Monday, May 31, 2010

How Serious is Child Pornography in the United States?

Feds Bust Largest Child Porn Ring Ever

Yesterday, U.S. federal agents broke open what is being called the largest and one of the most complex international child pornography rings ever built. Over 1000 people traded over 1 million sexual images of children through a social networking website for pedophiles. It's a huge victory for the feds and the thousands of children who were being constantly exploited in those images, but it's also an indication of just how serious the problem of child pornography is.



Pornland, Oregon: Child Prostitution in Portland

Child prostitution has become a national problem in this country. Yes, I know that you have trouble believing that. You don't want to believe it, so you tend not to.

"Widespread sex trafficking in children?", you may be saying to yourself. "Sure, it happens overseas in places like Thailand and Moldova, and while there may be some of it here there's not that much of it in our country."

Based on a months long investigation and some reportorial digging, I'm here to tell you that you are wrong. We all are. We're in denial.

In covering news for more than 60 years, I'd like to think that few stories shock me anymore. But this is one of them. We ran across it late last year and the more we dug, the more disturbing it became.

Eighty-year-old men paying a premium to violate teenage girls, sometimes supplied by former drug gangs now into child sex trafficking big time? You've got to be kidding. Nope. That's happening and a lot more along the same lines.

The business is booming. One of the worst areas for it runs along lines running roughly from Seattle to Portland, to San Francisco and Los Angeles, to Las Vegas. But no place in the country is immune.


Russia Cuts Human Trafficking Support Centers to Only 2 for the Whole Country!


Dear Russia, Please Don't Cut Support for Trafficking Victims

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Inspiring Abolitionist Quotes

Not all of these quotes are specifically directed towards the abolition of slavery, but they have inspired me in the abolitionist cause. If you have any other great quotes, please share them in the comments section below.

Thank You,

United States Declaration of Independence
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. "

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
(1929 - 1968) Doctor, Reverend, Civil Rights Leader

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."

Frederick Douglas
(1818 - 1895) Former Slave, Abolitionist Leader

"They would not call it slavery, but some other name. Slavery has been fruitful in giving herself names ... and it will call itself by yet another name; and you and I and all of us had better wait and see what new form this old monster will assume, in what new skin this old snake will come forth."

"No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck."

"Money is the measure of morality, and the success or failure of slavery as a money-making system, determines with many should be maintained or abolished."

Abraham Lincoln
(1809 - 1865) 16th President of the United States

"Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally."

"And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons. "

Margaret Mead
(1971 -1978) Author, Anthropologist

" Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

William Wilberforce
(1759 - 1833) British Politician, Abolitionist

“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.”

“So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the Trade's wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for Abolition. Let the consequences be what they would, I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition.”

Booker T. Washington
(1856 - 1915) Emancipated Slave, Education Reformer

"If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else."

"I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him."

"There are two ways of exerting one's strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up. "

Jimi Hendrix
(1942 - 1970) Musician, Poet

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."

Mary Angelou
(1928 - ) Poet, Author, Civil Rights Activist

"History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again."

Jonathan Blanchard
(1811 - 1892) Pastor, Educator, Abolitionist

The slave-holder's rule contradicts this fundamental truth of God's word, that "God has made of one blood all the nations of emn," and if of one blood, they are of equal blood."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1803 -1882) Author, Poet, Philosopher

"When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers."

John Wesley
(1703-1791) Pastor, Abolitionist

"Let me do all the good I can, to all the people I can, as often as I can, for I shall not pass this way again."

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." - Proverbs 31:8-9

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners." -Isaiah 61:1

“[Christ] inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.” - 2 Nephi 26:33

Monday, May 24, 2010

Join the NEW Underground Railroad!

The website has put together a great new resource for you to join the new Underground Railroad. You can easily connect with local groups and organizations to volunteer your time and talents in the fight against modern slavery.

When you join the Underground Railroad, you will become part of a larger group of abolitionists on an interactive global map. From here you can contact local groups and register your skills and talents for groups to call upon. For example, if you're a graphic designer or a lawyer, abolitionist groups can search the Underground Railroad, find you and request your help.

Join the new Underground Railroad and let's start connecting with one another to help make a greater impact in the fight against modern slavery.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Woo-hoo! We reached 12,000 followers on Twitter!

Go team go! We reached 12K followers on Twitter today. Thanks to everyone for following our tweets and for your help in fighting modern slavery.

Slowly but surely we are reaching new people and creating new abolitionists who bring their own special skillsets and who are making a difference in their spheres of influence. (I think that was a run-on sentence, but I'm okay with it.)
Seriously, everyday I hear from new Twitter followers who want to make a difference. Just like me, they did not realize how prevalent slavery is in the world today until someone told them. Now they're taking action and joining the movement.

Don't forget, you can also "like" me on Facebook. I recently started a Facebook page and I only have 66 "likes" so far. Please help spread the word about the AbolitionistJB Facebook page.

Thanks again for your support in the abolitionist movement.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Vegas - A Hotspot for Sex Trafficking

Not everything that happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas, especially when it comes to sex trafficking.

