Other posts related to slavery

The Better World Shopping Guide

 | November 6, 2009 2:34 PM

I first mentioned The Better World Shopping Guide in my first Not For Sale study notes. It is “the only comprehensive guide for socially and environmentally responsible consumers.”  Their guide is based on research from these sources.

A few weeks ago I borrowed this guide from the library and have enjoyed perusing it.  You can also see the rankings online or on your iPhone.

The guide ranks companies from A to F.  They are ranked based on their record on the environment, human rights, community involvement, animal protection, corporate crime, discrimination, employee treatment, philanthropy.

Here are some highlights from the guide.

The 10 Best List The 10 Worst List
  1. Seventh Generation
  2. Patagonia
  3. American Apparel*
  4. Eden Foods
  5. Tom’s of Maine
  6. Ben & Jerry’s
  7. Working Assets
  8. Clif Bar
  9. Stonyfield Farms
  10. Aveda
  1. Exxon-Mobil
  2. Altria (Philip Morris)
  3. Wal-Mart
  4. Chevron-Texaco
  5. Pfizer
  6. Nestle
  7. Tyson Foods
  8. General Electric
  9. Archer Daniels Midland
  10. General Motors

Nestle

  • Baby formula human rights boycott
  • “Most Irresponsible” corporation award
  • Involved in child slavery lawsuit
  • Aggressive takeovers of family farms

Altria (Kraft, Libby’s, Nabisco, Planters, Post)

  • MM’s “Worst Corporation” list for 5 years
  • Currently target of 2 major boycotts
  • Greenwash Award for public deception
  • Named global climate change laggard

M&Ms (M&M/Mars)

  • On MM’s “10 Worst Corporations” list
  • Suppliers use child slave labor
  • Target of fair trade campaign

I wrote a letter to the author Dr. Jones protesting American Apparel’s A+ rating because of their pornographic ads and the sexual harassment lawsuits against its CEO, Dov Charney.

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Catching up on my Reading

 | October 25, 2009 5:49 AM

I had not been on Twitter for awhile so October 13 was a big catch up day.  Unfortunately slavery has not disappeared since the last time I was on Twitter.

And Ji Seon left me for four days!  But fortunately she’s coming back this evening.  We’ve done okay, the kids have been great but I am a little tired. 🙂

These are my tweets from the last several days.

Family

  • Ji Seon says to Victoria "You’re so demanding." Victoria responds "I want so demanding." 🙂 Oct 19 09:45:10
  • The wife is leaving me for four days. I am doomed. Please feel free to visit and help. :-) Oct 22 06:31:59

Christianity

Food

Society

Sports

  • Prediction: Yankees in 5 over Angels, Dodgers in 6 over Phillies. Oct 14 18:53:24

Finance

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Not For Sale Week 4

 | July 4, 2009 7:30 AM

Marx Wexler - Director of Education & Co-founderMark Wexler led the Week 4 Bible Study, the final one.  He is the Director of Education & Co-founder of Not For Sale.

Not For SaleMark Wexler’s presentation was titled on Mapping Modern-Day Slavery, Mapping High Probability Locations.  Two hundred years ago when slavery was outlawed slavery did not disappear, it just moved from the open to the crevices.  Modern day slavery exists in places where “good people” don’t look, such as massage parlors in San Francisco.

Advertisements for massage parlors which maybe you and I don’t look at is where you will find slaves.  Also comments on message boards for johns provide clues.  You can buy people on Craigslist.  You can use Yelp to “find places to exploit women and children.”  This is where investigators look to find slaves.  Things they look for are like:

  • Johns saying “She does not seem to want to be there.”
  • Advertising phrases such as “Rotating world-wide models.”

When Not For Sale contacts Yelp about reviews from johns those reviews are pulled.  But before they are pulled Not For Sale records them so they can be used by law enforcement.  Craigslist has not been as cooperative and the only thing they have done is renamed their erotic services to adult services.

