Human Trafficking Awareness

Double-Edged Sword of Modern Technology in Vietnam–Increased Connectivity and Human Trafficking

 

I recently came across a very disturbing article in last month’s The Independent Voice.  Vietnam is a developing country in Southeast Asia and its people are anxious to connect with the world using the latest technology.  Studies indicate approximately 68% of the Vietnamese have smartphones and an even higher percentage have internet access.  So while it is still often difficult for those located in rural areas to obtain running drinking water, technological use is widespread. However, internet use is unfortunately far ahead of safety awareness. Nowhere is this more alarmingly apparent than the growing problem of organized groups of young men sending friend requests to young girls on Facebook in an effort to trick them into forced marriages.

These men act as agents to lure young girls living in villages close to the Vietnamese-Chinese border. Why? Because in China men greatly outnumber women, and there are Chinese men so desperate to find women to marry that they solicit the services of these unscrupulous profiteers. These agents often travel to a well-known trading post on the border to sell young girls. Since Facebook is banned in China, Chinese clients are using “WeChat, Weibo, and Viber” as dating apps to purchase kidnapped brides.

Fortunately, charities like Pacific Links Foundation are working hard to combat human trafficking by doing what they can to prevent this criminal activity as well as provide support and resources for survivors. Written on the Pacific Links Foundation website are these frightening statistics:

  • Human trafficking is a growing $150 billion a year business, enslaving over 40 million women, children, and men in forced sexual and forced labor exploitation.
  • The chance of being enslaved in the Asia Pacific region is twice as high compared to developed countries.
  • Vietnam is a source country for cross-border sex and labor trafficking.*

Human trafficking in this region is only getting worse. Advocates insist more safeguards for internet users in developing countries must be put into place on par with users in the developed world in order to combat trafficking. Please check out their website at https://www.pacificlinks.org to learn more.

*Information taken from http://www.pacificlinks.org/counter-trafficking

Interested in reading a novel about the international human trafficking crisis? Check out True Mercy. Available on Amazon, IngramSpark, and Smashwords. True Mercy would make a perfect holiday gift for friends and family—designed to provide an engaging read as well as to inform the public on the evils of human trafficking.

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Seagram’s Heiress Clare Bronfman Gave Away Fortune to Finance Keith Raniere’s Sex Cult NXIVM

 

Disturbing allegations are swirling around Clare Bronfman, an heiress to the Seagram fortune. The granddaughter of Samuel Bronfman, who founded the world-famous Canadian liquor company, has allegedly used her family trust fund money to finance a sex trafficking group and may now end up going to jail.

Bronfman, 39, invested $150 million dollars into NXIVM. Back in April, I wrote a blog about the arrest of Keith Raniere, the founder of NXIVM, on charges of running a sex cult disguised as a self-help program. Smallville actress Allison Mack has also been arrested for her role in the sex cult. Mack was in charge of slaves and would prepare them to sleep with Raniere. She would also force them to hand over incriminating naked photos of themselves to be used as collateral in case they decided to leave the cult. These women would work for free day and night and were basically starved by only being permitted to consume less than 1,000 calories per day. Most gruesome of all, the slaves had to submit to branding near their pelvis area with Keith Raniere’s initials.

Former NXIVM publicist Frank Parlato claims that Bronfman is now in charge of the “slaves” who are spread out between New York and Toronto. What’s more, Parlato believes she is preparing to discredit Raniere’s accusers by intimidating them so they won’t testify.

Clare Bronfman continues to defend Raniere. On her website she wrote, “I find no fault in a group of women (or men for that matter) freely taking a vow of loyalty and friendship with one another to feel safe while pushing back against the fears that have stifled their personal and professional growth.”

Many questions come to mind: 1.) What was Bronfman’s motivation for spending her entire fortune helping this crazed man? 2.) How did Raniere and Mack manipulate women into joining this sex cult and submit to these inhumane conditions? 3.) Why is human trafficking on the rise in the United States and all over the world? 4.) How can we fight this evil?

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Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation Not Yet Achieved

 

On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to abolish slavery. Unfortunately, 156 years later, slavery is still taking place in the United States as well as all over the world.

To commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation and to send the message that any form of slavery is unacceptable and will not be tolerated, the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking (NJCAHT) held the event “Human Trafficking: Surviving and Thriving” on Monday, April 16, 2018.

Many speakers informed the event’s attendees about the plight of human trafficking victims and the efforts to assist them. Sister Mary Beth Lloyd of John Corr Family Resources described the extreme poverty in Brazil that leads many families to prostitute their daughters in order to feed their families. The average age of these girls is 6-9 years old and the nuns run a mission to shelter and rescue as many girls as possible. Monica Kristen of Dreamcatchers spoke about their work to provide crisis counseling, follow-up when survivors return home, and job assistance. Dreamcatchers currently has four offices and 600 clients. Kate Lee of NJCAHT explained their latest project of distributing soap bars with NJCAHT’s contact information to hotels, a common place where traffickers bring their victims. The audience also heard testimonies from human trafficking survivors.

Attendees donated outfits for survivors preparing for job interviews.

For more information, contact the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking at INFO@njhumantrafficking.org or call their number at 201-901-2111. Many committees and programs are always looking for volunteers.

Human trafficking is the second fastest growing criminal organization in the world and the only way to make strides to combat it is for us to unite against it. Much progress has been made but still much more work needs to be done.

After attending the event, I realize there needs to be a mobilization of great kindness and support to battle this extreme evil.

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Evil in Our Midst–NXIVM Accused of Human Trafficking

 

Throughout human history, people have pondered over the existence of evil.

Unfortunately, we read and hear about examples of utterly horrifying evil all the time. One of those evils is human trafficking.

