Author Archives: pink_and_green

Law & Order: SVU Brings Attention to Sex Trafficking in U.S.

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How Can YOU Help?

According to this Huffington Post article, the U.S. is the number one destination country in the world for Sex Trafficking, and New York City is the #1 city within the U.S. for sex trafficking.

Something has to change.

With a rise in a awareness many campaigns against human trafficking have commenced.  Not For Sale is one of the campaigns which has formed.  They claim to work toward re-abolishing slavery.  Their website gives a variety of societal roles (for example students, athletes, businesses, and more) an opportunity to take action.

Even closer to home is an organization called Fighting Against Sex Trafficking (F.A.S.T.) at NKU.  The organization was started by student Rebecca Potzner.  Whether you’re an NKU student or a community member I would encourage you to get involved with F.A.S.T.  You can join the organization to participate fully, or just attend one of their events.

If hanging around a bunch of college kids isn’t for you, maybe you could volunteer for the Women’s Crisis Center. They offer 24 hour services to victims and could use your help.

If nothing else, watch this video. If you can make it through the whole thing. Then share it on your Facebook, twitter, with your friends and families. Encourage them to spread the word.

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Law & Order: SVU Brings Attention to Sex Trafficking in U.S.

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A History on Sex Trafficking

While you may be able to turn off your television to escape the reality the fictional characters experienced on SVU, millions of men, women and children do not have that luxury.  They continue to live the life of Micah and Carly day in and day out.

The United Nations uses three categories to define trafficking: The Act, The Means, The Purpose.  In other words, the what, the how, and the why.

There are a number of ways someone can be brought into a sex trade.  The Administration for Children and Families points out people can be sold by their parents, like Micah and Carly; boyfriend; or husbands.  Victims could be promised a job elsewhere, or even kidnapped and sold into the sex trade.

An ABC article points out that in 2006, and estimated 100,000 children and young women trafficked in the U.S. with the average age being 11 years old.  In a recent report by the U.S. government, the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report (for the full 60 page report, click here), the numbers may be closer to 27 million victims worldwide.

One appalling story after another.  They all share many scary similarities as the SVU episode described previously.  Starved.  Beaten.  Raped. And it’s closer to home than we think.

Most of the victims forced into sex trafficking in our country are “U.S. citizens, or lawful permanent residents,”  according to Sarah Vardaman in an Examiner article.

So now that you know how close to reality that SVU episode is, it’s not quite so easy to just turn off the flatscreen television, is it?

But what can you do?

Law & Order: SVU Brings Attention to Sex Trafficking in U.S.

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Global Resistance: Pop Culture review

Dun, Dun.  A familiar sound to any loyal SVU fan.  What any loyal SVU fan would also know is the tendency the show has to focus on actual current events, or real-live criminal cases.

Maybe that is why so many were shocked by Merchandise, an episode which originally aired in 2010.

The episode begins with a young girl running through a market crowd.  She then jumps in front of a moving taxi-cab and dies instantly.  Upon further investigation by the coroner, it was discovered that the girl had been repeatedly starved and beaten.  Death was inevitable; the taxi-cab only sped up the process.

After the stars of the show, Detective Benson and Stabler, looked into the case, they found out the girl had been working on Mission Farms when she had ran away.  All minors working on the farm were required to have a permit, which requires a parent’s signature.

Benson and Stabler sought out after the thirteen year old girl’s parents.  They found out her name was Carly, her mother died from cancer and her father couldn’t find work for years.  There were three other children in the family: a boy close to Carly’s age, and two much younger girls.

Benson and Stabler arrived in a back alley to find and question Carly’s father.  Homeless children ran around the alley while Carly’s father washed off his two younger daughters in the street. They clearly lived out of their run down station wagon.

The father told the two detectives that he sent his daughter, Carly, and oldest son, Micah, to work and make money at Mission Farm once he realized he could no longer provide for the entire family.  The farm representative told him that the children were too young to work in the city, so they would have to move about an hour out of the city limits. He was told Carly and Micah would  be given shelter, clothing, food and a healthy environment to work in.  He was a desperate, mis-guided parent.

In all reality, the children start out working on the farm and then are forced into sex trafficking; never being able to earn their way off the farm.  They are placed further in debt for water, food, clothes, punishment, and more.

