End It Movement 2015

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Quick post 🙂 Also I’m a little late setting this up..

Shine a light on slavery day 2/27 is quickly approaching.  Join me in fundraising for the End it movement.  Join my team or create your own and challenge your friends to join.

Join my 27X7 team fight to end slavery in our generation, shine a light on slavery day 2/27/2015

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Baby factories. Blood Trafficking. Ritual sacrifice.

Today I decided to bring on some darker elements of the already dark trafficking world. Trafficking for blood & body parts for obscure religious rituals, and baby factories. I’ll be using quite a few examples from Africa, as my own knowledge of blood trafficking began reading articles written about its occurrences in Africa.

Let’s start off talking blood trafficking. What is blood trafficking? Simply put, the victims are trafficked for the sake of taking their blood and selling it on the black market. Now I read the first news article about this nearly a year ago on AllAfrica.com It was a case I believe of a man in Egypt who had been kidnapping nomads locking them in a large warehouse and draining their blood. Keeping them alive as a non-depleting year round cash crop. Now I can’t seem to find that article despite best efforts. I was able to locate another article on blood trafficking, also in Egypt interestingly enough.

“The court said in its ruling that although there is no specific law banning the trafficking of blood, human and organ trafficking is illegal in Egypt, which was the basis for its decision.

According to prosecutors, two of the accused regularly brought street youth to apartments where they would take their blood “for analysis” in exchange for LE10 and a meal. The men would then take the blood and sell it on the black market for LE 85 a bag.”

Check out the complete article here

Going to use that blood trafficking to segue into another form of blood trafficking, this one for occultic ritual.

“One boy explained how witch-doctors took his blood to be used in such rituals: “The traffickers or witch-doctors take your hair and cut your arms, legs, heads and genitals and collect the blood. They say if you speak out I can kill you.” Another victim feared for her life, saying the “witch-doctor told me that one day he would need my head…Meanwhile, a girl from Nigeria remains convinced the spell performed on her means she can never identify her traffickers, for fear her family will die…For $250 (£160) a reformed criminal introduced us to Yunus Kabul, who boasted he had been abducting children for witch-doctors in Africa and abroad, for years.

During our conversation he offered as many children as we required.

“I have enough, a hundred, no problem. I have so many communications. I have a network across whole of Uganda.”

Read the whole article here

And while we’re on the topic of trafficking for rituals..

“In 2010, ABC news reported a horrific story of a father killing his 17 month old son to sell his head for ritual sacrifice…he and his friend beheaded his infant son and sold his head to a wealthy businessman for $2000. According to the report, the businessman believed that the head of the child would bring him more wealth.

“They have a belief that when you sacrifice a child you get wealth, and there are people who are willing to buy these children for a price. So they have become a commodity of exchange, child sacrifice has become a commercial business.”

In response to the rising number of ritual murders, the Ugandan government established an Anti-Human Sacrifice Police Task Force, equipped in part by the U.S. government. Since its establishment, the Ugandan authorities say that the rate of ritual murder has slowed down.”

Again check out the full article here

and then there are the baby factories..

Baby factories are essentially what they sound like. They have become an increasingly popular find in Nigeria, most of the women in the baby factories do appear to end up there on their own. Usually pregnant and unable or unwilling to care for the child, the factory owners then sell the babies at a premium and give the mothers’ small amounts. Although in most cases it seems like they begin willingly, there have been documented cases where factories were set up with forcibly trafficked women who are impregnated by traffickers to produce children for sale.

“One of the girls told us that mothers sell their babies for $160 to $190,” said Abia State police chief Bala Hassan.

Anti-trafficking agency spokesman Orakwe says that they can then be resold for up to $6,400, depending on their gender. Traditionally, boys are preferred, as they can inherit land according to the local Igbo culture.

Abortion is illegal in Nigeria, and its southeast region is mostly Catholic.

