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Three cents towards the fight against trafficking and exploitation

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Joann, a Certified Financial Crimes Investigator, recently posted this article on LinkedIn: Fighting City of Houston's deal with Strip Clubs, with the following comment:

"Lap dances are once again legal at certain Houston topless clubs that have agreed to pay the city a combined $1 million every year to help combat human trafficking." Does this make sense to anyone?

The conversation in the comments that followed is quite noteworthy and the truth in their words should be shared, and shared, and shared again!

Those who shared their ‘three cents’ are to be applauded. Except for Ronald that is, a retired Transportation/Instructor. His words epitomize the current attitude of our culture and the very need for the rest of us to work together and stay engaged in this ongoing battle.

Ronald commented: If the dancers are American citizens or LEGAL Visa citizens of Mexico, I see no reason for the hassle. I have spent many a night as a truck driver in Laredo, Nogales, Adam and a lot more towards the area of El Paso many a times. And I have watched the 'ladies of the Night.' as they went truck to truck, went into the truckstop bathrooms, cleaned up and came right back out to continue as 'lot lizards.' At least in the nightclubs, they are watched over by Bouncers, who see that they are not mistreated by customers, they don't mistreat or Rob customers, and they are required health checkups. Most of these girls work like this because they do not have an education or the job supplies the needed financial support for a good education. So, It's really no Biggie Deal!! Tell the wives if they don't like hubby watchin the younger and sexiers girls, Get the hubbies outta the nightclubs and start getting rid of the Fat or Shape Up.

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Avra, Co-organizer of Fight Slavery Now! answered: Mr. Joy, I am appalled by your comment.
This is not an immigration enforcement issue. It is a human rights issue. Women are grossly exploited in furtherance of a culture that commodifies sexuality. Being treated like a piece of meat giving 'lap dances' to sad and lonely men is not mistreatment? As long as no one is getting slapped around or robbed, everything is okay? And any fault lies naturally with the wives of the knuckleheads who support this exploitation?

Wrong, wrong and wrong. Prostitution, sex trafficking, strip clubs, pornography and the entire so-called "adult entertainment" industry are inextricably intertwined with the exploitation of women and girls by normalizing their being regarded as mere objects whose function is to pleasure any men willing to pay. Your comment concerning the wives of patrons is indicative of that neanderthal attitude.

For the government to promote and seek to profit from this kind of degradation of women and girls is possible only in a highly patriarchal society. For them to do it under the guise of attempting to reduce human trafficking is disingenuous at best. It's all about money and sexploitation. That the government is willing to allow this, without any vote, for a million dollar fee, illustrates the moral bankruptcy of Houston's mayoral office.

Just my three cents.

Peace, Justice and Freedom...

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Cailin, Founder of Humanitarian Alliance added her three cents: I am equally appalled. If demand increases, so will supply. EVERY advocate on combatting trafficking KNOWS this. Further, exploitation of any form should never be casually accepted as the 'norm'. I cannot believe anyone would actually try to justify this type of human degradation. Particularly knowing the devastating impact pornography has on attitudes toward women and male entitlement. What you suggest is absurd. And, to refer to girls exploited at truck stops as lizards sums up your attitude in general. Healthy sexuality has nothing to do with exploitation. That is a typical false equivalency.

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Peter F, a Customs and Border Protection Officer added his comment: As someone who works human trafficking, I can see the point to Ronald's comment. The cold reality is that sexual entertainment isn't going to go away, but what I applaud Houston for doing is recognizing this, regulating it, and using the tax money for a targeted purpose rather than revenue enhancement. Anyone who says underground lap dances aren't happening is naive; at least at these clubs, the employees are somewhat protected from pimps, violence, and the like. By regulating it, a customer can go to a regulated club rather than a less safe underground establishment.

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A Detective at Dallas Police Department, Michael M, spoke up: If you allow lap dances, in other words contact between the dancer and the customer, you will not be able to prevent prostitution in the clubs. Even if club management is not actively allowing prostitution it will be occurring. If you think pimps aren't in strip clubs you're wrong. They are in every club, especially the lower class one, but in all clubs. They recruit there, and they put their girls in the clubs to make them their money. Houston is just getting a tax payment off the trafficking that is going on in the clubs.

