EFFECTING THE UNAFFECTED – How to Affect Change regarding Human Trafficking

EFFECTING THE UNAFFECTED – How to Affect Change regarding Human Trafficking

By Kathie Mathis, Psy.D, D.D., NCP, CHTA

Virginia Satir said that people prefer familiarity over comfort. The equivalent of this in transitioning organizations seems to be that people prefer pain over fear. That is, the current pain they are experiencing over the fear of what change may be. Here are some thoughts I’ve had about changing organizations.
Most people don’t change unless there is a compelling reason for them to change. This compelling reason usually takes the form of current pain they want to relieve or a fear of future pain they want to avoid. Change itself, however, is painful to most.

The benefit of change is a combination of lowering current/future pain as well as getting some additional positive outcome to reducing the pain. This benefit must be significantly greater than the current or future threat of pain since we always perceive a certain amount of risk in change. That is, that it won’t take effect. So the benefit has to be greater than the cost since we may not get the benefit.
To state this in mathematical terms:
“New benefit” + “anticipated reduction in pain” – “cost of change” MUST BE GREATER THAN “current pain” + “perceived future pain” Therefore to help convince someone to change, one can either show more benefit, or reduce the anticipated cost of change.

My conjecture:
Knowledge can change both the perceived benefit of change and the anticipated cost of change.
Anticipated benefit from change is typically based on a “what’s in it for me” attitude. Possibly someone identifies with the company as me, but not always. (Taken from February 10, 2010 — Posted by Al Shalloway).
I agree with the above statements. I train and certify mental health professionals, law enforcement, religious organizations, educators and others in Human Trafficking Advocacy, Awareness, Prevention and Intervention across the U.S.A. It never ceases to amaze me how our country thinks that this criminal activity which is reported to be the number one criminal activity in our country (surpassing drugs/arms dealing), only happens in other countries. Yet we are in the top 10 Human Trafficking countries and a leading Destination Country for traffickers.
We certainly need to effect the unaffected in our country which appears to be the majority of our citizens and politicians. Most of us don’t even know when we purchase products from some top companies that they are participating in trafficking.

