracted men into the equation having the idea that since it was generating so much money, it should be a “man’s job.” This brought social-domestic issues by pushing women out of a situation that gave them some stability in society. Overall there can be issues that can have negative effects if both sides of the outcome are not first comprehended, but not all situations have the same outcome. Most successful aid from outside organizations has the local government somewhat involved. With this involvement, the government has the opportunity to maintain the positive planning that is being implemented so that it can manage in society without constant aid from support groups.

An example of a successful plan came from the consensus decision of the Mexican government. They launched a study called Oportunidades which is a conditional cash transfer (CCT) program that offers cash and in-kind services to poor households as incentives for households to invest more in their children’s health and education (Todd & Winters, 2011). Most families in impoverish situations do not have thoughts of enrolling their children in early education or even regular education because of either financial or lifestyle issues (children having to work to provide for family). Along with education, families rarely have the opportunity to be medically treated or go for treatment if it is available. With these lifestyle choices from the influence of poverty, any income that was in the family’s possession first went to survival needs such as food and supplies. Oportunidades was established to break the reoccurring trend of impoverished families and provide them with chances for an optimistic future. The program incentive was to encourage parents of families to create healthy habits of going on regular medical check-ups in addition to implementing their children to “on-time” schooling (the child starting school at approximately 6 years of age). Since the government was the main source backing the program (starting with small communities as a control group) as well as their tactics (CCT) the overall plan flourished. Having the CCT implemented it influence households to abide by the guidelines of the program on their own time. In result it provided the households to create habits on their own just as a baby is weaned off the mother’s breast to a bottle and then onto a cup. This gave families and specifically children a chance to improve their lives for the future. Parents would learn positive habits to pass down to their children who are now living healthier lives. The children being able to partake in academics at an internationally acceptable age have a higher chance of attaining respectable jobs globally which in turn can influence their communities in an economically positive way.

Having communities uplifted from poverty can create a more positive balance of how each person in the world is valued. Another quote from WuDunn’s (2010) book provides the emphasis of separation between societies:

The officer shrugged, unperturbed. “It’s unfortunate,” he agreed. “These girls are sacrificed so that we can have harmony in society. So that good girls can be safe.”

“But many of the Nepali girls are good girls, too.”

“Oh yes, but those are peasant girls. They can’t even read. They’re from the countryside. The good Indian middle-class girls are safe.”

These distinctive separations of value between people that have an education and are brought up in a middle-class society have disposed of the people of opposite benefits. The main issue is that the people in poverty have no chance of breaking out of that struggle without aid. They will continue to be left in the shadows hidden away from the rest of society if society is content with the idea. Now this is not true in all parts of the country, but it is equally wrong to avoid taking action on the countries that are allowing for these illegal events to occur. Being in a country that has higher standards of living does give off powerful influences to developing countries or countries that want to rise into a well-known society. There needs to be this mindset when dealing with social issues such as sex trafficking to influence powerful groups and governments to make changes within their communities so that no one is left behind. In order for many of these pushes to happen, the communities of these more powerful countries need to be aware of what is happening around the world and are accumulatively ready to back up their country to provide help to others. The most popular source of information has been from media distribution such as YouTube (personal uploaded videos with infinite subjects) and that of regular occurrence (television, newspaper, radio). With these sources, there would be a better chance of bringing communities together to create change and movements. There have always been movements such as “Free the Children”, “Stop Global Warming”, or “Sea-Thos” that have had the public come together to help a cause. All that is needed is for the next cause to be focused on human trafficking. Finding a solution to invest in impoverished communities so that children can have healthy lives and be educated can eliminate the possibility of being victimized by human trafficking.

So although in a few cases of prostitution it may be financially beneficial for families in impoverished countries, sex trafficking of young girls should be abolished. Investment into their education would protect their future and would not bring them to harm psychologically or physically. First of all, most girls deal with unimaginable terror every day from deceived promises of well-paying jobs to be beaten physically and psychologically by their captors or customers. But most importantly, it negates their chance of attaining an education to have a positive future for them and for the community they live in. For these possibilities to even happen, drastic moves need to be made by higher powers to change the ongoing circle of poverty that traps these communities of a lower lifestyle. That being said, the media is a perfect tool to provide help so that support groups can collaborate with governments of developing countries or struggling countries to provide aid to their societies. With this aid just as the Mexican government’s Oportunidades program, it can give these communities the tools to become equal in society and not left in the shadows to be forgotten about. So the real question is if the value of one’s education is so valuable to a middle-class person, it should be just as valuable to a person hoping to have the same chance at their own education.”

