Archive for the ‘underground allies’ Category

There I was in the snow, on my knees, yelling and cursing at God! Crying because of the pain and loneliness I kept inside for so long, wishing that God would just drop me dead! I was so hurt, tired, and weak, I just wanted this all to be over! I was so beaten by the world.

After hours of utter shameful crying and yelling, I Came inside, my sister, seeing my face, followed me into my room. She grabbed me and just held me, she didn’t say much, just held me. My tears… All my dirt, that I had kept so deep inside of me for so long, rolled unto her shirt. All she did was hold me in her arms.

That day was one of the darkest moments of my life. Yet, through those tears It showed me something bigger than myself.

Through that day, I started to Imagine the tears of the prostitutes, the homeless, the drug addicts, the abandoned, the millions stolen from their homes, the ones that nobody cares about, the cutters, the suicidal, the broken, the needy, the runaways, the dying. Where do their tears fall? They probably drip lonely to the cold floor. The only people who hear there sobs is a pimp, abuser, or the emptiness of the room. Who will care about them? Who will fight for them? Why are people so afraid of getting their shirts dirty?

These past few days I have yelled and cussed at God because of my own loneliness, pain, and regrets. I asked God to send me to hell! I have told Him that I am the biggest disgrace of them all! But of course God showed me something different. He showed me Jesus in the garden of Gathsemene. Alone, forsaken, abandoned. I am right their with Jesus. My tears fall on His cloak. What if the only way to show somebody hope is by letting the tears, blood, and dirt fall on your shirt. Just like Jesus. Even if you get nothing in return, agape love, truly is unconditional. Unspoken love can be one of the most powerful ways of displaying hope! You will never know how many lives you are saving!

So live each day to help the broken, the needy, the lost, the forgotten. Whether it’s your neighbor, roommate, brother, sister, mother, father, show them love and purpose because you never know what hurt they have experienced. You never know when the tears on your shirt was suicide, murder, rape, divorce, fear, abuse, shameful sex, drugs, loneliness, cancer, hopelessness. You never know how many lives that you have saved by the hidden tears soaked into your dirt soaked shirt.

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About a year ago, I was leading a bible study with college and high school students. One week, a girl, about 18 years old showed up, with a friend. This girl was outgoing and beautiful. However, her smile seemed to cover up the sadness inside. The first few weeks, every day, her friend forced her out of bed to do anything social because of her depression. Each week she came to the bible study, she did nothing but sob from the mistakes of her past. This girl had reached her lowest point in life.

This story seems hopeless like so many other girls and guys in the world. Yet, this is the beginning of the story, not the end. A couple months later, she asked to go to coffee with me.

I remember that fall Colorado day very vividly. After a bit of small talk, she revealed the reason why she wanted to meet. “My Dad wasn’t the Dad he should have been, really ever,” She began, “and I sought out the love of a man through boys. I was always hungry for attention; I didn’t care how I got it but I wanted attention from anyone and everyone around me. Especially boys. I always cheated and ended relationships because I have a deep fear of commitment.”

As the tears began to stream down her face, she told me about her pregnancy and miscarriage at age 15. With tears in her eyes, she explained how she can barely stand to look at a child with their mother because she blames the death of her child on her sins.

When I first met this girl, I began asking myself the question, WHAT IS LOVE? I always thought I knew. I mean, love is in relationships, marriages, churches, homeless shelters, whatever, right? But meeting this girl made me ask myself what is real love? Because this girl has never experienced it with boys, her father, everything. How do I and so many others miss love!

It’s funny, as I searched for the answer, I found that this girl, who had been broken by men, herself, and her family, had the definition of love hidden in her heart.

As the sun began to rise into the sky, she continued, “When I was 18, I began drinking away the weekends and being sexual with this boy, who I came to find out was into some pretty hard core drugs. At some point I decided to try and break his drug habits. And through this pursuit I dropped out of school. My whole family and all of my friends begged me not to date this boy and I did not listen- as I don’t typically trust anyone and I’m far too stubborn to really listen to other people. After dropping out and feeling like I was a worthless piece of crap, who would go nowhere in life, I had a pregnancy scare. This was one of the scariest things for me because of my miscarriage a couple years past.”

