Archive for October, 2010

Dying from diareeah, a desperate epidemic

Can you imagine dying of thirst? Actually not being able to consume clean drinking water? How about living in a community where there is a fatal epidemic of diareeah?

After reading this NYTimes article on how there is a paluge of Cholera really paints a picture of how serious the poverty is. It would be a huge deal if someone were to die in the U.S. because a simple case of diareeah.

I often wonder how it is at all possible to for the world to pay attention to crises like this. Perhaps it is impossible for everyone to notice but it’s situations such at this that allows me to connect with the suffering. Thinking of simple ilnesses we suffer from like a bacterial infection and how easy we have it to schedule an appointment with a doctor, visit the emergency room or at least buy over-the-counter medience.

These kinds of happenings should not be ignored. No one is asking for a big donation, but rather for people to become knowledgable about what is happening outside of our borders. In Haiti especially, just a 2-hour plane ride from Miami.

Please read the following NYTimes post and imagine the severity of their crisis. The drama of the earthquake may have fizzled in the media, but it is still happening and has made very little progress. Keep these people in your prayers and in your thoughts.

Next time you’re “thirsty” be thankful for your purified water.

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Amid Cholera Outbreak in Haiti, Fear and Michael Appleton for The New York Times

By DEBORAH SONTAG
Published: October 25, 2010
ST.-MARC, Haiti — Inside the courtyard of St. Nicholas Hospital, beyond the gate with the handwritten sign stating “Diarrhea Emergency Only,” lies a grim but unusually orderly scene at the epicenter of this country’s unexpected cholera epidemic.
Scores of children and adults are doubled over or stretched out on every available surface, racked by convulsive stomach disorder or limp with dehydration. Buckets sit by their sides, intravenous solutions drip into their arms. Life hangs in the balance, yet there is a sober, almost eerie calm.

That is why Martila Joseph stood out. On Monday, tears cascaded down her cheeks as she rocked her pink-smocked daughter, who lay all too still in her arms. “I don’t know if my kid will survive,” she wailed while another patient’s wife shushed her.

“You made it to the hospital,” the patient’s wife said. “That means you have saved her.”

Indeed, treatment is rescuing more than 90 percent of those who get to a clinic, and that is why health officials concentrated Monday on bolstering local hospitals and erecting cholera centers throughout the Artibonite region. This is, for the moment, the area of high infection where the bacteria must be aggressively attacked before it spreads.

“It’s virulent, and it can travel,” said Nigel Fisher, humanitarian coordinator for the United Nations, standing outside a tented cholera ward at the community hospital in L’Estère. “But at least here, we have been able, case by case, to somewhat stabilize the situation.”

International health officials stressed that the pattern of the outbreak was almost impossible to predict. But Monday was a relatively good day: only six cholera deaths were registered in a 24-hour period. More than 200 died of the acute bacterial infection in the epidemic’s first few days. The known death toll stands at 259, with more than 3,000 cases, all but 450 or so in the Artibonite area.

Despite its central role in this epidemic, despite the new banner at the town’s entrance that says “Wash your hands!” St.-Marc is not a ghost town, with residents shuttered in their homes.

Girls in school uniforms, their hair in bows, skip through the streets, and vendors hawk their wares as boisterously as always. At the entrance to St. Nicholas Hospital, an anti-cholera message, set to a festive compas beat — “There’s no life without health and no health without hygiene” — blares discordantly from a loudspeaker.

A gutter with fetid standing water greets visitors to the hospital, who now step on a chlorine-soaked foam pad and rinse their hands to enter. About 600 patients with intense diarrhea and vomiting are being seen at St. Nicholas daily, with Doctors Without Borders Spain helping to manage the caseload at the hospital, jointly run by the Haitian government and Partners in Health, based in Massachusetts.

In every corner of the courtyard and surrounding wards, the patients lie on benches, cots and floors as orderlies squirt chlorinated solutions around their patch of hospital turf. Relatives — one per patient — swat away flies, wipe brows and coax pouches of rehydrating solution into gaping mouths.

Gerda Pierre, fingering a necklace of costume pearls, spoke without affect as she described how her son, Gasner, 4, started retching just after midnight. Gasner sat on a hardwood bench with a wet towel over his head. He smiled wanly.