Reference

Basil, N. M. (2009). Factors sustaining human trafficking in the contemporary society:

Psychological implications. Ife Psychologia, 17(1), 161-175. Retrieved from Proquest.

doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-232

Jones, L., Engstrom, D., Hilliard, P., & Sungakawan, D. (2011). Human trafficking between

Thailand and Japan: Lessons in recruitment, transit and control. International Journal Of

            Social Welfare, 20(2), 203-211. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2397.2009.00669.x

Ostrovschi, N. V., Prince, M. J., Zimmerman, C., Hotineanu, M. A., Gorceag, L. T., Gorceag, V.

I., Flach, C., & Abas, M. A. (2011). Women in post-trafficking services in Moldova:

Diagnostic interviews over two time periods to assess returning women’s mental

health. BMC Public Health, 11(1), 232-240. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-232

Todd, J. E., & Winters, P. (2011). The effect of early interventions in health and nutrition

on on-time school enrollment: Evidence from the oportunidades program in rural

Mexico. Economic Development & Cultural Change, 59(3), 549-581.

WuDunn, S., (2010, August). Sheryl WuDunn: Our century’s greatest injustice. [Video file].

Retrieved from

WuDunn, S., & Kristof, N. D. (2010). Half the sky: Turning oppression into opportunity for

women worldwide. New York: Vintage Books.

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Students’ Perspectives on Human Trafficking

SunriseI realize I haven’t written much lately on this blog.  Gardening, spring cleaning, writing newspaper articles, the list is endless concerning what has distracted me from blogging more. Clearly I am not living in Kazakhstan anymore so I can’t write too much about Kazakh students. However, I am still working with Asian students so I feel right at home in my own hometown in Minnesota.  I will get more on track with writing during this summer in anticipation of next fall and teaching incoming freshmen students.

For now, here are the perspectives from my last class on an assignment I gave them about human trafficking. Most of these are Korean students from my Comp I class, some have English names which helps me as their teacher to call on them in class.

Perspectives on Human trafficking Assignment

Marcus – The thing I liked most about writing this paper was learning a completely new topic that I did not know before. I was never fully aware of the conflicts of human trafficking until I researched my topic of human sex trafficking.  The thing I liked most about this paper was that it built my perspective on life and how we should appreciate the things we take for granted. There are many people in this world that deal with daily struggles that we cannot even fathom. From this I am motivated to better myself so I can in return help others in the future.

Ju Young – Actually I like the most about Human Trafficking issue. I have heard about it before but I didn’t know exactly what the Human Trafficking is and how it is severe recent days. After I finished my Paper#3, I had a lots of chance to think about human trafficking and I tried to help them by UNICEF by monthly donation for an Indian girl ( I can’t remember her name..). Above all now I have lots of thinking about human trafficking and maybe in the future, I will help them and I would say that my helping is from the writing of this assignment.

I think I have learned about this paper is how humans are worthy. Sometimes I thought that my life is sad and why I am in the hard society? Such as hard to entering school in Korea, I have to go to military. But after I did my paper on human trafficking, my thinking was totally changing. I was surprised at too much people are struggling with their tough life and they need a lot of help from me and us. From the doing this paper,  Not only for changing my life and thinking, but I have a broaden sight for looking around me and helping them.

Hayden – Human trafficking is rather quite disturbing topic. Child soliders was my topic and through my research, I found out there are so many children who are in need of help. What I liked about this assignment is that I was glad to see that, around the world, there are people who are trying to reach out their hands to those forsaken children and strive to aid them. Basically, what I learned from writing this paper is that there are children who need help so much and the dark side of the world is just abhorring.

Janet – In this paper, I really like researching about the topic. Since I have been interested in human issues such as human trafficking. So, I really enjoyed researching about this topic. For me, I love the topic- online child pornography-in this paper. During the last topic of human trafficking issue, I really have interested in this issue. So, I choose this topic.

