Full Decrim Died On The Table-As It should.

Samantha Inesta
Director & Human Rights Fellow
BeaSister2aSister

We have been going back and forth for months now, to decrim or not to decrim, everyone had a different answer but Washington finally gave us the right answer. NO to full decriminalization of prostitution. This is a victory, until the next storm hits, but at least there is no fear of legalized prostitution that would have the most damaging effect on women and girls everywhere. So many survivors traveled and spoke against this bill many times losing sleep, venting to one another and ultimately curling up in a fetal position hoping that their biggest nightmare doesn’t come true. Then there is the opposition, sex workers who decry that “sex work is work” and they are fine with with prostitution because everyday a is beautiful day at the office for them. Is it really or have they been conditioned to believe what they are fighting to protect.

There is something insidious happening within the sex worker lobby that is drawing in people who have never even thought about the issue to now be on their side and justify their ideology. Just in the same way survivors lobby Albany and Washington, so do sex workers. They are at the forefront with survivors seeking to delegitimize what has happened to them in order to make the case for legalized prostitution. They have even went after female Senators such as Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren trying to change the narrative on sex work thus trying to remove the stigma by calling it “work” just like any other job. Fortunately they couldn’t lobby everyone and for as many “sex workers” that were out there, there were ten times if not more survivors speaking out against full decriminalization and thankfully their voices were heard the most. This really isn’t so much about sex work as it is about the human rights of women and girls everywhere. When you legal prostitution and consider it full time work, you are destroying futures and opportunities that would’ve otherwise been open to women now slammed shut. College admissions of female students will plummet, there will be no more women running for congress, senate or even president. Why? Because they will be diverted from their given purpose into sex work slavery.

In an article written by Julie Bindel for the Independent in August of 2017, she states:

Under legalised and decriminalisation regimes, abuse suffered by the women is now considered an “occupational hazard”, like a stone dropped on a builder’s toe. In Amsterdam, which boasts “window brothels” where women are displayed in order that sex buyers can choose a woman to pay to penetrate, sex tourism is so normalised that even Thomas Cook used to offer guided tours around the red light areas of the city, during which children under three years old could go for free

This includes Germany, Holland, and Nevada.

This isn’t the only nightmare, how many small children will become the victims of legalized prostitution? We already have so many children being trafficked for sex that legalization will just increase those numbers making it hard for most of them to have a normal life-ever. What all of this does is mask the abuse, torture and total degradation of the bodies of women and girls domestic and foreign. When a man pays to have sex with an underage girl, he is basically paying to do literally WHATEVER he wants to her and she must comply. This is what full decriminalization does but of course the the people lobbying for it will never speak about that because they are under the delusion that it just doesn’t happen.

We have gotten through this massive attack, for now, but rest assured there will be more on the horizon.

Thanks for reading!! If you like this blog, please share it or subscribe to it.

Women And Revolution is a blog designed to raise the issues that are affecting women all over the world while striving to give it journalistic value. W.A.R is a division of BeaSister2aSister a 501(c)3 non profit that helps survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, exploitation and abuse break the cycle of inter-dependency and become self sustainable. If you would like to learn more you can visit our website at http://www.beasister2asister.org or you can email us at info@beasister2asister.org. If you are interested in seeing women and girls everywhere break free from inter-dependency, please consider donating online as a one time or sustainable donor. We are committed to seeing every woman walk in total freedom.

BeaSister2aSister

“Being Accountable For Every Woman Around The Globe.”

When Does The Talking Stop & The Work Begin?

Samantha Inesta
Human Rights Fellow
Founder/BeaSister2aSister

This is the season of conferences, panel discussions and speaking engagements all aimed to educate, bring awareness and ultimately stop injustices such as human trafficking. There’s an event happening almost every week and I wonder sometimes what sort of impact is being made? Film makers from other countries are donating their documentaries from India to Southeast Asia in the hopes of opening a dialogue on international human trafficking. Conversely, women here are also vying for a dialogue on the same issue for American girls, mostly of color. Organizations use their survivors to sit on panels, tell their story, for awareness purposes, while praising the people who put her up there. There is a lot of dialogue on the issue, sometimes too much. The reason why I say this is because there is an event for literally everything. When CSW hits the UN in March it is the biggest conversation you will ever see between diplomats, UN staff, activists, survivors and celebrities that goes nowhere. A lot of posturing and self idolization while networking and passing around of resumes and business cards with the hope of a new position or collaboration. Nothing else.

