Why Most Women Refuse to Collaborate

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We march in the streets together, we protest women’s human rights injustices together and we rally to change archaic laws against women together-so why can’t we collaborate? If we are to say that all women deserve equality, freedom and human rights does that include all colors, ethnicities, socio-economic classes and levels of academia or lack thereof? This is like the elephant in the room. We are a country that boasts freedom for all and a better than most record of women’s rights. But when we sit down to work on issues that affect all of us whether it’s equal pay, homelessness, domestic violence, human trafficking etc. we tend to never agree and begin to fight one another. Our guard goes up and the sexist phrase of “The claws come out” begin to dominate. What was supposed to be a level playing field has become a place of privilege and status.

As I have said in the past, I really love what I do. What I don’t love and it has been a problem, is having to reach out to other organizations to see if there is any way we can work together to give women and girls the best option for sustainble success. That is literally when “The claws come out.” It’s not neccessarily because they don’t want to help women and girls, it’s because collaboration to them means taking away their funding, programs, network and organization that they’ve worked so hard for. Well guess what? A LOT of us have worked very hard for we have too and we didn’t do it by taking away programs and funding from other organizations.

Most states across the country have committees, task forces and coalitions, places where individuals and organizations meet once a month to discuss their work, their needs and current legislation. This is usually capped off with “How can we work together to get this done?” Allow me to answer that for you. There is no “We” that will be doing anything. That job is for the lead organization that heads up the commitee, task force or coalition. It will be their name, their people and their influence despite the fact that other organizations worked just as hard, if not harder, only to be overshadowed by the lead competitive organization. No collaboration has taken place and sadly, it never will.

So many non profits are staffed with lawyers, business people and professionals that it would be an asset to others to be able to collaborate with them without pettiness and caddiness to better serve the targeted population of women and girls. There are many women who hold high positions with respected reputations, and they’ve worked hard for that. Unfortunately however, they seem to not feel that other women deserve the same. At least not in the United States. Countries like Africa have American business women running there to “Empower” African Women to start their own businesses and get themselves out of poverty regardless of their education or socio-economic status. They are are more than happy to work with African NGOs and governments to make it happen. No competitiveness happening there! It’s the celebrity status because it’s not about being just an “activist” it’s about being an International Human Rights Leader. And it’s not just Africa, it’s many other countries. What’s interesting about this is that if any one of these women from any of these countries were to come to the United States because of violence, trafficking, abuse, etc. those same women would not be so eager to help them. It’s not exciting anymore, it’s like helping a neighbor and who wants to read about that?

I am all for helping women and girls from all countries and that requires collaboration from those countries which is easy to find. But the competitiveness and capitalistic ideology of the United States supercedes the need for collaboration of resources, programs and assistance. Foreign born women are hidden as an organizations right to show that they are the only ones who work with immigrants and refugess so that the neccessary government funding only goes to them. But for how long can they sustain them? If only one organization were able to help all women from everywhere with ANY issue and give them the proper assistance and support there would be no need for any of us. Maybe this unknown super organization could erdicate things like domestic violence, human trafficking, exploitation and abuse. Women would be respected, treated equally and fairly, finally get the human rights we deserve. It’s a beautiful story-that is completely false. If we all have the same vision, or something close, of what we see as the future of women’s human rights, repect and equality then there’s only one thing that will make it come to life. COLLABORATION.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Struggling To Help The Undocumented

I love what I do-seriously, even though I maybe struggling financially at the moment I will always have a passion for helping women and girls all over the world who are suffering. Having said that, my work brings me to places of fear, desperation and uncertainty. It can be difficult and challenging when you are working with someone who isn’t legal and needs immediate assistance, coupled with being undocumented and your government just wants then out. My fear for these women is that ICE will break into their place of residence and drag them away kicking and screaming and there is nothing I or any other organization can do because we are now told  immigrants are not welcome. There is little if any wiggle room to work with where we can make them feel some sense of security with the current administration.  It’s impossible.