Calvin – Researching and finding information on the topic was not so much fun but informative and I enjoyed that part of the paper.  The troubles of others are unimaginable to those who don’t seek the truth.

Joe – Actually, this topic about human trafficking was too difficult for me to write. The topic was touchy one. However I learned about prostitution especially Asian prostitution more.

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Students’ Reactions to “The City Bleeds Red” blog

bloodAn American girl wrote on her blog about her travels around the world for almost one year.  I had my composition students read her blog if they wanted to write their reaction to it for extra credit. Only three guys from Korea chose to do so. Otherwise, there were books to read on line, articles to look at or my own blogs to reflect on in preparation for their third paper on human trafficking. They looked at this link, I invite you to do the same and then react by adding a comment of your own at the end of this blog entry.

Reactions to “The City Bleeds Red”

Student #1 – This blog entry is by far the most convincing and heart-breaking story I have ever read. Because of this essay I have to reconsider whether the color red is really representing the word ‘passion’ , not, as the article said, “young children having to sit under a bed while their mother is doing “business”. Red is the color of innocence being taken by force, trafficked into new lands and robbed of all hope and future. Red – the color of parentless children being raised by pimps just waiting for them to get to the proper age so they can be put into business. Red – the color of corruption; police being paid every week by pimps so they don’t take action. Red is the color of deception, mistrust and injustice”. This was very touching and really moving paragraph. The whole essay tells what is going on within India. And I feel such pity for those young girls as their freedom, wills, visions, and dreams are shattered by the pimps or other disgusting people. I had no idea that India was in this much trouble with CSWs (Commercial Sex Workers) and other sex traffics. This article really awakened me and bought my attention to India. I think people in India really need help and I am eager to do something about it.

Student #2 – “This city bleeds red.” This sentence is very striking expression that depicts the sad reality of the city. Most of CSW have to have body relationship with 13-15 customers a day, and they get paid $2 per customer. As a result, their appearance looks older than their age and they get a disease. What the horrible reality! Their life and human rights is brutally being trampled underfoot by the minority wicked people. These facts always make me upset, however, there is no apparent solution. So, Katy Westrom and her co-workers always pray for improving poor people and children’s life. The victims of human trafficking need to real love and pray, not crude helps. Therefore, I really respect Katy and her people.

Student #3 – In this writing, the writer describes the Mumbai’s situation a red color that is negative part. In Mumbai, really a lot of commercial sex workers (15000~20000). And they even do their sex work about 13-15 customers a day and only got the $ 2 USD. I am really glad how I am one of the luckiest guys in the world. During the blog review, I realized really a lot of people are suffering from human trafficking especially prostitution. When they as victims suffer from the human trafficking, their life is completely ruined. For example, in this writing, there is a woman who is 35 years old but has both HIV and Tuberculosis. However, she looked like she was 75 years old…and she is not the only one woman who suffered from severe human trafficking. In Mumbai, more than 200,000 women are CSW’s. I felt how their life is so difficult as well. However, when there is a negative part, there also a positive part exists. Now the house where the writer was working used to be a brothel, but now today it is a safe place for children. Also like the writer of this blog, we don’t have a lot of work but love. Pray for them, Pray for their life is a one way to reduce their difficult life.

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Slaves Freed from Brick Factories in India

I had my composition students watch the trailer of the documentary “Dark Side of Chocolate” yesterday. I am happy that the full 45 minutes is up on YouTube.  I also had them watch a Ted.com video of Sheryl WuDuun talk about what she knows of human trafficking.  She and her husband Nicolas Kristof co-authored a book titled “Half the Sky.” Both clips certinaly got the attention of my students.  The following should stir the students’ blood after reading this latest blog from IJM (Intl. Justice Mission). I have seen similar stories or read somewhere about the brick factories in India and how people are tricked into working there…very sad!

IJM Bangalore: A Runaway Brother’s Call For Help Brings Rescue

Fri, 03/01/2013

IJM Bangalore helped rescue the children trapped in forced labor slavery
The siblings were enslaved in a brick kiln outside Bangalore, far from their home village in a neighboring state.