She shared about how she came to move from Georgia to Colorado because of her family making her get away from her social scene.

After hearing this heartbreaking story and watching a young women unveil the secrets of her life, I was comforted by the genuine smile that came over her face as she continued, “After getting prayer from your bible study last week, that very next day I remember waking up and the world just seemed like a new place… I was finally letting God love me that day and that was the difference. I know in my heart, deep deep in my heart, that God LOVES me. He forgives me for every single thing I have done in my past. He always loved me, he never stopped holding my hand, he never stopped looking at me as his little girl, he never stopped. His love never stops no matter what you do or where you’ve been. When I finally started recognizing Gods love I just blossomed into the person I always wanted to be and the person God always knew I would be. I have a relationship with my Dad now and I’ve mended a lot of my past relationships. I feel like now that I’m walking in the light I have a meaning and a purpose greater than anything I could even imagine. I don’t carry all of this baggage from my past anymore because I gave it to God and he forgives me as far as the east is from the west. He is mine and I am His. Nothing will ever stop the love of God, we just have to recognize it ourselves. He always loved me I just wouldn’t allow myself to embrace that. I have never felt so much love and joy as I do now. It’s awesome.”


With marriages failing, kids on the street, love is nothing more than conditional.

What is love?

50% of all marriages end in divorce. IS THAT LOVE?

“Suicide is one of the top ten reasons for death in the U.S.” IS THAT LOVE?

“37,000 homeless people die each year.” IS THAT LOVE?


“Every 2 seconds someone is sexually assaulted.” IS THAT LOVE?

What is love?
True love is unconditional and humble.
True love is someone who loves you and will not leave you.
True love is does not control you physically or emotionally.
True love is someone who loves you unconditionally.
True love will tell you that you’re beautiful, you’re talented, you’re precious.

True Love is only found, in and through Jesus Christ!

Doherty, D. W. (n.d.). How common is divorce and what are the reasons?. divorce.usu. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from http://www.divorce.usu.edu/files/uploads/Lesson3.pdf

Samad, J., & Images, A. (n.d.). Homelessness in suburbs, rural areas increases – USATODAY.com. USA TODAY: Latest World and US News – USATODAY.com. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-07-09-homeless_N.htm

Statistics | RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. (n.d.). RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network | RAINN: The nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization.One of “America’s 100 Best Charities” —Worth magazine. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from http://www.rainn.org/statistics

Suicide in the U.S.: Statistics and Prevention. (n.d.). http://www.nimh.nih.gov. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/suicide-in-the-us-statistics-and-prevention/index.shtml

nature, i. v. (n.d.). National Coalition for the Homeless. National Coalition for the Homeless. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/How_Many.html







Great paper written by Dr. William H. Doherty. Feel free to hit the link and read the rest of the paper.

How common is divorce and what are the reasons?
Marriage is a counter-cultural act in a throwaway society.
—Dr. William H. Doherty, noted marriage scholar and therapist 55

Overview: In the United States, researchers estimate that 40%–50% of all first marriages, and 60% of second marriages, will end in divorce. There are some well known factors that put people at higher risk for divorce: marrying at a very early age, less education and income, living together before marriage, a premarital pregnancy,
no religious affiliation, coming from a divorced family, and feelings of insecurity. The most common reasons people give for their divorce are lack of commitment, too much arguing, infidelity, marrying too young, unrealistic expectations, lack of equality in
the relationship, lack of preparation for marriage, and abuse. Some of these problems can be fixed and divorce prevented. Commitment is having a long-term view of the marriage that helps us not get overwhelmed by the problems and challenges day to day. When there is high commitment in a relationship, we feel safer and are willing to give more for the relationship to succeed. Commitment is clearly a factor in why some couples stay together and others divorce. Divorce is necessary at times, and it may even help to preserve the moral boundaries of marriage. But parents have a responsibility to do all that they reasonably can to preserve and repair a marriage, especially when the reasons for divorce are not the most serious ones. Barriers to leaving a marriage, such as financial worries, can keep marriages together in the short run. However, unless there is improvement in the relationship, eventually the barriers are usually not enough to keep a marriage together in the long run.

http://www.divorce.usu.edu/files/uploads/Lesson3.pdf

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I have been thinking about writing this for a long time but never had the time until now.

