Thursday, September 29, 2016

Girls Perception of Themselves and Human Trafficking

I believe women are treated disrespectfully by the media and in society and that it affects the sex trafficking industry. I believe that we ended legal slavery and that illegal slavery is alive and doing well; very well.

I do not believe that all men fall into the category of not respecting women or that all men treat women as second class citizens. I do not believe that all men are sex addicts or are abusive. I also believe that the American culture is confused about gender equality and that this confusion is affecting trafficking; that is modern day slavery. Whoa! Wait a minute Jo, these statements don't work you say. I beg to differ. If women were considered to be who they are based on the work they do (which is generally how men perceive one another) or that a woman's body is not, nor should it ever be consider, a commodity then I would agree with you. Don't get me wrong, both men and women are blame for what is happening here in America and sex trafficking is not just a US of A problem. I'm talking about women being used as a commodity for selling and for pleasure. I'm talking about women struggling to know how to fit into a warped picture of their own humanity and their purpose. Watch Miss Reprentation.

Note: There boys who are used in the sex trafficking industry and there are women who sell other women for profit as traffickers. I want to be very clear about this.

What is expected of women? How do women view themselves and their bodies? What do men expect from women? How do men view women and what do they think a woman's body should look like? Is a woman's body for use? I have heard some men don't want their wives to nurse because their wives breasts belong to them. And I have heard other men want women to nurse so they have less to do and it saves them money. REALLY?!!!    

What were we taught and what are we teaching girls? You need to be beautiful. You need to wear makeup. You need to be thin or thinner. You need to be sexy. You need a man.

“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”― Adolf Hitler

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US advertisers spent 235.6 billion dollars in 2009
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53% of 13 year old girls are unhappy with their bodies.
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That number increases to 78% by age 17.
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65% of women and girls have eating disorders.
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Depression in women and girls has doubled between 2000 to 2010.
How do the companies that sell botox, diuretics, weight loss programs, makeup, clothing, skincare, etc see women, and better yet, how do they want women to think and feel about their bodies? Do you think that women's magazines sell magazines just to inform? Or is it possible that they are selling them to make money and their readership needs to have a problem to solve or there is no reason to produce their magazine. Fitness magazines have to come up with new (or redone old) ways of doing the same thing over and over again. Why? Because they are selling products. Their magazine and the products of their advertisers. Is this wrong? Not necessarily. Many in the fitness and health industry are really trying to help people. Is the fashion industry only in it for money? Not necessarily. When I went to the Fashion Institute for Design and Merchandising in 1976 (yeah, I'm dating myself) I went because I love fashion. I love fabric. I love clothes. Life took me another direction, however, I had planned to become a marketer. No evil intent. Just loved the industry as I saw it as a 17 year old girl.

There is also the internet and television media. What are they selling us? What are we "buying"??? Are we buying what they are selling? Do we believe we need to be thinner, sexier, pretty, etc to be happy, to be noticed, and to be loved?

Where are these questions leading?

We live in a world where sex sells. Marketing works or companies find new marketers. For instance, cigarette companies are in business to sell cigarettes. Increasing demand increases the need for supply. Increasing the need for supply increase the bottom line. We live in a world of supply and demand. Sex trafficking is part of it. Traffickers are selling. They want men to want to pay for sex. No demand. No need for supply. The connect is obvious to many and yet the truth is insidious. If a woman or girl believes that her value comes from her body she will act upon that! We as women are not being treated respectfully by the media, magazines, corporations, small businesses, schools, etc.

“What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.”― John Wesley

I have value just as I am. I feel the need to point out here that I am NOT a woman's libber. Why? Because I am ME. I believe all people need to be treated well. I believe in equal pay for equal work but I appreciate it when a man opens the door for me. I don't believe I should have to wear makeup but I enjoy it wearing it sometimes. I refuse to jump on an anti-male wagon even though I have been abused and assaulted. Not every man is to blame only the individuals involved. Still I deserve to be treated with love and respect as a human living on earth. So do you. Male and female. Young and old. Anyone who breathes. I don't have to agree with you nor you agree with me. 

This leads me to say that any and ALL SLAVERY IS WRONG!!!
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“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”--Martin Luther King, Jr.

So where do we go from here? As long as men aren't getting real jail time for buying young girls, or very much if any for rape, as long as girls are arrested for prostitution (even well under age 18), as long as business men and guys on vacation feel comfortable buying a 12 to 14 year old to rape for an hour or the night, as long as girls and women think they are helpless and worth little without a thin sexy body and a pretty face we will have SEX TRAFFICKING. As long as perpetrators feel comfortable requesting younger and younger girls, as long as the general society says that porn is okay, natural, and of all things "freedom" of speech, etc we will have SEX TRAFFICKING. Funny how most people don't know that a very high majority of women seen in these magazines are under age and forced to pose. Those that "want" to are in it because they want to control their life. I read where one woman, an ex-prostitute, said she never met another woman in "the life" who hadn't been abused at some point before she entered willing or by force and none of them were really happy in it.  Ted Bundy said porn led him to murder. Not everyone who views porn will murder, however they want to pay for your daughter. And if they request a certain kind of girl and the trafficker doesn't have her, he'll get her. It's nothing personal; it's business. Supply and demand.

Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
--Abraham Lincoln
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So this is a lot of information. You may not like hearing it. You may disagree. Awareness is necessary. We cannot make changes if we don't even know the problem. I see four problems. One, demand; men who want to buy girls for sex. Two, suppliers who are willing to sell flesh for a profit. Three, awareness; if we are not aware of this atrocity we cannot begin to help and four, young girls not believing that they have value simply because they are alive. That they are precious and worthy to be treasured. That they have a purpose far beyond their bodies. They have brains and talents and gifts. If girls felt better about themselves and believed in their value they would be stronger and more aware. If we can teach them to value themselves from the inside out they will be empowered.  
Movies like CHOSEN are teaching people how spot possible trafficking victims or possible future victims. As an ambassador of hope with Shared Hope International I go to schools and churches and I teach people about trafficking.
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Map of human trafficking hot spots.
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DVD's that training for schools, churches, etc.
Level: junior high and up including adults; parents and teachers.
Prevention is key!
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What can you do? Join the fight. Become a modern day freedom fighter; an abolitionist. Together we can fight to bring change.

How? There are many organizations working to end slavery rather it be labor or sex trafficking. 
Shared Hope International is a great place to start. Please leave questions or comments below. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Human Trafficking: Can We STOP IT?!

I am reflecting on what we are trying to do. Why we are trying to do it. How we can spread the word faster. And can we really STOP IT?!

Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking, Labor Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery. 

Can we?

WE need to be the change we want to see. WE need to face the truth and DO SOMETHING.

"Never believe that a group of committed people 
can't make a difference."
Margaret Mead

What does your heart tell you to do about this travesty? 

You may desire to be involved in PREVENTION.

You may feel you want to be there to INTERCEPT or when they are first found to ENCOURAGE.

Or later to ADVOCATE for them and bring JUSTICE.

Your heart may be telling you that you want,
even need,
 to be there when they are 

Whatever your call I ask that you do something. If being "involved" is not right for you (It won't be for everyone) then please donate money and think harder about what you purchase. Educate yourself. If you are someone who prays, include the millions who are being trafficked every day. 

For information and for a way to get involved go to: 
North County Abolitionists in the Central Coast of California

Please share this blog with others and leave a comment.
Thank you. Jo

Thursday, June 30, 2016

My Abolitionist Journey as a Modern Day Freedom

 See full-sized image   My journey as an abolitionist (or modern day freedom fighter) began when I saw a flyer hanging up on a window outside my chiropractors office. A local group was having an awareness event. They were going to show the movie Call + Response a 2008 documentary directed by Justin Dillon. I just had to go.

I found this blurb about Call + Response here: A feature length documentary film that reveals the world’s 27 million dirtiest secrets: there are more slaves today than ever before in human history. CALL+RESPONSE takes viewers deep undercover where slavery is thriving - from the child brothels of Cambodia to the slave brick kilns of rural India - and reveals that in 2007, Slave Traders made more money than Google, Nike and Starbucks combined.

I knew there was slavery in the world and I never have felt comfortable about the whole "child prostitute" idea. To what extent there is slavery in the world or that it was as wide spread as it is or that it is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the, no I did not know. Like most American's I got up every day and went about the business of living. I have charities I donate to and I love all kinds of people and I am sucker for little ones. I am compassionate, however, compassion is as compassion knows to do. I just DID NOT KNOW!
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Do Good. Do Well.
After seeing the movie I became a Freedom Fighter with Better Way Imports. Freedom Fighters go into homes, organizations, businesses, and churches to build awareness through talking about the over a dozen different companies they represent. They could be from Nepal, Taiwan, or somewhere in the Philippines, etc. These companies help women who are brought out of sex-trafficking by giving them a different option for making a living. They learn to make purses, bags, blankets, jewelry, and more. Better Way Imports Freedom Fighter teach people about them and then sell their goods. It is amazing. It is better than giving them a fish. It is better than teaching them to fish. It is teaching them to fish and then becoming a customer by buying over and over again. And when you are wearing necklace or bracelet and someone get to tell them about the women who made it. 
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Then I discovered Shared Hope International and trained to become an Ambassador of Hope. As an ambassador I continued my growth and awareness. I left BWI to learn more and to work toward getting an opportunity to teach groups in schools, etc to build awareness. I love being part of prevention. I also started this blog to teach people who are new to learning about human trafficking. 
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North County Abolitionists
Paso Robles, California
I continued reading, studying and attending events so I could gain more knowledge. One of these events is where I met a soon to be friend, Susan. We started the North County Abolitionists, in January of 2015, here in our area. Now we would be lost without Kristin. Along the way I joined the John Maxwell Team where I became a certified coach, teacher, and speaker. I have grown personally and gained more confidence for leadership, speaking and teaching which are an important part of my dream for building awareness. 

The North County Abolitionists show documentaries every other month and meet up to talk about our plans. Now others are joining the cause and the momentum is building. There is so much we each can do and sometimes we don't realize how help, which we may think of as small, is really helping. If my mom said it once she said it a million times: "Many hands make light work."

AWARENESS.  Compassion is as compassion knows to do
Now you know too. 

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It is time to take off the rose colored glasses.
There is so much more that I could tell you. In fact, I would love to. I want you to know that your comments will help me write the article you are looking for. Help me answer questions you may have... ie make me aware. Maybe you would like me to do book reviews or give you info on how to get good books on this difficult subject. 

As the band Chicago song We Can Make It Happen says,

"We can make it happen
We can change the world now

We can save the children
We can make it better
We can make it happen
We can save the children
We can make it happen."

Please spread the word and leave a comment below. ;)