Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Published November 26, 2009 @ 07:00AM PT
On this Thanksgiving day, many of us are counting our blessings. Or at least, trying to count our blessings while Aunt Betty and Cousin Bob fight about politics, Little Mackenzie sings Hanna Montana at the top of her lungs, and mom shoves a fourth slice of pie down your throat while asking intrusive questions. But you know who else has something to be thankful for today? Corporations who use slave labor to make their goods. Here are seven reasons why they are feeling grateful today, too.
7. Their lobby groups are going to oppose a ban on goods made by child labor. The powerful lobby for big business isn't going to stand by and let their poor clients be hurt by an audacious bill which would ban the import of goods made by child or forced labor to the U.S. They're going to fight to keep those children and slaves working hard.
6. Most major U.S. grocery chains carry few or no Fair Trade products. When large chains carry few or no Fair Trade options (or hide those options on the bottom self), customers are more likely to continue to buy the cheap, slave-made products that earn a huge profit for the companies that make them. It's a good thing for corporations that use slaves when large chains don't carry Fair Trade.
5. The holiday season is about quantity, not quality. These corporations are really thankful that people get so caught up in the holiday season, they often ascribe value to sheer quantity of stuff bought over issues like where it came from and how it was produced. They really hope consumers don't wise up and start shopping with an eye to where their holiday purchases came from.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Dee Schronce ran away from her Ohio home to escape sexual abuse, but an unimaginable fate awaited her in New Orleans.
At 17, Schronce was drugged and sold into sexual slavery.
“Being forced to work in a brothel is, if you can imagine, being sexually assaulted over and over and over again and there’s nothing you can do about it. Your mind has to go to a place of survival and has to sort of tune it out,” Schronce said.
Three months in captivity
For three months Schronce lived in darkness.
She was kept in a dark, dank trailer with other women. Two other trailers sat on the property that was surrounded by a fence and overseen by a guard.
The women were brought out after dark and taken into an adjoining bar. Here, clients waited.
“It was full of fear, and it was just like being a prisoner only tortured in a different way, not just physical but psychological,” Schronce said. “It was very degrading.”
The women with whom Schronce “served time” weren’t drugged. They were intimidated, humiliated and threatened. They were held captive and used.
Schronce struggled through the daily routine but secretly planned her escape. Her first attempt failed, and she suffered the consequences.
She was beaten and made to dance, covered in blood and torn clothing. But three weeks later, she tried again.
With help from a client, Schronce climbed over the fence and rode away in her accomplice’s truck.
“That’s what allowed me to get out. I never lost hope. Once you’ve lost hope then you’ve pretty much sealed your fate,” said Schronce.
She never returned to the site of her captivity.
Breaking the silence
For more than 20 years, Schronce kept quiet about her ordeal.
She created a new life in Gaston County. She married and had children.
But Schronce’s faith led her to part her lips and speak up for the women and children suffering silently in the human trafficking trade.
Schronce authored a book, “Mary and Me: From Ruin to Royalty,” and started speaking to groups across North Carolina.
She became a board member for AVID, Assault & Victimization Intervention & Deterrence in Gaston County.
Opening old wounds isn’t easy.
“It’s just a place you don’t want to walk back into,” she said. “There’s still a scar.”
Schronce hopes her openness about her ordeal will help others break the silence.
“I want to break that chain of shame that goes along with being a victim. A victim shouldn’t have to feel that shame,” Schronce said. “From the time that I was a child to even now, I identified it as shame that I never should have owned in the first place.”
There have been no reported cases of human trafficking in Gaston County, but that doesn’t mean the issue should be swept under the rug, according to Nancy Newman, director of AVID.
“It is a terrible crime that has been taking place on a large scale for a long time,” said Newman. “Only now is it receiving national recognition because of the beautiful little 5-year-old that was destroyed for trafficking purposes.”
Shaniya Davis, 5, of Fayetteville was found dead Monday on a rural Highway in Lee County. The child’s mother, Antoinette Davis, has been charged with human trafficking and child abuse involving prostitution.
Mario McNeill is being charged with first-degree murder and first-degree rape of a child in the case, Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine told reporters at a news conference.
Davis’ death should bring local attention to a national issue, Newman said.
“This is no longer a Third World country problem, this is happening in America,” Newman said. “In foreign countries, parents have been selling their virgin females into organized crime for years.”
Human trafficking can be for labor or sex purposes.
“It’s the leading source of income now for organized crime,” said Newman.
