Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lessons from "Half the Sky"

Finished "Half the Sky" in three days! It has changed me in a lot of ways...

1. With all the wonderful stories of women and girls overcoming the hardest odds, I am inspired by their amazing courageous spirits and I myself, will not give up without a fight.

2. Some initiatives and projects, even with very good intentions and success elsewhere, will not be effective due to local culture. So, I suggest we study the African village first before we think of some lofty idea about teaching them about women's rights.

3. That even young schoolgirls can make a huge difference in the world. Encourage them to think of ideas and support them as they implement them to make them successful. Let them create clubs, fundraisers, campaigns...

4. That the United Nations, other multilateral organizations, and national government aid agencies must evaluate their strategies because some of them are proving ineffective, but a waste of money and effort.

I learned so many other things too but these are the major points I got out of the book. Thanks to Nicholas D. Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn for writing this awe-inspiring, very educating book!!! I highly recommend that you read it also....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

World's AIDS Awareness Day

It's World's AIDS Awareness Day! But what is AIDS... AIDS stand for acquired immune deficiency syndrome caused by a virus that destroys the actual system in the human body that fights viruses and bacteria that are harmful to us. The virus is called human immunodeficiency virus or in short HIV. It is not easily caught like the common cold virus but without the necessary safety precautions, you can get infected too. Not too worry, there have been many cases where people actually become HIV free after several years but there are still many suffering and dying from the disease. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Here are some things you can do:
1. Educate yourself and teach others in your family, in your neighborhood, in your community...
2. Donate to AIDS/HIV research
3. Campaign to raise awareness and in increasing prevention practices
4. PRAY!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Human Exploitation: A Personal Perspective

I can see how people can easily exploit other human beings. For almost nine years, I worked as a bank teller. Today, I work in food service. Both are customer service jobs. Here in the United States, people are so impatient. They want things in an instant. They think as soon as you order something it will be immediately in front of them.

Unfortunately, it is still a dog-eat-dog world. I don’t know why some people do not believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution when all the scientific evidence validate his theory. SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST! Inside each of us are still inherent animal instincts that we grow to learn to control somewhat. But if these animal instincts are manipulated by dogmatic ideologies, they literally become “weapons of mass destruction.”

Racism coupled with perverted animal instincts has led to the murder of millions. The Holocaust is the most famous case of genocide but we have very current grim examples. All over the modern African continent, tribal militias are systematically murdering the population and morally destabilizing the psyche of other tribes thought to be inferior.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was rooted in the European imperialistic pride that the Caucasian race (the white race) is the most superior human race in the world. It is horrible to think that this was actually condoned by the western European colonial powers. Americans believe slavery the end of the US Civil War. But this is not the reality…

The United Nations (UN) has termed it as “trafficking in persons” but it is more known as “human trafficking,” which is defined as “…recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other form 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 payment or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over on another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”

Like squirrels and ants, humans have a natural tendency to hoard. Human beings believe that having more material thins lead to invulnerability and even to immortality. Many great ancient cultures of the world entomb precious jewelry and other useful things along with their royal dead in their belief of an after-life. And the growing buying power of many developing countries are contributing to that belief…

As national economies develop, a huge door of opportunity to amass more breaks wide open for those who already have great material wealth and for those who wield great political power. The saying “The rich become richer and richer; the poor gets poorer and poorer” is becoming more prevalently true as the 21st Century unfolds. There is not one simple answer to what is causing the ever-growing economic divide of the haves and have-nots. Nor is there a quick, easy solution to the worsening poverty around the world.

What I am presenting in this paper is only a small part of the problem: human trafficking, exploitation of people with no direct benefit to the exploited. People do not have to cross national borders to be trafficked. In cities around the United States, American girls are verbally, psychologically and physically abused into sexual slavery. Many young children—sometimes even as young as three—are made to work long, unendurable hours in dangerous mines harvesting diamonds, precious metals and other raw commodities from the earth.

And lately especially in China, many unsuspecting victims unfortunately succumb to having one or several of their vital organs stolen from them to be sold into the black market. The weak and the powerless become mere commodities to be used by those with more power, and unfortunately who also have no compassion for the suffering of others.

