Why You Should Wear Blue This January

Wear Blue This January To Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking

It's a huge public safety issue, and almost no one knows how prevalent it really is

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During mid-December, serial killer Devin Howell was charged with the prison assault of Robert King Jr., who is awaiting sentencing for his role in a Danbury, Conn. prostitution ring.

King was charged with felony counts of trafficking in persons, witness tampering and promoting prostitution and plead guilty in August to conspiracy to commit human trafficking. King's prostitution operation provided disabled and addicted young men to customers like Bruce Bemer and William Trefzger for sex.

Human trafficking is a real problem in Connecticut, however, it's viewed as a far-away problem that happens in large cities, or more impoverished states. It's not something that could ever happen in the small, quaint Nutmeg State, which has been ranked one of the wealthiest states in the country, according to the U.S. Census.

But it does happen. Even in the neighborhoods residents think are safe.

In August this year, social media users shared one woman's recount of a potential human trafficker in Blue Back Square and West Hartford center area, however, those counts were unsubstantiated. Additionally, other reports of a possible kidnapping were deemed by police to be a misunderstanding.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines human trafficking as a form of modern-day slavery involving the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain labor or a commercial sex act, and generates almost as much as drug trafficking.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there have been 30 human trafficking cases reported this year, 22 of which concerned sex trafficking, five concerned labor, and three calls concerned both. Of those calls, 22 were reporting a trafficking tip, and six were requests for service referrals.

A 2011 Department of Justice report found that the majority of human trafficking cases concerned the prostitution of adults or minors, and females were more likely to be victims of sex trafficking.

The State of Connecticut has taken steps in the past to address this serious public safety concern, and has made great strides to combat it since 2012.

Most recently in 2017, the Connecticut legislature updated its human trafficking laws to increase the penalty for the crime from a class B felony to a class A felony, which increased the fine from $15,000 to $20,000, and prison time from one to 20 years to 10 to 25 years. It also created a new crime- "commercial sexual abuse of a minor," which made abuse of a minor between the ages of 15 and 17 a class B felony, and abuse of a minor under the age of 15 a class A felony.

The General Assembly also passed a law in 2017 that required the Chief State's Attorney's Office and local police chiefs to report efforts to reduce human trafficking to the Trafficking in Persons Council.

Statewide, there are also many resources for victim-survivors, and for those who may be aware of human trafficking occurring. In Connecticut, individuals can report human trafficking to the Human Anti-trafficking Response Team Careline at 1-800-842-2288.

Nationwide, there is the National Trafficking Hotline at 1-800-373-7888, or text 233733.

On January 11, take a stand against human trafficking by wearing blue in support of the Department of Homeland Security's Blue Campaign, an effort to stop human trafficking.

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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The Biggest Sister Scandal In The Beauty Community

James Charles is corrupted by his fame and ultimately set up his failure.

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The beauty community tea is piping hot. Tati Westbrook uploaded a forty-three minute long video basically outing James Charles as a sexual predator and explained how she was there for him through all of his struggles, just to find out she was only a piece in his game of success. James Charles then posted a not-so convincing eight minute apology video and the internet went crazy.

In Tati's video we gain insight on James Charles' personality when the camera is off. Come to find out, a lot of influencers already knew James Charles to be a predator as he is constantly messaging and hitting on straight guys. When someone is presumed a predator, most of their victims come forth and share their experience, James Charles is no exception. There have been multiple people post videos about their experience with him, most of which have similar outcomes of James being turned down, getting heartbroken, and basically telling them that they definitely are not straight. Many of the people who had posted videos about their experience with James involve alcohol, whether he is trying to get them drunk or being suggestive while the other person is drunk. He goes after straight guys that he has no chance with and then plays the victim. Many influencers that had been there for him since the beginning of his career knew that his predatory tendencies were an issue and had actually spoken to him about it, telling him that if he doesn't stop it would be the downfall of his career. But as he was gaining more success, it seems as though he didn't think it would make a difference.

When I first heard about James Charles being canceled, I really wanted to be on his side. I thought that maybe this whole situation is blown way out of proportion, but when I watched the videos it was really clear that this was the shock that James Charles needs to fix himself. At first, it seems like a random video post that shouldn't have been public, but Tati explains that she tried to talk to James, he just doesn't listen. His only excuse is that he is a celebrity, so why would any of his actions have consequences?

Before James was famous, he was ambitious and had huge potential. It seems as though he was really kind, humble, and willing to do whatever it takes to reach his goal. However, when fame got to his head, he lost sight of who he is. It seems as though he is unwilling to compromise and wants to control most of the people he interacts with. Based on many sources of evidence, it's clear to see that James only cares about himself and his career and it doesn't matter who he hurt including strangers, close friends, and relatives.

It is really sad to see someone who is still in their teens go from really successful to hated by millions of his supporters. His ego and entitlement was the downfall of his career. I have hope that he will take a break and be able to redeem himself. Life went from all good to chaos in a matter of one day. Many people and brands do not want to be associated with him because of his predatory tendencies and entitlement, which would make it difficult to get a job outside of YouTube. Looking at James as a person and not like a celebrity, this must be one of the most difficult times in his life. However, it is hard to feel bad for him as he set up his own demise. He made fatal mistakes, but if he can get his act together and make the correct apologies I think he can bounce back, but handle the responsibility as a celebrity correctly after his biggest sister scandal.

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