BANGALORE, INDIA – This week, a family of six was set free from slavery in an Indian brick kiln. Over the last couple of weeks, several of the siblings had escaped, making the brick kiln all the more dangerous for those who were left behind.

Tricked Once, Trapped For Good

On February 11 2013, IJM Bangalore got a desperate call for help. The caller was a young man named Prasham.* Prasham had escaped from a brick kiln where he and his siblings had been held captive for about six months.

Prasham relayed a terrible story. The three brothers and their sister were lured into the brick kiln with a hefty advance – a large amount of money that was more than their family had ever dreamed of. The siblings agreed to repay it through their work, but when they arrived they quickly realized they had been tricked. They were paid pennies for their work – about $5 a week. They were trapped.

The labor intensive process of baking clay bricks under the hot sun was back-breaking. Prasham told of a time when his sister was sick, and yet the owner forced her to keep working. He said one of the owner’s men, a watchman, beat his sister, and threatened Prasham when he tried to stand up for her.

Prasham said that the brick kiln owner let the brothers and sister take a short leave in January, to go home for an important Indian holiday. When the siblings didn’t return to the kiln, the owner traveled to their village to track them down. Prasham and his sister successfully hid themselves, but his little brothers, 9 and 13, were taken by the owner.

The two young boys were locked up in a small shed every night, let out only to work. They were forced to work even if they were sick, and if they spoke of illness they were kicked. But somehow, the boys managed to escape.

Two Brothers Escape, Another Held Hostage

At the end of February, IJM learned that situation in the brick kiln had worsened. The brick kiln owner allegedly went to a nearby brick kiln and kidnapped Prasham’s older brother. The brash owner locked them up and threatened to keep them hostage until Prasham and his brothers returned. Prasham said that the owner and his managers called him, telling him that they would “break my brother’s hands and legs if we don’t return back to the brick kiln.”

IJM moved quickly and took the case to the government official who has the authority and responsibility to root out forced labor slavery in his district. Within two days, on February 26, 2013, IJM staff and government officials were en route to the brick kiln.

The brick kiln owner at first denied that he was harboring Prasham’s older brother. But when the government official leading the operation demanded that the owner produce the young man at once, the owner changed his story. The owner said the young man was on his way back to the brick kiln. But the IJM and government rescue team found the young man on the road, being led away from the kiln.

Freedom At Last

The government official heard the stories from all of the brothers and sister, including the older brother who had been locked up for two days. The official determined that all six deserved release certificates, legal documents that declare them free and entitle them to certain government benefits.

A police report was also filed, to ensure the siblings remain safe while evidence is collected to build a case against the brick kiln owner.

An IJM social worker escorted the family back to their village, in the neighboring state, and they will now join IJM’s aftercare program. IJM will follow up to make sure they remain safe and are able to restart their lives in freedom by getting back to school or finding good jobs.

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Extra Credit for my Comp I students

We are into Week 7 of our Composition I classes which to me feels like mid-point for the semester. The students are now putting the finishing touches on their second paper and we are looking into materials that relate to human trafficking.  Paper #3 will involve this horrible topic and cover different subtopics of the following where victims of trafficking can be found throughout the whole world:

1) tobacco and cotton fields

2) building construction

3) begging in the streets

4) child laborers

5) child soldiers

6) pornography

7) prostitution

8) forced marriages

9) surrogate maternity

10) harvesting of organs

In order to improve their percentage grade, my students have been given the following options in order to get more emotionally involved in this assignment.  I know human trafficking is a tough one but not one to be avoided because it is unpleasant.  I will encourage them to do something in their sphere of influence.