Benson and Stabler watch young girls, not much older than eight to ten years old, dressed as prostitutes and solicit themselves on a steak out to find Carly’s older brother.  Micah is brought into custody, revealing the lash marks covering his back from brutal beatings.  He had been arrested at 13 for prostitution.  Fin, another detective on the show, argues with another officer about the fairness in the law which protects children who are exploited from charges.  She informs him that kids only escape charges if they testify against their pimp, however most kids are afraid to testify, or are afraid of being sent home to awful living conditions.

Video footage of Carly’s death showed that Micah pushed his sister into the street in front of the taxi-cab.  When questioned later, Micah told the psychiatrist that  when one kid did something wrong on the farm- they all got beaten. All the children were kept locked in a cellar, and forced to work days and nights while not being allowed to eat even scraps and garbage.  Micah continued, telling the psychiatrist that when girls got pregnant they all ate well.  All three of the babies that these young girls had while Micah was a resident of the farm were taken away, including Carly’s child. Micah was so terrified of the beatings he and the others would receive after his sister’s  escape, so he killed her.  His sister.  His best friend.

Luckily, by the end of the show the couple who ran the “farm” and trafficked the children were caught.

Not all children are so lucky, and not all sex slave pimps get what they deserve.

The show revealed that sex trafficking is a federal offense who 27 million fall victim to globally, and 14 to 18 thousand in the United States. That was in 2010.  This is 2012.

Kony 2012 Movement Inspires Hunger Games Trilogy and Vice Versa

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INSPIRED BY THE HUNGER GAMES OR KONY 2012?

Have either of the stories inspired you to take action against war and genocide on children and innocent people in Africa?

You can help! By participating in Invisible Children’s, Cover the Night event on April 20th, you can help bring the Kony 2012 movement from the “digital to the physical world.” It’s as simple as wearing a certain T-shirt, calling your local leaders, writing an advocacy letter, hanging posters, and more.  Just click here to find out more

If you had lost the ones you love and were living in fear every day, wouldn’t you want someone, somewhere to advocate on your behalf?  Be your own Mockingjay.  Stop the LRA.

Kony 2012 Movement Inspires Hunger Games Trilogy and Vice Versa

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PUTTING AN END TO THE MADNESS

As previously mentioned, District 13 and the rebels released videos to rally support for the revolution.  They created awareness for the cause, updated the citizens of Panem on the revolution, and sparked pride in the movement.

Just like the rebels in the Mockingjay (third book in the Hunger Games series), people have rallied to create awareness for the children and people who have fallen victims to the LRA. 

A group called Invisible Children has set out to start their own propos, or social movement called Kony 2012.  According to an article by ABC News, Invisible Children want to “harness the power of the internet to raise awareness…” amongst other things. 

The Kony 2012 video, which reached over 100 million hits in a matter of days, goes on to say, “We are making Kony world news by redefining the propaganda we see all day every day that dictates who and what we pay attention to”. 

Notice a familiar word there?

Kony has been indicted on numerous accounts by the International Criminal Court.  Invisible Children and the Kony 2012 video awareness movement hope to put arresting Joseph Kony, once and for all, at the highest level of priority on officials minds.

But is simply watching an informational piece of propaganda enough?  Is posting the video to your Facebook page or tweeting a link going to save these children?  I think we both know the answer.

Kony 2012 Movement Inspires Hunger Games Trilogy and Vice Versa

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WHAT IS KONY?

More like who is Kony.

For the 29 minutes and 59 second version, check out this video. If you don’t have 29 minutes right now, I encourage you to go back and watch it when you do have more time.  It’s pretty powerful stuff.

At the risk of falling to the same criticism Invisible Children received about their video over simplifying the issue, I will try to sum it up as best I can in the amount of space I have.  

Joseph Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which began in Uganda and has spread throughout Africa.  The LRA has been fighting for over two decades under the leadership of Kony, who claims to be a spokesman for God.

According to an article written in the BBC, Kony “has created an aura of fear and mysticism around himself and his rebels follow strict rules and rituals.”

This sounds a lot like the fear President Snow instilled in the people of Panem, eh?  If you don’t consider the actual Hunger Games a strict rule and ritual, I don’t know what is.