**

Avra’s next answer should be published in training material!: Officer Fellenz: "The cold reality is that sexual entertainment isn't going to go away"

The concept of "sexual entertainment" is in itself quite chilling. Since when did sexual contact in public become an acceptable form of entertainment? To the extent that this has sadly become normalized, how much sadder to have the government put its imprimatur upon it, so long as it can extract its pound of flesh.

Cockroaches are not going away either. But I don't think we should be setting up a feeding station for them in our houses. I suggest shining a harsh light and stomping every bugger we can. If they can't be eradicated, they can at least be contained and certainly made to feel unwelcome.

What any consenting adults do sexually in private is rightfully their own business entirely.
Sexual services offered for money, in a public establishment licensed to serve alcohol, is a matter of public concern and an area over which public policy has a proper place. It is my opinion that the public's interest is best served by not encouraging, condoning or permitting such rank degradation of women for profit by bar owners.

The harm is threefold.
1. Women are being exploited. They frequently do not get to keep the money being paid for the service. They are pressured to perform. They are further pressured to to move up the sexploitation ladder to work as 'escorts' or in other more overtly sexual capacities. The owners of these establishments are not enlightened benefactors. Often these clubs are controlled by organized crime. Violence, or the threat of it, pervade most of these operations. Running strip clubs is not a pretty business. Neither is working in one. Would you have any misgivings about your wife/daughter/sister/mother working there? Why?

2. Patrons are being exploited and brainwashed. You may call it exotic dancing, but it's still a titty bar. Drinks are watered down and overpriced. "Bottle service" at a so-called VIP room will run upwards of $200 for a bottle of bar booze. But that gets you 'access' to nude women. So what is really being sold is the idea that no matter how bad you look, how stupid you may be, or how totally lacking in social grace... if you've got the bucks, you can buy a woman. They are merely commodities. Is that a message you think the government should endorse?

3. The social fabric is coarsened, corroded, and corrupted. In many neighborhoods children walk by these establishments. They see the men handing out cards to potential customers. What message are we sending when we normalize the sexual exploitation of women and girls. The idea of honest regulation is naive. There will be irregularities. They will be overlooked. There will be envelopes stuffed with small bills exchanging hands.

Shut down the strip clubs. 


Just my three cents...
avra

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If the next comment were your three cents, what would it be?

 

Hearts and doors were opened.

“Hearts and doors were opened, along with gift bags.”

As we go into this Christmas week, I wanted to share two special gifts with you packaged as an update:

“Hearts were opened.”ssdinpalovecards.jpg

First, this past Friday night, a couple of us delivered 60 gift bags, courtesy of many ladies from Hershey E-Free Church and the community, to three strip clubs along the 22/322 stretch in Duncannon, PA. Every single employee smiled as they received a bag with baked goodies and the message "you are loved". The reception was overwhelming: from hugs, smiles on faces young and not-so-young, tears, thank you’s, ‘I can’t believe you all would do this’, and even one lady who said: ‘you have no idea how much this means that someone would think of us as human beings with feelings.'

Another lady insisted that everyone in the room gather ‘into a chain’ so we could pray together. And that’s what we did…only she did the praying as we all held hands and listened to her pray the most beautiful prayer for us, for each girl there and her family, thanking God for loving all of us.

Even as we continue to process the sexual darkness, the despair, and the contrast of lifestyles, we are already planning our January visit. With so many offers to help coming in already, it looks like we’ll be able to cater a hot meal into each of the clubs. Stay tuned for more details in the New Year!

“Doors were opened.”billboardduncannonpa.jpg

And secondly, when we shared with the girls the message of ‘She’s Somebody’s Daughter’, one girl perked up and said “Hey! I’m somebody’s daughter!” They loved the idea of having a billboard posted in this area with a message of their value as daughters.

