This week we’ve highlighted the efforts of individuals who have been moved to do their part in the fight against slavery. We’re often dissuaded by our own belief that our actions will have no effect, that without the backing of a large organization, we cannot change things. But the following stories prove otherwise.
Jeff Wilbarger, a math teacher in Bowling Green Ohio, founded The Daughter Project after reading David Batstone’s Not For Sale. Immediately after reading the book, he felt as though he needed to leave Ohio and move somewhere where trafficking actually exists. So much to his surprise, Jeff found out that Toledo, Ohio ranks among the top five cities to have the highest rate of child sex trafficking in the United States. That's why he's building what will become one of the few safe homes for victims of human trafficking in the U.S.
Coincidentally, Amy Seiffert - a young mother living in Bowling Green, Ohio, with no connection to Jeff Willbarger– read an online story about the issue of child sex trafficking in Toledo. After learning about The Daughter Project, she decided to do something about it too; for six months, she would wear one dress and donate the money she would have otherwise spent on clothing to Jeff Wilbarger’s charity. She blogged about the experience, and along the way many of her friends - and strangers - joined her in this project.
On the other side of the world, in Gunsam, South Korea, a group of students have taken a stand against slavery. These students are helping, simply by spreading awareness, or by choosing to buy slave-free products whenever possible. Their school, Yeong Gwang Girls High School, is known for its outreach and volunteer work; their new project is to help abolish slavery.
In the U.S., a group of New York City high school students have painted a graffiti mural for Somaly Mam. These students want to provide a voice for victims, who have none. Somaly Mam was a victim of human trafficking and now runs her foundation in Cambodia - providing a safe haven for other victims.
Finally, we featured the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, founded by Kenneth B. Morris Jr., the great-great-grandson of Frederick Douglass and great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington. The Frederick Douglass Foundation aims to help abolish slavery through education.
Don’t forget to keep the iReports coming in! We’d love to see what you’re doing to take a stand against slavery.
Currently in Sapa, north Vietnam. Young teenage girls frequently disappear here, believed abducted & sold into slavery. Particularly tribal girls as their impoverished illiterate families powerless to do anything. Families distraught.
I enjoyed Don Lemon's feature concerning quotes from the Bible that are not actually in the Bible. I am happy to find a vehicle for my suggestion, something that occurred to me while reading a very special book from the "Zohar."
In the readings, a story is told concerning an event that took place that resulted in the death of two of Aaron's sons. It related to a time of prayer and who is authorized to pray on behalf of all the people and who is allowed to take one step closer to the presence of God.
The book states specifically that priests only are authorized to present prayer and supplication in specific ways to God in behalf of the people. Aaron's sons were not priests and attempted to make prayer and supplication in a way they were not allowed or authorized to do, which went against the rules of the time. They were punished for it and lost their lives.
My suggestion is: Let us present our prayers through our priests, so that they are acceptable to God. Let us do this in a manner and at a time when all priests of all faiths can gather together - and this is not impossible with the video, internet, and modern technology that reaches around the world - and present before God the priests of our faiths to make prayer in behalf of peace. These priests may, if they will, pray for peace and tolerance now, in the days when we need these things the most, in war torn countries and even in our political arenas. There is terrible unrest worldwide politically and personally. Needless to say, even the most war wary of us all will stop to allow prayers to be said, even at time of death.
I suggest we organize a day of prayer for peace with video access of our priests making prayer in our behalf from around the world and begin and create an atmosphere of peace and begin the process of the end to worldwide unrest and the promotion of healing.
We must begin someplace and there is no question that the best place to begin is with prayer.
I ,for one, know that as I stand here today, God answers prayer. Prayer is the most amazing and the most fascinating vehicle we have in time of trouble, a vehicle that we seem to have forgotten we possess. Let us begin to use this special vehicle and through it, redirect the minds of men.
And let this be something we do often, as time and airspace allow, until our prayers take root and grow the seeds of change.
And let this be something we do, not once, but often as time and airspace allow, until our prayers take root and grow the seeds of change.
It is sad to note that children are abducted and lured into slavery in India. Slavery in the form of "bonded beggars". Children are kidnapped, maimed, blinded, brought to a different state and sold to prostitution or made to beg at traffic signals. This problem is glaring in the eyes of the international community and yet we see very little or rather nothing being done to help these children or prevent more of of them being subjected to this unthinkable torture. A child who should be playing and studying and being naughty at his age has this constant fear in him of being beaten if he does not bring in the money.
