The Widdershins

The Vanishing

Posted on: March 29, 2017

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Over the weekend I edited a short fundraising video for organizations that help victims of human trafficking. These are all religious institutions and the women interviewed were all nuns. One from NYC, one from London, and one from Mombasa, Kenya.

Human trafficking is the 2nd largest crime industry in the world, only behind drug trafficking. It generates hundreds of billions of dollars in profit – at the expense of human lives. And it is also the fastest growing “industry” in the world today. In 2012 it was estimated that as many as 20.9 million people around the world were victims of human trafficking. Imagine what those numbers are in 2017. Human trafficking includes sexual exploitation (including sexual slavery), forced labor, organ harvesting. The International Labour Organization (a United Nations agency) last compiled their statistics in 2012. Some excerpts:

90% are forced to labor for private economies or corporations

22% are in forced sexual exploitation

55% are women and girls & 45% are men and boys

26% are under the age of 18

Sister Jane Kimathi, from Mombasa, speaks of victims as young as 4 years old, forced into prostitution. Many, she says, come to their safe houses unable to speak because of the trauma. Some stay with the Sisters for as long as two years, as they try to rehabilitate them and find new homes. While their order is Catholic, they welcome all victims and their prayer room is nondenominational. She mentioned that Mombasa is a popular tourist destination. But the “tourist destination” designation is people who come there specifically searching for young children to abuse. Because of the many conflicts in Africa, the number of refugees spikes the numbers of slaves. They are people looking for ways to support their families. Nobody is looking for glamour or prestige in the sex trade, Sister Kimathi says. “It’s poverty and desperation.” Some of the children were sold by their parents into slavery. Some are orphans and some are runaways who were promised happiness by relatives, who then exploited them.

It’s a story the Sister from New York, Joan Dawber, picks up on. Sister Joan runs safe houses in Queens. She described one woman’s story: She came to New York to be a student, sponsored byp1562069350-3 an extended family. When she arrived, the family forced her to become their slave. She never attended school. She was forced to take care of the family, including raising their young children. She was forced to eat off the floor. Not just having her plate on the floor, she didn’t have a plate. Whatever food she was allowed to eat was put on the floor. If she was hungry and snuck any food out of the fridge, she was punished. She was her family’s slave in Queens, NY for five years. Her salvation came in the form of a neighbor who suspected something odd based on the young woman’s behavior in public. She tried to speak to her repeatedly, ask her how she is, only to have the young woman run away. Eventually the neighbor gave the woman a cell phone with pre-programmed numbers for the police and safe shelters. The young woman finally found courage to escape, using the cell phone to call for help. She has since finished school and lives in New York.

Sister Dawber points out that human trafficking exists in every state of the USA. It is not an issue that only happens out there somewhere. It exists all around us. It could be the waitress in a restaurant, or a manicurist at the nail salon. They could be of any age and any race. It can be almost impossible to know that this person ringing up our groceries is indentured to someone.

Sister Lynda Dearlove runs a safe house in London. Their organization primarily helps prostitutes. The interesting thing is that their mission isn’t strictly to “rescue” the women from prostitution. It is to offer them a safe home and counseling when in need. Many only come to sister-lynda-dearlovespend the night, take a shower and eat. Some then return to the streets. The Sisters there never force anyone to stay. Many women have been coming to them for years for a night or two of peace. The Sisters hope that by offering women a shelter and offering them counseling they can help them enable themselves. Sister Dearlove passionately says that the can not force anyone to do anything. The best they can do is show the women that there is hope and they need to find it for themselves. Maybe not today, but possibly tomorrow. “They are valued and they are loved, and if anything happens to them we want them to know that we will miss them.” She says that people blame women for becoming prostitutes and that it is one of the biggest challenges we as a society face: The need to understand that if any of these women choose prostitution it is only because they are fleeing abuse, or drugs, or so many other possible traumas. Many are trying to support families and stay alive. They must never be judged or condemned, she says. They must be offered hope.

Note: Sister Dearlove was appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire in 2010.