So it’s exciting to be able to share that we’ve received the funds to see this happen! On January 20 our billboard, featuring a young lady from PA, will be posted! Many heartfelt thanks to those who have given financially to see this particular billboard become a reality!

Our team is so thankful, and humbled, by the outpouring of support and partnerships for Our Beautiful Exchange (SSD's Outreach Ministry) in PA.

Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace.

Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother; And in His name all oppression shall cease.

May you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday season as you contemplate the true meaning of Christmas.

Tammy Stauffer

Director, She’s Somebody’s Daughter

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...looking ahead to 2014...

“There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien


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Would you consider sponsoring the posting of this billboard for one month so it can stay there past March 19th as we continue reaching out into this community? Or consider asking someone to match your financial gift so we can keep this message in front of all who enter, spend time in, and travel through this area.

Donations can be mailed to: She’s Somebody’s Daughter PO Box 452 Elizabethtown, PA 17022

Or given online. Or please feel free to send an This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.with any comments or questions.

SSD Strip Club Outreach in PA

bagsassembled.jpgRoute 22/322 is one of Pennsylvania’s “red-light districts” — even though no actual red lights exist on this stretch of road.

It’s a well-known congested area in Duncannon, PA – a main thoroughfare to Penn State – consisting of a Pilot truck stop, a Sheetz store and at least three strip clubs, along with one adult video and novelty store and a massage parlor.

It’s an area often labeled as dark and hopeless. It’s an area in need of a positive message. It’s an area full of opportunities to be a light, offer hope, and share love.

We are taking the heart and message of She's Somebody's Daughter to strip clubs in PA through our Our Beautiful Exchange (SSD Outreach Ministry). This Friday night, we plan to share Christmas goodie bags with up to 60 employees at the clubs in this area.

National Day of Prayer with PornHarms

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42 organizations are joining together, as well as many national faith leaders.

Find a list of prayer suggestions here.

All are invited to participate.

 

Change always comes bearing gifts

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"Change always comes bearing gifts." ~ Price Pritchett

Working together we can help eradicate trafficking and change the world for a woman or child.

Shop online this Christmas and support a few groups who are busy on the front lines working to honor and value our women and children.

A few of my personal favorite online places to shop:

1) Women at Risk International: Their mission is to unite and educate women and children in areas of human trafficking and sexual slavery. Through culturally sensitive, value-added intervention projects and programs, WAR, Int’l offers women and children an opportunity to live life with dignity. Although specifically known for their fight against human trafficking and rehabilitating work with trafficking victims, WAR, Int’l addresses 14 different risk issues facing women and children today.

I’ve had the opportunity to visit and shop in their store in MI, but also have shopped online. Their jewelry and scarves are beautiful, and make meaningful gifts for friends and family. Shop now!


2) I was first ‘introduced’ to Don Brewster while watching ‘Nefarious’ and love his heart and all that he and his wife are doing:

When facing the truth of the atrocities in Cambodia, Bridget explained, “Our hearts broke realizing the largeness of the problem and we wanted to offer our help any way we could.” It was time to act.

After selling their home, quitting their jobs, conducting weeks of research and building a team, Don and Bridget moved to Cambodia and developed Agape International Missions (AIM).

3Strands is a fashion brand created to fund AIM’s Agape Training Center (ATC) in Svay Pak, Cambodia. ATC teaches women over 16 years old skills to be empowered in the workplace and allows them to be financially stable after being rescued from human trafficking.

Before you purchase a bracelet, learn more about what goes into each one:

The Scarlet Seed Story
The red seeds featured on all 3Strands bracelets can be discovered if one looks into the pods, which grow on Sandalwood trees, native to Cambodia. The colorless pods eventually dry up and fall to the ground and are forgotten, stepped over like trash as they blow away in the wind.  To Don Brewster, the founder of AIM, these pods are representative of how the Cambodian culture sees a child coming out of a brothel – as trash. But inside these dried up pods are beautiful, glossy, scarlet seeds that in their natural beauty, created by God, represents the beauty in each of the girls who have been freed, loved and empowered with a hope for the future. As each 3Strands bracelet is made by hand, with love, the girls incorporate the red Sandlewood seed in the design reminding them of their beauty within as they proudly sign their name to each bracelet.