What is love?
1 in 4 women are sexually abused.
Every 2 minutes someone is sexually assaulted.
What is love?

7% of girls in middle school say they have been sexually abused.
12% of girls in high school say they have been sexually abused.
What is love?

If 1 in 4 women being sexually abused is considered love, then love is dark and sick. Love should just be considered a man dripping with lust, sneaking, manipulating, and attacking, innocent young women. If that is love, I want no part of it.

Statistics say 97% of people have sex before they get married.
50% of marriages end in divorce.
What is love?

In the year 2013 their is an estimated 1,671,257,652 pornography searches on the internet.
97 Billion dollars of revenue is collected each year for pornography.
What is love?

If this was law I could beg the theory that love is represented by sex. That is all men and women want. If almost everybody is looking for love and 97% have found it in sex, then that must be the key to love and happiness. However, divorce is running rampant. If a male or a female, can’t wait to have sex with you until marriage, what makes him or her have the self control to have sex with someone else. What is love?

Love is looking more and more like unhappiness, failed marriages, abuse, and rape. Our culture idolizes love so much, we worship artists and celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian, only because they take their clothes off. What is love?

What is love?
Love is a pure love. An unconditional love. A steadfast love. A caring love. One that cherishes her heart first, above all else. One that will not take advantage of her, one that will protect her, one that will fight for her, stay up late talking with her. Not one who manipulates her, not one who makes her fear for their relationship, and not one who leaves her. That is love!
.
http://www.familysafemedia.com/pornography_statistics.html
http://www.covenanteyes.com/pornstats/
http://www.trustmattersmost.com/news/divorce-rates-in-2013-a-look-forward-and-a-look-back/
http://waitingtillmarriage.org/4-cool-statistics-about-abstinence-in-the-usa/
http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims
http://www.oneinfourusa.org/statistics.php

http://www.kptm.com/story/17802759/human-trafficking-exists-in-nebraska

Nicole Ebat

OMAHA(KPTM)–There are at least two thousand people in Nebraska who are forced to work as prostitutes. That’s according to research from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Lawmakers say one of the biggest obstacles in helping these people is that the public doesn’t know–or believe–that people are sold for sex. Many have a hard time believing it happens right at home in Nebraska.

But one woman knows all too well that it doesn’t happen–and that it can happen anywhere.

Long, mottled scars running from her inner thigh down her leg are the only physical marks left you can see. Jane* was raped, beaten and threatened with her life every day in the west African country she was born in.

So when a man offered her romance, marriage and a better life in America, she went with him.

“He told me he was going to marry me. When he married me, I would become a better person,” she said. “He told me that ‘if you stay in this country they are going to catch you, they will find you so I am going to help you. Then I said ‘ok, I’m happy'”

The man, known to Jane as Mike, smuggled her out of Africa, but once the plane landed on American soil:

“When we came in he totally changed. These men would come sleep with me. I didn’t know how to speak the English. I would just say why why why? They would say shhh… you know? They do that then they go. It’s so shameful,” she explained.

The man kept her locked in a basement, away from the outside world. He told her police would take her back to her country where she would be killed if she ever left.

She has no idea how long she was in captivity. She doesn’t know how many men there were. She didn’t even know she was doing it for money.