Kony and his army have kidnapped over 60,000 children and forced them to fight in the LRA.  The children are forced to kill their friends and family while serving in the army.  Those who disobey have their body parts cut off, or are killed.  The image to left is from the BBC article linked above; it highlights a victim of the LRA.  She had her lips, ears, and nose cut of at the hands of Kony’s soldiers.

In certain cases, President Snow has Capitol offenders punished by cutting off their tongues, so they can never speak again.

The University of British Columbia has tried to put together a more comprehensive list of the injustice and horrors the LRA has spread across parts of Africa.

Hunger Games Trilogy Show Us Dangers of Kony 2012 if No Action Taken

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Global Resistance: Pop Culture Review

Warning: Spoiler Alert for any of the three books in the Hunger Games trilogy.

While you may or may not have been a fan of the books or now major motion picture, there is no denying that the Hunger Games series has some heavy metaphors about our society today.

By the end of this blog series, I’ll bet that even if you dislike the Hunger Games you’ll agree with me about a few things.

HUNGER GAMES SERIES BACKGROUND

Divided into 13 districts, the country of Panem exists post-modern North America.  People of the Capitol, who makes all decisions for the people of Panem without consideration of the citizens, also relies on the districts to survive.  Each district provides something of life-sustaining importance to the capitol, for example District 12, the home of the main character, mines coal which is sent to the Capitol and all its people.

The people of the districts had enough of the communistic rule of the Capitol, and they started an uprising.  The Capitol ended the uprising after destroying District 13.   As a reminder to all of Panem not to repeat the “Dark Days”, the Hunger Games were inaugurated.

Each district is required to provide one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to play in the Hunger Games, where they are paraded in front of the Capitol, thrown in an arena, forced to fight to the death until only one tribute remains alive, and the people of Panem are forced by law to watch the Games and all the proceedings. All the while, voicing concern or disproval of the Capitol or the Games is punishable by death.

Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of the story, volunteers to take her 12 year old sister’s place in the Games.  At just 16 years old herself, Katniss promises her younger sister, Prim that she will try to win.  And win she does.

Of course along the way, a love interest in thrown into the mix.  The male tribute from District 12, Peetah, has been in love with Katniss for most of his life. He and Katniss develop a relationship, and Katniss vows to save them both.  Just when the two are about to eat poisonous berries, the man in charge of the Hunger Games allows them both to stay alive and be proclaimed the winners.  That man is never heard of again.

This sparks another uprising amongst the people of the districts because of the blatant defiance Katniss showed toward the Capitol.  The leader of Panem, President Snow, even pays Katniss a visit in lowly old District 12 to warn her of her actions.  He threatens to kill her family and loved ones if she cannot put of the fire of revolt that the people of the districts are beginning to get

Katniss struggles to please President Snow and protect her friends and family.  She and Peetah are thrown back into the Hunger Games once again, under sketchy circumstances.  Just when Katniss thinks she will die, she is rescued by a secret society of Soldiers.  They bring Katniss and a few others to District 13, which has in fact survived underground from the Capitol’s attacks 75 years prior.

Peetah was not saved in time, and was captured by President Snow’s people.  He was brutally abused and brainwashed to hate Katniss and the revolt.  He is later rescued by the rebels, but not with out consequences which affect he and Katniss for the rest of their lives.

Here Katniss trains with other to fight the capitol.  She accepts the role as the figurehead of the revolution and the rebels, the Mockingjay.  District 13 sends videos out to all of Panem called Propos (short for propaganda) to encourage and further fuel the uprising against the Capitol that has begun in each of the districts.  Little by little, more and more people fight for freedom against the Capitol.

Finally, after many have suffered and sacrificed their lives for the cause, the Capitol is stormed and taken over by the rebels.  Katniss watches her little sister, her world, blown to pieces before her very eyes.  It doesn’t take her long to realize the President of District 13, Coin, was behind it; President Coin staged a bombing of young children to rally any remaining Capitol loayals to the rebel cause.

Granted the honor of assassinating President Snow, Katniss aims her weapon of choice at President Coin and releases the arrow.  Instantly Coin is dead. Katniss knew that a true republic, the goal of the rebels, was never possible with a leader who could kill their children.

At last, a republic is formed, the Hunger Games are no more, and they all live as happily ever after as you can after you’ve witnessed genocide and war.

Starting to see some similarities with the Kony movement, yet?