An example is the recent headlines on the arrest of Keith Raniere, the leader of the group NXIVM. He is accused of running a sex cult disguised as a self-help program. On its website the organization claims that it is “a community guided by humanitarian principles that seek to empower people and answer important questions about what it means to be human.”

Evidently, their interpretation of “what it means to be human” involved luring young women seeking successful careers to become slaves. They were reportedly forced to sleep with Raniere, who was known as “Vanguard” within the organization; perform menial tasks for their masters; and most horrifying of all, submit to branding near their pelvis area with Keith Raniere’s initials. If that isn’t enough, prominent people are alleged to be involved in this organization, among them Emiliano Salinas, the son of the former President of Mexico, Carlos Salinas; Allison Mack, Emmy-Award winning actress of the television series Smallville; and Clare Bronfman, an heiress to the Seagram fortune.

Throughout history, evil can appear beneficial and even beautiful in form. Raniere is a handsome, suave businessman whose past clients include business magnate Richard Branson, actress Linda Evans, and Antonia Novello, former Surgeon General of the Unites States. Raniere appealed to young women desperate to get ahead and impressionable enough to believe his promises. As stated on NXIVM’s website, the purpose of the organization was to promote “the philosophical and practical foundations necessary to acquire and build the skills for success.”

The question now is not only will Raniere be convicted, but also what will happen to the thousands of women who invested their hopes, dreams and money to become members of his sex cult posing as a self-help program? These victims, like all victims of human trafficking, will need a great deal of support to cope with their lives in the aftermath of their encounter with this recent manifestation of evil.

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An Eye-Opening Discussion: A Community Conversation: Modern Slavery—Global to Local

I have been researching and attending events related to human trafficking ever since writing and publishing my novel True Mercy. Still, when I attended a discussion entitled “A Community Conversation: Modern Slavery—Global to Local” at Seton Hall University, I gathered a great deal of new information. Slavery/human trafficking concerns everyone whether we realize it or not. It is occurring throughout the world, but many are surprised to find out it is also happening in cities and suburbs across the United States.

Before I relate the eye-opening information, first I would like to list the event’s speakers.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (Hamilton, NJ) is serving his 19th term in the House of Representatives and is the author of the comprehensive legislation, “ The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (PL 106-386).” This is a federal, multi-agency approach to prevent slavery, protect victims, and punish traffickers to the full extent of the law. He gave his talk through telephone conferencing.

Ingrid Johnson is a registered nurse and a member of the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking. She has worked tirelessly in the cause of human trafficking awareness ever since she rescued her daughter from the clutches of human traffickers fourteen years ago.

Dr. Bernard Freamon is a professor of legal philosophy specializing in Islamic Jurisprudence and Islamic Legal History. He teaches at Seton Hall School of Law. He has written extensively on human trafficking/slavery in Asia and Africa. Dr. Freamon is currently working on his latest book, Possessed by The Right Hand: The Problem of Slavery in Islamic Law and Muslim Cultures.

Kate Lee is the Administrator of the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Co-Chair of the NJ Governor’s Advisory Council Against Sexual Violence. She has organized numerous conferences and workshops to raise awareness.

Robert Boneberg is the Coordinator of the Slave-Free Community Project and is the Co-Chair of the Slave-Free Commerce Committee of the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

The five speakers made the following points:

  • There are an estimated 21 to 46 million slaves in the world. There are many different forms of slavery. They include slavery, human trafficking, forced labor, sex trafficking, and debt bondage.
  • Approximatley 15,000-18,000 slaves are imported in the U.S. annually. They comprise of sex slaves (50%), and others, including slaves in domestic service, business enterprises, and agriculture.
  • In regards to slavery around the Indian Ocean in Asia and near Africa, human trafficking is a continuation of what has been happening there for the last 3-4,000 years. Efforts to eradicate slavery in this part of the world have been a failure.
  • There are three reasons slavery is still happening in the world: 1.) Migration-People are migrating around the world in a manner never seen before. Criminals take advantage of this by trafficking people escaping their countries. 2.) Climate disasters— Traffickers again take advantage of people escaping natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. 3.) Conflict—Militant Muslim groups like ISIS take slaves.
  • Women from Mexico and African countries have been trafficked in various parts of New Jersey, according to arrest documents .
  • One way to eradicate slavery is to pay attention to the products we buy. The US Dept of Labor has identified the following products that are often made by child or forced labor. Among them are coffee, fruit, nuts, cotton, chocolate, rice, gold, and footwear.
  • Red Flag: If one sees a young person getting gifts that are inappropriate, that may be a sign that a person may be trying to lure them into trafficking.
  • Slaves are very cheap now because of migration. They are considered disposable people. It is more expensive to fly to Haiti than to buy a slave in Haiti.
  • There are more slaves today than ever before in history.
  • Approximately one quarter of them are children.
  • Approximately one fifth are in sex slavery.
  • Approximately 15 million people are in forced marriages.
  • There are approximately 58,000 slaves in the U.S.
  • Traffickers make approximately $150,000,000,000 from slavery per year.

The meeting concluded with speakers telling audience members that only when people work together can slavery finally be eradicated once and for all.

If you suspect slavery/human trafficking is taking place, do not attempt to rescue that person yourself. You may be putting that person in even more danger. It is best to call the following number:

National 24 hour hotline 1-888-373-7888

or Text INFO or HELP to BE FREE (233733)

Join in the fight to prevent slavery!

Website:  https://slavefreecommunityproject.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/slavefreecommunityproject/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/slavefreecommunityproject/

YouTube Channel:  ow.ly/xF4M30hAlZX

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SlaveFreeCP

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