Hello my Lovelies,
Last night here in Vegas at a barbeque dinner by the pool, an Army Colonel who has served two tours in Afghanistan encouraged me to keep educating people about human trafficking. He said people don’t know enough, that it’s real. I agree—and he and I talked about how people think human trafficking concerns only prostitution and drug addiction.
This was after others at the table asked what I write about, and their ears had perked up when I mentioned human trafficking. So right there and then I gave my Human Trafficking PSA (Public Service Announcement) that human trafficking is all around us, and it is in seemingly remote Minnesota (because of highway access), and Super Bowls. It concerns Chinese babies being stolen for adoption. It is the face of the cute children from whom I’ve bought gum on beach vacations, who might have been beaten if they didn’t meet that day’s quota.
I continued discussing with the Colonel, and when I mentioned women being enslaved, locked up in houses for forced labor, as well as prostitution and addiction, he told me of discovering such places during his service (I’m not sure if he meant Afghanistan, as he’s served widely). He called them “stash houses,” and he gently mentioned they found dead bodies that had been marked. He didn’t explain the marks, but I have a pretty good imagination.
I told those at the table that there are certainly stash houses in Las Vegas, and every man at the table, “Oh sure,” and they commented on organized crime. You know, I talk about these things to people whenever I can and sometimes their eyes glaze over, but overall I’ve found people want to know more, and are surprised when I start rattling off the details of how widespread human trafficking is.
A while back, I met a guy (it’d be too kind to call him a “man”) who said he was considering investing in a strip club in Belize. I told him I’ve been to Belize, so he wanted to know if I thought it’d be a good investment. The deal he was considering is with another guy who wants to offer Guatemalan women employment in this new strip club in Belize.
Well, we’re in Las Vegas after all, and strip clubs are a normal thing. I can handle that people have different values and tastes from mine. However, I told him that what he described sounds like human trafficking. “What?” he asked. I said it’s likely underage girls will be forced to work there, either by kidnapping, or being sent for the promise of a good job. This guy is well traveled and has seen third world conditions that people are desperate to escape; I didn’t have to explain that, at least.
I further said it’s likely the strip club will include prostitution. I don’t know if prostitution is legal in Belize, but regardless, these Guatemalan girls will have terrible lives there. He listened to me and I don’t know if I warned him off the deal, but I know he can’t proceed ignorantly.
As for the Army Colonel at the barbecue last night—despite the atrocities he’s witnessed and the hard work he’s done, he’s one of the most humble, compassionate and listening men I’ve met, with a fantastic wit! His stories about cows stopping traffic in India and Pakistan are hilarious. Maybe in a future conversation he’ll let me take a photo of him and his dog (who also served in Afghanistan) for this article. Meanwhile, this post is in respect to his insight.
I know human trafficking is a dark subject, but the reality is that most of us are frequently around victims of human trafficking. It’s not a third-world or “over there” problem, but an everywhere problem. If a group of worldly men can discuss human trafficking openly over beers and barbeque, I can certainly persist in broadening the scope of the light shining.
Please check out the links below and have a wonderful day!
“…defines Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms 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 payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”
- Forced to sell magazines door-to-door
- Chinese police break up alleged baby-trafficking ring, rescuing 37 from pregnancy factory
- Hidden in plain sight: Human trafficking reaches into Palo Alto, Silicon Valley
- S.178 – Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015
- Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery and restore freedom to survivors:
- National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline
- Policy Advocacy
- Client Services
- Advisory Services
- Global Programs
- Data Analysis Program
- Remarks at the Release of the 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report, John Kerry, Secretary of State
- Presidential Proclamation — National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, 2015
- Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide “…a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world. With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there…”
Above, Rachel Daniel, 35, holds up a picture of her abducted daughter Rose Daniel, 17, as her son Bukar, 7, sits beside her at her home in Maiduguri May 21, 2014. REUTERS/Joe Penney. Nigeria’s Boko Haram abducted 2,000 women and girls: Report