SUPERBOWL brings SEX…trafficking

super bowl

This is the face of Game Day…and the months and weeks that run up to it….For militant football fans it’s frenzy; if you’re in food service it’s bigger than new years’.  Gamblers’ adrenaline has been pumping for a month.

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I can imagine that for a lot of you “The Plan” for “The Day” is already at least sketched out.  Me?  I’ve got my name in some boxes in the local pool at a dollar a box.  So much for gambling…

There’s another face to the Superbowl, though, that needs to be told.  It’s the underside that gets hidden in the hype; but it’s a real as the coin toss.  And the headlines go something like this:

SUPERBOWL ARE “MAGNETS” FOR HUMAN SEX TRAFFICKERS

“Last year, while the two teams battled it out on the field, a young trafficked girl prayed for her life while sold for sex. These are women and children who have been taken as sex slaves, becoming sought-after entertainment on Super Bowl weekend.”

 

SUPER BOWL PROSTITUTION: NEW JERSEY BRACES FOR 2014 SUPER BOWL SEX TRAFFICKING

The Super Bowl is a huge, huge arena for sex trafficking,” ( Danielle) Douglas said. Some visitors “are coming to the Super Bowl not even to watch football — they are coming to the Super Bowl to have sex with women, and/or men or children.”

According to EqualityNow.org Trafficking women and children for sexual exploitation is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world.

This, despite the fact international law and the laws of 128 countries criminalize sex trafficking.

  • At least 12.3 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual servitude, forced labor and bonded labor.
  • About 2 million children are exploited every year in the global commercial sex trade.
  •  8 in 10 identified trafficking survivors were trafficked for sexual exploitation.
  • Women and girls make up 98% of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

untitledWhy am I telling you this?  Maybe because you know that sometimes things aren’t always what they seem.  Maybe because you need to know that almost anything can have dollar signs for people with no ethical principles.  Maybe because in the eyes of these folks, the women, children and men who are targeted have ceased to be human and have become “product”.  Maybe because it is going on.  Now.  Here.  And now that you’ve read this, you know and can’t un-know.    Just be aware.   Because if you are, you’ll grow in your capacity to recognize “man’s inhumanity to man” where it exists, and maybe if and when you encounter it, you’ll know what to do.

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Tis The Season

We’re coming up on THAT TIME again ~ when the stars align to create the most stress possible:  the end of the semester and the prospect of spending the next five weeks with family.  You’re all too aware of the crush of finals to be studied for, papers and projects to be wrapped up…or for some, started…. Hardly anyone views the next three weeks as a slam dunk, and so it’s certainly not necessary to  pretend that you’re not feeling pressure and anxiety. All-nighters are a fact of life, and for some become an Olympic sport.  How you’re feeling and coping through these days is a lot of what you talk about.stress

The other stressor, though, may not be so public.  Going home is not easy.  For many of you the homecoming itself is usually fairly joyous, even though it may only have been a few weeks since they saw you last.  This time it’s festive and probably stands in great contrast to the grueling weeks you’ve just put in.   There are some things you didn’t count on, though.  You’re different.  In September you step out of an environment that has shaped you for a lot of years, and another environment and set of people take over.  You can’t not change.  And while you ask to be treated as the person you have become, you can’t help sneaking glances for a familiar sense of safety and security that comes with being a kid.  And that where the struggle can be both within you and on the outside.

Not all of you, though, are eager to go home.  For some of you it’s not a safe place.  It’s where tension and conflict come to the dinner table and where arguing is heard late into the night.  And the hardest part of it is that you’re expected to ignore it and even make believe that you are not seeing what you see or hearing what you hear.  It takes a while to admit that the safety and comfort you want and need aren’t there anymore or maybe never were to begin with.   You cannot not change either.  You are dying for your new maturity to be noticed and while your experience has told you not to expect it, you don’t lose hope easily.

I think both scenarios hold important invitations. Be aware of the person, you, who shows up. Decide how much of you is the version of yourself you want to be.  Maybe you haven’t thought about it before, but the truth is you get the choose.  There’s an expression in Alcoholics Anonymous that suggests that people have the capacity to “Fake it ‘til you make it.”  Figure out who and what you need to become a new and improved version.  This is not about asking other people to be different, though you’d love to;   it’s about being mindful of the choices you have every day and taking ownership of the ones you make.  And for heaven’s sake, don’t be afraid to ask for help.   “The devil made me do it!” or being at the mercy of forces beyond your control just don’t work.

So, whether the next five weeks fly by or crawl along, you have a lot more management options over the time you have, the words you speak, the actions you take.  Live wisely!  And blessings to you all this season.

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WE’RE ALL CONNECTED!!!

  Who paid for that cup of coffee you had for breakfast?

You did, you tell me, and probably more than you wanted to.  And you did, but the reality is that unless the bag or the box the coffee comes in has an imprint that it is “Fair Trade coffee,  some farmer and his family working a small piece of land in rural Central or South America chipped in.

A fair trade stamp means that the grower belongs to a co-op that guarantees him a minimum price for his crop. This translates to decent living conditions, education, and health care for his family.  The 24₵ a lb. that he might get paid in the unregulated market just doesn’t cut it.  Click on stamp for more info.fair trade logo

Fair trade shopping can be inconvenient. Few stores carry a fair trade line (Trader Joes’ does!), and it’s never the cheapest.  In fact it turns ‘bargain price” on its head…someone is paying the price for my discount, and I’m pretty sure it’s not somebody at corporate headquarters.  I may have to pay a little more, but spread out over a month of cups of coffee it’s probably the dollar equivalent of a couple of Dunkin’ Donuts lattes.

The thing is that while I am enjoying my coffee there are real live people way at the other end of the production line – an anonymous farmer, his kids, the folks at the fair trade co-op who pack it for shipment.  They don’t know me, and I don’t know them, but through the cup of coffee in my hand and what it costs us both, we are really, truly linked.Fairtrade4

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