We see this way too many times. Non profits, NGOs big world organizations having these types of events not to really change anything but to receive funding by the people who will never ask for transparency on the work they do. They want the donations without actually doing much to effect change. In some cases they become the next layer of the cycle of inter-dependency for survivors but no one really sees it because it’s carefully masked by words like “mentorship” and “empowerment”. To effectively execute these types of programs there must be an exit strategy for all of this. When young people seek out a mentor, whether it’s for business, projects or an entrepreneurial venture, they seek someone who will empower them but will also let go. What is the point of feeling that you have overcome when you are bound to something that will always have control over you and decide how long you will have that support? This can come in many forms, even from people who have been victims themselves because it was done to them but once they broke away on their own and have the upper hand, they will do the same because that is the prototype that was used on them.

This endless parading around of agencies, activists, organizations and survivors just to talk about the signs, what we can all do together and how we are stronger together falls flat when everyone is done talking. There are egos, issues, brokenness and wanting to be the best and biggest out there. Small non profits try and cling onto the bigger ones and pant at the table just to get whatever crumbs fall so that they can feel like they are part of something. Their focus isn’t on growing their work in a way that shows professionalism and dignity, it’s about being seen. Most funding is tied up in foundations and government agencies but unless you qualify for their unattainable standards, it doesn’t matter how many places you speak at, you’ll never be on the list. But that’s the real reason why there’s so much talking and not much action, if people can be convinced that something is actually changing then donors that wouldn’t normally give, may start now. There’s nothing wrong with wanting donations and steady funding, we all need it, especially the small unnoticed ones that are actually doing the work, but there’s a way to do it with integrity and some scruples.

If you don’t know much about human trafficking then I urge you to attend an event like that, but don’t let it be the only thing you do. Understand that the people up there want your donations more than you activism even though they may say otherwise. Organizations are starving for cash, even the ones that have a lot already, this is way they talk- a lot, so much so that their audience starts to believe they are the only ones out there doing this work. In my opinion if there are organizations or people that you don’t hear much from at all, it’s because they are working to actually help survivors and don’t have time to coordinate or attend speaking events to talk about it. They are doing it. My message isn’t popular and I’m sure not well received by many in this sector but I have seen a lot. I work with survivors that are being kept from moving on because they are trapped in the shelter/trans-housing system of the non profit world making minimum wage and living on food stamps. The cycle must be broken. Let’s put aside the pride that keeps this vicious circle moving and really set survivors free.

Thanks for reading!! If you like this blog, please share it or subscribe to it.

Women And Revolution is a blog designed to raise the issues that are affecting women all over the world while giving it journalistic value. W.A.R is a division of BeaSister2aSister a 501(c)3 non profit that helps survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, exploitation and abuse break the cycle of inter-dependency and become self sustainable. If you would like to learn more you can visit our website at http://www.beasister2asister.org or you can email us at info@beasister2asister.org. If you are interested in seeing women and girls everywhere break free from inter-dependency, please consider donating online as a one time or sustainable donor. We are committed to seeing every woman walk in total freedom.

BeaSister2aSister

“Being Accountable For Every Woman Around The Globe.”

Give Them More Than Minimum Wage

Samantha Inesta
Executive Director/Human Rights Fellow
BeaSister2aSister

Human rights has been painted as the “glamorous” & “hot” topic of the day with everyone from documentary film makers, multilateral corporations and Hollywood cashing in on it in some form or another. It’s a boost to their career and their ego and it does wonders for their celebrity status, but what about the people whose rights they’re supposedly fighting for? Human Trafficking. It’s everywhere-even in the cinema with plot twists, heroic rescues and girls living happily ever after. Do you see how this is a problem for those of us who are on the ground fighting this issue with no end in sight? Sex trafficking, the other side of labor and domestic servitude, however you will never have exploitation without sexual abuse. More women and girls all over the world experience this more than men who are forced into labor trafficking situations. The buying and selling of female bodies is an estimated $150 billion industry. The only people that see this money are the pimps/traffickers, the women get nothing but imprisonment, torture and abuse. They are basically living in a type of poverty that requires them to surrender complete control to their oppressor with no end in sight. They don’t know what it’s like to have control over their lives anymore, it’s been stolen from them along with their identity.

Many women who have been fortunate enough to escape these situations are now in the shelter system of the few non profits that actually have housing and programs that keep them dependent so that they can’t go far. This keeps them wondering from day to day what will happen if they no longer will be able to stay in the shelter, what if they run out of funding, what if they need the bed for someone else-where do I go? Unfortunately this happens quite more often than you think, especially in New York City. The available beds in no way out number the victims that need a place to go. Much needed front line organizations claim to offer everything a survivor needs to be totally independent and live on their own, then why have so many of them been in the shelter systems for years? Some of those factors can be found in the social work that is provided them which is supposed to be trauma informed and help survivors deal with issues like PTSD in order to live a better and more productive life while on the road to healing. Some women have been on this road for 10 years. Another factor is employment. Some survivors are ready for a job and are eager to have their own money, but the jobs organizations get for them are low minimum wage positions that will not afford them to save and get a place of their own. Some have to pay into their living space, like rent but the income is not sustaining therefore they may never leave until they’re pushed out. What kind of psychological state do you think they would be in if they had to leave their housing situation with a job that barely pays them and no prospect of getting their own place? I can tell you it will push them right back into the streets.