This is an open thread. What’s on your mind fellow Widdershins?

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77 Responses to "The Vanishing"

I knew human trafficking was far more pervasive than we think but those statistics are stunning. Are there any websites that address ways to help? Thanks for shining a light DYB.

DYB, great post and it is appalling what so many humans will to others for money.

This is such a huge problem. I have friends who are active in this effort to spread light about the pervasiveness of this madness. It’s hard to believe this is happening in 2017. I’m glad you wrote about this. We need to pay attention to the world’s real problem as opposed to feeding the orange-hued ego.

We can’t begin to do enough to end this — excellent writing. These ladies are saints.

OMG, Bill Maher is going to have Roger Stone and Rick Santorum on this Friday’s show. I don’t think I can handle this.

it is appalling what so many men will do to others for money.

@4, that is one zealot nutjob over my wretch limit.

@5, no truer words were ever typed.

There are many variations on this quote, but Madame de Stael was one of the people who said: “The more I learn of men the more I like dogs.”

I also like this one (I started googling her.) “Politeness is the art of choosing among your thoughts.”

Powerful post, DYB. Must not have been easy to write — thanks for doing it anyway.

Hmmm…it’s a landslide, 70K under-educated men in three states are really, really stupid and now America realizes it. Approval 35%/Disapproval 59%.

Thanks for writing this post DYB. The numbers are just stunning, to put it mildly.

Very good article here about the refugees in Athens who have had to turn to sex work to earn money. They made the trip from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries for asylum and then got stuck in Greece after the borders were closed.

Powerful statement by a Holocaust survivor to the acting ICE Director at a meeting in Sacramento.

Well this is surprising. Didn’t Comey refuse to join the other agencies in making this announcement at a later date?

“FBI Director James Comey attempted to go public as early as the summer of 2016 with information on Russia’s campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election, but Obama administration officials blocked him from doing so, two sources with knowledge of the matter tell Newsweek.”

http://www.newsweek.com/fbi-director-james-comey-russian-tampering-election-576417

If we for a moment thought Lindsey Graham was not insane.

https://twitter.com/LindseyGrahamSC/status/847206297355341824

@12: this is disgraceful. I know the refugee issue is complicated, but why take in distressed people without a plan to integrate them into your country? Leaving them to survive like feral cats will only cause more problems down the road for all concerned.

@13: kudos to Mr. Marks. Even if they haven’t learned from history, I don’t understand why they have no compassion or humanity for others. Deporting real criminals is one thing, stalking those who have minor infractions and are only here to make a better life for themselves and their families, many having done so for years now, are two entirely different things. Are we devolving instead of evolving?

cats3@16: Many (most?) of those refugees were heading to other European countries when the gates/doors were literally slammed shut on them and thus were stuck in those camps in countries like Greece. They were stuck where they were at that time. That article I linked to was from June 2016 but I don’t know how much, if any, things are changed now.

@20: Perhaps because he’s going to fight the Holy War against the heathen Muslims? SMH

And yep because (from the link):

I call for prayers for the president of Russia, who is protecting traditional Christianity.” Graham also praised Russian involvement in Syria, which the Russian Orthodox Church has called a “holy battle.”

I long for a bungling drunk like GW.

@22: And it’s still some weird shit.

@19, thanks Fredster. So basically the countries they were destined for didn’t honor their commitment, either had a plan that didn’t work or had no plan at all and both Greece and the refugees are paying the price. SIgh.

@23: Those were the days. (amazing what we wish for)

@25: I’d say a combination of both. Europe was overwhelmed with the number of people coming in. I believe that’s one of the reasons Obama said the U.S. would take more refugees into the U.S.

Link (has a video attached)

http://time.com/4501924/barack-obama-refugee-increase-united-nations/

@17: OMG, just played that clip. Wow!!

Ahhhh yes, the innocent days of Dubya and Cheney… What have we come to.

That Newsweek article about Comey is crazy. A few weeks ago in my Comey post I said we keep see-sawing between “I love you! I hate you!” with Comey. I guess right now we are back to “I love you.”