“This girl already feels that she has brought a burden onto her family and onto herself, and she wants to get it over with,” says Orakwe….The anti-trafficking agency said the problem is most pronounced in Nigeria’s southeast, where people prey on girls to provide babies for trafficking rings. The absence of paperwork for these children means anything can happen to them”

Check out the full article here and some related articles here and here

Organ trafficking would have logically been placed in this article.  There will be a post coming on organ trafficking shortly though as the crime is complex and far reaching and I want to spend a little more time on that part of the trade looking at it from start to finish.  Why the intro to the lesser known trafficking areas? I’ll let Frank Douglas explain..

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To expose it is to kill it.

“Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

Psalm 82:4

The wrong guy for the job

I wake up in a little less than six hours.  I would like to be attempting to sleep by now.  You ever hear that voice in your own head, telling God “he’s got the wrong guy”? I have been hearing that voice..for years.  I’m imperfect and I am constantly plagued by doubts and always changing directions.  It is a weird idea to be thinking Hey..God you’ve got the wrong guy.  I am not this guy.  When you think about it, it is one of the silliest things in the world.  You’re talking to God -acknowledging that He is God- telling Him that he doesn’t know what he is doing.

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I have thought about going to seminary every year for years. I’ve signed up for classes twice! And withdrew twice because I felt like I wasn’t the right guy or I convinced myself I wouldn’t learn anything anyway(we’re going to have to talk about pride one day). This human trafficking thing? It isn’t in my comfort zone. It eats away at me. I tell God daily I am not the right person for this. I feel sort of like I’m being asked to go to Nineveh. We know how that story ends right? Jonah gets thrown into a whale –the last place on earth Jonah wanted to be, it was worse than Nineveh- and still ended up in Nineveh anyway. My point is, you can delay but eventually you’re going to Nineveh.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

God has our plans set and even if we can’t see how this will work out. It will. The power behind us will always be more than enough. My Nineveh is speaking out. I don’t like drawing attention to myself and I dread speaking in public. So where has God led me? To be an ambassador for hope speaking out publicly for trafficking victims. I am terrified of doing that first presentation (I’m still waiting on the badge/shirt/presentation material from shared hope. I am planning to try and tackle a school first, the younger generation needs the awareness more than anyone). When I get up on that stage or whatever the setting will be though, I will not be alone just like Jonah wasn’t alone in Nineveh.

Anyways, I am working on a few new projects for my anti-trafficking efforts. I’ve had this one idea for a while but I am having some problems getting the web-hosting company I paid to host the website. My idea for the website is to create a forum where people can connect in the trafficking world. A place where news stories can be sorted by the state/country etc. Where trafficking papers/books can be linked commented and reviewed. That way people can learn more about the problems locally and it gives college students/interested parties/new activists a place to come easily do research on the subject, share ideas, and get help if they’re stuck on something. As far as I have been able to find nothing like that exists and more importantly I have found it really hard to just find a list documenting the various NGO’s and charity organizations involved in the field. I feel like a comprehensive place for information could work wonders for people that are trying to learn what it is all about.

Project two is sort of a grass roots effort. I’m designing a flyer that I am going to try and get put up anywhere I can find and I also did a set of business cards that are really more like crash courses in trafficking. My plan behind those is to get them into those jars where you can drop business cards, stash them in geocashes (I haven’t personally done any geocashing but I’ve decided it would be really fun and I’m planning to start). I feel like project two is really more important that project one even though it should naturally be the other way. The biggest issue in trafficking is too many people are unaware of how far its spread. Movements start in the grassroots arena.

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Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that verse. In Christ we are all the same. Equals where race, gender, social status, and wealth fall away. Every victim is our brother and sister. -Religion aside- they’re humans. Our not so distant ancestors fought wars to set men free that we could all be equals. Do we forget their sacrifices so easily? The American civil war, which started out because of the issue of slavery is still the deadliest war in American History. We still talk about heroes of the Underground Railroad who helped to smuggle slaves out of the confederate south. One of the men who escaped slavery in the south, Fredrick Douglas, once said:

“I expose slavery in this country, because to expose it is to kill it. Slavery is one of those monsters of darkness to whom the light of truth is death.”

