Dr. Amisha Jha and Major General Walter Piatt were recently on Dan Harris’ podcast 10% Happier discussing the US military’s experiments with meditation practices. I’ve written about meditation and the military from a more personal experience previously. I don’t think I was aware of the meditation study conducted on returning soldiers from MG Piatt’s (then COL) […]
So here is something I am taking on: I joined the Tampa Veterans Advocacy Council. I was briefly involved with it 6 years ago but I stop going to the meetings, however recently I decided that I would join and see what good I can.
I am going to focus on three areas: first build the organization, the VAC is lacking in membership. The second one is doing their social media outreach. I have already started up a Facebook account and will set up a twitter soon. I really want to get vets and the public involved in this. Thirdly, I will work with veterans, try to be there for them. I also want to bring attention to Moral Injury and how the VA will address it. There are other issues I want to give my attention. Peer to Peer counseling and the changes I feel need to be made.
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We fail at being number one.
We refuse to spend the money required to be a great nation. And yes, the means big government.
Why? Because we do not want to tax the people and corporations who BENEFIT
the most from our society. Instead you are asked to pay the bill for these freeloaders.
Yes, the rich and corporations are freeloaders who also receive money from us: the citizens of the United States.
Swanee Hunt (Ambassador to Austria, 1993-1997)
Cross-posted from Ambassador Hunt’s May 14, 2015 special to Politico. The article was coauthored by President Jimmy Carter.
Too often, when we think of sex trafficking in America, we imagine women smuggled here from Asia or Latin America, when in fact we should be picturing everyday girls and women from our own neighborhoods, exploited by pimps and brothel owners in our own cities and towns.
We should think of women like one in Boston, who was abused by her addicted mother’s boyfriend, ran away over and over from foster homes and was recruited when only 13 by her first pimp, who promised to care for her. It took her years to break free.
Fortunately for our society, Washington is waking up. The Senate’s recent unanimous passage of the Joint Victims of Trafficking Act is one expression of this promising turn. Alongside the…
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Holly Austin Smith is a sex trafficking survivor. She has written a book called Walking Prey, How America’s Youth is Vulnerable To Sex Trafficking which I am in the middle of reading for my film research.She also has written articles for the Huffington Post, and this is the first article of three.
To Human Traffickers, Runaway & Homeless Youth Are Walking Prey
It is hard to think of a more despicable crime than the buying and selling of other human beings, especially children. Yet we know that it is happening right here in America, every day. Each year, thousands of children are bought and sold for sex. That should keep all of us awake at night.
Many of these young people are homeless or have run away and are fighting to survive on the streets. They are forgotten by society, but they are walking prey to traffickers. They are young and vulnerable. Thirty-nine percent of the homeless population is under the age of 18, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless, and according to the National Network for Youth, the average age at which a teen first becomes homeless is 14.7 years old. The homeless youth population has more than doubled since 2007. Many are running away to escape physical and sexual abuse. Others have been ordered out of the home by parents who reject them. Still others have been lured away by adults who want to exploit them.
We must do all we can to hold traffickers responsible and to help survivors of trafficking rebuild their lives. But if we are serious about addressing this problem, we must also act to prevent this devastating crime from happening in the first place. And that means making sure that all our children have a safe place to sleep. As the Senate prepares to consider legislation to combat the scourge of human trafficking, Senators must support the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act, S.262.
This bipartisan bill supports housing, education, and job training for homeless youth. It ensures that no child is turned away from services because of her or his sexual orientation or gender identity, and it offers training to service providers who are working on the front lines to protect homeless teens every day. It has earned broad support from advocates for trafficking victims and homeless youth, along with more than 25 Senators from both parties.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who serve on the Judiciary Committee, are championing efforts to protect victims and hold traffickers accountable. So are Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the longest serving woman in Congressional history, and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), the most senior Republican woman currently serving. Both of them recently testified before the Judiciary Committee about the importance of prevention.
Senator Collins told committee members: “Homeless youth need access to safe beds at night and services during the day so that they never have to choose between selling their bodies and a safe place to sleep.” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also implored the Committee to focus on preventing more of our kids from becoming victims of human trafficking. They were joined on the Senate floor this week by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who called for the Senate to take a comprehensive look at the issue of trafficking.
We couldn’t agree more. Diverting kids from a lifetime of victimization will save lives and encourage the development of successful, productive young adults.
Jayne Bigelsen directs anti-trafficking initiatives at The Covenant House, which serves more than 56,000 young people in 27 cities. A 2013 study by the Covenant House in New York found that 1 in 4 homeless teens became a victim of sex trafficking or was forced to provide sex for survival needs, such as food or a place to sleep. Of these victims, about half reported that the number one reason they had been drawn into commercial sexual activity was because they did not have a safe place to sleep. As Jayne testified, “To prevent trafficking, we must understand the pipeline between homelessness and the commercial sexual exploitation of young people.”
Holly understands this because she lived it. She was one of those runaway teens lured into sex trafficking. At the age of 14, she was sold by a man who pretended to care about her, and promised her a better life. This horrible trauma nearly destroyed her life, but now she is an advocate for others who have been trafficked. As she testified last week, “There needs to be more awareness in communities that this is happening in states all across the country.”
As Holly knows from personal experience, and as Jayne knows from the front lines, homeless and runaway kids desperately need our help. Human traffickers view them as walking prey. Lawmakers, advocates, and survivors must stand together with the most vulnerable kids on the streets and protect them from being trafficked. We hope you will join us to urge Congress to pass the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act.
“If you see anyone from about 16 to 65 and they’re male, shoot ’em,” wrote Kyle, describing his understanding of the rules of engagement in Iraq. “Kill every male you see. That wasn’t the official language, but that was the idea.”
…Solipsistic in its suffering and narcissistic in its impulses, it promotes itself as the upholder of principles it does not keep, and a morality it does not practise.