So much has been said....movies have been made....so much so that The Slumdog Millionaire has won Oscars...local movies in India like Traffic Signal by Madhur Bhandarkar talks of these stark truths...and yet we still find this menace spreading. Imagine a child being separated from his parents, alone in a strange city, being maimed or blinded and made to beg...Is this what our civil society ready to live with... Most of us have children, they go to school, art or music classes, movies and there outside our very homes is a different world for these children..
It is time that we unite as one voice and end this.....Child is the Father of Man they say....A Child gives birth to a Mother I'v heard...these philosophical lines are empty unless they are brought in action and unless we see every child in a place where he ought to be.....
In a land of Infant Jesus, Bal Krishna (Krishna in the form of a child), Bal Ganesh – where these idols are worshipped and revered...we all have our hypocracies to handle and our conscience to face.
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Thank you for your time.
Total waste of money. Spend money on eradicating murderers, thieves, and arab terrorist. These women serve a function, that is needed by society.
I pray that you encounter Jesus5 Christ1. do you know what your purpose is in life? Would you accept someone imposing their agenda on your purpose in life?do you know who you are? ?you did not think before posting that. I would like to insult you but I'm guessing you are just burying a lot of deep seated issues yourself. That is definately evident from your post. you are a part of the problem and not the solution.
Ending the Modern Day Slavery is a bold project to pursue, So much thanks to CNN and more grace to your elbow. But the real Modern Day Slavery is not human trafficking, but rather Human Bondage. I believe it should have been a better cause to pursue because it affects much more people in this world than the so called human "Trafficking." You westerners claim to pursue Human Rights, Freedom and Equal Right. But you are committing the worst crime on earth. You offered freedom for yourselves but bond others in bondage by denying them the opportunity of Freedom of Movement while among yourselves you enjoy Freedom of Movement.
Every human being on this earth has just Three Rights, one is the Freedom of movement , which God had left in the choice of every man. Two and Three is the Right to Live and Die which is in the God's hands.
So in as much as this unlawful order exists, people will keep on trafficking people and people will also offer themselves to be trafficked. To this end, the Project should have been for the Removal of Borders all over the world. This is the right approach to eradicate Human Trafficking, be it Self Trafficking or Forceful Trafficking. Thank you. By Benjamins
Giive a child a voice with a choice
There's a terrific book everyone should share with their friends and age-appropriate children: "Sold", a harrowing first person account of trafficking, rape, and being freed. It's by Patricia McCormick and it's the only book of its kind I've seen. Highly recommended for young people, and for those who want to learn more about these emotional and factual issues. McCormick traveled to India and Nepal, and interviewed young girls in brothels. Proceeds from the book supports Anuradha Koirala's anti-trafficking organization, Maiti Nepal.
Our own tax dollars are going towards paying contractors who engage in sexual slavery and human trafficking! Halliburton, KBR, Dynacorp are known to have engaged in human trafficking, prostitution, rape and abduction of woman for the purpose of selling into sexual slavery in the Balkans and Middle East. Yet, the Department of Defense continues to give them contracts to them, contracts that all American's are paying for. Call your congress people and demand that the corporations be held accountable!
Check out http://mssparky.com/category/iraq-human-trafficking/
Details of sex slavery as well as rape are coming out in the Jamie Leigh Jones vs. Halliburton gang rape trial case that is going on right now! CNN doesn't seem to know about it.
Another great organization that works hard to end slavery and the sex trade is the International Justice Mission. Their website is: http://www.ijm.org
I dont see what the problem is when our government CONDONES slavery. Dont believe me? Then go to the United Arab Emerites, Our biggest ally in the mid-east. Go to the port authority of Jabil Ali. Thousands of slaves. And we support this. And this is only one example.
why don't they just hire somebody like me and i can goto these countries and just start executing these traffickers.
Here in Michigan I often drive by billboards that advertise "spas," another name for massage parlors). If I recall correctly one in Owosso Michigan was raided by the health department. A lot of condoms were found, and some of the girls were from forced labor.
Even if I'm mistaken about the girls being forced, prostitution is illegal in Michigan. Some of these spas say right on the billboard that they are open until 2:00 am or later. Doesn't this strike our police or health departments as strange? Are these places liscensed? Has anyone seen if these girl's are certified massage therapists?