Not For Sale three years ago presented books and books of this information to the D.A. who was quite impressed.  The D.A. then took it to the police who responded they weren’t prepared to deal with this information (in other words they didn’t care).  Not For Sale then started working with the FBI, immigration, IRS.

Google maps Now Not For Sale is using Google groups, Google maps, Google docs to organize and build up this information.  Investigators are gathering information throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Adult book stores, cantinas/bars, massage parlors, even truck stops is where investigators look.

No Lot Lizards Dennis, a Not For Sale investigator, told a story from Houston.  Truck stops have lot lizards, another term for prostitutes.  A van will pull up at a truck stop with two to four girls and advertise on the CB that they have girls for sale.  At one truck stop a trucker agreed to buy one girl.  But when he received the girl and noticed she was fourteen he called 911 and that girl and her cousin were rescued by police.

In another case a man left a brothel and asked a girl on the way out “How do you like Houston?”

When she replied “Oh, we’re in Houston.” the john knew something was wrong and called the National Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888.

The sad but unavoidable fact is that johns are a very good source of information for investigators and frontline investigators sometimes have to do things they don’t want to do.  I am assuming they don’t actually complete any transactions.

To attack the demand side johns who are arrested for a first offense are asked to take a course instead of pay a fine and/or go to jail.  In that course they learn about how many prostitutes are children and how many are slaves.  The percentages of these arrested johns who stop visiting prostitutes is something like 70% to 80%.

Lake Volta, Ghana, largest man made lake is a major site for child slavery.  Fishermen’s nets are often tangled in the trees that were flooded when the lake was created.  Children with weights on their limbs are used to free the nets.  Fishermen don’t know it’s illegal to hold children as slaves.  Investigators from the first Not For Sale Academy are starting to make a difference, having already rescued five children!

Ji Seon, my wife, asked what makes Not For Sale distinctive from all the other abolitionist organizations.  Mark replied Not For Sale is distinctive because it’s about putting the lens on average citizens, making them investigators in our own backyards or encouraging them to use their gifts to combat slavery,  Difference is “seeing a fire versus reporting a fire.”

Things we can do.

  1. Become an investigator.  You can sign up by emailing theacademy@notforsalecampaign.org.
  2. Do a Bible Study.  Not For Sale has an eight week Bible study, Set The Captives Free Bible Study.
  3. Provide after care for rescued slaves.  There is going to be an aftercare training program by MISSSEY at Not For Sale in the last week of July.  To receive more information and an application form for the Aftercare Seminar, email: aftercare@notforsalecampaign.org.
  4. Provide information about modern slavery to school districts and pre-school districts.  Not For Sale has the information but not the resources for distributing it.
  5. Promote Free2Play with your children’s sports teams.  Mark told the story how one team wore Free2Play badges.  When the players of the opposing team asked what it was about they would say “27 million people are enslaved and half are children.  We’re playing for them.”

Free2Play

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Pinocchio and Child Slavery

 | July 3, 2009 9:00 AM

Pinocchio (Two-Disc 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition + Standard DVD+ BD Live) [Blu-ray]On Wednesday I borrowed from the library the Blu-ray DVD Pinocchio. I don’t remember the movie since I only saw it once and that was thirty years ago and I was hoping the children would enjoy it.

It turned out that was a big mistake.  The movie is much darker than I expected, both visually and content wise.  None of the children were enjoying it.  Dylan, though he is the oldest, actually became the most frightened, I think because he understood the best.

As many of you might know, I have been studying and reading about modern slavery and was struck by how much of this animated film is about slavery!

First Pinocchio is duped by Honest John into joining a circus and becomes a slave of Stromboli.  Pinocchio escapes with the help of the Blue Fairy.

Pinocchio-stromboli

Then a few hours later he is duped again by Honest John.  He and many other little boys are led to Pleasure Island where they are transformed into donkeys.  The whole scene reminded me of young boys being sold into sexual slavery, transformed into prostitutes.