Here are the top ten:
10 Huge U.S. Brands Who Profit From What Americans Would Call Slave Labor
Would it surprise you if, at the bottom of your favorite brand’s supply chain, you find that the brand is heavily dependent upon using forced or child labor? Thankfully, more and more consumers are aware of such practices and making decisions about what to buy or boycott based on the human and environmental cost. The Internet provides plenty of documentation of worker abuse and petitions you can sign to help raise awareness of and combat such practices. The 10 U.S. brands named below, including the U.S. Department of Defense, currently profit from the abusive treatment of workers. Links to more detailed information and ways you can help are provided throughout.
Apple contracts factories in China to manufacture their products such as the iPhone and iPad. Foxconn Technology, China’s largest exporter and one of the nation’s biggest employers, owns several factories in the Southwestern city of Chengdu filled with workers assembling electronic products for Apple and other U.S.-based companies. The abuse of the people laboring in those factories, abuses that include excessive overtime, the employment of under-aged workers, and a disregard for workplace safety that has resulted in injuries and deaths, was recently and thoroughly reported by the New York Times. Apple has stepped up their process of inspecting and auditing the factories that are a part of their supply chain, publicly stating they will pressure companies like Foxconn to make any changes necessary for a safe workplace. But the fact is, Apple reaps huge profits from their use of cheap, unregulated labor. Nicholas Ashford, a former chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, says, “What’s morally repugnant in one country is accepted business practice in another, and companies take advantage of that.”
The Nike brand has become, whether fairly or unfairly, synonymous with child labor. The 1996 Life magazine photo of a 12-year-old Pakistani boy sewing together a Nike soccer ball brought widespread attention to the issue, and pushed Nike to increase their efforts to raise wages and improve conditions for workers assembling their products. But unjust practices continue. Team Sweat, an international coalition of workers, consumers, and investors committed to ending Nike’s sweatshop practices, continues to report worker abuse in factories where Nike products are assembled.
Coltan and cassiterite, so-called “conflict minerals,” are used in the manufacturing of cell phones. Both of these natural resources are plentiful in the troubled Democratic Republic of Congo. Profits from these minerals finance armed groups seeking to control the region through intimidation, violence, and mass rape. The actual mining is performed in brutal, inhumane conditions by workers, including children, who must risk their lives underground for hours at a time. U.S.-based Motorola is taking steps to prevent such practices in the mining of these minerals. But as Frank Poulsen, director of the 2010 documentary Blood in the Mobile, points out, “If you ask the phone companies where their suppliers get minerals from, none of them can guarantee that they aren’t buying conflict minerals from the Congo.”
Much of Hershey’s cocoa is sourced from West Africa, including the impoverished region of the Ivory Coast where labor is common practice. UNICEF and other human rights groups report that children continue to be trafficked from nearby countries to work on these cocoa plantations. Yet Hershey has no system in place to investigate and confirm whether or not their suppliers are not involved in the exploitation of children. The February 2012 Super Bowl featured a jumbo Tron screen ad created by the International Labor Rights Forum that called out Hershey for ignoring child labor abuse.
Forever 21
The Republic of Uzbekistan, the third biggest exporter of cotton in the world, relies on children numbering in the thousands to harvest the country’s cotton. Children, some as young as 9 years old, who do not meet a daily work quota are beaten, threatened with detention, or told their school grades will suffer. Thankfully, more people are becoming aware of the plight of Uzbekistan’s child laborers. Anti-slavery.orgreports, “Some retailers … have already taken action to ban Uzbek cotton from their products.” But the U.S. retail chain Forever 21 refuses to acknowledge a need to ban Uzbekistan’s cotton from its chain of suppliers.
The U.S. Department of Defense
Thanks in part to the privatization of prisons, incarceration rates in the U.S. have soared, creating a burden on taxpayers and, since large major U.S. companies are contracting the services of prisoner-workers, lost jobs and lowered wages are also a consequence. Labor inside a prison is easily exploited and cheap, generating huge profits for the hiring corporations. The U.S. Department of Defense, with the help of a corporation run by the Bureau of Prisons called UNICOR, prisoners to manufacture electronic components for Patriot missiles, launchers for anti-tank missiles, and many, many other products, including uniforms, body armor, and goggles for use on battlefields around the world. The prisoner-worker’s rights are disregarded; they are a captive labor force. “This has been ongoing for decades,” says Alex Friedmann, associate editor of Prison Legal News, who describes prison labor as part of a “confluence of similar interests” among politicians and corporations.
Gold mining, in addition to being one of the most polluting industries, is also often produced through forced and child labor. Miners of this particular resource across the world have attempted, sometimes at the risk of losing their lives, to unionize in order to negotiate for better wages and working conditions. The majority of gold is mined for jewelry, and Macy’s is the eighth largest retailer of jewelry in the United States. The non-profit environmental and human rights organization Earthworks has been campaigning aggressively for Macy’s to sign a pledge to commit to responsible sourcing. Eighty major retailers have signed the pledge, but Macy’s has not. “Macy’s customers deserve to know their holiday gifts don’t come with a legacy of water pollution or human rights abuses,” says PayPal Sampat, international campaigns director for Earthworks. “And right now, Macy’s can’t say that.”
Wal-Mart Stores Inc
Wal-Mart claims their company’s purpose is to “save people money so they can live better.” OUR Walmart, a labor organization created by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, disagrees and is seeking to rally Walmart employees to ask for higher wages and better working conditions. In 2007, Watch published a detailed report that claimed the company “stands out for the sheer magnitude and aggressiveness of its anti-union apparatus and actions.” Wal-Mart argues that it has remained free of unions for the simple reason that its workers see no reason for them. However, Wal-Mart preys on their employees’ need for a job, any job, even one that doesn’t pay a living wage. “We work for a company that makes almost half a billion in profits a year,” a Walmart employee is quoted as saying. “And employees can’t afford lunch.” Wal-Mart actually reported $3.34 billion in profits in the third quarter of 2011. The quoted employee makes $10 an hour before taxes.
The Tobacco Industry
It’s ironic that North Carolina, a state whose politicians and lawmakers regularly espouse a hard line regarding illegal immigrants, is home to a profitable tobacco industry that depends on undocumented immigrants for labor. According to a recent report by the global relief organization Oxfam and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, these workers labor for hours in the hot sun without access to clean water or basic protective gear for preventing nicotine-related illnesses. Many live in overcrowded vermin-infested housing without working toilets or showers. And many aren’t even paid a minimum wage. RJ Reynolds, one of the largest tobacco companies in the world, continues to refuse to meet with North Carolina’s tobacco farm workers to discuss ways working conditions can be made more humane.
Chiquita has a long history of violating workers’ rights. Chiquita’s suppliers in Guatemala have used intimidation, blackmail, and violence to repress banana farm workers for decades. According to the International Trade Union Confederation, since 2007, 43 union members and leaders have been murdered in Guatemala. Meanwhile, in Jamaica, when thousands of workers employed by Chiquita went on strike to demand fair treatment and safer working conditions, armed men shot and killed 40 of the striking workers. In December 2010, the International Labor Rights Forum named Chiquita, along with the aforementioned RJ Reynolds, as one of the worst companies of the year.

2016 Stats on Human Trafficking shows it rose 35.7% from previous year!!
Feb. 5 (UPI) — In 2016, Human trafficking in the United States rose 35.7 percent from the previous year, according to data from the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Polaris, which runs the hotline, reported 7,572 cases involving 6,340 females, 978 males and 70 listed as “gender minorities.” A total of 4,890 reported cases involved adults and 2,387 involved minors. In some cases, callers do not provide demographic information.

