We Are Failing Millions By Not Searching For An End To Modern Day Slavery

We Are Failing Millions By Not Searching For An End To Modern Day Slavery

Some people ask, why don't the victims just leave? Well, it's not that easy.

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While many people are completely oblivious to the world's fastest growing crime, approximately 40.3 million victims are suffering the consequences of this modern day slavery. These people are all around us, even in the United States, almost everywhere we go, yet we don't realize it. With January being Human Trafficking Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to spread awareness about this awful crime.

Human trafficking is a multibillion-dollar industry created by the enslavement of individuals, generally for the use of sex and/or labor. These individuals are deprived of their freedoms and have no way out. No one race, ethnicity, or particular age is targeted either. While we generally see a larger percentage of female victims, males are affected, as well. People may be more vulnerable if they are migrants, poor, substance users, or homeless youth.

Some people ask, why don't the victims just leave? Well, it's not that easy. Victims go through physical and emotional abuse, making them feel trapped and giving them fear for leaving.

These victims are often poor or migrants, as explained above. There are threats that they may be reported, then, therefore, have to leave the country to avoid deportation. Poor people also have nowhere to go, so they are less likely to report it. As a country, we do not want to admit this is a problem, and to some people, avoiding it is easier than addressing it. However, we need to fight to save the trafficking victims so they can regain their freedoms.

If you have time, this video exemplifies how widespread human trafficking really is.

Recognizing the signs of human trafficking can make a large impact, especially when it comes to healthcare providers. In several instances, the traffickers will bring their victims to a hospital to receive medical attention, so teaching healthcare providers the signs can make a difference.

Learning more about trafficking and spreading awareness are the easiest and most beneficial ways to begin to end this awful crime. You should also go out and vote for policies that fight poor labor laws. Human trafficking is everywhere, we just don't know where to look. It's time to step up and do something to help stop the world's most dangerous and fastest growing crime. Slavery is still around today and it needs to come to an end.

Learn more here.

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5 Major Issues Facing The United States Today

And why they are so important
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The Land of the Free. The Home of the Brave.

The U.S. is a country that I have always felt lucky to grow up in. We have the strongest passport in the world, best air-traffic control, a powerful influence in international relations, and a stable-ish governmental system. We haven't had violent governmental upheavals lead by dictators (though we could argue we have a fear-mongering president at the moment). As a white, American, middle-class woman, I can't say that I haven't experienced the comforts and privileges of being an American, and I have been grateful for some of them. It's impossible to ignore the shady stuff that the United States government has done though, including displacing an entire indigenous nation in order to take their land and capitalize on its resources.

When we celebrate patriotism in the United States, we sing our national anthem proudly and cheer that we are living in a "free country." There are five particular areas where, compared to other countries, the United States could be doing a lot better. Love for one's country has to be more than a paltry sense of nationalism or a spirit of competition against other nations. It has to be a willingness to admit the faults of the country you live in and fight for not only the rights of you and your family, but for the rights of all inhabitants of the United States.

Here are only five of the many issues I think the government needs to address to move in the right direction, since it feels like we've been moving backwards since November 2016.

1. First off, the quality of education in America varies widely depending on the location of a school and its financial resources.

According to The Atlantic, one in four American students don't meet the base-level of math competency as observed in PISA surveys where global education is reviewed. The U.S. ranks 26th out of the 34 surveyed countries in mathematics scores. The Socio-economic status of the students and schools surveyed has a lot to do with this low score. Additionally, there is not a clear set of curriculum besides for Math, Sciences, Reading, and Writing courses (as well as gym classes), that seem to be required. Private schools can adjust this curriculum how they see fit. Some schools can't afford to train their teachers to teach AP classes or hire enough faculty to actually benefit their students. Once again it seems like the more money you have, the better education you'll get for your kids. Students in inner city schools are more likely to be educationally disadvantaged compared to those that live in wealthier suburbs.