“Many people in our neighborhood have died of the diarrhea and vomiting,” Ms. Pierre said, glancing briefly to the side as a man stumbled into the courtyard and collapsed. “But I’m not worried. I sped him here as fast as I could.”

Medical professionals and supplies are arriving from around the world to support the Haitian government, still reeling from the January earthquake. About 20 rocky miles north of St.- Marc, a Cuban medical brigade, long stationed at the community hospital in L’Estère, has been expanded to 28 doctors and nurses, and Bolivian troops are building a 100-bed cholera clinic next door.

“Here is an example of a good operation,” said Mr. Fisher of the United Nations. “They’ve seen 400 patients, and there have been 10 deaths.”

Imogen Wall, a spokeswoman accompanying him, said she was rattled to be in a zone relatively untouched by the Jan. 12 earthquake and yet witness suffering “completely unconnected to that disaster. “Can’t this country get a break?” Ms. Wall said.

On a bare metal gurney under a tent, Herese Vanel, 63, lay primly with her purse on her chest and an intravenous line in her bony arm. Her niece, Rosemene Vanel, said her aunt had probably been infected by drinking from the Artibonite River, which is the water supply for their community and is now believed to be contaminated by cholera.

“We stopped doing that as soon as people started dying,” Ms. Vanel said.

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Are you sharing elbow room with a trafficked child?

 

 

U.S. Airways is a playground for human traffickers to trade off and transport their victims.

 

Airlines’ role grows in war on U.S. sex trafficking

By Mickey Goodman

ATLANTA | Thu Oct 7, 2010 10:27pm IST

ATLANTA (Reuters Life!) – Airline passenger Deborah Sigmund noticed something strange about the man and boy who ran up late to catch a US Airways flight last December from Washington to Palm Beach, Florida.

When staff at the gate asked the man for the boy’s name, he had to rifle through papers for an answer. On board, Sigmund quietly asked the boy why he was going to Florida.

“I thought I was going to North Carolina,” he said.

Sigmund said she alerted the aircrew who radioed ahead to authorities about a possible case of child trafficking. Her quick wits helped her spot what authorities later told her was a likely case of a child abducted for use in pornography.

Her intervention is evidence of a growing effort by grass-roots organizations in the hotel and airline industries to back up the work of governments and international law enforcement in fighting human trafficking.

But Sigmund had a head start. As founder of non-profit Innocents at Risk, she had set up a training program to help airline staff and the hospitality industry spot signs of trafficking.

She has worked with Nancy Rivard of Airline Ambassadors International (AAI), a group that has expanded its traditional humanitarian mission to help beat the trafficking scourge.

“We are in a unique position to play a critical role in teaching airline personnel to identify traffickers and report them,” said Rivard, who worked for 30 years for American Airlines and founded the AAI group.

Tell-tale signs to detect possible trafficking are: Does a child have few personal items when they board a plane? Do they avoid eye contact, look paranoid, undernourished or ill-treated, or behave in an unusually submissive manner?

Does the adult with them refuse to let them speak for themselves or roam around the plane freely?

If so, the airline steward could be witnessing a case of child trafficking similar to the one Sigmund saw.

PIMPS AND CLIENTS

Airlines and hotels play a crucial, if unwitting, role in the global human trafficking industry by providing transport and lodging to criminals.

That industry represents $32 billion in value to organized crime and is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world, according to the nonprofit Polaris Project.

In the United States, as many as 300,000 children are trafficked annually and most are used for prostitution and pornography, according to a 2001 University of Pennsylvania study.

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This story makes me rewind and think about all of the people that may or may not have looked suspicious in the airport. It makes me think about the many children I’ve shared an armrest with and knew nothing about. Could it be that will these outrageous numbers that any one of us have witnessed, without knowing, human trafficking taking place?

Had the woman in this story not been enlightened about what trafficking was, that boy would not have been saved. The importance of education is stamped all over this story.

With that said, i think it’s important I make my self more clear. I do not think it is our role as normal U.S. citizens to investigate trafficking. I do not expect any of us to become experts in detecting a trafficked person or a trafficker. However, by just edcuating yourself about what goes on in the world, you are benefiting someone else.

