Tuesday, July 15, 2014

An American Hero Continues Saving Lives

Last Thursday I filled in for Dr. Laurie Roth as host of her radio show. Here is my interview with a true American Hero, Anthony Donald Coggiola, who is leading a cutting-edge movement to develop, Veteran Owned Controlled Environment Agriculture based businesses. If you're tired of bad news, just listen to Anthony's vision and encouragement. The interview is at this link.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Malala Celebrates Her 17th Birthday With Parents of Kidnapped Nigerian Girls

In an unremarkable conference room in an unremarkable international hotel in Abuja, an extraordinary group of people gathered.
Twelve of them were the parents of girls who were kidnapped three months ago by militant group Boko Haram.
The two others were Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani woman just turned 17, and her father Ziauddin.
Malala, thoughtful and self-possessed, explained that she had made the journey to Nigeria from Birmingham in England, where she lives at present, because she regarded the kidnapped girls as her sisters.
"I am going to stand up for them," she said.
Monday has been designated by the United Nations as Malala Day. She has just turned 17, and she decided that she must mark it by coming to Nigeria and appealing for the release of the kidnapped girls and the right of all children here to an education.
Nigeria, though it recently became the leading economy in Africa, has one of the world's worst records for education. More than 10 million children aged between 6 and 11 - 42% - are not in school. There is a shortage of more than 200,000 primary school teachers.
Malala believes that there is a clear link between poor education and the political violence which the extreme Islamist Boko Haram movement has brought to Nigeria. "If you improve the one, you discourage the other," she has said.
Ziauddin Yousafzai started to explain to the parents how Malala had been shot in the head by a Taliban hitman in Pakistan two years ago, and almost killed. But he couldn't get the words out, and broke down in tears. The 12 Nigerian parents, as they listened to him, wept openly too.
The parents share a powerful feeling that in spite of their loss, they have been shut out and ignored. The government hasn't talked to them at any stage. It hasn't even shown them much sign of sympathy.
Rebecca Samwell, a Christian, said they had heard rumours that some of the girls had been rescued; her missing daughter Sarah is 17, like Malala. "We simply aren't told what the truth is."
One of the fathers, Malla Abu, asked: "Is it because we're poor country people that the government isn't doing anything? Suppose these were the daughters of someone important; would they still be in the forest after 90 days?"
In the hotel grounds, Malala met five girls who were kidnapped with the others in the town of Chibok, but managed to escape by jumping out of the trucks which were taking them to captivity in the Sambisa forest, more than 200 miles (320km) away.
Had any of the five girls been interviewed by the Nigerian army for information they might have about their Boko Haram captors? No, they said.
Government officials deny they have been lackadaisical about investigating the kidnappings, and insist that everything is being done to trace the girls and get them back.
But after 90 days it is hard to see what success the authorities have had.
Mike Omeri, the co-ordinator of the government's anti-terror campaign, insists that they know where the girls are and that they are safe.
But the families are deeply worried by Boko Haram threats to marry the girls off to the movement's fighters, against their will. Some are afraid their daughters have been raped.
There seems to be a total stalemate. Boko Haram says it will free the girls in exchange for the release of Boko Haram prisoners from Nigerian jails.
At different times, various figures in the Nigerian government seem to have considered an exchange, but the army, and perhaps Western governments, are opposed to the idea.
The weakness of the Nigerian army in the country's north-east makes it hard to think that the girls can be rescued.
Faced with this deadlock, the parents are close to despair.
In the hotel in Abuja, Malala's father Ziauddin ended the meeting with the parents by saying a prayer:
"O God, accept our tears, accept the tears of these fathers and mothers. O God, empower us to bring the girls back."
And the parents, Christian and Muslim, joined together in saying "Amen."

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Indian Village Council Orders Girl Raped

Here is my interview yesterday on "Voice of Russia." 

Yes, there are places in the world where people still use rape as a form of punishment. In this case, the "punished" girl was not the perpetrator of the crime, but the sister of the criminal. 

By Andrew Hiller
WASHINGTON (VR) – The idea that the sins of the brother shall be passed on to the sister is a particularly odd thought in the 21st Century. In Northern India, a fourteen year old girl was ordered raped by her own village council as retribution for the alleged actions of her brother. In this perverted case of tit for tat, the teen's brother's alleged actions (he has been accused of assaulting the wife of Birju Pasi) resulted in Pasi raping the young girl. The story, women's advocates say seems to point again to a trend against women and not just in India.

