Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Human Trafficking in Texas

I usually keep it pretty light here, but now and then I have to break of the levity to talk about something more serious.  Today I want to talk with you about an issue that's very important to me:  human trafficking, i.e. modern slavery.

When many people hear about human trafficking (the modern slave trade), they think it only exists in far away places--not here in the US.  But while it's true that slavery is more prevalent in Asia and Africa, it happens right here in Texas too.

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, Texas ranked number 2 in the number of calls places to the hotline (just behind California--I'll be posting about that later for my California friends).  That doesn't necessarily mean there's more slavery here than other states...it could just mean that more people here are aware of the problem and so are reporting suspected activity more often.   More telling perhaps  that Mosaic Family Services in Dallas typically serves 100 victims a year (Dallas News).   Here's just a couples of specific incidences of slavery in Texas I found on SlaveryMap.org*.

  • A San Antonio man is on trial for the kidnapping, rape and prostitution of a 13-year-old runaway.
  •  A couple in Arlington, TX enticed a widowed Nigerian mother of six to come to the United States to be their domestic servant by falsely promising a salary and support for her children. Once she came here they confiscated her documents, isolated her, and compelled her to work long hours with no days off. The victim also says the husband sexually assaulted her while she was working for them. (The couple have been convicted of forced labor and various other charges)

(*UPDATE:  SlaveryMap.org sadly no longer exists. )

So, what is Texas doing to combat this?  I'm kinda proud here.  As far as laws related to human trafficking, Texas ranks fairly well, according to reports by Polaris Project* and Shared Hope* Texas is doing better than average.  These reports said Texas was doing well in the training and and other tools it offers law enforcement to combat trafficking.  There was one area, however, that both reports found Texas lacking in:   Namely that Texas law leaves some victims of trafficking open to criminal convictions for prostitution that was committed as a result of being trafficked.  This is so important to address, because not only does that punish the victim, but also some traffickers sometimes use the threat of criminal convictions to keep their victims from seeking help from the police.  Texas has some laws in place to keep that from happening (for instance, children under 14 can not be charged with prostitution), but there are holes in the protection that need fixing. 

OK, that's what our government is doing--but what can individuals do about this issue?   A lot.  To learn what you can do, visit this link, or contact the Texas organizations below:


I'm spreading awareness by taking part in the Anti-Slavery Blog-O-Thon.
You can too. Click the link below to find out more.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Giveaways 4 Texifornians

The following giveaways have California and/or Texas appeal, for my Californian and Texan readers!  Lots of local stuff.  These are usually low entry too.

(2/28) Lishy Lou and Lucky Too Tickets (Los Angelos, CA)

(3/1) $50 Gift Card to California Delicious Online Store

(3/3)  $100 GC to House of Blues Restauarant (CA & TX Locations:  Anaheim, Los Angelos, San Diego, CA;  Dallas, Houston TX)

(3/21) Easter Extravaganza Tickets (Irving, CA)

Oh, and I found a blog with a whole section just for California Giveaways Here.  Cool huh?  You might want to buzz over there to see if there's any new CA giveaways I missed.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

This is Wherever Wednesday

Welcome to This is Wherever Wednesday!   At Wherever Wednesday we share those little moments that really show the character of the places we live.  Those times that just make you think "This is Texas"  (or Idaho, Chicago, or New Zealand, Manilla or WHEREVER.)  

Please leave your  posts on the linky below.   If you're still a little uncertain what this is all about, this post over at Budget Blond  (where "This is Wherever" originated) will help you out.  And, though it's not required, I'd love if you would grab the This is Wherever button on the sidebar and share it in your post or somewhere else on your blog!  Thanks for participating!

NOTE:  This week I'm trying out a Thumbnail linky.  What do you think?  Like it better, or prefer the text links?  Please leave me a note in the comments.