The little things matter in this great big world and by becoming aware, becoming a wiser consumer, and by becoming compassionate for the lives of others-inside and outside of this country-we are making a difference.

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Canada faces ‘uncomfortable truth’ about its slavery issue

Human trafficking: an uncomfortable truth in Canada

Author: Pauline Kosalka

 

A 28-year-old mother of three from St. Catharine’s, Ont., after breaking up with an abusive boyfriend, met a man on Facebook who promised her a rich and comfortable lifestyle if she would work as an escort at Private Genies in Toronto. As the Toronto Sun reported, the mother was inadvertently drawn into the world of sex trafficking with the promise of earning money to support her children. She finally called the police and escaped after the man got angry and decided to take her to a family associated with a biker gang.

Human trafficking, the use or trade of humans for forced labour or prostitution, is a disheartening concern in Canada. The United States State Department estimates that 800 people are trafficked to Canada per year and 1,500 to 2,200 are smuggled through the country on the way to the U.S. In its April 2009 report, Human Trafficking: A Report on Modern Day Slavery in Canada, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada noted that human trafficking is the second most profitable crime in the world after the international drug trade. It is often linked to the sexual exploitation of women and children. The USSD further stated that “the 2006 UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children report to the UN concluded that prostitution was inextricably linked with human trafficking and to support prostitution is to inevitably support the trafficking of women and children.”

Lately, Canada has started to take a tougher stance against trafficking. Bill C-268, a private members bill introduced by Conservative MP Joy Smith (Kildonan-St. Paul), received royal assent on June 29, instating a minimum five-year sentence for trafficking minors in Canada. The previous human trafficking law, passed approximately five years ago, imposes a maximum sentence of 14 years for traffickers. Because there were no mandatory minimums, traffickers were handed lenient sentences. An example is Michael Lennox Mark, who was jailed for one week for trafficking a 17-year-old girl and procuring three others as prostitutes because his year of pre-custody time was counted as double. “We had hoped that when courts began sentencing child traffickers, they would recognize that as a very serious factor, but that has turned out not to be the case,” said Benjamin Perrin, a trafficking expert who helped draft Bill C-268, to the Toronto Sun.

|For full story on trafficking in Canada visit http://ht.ly/2OEju|

The story of this young woman is similar to the millions of women around the world that are taken advantage of in a vulnerable state of mind. I often discuss this issue with my girlfriends and they ask understandable questions like, “why would they meet someone on the internet and actually trust them?” or “why didn’t police know this was happening?”

The answer I usually respond with is that in most places in the world women face many pyschological affects that cause them to fall into traps such as this one. With a track record of untrustworthy men in their life, they are weary of men, however they are often hypnotized by men who promise them a better life.

In addition, when women are in families where they are the provider they have added pressure to do something to live a better life. I imagine these women have no other choices that can help them put food on the table. I imagine I would do anything to care for my family and if I was vulnerable and beaten down from a history of pyscological and physical abuse, I can imagine I would accept the offer this woman did.

The trafficking problem around the world is a shady, manipulative business that is a huge global issue. Many government or law enforcement officials in other parts of the world are equally as vulnerable and if they are paid to keep quiet, they will do just that in some cases. As far as this woman’s experience being sex trafficked in the U.S., she was lucky that she had an opportunityto speak with a police officer who lives in a country based on freedoms. Had she went a police officer in Indonesia, the officer may not have helped her.

This leads me to my concluding statement that, in this country, we are the lucky ones. By God’s own will we are American citizens with more freedoms than we even know we have. In my opinion, it is our duty as free young people to speak out against this horrific reality of slavery. If we continue to live our lucky lives and close our eyes to those whose freedoms are robbed from them, then what is our purpose? Why, after all, did God choose US to be the lucky ones? My best quess is because we need to make a difference.

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What can you do about human trafficking? Lots!

Herhseys chocolate earns a D+ on free2work.org because "Hershey is one of the largest chocolate companies in the US and it has not agreed to institute any certification programs to ensure that these labor rights abuses do not occur in the production of the cocoa it uses."