What can we do? Well, it seems the health department wasn't powerless. Can the fire department require a safety inspection? Shouldn't someone make sure these places are handicap accessible? (And if the inspectors happen to find a lot of condoms – Well isn't that interesting.)
We are not powerless to fight it when it's right in front of our faces. Part of the problem may be that no one even wants to admit it.
And what about restricting trade and tourism with countries where child brothels and plenty of human trafficing are rampant, like Thailand? I bet these governments would do something when they started to see their tourist dollars vanish.
I'm so tired of hearing about slavery around the world. We have slavery here and I was one. Starting rom 14 months to age 16 I was burnt, beaten, raped, sold and drugged, However, I am 55 now and I don't count in the slavery stats because they don't talk about all the 30-90 yr old who already went thru this and just had to find our own way out. Don't expect me to feel sorry for someone who had been treated like this starting after they already had a childhood and have people to coddle them in every way because they are poor little victims. The obesity epidemic in the US is actually an untreated rape/abuse/slavery epidemic that has never been addressed? Where do we fall in your little list of victims, Demi? I've paid thousands of dollars out of my own pocket to overcome the PTSD I've had for 28 years. Who's helping me? This NEVER goes away. I will always suffer from the PTSD and other damage I suffered. So will millions of other US women (and men). Get us on your list for help, we've been waiting 30 years for ANYONE to understand why we are the way we are. Are you up to it, Demi?
I presume we all have lost human values.
Why not ban prostitution-only because some bull shit people wants to satisfy their lust.Go to hell.
I just wish that their mothers/sisters/daughters do not fall in this ring.
Think and wake up.
U will reap what u sow!!!
CNN News is telling lies about Sex Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Prostitution, Sex Slavery, CNN Freedom Project is lying.
CNN leads the media's mass paranoia, lying, lies over a nonexistent Sex Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Slavery, Prostitution epidemic
BY TONY ORTEGA
PUBLISHED: JULY 06, 2011
I remember the last couple of mass panics. Do you?
There was the daycare scare of the 1980s, when we were told that child molesters had infiltrated childcare centers across the country. From the beginning of the panic, with the infamous McMartin Preschool trial (which ended in zero convictions), it should have been obvious that there was something hard to believe about the media reports of this nationwide crime epidemic.
Toddlers who had been hypnotized reported that they were being flown to Mexico to be sexually abused, killed, eaten, and then magically restored before Mom and Dad could pick them up (that is actual testimony from one particularly incredible trial that did, in fact, send a Texas couple to prison).
Gripped by mass fear, it took the public some time to wake up from that fever dream. About the same time, America was hyperventilating over another nonexistent threat: satanic cults that, experts swore, were sacrificing thousands of victims across America.
Remember that one? I'm sure Geraldo Rivera does.
We've panicked in other ways since those days, but if we tended to see terrorists everywhere after 9/11, at least there was vivid evidence that we had become a target.
But even that threat is fading. Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are receding fast from public consciousness. Our economy is gradually crawling back. Crime remains at record lows. A new presidential campaign is only in its earliest stages.
What's there to panic about today?
A small group of political activists is quite ready to provide the answer. In the second decade of the 21st century, we are being told that there's a widespread, growing, and out-of-control problem to fear in our country. And it has a catchy name: "trafficking."
In cities across America, we are told over and over, like a mantra, that "100,000 to 300,000" underage sex slaves have been stashed away from public view, with more joining them every day. It's a problem growing so quickly that the United States soon will be no better than Moldova or Nepal in regard to child sex trafficking. Why go to the Third World looking for this nightmare when our cities and suburbs are bursting with children in bondage?
Feel that panic in your chest? Must have been what Geraldo experienced. Now, step back and take a deep breath.
As we showed in our cover story last week, the newest panic is like the ones that preceded it—an emotional reaction, based on good intentions, but grounded in bogus information.
The actual data behind this "epidemic" is wanting in the extreme. It involves guesses by activist professors, junk science by nonprofit groups trying to extract money from Congress, and manipulation by religious groups hiding their real agendas about sex work.
And one of the most visible enablers in this national fantasy has been young CNN reporter Amber Lyon.
