Thursday, October 31, 2013

Truckers Against Trafficking & Lot Lizards

KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

"Business has boomed in North Dakota, and so has the number of truck drivers moving goods and oil across the state. Now, the North Dakota Motor Carriers Association (NDMCA) wants those drivers to be on the lookout for some serious criminals. The group is partnering with the national non-profit Truckers Against Trafficking to make North Dakota truckers aware of the issue of human trafficking.

Spencer says truck drivers are the ideal group to help combat trafficking because there are more than 3.1 million truck drivers in the U.S. who cover more than 400 billion miles a year. In addition, many traffickers bring their victims to truck stops because of the environment.

"Truckers come and go, it's transient, no one can really build relationships," says executive director Kendis Paris, Truckers Against Trafficking. "So this is an industry that literally has a unique advantage in that they are going to be able to recognize and identify and assist victims.""

To Read the Full Article CLICK HERE.


Lot Lizards, Human Trafficking & Slut Shaming

Before I inform you on human trafficking/prostitution at truck stops along highways,  I think it is important to understand a bit of the context of human trafficking and prostitution at truck stops.

Lot Lizard - a person that sells their body at a truck stop

The term "lot lizard" was and is used in the trucker world.  Although, it use to be used to refer to all persons selling sex/sexual acts at truck stops, with the increase in awareness of human trafficking, campaigns are now raising awareness that these "lot lizards" are in many cases victims of human trafficking.  Organizations such as the american organization, Truckers Against Trafficking aim to increase awareness of human trafficking to truck drivers so they can be aware of the signs of human trafficking and to decrease the demand to purchase sex at truck stops, thus decreasing the potential victims of human trafficking from being purchased for sex acts.  Below is a video I found on Youtube which was taken by a person at a truck stop.  As you watch, recognize the blame and shame, and the relationship to drugs that is placed on the women walking from car to car by the person filming this video.  Also,  realize that this is occurring in broad daylight.  

Disclaimer: Profanity and racial stereotypes are used by the persons filming.  Content of the following video is neither endorsed nor supported by Bloggers Against Social Injustice.  This video is only meant to inform you, the reader, of once case of a "lot lizard."

What did you think?  After looking into trucking associations, I came cross the post "7 Deadly Lot Lizards," published by Truckers to Truckers, categorizes "lot lizards" into 7 categories based on actions and physical characteristics.  When reading the description and watching the associated video this website depicts 7 types of "lot lizards" and informs the viewer to stay aware from these ladies(although there also men in these roles). When looking below at comments, Truckers Against Trafficking, pointed out that while it is important to educate truckers to steer clear of those selling sex, it is also important not to "slut shame."  According to Geek Feminism,

Slut Shaming - the act of criticizing a woman for her real or 
presumed sexual activity, or for behaving in ways that someone thinks 
are associated with her real or presumed sexual activity 

Below is part of the comment posted by Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) on the "7 Deadly Lot Lizards" forum, followed by TAT's training video.  The video is a bit long, but reading their comment is well worth your time.

"It is easy to blame the women…after all, our society has us conditioned to blame 
the “slut” versus those who use her and abuse her. We have been told that they want to 
be there, that they love their pimps and just really like sex. But actually talking to 
these women outside of the pressures of meeting her quota tells quite a different story. 
Most were forced into it at a younger age, most have suffered beatings, addiction,
 fear and threats. Most have STDs, forced abortions, and a broken spirit. 
Most know nothing else other than abuse."

Read full comment HERE.  Now I want to know if you were aware that this was happening a truck stops and if you had ever thought that a "prostitute" could be a victim of human trafficking.  What do you think about "lot lizards"?

Truckers Against Trafficking (28:11) from iEmpathize on Vimeo.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Modern Slavery in India

I hope all has been well for everyone. Today I would like to discuss briefly about the history of slavery in India. The topic came about when talking with a friend about modern day slavery and social repercussions on the society and the individual. I would like to elaborate on some legislation passed regarding slavery in India and what the nation has done to change the current problem.

Slavery is a historically pervasive institution seen in most cultures in some capacity from early times and, though illegal, continues today. The usual forms of acquiring people were (and still) as follow, in any culture:
- conquering of peoples
- debt bondage
- selling oneself
- selling child(ren)

Most slaves in India originally worked as house servants and after Islamic conquerors, an increase of slavery occurred. The institution of slavery was little documented, beyond being recorded in Sanskrit Laws of Manu, until the British colonials in the 19th century made it an object of study because of their desire to abolish it. Owning slaves expressed an owner's prestige and power by both the British and Indians. The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 of the British Parliament abolished slavery throughout the empire (with a few exceptions). The Act was repealed in 1998 but other anti-slavery legislation remains in force.