3) I first learned about NightLight through two compelling blogs they posted:

A Few Good Men Part 1: “In the midst of deep brokenness and darkness, it is good to sometimes be reminded of the many decent men still out there.”

In honor of the Christmas season: Prostitution and Christ’s Advent: “I see a God who is not afraid to wrap our injured flesh around Him, a God who is not afraid to stand against false gods, a God who is not afraid to enter the darkness of a brothel, and a God who does not avert His eyes from evil.  In the midst of the darkness, His Light has come.”

NightLight is an international organization committed to addressing the complex issues of commercial sexual exploitation through prevention, intervention, restoration, and education; build relationships with victims of commercial sexual exploitation and those who are at-risk and provide hope, intervention, rescue, and assistance by offering alternative vocational opportunities, life-skills training, and physical, emotional, and spiritual development to those seeking freedom.

NightLight builds support networks internationally to intervene and assist women, men, and children whose lives are negatively impacted by the sex industry. NightLight’s mission is to do “whatever it takes” to affect change within the global sex industry.

Shop now!


4) FindingYourHomeAfter reading this little gem of a book (Finding Your Way Home), I fell in love with Magdalene! It is a residential program for women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets. Thistle Farms is the social enterprise that is run by the women of Magdalene. By hand, the women create natural bath and body products that are as good for the earth as they are for the body. Purchases of Thistle Farms products directly benefit the women by whom they were made.

I love using Thistle Farm products – the fragrances are amazing! - and have purchased various kits as gifts for my special friends. Shop today!

 


5) Claro brings light to social injustice by making candles that change the world. CLARO (latin): to bring light to the darkness.

They make candles that invite you to be part of a lasting story that changes the world.

Every candle purchased through Claro has a different giving outcome that fights social injustice in our world. Whether your purchase plants a tree, provides a meal, sends a child to school, or fights for the rights of abused women, your purchase has a lasting impact in the life of someone in need.  

Burn a candle. Bring light. Order yours today!


5) Because I love chocolate...! Fair Trade products like coffee and chocolate are a must, visit Fair Trade websites such as:

10,000 Villages
Night Light International

Stop the Traffik offers this downloadable easy guide on where to go and buy Fair Trade chocolate that has a “TRAFFIK FREE GUARANTEE” (Chocolate that can guarantee no involvement by trafficked people in the harvesting of the cocoa beans).

It gives tips such as:

SHOPS THAT SELL

    • Trader Joe’s
    • Target
    • Whole Foods
    • Wild Oats
    • Ten Thousand Villages

They also offer printable festive gift tags, so if you are planning to give chocolate as a gift this Christmas attach one of STOP THE TRAFFIK's Christmas gift tags. Their tags will tell the blessed recipient of your edible gift why you chose to buy chocolate that is certified.


Happy shopping this Christmas season, and remember “Even the smallest act is like a drop of water - it will make ripples throughout the entire pond...” Together, we can make a difference for the groups who are working on, and in the lives of those affected by, the issue of human trafficking.

Written by Tammy Stauffer, Director of She's Somebody's Daughter

This list is certainly not exhaustive as there are many more organizations and groups that could be added to this list, so please feel free to highlight those in the comments below.

 

 

She's Somebody's Daughter Blog

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Occasionally we feel compelled to write and share about current events or topics related to pornography, sex trafficking, and sexual abuse. Our blog is the outlet for when those urges strike, so sign up and look for new posts in the near future! 

It is our hope with our blog that readers will be encouraged, challenged, empowered, and compelled to speak up about these isues as we work together to create the kind of culture that honors all women.

We hope you will enjoy reading our archived posts published here that had been previously published on our Wordpress blog.

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Hummelstown, PA 17036

Our office is physically located on Front Street in Harrisburg, PA.

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