Signs of abuse
Human trafficking victims are often isolated, Newman said, and are typically moved from place to place. Relocating a victim keeps the person confused, detached and unfamiliar with his or her surroundings.
Victims are often runaways. They are targeted because they are vulnerable.
“It’s the people that fall through the cracks. Not only are they victimized once but they’re victimized over and over again,” said Schronce.
Places used to harbor trafficking victims can be identified by some physical characteristics.
Some indicators include:
Barbed wire surrounding a home
Bodyguards around a home, factory or business
Bars on windows of home or factory
Vehicles coming and going at odd hours
Men coming and leaving at odd hours
People being escorted to and from a building
Lots of people being loaded into a vehicle
“Approaching these victims can be very touchy. You can cost them their lives,” said Newman. “The best thing you can do is contact law enforcement immediately because there are a lot of risks for the victim and for you.”
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Two Macon men have been indicted on charges that they locked a 14-year-old girl in a house in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood and forced her to have sex with up to 15 people.
Shuntain N. Griffin, 30, and Marcus Dwayne Henley, 31, are charged with trafficking a person for sexual servitude, according to an indictment returned in Bibb Superior Court on Tuesday.
The girl ran away from her Bibb County home March 8 and walked to the Zebulon Road Wal-Mart, where she met a trucker and spent the night in his truck, said Allie Seckinger, a Bibb County sheriff’s investigator.
The next day, he dropped her off at a CVS pharmacy in the Bloomfield area of Macon, where she camped out in the woods for a couple of nights.
At some point, men in that neighborhood introduced the girl to Griffin, and she spent the night at his house, Seckinger said.
The next day, Griffin and Henley took the girl to a house on Second Avenue, where, in the girl’s words, she was forced to “serve” people, Seckinger said. At one point, there were 10 to 15 people lined up waiting for her.
“They pretty much pimped her out,” Capt. Mike Smallwood said.
After two to three days, Griffin and Henley sold the girl to a Crawford County man for $500, Seckinger said.
Authorities soon received a tip that the girl was in Crawford County, and they returned the teen to her family March 19. It wasn’t until later interviews that investigators discovered the sexual activity, Seckinger said.
Daniel Chestley White, 46, of Grace Road in Crawford County, was arrested in October on charges of child molestation, aggravated sodomy, rape, interference with child custody, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and human trafficking, according to the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.
Additional charges may be pending against White in Bibb County, Seckinger said.
Smallwood said the case is the first instance in which the sheriff’s office has worked a human trafficking case that led to charges being filed.
Crawford County investigator Johnny Cleveland said White’s arrest is the first human trafficking case in Crawford County.
White was released on $20,000 bond Nov. 4, according to Crawford County jail records.
Griffin, of a Bloomfield Drive address, is being held at the Bibb County jail on $111,200 bond.
Henley, of a Virginia Avenue address, is being held without bond, according to Bibb County jail records.
Court records showed that Tuesday’s indictment wasn’t Griffin or Henley’s first brush with the law.
Griffin was convicted of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and writing fictitious checks in 2006 in Baldwin County.
In 2003, he was convicted of attempted burglary in Houston County. In 2001, Griffin was convicted of possession of cocaine in Bibb County.
Henley was convicted of possession of methamphetamine in Bibb County in 2007. In 1998, he was convicted of burglary and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute in Monroe County, according to the indictment.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
bug went to monkey joes with jenny! if you read this blog and know my bug she LOVES jenny. jenny was her teacher when she was in the baby room. jenny hangs with bug sometimes when i have things i need to do. last night they went to monkey joes and out to dinner. not only did she get to hang with jenny she also go to hang with her buddy luke. they have been buds since bug was 8 weeks old :)
one of the cutest things jenny said they did last night was all hold hands at dinner to bless the food and bug and luke sang "God our Father, God our Father, We thank you, For our many blessings, For our many blessings, Amen.
well last night in the middle of the night when bug was asleep, she sat up and starting singing! she sang the whole song and then laid back down. it was so cute!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
how many times have you looked a label of an item you are going to purchase and wondered...where did this come from and who made it?
yeah me either until this year. but now that i know, what do i do?
ill be the first to admit it is "hard" to buy slave free items.
yes it is more expensive to buy slave free.
yes it is more work to buy slave free.
yes it is inconvenient to buy slave free.
but its worth it.
recently the Department of Labor published a "list of goods produced by child labor and/or forced labor". to make it a little easier for you here are a few screen shots of exactly where some of your things are coming from.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
seriously? this has to stop!