My question is, why does the White House have a human trafficking task force when a good portion of the women and men who are trafficked  from other countries are at high risk of getting deported and there case never looked at? I guess first daughter Ivanka Trump thinks that only white women get trafficked. Well, here’s a fun fact, white women & girls account for a very small 1% of women in the US being trafficked. There rest are women & girls of color and foreign women, and that’s pretty much the way it is. To put a false image on the issue and not know what your doing at all is very dangerous. There are survivors of color and diferent ethnicities on the White House Task Force but sadly, they are not shown anymore or given a voice at all. Not only is it disillusioned, it’s fake news of the worst kind.

Whatever they’re doing in the White House when it comes to human trafficking, they should be talking about undocumented survivors and how they can be protected. Part of the issue is that when let’s say for example a raid happens. The women are taken into custody by the police as a criminal now with a criminal record in the US. This gets put in a database where homeland security & ICE are scrolling through to see who they need to deport as per executive orders by the president. Even though this survivor is getting services and is in a shelter, the second they step outside for anything, they are a target for ICE. Even though the lawyer assigned to their case is working on a T visa for them, it doesn’t matter. These stories are just as heartbreaking and enraging as when families are split or wrongfully deported.

The game has changed. We are no longer a country that provides sanctuary, no longer a place for dreams and a better life. Our government has basically said you are not welcome, you don’t belong here and you will never make America  great. I still don’t understand how we got here but it does seem inevitable. We are not an old country that has been around for as long as the rest of the world. This country has now grown from a toddler to a narccisistic, spoiled, arrogant,  materialistic, racist teenager that will never mature at this rate. No one wants to hang out with us anyore and have formed war cliques waiting for our downfall. Part of what makes this country great is diversity, culture and race. That’s exactly what made New York the Mecca of the US.

C’mon ‘Merica, when are you going to grow up?!

Visible Or Invisible

Everyone is out there trying to do something for the greater good-whatever that looks like for them. For me it’s helping survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, exploitation and abuse in as many countries as possible become self sustainable to be independent and stay that way. In order for people to know your working you need to be “Visible” because if you’re not, no one will know who you are and therefore will not support or engage with you. If there is no visability then you will be invisable which will not help your work at all. So, how does one become visible? Well, if you are lucky enough to have a circle of wealth and strong influence in social media or just media in general you will become visable very quickly. If not, there’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Likedin-the poor woman’s social media sphere that needs to be monitored day & night and really, who has time for that?

The days you have you’re wearing your social media hat you’re inundated with sponsored ads of growing your business and what you can do to make a profit BUT you’re NON profit. Well that’s okay because it works for that too. Really? For a hefty sum of money a so-called non profit “Guru” will help you get the biggest donors you’ve ever had, fix your website and increase your social media presence that will  launch you into a six figure position in your own non profit. Because you know, that’s the reason why people do this work, to make six figures. They lure you in with some innocent questions about your non profit and what you can do to make it successful. You think you’re going through a tutorial when in fact it’s a sales pitch from some entrepenuer whose looking to make six figures himself-from you. After you realize what’s happening you continue to stay invisible.

Then desperation sets in. You talk yourself into getting involved in these high powered networking groups that promise you all kinds of media attention and visibility with loads of female support, but you must be a member. You get your VIP membership because that is apparently the ONLY way people will know who you are. You’re lumped in with women who already have pretty successful businesses and are not interested in collaboration with someone who is launching a non profit. Then you find you’re the only non profit in a sea of for profit business owners but still promise they can do something for you.

They set you up with media packages that costs thousands of dollars every few months. Your name will be in books along with your picture and profile, your website will be first on all search engines visible to everyone, unfortunately though that’s where the problems start. Different media companies begin to contact you claiming that they are all part of the same networking group you belong to, well there not and the first network never tells you to look out for these people so you dive in. More money is taken and more promises are made and the sleazy side of media reveals it’s ugly head.

Radio show hosts contact you  because they just have to have you on their show but you better be prepared to dip into your savings. When all is said and done, you feel used and angry with nothing to show for it but some usless plaques and books with your name in them. You feel stupid, but you shouldn’t. When you try to become visible for the greater good there are A LOT of  people out there to take advantage of you. All you wanted was to be able to let the right people know what you’re doing so that the right support can come your way but all that has happened was you were taken advantage of in your moment of desperation. It’s not your fault, you just wanted to go from invisible to visible.

