Archive for February, 2013

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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Kazakhstan’s Oil and Human Trafficking “Issues”

The following is what a fellow British teacher, who is teaching English in Astana, wrote on recent events in Kazakhstan.  He has been working non-stop to help those victims who come out of sex slavery or who have been trafficked for their labor.  Here is what he wrote:

“As you have all contributed to the funds that are held by IOM to be used on behalf of trafficking victims I am writing to inform you that I have today approved the use of the total held (102,000 kzt) for legal representation of a victim of sex trafficking. Please see below for details of this horrible case and I am sure you would approve this use of the money raised (absolutely the profile of need we identified that is NOT covered by IOM budgets) to support a young Kazakh women who has been grossly exploited (note by her FEMALE friend!)

Many thanks for all your efforts that have contributed to us being in a position to assist. I have asked to be kept informed of progress and will of course keep you informed. Thank you again for your support.

 
A year ago an eighteen-year-old Kazakh girl was trafficked from village in South Kazakhstan region to Shymkent city for sexual exploitation by her female friend. She spent several months in a brothel until she was rescued by police officer

A criminal case was initiated against her exploiters, however, all defendants were not arrested due to lack of evidence. Moreover, during preliminary court proceedings a prosecutor, instead of represent the victim’s position, accused the victim and tried to convince a judge that there was no reason to initiate this criminal case.

The NGO (in Shymkent) applied to IOM for additional funding to hire a lawyer to represent the victim’s rights during the court proceedings. The next court session is scheduled on Feb 14. The NGO has already identified a lawyer who has good experience in trafficking cases (he represented a victim a year ago and won the case)”

 

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Human Trafficking Leads to North Dakota Oil Fields

The following news flash is something a friend sent me recently. She knows I’m involved with this sort of awareness building about human trafficking. Seems that the Super Bowl has the dark side and maybe that can be expected but in red state North Dakota?! Where there’s oil and money (as there is in western Kazakhstan) then you will have all other vices show up.  Read on:

Collaboration to Fight Explosion of Human Trafficking Along MN Roads to ND Oil Fields

 

North Dakota oil fields may be a new market for sale of humans for sex and labor. Victims are driven along I-94 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-94 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,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.

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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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