To view the images of Pinocchio's so-called ˜best friend" Lampwick turning into a donkey and the other boys screaming for their mothers is like something out of Dante's Inferno.

I honestly cannot recommend this movie for any young children, it’s not fun, it’s dark, and it’s scary.  But if you want some good imagery for modern slavery, this movie is great.

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Not For Sale Week 3

 | June 28, 2009 7:06 AM

Kique Bazan - Director of International Projects & Co-founderKique Bazan from Peru led the Week 3 Bible Study.  He is the Director of International Projects & Co-founder of Not For Sale.

Not For Sale has five international projects.  Their goal is to teach skills and provide a moral framework.

It takes typically three years to transition from slavery.  A key part of the transition is convincing the person he/she does not deserve to be a slave.  After three years they try to put them in vocational programs with job placement – learning while working.

Not For SaleOne transition program was taking kids surfing.  It takes about six weeks to master surfing.  These kids started receiving compliments and began feeling good about themselves.  For this reason the transition happened much faster and the kids wanted to clean up, go to school, etc.

Based on this success, they are trying sports models to accelerate the transition, for example, soccer team in Ghana, roller blade team in Oakland.

In Ghana the fishermen’s nets get caught at the bottom of the lake.  The fishermen use child slaves to free the nets.  They tie weights to these children who can’t swim and throw them in.  They only pull them out after the net is free and sometimes the kids come up drowned.  Not For Sale is trying to change both the culture of acceptance of slavery and the economics so that the need for these children is gone.

The majority of female sex slaves in India are Nepalese.  Not For Sale uses former sex slaves to help identify at the border which women are being trafficked to India.

SlaveryMap.org lists past cases because if they list current cases they might jeopardize the investigation.  What is strange is why aren’t there any cases of North Korean refugees becoming slaves.  Who has that info?  I asked Kique about this and he said because there are no Not For Sale investigators working in that area.

Kique told a story about why Not For Sale is very careful about revealing identities.  Once Dr. Phil had on his program two American women who had been forced into prostitution.  These women became sex slaves while teenagers and after many years they finally escaped and one of them was doing work to help other former sex slaves.  Many years later they went on Dr. Phil to help publicize this issue.  Without their knowledge or consent near the end of the program Dr. Phil had their former pimp call them.  The women broke down crying uncontrollably and it was an incredibly traumatic event for them.  I have no idea what Dr. Phil was thinking.  I wish I could find more information about this episode on the internet

Kique presented three ways we can help.

  1. Open source activism.  Go to action page to find out what you can do.
  2. After care academy in December run by Missing.  This will be a new academy after the current summer series of academies.
  3. Global Forum on Human Trafficking in San Diego on October 8-9.  Specifically in Carlsbad, home of Legoland.  You can make it into a family vacation. 🙂
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Not For Sale Week 2

 | June 15, 2009 3:23 AM

David Batstone led the Week 2 Bible Study.  He is a professor at the University of San Francisco.  He started Not For Sale 30 months ago.

God frees all people, whether it be chains or egotism or materialism.  We as Christians are redemption people.  God said “Let my people go” and “Loose the chains” and “Restore sight to the blind.”

13th amendment of the U.S. constitution calls slavery “involuntary servitude.”  David encountered slavery at one of his favorite restaurants in Berkeley, Pasand Madras, which he learned about in the San Francisco Chronicle.  He learned that this restaurant was the center of a trafficking ring of young teenage boys and girls from India.

NFS-Logo-SmallDavid traveled the world, investigated slavery and then created Not For Sale to “reabolish” slavery.  Not For Sale investigates and documents slavery and trafficking all around the world.  Slavery is too “ordinary” and Not For Sale want to makes it “extraordinary.”

Not For Sale is not a Christian organization.  Instead Not For Sale is first an abolitionist organization.  Being a secular organization allows him to work with the government, speak at universities, speak at Google.  And when someone asks why David does it he says because of his faith in Jesus Christ.

