Posts tagged Let's Talk
Defining the Grey Areas of Consent

So, what is consent?

I asked nine men and women ranging from the ages of 23 to 56 years old from different ethnicities and different sexual orientations.

What I found was consent is a complex issue. Each person handles their body in a unique manner. Some want verbal confirmation to proceed; while others believe nonverbal permission can be expressed in body language. Therefore, it’s hard to find that concrete answer on how one should properly go about it.

Read More
'Why Doesn't She Just Leave?' : Understanding the Barriers Of Human Trafficking

"Why doesn’t she just leave?”  Many times people ask this question because their only concept of human trafficking is one of physical shackles, one where the victim physically can’t get out because they are kidnapped and chained. A lot of people are unaware that human trafficking encompasses so much more, and that there are many people in trafficking whose chains are invisible, psychological or emotional. But until one is introduced to this side of trafficking, they might truly wonder, “Why doesn’t she just leave?

Read More
"As their mom, I know it starts with me": A Call to Advocacy

Having four sisters, a mother and a grandma who helped raise me, I’ve always been surrounded by women. We lived in a traditional Hmong household where women were expected to be obedient and meek; men were superior. It was considered respectful to always obey your elders and husband. The fear of shaming my family name was greatly installed in my upbringing. I have a lot of childhood memories of “this is how you should do things,” and “don’t do this, don’t ever say that or else your future in-laws will not like you.” A lot of my chores and responsibilities as a young girl were meant to prepare me to be a perfectly ideal daughter-in-law in the eyes of the Hmong culture. But through my teenage years, I witnessed a lot of things that changed my perspective. From experiencing culture shock, witnessing domestic violence, struggling as a young mom and working hard to earn an education, I built the confidence to pave my own way so that others can follow. That’s why I’m an advocate. I advocate for those who don’t have a voice, the ones who have lost their voice, and the ones who are trying to find their voice.


Read More
Calling All Creators: Use Your Art For Activism

In today’s world, facts hold a lot of weight. Numbers and plans and percentages and ratios are constantly being tossed at us - on billboards, from the internet, and from each other. And of course, these things are very important. They help us understand the world in a way that’s really accessible and comprehensive. They take realities and compile them neatly into boxes that influence change. However, although the analytical side of things is relied on heavily especially when it comes to activism, it’s only one part of the picture.


Read More
Where to Start When You Don't Know Where to Start

Almost six and a half years ago, when I first started to advocate against human trafficking, I had a lot of questions. I still feel like I’m in that place sometimes. There are days when I feel much more inadequate now then I did back then, and I have many more questions than I do answers at times. So from one fellow advocate to another, here are some tried and true tactics to tackle the tangled mess that is human trafficking.


Read More
College Students: How Human Trafficking Can Affect You

Human trafficking is known as an industry that afflicts the most destitute, underdeveloped areas of the world. Movies like the Taken series perpetrate the dangerous stereotype that human trafficking only affects individuals where governments are weak and law enforcement is lackluster. However, human trafficking in America is not limited to run-down brothels or fueled by creepy, middle-aged men as depicted by Hollywood. Human trafficking is proliferated at the music festivals we readily attend and is disguised behind the facade of tinder dating profiles we eagerly swipe past. Traffickers can literally be anyone--and our indifference towards recognizing their presence in our society allows them to continually deceive us.


Read More
A View on Child Marriage

Take a moment to imagine yourself as a young thirteen year old girl, dreaming of your future and independence, only to come home and have your parents tell you that your wedding will be taking place the next day. All your hopes of growing up to be an independent individual shattered in that very moment. To many young girls in developing countries, these aren’t scenarios being played in their minds, it’s their true life story. Child marriage, also known as “forced marriage” or “early marriage”, is defined as marriage before the age of 18 and is a harmful traditional practice that deprives girls of their dignity and human rights

Read More
Engaging Companies in the Fight to End Human Trafficking

In February 2018, Minneapolis, Minnesota, hosted one of the nation’s largest events - the Super Bowl. It took place in Downtown Minneapolis at the U.S. Bank Stadium, right next to the public hospital where I work. Every day, during my commute to and from work, I witnessed the construction, outdoor preparations, and festivities. But alongside the strategic planning and whirlwind of people and visitors was the constant need to be aware of my surroundings.


Read More
A New Meaning To Independence Day

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [and women] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” - United States Declaration of Independence

On this Independence Day, I’d like to take the time to reflect on the meaning of independence and why the fight for freedom didn’t quite stop in 1776.

