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?

Show Your Yoga Pants some R-E-S-P-E-C-T

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Come on, your yoga pants deserve more respect than to simply serve as comfort clothing while sitting on the couch taking in the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I get it. You work long days in stuffy clothes and just can’t wait to be released from the suffocating waste band, pantyhose, and just downright restricting clothes. Your yoga pants are your best friend on any given weeknight, but you need to start treating your best friend better.

Ever wonder why those yoga pants have just the right amount of give? They are not too tight or too slouchy, but rather just perfect; perfect for you to do everything in, except you forget to practice what the pants are intended for. Show your yoga pants a little respect and try actually using them for yoga.

Sometimes our lives our filled with stress. While music therapies, aroma-therapies, and certain foods can help ease the mental and physical damage caused by stress, yoga as a form of physical exercise has been proven to help ease stress and restore the mind and body.

Yoga, originating from India, brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of the body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress and anxiety. Hatha yoga is most closely associated with stress relief. Hatha yoga was developed in fifteenth century India by yogic sage, Yogi Swatmarama. Yogi Swatmarama compiled the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, which is the classic Sanskrit manual on Hatha Yoga. Hatha yoga is considered a holistic yoga path that includes disciplines, postures, purification procedures, gestures, breathing, and meditation. Hatha yoga represents opposing energies and works to balance mind and body via physical postures, purification practices, controlled breathing, and the calming of the mind through relaxation and meditation.

A combination of poses and breathing are the core components of Hatha yoga. Poses, also called postures, are designed to increase strength and flexibility. In yoga breathing signifies your vital energy; yoga teaches that by controlling your breathing, you can help control your body and quiet your mind. By focusing on breathing, you can divert your attention from those stressful circumstances.

There are numerous health benefits of yoga. As mentioned earlier, yoga can help reduce stress by focusing your attention on the breathing exercises and not the chaos around you. With the numerous poses, you increase your fitness, improving your balance, flexibility, and range of motion and strength. Yoga has been proven to help with chronic health conditions such as insomnia. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, nearly 60 million Americans alone suffer from insomnia; instead of turning to a sleeping pill for the treatment, yoga can help to ease the symptoms of insomnia.

You owe it to yourself and your yoga pants to choose a better life for the both of you. Life is stressful. We get off balance in all the chaos and our hectic schedules. Join the more than 15 million people who practice yoga and feel rejuvenated.

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.

Modern Science Has Turned Us Into Wimps,Push Through The Pain with the Martial Arts

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Universal to All Martial Arts

Although style and philosophies of martial arts vary, there are some universal benefits.

  1. You will become more fit.  Your heart rate will improve and your stamina will increase.
  2. You will lose weight.  An average martial art workout can burn up to 500 calories an hour while providing a full body workout.
  3. Your body will become more toned and your muscularity better defined.
  4. Quickness and reaction time will improve.
  5. You will develop a better mental attitude and be less prone to depression.

But what is most important you will realize that your body is capable of so much more.  Obviously, the martial arts may not be suitable for some, but if you are already somewhat physical and leery of pharmacology as the cure for pain and depression, then, perhaps, the martial arts are for you.

Interested?  Read my article!!

Ethical Accessories

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If you are anything like me, you have recently seen countless friends become engaged or even been in attendance for their weddings. While I remain single, yet married to my school work and jobs – I can still appreciate a delicious, fabulous, and stunning diamond ring. On the plus side I get to see all of my friends rings before one is graciously placed on my hand. I like to think of it as window shopping! 🙂

On that same note, while admiring the sparkle, you have to keep in mind where those beautiful diamonds have come from. I want to clarify what conflict diamonds are as well as how the concept of “Fair Trade” works.
Conflict Diamonds

-“In relation to diamond trading, conflict diamond (also called a converted diamond, blood diamond, hot diamond, or war diamond) refers to a diamond mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency, invading army’s war efforts, or a warlord’s activity, usually in Africa where around two-thirds of the world’s diamonds are extracted.” (Blood Diamonds)

-According to Brilliant Earth, a source for “Ethical Origin Fine Jewelry”,  “Conflict diamonds,” according to the most widely-used definition, are diamonds that finance rebel movements against recognized national governments. These diamonds are also referred to as blood diamonds. Many retailers offer “conflict free diamonds,” providing only a limited promise that their diamonds do not finance these violent rebel groups.”

