Monday, October 25, 2010

End Slave Labor: Buy Used, Buy Local

It is not foolproof, nor is it 100% pure but it is a step in the right direction and it is also environmentally friendly. Let's rationalize it:

1. Second Hand Stores
Used clothing stores' production line is you. If it is Salvation Army or Goodwill, you donate the items. If it is Buffalo Exchange or some other designer used clothing store they will buy your best items from you and sell them for their own profit. They do their business right there next to or across from the cash register in plain sight, no secrets. If you decide you don't want to part with your items, you don't have to. There is no force, no coercion, no debt bondage and no sweat shops. The best part about it, from a consumer's perspective, is that it is all cute, trendy clothes that are already shrunk and worn in so there are no surprises after that first wash. Buying at second hand stores does not directly support human trafficking. Indirectly it is more than likely true that your purchased goods were tainted by some shading business dealings in their first life, but once they are placed in a second hand store, your business supports the store and potential charities and nothing else.

Here is the link for Buffalo Exchange: Find locations near you and read their "How it Works" link for more information.

2. Local Farmers Markets
I admit, I should have researched this a bit before I wrote this, so I will only make empty assumptions for now. From an environmental perspective, it is better because it cuts down on emissions in domestic or international transport. You will have to sacrifice the seasonal savories, sorry strawberry lovers, but in the face of the great sacrifice that the natural world is being compelled into, it is rather trivial that our desires must wait. From a human trafficking perspective, you can never really be sure what goes on behind closed doors. I would encourage you to ask where the produce is coming from and who plants and picks it, but their word is all you can rely on. In my opinion, it is much more difficult for an independent farmer to lie straight to his or her customer's facefor than it is for a large corporation to lie to a faceless consumer base. I will not rule out the possibility though, I know that humans are capable of really horrific things, but this is a positive blog so I will leave that out for now. Bottom line: an independent, local farmer cannot evade the law and truth as easily as a large corporation and my guess is he or she will be less willing to jeapordize their business with shady business. But don't just assume that. Ask, build relationships with the people, humanize them and I promise the worst thing that could happen would be an awkward conversation.

Here is a great website to help you locate famers' markets near you in the US:

That's all for now. Remember to act in love always, and not just the warm fuzzy love, but also the love that hurts and calls you to be compassionate in the face of great pain and rejection. Wait...what was it again that Jesus did?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Personal Note No. 1

Much of what I write is a direct reflection of what is going on in my head (shocking, I know) and I realized that a lot of what has been going on in my head has been quite bleak. Slavery is not an incredibly uplifting topic + that is what I have been researching heavily recently = bleak. Causation or correlation I don’t care, call it math if you would like it is just what has been going on. This means there has been a direct influence of this attitude in the writing I have been doing recently. It is selfish of me to impose that mood on you Reader, so in an effort to prevent myself from being consumed with grief and to offer you more rainbows and butterflies, I will write a positive blog. My intent is not to heap sorrow and desperation on you and revel in your psychological demise, quite the opposite. I want to inspire conscious thought and action. I want you to realize your responsibility as a consumer of materials, services, music, information and culture and use it to benefit others, not harm them.

This is not an easy task, it takes thinking, feeling, sacrifice and research, but that is why I am here. I will do my best to research how to be a responsible consumer, offer perspective and provide a database of research items but in turn I ask you to cross check me. I am not perfect, sometimes I get A’s on midterms, and sometimes I get D’s. Generally I’m smart, but I have my times too. In short, I encourage you ask questions not because you doubt but because you want to know. Here’s an example: Why? It’s easy. How’s that for positivity? 

Also, here is a worthy cause that goes along with the whole theme of this post:
It is on November 6th in Irvine, CA.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just to Clarify: Slavery Exists

Yes, yes it does and even in this United States of America. Our beautiful country that believes in and sends our men to die for the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of Capitalism, I mean happiness, is a popular destination of slaves, and clearly not of their own free will.

Let's have a brief history lesson. On December 6, 1865 the 13th Amendment to the constitution was adopted by the United States. It states:

"Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

For those of you that did not read that because it was a quote in the middle of the page, it says that slavery is a crime in the US and any place subject to their jurisdiction. It is an honorable notion and has my full support but in my opinion, all this succeeded in doing was to shift the act of slavery from something socially acceptable and visible to something socially unacceptable and less visible.

Slaves before were whipped and flogged shamelessly and publicly, slaves today are beaten and raped behind closed doors. Slaves before worked in plain sight, slaves today work in dark rooms, red lit rooms, hot humid basements, dirty factories, and some even in plain sight on corners, film sets and poles yet one would never assume them to be enslaved but voluntarily dedicated to the profession of prostitution, pornography and stripping. But let me challenge you with a simple question: when you were growing up and talking about the future with your friends how many of them aspired to be an adult film star? How many of them wanted to dance naked for greasy, greedy old spectators? How many of them told you that they wanted to suck a dick for a dime in back alley ways all night? How many times did you desire this? I didn't, I thought the ice land bridge theory was absolute crap and was determined to prove it wrong on account of continental drift and then fly to the moon to be the first woman on the moon (these were my third grade aspirations).  Things have changed. Things do change.

One thing I am certain has not changed is the simple mechanism of enslavement: making one feel unworthy. Before, slaves were believed to be sub human. In the US they only counted as 3/5 of a person, and that was only for the purposes of determining taxes and apportioning congressmen for individual states. It makes sense that slave owners did this, how can one consciously enslave someone one views as ones equal? Slaves were thought unworthy of being treated with the respect and honor owed to free men and therefore deserved the treatment they received. Some owners even thought themselves benevolent for the great service they were doing in keeping and caring for subordinates. We are now in the 21st century, the age of human rights campaigns and hot summers, but no amount of laws or stimulus plans will bring about the change we need. Obama. The change needed is internal and individual.