Read More
A Fight For Everyone

The right to human dignity is craved by every human being. It is a right, however, that is often mistakenly believed to be fought for by specific communities. Taking a quick look at some of the world’s leading anti-trafficking organizations, it can appear that the people on the front lines of fighting modern slavery are religious. In fact, a principal driver behind the civil rights movement in the U.S. has been deeply rooted in and supported by religious fervor, which champions the idea that we are all free and equal in God’s eye. The recognition of the church’s role in such movements can be daunting for someone who is not religious. In spite of this, it is important for us to recognize that the fight to end modern day slavery is a universal human issue; the fight for human rights is a matter that implicates everyone, not just those belonging to a particular demographic.


Read More
A Broken Immigration System: The Story of 1500 Lost Children

Thousands of undocumented children venture across the American border each year, seeking to escape the cartel violence, poverty, and political strife that plague their home countries. Arriving primarily from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, these children leave their parents and friends behind so they can taste the sweet joys of American freedom. These unaccompanied minors, however, are often deprived of the freedom they desire to find once they arrive in America. Upon arrival, these children are often cast aside by border patrol agents and handed over to sponsors who may be human traffickers.  


Read More
Join the Dres"summer" Book Club!

I’m RuthAnn, Dressember advocate since 2014 and enthusiastic bookworm! This summer, I’m excited to invite you to join me in reading about human trafficking and discussing together. Over the next couple of months, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss over social media and chat about the book in real time with Dressember founder, Blythe Hill and me!


Read More
Can Victims Become Traffickers?: The Story of Allison Mack

Allison Mack is a charismatic, green-eyed Hollywood actress whose life appears to be glamorous both on and off the television screen. Her stunning physique and renowned fame have allowed her to hide behind a facade that has masked the true nature of her work: recruiting women into the human trafficking industry. As of April 2018, Allison faces a number of sex trafficking charges for her involvement in the organization NXIVM. How could a successful, beloved actress become entangled in an industry that exploits other women?


Read More
Intersectional Advocacy

Amy was 12 when her father… began abusing her physically and sexually. When she was 17, Amy began staying with her friend, Lisa, to escape her father’s abuse. Lisa told Amy that she knew an agent who could help her become a model—something Amy had always dreamed of. Instead, the man forced Amy into prostitution and kept all the money she made, locking her in a hotel room for weeks, giving her very little food. He threatened to kill her if she ever left. Amy was finally able to escape and now hopes to train to become a certified nursing assistant so she can help others.”

Read More
Drop Your Fear

Last summer, I can remember sitting in my kitchen and reviewing an application for an editorial internship with Dressember. The opportunity to put words down that could fuel change in the area of trafficking made my heart race in the best ways. Yet the more I thought about applying, the more room I made for fear to join me in the decision-making. In fear’s opinion, I was sorely under-qualified to write about such an important topic and I went to bed that night thinking, “You can’t do this internship. You aren’t an expert on human trafficking. You’re an ordinary person, with ordinary talents.


Read More
Using Your Strengths to Fight Human Trafficking

All of us have a unique interest or skill that sets us apart. Whether this skill involves an eccentric artistic sense or a physically rigorous athletic ability, there are countless ways that we can wield our strengths in the fight against human trafficking. The fight to end modern-day slavery is a fight that demands action from everyone -- we all have a part to play in the promotion of basic human dignity. Below is a list of examples of how you can use your individual skills and interests to join the fight! Together, we can use our unique gifts and abilities to make a difference!


Read More
A TED Talk Review of Justin Baldoni's 'Why I'm Done Trying to be Man Enough'

Boys will be boys…a common phrase used to describe toxic behavior that justifies the suppression of women, extreme self-reliance, and suppressing emotions for the sake of, “being a man.” Justin Baldoni - American actor, director, and filmmaker is challenging this idea by asking himself and other men what it means to really, “be a man.”

In a TED Talk titled, “Why I’m Done Trying to be Man Enough,” Justin bravely explores the ideas impressed upon him as a child and how those ideas have impacted his adulthood. Interestingly enough, the roles Justin was being cast as were depictions of the kind of man who perfectly captures what toxic masculinity is; tough, shirtless men with perfectly chiseled jawlines that never cry and always, always dominate in the relationship.

Read More
Fighting When You Feel Small

The truth is that advocating for the freedom and dignity of all can be so overwhelming at times that we feel extremely small under the weight of it. It can feel like we’re trying to stop the ocean by building a barrier out of the sand, and it’s easy to get discouraged when we can’t see the effects of our words and actions. There were countless times during the recent Dressember campaign that I felt like my voice didn’t really matter.

Read More