Quite frequently, they are treated worse than animals. These human trafficking victims are made to work in dangerous, unsanitary conditions. Their living quarters are cramped or sometimes they don’t even have a bed to sleep in. Food ration from the exploiter or trafficker are sometimes scarce. With a lot of sex trafficking victims, they are rewarded with only one small meal a day. Their health is of no concern. If they get sick or injured, a lot of the exploited are left to die in some dark corner or at some remote, isolated area.

Supply and demand! In human trafficking, as long as there is a demand for it, the supply will always be there. I am not trying to be a moral expert here. But I pose these questions: Should we, human beings, allow these atrocities be brought upon our brothers and sisters? What makes you think that it does not impact you? What makes you believe that you do not contribute to the supply-demand chain of modern-day slavery?

As food prices inflate around the world, cheap labor is in huge demand. It is not just about more farm hands. The whole global labor market will also feel the effects of rapidly increasing food prices. Not just in decreasing buying power but also in an increase of free labor, not volunteer labor but forced labor.

As I stated in the beginning of this essay, human beings have retained the essence of their animal ancestors. Our need for nourishment and shelter is hyped up by modern civilization. Actions of avarice are becoming more accepted by society, even considered essential for survival. Hence, we will use any means to fulfill our selfish needs. I heard of mothers prostituting their daughters to fund their drug addictions and this happens in the United States…

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Economy, Organized Crime & Money Laundering

In the midst of the global financial crisis, has anybody, economists, policy makers or politicians, ever consider that the underground financial market (organized crime--i.e. illegal arms trade, drug & human trafficking) may play a huge role in the mess that the world is in? Is it possible that our "willful blindness" is leading us to a wrong perception of the situation? Maybe the solution is IN exposing all these evils we do not want to show our innocent children... The greed of Wall Street is nothing compared to the brutal abuse and exploitation of helpless children by merciless, sadistic adults. Billions and billions of US dollars are being exchanged through the trade of human flesh and the persons being traded see not even a single penny of it. Instead, they are threatened with more abuse and death, not just their own but their families too--who may or may not have an idea of their horrible circumstances.

What I am saying is true! This is not fiction. It is happening all around the globe even in Washington DC, the capital of the mighty United States of America. It is happening right underneath our lawmakers', our judges' and even our president's noses... Even underneath most law enforcers' noses because they do not have adequate training on human trafficking (or trafficking in persons, as the US Department of State has termed it). And what is worst, the profit from the exploitation of these helpless and voiceless persons are being funneled through the world's financial systems...

Bankers may recognize the common red flags of money laundering (i.e. sequential money orders, questionable large transactions especially cash deposits under $10,000--to avoid the federally mandated Currency Transaction Report) but what about the discrepancy between account addresses and the locations of frequent deposits (as I have encountered in my banking career). This is just an example of what I have seen as a banker and there is so much more strategies that these criminals hide under the guise of clean (and so-called legitimate) business.

What I am suggesting here is maybe we should get bankers better trained on how to detect human trafficking through supposedly routine financial transactions... As bankers, you do not have to do anything but report it to authorities who have the legal right and proper means to catch these crooks and stop them from doing more inhumane evil. I speak from experience though I never did see the end results of my diligent reporting of these transactions in my nine years of banking. But I believe it had led to some substantial investigations into this illegal, evil trade...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

