10 Indicators Of Someone Being Trafficked

not a commodity

[I will be posting about the sex working situation in Silicon Valley as I gather my thoughts on my own entrepreneurial community. Stay tuned.]

I have been on a road trip across the United States and I’m currently stationed in Nebraska. Along the way, I’ve delved into finding out more about the human trafficking situation that hides across the US. It clearly exists in all parts of the country. A frequent reliable source of information has been cab drivers.They are familiar with most of the seedy brothels and more nefarious activity in any given city. I’ve also spoken to a few truckers here and there who hint at other truckers who may or may not be traffickers themselves. I’m not ready to report on what I have found. Even though I have reliable sources pointing to trafficking victims, I have still yet been able to penetrate actual establishments or uncover actual trafficking activity firsthand. I am working on finding ways to do so along with raising funds. Until I find more concrete evidence to share, I leave you with the following information should you run into anyone you suspect of being a victim of trafficking for sex or illegal labor.

This is not a complete list, but it is ten strong indicators of a trafficking victim according to the US Dept of State website:

  • Living with employer
  • Poor living conditions
  • Multiple people in cramped space
  • Inability to speak to individual alone
  • Answers appear to be scripted and rehearsed
  • Employer is holding identity documents
  • Signs of physical abuse
  • Submissive or fearful
  • Unpaid or paid very little
  • Under 18 and in prostitution

Should you run across a trafficking victim, do not attempt any direct rescue. I repeat. DO NOT attempt any direct rescue efforts. You will not only put yourself in possible physical danger, you may also put the trafficking victim in direct harm. Instead report your findings to:

911 Emergency

For urgent situations, notify local law enforcement immediately by calling 911. You may also want to alert the National Human Trafficking Resource Center described below so that they can ensure response by law enforcement officials knowledgeable about human trafficking.

1-888-3737-888 National Human Trafficking Resource Center
Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, a national 24-hour, toll-free, multilingual anti-trafficking hotline. Call 1-888-3737-888 to report a tip; connect with anti-trafficking services in your area; or request training and technical assistance, general information, or specific anti-trafficking resources. The Center is equipped to handle calls from all regions of the United States from a wide range of callers including, but not limited to: potential trafficking victims, community members, law enforcement, medical professionals, legal professionals, service providers, researchers, students, and policymakers.

1-888-428-7581 U.S. Department of Justice Worker Exploitation Complaint Line
Call the U.S. Department of Justice’s dedicated human trafficking toll-free complaint line at 1-888-428-7581 (weekdays 9 AM – 5 PM EST) to report suspected instances of human trafficking or worker exploitation or contact the FBI field office nearest you .This call is toll-free and offers foreign language translation services in most languages as well as TTY. After business hours, the complaint line has a message service in English, Spanish, Russian, and Mandarin.

– Investigating Rabbit

Build A Greater Legacy

Stop Human Trafficking

What Kind Of Legacy Will Our Species Leave Behind?

How often do you ask yourself this question?

This question weighs on my mind most days and more so with the recent abduction of over 200 women from a school in Nigeria by the terrorist group Boko Haram. It has come to light that many of these women are at extreme risk of being swallowed into the human trafficking trade. According to women who have escaped, some of the captives are being raped upwards to 15 times per day to satisfy the sexual appetites of the terrorists. Unless these women are saved, they will face a life of mental and physical torture in the sex slavery trade. Although I sit here with clenched fists and pure, unmitigated rage at the atrocities being committed, I have no choice but to temper my anguish and clear my thoughts so that I am not a reactionary and add to the cycle of causal awareness.

The problems of the world are not a roller coaster to ride when we see fit to become aware and unaware of them. That is a vicious cycle in and of itself. What we must do is become ever vigilant and keep forever mindful of the criminal forces at play in the world. They do not rest and so we must not. We must open our eyes. We must stop blinding ourselves with nonsense comforts to mitigate our unwillingness to see the legacy of our species. Disease of the heart is real. Darkness is real. This reality can be changed if we are willing to set aside our material ignorance and commit our will towards greater human endeavors. In the end, what do any of our technological marvels and ambitions mean if we cannot learn how to treat each other correctly?

I know I am pontificating and perhaps you do not understand how any of my broad views relate to the specific incident happening in Nigeria. What has happened there was not an act born out of randomness.  There are many factors that have bred the environment for this to happen and I see the same ingredients being sprinkled about time and time again in regions all over the world. Some of the ingredients for disaster are evident like systemic poverty and corruption. Some are not so evident, such as our own consumer habits and how they add to the economic divide that foster hopelessness for others less fortunate.