We are only one person in this world of complete chaos that includes slavery. Don’t feel overwhlemed. First things first: shop smart!

By paying attention to what you purchase such as groceries, clothes and electronics, you can actually make a difference.

A new website, still updating itself but a great tool to becoming a wise consumer, is http://free2work.org/

On this website you can filter what it is you’re shopping for. Let’s say you want a new pair of sneakers. You want to find the brand that you know does NOT use child labor or forced labor when making the product. The website will rate the product on a grade scale from A to F. A+ means the product does not use any kind of forced labor to make. F- then means the product is something you should absolutely boycott for the sake of its laborers. Anything in between rates how much forced labor is used.

You can use this site before purchasing chocolate, digital cameras, and clothes for starters. If the item or brand you’re looking for isn’t on the website, you can actually request through the website by clicking “sending feedback” to have that specific brand investigated. Through your requests the website will become richer in information about how you as a consumer can help stop human trafficking.

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Pushing and pulling people into slavery

To clarify in simple terms how international problems of abusive labor laws and sexual exploitation affects the U.S., it is a matter of push and pull factors.

For example, people are pushed out of their countries because of horrible working and living conditions. Governments in other poor places of the world do not monitor the working conditions. Workers (both men and women) who run a household and work overtime in bad conditions for tiny incomes and no benefits do not have their voices heard. They cannot protest for a higher wage in fear they will lose any income at all. This causes them to want to leave for the simple sake of surviving

The pull factor comes into play when a vulnerable man or woman is offered the chance to migrate. They may choose to migrate on their own because they are desperate for income to feed their families, or because a scam artist or trafficker may swindle them into migrating with them to another country that looks like a promising future.

However, they are falsely promised jobs, which in most cases are scams of slavery.

These vulnerable people end up migrating or even traveling with people who claim they have jobs waiting for them in another part of the world, sometimes the U.S.

It is when they get to their new “home” that they realize they will not be working or living where they were promised, instead they will be salves of traffickers who need their labor; be it craftsmenship or sex.

As an American of many freedoms and a college student with an education, I see my role in avocating this issue to be vital. I encourage any other person who is educated enough to understand the depths and realities of millions and millions of people’s story of slavery. In addition to understanding and feeling for these people, we must spread the word.

What is our knowledge of this matter if we don’t push the people in charge (senators, governent officials) to do something about it?

Want to see how push and pull factors lead human trafficking to exist in your backyard? See what’s happening now in New Jersey.

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Defining slavery in the modern day world

The King of Prussia Mall located in King of Prussia, Pa., is the largest mall on the east coast. Moreover, it is a destination spot for human traffickers as a trading post to generate more international slaves.

Human Trafficking is a term that fascinates many people and is an interesting enough topic to become educated in. The problem is, not enough people are acting on the matter.

Human Trafficking to many is known for its one sector that is sexual exploitation. According to oathcoalition.org, sex trafficking is specifically defined as, “The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act is under 18 years of age.”

Sexual exploitation usually targets women, more so young girls. Victims are typically younger between the ages of 13-17 years old. Think of it as the younger you are, the more vulnerable you are. It is much easier to sway a child into a trap of forced labor and sex versus an adult who knows right from wrong.

One may suggest that prostitution is more commonly known as a voluntary act of women who may be desperate for money. In most cases, nationally and internationally, this is incorrect. Although it may be true a victim to trafficking may have purposefully got involved in trafficking due to vulnerability because of financial problems, she is still a victim. In the U.S. in particular, it is under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act that women cannot be prosecuted for commercial stripping. HT is happening everywhere, including your own backyard. King of Prussia Mall, 5 miles from Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa., is home to the largest trafficking trading post on the east coast in the U.S. Scary, huh?

Although one may be thinking, we need to end HT here in the U.S., right here in our backyard for our own sake of safety, it is the root causes outside of our borders that need attention FIRST.

But why should we be mediating the international issue, you ask? If we want to keep trafficking out of our home, we must fix the problem that is in other areas of the world so they do not spread the crime to the U.S.

We really are not incapable of ending the largest slavery movement in the history of our world. Keep reading for you chance to take notice of a horrific epidemic of coercion and exploitation.

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