Obama’s reaction is not surprising. We already know he didn’t use the information later in the election season because McConnell bullied him. I hate to blame Obama for everything like the Right-wingers do, but his biggest character flaw was his timidness because he always wanted to be nice, or appear nice, or “go high” or whatever people might want to call it. Unfortunately he’s dealing with people who are not nice. He’s like Ned Stark in “Game of Thrones,” but without the nobility. Just a desire to appear saintly which results in a lot of destruction. In a game of thrones, you win or you die. Unfortunately for us, we are dying.

Good clip by Think Progress.

Riding/surfing BIG waves (YUGE) at Nazaré Portugal.

@23 & 30, I’m going to blow my policy reputation all to hell with this comment, but I truly believe this to be true for the short term. Dems must stop always being the grown-up. We must stop being the battered wife in an abusive relationship. We have to punch the bullies right square in the throat.

I don’t know who said it, but it’s an apt metaphor. Reps and Dems were sitting at a game table playing the board game politics. The Reps got up from the table and burned the house down. The Dems just sat there and continued playing by the game rules. That’s it in a nut shell — no fancy parable needed beyond that.

If it is true that Comey wanted to come out last summer with a statement and Obama stopped him, I can see strategically how Dolt 45 had coopted Obama with all the “It’s rigged” talk. That strategy didn’t come from Dolt 45, it came from Manafort or Bannon — straight from the Kremlin playbook of using the weakness of the enemy against itself.

Obama is a decent man, good father, and husband. That’s a truth, but he has never, and at this point in the country can’t, appear to be an “angry black man.” He has said that himself about himself. It is where our country is in the long-healing of our national shame. Obama could never show the emotion that should be coupled with treasonous bastards stealing an election.

But, that excuse stops being enough when you factor in there were plenty of people smart enough to strategically get on the other side of Dolt 45 and Putin in this whole issue. All it would have taken was someone standing up and taking the issue away from Dolt 45 by saying, “Trump’s right. This is what we’ve learned. Someone is trying to rig the election and it is Putin.”

Comey could have done it and then it would have been Dolt 45 having to attack Comey and the FBI. I still don’t know why they didn’t or wouldn’t crack down on the NYC FBI office, but in any event, there were plenty of people smart enough to game this out. The question then becomes where were those smart people when it counted?

I’ll be quiet. That’s my rant for the evening.

We have to punch the bullies right square in the throat.

Better version: We have to punch the bullies right square in the throat balls.

That big wave surfing clip. Those guys are N. U. T.S. Amazing to watch.

DYB, wonderful post. This is one of the things I always return to when talking about how important it is to implement the 30% solution (and of course, a female president 😦 😦 ). This type of horror, so lucrative for sex traffickers and so destructive for its victims, is always last on male politicians’ lists. In fact, I will bet when legislation is proposed to try to fix this, male Congresscritters in general don’t even pay attention.

@33 – Nope, no need to be quiet. It was righteous, and so was Fredster’s edit. I will simply add this: Obama was the Democratic Party’s worst mistake. He destroyed it completely. I don’t care what the psychology was. There is no excuse to cover up a national security threat like the one Russia poses, in favor of allowing the most qualified and historic candidate ever to run for President, and his own alleged party, to be torpedoed by a political witch hunt. He owns this disaster, 1000%.

Re the comment upthread (by cats(3) I think?) as to what countries like Greece are thinking.

The problem starts with the rule for countries within the European Union that asylum seekers must register as such at the border.

So, a) there’s no orderly way to ask for asylum while you’re in your own country (eg Afghanistan, Eritrea, whatever). Opens opportunities for all the nasty people smugglers along the route.

b) If you think you have a better chance of making a good life in Germany or Sweden you have to avoid all the border officials in between until you get to the country which is your goal.

For quite a few years, the less desirable countries along the route, eg Greece, Hungary, Serbia, etc., blinked the refugees on through. They didn’t want the humanitarian catastrophe on their own refugee-facing border of trying to block people. Some of them (Macedonia? Hungary?? not at all sure who) even had buses to dump the refugees on the rich-Europe-facing border.