We must do a better job at understanding the causalities at play that drive even the best of us to become animals and feral beasts. Organizations like Boko Haram can disperse and cease to exist if we are willing to truly tackle the issues of economic poverty, religious persecution, racial prejudice, political ego, and, frankly, human stupidity. We must look harder at ourselves and understand what kind of world we seek to build. Are we building a world where all can thrive or is it business as usual? I do not dismiss the fact that societies have improved over the centuries. However, it may not be enough if we are to truly evolve into an enlightened society. Greed still exists. Perversion still exists. Corruption still exists. Injustice still exists. It has simply taken on new forms and we cannot stop fighting it.

In my lifetime, I would like to see human trafficking greatly diminished. To do so, I will need your help in educating yourselves about the issues that come into play. I will need your help in educating yourselves on how to improve the way you live so that the way you affect others is outwardly positive. I will need your help in learning more of the ways of the world and becoming aware and awake. I know we can do this together. I am forever hopeful for if my hope fails, then I will in turn add to the dissonance of the world.

My thoughts are with the women who were abducted in Nigeria and I hope for their safe return.

– Aware Rabbit

Growing list of organizations fighting human trafficking that I support:

Human Trafficking Hotline: Please call 1-888-373-7888 or text INFO or HELP to BEFREE (233733) f you or someone you know is currently a victim of human trafficking

Polaris Project http://www.polarisproject.org

Love146 http://www.love146.org

Not For Sale http://www.notforsalecampaign.org

Misssey http://www.misssey.org

Somaly Mam Foundation http://www.somaly.org

We Are Thorn http://www.wearethorn.org

Nomi Network http://www.nominetwork.org

The Covering House http://www.thecoveringhouse.org

Prevent Human Traffickinghttp://www.preventhumanttrafficking.org

 

Battle Hymn

Battle Hymn

 

A Battle Hymn For Life

[Please call 1-888-373-7888 or text INFO or HELP to BEFREE (233733) if you or someone you know is currently a victim of human trafficking]

I recently started a new song called, Battle Hymn. It is a trifle of a song only to offer myself some comfort against the darkness that I expose myself to with my work in fighting human trafficking. The need to end this horrific activity weighs heavily on my mind most days. It is still a highly clandestine activity and hard to prosecute due to insufficient data and victims who won’t come forth. It continuously staggers my mind as to how oblivious we are here in America to the trafficking activity within our own borders. Most Americans think human trafficking is relegated to 2nd and 3rd world countries. Even amongst my friends and associates, the awareness that San Francisco is a major trafficking hub eludes them. Human Trafficking is a globally systemic problem and must be stopped. Trafficking activity is estimated to be approximately a $32 billion/year industry (it is most likely closer to $40 billion now). The United States contributes to almost 1/3 of human trafficking revenue, approximately $9.5 billion. That is a staggering number for one country and the figure is sure to grow in coming years unless we educate ourselves to the dilemma at our doorsteps. Here are some basic statistics of human trafficking in the US:

  • Human trafficking generates $9.5 billion yearly in the United States. (United Nations)
  • Approximately 300,000 children are at risk of being prostituted in the United States. (U.S. Department of Justice)
  • The average age of entry into prostitution for a child victim in the United States is 13-14 years old. (U.S. Department of Justice)
  • A pimp can make $150,000-$200,000 per child each year and the average pimp has 4 to 6 girls. (U.S. Justice Department, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
  • The average victim may be forced to have sex up to 20-48 times a day. (Polaris Project)
  • Fewer than 100 beds are available in the United States for underage victims. (Health and Human Services)
  • Department Of Justice has identified the top twenty human trafficking jurisdictions in the country:” Houston
• El Paso
• Los Angeles
• Atlanta
• Chicago
• Charlotte
• Miami
• Las Vegas
• New York
• Long Island
• New Orleans
• Washington, D.C.
• Philadelphia
• Phoenix
• Richmond
• San Diego• San Francisco
• St Louis
• Seattle
• Tampa  (Department of Justice)
  • A pimp can make $150,000-$200,000 per child each year and the average pimp has 4 to 6 girls. (U.S. Justice Department, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
  • One in three teens on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. (National Runaway Hotline)

I work directly on the investigative and education side of fighting human trafficking. It is my hopes that by continuously pushing this information out into the public eye we can begin thinking more consciously about the responsibilities we have to each other to create a world rid of human trafficking. There are many great organizations doing tremendous work on this front and they need our continuous support. We must stop being ignorant of what is happening behind closed doors in our very own backyards.

