The Struggle With Stranger Danger

Growing up, I was convinced I needed to worry about random people approaching me, but what I’ve since learned is that only 28% of perpetrators of sexual assault are actually strangers, and the “Romeo pimp” is much more common today in cases of human trafficking than the “guerilla pimp.” This means that it is really those that we love who we need to be able to stand up against.

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How powerful is fashion?

When Dressember first started, it wasn’t “Dressember” at all. It was one woman, Blythe Hill, and her decision to wear a dress every day of December, merely as a style challenge. For the next few years, Blythe and her friends, and then her friends’ friends would do just this; and by 2013, Blythe decided to take a step forward and use the style challenge to make a difference in the world, specifically for victims of human trafficking. Thus launched Dressember, and the dress became the flag for this growing movement.

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Prejudice: The Root of All Evil

History is full of examples of atrocities resulting from prejudice. Race, gender, religion, class, personal abilities -- all have been used to justify the mistreatment of human beings. From the Inquisition to the Holocaust to the Rwandan genocide and thousands upon thousands of moments before, after and in between, people have been attempting to subjugate those whose beliefs or appearances don’t mirror their own.

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"Renting Lacy:" A Rainy Day Reading Recommendation

Do you ever find yourself wondering what book you should read next? Well, look no further, I recommend making yourself a cup of tea and settling in with a fuzzy blanket on a rainy day to take a crack at a page-turner written by Linda Smith, a U.S. Representative who founded Shared Hope International. The book is titled, “Renting Lacy, A Story of America’s Prostituted Children,” and it covers the clandestine subject that does not get nearly enough coverage: human trafficking of the United States of America’s children.

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What Hollywood doesn't tell you about human trafficking

I’ve seen several movies depicting sex trafficking in different ways, but the common factor is that they all depict it in a manner that causes shock and intrigue, yet still remains distant from the reality of the issue. Whether it’s depicting a woman who has to work on the streets and approach customers to make money for her pimp, or a dark portrayal of women being auctioned off to wealthy men, it all depicts sex-trafficking in somewhat of a glamorous manner.

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“The Face of Human Trafficking:" A TED Talk Review

After viewing the TED Talk, “The Face of Human Trafficking,” which Megan Rheinschild, the Victim-Witness Assistance Program Director for the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s office, delivered last year at a TEDx conference, I was surprised at how well her use of emotional appeal drove the audience to listen to the educational concerns of trafficking. It helped me think strongly about what any ordinary individual can do to prevent sexual abuse in minors.

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Letter from Masanjia: A Story of Resiliency

Storytelling has long been a part of the human experience. Although the mediums and technologies have changed, their immense power to impact us remains. Documentaries are a particularly powerful form of storytelling. They have the power to appeal to our humanity, awaken our sense of empathy, and touch our souls. Letter from Masanjia does just that.

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"Food Chains" unveils the true cost of fresh food

Food Chains calls us to be a part of the stories of the many hands that go into our fresh produce by not being passive, silent, or ignoring the suffering that they experience. We already are a part of this system that exploits, but we also are a part of a community that can see change happen for the most vulnerable populations of our society.

So, how can we do this?

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Is it better to buy locally or globally?

If I were to have you take a survey that asked you where you buy your products, what would your answers be? Do you buy primarily from local vendors––small boutiques, farms, family-owned businesses––or do you buy products made abroad? Do you find yourself shopping on Amazon for the cutest (and cheapest) styles, or would you rather go to a store around the block from your home? Do you include a mix of both? The deeper question is, which is better?

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Is There Child Labor in the Fashion Industry?

It can be difficult to believe truths that we aren’t familiar with - to accept a reality that seems so far out of touch from our own. When my hands were half of the size they are now, I used them to play basketball with my friends. My small hands guided me in my homework assignments, they supported me while I did handstands and cartwheels and swung on the monkey bars. My small hands did what small hands were supposed to do and for that, I am grateful. Around 170 million pairs of little hands around the world don’t have the same function as mine once did. Almost 11% of the world’s children are involved in child labor.

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Buyers of trafficking victims can be anyone. Here is why we need to hold them accountable.

The law of supply and demand requires both a buyer and a seller in order for a transaction to occur. The same applies in the sex industry.

We’ve already discussed the typical demographic of sex traffickers––romantic partners, deceitful bosses, and anyone that has convinced victims that they can be trusted––but what about buyers of sex? Who are these people that purchase other people for their own greedy, lustful desires?

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Fight & Flight: How Delta is Combating Trafficking

Human trafficking is rife in the travel industry, with airports serving as common hubs for the transport of people for exploitation. Between 2011 and 2017, the National Human Trafficking Hotline received reports of 269 cases of human trafficking which referenced intersections with airlines or airports. Within the last seven years, Delta Airlines has taken action, realizing the role that airlines can play in the fight to end human trafficking.

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The Link Between LGBTQ Youth and Human Trafficking

The United Nations reports that nearly 1.8 million children (individuals under the age of 18) are trafficked into the global sex trade each year. The children enslaved in the human trafficking industry face endless abuse, discrimination, and neglect as traffickers prey on their naiveté and innocence. The numbers of children affected by the sex industry are even more staggering for the LGBTQ community (those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning). LGBTQ youth are disproportionately affected by violence and stigmatization, making them more susceptible to the coercive influences of human trafficking.

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So, What does Slavery have to do with Makeup?

When I shop for makeup, I consider several different things: Is it all natural? Does the makeup company test on animals? However, I never stop too long to think about how makeup is made. If you’re anything like me, you enjoy wearing makeup that may have some shimmer to it. Although it makes us feel pretty and boosts our confidence, most shimmery makeup contains an ingredient called mica - an ingredient often available as a result of labor trafficking.

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