Freedom Project


Today, I was watching CNN International. I like getting the broader picture of the news. They ran a special program called Freedom Project. It was about young girls in sexual slavery. I wasn’t sure I could watch a program with girls my youngest granddaughter’s age. I did. I am glad I did. I want to share what I learned. Now, this program was focused on America. I feel if it is happening here, then it is also happening in Europe, Asia, India, Africa and South America.

 

There are, in fact, people who are working to get young girls out and to help them have a life off of the streets. It isn’t easy. But young women are being helped and are now free for the first time in years.

 

Sexual slavery is not a kind of job any woman would sign up for. But for young ones from very dysfunctional homes, victims of physical and emotional abuse and often familial rape, the pitch to run away and have money and a glamorous life is irresistible.

 

They are shown a world so far from the one they come from that it is overwhelming. The glamour doesn’t last long though. For this is the world of the pimp and the world costs a lot of money. The pimp or the gang is not going to go out and earn that money.

 

In the twenty first century, girls are introduced to drugs and often IV drugs. Once they are hooked, they are putty in the hands of the pimps. They are often on drugs 24/7 so they can service men without stop. They won’t live long like this but the owners will just steal another girl to replace them. Then the girls are tattooed with gang signs, initials of the pimp or dollar signs or other signs which indicate money. The world now knows they are owned. They are the property of some man or men.

 

Every time the girls look at their bodies, they see the tattoos and think this is their life, there is nothing else to look forward to. Just men handling their bodies. Several girls interviewed told how some of the johns would hold guns to their heads, one had a man hold a knife to her belly during the act.

 

Some girls are helped out of the street life. They meet people who have made it their life to look for and find these young girls and help them find the person they used to be. It is a big job for the girls and for the people who get them out.

 

One thing that happens is that when a girl is ready, they are taken to a few certain tattoo shops where the signs that they are property and belong to someone are turned into a beautiful tattoos that obliterate the original one. Butterflies, wings and other such tattoos remind the girls that they are now free. They belong to no one but themselves.

 

There are some companies that will hire these girls and help them to learn skills which will, in time, enable them to get a job in the real world. They gain confidence and learn how to interact with others in the ways that will help them fit into the real world.

 

This is all wonderful but there are still thousands of young girls out on the streets. This is part of the reason that family violence must be eradicated. Physical and emotional abuse can make street life look glamorous. Incest within families must end and rape of all kinds must end. There needs to be loving bonds within families and every member of a family needs to know how important they are and how much they are loved.

 

Survivors of sexual slavery have a new chance at life. But they often carry a criminal record with them as well as the horror of the memories which will never go away. Just like the fight many vets face when they return from war and have PTSD.

 

The present world is harsh and crippling. It has the ability to completely destroy young lives and to change people from the person they were meant to be to a contorted version of that person. This is an ugly subject and I know it is hard to read, but we can’t turn away and avoid reality. We need to find ways to help. Helping one person is saving that person from living in a hell on earth.

 

Namaste

Barbara

 

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END SLAVERY NOW

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A project of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

 

Sexual slavery can be stopped, if we all want it to stop

Sexual slavery can be stopped, if we all want it to stop

And Now Looking to the Future


To the Ancients, as well as to many contemporary seekers, the world is alive with spirit. The surrounding landscape is infused with creativity and meaning and each place speaks to us of the divine.

‘Every day is a god, each day is a god
And holiness holds forth in time…’

—Anne Dillard

The notion of a sacralized world may seem strange to the mainstream Western world. We live in a secular landscape. We have been taught to identify the sacred primarily with cathedrals, churches and temples. The rest of the earth is real estate. It is there for us to buy and sell and make money, .We have commercialized the earth and many don’t see the earth as sacred at all. We are wrong, of course. We have used this philosophy to plunder the earth of its rich bounty. We have dispelled our planets sacred aura.

The Holy Book of Nature

“It is written on the arched sky,
It looks out from every star….
It is spread out like a legible language upon the broad face of an unsleeping ocean.
It is the poetry of Nature,
It is that which uplifts the spirit within us.”
—John Ruskin

“The beauty of the trees,
The softness of the air, The fragrance of the grass, speaks to me.

The summit of the mountain, the thunder of the sky, the rhythm of the sea, speaks to me.

The faintness of the stars, the freshness of the morning, the dewdrop on the flower, speaks to me.

The strength of fire, the taste of salmon, the trail of the sun, and the life that never goes away, they speak to me.

And my heart soars.
—Chief Dan George

Today, we need more jobs and more energy. We need more affordable energy. We have more resources here in America and actually all over our planet. What is the problem? It is that we cannot kill our Mother Earth retrieving these resources. We can’t plunder our planet and strip her of all of her treasures. Treasures which have taken billions of years to form. We have to find a way to take care of the living planet under our feet and have the energy we need. It will take many wise people to work together to figure out how to accomplish this. But it must be done. We need to listen to what scientists tell us and not to the politicians who have their own agendas. If our planet dies, this planet we walk on, drive on, build on, we will die. So let us not commit environmental suicide. There is global warming. The North Pole is an island. I am 62 and this is not right. This means that the oceans and seas are higher and they will flood land areas more easily.

We saw this with Hurricane Sandy and now with Winter Storm Athena. Manhattan experienced flooding just as the scientists have predicted. Venice is in danger of flooding and many other places we love on Mother Earth. The time for scoffing at the experts is over. We are already in danger. It is time to remember the sacredness of our planet and to all begin to work together to save our world, its animals and its people. If we want to have a future, we must do this.

Our planet is sacred. It is time to once again revere her.

.

 

Four More Years


While last night’s Democratic Convention was inspiring, we still have a lot of work to do. Work to get folks registered and remind them to vote. As we women know, 92 years ago we fought long and hard to earn the vote. It is a responsibility as an American citizen to vote. If you don’t vote, don’t even begin to complain about anything.

There are many issues at stake during this election. Yes, we want four more years, but not everyone does. We do need more jobs, we need to realize that this president inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression. He saved the auto industry and a lot of that money has been paid back by Detroit.

Now every women can get health insurance. Being a woman is not a pre-existing condition. Life time caps are gone and children born with serious chronic diseases will be able to receive that treatment they so desperately need.

We must remember that the Republicans took the checks and balances off of Wall Street and drove us right off of the cliff. Thanks by the way, it was so fun for average American families.

There is a spirit of sexism and racism pervading our culture that is getting worse. Hate crimes and violence are on the rise. Guns are not an answer.
These next two months are going to be very critical for our country. Instead of reality tv, let’s participate in American reality. An election that will make it or break it for the middle class and poor, for women, and for those with health issues. This election will effect someone you know or perhaps even love.

 

Don’t sit on the couch and be angry, get up and out and make a difference

Our President Barak Obama