2. Parental Leave

The U.S. is still one of the only industrialized countries that does not have paid leave for the parents of newborns. Less than 2o percent of employers in America offer fully paid maternity leave. My parents were lucky that my grandmother lived ten minutes away so that I never had to go to an infant day care or anything of the kind as a toddler. Most families go into debt when one of the parents has to quit their job or pay for nannies and day care because they can't earn a salary when they decide to stay home for their children. Countries like Russia, the Netherlands, France, and Spain offer 100 percent pay to their workers and over 100 days of parental leave. The US, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea are the only countries that do not require parents to take a paid leave. Apparently raising families in America is only practical if you're wealthy.

3. Climate Change

With this week's headliner being Trump's pulling out of the Paris Accords, the U.S. is in a climate crisis. The first major anti-environmental awareness move that Trump made was to appoint Scott Pruitt, a known skeptic of climate change, to the head of the EPA. Pruitt believes that putting the federal government in charge of addressing climate change is a mistake, and this moronic thinking is only reinforced by Trump's promises to increase fossil fuel productions in the U.S. in order to make the world better for the American people. Now that he's pulled out of the Paris Accords, an agreement between countries to lower their emissions, Trump is making certain that the U.S. won't have to play by the rules, and this will undoubtedly cause irreperable damage to the environment, and to foreign relations.

3. Mental Health Awareness

This issue is less talked about on the political level in the U.S. We live in a country that is largely dominated by Western, Christian thought, and in more superstitious, less-educated communities, mental illness is no more than a sign of evil in the world with no cure. Many teenagers reach a breaking point when they go away to college, and suddenly realize that they suffer from extreme anxiety, depression, OCD, and other disorders, which can all be easily hidden when they are high-functioning disorders. Sadly, states have cut back funding for mental healthcare by $5 billion between 2009 and 2012. Mental healthcare is the hardest medical service to get access to in the United States, and almost 90 million Americans live in areas where there is a shortage of mental healthcare professionals.



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Honduras Is Dealing With Problems Most People Don't Even Know Are Happening

A journalist from Honduras speaks on the issues that are occurring in Honduras such as poverty, oppression, and lack of opportunity that the people of Honduras face on a daily bases.

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A Honduran journalist has been touring the Pacific Northwest in October of 2019. She had presented at Western Washington University about the threat to freedom of the press in Honduras.

Jennifer Ávila, a Honduran journalist, said she was involved with different media outlet before co-founded Contra Corriente in 2017. Ávila said she has used many mediums to express different news stories and get the public empowered to have a voice in their communities. She presents The Silencing of Dissent: How Freedom of the Press is Threatened in Honduras at Fairhaven College.

"Honduras has a great problem of not having an identity [and ] not having historical memory. Our historical memory has been robbed from us," said Ávila.

When people have no pride regarding the history of their culture it does cause a great problem and question about who a person is.

Ávila added, "this lack of memory has affected us, as in we also don't have a strong identity because of it, so we don't have a citizenry [that feels] empowered to exercise their rights. So what we want to do is rebuild this memory because it has been taken from us."

The lack of empowerment causes the corruption to continue in Honduras, and for this reason, Ávila said she tells these stories to start a conversation within the public.

"So we tell what's happening in the country through the voices and faces of people who we don't consider victims [but people who are surviving] because they are staying and surviving through the situation caused by these networks of power... The stories we are telling are not pretty. They're horrid, so we need the youth to start discussing and start talking about this stuff..." said Ávila.

Ávila said she has created this platform of independent journalism because it's important to speak out about these issues that are occurring in Honduras, to be able to turn around the institutions they need all the voices to speak out.

"...We try to tell these stories through independent journalism because we believe journalism can serve a purpose through our investigates. [We try to] create interests in people to start creating this memory and tell the story of Honduras..."

Ávila is having an impact on the people she is speaking to and making them aware of the problems going on in her community.

Ávila added, "it's a lie, that journalists are neutral we are speaking out about [these issues] because we have aside. We decided to be on the oppressed people's side. We already decided that."

Ávila brought up an important point involving journalists because journalist's job is to speak out on behalf of the people being oppressed and suffering from the issues that are occurring. The only way the public will be made aware of the problem so they have a choice to fight back is by being made aware of it.

Having a choice on what is happening is important because without an informed public there is no choice and without a choice, there can be no hope.

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