Lyon is best known for ambushing Craigslist founder Craig Newmark last year, questioning him about what are known as "adult ads." At the time, Craigslist was heavy with such ads. Having cornered the timid Newmark—who has told people he's a borderline Asperger's case—it didn't take much for the aggressive Lyon to reduce Newmark to catatonia with her questions about Craigslist's facilitating the enslavement of young girls across the country.
Under pressure by the attorneys general of several states, Newmark initiated a lawsuit in South Carolina, which he won. (In fact, he won every time he went to court.) But facing the further pressure of congressional hearings about its sex ads, Craigslist dropped its adult sections last fall. (You can still find the ads on the site, if you know where to look.)
Lyon has been known to tell people that her ambush of the meek Newmark resulted in the shuttering of "the Walmart of child sex trafficking." Now, she has set out to take down a new target: Village Voice Media.
Seven years ago, the people I work for were smart enough to start Backpage.com, a competitor to Craigslist. While other newspapers were doing little more than publicly condemning Newmark for the way Craigslist has, for years, eaten into their classified-ads revenue, we decided to fight back. That's just how we operate.
Backpage.com has since inherited some of the adult business that left Craigslist. The Village Voice itself has been taking such ads since the mid-1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, the adult business was a large part of the paper. Today, it's a smaller presence in the print edition, and the Voice's website has no adult advertising—that business appears only at Backpage.com.
Backpage.com is not a newspaper. It's an Internet bulletin board where people can place ads for anything from rental apartments to bicycles to lawnmowers. And, yes, it's a place where adults can post notices so that other adults can contact them.
What happens when two adults find each other through Backpage.com? I couldn't tell you. The whole point of Backpage.com is that we aren't involved after two consenting adults find each other through the community bulletin board, which exists solely so that people can freely express themselves—sometimes in ways that make other people uncomfortable. We're First Amendment extremists that way. Always have been.
We've spent millions of dollars putting in place strict policies and monitoring services to make sure that it is only adults finding each other through Backpage.com's adult pages. Not only do we have security specialists making constant searches for keywords that might indicate an underage user, but we're quick to cooperate with law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children when we find suspicious ads. In some cases, our reports about suspicious ads have resulted in underage runaways being traced and recovered—as opposed to the underground economy of bus stations and street corners where kids are truly invisible.
Backpage's 123 employees, who screen about 20,000 ads every day, alert NCMEC when they find something suspicious, who in turn contacts law enforcement. That process triggered 230 reports last month. For more on how quickly and often Backpage reports problems, see Caleb Hannan's story at our sister paper, Seattle Weekly.
Underage prostitution is a persistent problem in this country, but as we established in last week's cover story, it exists at a level that is nothing like what is being trumpeted by Amber Lyon on the behalf of activists who want to put us out of business. Lyon and other journalists—even the New York Times—may repeat uncritically the figure of "100,000 to 300,000" underage prostitutes, but as we showed last week, that number is based on a flimsy study by a couple of activist professors who included in that figure runaways (most of whom are back home in a week) and any teen who happens to live near an international border, supposedly putting them "at risk."
Using official law enforcement data, we showed that underage prostitution arrests are closer to 800 per year for the entire country—a number that has not increased over the past decade. Far from a widespread and rapidly growing problem, this is, instead, a small problem that stays about the same size because its underlying causes—drug addiction and teen homelessness—are not targeted with federal funds the way scaremongering is.
In December, we sent information to CNN about what we're doing to keep Backpage.com's adult pages for adults only as Amber Lyon prepared a sensationalistic piece about the mythic hundreds of thousands of underage American sex slaves, for whom she wanted us to appear responsible.
When her piece aired in February, however, this is what Lyon said: "What is [Backpage.com's] holistic plan? We don't know because [Backpage.com security adviser] Hemu Nigam wouldn't talk to us."
We subsequently pointed out to CNN that we had, in fact, provided Lyon with a two-page, single-spaced data sheet about what we're doing to keep underage users out of Backpage.com's adult pages. In a later rebroadcast of her piece about us, her legal department forced Lyon to tack on this correction: "Backpage.com sent us a statement in late December saying, 'Backpage.com is committed to preventing those who are intent on misusing the site for illegal purposes.' And they went on to say that they implemented new safety measures to that end, which are listed on the company blog. There is evidence these measures have had some results. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Backpage reported 30 suspicious ads in 2010. And in the first month of 2011, they reported 65."