It’s time that we not play God with these women’s lives, it’s time organizations stop becoming the second oppressor. Survivors need a living wage, like we all do. If they are to be apart of society they need to be offered more than just service jobs. We need programs that have comprehensive training in many different areas. Not all the survivors I work with want to be in the kitchen of a restaurant or working as a server in a cafe where most of the income is in the tips from customers. These can be stepping stones but they shouldn’t be the place where they stay. There are women that come from backgrounds where they have worked in prestigious jobs, to force them to work for little money and rely on a shelter is not going to help them overcome. Even those that may not have higher education or worked good paying jobs can still be trained to gain employment that will help them break the cycle of inter-dependency. Why are they being keep living on the poverty line, on food stamps and government assistance? This is a crutch that they are being forced to get used to and not know how to cope once it gets taken away.

If we do not break the cycle of inter-dependency we will see more women and girls back out in the streets because they cannot survive. We shouldn’t be dangling freedom over them when they are not encouraged to be independent. It’s fair to say that no organization can be a one-stop shop and it’s understandable. Having women come to you who are broken and need a range of services is nothing to take lightly and it is very much needed. But if you take control over their lives in the name of freedom and empowerment while not really providing either, you will drive them right back to where they came from. If organizations are to work together, they must stop trying to be the best and in competition. Survivors are not fundraising tools or billboards for your organization to get donors or recognition. It’s the lives of women and girls that are at stake, they are the focus and should be treated as such. Remember, it’s not about you.

Thanks for reading!! If you like this blog, please share it or subscribe to it.

Women And Revolution is a blog designed to raise the issues that are affecting women all over the world while giving it journalistic value. W.A.R is a division of BeaSister2aSister a 501(c)3 non profit that helps survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, exploitation and abuse break the cycle of inter-dependency and become self sustainable. if you would like to learn more you can visit our website at http://www.beasister2asister.org or you can email us at info@beasister2asister.org. If you are interested in seeing women and girls everywhere break free from inter-dependency, please consider donating online as a one time or sustainable donor. We are committed to seeing every woman walk in total freedom.

BeaSister2aSister

“Being Accountable For Every Woman Around The Globe.”

Survivors Surviving The Shelter System

Samantha Inesta
Executive Director
BeaSister2aSister

One of the first resources that any woman or young woman coming out of a situation of trafficking, domestic violence, exploitation and abuse is shelter. It is a basic need and one that is sometimes scarce to find. In New York City there is a shortage of beds for women and young women who have escaped these type of situations. These women range from age to race to ethnicity. Most of them are young women of color who are put into the shelter system with other women who are not of color but may be of ethnicity other than American. This has posed a problem with housing all these women and girls together who see each other as a threat or less than because they are different. In the midst of this there are different forms of intimidation and harassment by survivors who see girls of color differently.

Every house that is set up as a shelter for survivors has a house manager, this manager is usually not a woman of color. Normally that shouldn’t be a problem but if there is no cultural sensitivity by the house manager, it causes a huge disparity in how these cases of intimidation and harassment are handled. Women of color experience higher levels of trauma that leads to severe PTSD accompanied with a variety of triggering actions and words. When they are placed in a house that is constantly triggering them while forcing them to be in a constant state of stress and no one will listen or help them-not even the house manager, they will act out for their own protection. When this happens they are considered dangerous to everyone in the house, including themselves and as a result the police is called with the intent to have them arrested and removed from the house. All of this because no one wanted to listen or understand or even believe them just because their skin is darker than the other women. They are looked at as difficult as being the instigator and violent. This is a tactic by many shelters to make these women seem like liars.

This is a growing trend, especially in such a diverse city like New York. So called religious organizations are the biggest culprits. They claim to want to help all women everywhere but when it comes to women of color, they fall short and are more destructive to them and their situation. It doesn’t stop there. City agencies and government entities add salt to the wound by disbelieving these survivors and siding with the organization due the political power they may hold or their enormity and size of donations they may receive from politicians and local and state entities. These women are left with no one to turn to and either stay in the house and continue to be harassed and triggered or they leave back into the streets to be re-victimized. This is an issue that needs more exposure, it’s one of the key factors why these girls are always in the shelter system never to move on and be self sustainable.