The best way to become visible is to let the work speak for itself. It will take more time than those who get visibility faster but it will be worth it because people will see your passion in what you do and they will see the results in your work. Of course there is some fundraising that must be done, the least favorite thing to do but at least you have control over who you network with and what they are all about. And most importantly it will keep you safe from the vipers and snakes that are waiting at the door to bleed you dry. Being invisible may be frustrating but it’s better than being a target for people who are only out for the greater good of themselves.

 

 

Is Legalized Prostitution A Good Thing?

I recently came back from Europe where I spoke at a university in Tubingen, Germany. In front of a U.S. Criminal Law class of bright, idealistic students from many different countries, I explained my work and the dark side of the laws and legislations that are supposed to protect women and girls from human trafficking. Being that this was a working crimanl law class where there was a “mock” lobbying exercise to show students what it means to argue both sides of the law in order to get the legislation you’re lobbying for passed. The topics ranged from should the death penalty be legal (taking into account the mass incarceration problem in the U.S.) to should everyone have the right to bear arms to should prostitution be legal.

The topic of lobbying to legalize prostitution surprisingly, was not a big hit with the students. In fact some didn’t even realize that Germany had recently legalized prostitution. Hamburg boasts to be one of the biggest Red Light districts in Europe with legalized prostitution-never speaking about trafficking. Despite the fact that they had to find the pros of legalizing it, all they could think about was the cons of making it legal or a viable job for that matter. This is a hard subject to debate let alone lobby for. The young ladies in the group found it especially hard because they understand that a lot of young women their age are forced into prostitution and trafficked. How could they possibly lobby for something that will hurt them and many others their age. But again this is a “mock” lobbying exercise so it’s not real. But it sure felt real.

This is also a debate that has been discussed in the U.S. There is signifigant backlash to legalizing it and massive support for the Nordic Model implemented by Sweden. But our research turned from the U.S. to Gemany very quickly once it was found out prostitution was legalized in their country.

Studies done by German scholars show that there are signifigantly larger reported incidences of human trafficking where prostitution is legal. They say that this is the case regardless of the model being used to come to this conclusion. The same outcome is reported overall and is not specific to a particular region in the world. Even if prostitution resides in a legal status, it can still operate illegally thus increasing the supply and demand which in turn will increase legalized prostitution with no clear evidence of human trafficking taking place. Legalization will also push Pimps and Traffickers to recruit more local or national women or foreign women without legal residency.  Conversely there will be an insufficient supply of national and foreign individuals who are “willing”  to work in prostitution making trafficking more attractive to the Pimps and Traffickers. In the end, none of this will reduce the numbers of trafficked women.

Clients to patronize this industry have specific tastes and they are always looking for something “exotic” from a remote area of the world, this is the perferred demographic. Keeping up with this demand makes it more and more unlikely that women coming into the country will have legal status which leads them directly into trafficking. Germany has a tough stance on women being in their country illegally. If they are not willing to testify against their pimp and recount their story, they are immediately deported back with no services or resoures of any kind. Research on a study of Denmark and Sweden shows that in 2004 Denmark had 2,500 individuals who were trafficked into their country vs. 500 individuals in Sweden where the Nordic Model was introduced. This is according to a global data report.  Denmark, however, is signifigantly larger than Sweden and has 6,000 women in prostitution which is three to four times larger than Sweden. Despite this, the two countries have their fair share of trafficked persons whether prostitution is legal or illegal. Sweden’s Nordic Model is continually reducing the demand by arresting those who buy sex and forcing them to pay penalties.

Unlike Sweden, Germany is more liberal with their prostitution laws. Today in Germany prostitution is regarded as a “regular job” that is subject to taxes and available to any woman that is “willing” to take the risks and dangers that come with the job. Based on a global data report Germany has one of the largest prostitution markets in Europe with 150,000 people working as prostitutes.The number of prostitutes in Germany is more than 60 times that of Sweden regardless of their population of 82 million. According to the ILO, in 2004 the estimated number of trafficked victims in Germany was approximately 32,800-about 62 times more than Sweden. It’s not clear what that number is today, i’m inclined to say it has tripled but there is nothing to support that at this time. Germay legalized prostitution to not only regulate it but to increase profits for the country without any-if at all-regard for those individuals who will be trafficked as a result. More and more they are starting to see that this was a mistake, one that they can’t take back-that would probably start a riot with men who feel they are entitled to a woman’s body no matter the cost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking Risks

We would all like to change ourselves and be the people we know we were meant to be. But that means coming out of our comfort zone, doing things that we are not used to. Like starting something with no immediate financial gain. That can be very hard for someone who is used to getting that steady paycheck they became so accustomed to it that it made them feel “normal” a part of society. But once you forsake that, you feel different not like you did before. I know I felt it and still feel that way sometimes. But you have to look at all of the positives in starting something new and not letting the negatives destroy everything you’re working towards.