David was an investigative journalist who won national awards.  He wanted to take his talents to investigate slavery.  He also tasked his students in his class, Justice 101, to do it instead of writing boring essays.  The students went to social workers, police, immigration workers, etc.

Not For Sale’s bar for what is slavery is that “you can walk away.”  Not For Sale charts 50 garment factories and 175 massage parlors/brothels in the Bay Area.  Not For Sale has 40 similar operations all around the U.S.  SlaveryMap.org is their public documentation of what they have learned.  Not For Sale also monitors ads and even chat rooms/forums where people talk about their experiences with prostitutes, looking for under age or scared prostitutes.  “Open source activism” is bringing these operations around the world and opening up the platform to allow others to enhance it.

Movies about slavery.

  1. Call and Response
  2. Slumdog Millionaire (child beggars, often slaves)
  3. Holly (not mentioned by David)

Not For Sale partners w/ groups like World Vision and Compassion International that have thousands of workers to find out where there is trafficking.  Then they tell the police who do the enforcement.

To fight corruption Not For Sale tries to create a reward system, bringing status to the police officers who are stopping slavery.

Not For Sale opportunities

  1. Take the academy courses and become an investigator.
  2. Help the survivors by offering counseling, legal advice, etc.
  3. Pray for the cases in SlaveryMap.org.
  4. Help create and improve tools.
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Not For Sale Week 1

 | June 13, 2009 11:29 PM

not-for-sale-banner-4

GrX and Not For Sale are running a four week Bible study called “Set The Captives Free. The Return of the Global Slave Trade – and How We Can Fight It.”  You can download the study from the Not For Sale Resources.

Allison Trowbridge led the first week’s study.  I really appreciated her enthusiasm and her heart to free slaves.

What was interesting also was how much of a heart Allison had for the Bible.  She started us off by reading Psalm 73.  Now normally in Bible studies we usually read a verse or two at a time but Allison always had us read the whole chapter.  Psalm 73 talks about how the wicked prosper and Allison asked us to think about that as we consider:

  1. There are 27 million people in slavery.
  2. 17,000 people are trafficked into our borders annually.
  3. The human slave trade made $32 billion last year.  It is the fastest growing criminal activity.

She then encouraged us, like the Psalmist, to enter “the sanctuary of God” to gain a Godly perspective and not to be overwhelmed.  Allison said “Justice isn’t forcing it on others but living it.”

NFS-Logo-Small Allison then introduced Not For Sale to us and said there are opportunities to serve using our own talents and passions.  An example was a party someone hosted who loved to shop where she sold products made by people formerly enslaved.  In response to “But I’m only…” Allison said that God takes us where we are at.

Next Allison had us read Isaiah 61.  She then linked it to Luke 4:14-21.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then we looked at 2 Corinthians 1:3-6.  From these three passages Allison encouraged us to have the courage to look at suffering.

Next Allison pointed out to us SlaveryMap.org.  On this map you can look at recent incidents of slavery in your own backyard.  Here in Sunnyvale the owners of a Corean night club, the Crystal Palace, along with a former Sunnyvale police officer, “were involved in a sex trafficking ring.”  The Crystal Palace “recruited women from Korea for at least two years, authorities say, paying traveling expenses and getting visas, but then forced the women to repay their debts through prostitution.”  When I heard this I was pretty upset.

bwsgcoverHow can we “live differently” and make a difference?

  1. Try to buy products not produced by slave labor.  The Better World Shopping Guide is “the only comprehensive guide for socially and environmentally responsible consumers.”  Has anyone bought this?
  2. Buy from companies that have pledged not to use slave labor.  Free2Work is a campaign encouraging companies to publicly pledge to “be free of involuntary servitude.”
  3. Don’t buy from companies that have been indicted for slave labor like Nestle and Firestone.
  4. Chocolate is in focus lately because 70% of cocoa comes from West Africa which is connected to child slave labor.  Fortunately Cadbury and Mars have announced they will certify their dairy-milk chocolate is Fair Trade.

Finally we concluded by reading Isaiah 58.

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

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