“You don’t know somebody. That person will come, different different people will come have sex with you. That is bad. I didn’t want it. I would have rather died in my country than have somebody else have sex with me when I’m not ready and I don’t even know you. Not him alone that brought me, but somebody else I don’t know. More than one, two or three. I was going to kill me if I [had] any way to kill myself at that time when I was with him I would have done it,” she said stoically.

Jane’s story is just one of what could be hundreds of thousands across the country.

The experts have a hard time putting an exact number on how many victims like Jane could be out there.

“The thing about people who are traffickers, the predators, they are very adept at psychological mind games,” said Linda Burkle with the Salvation Army’s Wellspring Program which helps victims of human trafficking. “Most of the young ladies I have worked with that were trafficked did not see themselves as being trafficked. This was their boyfriend, this was the love of their life. They would do anything for him,”

Some studies suggest there are at least 200,000 minors alone being trafficked in the United States.

Lawmakers say it’s difficult to know for certain partially because many police don’t know how to separate a victim from someone in prostitution willingly.

“In many cases the woman feels so vulnerable and feels so afraid she doesn’t go and rat out the man in charge, she’s afraid he’s gonna beat her up or that’s the person who feeds her,” said Nebraska State Senator Amanda McGill.

She’s been working tirelessly to pass legislation to help with the problem.

She introduced and helped pass a bill that ups the prison sentence to maximum of 20 years. Before, a person convicted of pandering–coercing or forcing a person into prostitution–would only face a maximum of five years behind bars.

The bill calls for a task force to study trafficking in Nebraska and adds training for law enforcement and lawyers to teach them to separate prostitutes and victims.

The Polaris Project helped with the bill. It is a national organization working to end modern day slavery. It rates each state based on the type of legislation and services available to trafficking victims.

Nebraska currently sits at the second to worst rating.

“Nebraska has a good start, but there’s still room for improvement,” said Mary Ellison, policy director for the organization.

It’s too early to know how the new legislation could help improve Nebraska’s rating, but a high turnout at recent trafficking awareness events is a good sign.

“The number of people from the community that are interested in this issue is really stunning,” said Ellison.

State Senator Mcgill’s next goal is to help provide services to help victims in the state start a new life.

“It doesn’t do any good to identify the victims if they don’t have a safe place to stay,” she said. “There are a lot of barriers to good treatment right now,”

Bills adding services have been passed several times, but the Governor vetoed funding for the services several years in a row.

“I think part of the reason he was able to veto that money and not get it is that people don’t understand the vulnerability of these women and how widespread it is. It’s not just a North Omaha or South Omaha problem. It’s not even just an Omaha problem. It happens everywhere,” she said.

Burkle says the I-80 corridor is a prime area for trafficking.

“Anywhere there’s a major highway with truck stops next to it,” she said, especially near truck and rest stops.

Jane managed to escape her captor by tricking him into taking her to a friend’s house. She told him she had “pretty, skinny, tiny” friends inside.

It’s been five years since she last saw the man who forced her into sex slavery. The FBI has never found any leads on who he might be.

“I’m really really really really scared. I am so so so scared. I am scared. That’s why if I am walking somewhere, I don’t like to pass places where people don’t see,” she said. “My eyes are always passing, maybe I will see him. If I see him, I will know him. If he sees me, he will know me. (Laughs) even though I am fat now,”

Today she is working on her education. She is nearly finished with her GED and hopes to go on to college. Until then, she says she feels a sense of freedom knowing she can speak and read English.

“So nobody will fool us again, illiteracy is the one that made me suffer,”

She’s just hoping someone out there takes away something from her story.

“Forcing women to do something out of their wish–that is a killing. There is no difference with killing them. It is the same,”

The University of Nebraska Lincoln has done some extensive research into human trafficking. If you’d like to learn more a conference has been set for the weekend of October 11, 2012.