1)     Read the book on-line – Two Kyrgyz Women” by Marinka Franulovic and write 500 word reaction to one or the other story.  The first is about a mother with her baby working as a slave laborer in the tobacco fields of Kazakhstan.  The second is about a woman who was prostituted, taken from her four children. Both women were restored to their families but are not telling anyone in their village of the dangers they were in.  Very much a taboo topic in Kyrgyzstan.

http://www.free-ebooks.net/ebook/Two-Kyrgyz-Women#ixzz1z5pbxEsN

(25 points for each story, 50 points for whole book)

2)     Read the book on reserve at the UMC library “Not For Sale” by David Batstone and write 100 words summarizing each chapter for 10 points each (read what chapters are of interest to you)

3)     Check out and watch movie “Changeling and write 300 words about your impressions about it and how it might relate to your Paper #3 (25 points)

4)     Check out and watch movie Taken” and do the same as above (25 points)

5)     Read my blog entries about human trafficking from this Kazakhnomad blog site for 10 points each and write 150-200 words OR read this other blog which is very current and posted from India written by Katy Westrom:

http://katywestrom.theworldrace.org/?filename=bleeding-red

6)     Take the Slavery Footprint survey to find out how many slaves work for you.  Do the finetuning to get a more accurate score.  Write 150 words telling about the results and what surprised you the most about this inventory?  (5 points)

http://slaveryfootprint.org/survey/?gclid=CM69yfrr1LUCFe4-MgodkUQAzQ#where_do_you_live

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Part II – Minnesota girl’s plight about being trafficked

The following is a continuation of what I posted yesterday.  More awareness needs to be raised about this problem of human trafficking…

Missing child

At age 11, Kayla began attending her old school again. One day she didn’t come home.

“I went through the streets looking for her,” Lauren said. “I just went through hell.”

Six days later, police officers found her at a community center.

Kayla said a classmate had beaten her up, and then taken her home, where the girl’s mother forced her to sell drugs and have sex with strangers.

Other young girls were being prostituted there too, Kayla said.

After police, acting on a tip, questioned the woman, she arranged for her daughter to leave Kayla at the community center.

Movies and television tend to portray pimps as black men sporting flashy jewelry, driving fancy cars and hanging out on street corners. But in reality anyone can be a pimp. Often they’re women.

“Times have changed,” said Sgt. John Bandemer of the St. Paul Police Depart­ment. “There are way more female pimps right now than male pimps.”

Another time, Kayla took her dog for a walk and didn’t come home for five days.

Again, Lauren reported to police that she was missing. Eventually, Kayla called to ask Lauren to pick her up on a street corner several miles from their home.

Kayla had been with a girl she met when she had been kidnapped before. The girl’s mother, another trafficker, drove Kayla around to several houses, where she was repeatedly raped. One of the men who raped Kayla during that time is the father of her baby, Lauren said.

“[Kayla] was so violent after that,” Lauren added. “She had been totally reprogrammed. She was talking to police officers about the ‘great family’ she was with.”

Traumatic bonding

Traffickers apply a potent mix of loving care alternated with violence, threats and dehumanizing behavior to control victims like Kayla.

They offer a false sense of security and love to establish a “trauma bond” with victims, according to Shared Hope International, a nonprofit organization in Washington state that works to prevent sex trafficking.

Trauma bonds are similar to Stockholm Syndrome, a psychological response where hostages become attached to the perpetrators and later defend them, a report from the organization explains.

One expert declared traffickers “the most brilliant child psychologists on the planet.”

When Kayla was seven months pregnant, she disappeared again. “I just had this horrible feeling,” Lauren said.

The next day, Kayla asked Lauren to pick her up at an apartment building. During the drive home, Kayla told Lauren she had been with “a bunch of pimps.” One of them wanted to be her boyfriend, she added. She said he had taken her shopping and bought her lingerie from Victoria’s Secret.

Then Kayla told Lauren she was going to move in with him.

At home, when Lauren blocked the door to prevent Kayla from leaving, she yanked Lauren’s hair, hurling her to the floor. Lauren raced to a neighbor’s house to call the police, who arrested Kayla for assault. “It might have saved her life,” Lauren said.

Later, Lauren learned that the pimp who wanted to be Kayla’s “boyfriend” controlled a massive interstate trafficking network.

Pimps often pose as a child’s “boy­friend,” building a romantic relationship to secure the child’s trust and allegiance, even after the relationship changes into one of violence, torture and abuse, according to Shared Hope International.

All children are at risk

To many, Kayla’s story might seem extraordinary. But it’s a story that plays out day after day in cities and suburbs throughout the United States. And it can happen to any child, regardless of socio-economic background or ethnicity, said Linda Miller, executive director of Civil Society. The St. Paul organization provides legal and other assistance to sex trafficking victims, including Kay­la.