In India, the Indian Constitution integrated laws from the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, and United States, including laws regarding human rights. Currently, Indian laws adhere to international United Nations' guidelines of human rights laws. 

India (and not the United States) ratified the Forced Labor Convention (No.29) in 1930. The convention of defines forced labor as "all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily."

Yet, how does India have the largest concentration of slaves in the world?

The mechanisms of bonded labor, brothels, and forced/fake marriages coerce people to work in poor and inhumane conditions initiating sexual and industry exploitation. Local and international slave traders encourage the exchange of the body and spirit to the unfortunate unable to navigate socioeconomic situations

References and Other Resources:

Recent NPR article, India, China Top List Of Nations With Most Slaves:

Slavery in India (in three parts):

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Price of Health: Organ Trafficking

This blog focuses on the injustices in the world, particularly in regards to the destitute of society, struggling to make ends meet or taken advantage of in the situation. Human trafficking is a complex issue that results in shattered lives and dehumanization.

Yet, there is much trafficked in the world: pharmaceuticals and people. But not only whole individuals. There is more that a person's body can provide beyond forced labor and sex. The body can also provide life. 

In legal spheres, donated organs, tissues, and surrogacy is common. A surrogate mother can provide a childless couple a new life. Donated blood, organs, tissues, can save or improve a life. These are positive and wonderful things. 

However, coercion of entering the organ black market and trafficking scene  is a lucrative business. All over the world, organs of human beings are being trafficked with or without the consent of those to whom they belong. These victims sell their own organs for a low price, often to the coercive criminal middlemen, who make thousands from the transaction. The recipients of the organs pay a much higher price than the donors receive, allowing the traffickers to pocket the rest. The middlemen do not necessarily match what you may expect: usually involved are skilled doctors, nurses, and funeral home directors, among others. 

Below is an infographic detailing the infamous Levy Rosenbaum Trial of 2011, an exemplar of the process within the United States:

The reason someone may need an organ is a complex issue with many factors, biological and socioeconomic components, going into the illness, diagnosis, and treatment. In the end, a person is acutely ill and in dire need of an organ. The number of people requiring a life-saving transplant continues to rise faster than the number of available donors. Approximately 300 new transplant candidates are added to the waiting list each month. There is a a shortage of organs and tissues donated legally, hence to avoid death, drastic measures are considered. 

Below is an infograph of how much a black market organ would cost:

Similarly, the reasons why an individual would sell an organ is as complex and influenced by the socioeconomic conditions the person finds him or herself in. The organs commonly transplanted include kidney, liver, heart, lung and pancreas, with a whole kidney the number one because we only "need" two to live. 

A great account of selling a kidney is below. The process offers quick cash and a certain limited freedom from poverty. The risks creates consequences that devastates the seller and family. However, business is still booming: 

For more information visit:

Trafficking in organs, tissues and cells and trafficking in human beings for the purpose of the removal of organs by Joint Council of Europe/ United Nations Study

Upstate New York Transplant Services' Myths & Misconceptions

Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Child Trafficking Public Service Announcement

Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking(FCAHT) just released a new PSA (public service announcement) this week, on September 30th.  For those of you who don't know, a PSA is a media piece shared on television, radio, or other media with the goal of raising public awareness and/or changing the mind of a viewer.  In order for PSAs to make an impact it is vital that people share them and from there take action.  As seen in this video, a young girl is transformed with make-up to look much older, like a young woman.  In human trafficking, particularly sex trafficking, young women are "made up" to look older. Then they tell customers and strangers that they are older than they actually are, some lie to say that are 25 years old, when they are 15 in actuality.  That is nearly doubling their age!

"Later on that night, I went (out) again and... the officers stopped me... 
I just broke down in tears. I said 'I’m 15. I’m a runaway and
I’ve been telling everybody I’m 24, 25 and I’m out
here prostituting. I want help!'" 
-- 15-year-old girl victim of sex trafficking 
Bruises from abuse are covered up with make up to make the victims look more appealing, flawless, and commonplace to customers.  This gives the facade that everything is alright.  Human trafficking is also directly linked to pornography.  Although not all people in the pornography industry are victims of human trafficking, adults as well as children in the pornography industry, which is driven by demand, can be... and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.  These people are victims.  As people they have rights and freedom to not be exploited.  As seen in the PSA below, a young girl can easily be made to look older.  What follows for these young girls is neither positive nor a life a child should be living.

Demand fuels sex trafficking (prostitution, pornography).  What will you do?

Take a look at FCAHT's latest PSA below, and please share it on your facebook and twitter accounts!
Together we can help raise awareness and through this, help save lives.