Read Samantha’s blog post here:
Read Samantha’s Blog Here:
Read Samantha’s Blog Here:
Read Samantha’s recent blog post here:
Read Samantha’s blog post here:
Read about Samantha’s upcoming work in Germany
Read Samantha’s blog post here:
Every single day we are inundated with Donald Trump and his government cohorts and goons. There is not a single moment that goes by that we are not being told of some obstruction of justice or cover-up concerning the current regime. I say regime because we are not living in a democracy anymore and I fear that we never will again. So far we have seen egregious executive orders targeting immigrants and minorities, a total annihilation of healthcare and women’s issues and discriminatory travel bans that are damaging the United States image all over the world.
And now, as if things couldn’t possibly get worse, it does. Ivanka Trump the daughter of the man who is destroying,well basically everything, is now tackling the issue of human trafficking. This is a woman who says that if a person perceives something to be true and it’s not, just let them believe it if it works in your favor. Really? So are we to perceive that you know everything that there is about human trafficking simply because you are appointed to a position, that you’re not getting paid for mind you, because it makes you look like you care and you want to “empower” women? Seriously? All you’ve shown us is “Daddy’s Girl” privilege and fake empathy towards women who are struggling. The blindness by Ivanka herself to her father’s misogyny towards women is mind boggling.
There is however one thing Ivanka is educated on, it’s grooming. When a young woman falls victim to trafficking by someone she loves and trusts she is ‘groomed” to do the will of her trafficker. In Ivanka case she has been groomed to make her father look like a progressive, smart, educated business man who wants nothing but to see women succeed. So she is paraded around, much like a victim, saying and doing everything she has been told while telling women she wants to empower them. Conversely when victims are paraded around they are told to make the men who buy them believe that they want to be doing this and they love it and it’s a way to make money. They NEVER see any of the money by the way, their trafficker takes all of it. Ivanka is not getting paid for ANYTHING she doing. Strange right?
If this “political coalition” they’ve put together for Ivanka is going to succeed, they need survivor voices. There must be an understanding of the current legislation on the issue and the needs of survivors. The only people who know what’s good for survivors ARE survivors. Building a coalition of people who have no clue about this issue and probably have never met a real survivor is extremely dangerous for women and girls that are caught up in this. Once again the Trump Regime has managed to undercut and destroy women’s basic human rights of humanity at it’s core.
Human trafficking is a $150 billion industry and it looks like the Trump Regime wants to keep it that way. Sad.
It’s not a surprise that organizations working on the issue of human trafficking are in dire need of funding. But when that comes at the expense of the survivors you are claiming to help, there is a troubling disconnect. Another troubling aspect is that organizations want their name out there and in order to do that they must reveal the survivor and rework the story to benefit their advocacy and ability to fundraise. What was a story about a relationship gone very wrong turns into organized crime and international discourse. All of this is sprinkled with coaching on behalf of the organization to help the survivor say the right things to make them look good. All of this amounts to re-exploitation and re-victimization for the young woman who gets nothing out of it.
Let’s start by acknowledging that no organization or NGO can be a one stop shop for all survivors. It is literally impossible. But so many claim that they can only to fall short in so many areas. There isn’t one ‘Super Organization” or “Super NGO” that can do it all making it obsolete for any collaboration. And what about the survivor? She in the spotlight-15 minutes of fame in front of the camera, sometimes not realizing she’s being re-exploited. A image that’s worthy of a runway photo shoot complete with hair and makeup-or worse -a video. But at the end of all that, was it worth it? Her story laid bare with glaring inconsistencies, boasting empowerment and freedom with a new life and mended family ties. Even with all of that, the man or men that are accused of trafficking her are out there not yet caught and prosecuted. Where is her safety? They see her face and read the article and see that they are implicated in this crime. How is this okay?
Survivors deserve better and they deserve to be protected. The pettiness, cattiness and competitiveness of organizations needs to stop. There are no Oscars or Academy awards for best Founder, CEO or Executive Director of an organization or NGO. So why are they acting like they’re in Hollywood? It looks like another sequel to “Mean Girls”. It’s not a popularity contest. I would also like to point out that it’s not just women but men who “claim” to be helping survivors, whether they’ve started their own organization or are working for an existing one, re-exploit and re-victimize survivors too. They also want to put themselves in the competitive arena that we call “Women’s Human Rights”. I guess there’s money to be made while being a “good humanitarian” and “progressive male”.
There must be transparency not only with funding but with the well being and care giving of survivors. There are people out there who are giving and truly believe they are making a difference. They trust that the organization whom they are donating to is doing the right thing and getting these women and girls the best help possible. They don’t see what’s REALLY happening and the organizations make sure they don’t. We need to be asking the right questions we must demand safety and protection for survivors because if this doesn’t happen stopping human trafficking will be just as big of a business as human trafficking itself.
In our current world of executive orders and immigration bans where do survivors of human trafficking fit in? They seem to be caught up in both of these scenarios. Trying to work to provide for themselves can be risky for them if they are still on the waiting list for a T or U visa. How are they identified when ICE comes in? An immigrant, a criminal, here illegally NOT making America great again. With all of the education and awareness that is being done even with law enforcement, survivors are still not being identified, unless of course an actual trafficking ring is being investigated and even then….. How did we take ten steps back in protecting survivors?
It starts when a government doesn’t think that basic rights for women should be easily attainable. When women and girls begin to feel a deeper oppression, all of the safeguards that have been put in place to give them protection and rights begin to erode. Rolling back time to force a society to conform to a time when inequality and complete oppression of women and girls were the order of the day and men (White Men) were the ultimate superior race. The winds of change are suggesting a storm with catastrophic destruction and irreparable damage. The victims always, women and girls. Our weapons must be powerful, our resistance must be stronger.
One of the purposes of human trafficking is to look at women of any age as a commodity. They have no feelings, they have no humanity, therefore how can they possibly exist? They are something to be bought and sold and it is a scary thought that a government would feel the same way. What’s more unsettling is that they are categorizing them as common criminals using law enforcement to terrify and torture them. Keeping them in detention centers where they are ALWAYS at risk of being raped by a government officer or even tortured until they die-it depends on how the officers feels that day.
These are not things that people want to hear but they are happening. We are in a system that is spinning out of control and if you can’t hold on the blood in on you’re own hands. Survivors need extra protection, if they are waiting for legal status, papers, visas, work authorizations, they must have a pardon from the United States Government that shows they are a victim of human trafficking, however that looks like. This identification will help ICE know that these women and girls are not here illegally but that they are getting help and services and need to work. And even if they don’t have a work authorization they should at least be granted immunity. Arresting them and sending them back just re-traumatizes them making whatever progress that have made seem worthless. It also means that they could be re-trafficked again.
This doesn’t only stand for women and girls but also migrant workers who are labor trafficked into this country and are identified as such. In all labor sectors whether it’s, agricultural, restaurant industry, farms or street work (i.e. selling inexpensive DVDs or begging). There needs to be extra protections and immunity. These ICE raids and immigration bans are casting a blind net capturing a vulnerable population that thought they were being protected when in reality they are still being viewed as an undesirable.
This country has taken a frightening turn but we must still speak, advocate and fight for our basic freedoms and those that cannot fight for themselves. As the US heads towards marshall law and civil unrest, boots on the ground are still working and even if the government shuts us down we still keep working and never stop. Always keep your ID in hand and your basic human rights in your words.