Social Media: The latest Enabler Of Human Trafficking

Samantha Inesta
Human Rights Fellow
Founder/Director
BeaSister2aSister

In the age of technology and being able to speak with people via video chat anywhere in the world, has made is a lot easier to also exploit people, especially children, anywhere in the world. Any site that allows you to post pictures, distort images or enhance them will most likely be used for some sort of sexual exploitation. The latest app to do this is Instagram. Now, just to be clear, social media apps have always been used as platforms for exploitation in one form or another. This doesn’t only apply to Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube have all in one form or another contributed to sex trafficking happening on the internet. Traffickers use Facebook to create profiles for young women with pornographic pictures, some so young they look like they’re in grade school. These pictures stay up without any accountability even when there is a outcry. Snapchat allows you to put all types of filters on photos to give them a look of fantasy for whatever they’re selling, and it’s usually children.

Instagram is used by everyone to document moments, vacations, businesses and life in general. But most people don’t see the darker things that it’s used for. Pimps will blatantly post pictures of underage girls and women shamelessly promoting their brand of pornography while selling the bodies of these women. The images are made to look like the girls in these pictures want to be there and their happy to comply with any position they are told to get into. This is social media prostitution wrapped in child exploitation and sexual assault. The most insidious thing about these accounts is that they try to attach themselves to unsuspecting accounts to either gain sex buyers or torment those who fight against sex trafficking and help the women who have survived it. It’s almost like they’re trying tell you that no matter what you do or how many laws are passed, we will still be here making money off of the bodies of women and girls. Social media sites needs to do much better to take down these accounts while putting up blockers that will not enable them to create profiles.

Pimps and traffickers are just as tech savvy as any high-level hacker. They will find any way to mask what they are doing until they get your personal information, account and profile then, they will launch assault of forced images of women, girls and children exploited and vulnerable. The cyber world has become the underbelly of the innocent online search engine. As the government cracks down on terrorism, domestic terrorism and hacking of elections, they should do the same for women and children who are being exploited. When doctored pornographic images of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez went viral created by a racist and misogynistic group that were part of boarder patrol, it’s very telling that, one, they were automatically not taken down and two, not many people aside from Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and those close to her along with some feminists, were outraged. That’s a little upsetting. Whether you like her or not it shouldn’t matter. She’s a women who was sexually exploited, against her will, on social media. If society has a complacent or complicit view of something like this, then they won’t feel compelled to do anything about women and girls being exploited on social media.

If some are still struggling with calling labeling a child a “child prostitute” then how will we ever be able to stop sites like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat from allowing their apps to be use by pimps, traffickers and sex buyers? There is still a shift that needs to be made and I believe it will happen, it may take time but things will change. We are already seeing strong, brave women and men speaking out against the destruction of pornography and what it does to minds of men and boys as well as relationships, marriages and families. The violence that is perpetuated by men from being normalized into it by the constant viewing of porn. With more and more women and girls telling their experiences of being choked, hit or worse they know it’s coming from their partners obsession with porn and his radicalized hatred of women by the industry. We need this type of outcry for the women and children who are continuously being exploited and sold on social media otherwise we are complicit and contributing to the public health crisis.

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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.”

Man’s Weapon Against Women Is Always Rape

Samantha Inesta
Director, Human Rights Fellow
BeaSister2aSister

All throughout history we have seen women as always being used for collateral damage. In every situation where there is a struggle for masculinity or shame resulting from a loss of said masculinity by another male will almost always end up with a woman being sexually harassed, assaulted or raped. It has been used as a weapon of war for may decades and still holds up to that standard to this day. Some called it misogyny, some patriarchy but what it really does is continue to drive the point home that women are inferior, weak and therefore should be made an example of when it comes to a man being humiliated. It is, for all intents and purposes, a coward’s way out. There is nothing manly, strong or honorable about attacking women just to serve your rage at not winning, or coming out on top or even having your pride hurt. Women everywhere have become trophies, property, a commodity to be used, bought, sold and to settle disputes, all with our bodies.

In the early to mid 90’s Bosnian women were subjected to a systematic rape campaign by Serbian forces, and others, to instill fear and cause a genocide. Hundreds of Bosnian women were subjected to this because of the way men in the government felt. They were being forced to accept victim hood, their honor and pride where hurt making them look foolish, or to accept defeat. It is estimated that 12,000-50,000 women were raped during that period all because men were not getting along-basically. It’s also important to note that even at that time there was no UN Charter that accepted rape as a weapon of war during this genocidal rape campaign. It was not until very recently did this resolution get adopted, of course there were dissenting countries that refused to not let women be raped and stigmatized during times of war and conflict.

Of course not all of this behavior is relegated to war, as we can see this happens quite often, even on social media. We are living in a time where it is becoming more and more acceptable to attack women with rape, violence and derogatory names just so they can feel like a man. So really it should be no surprise that domestic violence, human trafficking and rape are more prevalent and they’re not going away anytime soon. There are layers to these types of issues as well. A woman is good enough to hold a good job but not good enough to lead a nation, show here journalistic talent, or even be recognized a breakthrough scientist or a prosecutor that gets justice. As soon as she steps into a male dominated arena she is immediately food for the lions. When we as women speak out against the injustices done to us because of who we are, we are met with more threats of assault, all sexual. Rape victims get re-traumatized on the stand and are basically called a whore for speaking out. What she was wearing, how she was walking and carrying herself takes the focus over what actually happened to her.

This brings me to my last point. Social media plays a huge part in why, how and when women get threatened sexually. With all of the differing opinions and taking of sides during this presidency, especially the impeachment hearing process, going after women is the comfortable norm for most men who like to hide behind their computer screen and spew expletives that they hope are instilling fear in the women their aimed at. Some of these sexual comments aren’t always aimed directly at the woman. Sometimes it’s another man they have the issue with and if they see they can’t get to him, the women close to him become the next target. In this instance they’re probably empty threats designed to anger and humiliate the other male but nevertheless this type of male feels very comfortable in his decision to use the verbage he chose. All sites claim to have mechanisms put in place that will detect this behavior and automatically get rid of it, but that rarely if ever happens. There is no cyber police that stops this kind of harassment the second it starts-not even ten minutes after.

This is a separate war women must fight along with all of the other day to day stereotypes, misconceptions and unattainable lives that come with how society dictates how we should be. But make no mistake, rape is and always will be a weapon of war for men whether it’s actual war, political and even social.

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.”

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.”