Posts tagged Half the Sky

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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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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