Psychology is psychology. Devalue someone to the point that they believe they deserve the lot they are being given and you have complete control over their life. No chains necessary, and if that is not sufficient a good beating and threat to loved ones will do the trick. This is not a slavery how-to, this is a slavery how-it-is. It is a mentality ignorant of grace, mercy and love that acts in the pursuit of one thing: personal capital.

And if you need a number to prove slavery exists, it's 12.3 million worldwide according to the 2010 TIP report. That's 1.8 people out of 1000 in the world. Do the math with the population of your town, school or work and it will make it more personal. Some organizations report higher, some lower but the argument of numbers is a cold one, I will advocate whether it be 1 slave or 27 million.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What does it mean to pay for sex?

What does it mean to pay for sex? It is a mind so dark, so nearly inconceivable. How is it born, what possesses it to disregard self respect and take so hastily what is not its, what will not be its, and what despises it at its very act of taking. Is it so foolish to think that the passage to which it entered this world would forever be its entitled property? Or did it, after years of practice and enforcement, learn not to feel? Or did it simply forget to feel?

What does it mean to pay for sex? Could it be a more sinister deed than that? Is it the domineering power that drives the hand to pay and the genitals to play? Is it her fault for swaying in such a way to render the senses blind but for pleasure? Did she choose you and relentlessly taunt until you justifiably prodded and she whispered the money from out your pocket? Or maybe it was a him; maybe it was his gentle stature that charmed you into his out. It was his silent submission, his unripe complexion that righted you in the wrong you were consuming.

But you paid. Power pleasure pressure ecstasy ignorance oneness closeness love lust compassion greed intoxication desperation whatever it may have been has died back into two, divisible by paper with faces yet unified in an encounter saturated with self-gratification. The deed is done. You paid. It never really was alive. It was an illusion, a brilliant Hollywood picture, a horrifically played out scene that would make Shakespeare tremble in the great beyond, but the curtain has closed, the credits are rolling, the illusion as broken as your bank and all that is left is you and the memory. She will be there in you, as sure as you were in her, and the next, and the next, and the next until you must sell yourself to him in order to pay for her. But maybe you did not pay. But of course you did not. This was just a penny back from the debt owed, if any crime was committed, it was she against you.

She owes you this; you paid for her to come, now she pays you to come. Her debt was so great that maybe even her mother owes you a share, maybe even the child she so foolishly allowed to grow will cover half the interest, but oh she is racking up debt faster than she can pay with every next day she audaciously breaths within your house. She begged you not to share her but it has gone too far and you must put your foot down. Burden as it may be, you graciously allow her to pay you back by soliciting her to your coworkers. Of course there is the issue of her appearance, her ribs have protruded so far past her tits that they would be better off growing nipples themselves than protecting whatever resides within their cavity. And that crooked nose and gaping grimace; she is hardly worth an Alexander Hamilton, and he out of anyone knows his value. It will be hard to deface his bill with her sin.

But what does it mean to pay for sex? Is it the emptiness that fills us? Is it a desperate need to feel connected that drives us to pay? Have we never learned how to make two into one? Have we so quickly forgotten Thumper's rule the minute Bambi learned it? Where was in on this path that we abandoned God, Darwin, Freud, mom, dad, our amygdala and every other trapping of conscious existence by the roadside and set off on our own, so drunk with freedom that we drifted into the destructive abyss of entitlement? Is it too late to turn, to even realize we need to turn? What will it take for us to understand the garden we defecated into a wasteland? More importantly, whom does it cost to return?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Please, be educated.

It's ironic because I am risking being late for class, or worse not finding parking, by posting

In short: please be an educated advocate. I have added links to sources for human trafficking stats and info. The information is not there in your face so you will have to take the extra effort to click links and decide what you will read, but it's all there for you. I have done this with some of them, but not all of them yet. YET. I will be adding more in the future as I find more.

The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report is from the State Department and it is a whopping 300 and something pages. Do not attempt this alone. Divvy it up amongst fellow advocates or just read the basics at the beginning. Also, take the time to discuss this too. Through discussion we sometimes discover that what we had at first understood to be true was not quite on the mark. Exhibit A: midterms. A lot of it can be dry, boring, political stuff that I know is not the most stimulating of reads, but I really encourage you to take at least a brief look at it. The more educated you are, the better prepared you will be to support a cause and defend yourself against the critics.

Which means that I will be held accountable for this information too...there goes my weekend. Well, off to class now!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Basically, Welcome!

I would like to cordially welcome all my followers (hi mom and dad…and Nikki) to With More Than Purpose's and my blog of modern day slavery abolition. Yes it does exist, and I would argue that it is worse today than it ever has been, which will be a topic of a later blog so stay tuned! …hook and catch.

My name is Kendra, I have been a conscious follower of Christ since I was about 15 or 16 and believe it is my mission to carry out his lessons of unconditional love and forgiveness in my every day life. Fail as I may, I ask those around me to love and forgive me when I do. Being blessed with freedom and an arguably privileged life, it is my responsibility to use these blessings for His glory and reach those thrown at the mercy of society and the prince of this earth. Should I be able to reach them, I hope they will accept my hand.  These are my personal convictions and though they may be my driving forces, they do not have to be yours and I will not impose them on you nor will they become conditions for your help.

Your help: read, give feedback, inform me and readers of important issues surrounding modern day slavery, constructive criticism, etc. Also, the spell check of my browser is set to Spanish and I don't know how to fix it, so I implore you to ignore spelling mistakes.

So with an open mind and heart, I encourage you to read on and become a part of our battle.