US National Sex Offender Registry and Website Development Law

(a) DUTY TO DEVELOP AND SUPPORT.—The Attorney General
shall, in consultation with the jurisdictions, develop and support
software to enable jurisdictions to establish and operate uniform
sex offender registries and Internet sites.
(b) CRITERIA.—The software should facilitate—
(1) immediate exchange of information among jurisdictions;
(2) public access over the Internet to appropriate information,
including the number of registered sex offenders in each
jurisdiction on a current basis;
(3) full compliance with the requirements of this title;
(4) communication of information to community notification
program participants as required under section 121.
(c) DEADLINE.—The Attorney General shall make the first complete
edition of this software available to jurisdictions within 2
years of the date of the enactment of this Act.
(a) DEADLINE.—Each jurisdiction shall implement this title
before the later of—
(1) 3 years after the date of the enactment of this Act;
(2) 1 year after the date on which the software described
in section 123 is available.
(b) EXTENSIONS.—The Attorney General may authorize up to
two 1-year extensions of the deadline.
(a) IN GENERAL.—For any fiscal year after the end of the
period for implementation, a jurisdiction that fails, as determined
by the Attorney General, to substantially implement this title shall
not receive 10 percent of the funds that would otherwise be allocated
for that fiscal year to the jurisdiction under subpart 1 of part
E of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act
of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3750 et seq.).
(1) IN GENERAL.—When evaluating whether a jurisdiction
has substantially implemented this title, the Attorney General
shall consider whether the jurisdiction is unable to substantially
implement this title because of a demonstrated inability to
implement certain provisions that would place the jurisdiction
in violation of its constitution, as determined by a ruling of
the jurisdiction’s highest court.
(2) EFFORTS.—If the circumstances arise under paragraph
(1), then the Attorney General and the jurisdiction shall make
good faith efforts to accomplish substantial implementation
of this title and to reconcile any conflicts between this title
and the jurisdiction’s constitution. In considering whether
compliance with the requirements of this title would likely
violate the jurisdiction’s constitution or an interpretation
thereof by the jurisdiction’s highest court, the Attorney General
H. R. 4472—13
shall consult with the chief executive and chief legal officer
of the jurisdiction concerning the jurisdiction’s interpretation
of the jurisdiction’s constitution and rulings thereon by the
jurisdiction’s highest court.
(3) ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURES.—If the jurisdiction is unable
to substantially implement this title because of a limitation
imposed by the jurisdiction’s constitution, the Attorney General
may determine that the jurisdiction is in compliance with this
Act if the jurisdiction has made, or is in the process of implementing
reasonable alternative procedures or accommodations,
which are consistent with the purposes of this Act.
(4) FUNDING REDUCTION.—If a jurisdiction does not comply
with paragraph (3), then the jurisdiction shall be subject to
a funding reduction as specified in subsection (a).
(c) REALLOCATION.—Amounts not allocated under a program
referred to in this section to a jurisdiction for failure to substantially
implement this title shall be reallocated under that program to
jurisdictions that have not failed to substantially implement this
title or may be reallocated to a jurisdiction from which they were
withheld to be used solely for the purpose of implementing this
(d) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—The provisions of this title that
are cast as directions to jurisdictions or their officials constitute,
in relation to States, only conditions required to avoid the reduction
of Federal funding under this section.

--Excerpt "Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006" H.R. 4472

Monday, April 11, 2011


Source: DC Human Trafficking Task Force

Business Operating Under the Guise of a Massage Establishment
* Small business, primarily in busy business districts; cameras commonly outside of the business.
* There is a lack of easy access to the business establishment. Typically have to be buzzed in through a special door after customer is observed through a camera. Attempt to be inconspicuous within the building.
* Generally have very simplistic names like Happy Spa, Young's Spa, etc.
* Hours of operation are untraditional for most legitimate business establishments (ex.-10:00 AM to 2:00 AM)
* Most of the business advertisement is on adult websites.
* Business advertises "hot" women as masseuses who will ensure that you are satisfied in advertisements.
* The business will only service men.
* There is usually no legitimate business phone--most business is conducted via cell phones and unable to find it in a legitimate yellow pages search.
* The women who work at the massage parlor are usually young and scantily clad and customers are always escorted by another person.
* Have saunas, tubs and/or inoperable and very limited exercise equipment or massage beds.

Brothel Operating Out of a Private Residence
* Extremely transient movement in and out of a particular unit.
* High traffic of scores of different men going into and out of the designated unit/property.
* Apartment within a multi-family dwelling and occasionally a row home.
* Someone typically guarding the front door entrance.
* Refusal to serve certain ethnic populations.
* Large number of women being transported to and from the property.
* The "residents" do not appear to be familiar with the neighborhood or surrounding area.
* Women who are young or appear to be ypung "residing" at the home or regularly frequenting the home.

HOTLINE: If you suspect an illegal house of prostitution or human trafficking, please call 1-888-3737-888. Best measure is to keep your eyes open for something that just does not feel right.