“I’ve read a lot that these girls come from bad homes and they’re runaways,” Lauren said. “This isn’t a bad home. [Kayla] has had some issues in her life, her mother was a drug addict, but she’s been given nothing but love from me. I wasn’t a bad parent.”

Despite the trauma and abuse Kayla has experienced, Miller said she holds hope for Kayla’s future. Since October, Kayla has been receiving treatment at a residential center for girls with emotional and behavioral problems.

Parents need to educate children about the dangers of sex trafficking before it’s too late, Joy Friedman of the St. Paul organization Breaking Free said at a June forum on human trafficking. Friedman herself was a sex trafficking victim.

“We need parents to get involved,” Friedman said. “We need you to speak up and say you want [sex trafficking education] in your school so your kids can learn the facts that suburban life is not this shelter box. You do not get exempt because you live out in the suburbs and your mom drives a Mercedes and you have a wealthy background and you were raised right and you went to church. . . .

“Traffickers don’t care who you are,” she added. “Like they say: ‘8 to 80, blind, crippled or crazy, you’re still sellable. Because all we need are your parts.’”

Warning signs of child sex trafficking
» Truancy
» Declining grades
» Delinquency
» Curfew violations
» Running away from home
» Signs of violence and/or psychological trauma
» Underage drinking or drug use
» Unaccounted for time
» Unusual or secretive cell phone or computer usage

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Minnesota girl’s plight highlights problem of human trafficking

The following is something I got off the Civil Society website, more people need to be aware of the problems in Minnesota AND North Dakota and also Kazakhstan.

Minnesota girl’s plight highlights problem of human trafficking

An estimated 100,000 to 300,000 American children become victims of sex trafficking every year, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photo illustration

Kayla thought she was going to a church service. She couldn’t have been more wrong.

The 10-year-old asked her grandmother, Lauren, if she would drive her and her friend Jasmine to a house in the suburbs where the service was to take place.

An hour later, when the girls emerged from the house, Jasmine had her arm draped around Kayla, who was crying. Lauren asked what was wrong. Not to worry, Jasmine replied, Kayla had just fallen.

What Lauren didn’t realize then was that, inside that house in the suburbs, her granddaughter had indeed fallen — into the shadowy underworld of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is the illegal trade in human beings for commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor. It is modern-day slavery.

An estimated 100,000 to 300,000 American children are sold for sex annually, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Minnesota ranks as one of the top 10 states for sex trafficking, experts say. It is the portal to the “Minnesota Pipeline,” a series of states through which victims are channeled to New York. Under federal law, however, trafficking, despite connotations, does not require movement of victims.

A person can be a victim of sex trafficking without ever leaving home.

“Human trafficking is a horrific crime against the basic dignity and rights of the human person. All efforts must be expended to end it,” the U.S. bishops said in their 2007 statement “On Human Trafficking.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has played a key role in providing education, advocacy and services for survivors of human trafficking.

Since 2002, the USCCB has assisted more than 2,600 trafficking victims and their families. It also founded the Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking.

“In the end,” the bishops said, “we must work together — church, state and community — to eliminate the root causes and markets that permit traffickers to flourish; to make whole the survivors of this crime; and to ensure that, one day soon, trafficking in human persons vanishes from the face of the earth.”

Kayla’s story

At her home on a quiet, tree-lined street in the Twin Cities, Lauren told the story of Kayla, now 13, whom she is raising along with the girl’s 6-month-old baby. She said she hopes her story will help other parents keep their children safe from predators.

To protect the victim’s identity, all names in this article have been changed.

Kayla’s story began in 2006, when Jasmine, who is four years older than Kayla, befriended her at church. The girls’ age difference concerned Lauren, she said, but she didn’t interfere because the friendship was “under a spiritual guar­dianship, so to speak.”

Before long, however, Lauren noticed disturbing changes in Kayla’s behavior.

“[Jasmine] dressed in a real sexual way, and I noticed [Kayla] started picking this up too,” Lauren said.