Below is one of the first videos I watched as I started to research modern slavery. It's a compilation of news reports about trafficking in Las Vegas. After watching the video, I learned that child slavery and sex trafficking exist in the United States. This led me to learn more about groups such as Shared Hope International, Gems Girls, Not For Sale, Truckers Against Trafficking, Generate Hope and many others.

Some facts about trafficking in the United States.
  1. Within 48 hours of running away, a child will be contacted by a human trafficker.
  2. In the United States, the average age for girls to enter into prostitution is 12-14 years old.
  3. It's estimated that 14,000 - 17,000+ people are trafficked into the United States each year. That's appx. 1,250 people/month or 41 people/day.
  4. There are over 300,000 slaves in the United Sates today. That's the equivalent of...
  • The total stadium attendance for 10 Major League Baseball games.
  • The number of people attending Disneyland over 9 days.
  • The population of New Orleans, LA.
  • The total number of children attending 500 elementary schools in the USA.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Stemming European Sex Trafficking from Moldova

I just finished reading Not For Sale by David Batstone. He touches on the different aspects of modern slavery from around the world and shares stories from trafficking survivors and those fighting to save/protect them.

One of the chapters focuses on the sex trade in Europe and a courageous hero, Padre Cesare, who runs the Regina Pacis Centers.

Now when I say courageous, I mean it. Padre Cesare has stood toe to toe against the Mafiosi (Russian mob), despite their very real threats against his life and work to undermine human trafficking in Europe. Of this he says, "There's nothing these men can do to me that could compare to the suffering that trafficked girls undergo."

Padre Cesare now resides in Moldova, a hot spot for human trafficking. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, unemployment and poverty have created the perfect atmosphere for the Mafiosi taffickers to target young girls and boys. The news report below discusses what is being done to help stem trafficking in Moldova.

In closing, I want to share another quote from Padre Cesare, found in Not For Sale.

"I am praying for a new generation of abolitionists who will open up their hearts. Traffickers get away with murder because good people won't answer the calls of the young women crying out for help."

Thank you,

Not for Sale is a great book every abolitionist should read. See if your local library has it available, or buy it on Amazon. After you are done with it, donate the book to your library for others to read.

Somali Child Soldiers

Somali militants increasing use of child soldiers

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Sharif says he was 10 when his religious teacher led his class into a poor neighborhood of Somalia's capital to pray for a sick relative. Suddenly Islamist fighters jumped from the shadows and ordered the children onto buses, the beginning of a terrifying two years as a child soldier.

The class was taken to a training base in the south of the anarchic country, Sharif says, where Somali and foreign instructors showed them how to use weapons and set ambushes. The boy says before battle he was sometimes given drugs that made him feel like he could "pick up a tank and throw it aside like a telephone."

The recruitment of child fighters in Somalia is on the rise, both by the government and particularly by the country's most powerful Islamist militia, al-Shabab, whose name means "the youth." Al-Shabab's recruitment of children may partly stem from a lack of willing adults, who have been alienated by Islamist attacks on traditional Sufi saints and bans on everything from chewing qat, a mildly narcotic leaf, to school bells and music.

"Better informed, smarter, older people are saying they don't want to join" al-Shabab, said E.J. Hogendoorn, a Nairobi-based analyst at the International Crisis Group. "The sad reality with modern infantry weapons is that all you really need is a kid to operate them."

UNICEF, the section of the U.N. dealing with children's rights, said children as young as 9 are being targeted and often taken through force or deception, said Denise Shepherd-Johnson, a Nairobi-based spokeswoman, citing information received from monitors in Somalia.

"Children are being systematically recruited and used in ever larger numbers for military and related purposes by all of the major combatant groups," she said. "The number of bases and camps used to train these children is commensurately widespread and appears to be growing." READ THE FULL STORY...

Associated Press Writers Mohamed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu, Somalia and Malkhadir M. Muhumed in Nairobi, Kenya contributed to this report.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Amazing Hero Fighting Child Sex Slavery in Nepal

I came across this story on CNN. Very touching and moving. Anuradha Koirala is an amazing woman and at age 61 she shows no signs of slowing down in her fight to free, protect, and provide treatment and empowerment for these girls. You can read and watch her story below.

Kathmandu, Nepal (CNN) -- Geeta was 9 when she began wearing makeup, staying up until 2 a.m. and having sex with as many as 60 men a day.

"I used to be really sad and frustrated with what was happening in my life," she said.

The daughter of Nepalese peasant farmers, Geeta -- now 26 -- had been sold to a brothel in India by a member of her extended family. The family member had duped Geeta's visually impaired mother into believing her daughter would get work at a clothing company in Nepal.

"The brothel where I was ... there [were] many customers coming in every day. The owner used to verbally abuse us, and if we didn't comply, [she] would start beating us with wires, rods and hot spoons."

It was not until Geeta was 14 that a police officer rescued her and brought her to a safe house compound run by Anuradha Koirala. The 61-year-old woman and her group, Maiti Nepal, have been fighting for more than 16 years to rescue and rehabilitate thousands of Nepal's sex trafficking victims.

"Families are tricked all the time," said Koirala. "The trafficking of the girls is done by people who are basically known to the girls, who can lure them from the village by telling them they are getting a nice job. It's a lucrative business." READ FULL STORY...