What can you do?

  • When purchasing, look to fair trade retailers.

“Fair Trade is a trading partnership based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers…”

  • Contribute to organizations that help the victims of blood diamond harvesting and the civil unrest it has caused.

Hands for Africa is a non-profit organization working to restore lost hope to those devastated by the civil war in Sierra Leone. We support amputees by developing and implementing self-reliance programs and providing the necessary aid for the advancement of these self-reliance programs. Below is a video detailing the work that they do.

Do your homework on how certain conflict-free diamonds are harvested and sold. Below are links to various resources of where to buy or even just browse non-conflict diamonds.

Peace, love, and sparkling ethically sourced diamonds for all!

Drdonley!

Why Reiki?

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I have to admit after reading about Reiki I quickly started to analyze what healing energy “felt” like, if it could in fact help my spiritual, mental, physical, or emotional ailments. To further frame my inquiry, I asked friends and family members what they thought about Reiki as a New Age treatment, only to be met with more questions. I realized that I was not alone in my exploration, and that queries about Reiki have even been discussed on mainstream television shows including The Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Oz  discusses New Age treatments such as Reiki, holistic diets, acupuncture, and the 5 Tibetan Rites  in which balance your chakra, meridians, and aura, as well as revitalize your energy and heal ailments. So, before letting skepticism get the best of me, I sought to truly understand Reiki by experiencing it firsthand. I attended the Victory of Light Expo in Cincinnati, Ohio, in which I participated in an universal life force energy seminar and met various Masters/Teachers of Reiki. This is where I obtained the information that many Reiki healing practitioners believe that the universe is full of energy, which currently cannot be detected by any scientific instruments, but can be felt by individual receivers and administered by healing practitioners. I also personally experienced Reiki therapy including the use of essential oils (i.e., aromatherapy) and crystals to clear blockages, in order to rebalance my chakra, meridians, and aura, as well as heal spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional ailments. I went into this venture with a critical and even skeptical mindset, but was extremely shocked at how the Reiki healing practitioner knew the exact places on my body that I was experiencing stress and pain (since as a true skeptic I said nothing about pain or stress prior to laying down on the massage table), and how surprised I was that I could feel the healing energy in both warmth and movement. I was not the only individual inquiring about Reiki therapy or experiencing the healing energy, as there were many others at the Victory of Light Expo receiving Reiki therapy. After these aforementioned emprise, it was apparent that living in pain, whether that be emotional stress or physical pain, is not at all easy and can make individuals extremely unhappy, as they are unable to enjoy life or live life to the fullest. Reiki therapy can assist in stress reduction, relaxation, healing of pain or trauma for ailments such as depression, anxiety, acute and chronic pain, and stress. There are various testimonials that describe how Reiki aided in individual’s medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS) and medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). Examples of MUPS and MUS include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), unexplained headaches, unexplained back pain, anxiety, depression, and acute and chronic pain.

We should realize that there are no side effects (i.e., headaches), risk (i.e., death), or restrictions (i.e., age) for receiving Reiki like there are in the medications we take, the surgeries we receive, or the procedures we have performed in Western Medicine in the attempt to feel better and be healthy. Also demonstrating that there is little to lose and a great deal to gain (e.g., happiness, a healthy life, more energy, and balance) through the experience of Reiki. This does not mean that we discontinue visiting medical professionals. It simply means that if there is a way to be a more balanced, happy, and healthy individual we should embrace the method that supplies us this opportunity. Those who are in pain, stressed, unhappy, or ill should seek out a Reiki healing practitioner to receive Reiki therapy. For those of you who are skeptics, I was one of you until I was a receiver of Reiki therapy. So before letting skepticism get the best of you, try Reiki as this experience will pivot your perspective of both Eastern Alternative Medicine, as well as provide a more balanced and healthy outlook on life. After all what do you have to lose?

To Schedule A Reiki Therapy Appointment Visit: http://www.goodjourneys.net/SERVICES.html or

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/departments/integrativemedicine/reiki_therapy.aspx

Also, if you are in Cincinnati, listen to the Waves of the New Age, Tuesdays from 3-5pm on WAIF 88.3FM.