Merkel, to her eternal credit, had a strict refugee-welcoming policy for the longest time until her whole government was about to fall because of it.

Anyway, about two (?) years ago, popular feeling in “rich” Europe against the flood of foreigners grew so acute that their versions of tRump were climbing to majorities in the polls. So the governments decided it was time to clamp down on the flow westward.

It happened over a matter of weeks or few months, and that was why people became permanently stranded in places like Greece. It was just a transshipment point. Until it wasn’t.

@35 quixote said: I agree totally. Ain’t no way in hell! I would get queasy just watching those waves like the spectators were doing.

I agree with both Prolix and MB on Obama. I understand that he always tried to not be the angry black man. But there are also times when it was necessary. Those who hated him hated him when he was nice for 8 years. Once he learned of Russian interference in the elections, he should have been doing something. Something! They did nothing. That’s unforgivable.

On the new Comey revelations, some people are throwing cold water on it on twitter, including Nick Merrill, who worked for HRC. He reminded people that when other intelligence agencies were releasing their statements, Comey didn’t want to participate because it was too close to the election. Merrill called the new Newsweek story “revisionist.” So there are 3 Comey narratives.

1) In June he wanted to publicize the Russian interference.

2) In Autumn he refused to sign on to statement publicizing Russian interference, *allegedly* claiming it was too close to the election and he did not want to appear partisan.

3) He sends The Letter 12 days before the election, tipping the election to Trump.

All 3 of these things can not be true… He remains a man of mystery. Perhaps he just wants to be the new Hoover, power broker, kingmaker of DC.

“There is no excuse to cover up a national security threat like the one Russia poses”

Exactly, madamab. And given Obama’s liberal (yes, I’m using the word in several meanings) use of sexism in 2008, I’m much less inclined to be generous about his timidity, if that’s what it was.

@37: quixote I recall there was a lot more to it and that the refugees were basically making it to shore (some of them) and then just going on foot to get where they wanted to be. I remember seeing the video of police or troops literally standing on the railroad tracks to stop people from entering countries. And I agree that Merkel did a great job handling the influx.

@30, 33, 36, yessss. Obama always wanted to get along. Dubya threw away thousands of American lives — and far more civilian lives just to appease his desire to be a war POTUS, In 2008 I didn’t want reaching across the aisle unless it was with subpoenas for war crimes and lying to Congress and the American people.

The problem with going high when the other side goes low is that they’ll hamstring you. I recall Edwards (jerk in his personal life, but did go after big corporations to get his clients some justice) saying that you can’t invite some interests to a seat at the table, because they’ll eat the whole meal while trying to pull your chair out from under you.

Obama was going to be seen as an angry black man by racists no matter what he did. He pushed in and got the nomination that Hillary should have had. Then his need for bipartisan acceptance and his bad judgement enabled Trump. Helluva legacy. He grew in office but not enough.

@45: Agree about the legacy: the man who contributed to tRump’s election by doing nothing.

Not a whole lot new in this article, but has a nice summary of purported bot/hacking work.

Trump Russia dossier key claim ‘verified’

Several sources have told me that late last year Steele himself grew increasingly disillusioned with the FBI’s progress. “He really thought that what he had would sway the election,” said one.

…”If you need to ensure that white women in Pennsylvania don’t vote or independents get pissed in Michigan so they stay home: that’s voter suppression. You can figure what your target demographics and locations are from the voter rolls. Then you can use that to target your bot.”

This is the “big picture” some accuse the FBI of failing to see. It is, so far, all allegation – and not just the parts concerning Donald Trump and his people. For instance, the US intelligence agencies said last October that the voter rolls had been “scanned and probed” from a server in Russia.