One thing to do is DON’T listen to people who say “How are you going to survive? You need a job.” But I have a job. Just not one that I get a paycheck from-yet. There are people out there who will not understand what your trying to build and how passionate you are about building it. No matter what age you are. Unfortunately they have never experienced that passion and never thought taking risks was a good thing-and that’s why they’re miserable. That’s not to say everyone who doesn’t take a risk is unhappy, they’ve just conditioned themselves to be grateful for what they already have and there’s no need to do anything else. They are perfectly happy in their complacency and daily routine. But for some of us having a daily routine with no change or adventure is just torture!

Taking risks is a big sacrifice but the more you keep focused and stay the course, the payoff is bigger than the sacrifice. Failure is a given for any entrepreneur but that is part of the journey. Anyone who has started a business or a  non profit will say the same thing. Surround yourself with like-minded people and those that support your ideas and want to help you move forward. It’s like entrepreneurship 101. But sometimes it can be hard. I’m not gonna lie. Sometimes there’s no easy answer for when the hard times come, but with a strong support system and your passion burning inside you, you’ll be okay. We’ll all be okay.

Create

We’re Not Just Fighting Against The Slave Trade

We put all of our effort into changing laws, policies and the minds of society while we are battling the sex trade industry. But there are others that are fighting against us. We are not all “united” in this war in ending human trafficking, in fact we have leaks that have turned into gapping holes. With so many women and girls caught up in the commercial sex industry, their voices are being stifled by the shouts of women’s sexual empowerment and entitlement that do not fit every situation. The world of feminism seems to be selective. Then again so does the world of fighting sexual slavery. When posters go up to bring awareness and education to communities about human trafficking, they’re often depicting a young, skinny, attractive white girl. This young woman is either on a floor or a bed, scantily clad or just plain naked. And if that doesn’t make you understand, let’s wrap some heavy chains on her wrists and ankles, that should make anyone want to support the cause. Right? Wrong.

More often than naught the young women that are entrapped in human trafficking are girls of color and they did not get picked up from a model shoot. These are REAL girls, as real as they come. No matter what age they are, they look like your sister, cousin, aunt, mother and grandmother. They’re bodies are not toned and perfect, these are women who have been used over and over again. How toned and perfect do you think a woman will look after been treated like an animal and deemed useless to the world? There has been scrutiny expressed towards these types of awareness campaigns, but to no avail. I still see them everywhere and it’s like people have given up on trying to change that image and all other images that depict human trafficking as a certain “type” of woman. It’s probably because there are those of us that feel it’s better to help the actual girls instead of getting involved in what some think is a petty issue. But that petty issue can poison society as to what a human trafficking victim looks like or how she is treated and in the end my friends, that will make our job that much harder.

Enter Hollywood. This has been the bane of my existence ever since I started working closely with this issue and the women and girls involved. I sometimes have a hard time watching television or even some movies. In just about every tv show there is some inappropriate reference to a woman selling herself and to a man buying her and a “Badass” woman revealing she was a Madame and had girls under her, because you know, it’s funny and cool. And the there’s Hollywood movies. I say this with the most heaviest of hearts and loudest of sighs, Taken 1, 2 and maybe even 3. (I’m sure there gearing up for that so some out of work actors can make a comeback & think they’re fighting a social issue).  The blatant inaccuracies and inequities of these movies are stunning. The only slightly (and I mean slightly) good thing these movies do is open up society’s mind to the issue, albeit not realistically but somewhat none the less. When someone says to me that they saw a movie about trafficking called Taken, first I cringe but then I realize it’s not their fault, then I begin the re-education process. Some get it and some just want to live in the fantasy Hollywood created. Some Hollywood actors who need an image boost or just attention in general, will take up the cause of human trafficking and swoop in as if they are the hero and the ONLY one who can stop the modern day slavery epidemic.  We see people such as Ashton Kutcher speaking on panels he really has no business being on, talking statistics he has no justification for and basically falsifying information that was not approved by law enforcement all the while never hearing survivor voices. Because it’s all about him and look what he did! Some may argue that he’s getting the message out to the generation that doesn’t know. But what kind of message is that exactly? There are grassroots, boots on the ground professionals that actually WORK on the issue filling schools and places where young people are to educate them on human trafficking. Also, survivors are speaking more and more. This is where they should learn about human trafficking. Ashton Kutcher will not be able to tell young girls that they are more at risk for being trafficked and how to avoid it. He doesn’t have the capacity to give workshops on trauma, PTSD and violent relationships. Really? This is where you want young people to get there information from? That’s like a young person learning about love watching pornography. It’s not real and it will damage you severely.

