Human Trafficking is more prevalent then one could possibly imagine, yet is a terrible evil in this world. It exists in every country. It is hard to fathom moral intelligent individuals turning a blind eye to this problem. One can hardly claim to be religious or moral and engage in practices which support, condone, or even turn a blind eye to this evil. Inaction and indifference are as bad as actively contributing to the problem. Stopping it now is a moral imperative for everyone everywhere!!!
I am in the process of supplementing and revising this post. Some of it has not yet been proof-read, and there may be references to occurrences (like the airing of specific documentaries which occurred after I wrote this initially.) Forgive me, but this is a very important topic, and extremely important to me.
What is Human Trafficking?
There have been a lot of TV shows on Human Trafficking, or certain instances of it. The phrase "Human Trafficking" can be misunderstood, if one watches those shows, even though they are extremely worthwhile and compelling.
In a broad, philosophic sense, "Human Trafficking" is forcing a human to engage in an activity without their consent. By virtue of the definition of consent, minors are unable to consent to the activities implicated in Human Trafficking (see below), and often their own parents are unable to give such consent, even when such consent is given (instances where poverty drives a parent to attempt to "consent")
More specifically, there are many types and instances of "Human Trafficking" and it is important to separate the different types and instances in order to understand the entirety, scope, and prevalence of the problem. "Human Trafficking" occurs in two different kinds of work: (i) the non-consensual sex trade; and, (ii) unlawful labor. It occurs to two types of persons: (i) minors; and, (ii) adults. It occurs in the USA and abroad. It arises from: (i) force (including coercion, trickery, threats to the victim or the victim's family); and, it arises from poverty (which includes drug use as even a wealthy drug addict doesn't need to result to it to feed one's habit.) It involves inter-country trafficking, and intra-country trafficking (transporting people from one country to another.)
Human trafficking victimizes the most vulnerable disenfranchised people who are least able to protect themselves. They include, first and foremost, children, especially young girls. They also include young boys, woman, and even men. They are forced to work as prostitutes or in sweatshops. They are bought and sold like property, and have no choice in the matter. It is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world, with at least 100,000 children in the sex trade in the United States alone (See Link to the Polaris Project.) This does not even come close to the numbers in countries like Vietnam. Not all victims are in the sex trade. Some are in forced labor.
While the United States is perhaps least culpable in this, it is far from innocent. Moreover, the use of forced labor is not new. We all know of our history with slavery, and after that, the quasi-slavery of segregation, discrimination, and sharecropping. But few know of the importation of immigrants from China, known as "coolies" many of whom were essentially kidnapped and sold into slavery. The phrase "Shanghaied" comes from the kidnapping of Chinese peasants to work in such places as the Western United States in sub-human conditions. The practice continues to this day, throughout the world, and includes in the United States.
Human trafficking occurs from many sources. Some victims are kidnapped. Others are tricked and fooled. Others are forced by reason of threats to their family who remain in their home countries. Others, especially children and young woman, are sold into slavery by their own parents, sometimes due to extreme poverty.
One of the worst examples, which devastated my personal trust in our legislative system, was exposed in a documentary on, I believe, MSNBC. I watched in shock, and can not begin to convey what occurred. In summary, Tom Delay, then the Republican Whip of the House of Representatives to the US Congress, acting at the direction of Ralph Reed (so called head of the "Christian Coalition") who each took bribes from Jack Abramoff, actively prevented regulation (which would have stopped the situation) of Chinese workers who were tricked into believing that they were "coming to America" to be free to live and work here when instead they were held as real prisoners in "sweat shops" in Saipan which is part of the United States (it is an island in the pacific governed by the United States and completely subject to United States laws, rules, and regulations). See CNN's coverage of Tom Delay's involvement and also Democracy Now's Coverage of the Issue.
What is worse, Ralph Reed, who is making his political comeback, ignored the forced abortions these workers were forced to endure and tricked his devout Christian followers into believing that these workers being able to work in Saipan was a "Christian Issue" as they were being exposed to Jesus. He didn't reveal the money he was receiving to make this false claim, the fact that these workers were held as virtual slaves in accordance with the wishes of the sweatshops they worked for, and forced to undergo abortions (not exactly in accordance with Christian tenants). Ralph Reed has forfeited any claim to morality or to any position of leadership of any religious or moral cause, party, or coalition. He should be banished to obscurity. His hypocrisy and betrayal is incomprehensible and unforgivable, as is his misuse and abuse of his own followers who trusted him and as is his perversion of the very causes he purported to represent.
While Abramoff and Delay were disgraced and imprisoned, Ralph Reed is making a comeback, and regardless of your political or religious convictions, he represents no one's interest but his own. He is a hypocrite who stands for nothing other than his own pocketbook and status.