The hotline defines trafficking as “a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against his/her will.” The hotline fielded a total of 26,727 calls last year.California was the No.1 state with 1,323 cases followed by Texas with 670 and Florida with 550. All three states reported an increase in trafficking crimes.
Vermont, Rhode Island and Alaska reported the fewest calls, with 5, 9 and 10 cases respectively.
“Left unchecked, human trafficking will continue to flourish in environments where traffickers can reap substantial monetary gains with relatively low risk of getting caught or losing profits,” the National Human Trafficking Hotline said on its site.

The type of trafficking was broken down into: sex, 5,551; labor, 1,057; non-specified, 696; and sex and labor, 268.

In labor trafficking, 201 cases were reported in domestic work followed by 124 in agriculture and 100 with traveling sales crews.

Broken down by venues/industries, 584 cases were hotel-motel based followed by 559 at commercial-front brothels.

Since 2007 when the hotline started, it has recorded 128,686 calls involving 31,659 cases.
The hotline’s phone number is 888-373-7888. The hotline can also be accessed by emailing help@humantraffickinghotline.org, submitting a tip through the online tip reporting form and visiting the Web portal at www.humantraffickinghotline.org.
Related UPI Stories
U.N. reports widespread human rights violations in Myanmar
N.C. man fires gun in D.C. restaurant while investigating bogus ‘pizzagate’ child sex cult conspiracy
FBI rescues 82 children, arrests more than 200 in sex trafficking sting
17 indicted in Minnesota for international sex trafficking ring

Many people think that one person can’t make a difference. But imagine this: 7.4 billion individuals each doing something to change the world. So you see, change can start with one person. Change can start with you, right here, right now.

Here are some simple ways for you to start changing the world:
1. Volunteer. Volunteer for a few days and immerse yourself in new experiences. This will help you see life through new lenses and will enlighten you about the different situations in your community.
2. Educate yourself and Support a cause. Find something you are passionate about and fight for it. It can be saving the environment or raising funds for a new hospital. Join groups that support your advocacy.
3. Respect others. It is important to respect everyone and to afford each person their right to be treated with decency and humanity. There is more to what meets the eye, so erase prejudices, eliminate labels, and stop judging.
4. Pay it forward. Be aware of what is happening in your neighborhood and community. You have no idea how many traffickers are in your in your neighborhood, school district and church’s. Human Trafficking affects all people, especially those who are vulnerable due to lack of education on the topic. More than how it makes the people you help feel, you might even start a ripple with your intentional education on the topic and personal generosity and helpfulness as an advocate and political shaker might create change.
5. Assist your local human trafficking shelter. Most individuals in shelters are in need of loving support and understanding, not to mention food, clothes, counseling and financial support. Adopt a shelter program and give a second chance to a survivor. You will also get a new blessing as an added bonus!
6. Bond with the empathy within you and serve others. You never know what you might learn from them. Survivors of trafficking need understanding and not judgments. They have experienced a trauma that most of us will never experience and have a difficult time understanding. So step outside of your bias and judgments and be “present” just to listen, assist, support and provide healing resources.
7. Make yourself heard. Don’t be afraid to speak out about your concerns and opinions. Use your voice to influence and educate others on important issues regarding human trafficking. Don’t hold back. Sign petitions, issue statements, and write letters. You have a constitutionally guaranteed right to share your thoughts.
10. Support your family and friends. You know how it feels to have someone believe in you more than you believe in yourself. Be a educator of trafficking for the important people in your life. The world needs stronger relationships within the family so traffickers are not provided vulnerable children, teens and adults to groom, kidnap, and traffick.
11. Appreciate strangers. The world would be better if only we learned to appreciate people. Give waiters tips for exceptionally good service. Say hi to your building doorman — it must be pretty boring holding the door open for everyone all day. Smile at janitors and thank them for keeping things in order.
12. Connect by disconnecting. Because of technology, we have been spending more and more time online. Disconnect from social media at least for a few hours per day. Reconnect with people by sharing information and advocating for trafficking survivors.. Engage in face-to-face conversations over coffee or tea and not isolate by texting. While technology does have a lot of benefits, it can throw our brain out of balance and hinder real human connection.
13. Give an anonymous donation. Choose an organization that you would like to help and give a portion of your savings anonymously. Any amount will do — even loose change can go a long way.
14. Be a role model. Bond with children — it can be nieces, nephews, or your friend’s kids. Listen to their stories and share some motivating ones in return. Be an inspiration and keep your mind open. Teach them the tricks and techniques of traffickers who “groom” their victims and let them know that the trafficker will appear as a friend in the beginning and to be careful of so called “friends” who might be older individuals seeking to be “their friend” and also their “peers” who want them to meet an older “guy” to date or go to parties with.
Remember, helping by prevention and intervention may be a small act but can have a lasting impact. A drop creates a ripple that disturbs the calm. You may be one person, but if others are inspired by your actions, they might follow your example.

Imagine if every living person did just one of these things every day — the world would definitely change for the better. We could stop human trafficking!!

EFFECT THE UNAFFECTED is the motto of California Cognitive Behavioral Institute’s Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence Programs. https://theccbi.com

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