 

Music Industry. There is a lot to say about this and almost none of it is good. It’s important to understand that women who chose to be an artist don’t necessarily sign up to be a sexual object. But that’s the price of fame right? You want to be popular, on everyone’s mind, sell a lot of music and sell out shows so you have to sell yourself as well. Of course it’s not the same for men, they get to wear clothes. Depiction and image has a lot to do with product. If it’s a female music video with a woman singing or rapping she is rarely dressed with other girls wearing even less around her and are considered “less than” compared to her. Image is not the only thing, what she says is just as important. It’s empowering for a woman to talk about how she can sexually please her man while he degrades her and how she’s above all other women. The male music video paints a much darker picture. The women are practically naked and at their feet as is popular with rappers like PitBull, while they talk about how worthless she is and that she is only there to satisfy his twisted sexual desires. And that is just about EVERY music video now. The dehumanization of women and girls in the music industry has gotten more lascivious over the decades. All of this fuels the idea that it’s cool to act like these women in the videos and that they’re really happy. This marketing strategy is not only geared toward young women, it’s young women of color especially those that come from dysfunctional families and poverty. It doesn’t stop at the music, the way the girls are dressed or not dressed in the videos are being sold as fashion in stores. Girl’s are buying it because they want that look, they feel it makes them look beautiful because they’ve never known their own worth. Through no fault of her own she can find herself in a situation of entrapment and not know how to get out. She thinks she looks beautiful but traffickers see something else.  They see a young women who puts all of her worth in her body and using that for attention, so they will look to capitalize off of that. Unfortunately, they usually do.  Fashion and music have been a couple since inception, this pair has become toxic.

Pornography. I think this should be self explanatory. If it’s not then talk to a marriage that has been destroyed by it or a child whose parent, religious leader, family member or friend  molested them because of it.

In this fight we are not just up against a $150 billion industry that is selling the bodies of women and girls, we are fighting systems put in place to feed this machine. It’s a battle to the death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students of Criminal Justice & Trafficking-Germany

I will be traveling to East Berlin, Germany to speak with students at a university who are studying criminal justice and other social ills that plague our world to better understand how to fight them. Discussions will consist of how the legal system in the US is treating victims of human trafficking to re-exploitation and re-victimization of survivors through non profits and agencies who use survivors as  funding sources. This is a huge problem in Amercia, the same issue that is keeping women, girls as well as boys and men in bondage is the same thing that keeps survivors dependent on these non profits that say they are “helping” them. If haven’t already fingured it out-it’s money. Federal and State funding sources have created a human rights competition between, non profits, NGOs and government agencies for funding that will keep them running and their services going.

When I travel to other countries I find that’s not always the case. I mean sure there are some state entities in those countries that are very closed off to other organizatons, but that’s because they’re usually getting funded by-you guessed it-the United States. I find that there are many organizations that want to mirror the United States because they feel what we do works. But when you are working closely with survivors who went through one of these programs, there is a different picture painted. It’s important that other countries see what’s really happening in America and it’s also important that we listen to survivors. What ever is being shown to them is in stark contrast to what is really going on. Our criminal justice system in dealing with trafficking victims is not perfect and often times doesn’t seem to get it right. So now they’ve created a new program called the Trafficking Intervention Courts. In fairness this is a pretty new program but it is not without it’s flaws. It’s not certain if the flaws are being recognized so that they can be fixed or that the crininal justice system sees nothing wrong with the program.