Well, that was something. But Lyon's reporting has been manipulative, at best. When you watch her special, "Selling the Girl Next Door," it should be obvious that Lyon is less interested in learning how Backpage.com actually operates than she is in making viewers squirm about sex. In one segment, she talks to the women working at a legal brothel in Nevada. In another, she talks to men who are undergoing counseling for paying for sex—none of them with underage girls. Each of these segments is intended simply to make viewers see sex work in the worst possible light. And that's no accident.
At the end of her broadcast, Lyon's sources are singled out for "special thanks." The list includes several Atlanta-area foundations, deep in the Bible Belt, that have done as much as anyone to create the current panic about a nonexistent epidemic of sexual slavery.
We recently found out that Lyon is even closer to these groups than you could tell from a list at the end of her broadcast.
It's not unusual for reporters, after working with helpful sources, to feel that they've become friends. It's happened to me and just about every other journalist I know. But as professionals, we know that it's important to keep some distance from the sources we rely on for information.
Someone forgot to mention that to Lyon, apparently.
On May 4, FAIR Fund, one of the sources thanked in CNN's special, held a fundraiser in Washington's City Tavern Club.
The event's emcee was Amber Lyon, and she didn't seem at all uncomfortable helping a source raise money. We know because we sent a reporter to watch and videotape her performance.
"Hello, everyone, and thank you all for coming tonight to 'Pearls of Purpose.' And my name is Amber Lyon, and I'm an investigative and documentary reporter with CNN. This is just an amazing gala and an amazing way to really celebrate the empowerment of young girls all around the world," she said to the gathered crowd.
It wouldn't be a Lyon appearance without the required mantra: "Somewhere around, anywhere from, 100,000 to 300,000 American children are being trafficked," she told her audience. "It's an honor to be here tonight hosting this. I'm definitely proud to be supporting FAIR Fund."
I emailed Lyon, asking her to explain how she could help a source raise money while continuing to use it as a source for stories. I was also curious how much money her event had raised, with tickets ranging from $125 to $250 a plate.
"We are declining your request for an interview" is how she responded.
That surprised me. Lyon clearly has ridden her fame for how bravely she stood up to mild-mannered Craig Newmark. I didn't expect her to duck some straight questions about her involvement in a semireligious crusade.
Meanwhile, CNN has made trafficking its pet issue. The problem is, the network seems to draw almost no distinction from what Demi Moore finds in Nepal and what is actually happening here in the United States. That's just bad journalism. But it's what happens when an organization takes on a cause, regardless of the facts.
Video and Transcript of CNN's Amber Lyon Helping Her Sex Trafficking Source, FAIR Fund, Raise Money:
Today, the Polish TV viewers were shown a piece of TV news from China in which a little Chinese girl was knocked down and run over by a van driven by a Chinese driver.
The driver, driving his vehicle slowly and premeditatively, run over the girl's stomach and stopped for a few seconds. The girl's motionless body was then just very close to the van's rear wheel. The driver started again, very slowly, and the rear wheel crushed the girl's body for the second time. It all looked as if the girl had been killed in cold blood. The van's wheels left bloody tracks on the road's surface. The child was left there in the middle of the road and nobody paid any attention for some time though there were people milling around. When, at last, somebody tried to pick up the girl’s body, it was inert like a broken doll.
What was shown on TV is hard to believe. The cold-blooded indifference of the driver and the witnesses is shocking. The defenselessness and fragility of the child in the face of such cruelty fill our hearts with horror and despair. Could this be that the Chinese society, at least its part, have become degenerate and indifferent to the extent that they have no respect for human life? Is this the price to be paid for rapid economic growth and industrialization which may have dehumanized social relations as they often do.
Does human life, the life of a small child, hold no value?
Such cold-blooded cruelties should be punished immediately as they have a very adverse impact on any society because they negate the meaning of life as the most important value on which human life itself is based. That is why incidents like this along with instances of genocide, mass murder of innocent victims, and of cruelty are so threatening and strike at the very foundation of our lives. They do so because they deprive us of the meaning of life without which there can be no faith and hope.
Viewers from Poland
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CNN is joining the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on the horrors of modern-day slavery, amplifying the voices of the victims, highlighting success stories and helping unravel the complicated tangle of criminal enterprises trading in human life. WHY WE'RE DOING THIS | MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT