How Do We Win This War?

We have known for a long time that America has been the place for a new start for many across borders. So many come for the American Dream, the chance to make a fresh start, start a business, a family, a new home. Now, that dream has been deffered for many-including americans. Xenophobia, Islamaphobia, Border Walls, Border Patrol and Immigration all conributing to the war on people seeking a life free of war, poverty, sexual violence and the list goes on. It’s always the most vunerable who get a taste of what american justice really looks like. Children in detention cells not understanding what they did to deserve the place they are in right now. Women forced into trafficking and domestic violence situations are lost,  fearful of being deported back because the nightmare will not end there. What is everyone so afraid of? Jobs? C’mon. It’s a proven fact that most if not all americans would NEVER take a job that immigrants do and get paid the same wage as they do. In fact it is americans hiring them so they can pay them little for doing the jobs that they know full well other americans would not take. So that’s not an excuse. Crime. Ok well you don’t have to be an immigrant to commit a crime, look at the mass shootings in churches, movie theatres and malls, those were not immigrants. Most of the women that are being murdered in the United States are americans killed by their american husbands or boyfriends. On average more than three women are murdered in the United States by their husbands or boyfriends. Not immigrants.
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For many years women have been under the radar when it comes to trafficking whether it’s labor or sex. Now they have the spotlight and the undivided attention of law makers who want them out, they’re criminals and don’t deserve to be here even though they fit the true definition of a trafficking victim. Anything illegal is viewed as a crime even if you are the victim. The so-called vetting process is tainted and one sided, for those of us who loved Melissa McCarthy as Spicer, you want to be Barbie not Moana if you want to live. Continue reading

Make America Scared Again

I don’t usually write about immigrants and refugees without talking about human trafficking surviors or survivors of exploitation and abuse. But this is far too great and all consuming not to write about. Now let me first say I was born in the United States to immigrant families. I was not raised in a white-anglo household, one part of my family was very Sicilian and the others were Spanairds with a French mix that seemed to come from an African Country colonized by France. I myself am light skinned with ethnic features, I do not identify as “White” in the same way White European people do. I was not privileged by any means and worked very hard for most of my life and i’m still struggling. I say this because sometimes I feel there is a misconception about being “White”.  Not every white skinned person is privileged or even know what it means to be privileged and that’s because their skin may say white but their ubringing is not. They don;t identify with Western Europe i.e. Scandinavia, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Sweden, etc. They come from a variety of ethnicities  but because their skin is white it is assumed they NEVER had to sruggle, this is a great misconception.
Right now, waves of African immigrants are coming to the shores of Sicily escaping war, conflict, poverty and persecution. Who are the people that are taking them into their businesses giving them jobs, bringing them into their homes where they become part of the family get an education and start their future? Sicilians. It’s because we know the paniful truth of what it’s like to be oppresed, treated like a slave and have your rights taken from you. To this day, even in America, Sicilians are still helping African Americans in many ways. I remember growing up hearing Sicilians being compared to the racial slur that is used to decribe the black community. Our ways were different, our food was different, the way we spoke was not considered civilized or proper. We had to be “Americanized” to submit to Anglo ways and forget about our culture and family history. Then the assimilation process began. It didn’t happen right away though, but as we see now we have a watered-down Sicilian American culture that considers theselves above the rest. But it wasn’t always like that. What happened? People were scared. They blended in the same way African Americans “act white” because they don’t want to be treated different. They have a very tumultuous history with the United States and on some level so do Sicilians. We don’t see Black or White, Latino, Asian, Arabic etc. We see people. It makes me sad to see people no matter what their background is, be devoided of their culture and ethnicity just to blend into White America.
The police state is here to stay and fear is the God that torments immigrants from going outside just to get food. This is the age of ICE when even those of us that were born here stop and think  “will I be stopped?” I remember taking a trip to San Diego (which is really Mexico) for work and decided to take a walk over the border to Tiajuana for shopping and a little sight seeing at the popular Avendia Revolucion. Going past the Mexican officer was not a problem at all as I do speak some spanish but not much because you know-‘Merica. So I walked across the border with as I like to say “Just me and the Mexicans.” It was a sobering experience. Every day hundreds of Mexicans cross that border to come to San Diego to work and then cross back to go home. They cross to work in a country that was theirs and now they need permission access it and be treated like a criminal. I met a really sweet woman who travels to her home country of Mexico all of the time. She was hoping to set back to San Diego soon to go to church.  Coming back into the United States did not prove to be as easy as leaving. When I finally got to border control to cross over I was stopped by a gallon of milk young white border patrol officer who apparently didn’t think I belonged in the United States and seemed to have an itchy trigger finger. So very calmly I expalined to him that I was just shopping and sight seeing, with that he asked for my passport which is standard. So I handed it to him. When he saw the places I’ve been, and will continue to go to, as well as my last name which didn’t neccesarily fit the places I’ve been,  he immediately when into are you a terrorist mode. I again calmly explained to him that I was shopping and even offered to show him what I bought and have him search the bags. He didn’t flich. Still asking me a myraid of questions. When he saw that he couldn’t scare me or find a way to detain me, he let me go. Even though my Latin heritage isn’t from Mexico, I got a first hand experience, albeit not a rough one, of what a lot of Mexicans face when trying to enter into the United States. Imagine having to go through this everyday in country that used to belong to your own people? And this was BEFORE Trump. Continue reading

We Are The Collateral Damage That No One Sees

International Journalists & Correspondents do a really good job of reporting war, conflict and humanitarian crisis. But there is a separate issue within the chaos that claims lives, homes and the dignity of life. Women and girls, some too young to even know what it’s like to be close with the opposite sex are all of a sudden forced to be a women enslaved to male lust and perversion. These are the invisible stories that not many report on and if they do, it’s a one-liner no more. It’s not the fault of journalists but of society’s reluctance to look at the suffering of women and girls outside the famlial scope. There is a complacency that rape and enslavement of women is just a part of war, it’s somehow “natural” and “expected” just like the war itself and therefore cast aside as a side effect of living in a region that is raging in turmoil.
Women are the issue that unless you are an outspoken feminist, doesn’t get covered much if even at all. In the realm of terrorism and the groups that carry out these atrocities, claim the lives of women through coercion, false promises and brainwashing. Women are used as scapegoats and take the blame for terrorist activites and violence while they are under the control of a patriarcal madman. This is when women get A LOT of coverage. No one wants to see the bondage she is in, now this does not excuse the fact that something horrific happened and lives were lost, but the fact that this gets more attention than the thousands of women being raped, tortured and killed is not the right balance. Demonizing women at every turn will desensitize the masses to all of the abuse, exploitation, military sanctioned rape and murder of women.
That’s not to say that there aren’t female journalists out there going to refugee camps, places of extreme danger to reach these women and talk with them. Sitting in their homes or tents receiving their horror story so that the world will know. But this still doesn’t get much attention-unless you Google it. How will we ever understand the humanitarian atrocities of women and girls if it’s not in the world media the same way other disasters are? A country should be looked at by how they treat their women because with out us really, life cannot continue. Think about it.

The Human Commodity

One doesn’t normally think of a human being as a reusable commodity but it seems to be the money maker of choice in our globalized society. Arms and drug dealers have now added bodies to their repertoire of services. Why you may ask? Because you can use a body over and over whereas drugs and guns are only sold once making the trade less profitable. Slavery has been with the human race since the beginning of time and has since then become the most inhumane and dehumanizing practice this world has ever seen.
Lets start with sexual slavery. The most immoral, violent and anti-female slavery there is.  I’m not talking about women who have chosen to sell themselves because they don’t see anyway out of their economic situation or other unforeseen circumstances, I’m talking about women and girls who for various reasons had force fraud or coercion hijack their lives. So many factors can lead to this type of deception, here are a few: 1. Promised work in another country only to be sold in a brothel, strip clubs, etc. with all of their papers confiscated and a never ending debt bondage that doesn’t lead to freedom. 2. A boyfriend who manipulates his way in and professes love, stability and a future but hands her sexy clothing and says she must “work” to bring in money. 3. This is not as common but it does happen. Kidnapping leading to forced  prostitution and “home delivery.”
The one thing these all have in common is the break down process. It starts with verbal abuse then graduates to severe beating and mass rape until there is no will left and the spirit is completely broken. That is when the buying and selling of the human commodity truly begins.  She must rely on her trafficker for everything, food, money and basic necessities, if he feels he wants to give it to her. Sleep deprived she must service many to keep the beatings at bay.
Another component of the human commodity is labor trafficking. There are many sectors in various industries that are involved in this kind of slavery. In this case the human commodity is not there to be sold but to bring in a profit by using physical work under horrific conditions in order to keep their “employer” happy and rich. Depravation of food, sleep and basic necessities keep them weak but under control. If they desire to eat they must work longer hours in extreme hot weather or frigid cold with no breaks. They are expected to sleep only a few hours and survive on nothing. They are punished because they are too weak or they cannot keep up with their employer’s demands. Often the the threats are immigration or maybe their life.
The breakdown process here is similar to sex trafficking. Depravation, lack of food and sleep. Beating and punishments as well as sexual assaults (especially if you are a woman), migrant women suffer from this the most.
Every country exploits a neighboring one for sex and labor and if there are some that come looking for work from a country that is not close, they will exploit them too. Some countries look the other way because they see it as a economic boost to their country not considering the damage being done not only to the person enslaved but on the society as a whole.
So what happens when there is war and conflict?
The number of women and children that are being trafficked during this time is staggering. Mostly it is sex that is the choice of the day leaving so many broken and devastated. Rogue militias using children as soldiers to fight for a skewed ideology that boasts brainwashing tactics to turn them against their family and everything they’ve ever known. UN agencies litter these countries trying to fulfill the UN Charter for women but not many make it.
There is no doubt this is a global, health and moral crisis. This is not something that happens in one country, one society, one culture, it happens in them all. From the most farthest regions of the international world to the whitest suburbs in America. The human commodity lives. As long as there is a demand and as long as governments continue to fuel that demand with  faulty legislation, under the table dealings and a wink-wink nudge-nudge approach, the human commodity will never go away.