I have heard quite a few stories from young women of color that they are treated “differently” because they are not like the white skinned girls from another country or state. They have suffered just as must, experience the same type of trauma and yet they are looked at as trouble makers who just want to be in the system. Where is the trauma informed help that they were promised? Why does the case worker they were assigned to by the shelter not do anything to protect her? These are questions that I have yet to get answers for. One thing I do know is that if you are running a shelter for all women irregardless of the color of their skin or their culture, you should run it with dignity and respect for all of them, not like some cliquish sorority house where “Mean Girls” run it. Eventually this will catch up to you and communities will start to talk and distance themselves from your shelter as a resource for survivors they work with.

Unfortunately none of these organizations are all that worried. Their pockets and bank accounts are lined pretty well with funding from professionals, politicians and local and state governments. In their mind it doesn’t matter if they have 1 or 20 women in their shelter, as long as they can find way to manipulate a grant or proposal to show they’ve helped a lot of women, they money will continue to flow. There are cases filed against organizations such as these that never get resolved because of the reach these people have to cover it up. Women and girls of color have had to survive so much and came out in need of a lot. After all of this they shouldn’t have to survive the shelter system.

Thanks for reading!! If you like this blog, please share it or subscribe to it.

Women And Revolution is a blog designed to raise the issues that are affecting women all over the world while giving it journalistic value. W.A.R is a division of BeaSister2aSister a 501(c)3 non profit that helps survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, exploitation and abuse break the cycle of inter-dependency and become self sustainable. if you would like to earn more you can visit our website at http://www.beasister2asister.org or you can email us at info@beasister2asister.org. If you are interested in seeing women and girls everywhere break free from inter-dependency, please consider donating online as a one time or sustainable donor. We are committed to seeing every woman walk in total freedom.

BeaSister2aSister

“Being Accountable For Every Woman Around The Globe.”

Playing Politics With Prostitution

Human Rights Fellow
Founder/Executive Director
BeaSister2aSister

Our country has moved to a dangerous paradigm shift. The full decriminalization of prostitution, not just the women forced into it, but the men who buy, rape and abuse them for sexual pleasure. Trying to legitimize prostitution and give it approval as an acceptable means of employment is giving way to more insidious behavior in the way society treats women and girls. Prostitution and sex trafficking are synonymous when it comes to the degradation and dehumanization of women. It strips them of all humanity and replaces it with a commodity label along with a price tag. Allowing this law to pass is basically telling every female in this country you don’t matter and your existence is meaningless. The powers in DC are trying to have their cake and eat it to by satisfying the lust of privileged men who are among their ranks or who are and connected to power and using our children to do it.

Washington DC is scheduled to decide on a law that will destroy the lives of countless women and girls, the full decriminalization of prostitution which will in turn elevate sex trafficking, especially for minors. The blinders they’re wearing are a deliberate tactic to justify keeping the DC clients happy. The Jeffery Epstein case was the perfect example of how this government views child sexual abuse and child trafficking. This was a huge network of lawyers, socialites and former victims turned recruiters who tricked and manipulated children into performing sexual acts for Epstein and a host of wealthy, powerful clients. What will full decriminalization look like when another case like this happens? I imagine it will be everyone involved getting off scott-free while their victims have to put the pieces of their lives back together. The traumatization and PTSD that are suffered by all victims of sex trafficking will be whitewashed and disregarded. These are children, someone’s daughter. Her parents were there when she took her first step, learn to ride a bike, had birthday parties with ice cream and cake and friends. Now she is trying to block out memories of her innocence and childhood being ripped from her because adults manipulated her into doing something she never wanted.

This is serious and affects every young woman in this society no matter what socio-economic background you come from. Traffickers are everywhere disguised as boyfriends, friends, authoritative types, pornographers and even family members. How can anyone expect a child to live with a family member who will traffic them for money until their body can’t take it anymore? That’s what full decriminalization does. There will be more missing children, more sexual abuse in homes, foster care and everywhere it’s legal. What are we saying to children? We want you so we can exploit you? If Washington passes full decriminalization of prostitution it’s saying we have no humanity nor do we care what happens to our children. Very telling for a country who loves to point the finger at the human rights abuses of women and children in other countries but can’t seem to to treat there own with dignity and humanity.

Thanks for reading!! If you like this blog, please share it or subscribe to it.

Women And Revolution is a blog designed to raise the issues that are affecting women all over the world while giving it journalistic value. W.A.R is a division of BeaSister2aSister a 501(c)3 non profit that helps survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, exploitation and abuse break the cycle of interdependency and become self sustainable. if you would like to earn more you can visit our website at http://www.beasister2asister.org or you can email us at info@beasister2asister.org. If you are interested in seeing women and girls everywhere break free from interdependency, please consider donating online as a one time or sustainable donor. We are committed to seeing every woman walk in total freedom.

BeaSister2aSister

“Being Accountable For Every Woman Around The Globe.”