Aug 4, 2015

The dangers of turning police officers into revenue generators.

In April, several days after North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager stopped Walter Scott for a busted taillight and then fatally shot him, the usual cable-news transmogrification of    victim into superpredator ran into problems.

The dash cam showed Scott being pulled over while traveling at a nerdy rate of speed, using his left turn signal to pull into a parking lot and having an amiable conversation with Slager until he realized he'd probably get popped for nonpayment of child support.

At which point he bolted out of the car and hobbled off. Slager then shot him. Why didn't the cop just jog up and grab him? Calling what the obese 50-year-old Scott was doing "running" really stretches the bounds of literary license

But maybe the question to ask is: Why did Scott run? The answer came when the New York Times revealed Scott to be a man of modest means trapped in an exhausting hamster wheel: He would get a low-paying job, make some child support payments, fall behind on them, get fined, miss a payment, get jailed for a few weeks, lose that job due to absence, and then start over at a lower-paying job. From all apparent evidence, he was a decent schlub trying to make things work in a system engineered to make his life miserable and recast his best efforts as criminal behavior.

Recently, two more deaths of African Americans that have blown up in the media follow a pattern similar to Scott's. Sandra Bland in Texas and Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati were each stopped for minor traffic infractions (failing to use turn signal, missing front license plate), followed by immediate escalation by the officer into rage, and then an official story that is obviously contradicted by the video (that the officer tried to "de-escalate" the tension with Bland; that the officer was dragged by DuBose's car). In both cases, the perpetrator of a minor traffic offense died.  Continued

Aug 1, 2015

Human Trafficking 30 Million Dollar Industry - Suffering Immeasurable

Men, women, and children are sold into a $150 billion annual market for sex and labor. This is happening globally, and domestically; in urban and suburban areas; in hotels, restaurants, and on street corners. Slavery is wrapped up in almost every industry’s supply chain, tainting the food we eat, the clothes we buy, and the electronics we love. After the international drug trade, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second- largest criminal industry in the world. Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation

Sex trafficking is often highlighted in the media but is not the primary form of modern-day slavery. Using coercion, violence and deception, labor traffickers force victims to work against their will in industries that range from small mom-and-pop shops to enormous mineral extraction camps for commodities such as gold. Some individuals enter into work agreements willingly but accrue enormous debt to the trafficker in the form of food, shelter, documentation, and travel fees. The traffickers inflate these costs and tack on enormous interest rates that condemn their new hires to a life of underpaid labor or slavery.

 Victims of sex trafficking are forced to work in the commercial sex trade against their will. Physical and emotional violence is an intrinsic part of this industry, which preys on individuals in conditions of physical, economic, and psychological vulnerability. To keep them working, victims are threatened, lied to, and beaten by traffickers and pimps, who control their money. This practice exists within all sectors of the sex industry, including street prostitution, strip clubs, residential brothels, pornography stores and massage parlors.

C.S.E.C is the sexual abuse of a minor for economic gain. The majority of child victims come from environments of extreme instability, and most have suffered sexual abuse prior to their commercial exploitation. Homeless and street youth, or those facing food and shelter insecurities are also easy targets.

Traffickers can be strangers or acquaintances, family members or friends. The economic, physical and social vulnerability of most victims makes them easy prey for traffickers, who lure them in with promises for a chance at a better life. Many come from the same country or cultural background as their victims, enabling them to easily exploit the particular vulnerabilities of their targets. Other traffickers employ violence to kidnap and maintain control over their victims. There is abundant money to be made, soaring demand and little risk due to difficulties in identification of the crime. A high burden of proof for legal teams lowers the barrier of entry for the men and women who profit from human trafficking.
Why does modern-day slavery exist?

Because there is skyrocketing demand

Consumer demand for cheap products, labor and services is enormous. In the commercial sex industry business is booming. Traffickers can work in virtually every country around the world and move to wherever the greatest profit can be extracted. Their prime recruitment zones shift rapidly to best exploit opportunities. Combating the crime is complicated. Its covert nature coupled with improperly trained government and civic bodies, corruption and lax enforcement of laws and statutes create the perception of low risk for traffickers.

Dear friends, In the past three months, the remains of dozens of victims of human trafficking have been uncovered in jungle camps in Malaysia and Thailand. These gruesome discoveries are painful reminders of the reality of modern-day slavery in Southeast Asia and around the world. Sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are more than 30 million people enslaved today — and, as the U.S. State Department’s new Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report shows, the international community is not doing nearly enough to fight it. The countries ranking among the worst offenders for human trafficking in the latest TIP report include Thailand, Belarus, North Korea and Iran. Malaysia, surprisingly, was removed from its place in the lowest rung of the TIP report. I urge you to join me in using today — World Day Against Trafficking in Persons — as an opportunity to raise your voice against modern-day slavery. Please join me in the fight by learning more, spreading the word, and supporting survivors of human trafficking. You can play an important part in ending modern slavery at home and overseas. Please Help. Not For Sale Campaign