Daily Reverie

It's just me…

Modern Day Slavery November 4, 2010

Filed under: Christian Life — Lauren @ 12:47 PM

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for

crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within

the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Amendment XIII – Slavery Abolished (1865)


All Americans (or most) should know that slavery was abolished in 1865. Meaning, that no one could forcibly exploit another person to carry out ANY deed for another person.And for the most part Americans are proud of the fact that we do not allow slavery in our country as it is looked down upon and seen as something that only happens in “other countries” or “third world countries. What most Americans are very, very ignorant of however, is that slavery does still exist in the U.S., in the form of Human Trafficking. Human trafficking is when a person is is forced through fraud, coercion, physical or psychological means to be cheaply and inhumanely forced into labor and/or sexual exploitation.

Human trafficking hides under the radar in our very own society. It hides behind dark, covered windows, barbed wired fences, and probably most shockingly some individuals in society that appear as though they have nothing to hide, yet unfairly force their “domestic servants” to do around the clock chores with no choice or means of anyway to escape. But most heart-breaking of all, this terrible crime hides behind the victims that we could very well see in our everyday lives. Outwardly, there is no way to distinguish the victims from you or I, or the coorporate business man walking down the street.  These people hide in plain site.

It seems rather ridiculous to me that more people are concerned and rather well educated about the efforts of PETA, than they are to the rising issue of Human Trafficking. Especially since ANYONE can become a victim of this heinous crime. Men and women. Your brother, sister, mother, daughter, best friend or next door neighbor. Anyone.

Human Trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. It has been estimated that around 27 million people world wide are trapped in slavery at the moment, 13 million of those people are children. It’s thought that approximately 20,000 individuals are trafficked INTO the  U.S. every year. This estimate does not include the average 14,500-17,500  individuals that are trafficked IN American cities yearly. (I thought we abolished slavery?? Anyone else besides me becoming concerned about this issue???) Not to mention that ATLEAST 30% of Human Trafficking victims have some form of encounter with a healthcare professional DURING the time that they are being exploited and none of these people are recognized as a victim Human Trafficking by that healthcare provider. That means, that out of the 1 million children that are a part of the commercial human “trading system” world-wide that 300,000 of them see doctors. 300,000 children that see doctors with medical training, that SHOULD be able to recognize what is happening.  244,000 of these children are in the U.S. Again, I say, PROBLEM.

California has many laws in effect that are supposed to help combat human trafficking, but since it continues to remain under the radar (or maybe it’s just that we are choosing to be ignorant of what is really happening), California is one of the worst states in the union as far as Human Trafficking is concerned. Most of the cities that have been associated with this crime are Los Angeles, San Diego, San Fransisco, San Jose, and perhaps the most shocking of all Sacramento (which has recently been ranked the 2nd worst city in America for the exploitation of innocent victims of trafficking). There is something around thirty-two KNOWN trafficking rings in California. It’s thought that last year women comprised 74% of victims, children, 16% and men 10%.

Here’s the deal. NO ONE wants or asks to be exploited. Frequently, traffickers will recruit people through what seems like real and legitimate job ads such as being a hostess, domestics or various kinds of work in agriculture.

There are warning signs of companies that are involved in trafficking:

-Very strict security at the commercial establishment including barred windows, locked doors, isolated location, electronic surveillance. Women are never seen leaving the premises unless escorted.

-Labor trafficking, victims are often prohibited from leaving the work site, which may look like a guarded compound from the outside.

-Sex trafficking, the people being trafficked live no the same property as the brothel, strip clubs or other such establishments.

-Victims are escorted and kept a close eye on at the doctors, or hospitals.

Individuals that are being trafficked are controlled by any combination of  fear, intimidation, abuse, and psychological controls. Most are controlled through some form of abuse.

The harsh truth is that Human Trafficking is modern day slavery. And it can happen to anyone, from any race, background or gender.

“The problem of human trafficking has reached into neighborhoods through

out California and is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the

world.  Individuals are bought, sold, transported and held in inhumane

conditions for use in prostitution or as forced laborers.  It would be morally

and socially irresponsible to ignore this problem and the victims it creates

in California every year.” Sally Lieber, California Assembly Member

September 21, 2005 – signing of AB 22


 

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A Humble Sort of Love… August 30, 2010

Filed under: Christian Life — Lauren @ 3:03 PM

I’ve never been the sort of person that looked for approval from others, but I had someone at work today, find out that I was a Christian and they said “Really?! You seem so nice and normal and non-judgmental. I’ve never met a Christian that I actually liked and wanted to be friends with.” I don’t show my faith off or try and preach to everyone I know. I just try and build relationships with those around me. In fact, I know a lot of Christians that don’t really agree with my way of thinking. Especially my whole, PEACE-LOVE-HAPPINESS- go-green-and-recycle-all-the-while-washing-my-hair-with-baking soda-and-vinegar and wearing peace symbols because I’m pretty much a hippie mind set. To that I have to say… Jesus would be green, and recycle. Deal with it.

