Posts Tagged ‘human trafficking’

Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.

Proverbs 10:17

Last Friday I wrote about the myth about human trafficking and the Super Bowl.  It was my response after reading this by this “health” blogger.  The blogger and I have had our philosophical differences in the past, but to me, this was pretty cut and dry.  I left a few comments with links to groups that are in the trenches of human trafficking, pointing out that they, these advocacy groups for the victims of human trafficking, were saying that this myth was hurting, not helping, the victims of this horrible crime.

Her response?  Nothing.

I pointed out that some of the very sources she linked to at the bottom of her post had altered their opinions on the matter, so shouldn’t she?


The very people she is claiming to care so much about are asking her to change her stance and her response is…silence.  Now, I don’t doubt that this blogger’s heart is in the right place, but when you let pride overwhelm what is right, what does that say about you and everything else you supposedly stand for?  What does that say about all of the “out of the box” remedies and life style choices (some of which are brilliant) she advocates for?  If she can’t go back and admit she is wrong on something like human trafficking, how can we trust that the health choices she advocates for haven’t been debunked or even classified as unsafe?

Pride…it can make you do stupid things.


The other day fitness model and personal trainer Bella Falconi posted this on her Instagram Feed:


Inspiring, right?  I used to feel the same way until someone pointed out to me years ago that although everyone does in fact have the same 24 hour every day, some must work 2 or 3 jobs, through no fault of their own other than life, just to put a roof over their children’s head and food in their children’s stomachs.  After a 16 hour day, as a parent, would you choose to go work out or spend some quality time with your children?  I said as much in the comments section, noting that perhaps until one is a parent, one cannot understand.  I can’t actually tell you exactly what I said because Bella Falconi’s response was to delete and block.  Now granted, this wasn’t the first time I had called her out on something.  It was the second.  The first was when she used the term “retard” in a derogatory manner.  Then, just like the blogger above, the response was silence.  At 27, this may simply be the immaturity of youth or that she has lived in the bubble of her success for too long.  I don’t know her, so I can’t say.  What I can say is that the response, much like the one above, seems to be rooted in pride.


A few month ago, Autism Speaks held a “March on Washington” event.  Leading up to it, Suzanne Wright wrote her now famous op-ed about lost children, broken families and cities build for autistic people.  As Autism Speaks patted itself on the back with a lavish party in DC complete with a Broadway review, thousands of autistic individuals and their families tried to make it clear to Suzanne and Autism Speaks that in order to truly speak for autistic people, the organization needed to let those people actually speak…but more importantly, Autism Speaks needed to listen.

The response?  Nothing.  Autism Speaks continues to believe that autistic individuals should not have a voice in how the world’s largest autism advocacy group operates.  One doesn’t have to have a Ph.D. to see just how wrong this is.


This all led me to posting this the other day:

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 8.52.04 AM

And maybe that is what it comes down to.  Perhaps Sarah, Bella and Suzanne all feel that admitting that they are wrong on something will be perceived as a sign of weakness.  Perhaps they are afraid that if they admit they are wrong on something that people will call into question everything that has come before.  I believe the exact opposite to be true, because if you are willing to admit that you make mistakes, it shows me that you actually care about what you are putting forth; that at some point, you will go back and double-check and triple-check your work; that if someone says, “hmm. I don’t know about that…”, you’ll go back, see if there are new facts or new science either backing or refuting what you say, and you will act appropriately.

Admitting you are wrong, when you are wrong, is a sign of strength.  As my friend Allissa said, “Knowledge + Humility = Power”.


Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.
Proverbs 10:17

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I was “inspired” yesterday to do a little research.  The Super Bowl is coming up this Sunday.  The Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos will rekindle their old AFC West rivalry.  My hope is that the game will be a repeat of the last time these two teams met in the post-season (a 31 – 7 Seattle win!).

..but I digress…

Yes, I was “inspired” to do a little research.  We’ve heard it every year in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.  It is the day with the highest number of domestic violence incidents of the year.  Thousands of women get beaten by their drunk spouses or boyfriends.  It is also the “highest human trafficking incident in the United States”.  Tens of thousands of women, as many as 100,000, get shipped to the Super Bowl host city to work the streets, limos and hotels.

Congressman are now sponsoring legislation.  Websites like Upworthy are posting videos.  Bloggers are taking to social media and swearing they will not watch the Super Bowl.

There’s even a new graphic going around:

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 8.58.51 AM

There’s one problem…

None of it is true.  That’s right; year after year after year, research and statistics have shown that neither one of these is true.  If you don’t want to believe me, then read Rachel Lloyd’s most recent post over at Huff Po (Click —>HERE<—).  Lloyd is the founder of GEMS – Girls Educational and Mentoring Services.  You can also read a 75 page report from the Global Alliance Against the Trafficking of Women (Click —>HERE<—). Both groups will tell you that the Super Bowl myth is essentially an outright lie.

So why are so many organizations, church groups, politicians and people perpetuating this lie?  Here are a few, in my opinion, depressing reasons (courtesy of the GAATW):

  • Its usefulness as a fundraising strategy – people give money to splashy sound bites;
  • Its effectiveness in grabbing the media and the public’s attention – which of course, comes back to increased fundraising;
  • Being a quick, easy way to be seen ‘doing something’ about trafficking – you get to beat your chest, put up a graphic, say “I’m not going to watch the Super Bowl!” and think you did something good;
  • Being a more socially acceptable guise for prostitution abolitionist agendas and anti-immigration agendas.

Now don’t get me wrong.  As the father of two girls, one of whom is more vulnerable than most, sex trafficking is one of my greatest fears.  But what pisses me off even more than the scumbags who take advantage of someone’s baby girl are the people who will prey on my fears with false statistics and outright lies in an attempt to scare me into donating money.  That way of spreading awareness may work in the short-term, but in the long run you simply end up with folks who will not believe anything you say, because your platform is built on a lie…and what does that do for future victims of the sex trade? Nothing.  In fact, probably worse than nothing because those of us who cared will have stopped listening.

I am left to believe that those inspired bloggers and organizations that push the above graphic are ultimately in it just for the attention and the dollars that will flow their way from those of us who get caught up in the hyperbole – it’s that or they are too lazy to actually do some research.  In either case, do you really want to trust your donations to groups like that?  If you truly want to help, contact GEMS or the GAATW to see what you can do.

And the next time you see a “statistic” like the above graphic, take the time to do a little research before passing it on.

And if you don’t want to watch the Super Bowl, then don’t watch it, but stop trying so hard to come up with a reason.  If you don’t like football, then it is totally socially acceptable not to watch the Super Bowl.

Oh, and no, the Super Bowl won’t kill you…it was just a headline to get your attention.


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