That wasn’t all. “Her language started changing, she started using more slang and swear words, talking street lingo. And she started being defiant towards me and rude,” Lauren said. “She’d go into rages, she’d throw things, she’d beat on walls. I couldn’t understand where these rages were coming from.”

Kayla’s life hadn’t been perfect. Her father was absent. Her mother, who died when Kayla was 12, was a drug addict. At times Kayla rebelled, but never before had she been violent, Lauren said.

One day, Kayla told Lauren that Jasmine wanted her to steal thong underwear from a Target store. “And she said I have to have sex, too,” the 10-year-old disclosed to her grandmother.

“I was just shocked,” Lauren said. When she asked Kayla how Jasmine had tried to convince her to do things that Lauren had taught her were wrong, Kayla replied: “She said it’s OK to steal because the grown-ups in this society have stolen our future anyway. . . . And, she said that most girls have already had sex by the time they’re my age.”

‘The game’

The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12 to 14, according to a 2001 national study. But many traffickers begin “grooming,” or gaining the trust of, their victims when they are even younger.

Instructional books that teach aspiring traffickers how to successfully groom a child for commercial sexual exploitation — referred to as “the game” — are widely available for purchase on the Internet.

In one such book, a pimp with a criminal record writes: “You’ll start to dress her, think for her, own her. If you and your victim are sexually active, slow it down. After sex, take her shopping for one item. Hair and/or nails is fine. She’ll develop a feeling of accomplishment. The shopping after a month will be replaced with cash. The love making turns into raw sex. She’ll start to crave the intimacy and be willing to get back into your good graces. After you have broken her spirit, she has no sense of self value.

“Now pimp, put a price tag on the item you have manufactured,” he adds.

Pimps target their victims at schools, recreation centers, parks, churches, shopping malls, on the Internet — anywhere children can be found.

Often it happens in communities where there is a lot of trust. Or, the trafficker is a family member or acquaintance of the child.

“Gradually,” Lauren explained, “they start teaching the children: ‘The adults in your life are your enemies; you shouldn’t listen to them. This is your new family.’”

Traffickers train older girls — like Jasmine, who was trafficked herself — to groom younger girls.

“The girls that are doing this grooming — and it usually is girls — are trying to get them into this life, saying it’s a great life,” Lauren said. “They work on them gradually, kind of like a pedo­phile does. And they don’t just groom the children; they groom the whole community” by presenting themselves in a positive light.

“Once you’re groomed, you’re blood in the water,” Lauren said. “You’re easy prey.”

Downward spiral

Lauren decided that Kayla wasn’t going to see Jas­mine anymore. She also began home schooling Kayla and taking her to a counselor. Despite Lauren’s efforts, however, Kayla continued to spiral out of control.

Lauren had no idea why her granddaughter remained so troubled — until one day she blurted out that she had been sexually assaulted at the house in the suburbs where she and Jasmine had gone for the children’s prayer service.

Kayla had believed she was attending a prayer service that day, she told her grandmother. But as soon as the girls stepped foot into the house, Jasmine snatched Kayla’s prayer book and tossed it over her shoulder.

Jasmine disappeared with an older boy into a bedroom. Another boy attempted to rape Kayla while shoving a pillow over her face to muffle her screams.

Lauren reported the incident to the police; however, no arrest was made in the case, she said. Often it can be difficult for police to gather enough evidence to arrest “johns” because victims are unwilling to cooperate in investigations. Fed­eral and state laws actually make it easier for police to arrest prostitutes, who are usually victims of sex traffickers.

Around the time Kayla revealed that she had been sexually assaulted, Lauren also discovered that she secretly had maintained contact with Jasmine, despite having lost her cell phone privileges. Kayla would sneak off to a nearby community center to call Jasmine on a pay phone, Lauren said. “It was like she had to check in with her.”

(to be continued)

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Seamy Side of the Super Bowl Underbelly

Besides watching the steamy performance by Beyonce, which I could have done without, the Super Bowl was good entertainment from start to finish.  The unexpected second intermission due to half the lights going out after a 109 yard run by the Ravens was another interesting surprise. Two half-times in a row.  I do think that Beyonce could have done better without all the hair flinging, weird dance moves and smoke and fire.  Her act must have tripped up the electric wires with all her sizzle. The sad part of the Super Bowl is that a LOT of the sex trafficking goes on during these big events, traffickers bring young girls in. Sick, sick, sick.  Beyonce does not help in creating such an atmosphere that continues to victimize young women.  Okay, enough about the Super Bowl in New Orleans and all those problems.