But the Russian government was never shown to have been responsible. There are either a series of coincidences or there is a conspiracy of such reach and sophistication that it may take years to unravel.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39435786

The “can’t be an angry black man” meme was an excuse from lefties for awhile because they couldn’t believe Obama was handing the Republicans their own policies (healthcare) on a silver platter and the Rs slapped that hand away. They (well.. we, as Democrats) should have been protesting in numbers in the street against Obama’s appeasement. Instead, many refused to turn out in the midterms. And that’s why we’re where we are today.

Do you think if Hillary had won in 2008 we would be here? I don’t. For one, Hillary would have stepped up on that podium and said ‘This is what we need and why and here’s how we’re gonna do it’. Obama never bothered. The “angry black man” meme would have been “the nagging old bitchy mother” meme immediately and she would have laughed in their faces and kept going. For some reason, Obama couldn’t do that.

What pisses me off about it all is after 8 years of Hillary, Obama could be president now if he hadn’t jumped his turn. Yes, I said turn. You get your turn when you turn in the work. Hillary had, he had not.

DYB, great post. A storm Monday night took out my internet (and land line and TV) so I’m trying to catch up. I finally got it repaired this afternoon. I’m dog sitting for my sister and my cell phone doesn’t have good service here. It’s a pretty weird feeling not knowing what’s going on. If Hill was President, I wouldn’t have felt so antsy. Sigh…

@48: And the thing is, we’ve missed that chance now. I don’t think she’ll be considering national office again.

@49: A storm Monday night took out my internet (and land line and TV) so I’m trying to catch up

We have more possibly severe wx moving in here tonight (Thurs.) so that will probably head in your direction too GAgal.

tRump rescinds Obama E.O. which affected gov’t contractors “which required companies that want to do business with the federal government to disclose whether they have been liable for discriminating against people, including against LGBT people.”

Pig.

DYB, your post is excellent, and so, so sad. Bless those women you profiled in your article that are doing what they can to help. There are also traffickers that steal babies and sell them. When I was pregnant, a couple we know had their baby stolen in one of those warehouse stores. The baby was in its carrier, which was in the large cart. The parents had their backs turned looking at something and when they turned around a moment later, the cart was gone. They started screaming for help and running looking for the cart and the father ran to the front of the store screaming to close the exits, that his baby was stolen. A store manager did order all exits closed and guarded at once, over the loudspeaker. The father ran to meet the manager and then they heard an alarm go off, like at one of those doors that say, Do Not Exit, Alarm Will Sound. They ran in the direction of the alarm and thankfully for them the cart was left by the door with the poor crying baby inside. The traffickers had fled. All of this took like a minute or so to happen–and the baby WAS WEARING DIFFERENT CLOTHES! These people are organized to the nth degree and have no consciences, totally vicious. This episode terrified me like no other and turned me into a totally paranoid, over protective parent. There’s so much evil in this world, so depressing.

I enjoyed everyone’s comments and the links, but too tired to comment on them individually, except to say I agree with all of you about Obama.

Fredster, thanks for the heads up. I’ll check. I’m only seven miles from my Mom’s house, but when I called today, she said they had nothing like that there. This was a lightening strike to the outlets where the phone and internet were plugged in. It blew the cover off the thing-a-ma-jig plug into the router and it flew across the room and hit the front door. Scared the be-jeebers out of me (it was loud) and the doggies freaked out. Then I looked at the outlet. The circuit board, or whatever, was burned black. Terrible smell that is different from an electrical smell. So I spent the next hour calming down the critters and waiting for the lightening to stop so I could unplug it all. Normally, well not normally, I would have kicked the plug out of the wall but the lightening was so bad I was afraid to get near it. Later I realized the DSL filter on the land line was the same… cap blown off, teeny circuit board burned. Even after the storm, I couldn’t unplug the phone line. I guess it was melted inside.

On a positive note, (always a must) the guy who showed up to fix it was great! I just opened the door, pointed to it and said thanks. Less than hour later it was fixed. Easy for me to say. My sister will get the bill. 🙂

So let’s put to rest the fantasy (which I occasionally entertained) that Comey is a decent man. This proves he’s not. A decent man would care about the impact of his decisions.

It sounds like I’m missing an exciting testimony by an FBI agent at the Senate hearing.