Every Friday morning bright and early, young women are arraigned in these Trafficking Intervention Courts to determine if they were actually a victim of trafficking. In the courtroom there are various non profit agencies vying for the attention of the judge and the survivor to provide services. It’s like a virtual turf war. The young lady has just come out of a horrific situation and now has to deal with programs that she is not sure are right for her. The problem with these Trafficking Intervention Courts is that everybody and I mean everybody is looked as as a trafficking victim. That’s not always the case. A young woman who is picked up is assumed that she has a pimp and is being trafficked when in reality she chose it. Now there could be a number of reasons as to why she did but the most common one is, economic instability. Giving this person the same services as trafficking victim receives is misguided and harmful. The agencies that provide these services should recognize this as well but they’re looking for clients because more clients equal more funding.

This will be a lesson that a Germany and many other countries should be aware of. It is understood that Human Trafficking is the biggest global scourge of humanity-no doubt about it. But if we don’t look at the complexities as to why so many are pushed one way or another into the commercial sex industry we will be missing out on key factors that show the differences between a trafficking survivor or someone just trying to survive. One thing that must be stressed, especially in countires that have a legal red light district, is that selling your body should NEVER be an option as a viable job for a woman. You will be signing her death certificate, literally. Instead create good sustaining jobs so that they can live a life of freedom and humanity, it’s just good common sense.

 

We Are The Collateral Damage That No One Sees

International Journalists & Correspondents do a really good job of reporting war, conflict and humanitarian crisis. But there is a separate issue within the chaos that claims lives, homes and the dignity of life. Women and girls, some too young to even know what it’s like to be close with the opposite sex are all of a sudden forced to be a women enslaved to male lust and perversion. These are the invisible stories that not many report on and if they do, it’s a one-liner no more. It’s not the fault of journalists but of society’s reluctance to look at the suffering of women and girls outside the famlial scope. There is a complacency that rape and enslavement of women is just a part of war, it’s somehow “natural” and “expected” just like the war itself and therefore cast aside as a side effect of living in a region that is raging in turmoil.

Women are the issue that unless you are an outspoken feminist, doesn’t get covered much if even at all. In the realm of terrorism and the groups that carry out these atrocities, claim the lives of women through coercion, false promises and brainwashing. Women are used as scapegoats and take the blame for terrorist activites and violence while they are under the control of a patriarcal madman. This is when women get A LOT of coverage. No one wants to see the bondage she is in, now this does not excuse the fact that something horrific happened and lives were lost, but the fact that this gets more attention than the thousands of women being raped, tortured and killed is not the right balance. Demonizing women at every turn will desensitize the masses to all of the abuse, exploitation, military sanctioned rape and murder of women.

That’s not to say that there aren’t female journalists out there going to refugee camps, places of extreme danger to reach these women and talk with them. Sitting in their homes or tents receiving their horror story so that the world will know. But this still doesn’t get much attention-unless you Google it. How will we ever understand the humanitarian atrocities of women and girls if it’s not in the world media the same way other disasters are? A country should be looked at by how they treat their women because with out us really, life cannot continue. Think about it.

How Will The Trump Regime Handle Human Trafficking

Every single day we are inundated with Donald Trump and his government cohorts and goons. There is not a single moment that goes by that we are not being told of some obstruction of justice or cover-up concerning the current regime. I say regime because we are not living in a democracy anymore and I fear that we never will again. So far we have seen egregious executive orders targeting immigrants and minorities, a total annihilation of healthcare and women’s issues and discriminatory travel bans that are damaging the United States image all over the world.

And now, as if things couldn’t possibly get worse, it does. Ivanka Trump the daughter of the man who is destroying,well basically everything,  is now tackling the issue of human trafficking. This is a woman who says that if a person perceives something to be true and it’s not, just let them believe it if it works in your favor. Really? So are we to perceive that you know everything that there is about human trafficking simply because you are appointed to a position, that you’re not getting paid for mind you, because it makes you look like you care and you want to “empower” women? Seriously? All you’ve shown us is “Daddy’s Girl” privilege and fake empathy towards women who are struggling. The blindness by Ivanka herself to her father’s misogyny towards women is mind boggling.