The following is something that is a little closer to home.

Collaboration to Fight Explosion of Human Trafficking along Minnesota Roads to North Dakota Oil Fields

North Dakota oil fields may be a new market for sale of humans for sex

and labor. Victims are driven along I-90 and then north on roads which

are normally deserted. Trafficked victims, both international and

domestic, are being transported for labor and sex trafficking in the

North Dakota oil fields.

In response to these crimes against victims of human trafficking, a

collaboration of organizations, including law enforcement, sexual and

domestic assault advocates, educators, shelters, and attorneys plan to

travel to a conference in San Francisco to receive training in

collaborative efforts. Attendees will then train other collaborators.

Collaboration members will work together to provide safety and victim

centered services for sex and labor trafficked victims. Those victims

will be empowered to testify against traffickers to interdict the flow

of sex and labor trafficked victims along Minnesota corridors and the

stem the tide of victims being transported north to North Dakota oil

fields.

_____________________________________________________________________

_________

Background:

Recently, police stopped a speeding vehicle along I-90 in Minnesota.

The police saw a little girl in the back seat of the car huddled as far

away from the driver as possible. Police questioned the driver who did

not speak the language of the girl. The police determined that the

driver did not know enough about the little girl to be transporting

her.

Aliandra (pseudonym) from central america, had only a bottle of water

and the ragged clothes on her back. She was shivering both from fear of

the driver and the cold. She looked to be about 12 years old.

The driver of the car told the police that two men were to meet him at

the next truck stop to pick up the girl and that they should know more

about the kid. The police said, “Let’s go.”

When the police met the two men at the truck stop, they determined that

neither one of the men spoke the girl’s language. The two men could not

tell the police enough about the child to be in control of her.

The child was brought to a temporary foster home placement. The foster

mother’s heart broke when the child whimpered and clung to her.

The enlightened county attorney and judges appointed a guardian ad

litem and social worker who contacted Civil Society, a not for profit

organization providing legal and case management services for human

trafficking victims. They contacted Civil Society by calling the

Minnesota Human Trafficking Crisis and Tip Line at 1-888-772-3324.

Civil Society was able to begin to work with the guardian ad litem and

social worker who had never encountered a child in these circumstances

before.  They were anxious that the child would be deported.

Authorities found that the child had been transported and marched to

the U.S. from central america across horribly rough terrain at night,

with little or no food and water. They also suspect that the child had

been abused along the road trip to Minnesota. All those dealing with

the child realized that she would probably be trafficked again and be

forced to make the same dangerous trek again if she were deported.

Law enforcement has noted increased transportation of this same ethnic

group along I-90 and then north toward North Dakota in the last year.

There is help under the Trafficking Victim Protection Act for this

child. The federal government also provides psychological counseling

for victims by culturally appropriate experts, knowledgeable in the

human trafficking of children.

The girl is from an ethnic group which has been designated one of the

most vulnerable to trafficking by the Trafficking in Persons Report,

http://www.state.gov/g/tip<;http://www.state.gov/g/tip>.  This is because of

the group’s abject poverty, isolation (they don’t even speak Spanish)

and because they have a cultural practice of going into trance-like

states. Thus, when they are abused, they may dissociate rather than

recognize the abuse.

Poor villagers in central america are threatened that they be killed or

will lose their small plots of land if they don’t send their daughters

to work.  Many of them don’t realize or are fooled into believing that

their daughters will be working in the fields in the United States like

they work in the fields at home. However, children who are labored

trafficked are usually also sex trafficked. When villagers receive

money from the sex or labor trafficking of their daughters, they often

use it to send their younger children to the U.S. to gain more money

for the family.

Civil Society

1st National Bank Building

332 Minnesota Street

Suite E-1436

St. Paul, MN 55101

Phone: 651-291-0713

FAX: 651-291-2588

http://www.civilsocietyhelps.org<;http://www.civilsocietyhelps.org>

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