Just by letting light in on the modern slave trade, we can fight the trade. Awareness can help break the cycle. I was in a class recently, and at the end of the class the teacher gave each student a note with a quote on it. My quote was, “Showing up is 80 percent of life.” -Woody Allen. People getting involved and standing up against the trade will be 80% of the fight. Awareness can reduce victims and recognize victims. If the traffickers feared society’s response to their activities the crime would not be so easily gotten away with. It would certainly not be as easily to forget.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed

Luke 4:18

Awareness. I’ve mentioned it a lot. Most places do. So what are we supposed to be looking for? The following list is from the Polaris Project:

If you see any of these red flags, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text to BeFree (233733) for specialized victim services referrals or to report the situation. Click here to learn more about reporting potential human trafficking situations. This list is not exhaustive and represents only a selection of possible indicators. Also, the red flags in this list may not be present in all trafficking cases and are not cumulative.

Common Work and Living Conditions: The Individual(s) in Question

  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
  • Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
  • Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
  • Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
  • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
  • Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
  • Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
  • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
  • High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)

Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior

  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
  • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
  • Avoids eye contact

Poor Physical Health

  • Lacks health care
  • Appears malnourished
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

Lack of Control

  • Has few or no personal possessions
  • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
  • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)

Other

  • Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
  • Loss of sense of time
  • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story

 

For those of you who are students, workers, or travelers please look into posting fliers at the sites you can. The Polaris Project has numerous Flyers available including ones written in about a dozen languages.

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We can do more.

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

In the late 1700s the slave trade spanned the known world. Europe and North America were filled with slaves, humans forced into bondage at the hands of their fellow man. In the midst of the abolitionist movement in England, a man named William Wilberforce was brought to the forefront of the cause and is today still a face for the fight against slavery. Wilberforce died in 1833, three days after hearing that the bill that outlawed slavery in the British Empire would pass. I’d like to post a hand full of his quotes.

“God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.”

“So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the Trade’s wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for Abolition. Let the consequences be what they would, I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition.”

And of course there is the quote at the top of this page.

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”

Slavery may not be as easily seen as it was in the days of Wilberforce but the crime is still thriving. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise and second most profitable behind the sale of illegal narcotics. The exact number of trafficked victims poses a problem, we don’t really know how many are out there. Most anti-trafficking charities put the number at around 30 million people.   That’s more people than the entire state of Texas (actually larger than every US state except California). Even if you were iffy on trusting the charities approach to numbers, the International labor organization believes the number of forced laborers to exceed 21 million people.

Slavery on the mind. I knew human trafficking existed probably about as much as everyone. It wasn’t until I took a class at American Public University that I began to see the problem for what it is. My class on human trafficking hammered it into me. If that wasn’t enough, every class I take deals with international criminal organizations, all of whom have become involved in and are increasingly practicing trafficking. The reality that so many people live in such horrid conditions (vast quantities of these victims are right here in the United States and Texas for that matter but that will be a post for another day)breaks your spirit. I hate to think the country I live in, the one who is always branding itself with freedom has a market for victims. The truth is the market is everywhere.

I imagined myself by now making a difference in the fight but that hasn’t really happened for me yet. A few weeks ago I started a new job in an office doing nothing of real importance. It weighed on me significantly and I know it is part of the reason I just can’t stand the job. In my mind I am off someplace else fighting some worthwhile cause. Last week, I got accepted as an Ambassador of hope, which is essentially to say that I became a community activist for a charity called Shared Hope International. Shared Hope International focuses mainly on domestic trafficking of minors here in the United States. It’s a chance to raise awareness and teach people about how terrible the crime really is. In my heart, it isn’t enough.