If you or somebody you know is trapped in a human trafficking situation, call the nation hotline at 1-888-373-7888

In April, a strike broke out at a seafood processing factory in Thailand’s southern province of Songkhla, where thousands of Burmese and Cambodian workers, living in small barracks and working in a nearby factory, process shrimp for export by a Bangkok-based company called Phatthana Seafood Co., Ltd… Some workers said they were provided inadequate toilet facilities and given insufficient bathroom breaks, obliging them at times to relieve themselves in corners of the factory. Far worse, labor organizers say, many of the migrant workers at the Songkhla facility found themselves in conditions amounting to debt bondage. Workers told organizers that many of them paid recruiters excessive placement and transport fees to get the jobs. Managers at the plant took portions of their wages to pay these debts, workers said, as well as various “fees” to the company for accommodation, utilities, and other necessities. Several workers said that before the strike they were promised 26 days of work per month, but often were only given 10 to 14 days of work, going unpaid when the factory was idle.
Some workers were receiving so little pay after deductions that they couldn’t afford sufficient food. Before the strike, they were reportedly catching minnows and snails for meals. Despite the legal requirement that workers be enrolled in Thailand’s social security system to receive health care, the company failed to sign the workers up, meaning workers had to pay out of pocket for any medical treatment for injuries or sickness.
Workers who wanted to leave found it difficult, organizers say, because their official documents, including work permits, health cards, ID cards, and passports, were reportedly confiscated and held by factory management to prevent workers from running away. New workers were told they would only get their documents back after their debts were paid off—a key criterion used in legal cases to prove human trafficking.
The conflict at the Songkhla facility escalated after management locked the workers out on April 9. Thai police fired gunshots in the air to disperse protesting workers. A few weeks later the workers reached a partial agreement with the company for modest pay increases, and received their passports back. The company agreed to provide additional toilets and pay part of the accommodation costs and debts to recruiters, but not utilities or health care. Some of the workers with smaller debts left. But the pre-existing debt conditions continued for most workers. Many today are still effectively in bondage.
Local labor organizers are skeptical that even the minor changes made are durable. “I am suspicious that they are making these changes right now only because they are being watched,” one labor researcher told us recently
The U.S. labor organization Change to Win has been raising awareness of abuses associated with factories like Phatthana, not just for the sake of workers there but also because one of the U.S. companies supplied by Phatthana is a continuing nemesis for the American labor movement: Walmart.
http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/09/17/walmarts-human-trafficking-problem

Common facilitators on which traffickers frequently rely include:
Hotels and Motels
Landlords
Labor brokers
Taxi and other driving services
Airlines, bus, and rail companies
Advertisers 
-Online websites like Craigslist.com and Backpage.com
-Phone books
-Alternative Newspapers (and some mainstream newspapers)
Banks and other financial services companies
In some cases, businesses are aware of their involvement in trafficking, and the profits they generate outweigh reservations they may have about their role. In other cases, businesses are unaware and find it difficult to know which of their customers are human traffickers.
http://www.polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/overview/the-facilitators

Common places where forced labor has been found in the United States include domestic servitude and small-scale “mom and pop” labor operations, to more large-scale operations such as farms and factories. Certain labor brokers that supply labor to multinational corporations have also been identified as an emerging type of labor traffickers. Sex trafficking includes commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), as well as every instance where an adult is in the sex trade as the result of force, fraud, or coercion. Sex trafficking occurs within numerous venues in the broader sex industry, commonly found in street prostitution, online escort services, residential brothels, and brothels disguised as massage businesses. Under U.S. and international law, commercially sexually exploited children found in the sex trade are considered to be victims of trafficking, even if no force or coercion is present.

Victims of human trafficking in the United States include U.S. citizens or foreign nationals, adults or minors, and men or women. Foreign-born victims in the U.S. may be either documented or undocumented.

Because human trafficking is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries, the U.S. government and academic researchers are currently working on an up-to-date estimate of the total number of trafficked persons in the United States annually. With 100,000 children estimated to be in the sex trade in the United States each year, it is clear that the total number of human trafficking victims in the U.S. reaches into the hundreds of thousands when estimates of both adults and minors and sex trafficking and labor trafficking are aggregated.
http://www.polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/overview
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