Oh wow, Bernie supporters aren’t going to like this…

(Fredster @43. I wasn’t implying all refugees were bused. Definitely not. Not at all! Those pictures of all those thousands of people walking in their flimsy jackets through snow — I’m still feeling cold. I just meant the buses showed how much of a transshipment attitude there was in some places.

The reason so many walked, of course, is that they had to be sure not to have to declare their request for asylum before reaching a country that could give an asylum worth having.

Obviously the main thing to stop the whole disaster would have been not blowing the world up with wars to begin with. No question about that. And that’s not entirely the US’s fault. Mostly. But they do have lots of their own warlords too. Once the mess started though, it’s just so enraging that so much suffering could have been mitigated with a policy allowing asylum requests in the country of origin!)

GAGal @48. “The “angry black man” meme would have been “the nagging old bitchy mother” meme immediately and she would have laughed in their faces and kept going. For some reason, Obama couldn’t do that.”

Indeed. I’ve always maintained that’s why the powers-that-be worked so hard to hoist him into the nomination, with his couple of years experience in the Senate. They (“They”) knew he was no threat to their profits, unlike Hillary who would have gotten at least some stuff done.

This is the most shocking thing I’ve read in minutes.

BTW, my twitter account – which is very anti-Trump and anti-Putin and pro-HRC, has been “locked” by Twitter three time in the last 24 hours. Not locked for content, but suddenly I get a message saying it’s been locked for security reasons. Last time they called me with an authorization code to unlock it. I’m nobody and obviously there have been multiple attempts to hack into it.

Also, regarding that Nunes story and the 2 people in the White House who briefed him. People are pointing out that over the last two days Sean Spicer let the number 2 slip in his pressers.

@63: DYB, what have you been tweeting?

I follow you but haven’t been on twitter in a couple of days.

Flynn offers to testify in exchange for immunity. Now it’s official. What will Dump tweet now!

https://www.wsj.com/articles/mike-flynn-offers-to-testify-in-exchange-for-immunity-1490912959

Check out this video at the link of Clint Watts with Wolf Blitzer.

“I know that I’ve been targeted … and I know I’m on that list,” Watts said. “If I speak today, my bank account could be compromised, I could be discredited through compromising materials, some true some false, but I think the biggest concern is I’m not confident right now that the U.S. government would actually come to bat for me. I’ve seen President Trump call for Russia to leak emails against a political opponent, I’ve seen him discredit the U.S. intelligence community to cite conspiracies that he’s seen on his Twitter feed.”

“So, if I say things that the Trump administration doesn’t like or that counter to Putin, I’m not sure it’s not Trump first, Russia second and the rest of America third,” Watts said.

http://www.rawstory.com/2017/03/senate-intel-witness-doubts-trumps-loyalty-its-him-first-russia-second-and-the-rest-of-america-third/

I was just about to share that, DYB. I bet Rachel & Lawrence are busy right now. Let the orange tweetfest begin!

This Fox Security expert is going to need a new job ASAP.

Welp. I’ve been buried in work for the last 12 hours. Obviously I need to check my Twitter TL fast!

Who can keep up with it all, anymore? Not me. FBI “visits” another Trump dude and more.

Saipan, an island of 50,000 residents closer to China than to Hawaii, relaxed rules on casinos in 2014 and soon awarded Imperial Pacific exclusive rights to open casinos there. The casino, run by an executive who cut his teeth in Atlantic City casinos then owned by Donald Trump, enlisted a slate of luminary overseers including former leaders of both the Republican and Democratic national parties in the U.S.

Its board members include James Woolsey, who ran the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in the early 1990s and was among national-security advisers to Trump’s presidential campaign. Former FBI director Louis Freeh and Ed Rendell, a former Pennsylvania governor and Democratic National Committee chairman, sit on an advisory committee, as does Haley Barbour, the ex-Mississippi governor and Republican National Committee chairman who’s now a prominent lobbyist.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-30/fbi-agents-visit-office-of-saipan-casino-run-by-trump-protege

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