Why is this relevant to Human Trafficking? Because it shows how the monied interests behind Human Trafficking cross political, religious and geographic boundaries, and enter even into the US though the supposed highest form of government we have. Jack Abramoff was, like me, a Pro-Israel Jew. Ralph Reed was a member of the Christian Coalition (whom I despise as an extremist Republican Group bent on replacing our democratic free secular government with a Christian Theocracy). Tom Delay was one of the most powerful and respected and trusted congressional officials at the time, and supposedly above all the religious, partisan politics, and corruption and entrusted with enforcing US laws and principles (which laws and principles he obstructed the enforcement of).
Yet all three sold out everything and everyone that they purported to believe in, and everyone who believed in them, to assist, protect, and further Human Trafficking (slavery in its clearest definition) within the borders of the United States, on United States sovereign lands subject to the same laws which govern and protect us all. They did this to line their own pockets and further their own political interests and aspirations to personal power. Human Trafficking is here, and it infects and destroys our fundamental values and core institutions at the highest levels due to the corrupting influence of the money involved and the indifference and lack of education of the public at large.
You may be directly responsible for this heinous evil industry merely by purchasing cheap clothing, cheap agriculture goods, and especially by using the services of a prostitute. While I have nothing against the clothing or agriculture industries, and certainly believe that whatever occurs between two consenting adults is no one's business, it is incumbent on each of us to make sure that these goods and "services" were produced by consenting adults.
The fact that this occurs anywhere in the world is unacceptable and must be stopped by everyone throughout the world. But, if you think the problem lies in some distant country for which you are powerless to prevent, you are wrong. If you don't believe me, look to our own government for information about human trafficking. The US Department of Education's Fact Sheet and Good Links about the Issue of Human Trafficking [this is a link which you may or not be able to see depending upon your browser.]
First Supplement to my Prior Post:
As with most of my posts, I seem to be a few days ahead of the general press and public debate on each issue. I had posted some comments to my own post as separate comments, but I must update the original post. First, now CNBC is airing a documentary (in addition to the many good ones aired already and still being aired on MSNBC) about human trafficking.
Another MUST GO TO LINK IS WORLD VISION's ASIA PACIFIC Discussion of Human Trafficking. Here is the link Human Trafficking Compelling Information and Facts by World Vision
Human Trafficking is the most vile evil in the world. As citizens of the world, being people of intelligence and conscience, supposedly with morals and believing in the rule of law, we are all responsible for taking affirmative steps to stop it everywhere in the world. Because it occurs in this country and/or is caused by actions in this country, we are all very specifically morally responsible. After the Holocaust, most Germans claimed that they were not responsible. We know that they were, either through direct crimes, active complicity, passive endorsement, or simple inaction and indifference. It is time for educated moral informed people to stand up and accept personal responsibility.
If you do nothing, remember that the next time you enter your Church, Mosque, Synagogue, or wherever you go to pray and answer for your actions. You can ignore the issue, ask for God to help those you refuse to help, or repent and pray for forgiveness. But good luck to you. Every religion I know, and every moral code I have heard of, requires affirmative action to combat evil. Stop asking God to help and forgive, and go find the 6 year old victims and ask them to forgive you.
Update June 19, 2011
First, let me brag a little. I have been working on my entire blog and this article since April of 2011. I have said, in my blog posts, supplements to my blog posts, and in comments to my own posts that I was proud of the fact that many of my posts (on various issues) were "ahead of the curve" in that causes, concerns, issues and opinions I voiced and raised were raised later in the media. Depending on the cause, concern, issue or opinion, I was ahead by two days to several weeks.
On this issue, shortly after I posted my blog, several stations like CNBC started running documentaries. MSNBC started re-airing their old documentaries. Now CNN is airing extensive coverage of Human Trafficking. Once again, I was largely ahead of the media raising public awareness of this serious issue. For the sceptics out there, I have no connections in the media.
Second, you should watch CNN's coverage of Human Trafficking. Here is a link to one of CNN's many web sites on this issue. Click Here to go to CNN's Web Site on their "Freedom Project".
Remember, Human Trafficking comes in many forms. It includes the sex trade, forced labor, and indentured labor. In involves Americans and foreigners. It includes children and adults, men and women. Both illegal and legal immigrants of all ages and both genders are often victims, in America and abroad, of forced and indentured labor.
The sex trade includes forced prostitution of minors and also includes minors and women tricked, coerced, and/or forced to travel to foreign countries where they have no choice but to work as prostitutes, in the pornography business, or in strip clubs, either because of fear of poverty, fear of violence against them or their families back home, or even because they are virtual prisoners. It happens to American born women and children, women and children brought to America, women and children in other countries who may be taken to another country or even forced to engage in such practices in their own countries.