[A list of some organizations fighting human trafficking is at the end of this post]

I leave you with my battle hymn for the lives of those young souls who have been or are at risk of being trafficked:

Battle Hymn

Above elation

sincerity

A secret to a life devoid of love

All this waiting

forever days

For when true kindness comes from far away to stay

A lonely breath

crystal grey

A voiceless ghost who prays away the strife and pain

The heartless half

dependency

Lift the fog of war a veiled duplicity

Drink the poison

If it makes us free

Pour our greatest of despair and drink the tea

Heavy lance

Oaken shield

Tests of conviction from an island of ideals

Give up the name

A fake facade

The plastic smiles elucidate the lies inside

Humble beginnings

Twisted ends

All I can do is sing this song for you my friends

A battle hymn

to alleviate

Lives born into dissonance from beginning to end

So I will sing

Oh, how I’ll sing

This song for you so you can live and I can end

So I will sing

Oh, how I’ll sing

This song for you so you can live and I can end

This song for you

This song for you

This song for you so you can live and love again

 

– Warrior Rabbit

Growing list of organizations fighting human trafficking that I support:

Human Trafficking Hotline: Please call 1-888-373-7888 or text INFO or HELP to BEFREE (233733) f you or someone you know is currently a victim of human trafficking

Polaris Project http://www.polarisproject.org

Love146 http://www.love146.org

Not For Sale http://www.notforsalecampaign.org

Misssey http://www.misssey.org

Somaly Mam Foundation http://www.somaly.org

We Are Thorn http://www.wearethorn.org

Nomi Network http://www.nominetwork.org

The Covering House http://www.thecoveringhouse.org

Prevent Human Trafficking http://www.preventhumanttrafficking.org

 

 

Christopher Columbus Was A Human Trafficker

Well, it’s that time of year again when we in America observe the time honored tradition of celebrating horrible people. I’m looking at you Christopher Columbus and pretty much anyone else who is famous for being rotten to the core. The following is a full excerpt from The Oatmeal which breaks down why we need to be celebrating greater human beings and take a long hard look at our history.

What does any of this have to do with human trafficking? The following quote does:

“A hundred castellanoes are are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.” – The supposedly great Christopher Columbus

Bet that’s not taught in schools. Human trafficking has been a plague and black spot on humanity for far too long. What will it take to address this issue and commit more resources to stopping it?

– Historical Rabbit

 

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10 x 10 Things You Need To Know About Prostitution

prostitution-in-europe
[I have quite a bit to write about from the past week, but this has been weighing on mind]

A friend of mine recently posted on FB about prostitution. His post was on 10 Things You Might Not Know About Women Being Sold For Sex. It’s a great informative list and I highly urge you to click on the link and take a look. There was also an accompanying list of 10 Things You Might Not Know About Men Who Buy Sex. As I was reading the article my buddy posted, I started seeing comments pop up. One that stuck out was a question about whether legalizing prostitution would help mitigate the human trafficking issues and harm done to the women and men involved as prostitutes. It’s a quandary since it does not seem prostitution is going away any time soon so how do you protect the sex workers in today’s environment?

Human trafficking is the 2nd largest illegal trade in the world right behind the drug trade. It is a billion dollar industry and works in a clandestine way, so hard data and information on the number of people harmed by this trade are hard to come by. There are those who propose that legalization of prostitution would somehow mitigate the flow of human trafficking or at least help to protect current sex workers. I’m all for protecting the current sex workers. They face great harm everyday and anything that could help them would surely be appreciated. However, there is a greater issue to deal with.

The scale issue vs substitution issue.

The substitution theory is that with legalized prostitution demand for illegal trafficked humans will defer to those who are legally licensed. This is an ideal theory, but most data points to the contrary that legalized prostitution actually creates an economic scale effect. Countries with legalized prostitution have a higher rate of human trafficking expansion to meet the growing legal demand. The argumentative issue is that this is refutable evidence because hard data is so hard to come by, but from current available data this is what legalization seems to point to. Here is a great paper written on the subject: Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking?

Prostitution is considered the oldest profession in the world. It is openly derided by society but in the hidden social psyche it is actually tolerated and accepted. This is what really needs to be addressed. Just because the profession has become a mainstay doesn’t make it acceptable at a human compassion level. The vast majority of sex workers are involuntary and coerced or abducted into the trade. They are essentially human slaves. If you ever hear a prostitute tell you that they are ok with their work, don’t believe it. Prostitutes have an incredibly high suicide rate along with accompanying PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome). They are under constant threat of violence and rape.

What needs to happen is not more legislative wrangling, but a change in will and conscience in society. Human trafficking and prostitution is not acceptable in the grand scheme of human compassion and needs to be fought on a personal and world level. Change can happen, but this type of change will take the will of us all.

– Strong Rabbit