There is however one thing Ivanka is educated on, it’s grooming. When a young woman falls victim to trafficking by someone she loves and trusts she is ‘groomed” to do the will of her trafficker. In Ivanka case she has been groomed to make her father look like a progressive, smart, educated business man who wants nothing but to see women succeed. So she is paraded around, much like a victim, saying and doing everything she has been told while telling women she wants to empower them. Conversely when victims are paraded around they are told to make the men who buy them believe that they want to be doing this and they love it and it’s a way to make money. They NEVER see any of the money by the way, their trafficker takes all of it. Ivanka is not getting paid for ANYTHING she doing. Strange right?

If this “political coalition” they’ve put together for Ivanka is going to succeed, they need survivor voices. There must be an understanding of the current legislation on the issue and the needs of survivors. The only people who know what’s good for survivors ARE survivors. Building a coalition of people who have no clue about this issue and probably have never met a real survivor is extremely dangerous for women and girls that are caught up in this. Once again the Trump Regime has managed to undercut and destroy women’s basic human rights of humanity at it’s core.

Human trafficking is a $150 billion industry and it looks like the Trump Regime wants to keep it that way. Sad.

The Human Commodity

One doesn’t normally think of a human being as a reusable commodity but it seems to be the money maker of choice in our globalized society. Arms and drug dealers have now added bodies to their repertoire of services. Why you may ask? Because you can use a body over and over whereas drugs and guns are only sold once making the trade less profitable. Slavery has been with the human race since the beginning of time and has since then become the most inhumane and dehumanizing practice this world has ever seen.

Lets start with sexual slavery. The most immoral, violent and anti-female slavery there is.  I’m not talking about women who have chosen to sell themselves because they don’t see anyway out of their economic situation or other unforeseen circumstances, I’m talking about women and girls who for various reasons had force fraud or coercion hijack their lives. So many factors can lead to this type of deception, here are a few: 1. Promised work in another country only to be sold in a brothel, strip clubs, etc. with all of their papers confiscated and a never ending debt bondage that doesn’t lead to freedom. 2. A boyfriend who manipulates his way in and professes love, stability and a future but hands her sexy clothing and says she must “work” to bring in money. 3. This is not as common but it does happen. Kidnapping leading to forced  prostitution and “home delivery.”

The one thing these all have in common is the break down process. It starts with verbal abuse then graduates to severe beating and mass rape until there is no will left and the spirit is completely broken. That is when the buying and selling of the human commodity truly begins.  She must rely on her trafficker for everything, food, money and basic necessities, if he feels he wants to give it to her. Sleep deprived she must service many to keep the beatings at bay.

Another component of the human commodity is labor trafficking. There are many sectors in various industries that are involved in this kind of slavery. In this case the human commodity is not there to be sold but to bring in a profit by using physical work under horrific conditions in order to keep their “employer” happy and rich. Depravation of food, sleep and basic necessities keep them weak but under control. If they desire to eat they must work longer hours in extreme hot weather or frigid cold with no breaks. They are expected to sleep only a few hours and survive on nothing. They are punished because they are too weak or they cannot keep up with their employer’s demands. Often the the threats are immigration or maybe their life.

The breakdown process here is similar to sex trafficking. Depravation, lack of food and sleep. Beating and punishments as well as sexual assaults (especially if you are a woman), migrant women suffer from this the most.

Every country exploits a neighboring one for sex and labor and if there are some that come looking for work from a country that is not close, they will exploit them too. Some countries look the other way because they see it as a economic boost to their country not considering the damage being done not only to the person enslaved but on the society as a whole.

So what happens when there is war and conflict?

The number of women and children that are being trafficked during this time is staggering. Mostly it is sex that is the choice of the day leaving so many broken and devastated. Rogue militias using children as soldiers to fight for a skewed ideology that boasts brainwashing tactics to turn them against their family and everything they’ve ever known. UN agencies litter these countries trying to fulfill the UN Charter for women but not many make it.

There is no doubt this is a global, health and moral crisis. This is not something that happens in one country, one society, one culture, it happens in them all. From the most farthest regions of the international world to the whitest suburbs in America. The human commodity lives. As long as there is a demand and as long as governments continue to fuel that demand with  faulty legislation, under the table dealings and a wink-wink nudge-nudge approach, the human commodity will never go away.