I’ve been disappointed with my news outlets lately. There was more emphasis on Serena Williams vs. Venus Williams in my inbox on the same day the The Mexico City Policy was signed. The Quebec Shooting hasn’t been mentioned in any of the newsletters I subscribe to. It’s been mostly Trump, Superbowl and Snapchat. A week in today’s world seems to hold so much news in America that other global issues are taking the back burner, which is why I wanted to take the time to discuss some serious issues that have been lacking serious coverage.
1.Sex Trafficking in America
A huge event happened this weekend—some refer to it as Super Bowl XLV, but it’s also known as the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States. After drug trafficking, human trafficking is the largest criminal enterprise in America. January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month yet on February 1st, close to 500 people were arrested in California after a multi-day sting operation. Obviously no one should be kidnapping women and then forcing them into sex work. Prostitutes may be forced into sex work for financial reasons but generally/hopefully have more of a choice in the activity they are participating in. Victims of human trafficking, however, aren’t being rescued from their victimization but rather prosecuted for prostitution crimes. Consequently, having an arrest on their record often makes these young women (majority of whom are minors) struggle while trying to put their lives back together through finding housing or jobs. Learning to recognize the indicators of human trafficking is one way to help save these victims. There’s also an app called TraffikCam available for download on any iOS, Android or web device and it’s free to use. It simply requires you to take pictures of the four walls in any hotel room you stay in, which will be added to a database for police to cross reference with worrisome images they find online.
2. The War in Afghanistan
Operation Enduring Freedom is officially the longest war in America’s history and was a heavily neglected subject during the election campaigns and currently by Trump. The US military was sent to Afghanistan in 2001 to help train their local troops to successfully defeat the Taliban. Today, the Taliban controls more territory in Afghanistan than in 2001, making Trump’s choice of being blatantly anti-Islam even more idiotic than one would think is possible. Deaths and injuries are in the thousands. US’s narrative is that they have the finest military, yet its heavy involvement in the middle east isn’t solving the war on terror, it’s worsening it. The force has been reduced, yet it’s still costing Americans $20 billion a year in tax dollars.
Obama’s goal was to be out of Afghanistan by 2014, but he didn’t follow through based on the advice that the Afghanistan military was too weak and doing so would collapse the country. So now the Afghanistan military is getting weaker and relying on the US to back them up, the Taliban is getting stronger and more money is being lost by Americans who don’t even want to be involved in this war. Because no one knows how to end what the US has started in Afghanistan, troops are being sent to Somalia and Yemen to create more war and havoc. God bless America.
3. Health Crises in South Africa
Nyaope addicts in Soshanguve, South Africa, are so desperate for a hit that they’ve been syringing blood from high drug users and injecting it into themselves in hopes for the same high. They call the method “bluetooth” and the risks of participation include contracting HIV/ Aids or Hepatitis B and C among other potentially fatal diseases.
In the same country, 94 mental health patients died after authorities forced the ill to move to hospitals that have been compared to concentration camps. Apparently, only one death was related to mental illness, the rest being linked to pneumonia, dehydration and diarrhea. This was all under the guidance of the provincial health minister, Qedani Mahlangu, who resigned over the findings shortly after the news broke.
4. The Boko Haram in Nigeria
Boko Haram is a militant fundamentalist Islamic group that doesn’t engage in Nigeria’s political system. The name, which is in a Nigerian Hausa dialect, means “western education is forbidden.” Their first attack happened in 2003, one year after the group formed, and have since continued in Nigeria, Borno, Kano and Yobe. The group’s attacks have killed hundreds of police officers and civilians, often in extremely brutal ways. They’ve promised not to cooperate with the Nigerian government until they embrace Sharia and the Quaran as the guiding book from which the laws of the land derive. They were the group responsible for kidnapping over 200 women from their school in April 2014, 57 of whom escaped and 21 of whom were released only last October.
In January 2017, Boko Haram shot down a helicopter in Cameroon that contained Cameroon’s top general in the war against the group. Roughly one week later, they killed at least seven people during an attack on a highway that’s known for being an attack zone. All we hear about in the western world is ISIS, but there are extremist groups out there killing non-Americans. Developing countries under attack, adding insult to injury when they’re denied refuge.
5. The 13th Amendment
Guys, it’s 2017, so how is it that slavery is still alive and well in the USA? On February 1, 2017, prisoners at James T. Vaughn’s Correctional Centre took five guards and an unknown number of inmates as hostage on the 152nd anniversary of President Lincoln signing the 13th amendment into law. For those of you unfamiliar with the amendment and/or haven’t had the time to catch 13th on Netflix, it legalizes slavery in the case of incarceration. While the hashtag #VaughRebellion has started trending, many people may not realize that they are supporting incarcerated slavery through their purchases. It’s an ongoing cycle: The consumer wants an affordable, reliable product so they continue buying from companies that supply their demand through prisoner slavery. Corporations reported to using prison labour, both past and present, include Victoria’s Secret, Starbucks, Walmart, AT&T, Whole Foods suppliers, and the U.S military, among others. If Trump is truly concerned about labour and jobs being taken away from the American workforce, he should perhaps work to stop prison labour before building a wall between the US and Mexico.
With fake news and alternative facts rearing their ugly heads seemingly everywhere, it’s up to us as citizens to put the extra leg work in while staying on top of current events. Read, read, and read some more. Trust me, you’ll hear about what Trump does next, so try distracting yourself with more world news on a global level while trying to find out how you can help make a difference.