"Rape as a punishment... as a weapon of war has been used for the entire history of humanity," Ray Bechard, an activist, author and committee chair Men against Prostitution and Trafficking stated, "This is nothing new. People turning against it are new."
What may be new is that when the police chief of Jharkhand heard about the act he expressed public outrage and three people were arrested in association with both the order and the act.
"This (rape) happened five days ago." Bechard noted. "These people were arrested pretty quickly. There probably has to be some PR element to it, however, this (Jharkhand) police chief who arrested these people (suggests) the tide is turning."
Part of that turn, Bechard suggests, is due to the reaction by the world and in India to the gang rape and murder of a girl near Delhi in December of 2012. The act and the response of authorities stunned the world and shocked many in India. Bechard sees hope in the aftermath of this community ordered rape.
"The media has a large part to play in it and fortunately," Bechard said, "because so many individuals and individual communities have a voice through the internet and through cultures being connected... you know, just a few years ago, we may not have heard of this case at all. It may have been known in the local media. There may have been awareness of it locally. There may have been an outcry, but now there's a global outcry against it."
That outcry he says hopefully may have an impact on behavior at first on law enforcement, but eventually on the culture itself.
"The trend," Bechard said, "is more that we are more hearing about these actions taking place coming out of these villages and remote parts of India and other parts of the world and for the first time people en mass are responding against it."
Bechard also points the finger at himself. He says that activists, citizens, and all of us must stay engaged and refuse to remain a silent majority.
"Each time this happens we have to be made aware and certainly put pressure on governments and on individual rights' groups to say this has to stop. The human rights declaration of the UN has to be followed by members of the UN.”


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Friday, July 11, 2014

Notify Your Local Police: Victims of Human Trafficking Identified Online

This is how it works.

A pimp has a phone number through which he works several girls. He is selling them for sex. The phone number he uses is the means by which he makes his livelihood. The phone is everything: his money, his connections, his power. He lists that number day and night on social networking, escort and urban listing websites in a specific geographic region.
In this case, the phone number was listed on Backpage.com in the Connecticut Escort section. More specifically, at a Motel 6 well known for human trafficking on the Silas Deane Highway in Wethersfield, CT. This was documented in the case of the United States vs. Dennis Paris in 2007, through Wethersfield Police verification in 2010, again with his Mr. Paris's brother, Jaykuan Paris in 2012, and through eyewitness accounts as recently as July 6, 2014.
The ad for a girl called "Coco." Her photo, one taken from the Backpage.com, is included in this article and obviously depicts an underage female. The phone number can be searched through a website called EscortPhoneSearch.com, which was established so that men could locate their favorite girl-for-sale via that very special phone number.
In "Coco's" case, a search for her number on EscortPhoneSearch.com reveals the profiles and photos of several women in this particular pimp's stable. You can read reviews of the girl's services on TheEroticReview.com or find all her listings on CityVibe.com or Fling.com
It's that simple. You only need the phone number. In fact, that's all law enforcement needs to rescue potential victims of this human rights violation. At this very moment, "Coco" is being worked (sold) out of the Motel 6 at the corner of the Silas Deane Highway and Town Line Road in Wethersfield, CT in the US. Her listing was posted just a few hours ago.
The men are there now, buying her, paying for her to be their slave.
Will the police be there as well?
Some time ago, I was told by a Wethersfield Detective. "We know there's human trafficking there. We just don't have the manpower right now." It was not the detective's fault. I have known him for years and he loves Wethersfield, protecting people and his job. He was more frustrated with the situation than any of us. This is why I am trying to make people aware. The police must be given the resources and training for this type of crime. The pressure to get them want the need - and want - must come from us. For now, find out the email of the detectives in your town. Then, you can go to the "Escort" section of Backpage.com in you local area, look at each listing, and select the "email this post" option. Then, email it to your police, urging them to investigate if it is a human trafficking situation. If ten people do that consistently in in every town, things will begin to change.
Of course, if the police want to know exactly where these young girls are, they just need to look at RubMap.com. That's right, it's a website that lists all the "Happy Ending" massage parlors in the United States by individual town. You can look up each parlor's listing and read reviews of their "services." If you don't understand the coded language used by the customers - who call themselves "hobbyists" - Rubmap even has a handy Glossary of Terms.
According to RubMap.com, the girl in this photo is being worked out of Hartford Oriental Massage at 618 Silas Deane Highway in Wethersfield, CT - directly across the street from Corpus Christi Church. The online "customer" reviews of this establishment are explicit in their description of the sexual services offered there.
"The arrests occurred between February and late June."

A Public Relations Response. Our pressure on the Wethersfield Police Department to do something about the Motel 6 and the Oasis Spa human trafficking ring has motivated them to release information about what they did across the street six months ago. Since then, the problem has migrated to a location less than a mile away from the Police Station. The question remains: What are they doing now?

Read the full  story here.

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