Anyway…

This got me thinking. At first I thought “Well, maybe I’m not being a good enough Christian, if they think I’m “normal” and “cool.”‘ My second thought was “What kind of crappy Christians do you know?” And then I started thinking about Jesus. About the REAL Jesus of the Bible and how the non-Christians of His time liked Jesus. (Well…most of them). Because He was normal. In Isaiah 53, it says that Jesus had nothing about him that set him apart from other people. Or at least portrayed Himself as normal, and came down to the level of the people that He spent time with, and made them feel important as individuals. He built relationships with them, and loved them for who they were. Because He knew that each person was specially created.

Take the woman at the well for example. John 4:7-26
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

10Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”

WOW! I can’t even imagine how this woman felt. The passage goes on to say that the disciples (who were continually questioning Jesus’ actions, and were probably embarrassed by him at times…), asked Jesus what he was doing with her. In today’s lingo, it probably would have sounded something like “Jesus, what the heck are you doing? We can’t be seen with her! She’s not as cool as us!”

This woman, who no one associated with, because she was a Samaritan and had a long past of sin, was being talked to by the Messiah! The savior. And he accepted her. All of her. The good, bad and the terribly ugly parts of who she was, with no question asked. He reached out to her when no one would. Even the people from her very own community. Back in the day, people would go to get water early in the morning or in the evening when it was cool. She went out in the middle of the day, when she knew no one else would be there because she didn’t want to be condemned.

That’s when Jesus chose to visit her. When no one else would even bother to look her way. THAT IS SO COOL. And I know the awesome feeling she must have felt, because Jesus found me, when everyone else had alienated me.

I want to be normal. I want to be a good person. I want to be a part of the world and not of it. I was to be different, so that people notice that I am not like everyone else. But I don’t want to condemn others, because in reality… I’m not better than the worst “sinner,” the cruelest murder, or the street walked standing on the corner right now.

. We ALL have sin…including me. The only difference is that I am forgiven, and I am forgiven because someone cared enough to reach out to me when I could have cared less about God. When I thought the idea of Jesus and being a Christian was the stupidest thing I had ever heard of. Someone showed me the same love that Jesus did to the Samaritan woman.

GOOD SONG —> My Jesus by Todd Agnew <—-

 

Human Trafficking Awareness August 27, 2010

Filed under: Christian Life,Jesus — Lauren @ 4:17 AM
Tags: , , ,

I don’t know how many people ACTUALLY read my blog, so I don’t know how many people this blog will affect.

Human trafficking is a tragic thing that happens ALL over the world. Human trafficking is “an act of recruiting, transporting, transfering, harbouring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them.”

I used to think that it was something that only happened in other countries, far away and way out of reach for me to be able to do anything about it.  But that is simply not true. In America it happens everyday, and a lot of times in towns and cities that you wouldn’t think that it wouldn’t be happening in. There are at least two know human trafficking rings in Sacramento, one in Citrus Heights, and two in Eldorado Hills. And those are the ones that have been reported, and in just a very small area of Northern California.

It is thought that at the very minimum, on average 14,500-17,500 people are trafficked each year in America.

– 27 million people are trapped in modern-day slavery across the world.

– 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year.

– 1 million – Number of children exploited by the global commercial sex trade, every year.

– 50% – Percent of transnational victims who are children.

– 80% – Percent of transnational victims who are women and girls.

– 70% – Percent of female victims who are trafficked into the commercial sex industry.  This means that 30% of female victims are victims of forced labor.

– 244,000 – Number of American children and youth estimated to be at risk of child sexual exploitation

– 38,600 – Estimated number of an approximate 1.6 million runaway/thrownaway youth at risk of sexual endangerment or exploitation

Human trafficking can be a person being trafficked for labor, sex and anything in between.

One must wonder, how do people get involved in Human Trafficking. Well, first of all, NO ONE wants or asks to be exploited. Frequently, traffickers will recruit people through what seems like real and legitimate job ads such as being a hostess, domestics or various kinds of work in agriculture.

There are warning signs of companies that are involved in trafficking:

-Very strict security at the commercial establishment including barred windows, locked doors, isolated location, electronic surveillance. Women are never seen leaving the premises unless escorted.