The complicity of family members, policeman, and governmental officials, especially in foreign countries, often is a contributing factor. The indifference of police, governments, and the people in every country are always major contributing factors. The purchase of products and services of those trafficked humans is the worst contributing factor. That purchaser can be a person or company who unknowingly purchases a product, even a shirt, which is inexpensively produced by an unknown factory and then sold to a well respected retailer or wholesaler. That person may be you or me. If you purchase or use the services of those engaged in the sex trade, you may be directly participating in the exploitation of trafficked humans and supporting the practice of Human Trafficking in the same way that users of narcotics support the drug cartels and gangs who supply and sell those drugs.
I don't know how broadly CNN covers the entire Human Trafficking problem, and whether readers of this blog will be able to view all of CNN's coverage of this problem. So please remember how broad and extensive the problem is, and how much it reaches into America and involves each and everyone of us, whether directly or indirectly.
Update August 7, 2011
Incidentally, since I wrote this Blog post initially, there has been a lot of coverage of the trial of Warren Jess and some other members of the FDLS in Texas. The FDLS operates in Texas, Arizona, Utah, and Canada. In Arizona, they are essentially the entire of Colorado City and even control the police department, who are members of the FDLS. The FDLS is a huge criminal organization which purports to be a religion and is engaged in the trafficking of humans, especially young girls (for example age 12) to satisfy the desires of pedophiles. This is just one more form of Human Trafficking, which is occurring right here in America, with the cooperation of one police force and with the intentional acquiescence of the state governments of Utah and Arizona.
I wrote in my blog, initially, that Human Trafficking occurred everywhere and in many forms, including in the USA. But even I did not realize how open, widespread and diverse it was in America.
Update August 14, 2011
Recently, there has been a lot of publicity in the USA about the FLDS. I have watched the coverage and heard the stories of the victims, and the actions of those that enabled the victimizers, with utter disbelief, shock, amazement, dismay, and emotion. That this could occur anywhere in the world is beyond comprehenisve. That this could occur on such a wide scale for decades and be so publicly known is absolutely beyone comprehensive. But as we focus on this case, it is critical to remember that this is only one example of what occurrs every minute of every day in virtually every country in the world, including to children as a few years old.
Turning back to the FLDS case, it is care that the police, prosecutors, legislatures, and attorney generals, and so forth in both Utah and Arizona have a very lot to answer for. Some clearly deserve prison cells, such as the police in Colorda City Arizona. Many hundreds of publicly elected government officials and civil service employees deserve to be fired or forced from office, as the case may be. And from watching the extensive coverage on this case, I know that my oppinon is wide spread and not original. As an aside, in this year of extreme fiscal turmoil due to our budget deficit, it seems a lot of our tax dollars have paid for these criminal organizations designed as a religon.
Doing what I can as just one blogger, I sent the following communications to the press offices of the governors of both Utah and Arizona demanding accountability. We must all demand that they answer these and other questions in clear, specific, and unambiguous terms. We don't want to hear what good inmtentions they have for the future. We don't want to hear what all that they have tried to do. We want answers as to why more was not done, who was responsible, and how they will be punished. We want to know when and how these organizations will be shut down in the very near future and immediate and substantial help provided for their victims. We want to hear this without excuses. I will publish the relevant portions of my communications, and I urge any readers of this blog to communicate with these Governors, and any other officials, and demand answers either to my communications or to your own.
We are the people who have the courage to stand up to the wrong of our country and make it right!
Here are the communication to Governor Herbert of Utah (the one to Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona was virtually identical):
Dear Governor Herbert:
I am a blogger, which is why I intend to publish your response on my Blog which is read world-wide, which includes an ongoing post on "Human Trafficking," Please do not send me a "canned press release," in response to the specific questions and issues raised. If you do, it will be seen, and specifically criticized, as more indifference on the part of your office to the problems discussed hereinafter.
Most of America has great respect for both the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and the great state of Utah.
However, in light of the pervasive and long and publicly well-known atrocities which have been exposed by the convictions in Texas (and the resulting publicity), the entire country is wondering why Utah has not done far more to investigate, prosecute, and stop the heinous actions. We have been told, for decades, that the LDS and Utah disavowed polygamy. Yet, the actions of the FLDS go far beyond the crime of Polygamy to the worst forms of child abuse, child rape, and human trafficking. Are old views towards Polygamy responsible for lax law enforcement of well accepted morals and laws?
As the chief law enforcement officer of the state of Utah, the inaction of law enforcement to enforce existing laws with regards to the FLDS and similar groups are ultimately your responsibility, and those of your predecessors. Why has more not been done, and what are you going to do, to effectively bring to justice those who should be held accountable and to stop and prevent these heinous crimes at the FLDS and other organizations whose existence and actions are already well known to the press and public.
David M. Ginsberg, Attorney At Law
1640 Oakwood Drive, W-203
Penn Valley, PA 19072
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