-labor trafficking, victims are often prohibited from leaving the work site, which may look like a guarded compound from the outside.

-Sex trafficking, the people being trafficked live no the same property as the brothel, strip clubs or other such establishments.

-Victims are escorted and kept a close eye on at the doctors, or hospitals.

Individuals that are being trafficked are controlled by any combination of  fear, intimidation, abuse, and psychological controls. Most are controlled through some form of abuse.

The harsh truth is that Human Trafficking is modern day slavery. And it can happen to anyone, from any race, background or gender.

It IS very real, and it IS happening around, and SOMETHING needs to be done to stop it. Some very simple things that you can do, is to become aware of what stores around you sell fair trade goods. Meaning, that they are not produced by victims of human trafficking. http://www.transfairusa.org/content/WhereToBuy/

Start becoming educated about human trafficking in your area and find out what you can do to help stop it. Whether it is just advocating awareness or becoming physically involved in groups that fight against it.

Courage to Be You is a local organization based of or Rocklin, Ca.

http://wrathcampaign.org/

http://slaverymap.org/

There are SO many different things that can be done to help put a stop to human trafficking, please don’t turn a blind eye to what is going on.

 

From May 2009

Filed under: Christian Life,Jesus — Lauren @ 2:06 AM
Tags:

I really like poetry, I don’t write it very often. Just when I am feeling an intense emotion. I wrote this poem over a year ago in May 2009. It was about the previous year, and everything leading up to that point.
One day I prayed a prayer that changed my life forever
“God create in me a miracle,
bless me with eyes to see.
I know that you are there,
But as hard as I search,
I cannot find you anywhere”
I said all this in innocence
barely over a year ago.
All in faith that He would fulfill
But with no idea of when or how
or any knowledge of what was in store
People’s trails rarely seem that bad,
when you’re on the outside looking in.
I always scoffed when people said they had been broken
Always said that I could make it through what they had.
But the tests set out before us
were laid out by the Father that knows us to our very core.
Being broken comes in many shapes and forms
For some it’s the commitment
Or a bruising and breaking down of an ego,
Other’s it is the chance that they may fail.
Being led through life’s storms
is a promise God does reveal
In a girlish flight of feeling,
I gave my heart away
It felt so different, so strange
But I fervently prayed the feelings would forever stay.
Little did I know God was about to grant my prayer
To create in me a miracle with new eyes to see
I was broken, as far away from people as could be
Mentally, so I moved that it would also be physically.
Ten hours south, to the beach and the sun.
I was determined to start a new
To run in the ocean and have some fun.
At first my plan was working,
and the pain seemed to dull
I decided to play a game with God
To see how long I could go
without His hand to guide me
I was busy with school, and the beach
But ignoring God to prove a point
It left me feeling anything but full.
I embraced the sun, the weather and the warmth
But inside I still felt cold and dark, alone and full of fear
I refused, I did not want to hear
what other’s had to say to try and brighten up my day
It was then I began to learn
One’s worst life with God is better
than one’s best life without Him.
Once again I found myself before Him on the floor
Beginning to implore
“I want to be a miracle, I want a drastic change
The pain of being broken, is just too much to bear
God take me as you will, but don’t forget
to heal me as well.”
I wanted something immediate .
A great light from heaven to strike me where I was
A bandage around my heart
to guide the pieces together
to calm the storms of my soul, and bring me to the light
I began to feel the forces start the fight
for my soul and who I am.
“God what are you doing?
I do not understand, to go through
all this pain, was never in my plan.”
One day I acted on a whim
I drove through the desert,and witnessed
a wilderness and beauty
I never knew existed.
God found me in the desert
Gave me water and let me live
I embraced His love and kindness
Took a walk along the beach
until I found a cliff.
I overlooked the waves
felt so tiny, like a single grain of sand
Grateful and loved
that I was important enough to be saved
I embraced my tears with ease
felt complete, and allowed my heart to bleed
I let go of all my fears.
Jesus was with there, hugging and loving me for me
I made it home, and the floor on bended knee
In the same place I first asked for
a miracle and new eyes for me to see.
By faith I came to realize
By faith I made my plea
By grace Jesus answered,
even though I faltered, hated and I screamed
He never left my side
leading and holding me tighter everyday.
I was broken, made anew
and would never have it any other way.
One day I prayed a prayer, because I knew my life was forever changed
“God you created in me a miracle,
gave me brand new eyes with which to see.
I know, Father that you are there,
and I search and I can see
By faith I will now follow you anywhere”