Stop Joseph Kony – But Don’t Stop Thinking

Yesterday I posted “Stop Joseph Kony” in haste. Several friends asked me to say something. But I didn’t give the post the level of attention and due dilligence I should have. Today I’m making an attempt to correct my mistake.

“If the world knows who Joseph Kony is, it will unite to stop him.” It’s a compelling statementThis is part of the #KONY2012 campaign that has gone viral on Twitter and Facebook.  There’s a lot of truth to that statement. It’s amazing to me that it is taking the world community so long to take action against this man. But the story in Uganda is bigger than this Joseph Kony. And I’m certainly NOT the right person to help anyone fully understand the historical and political issues that make the conflict larger than the KONY 2012 video explains. I’m not Ugandan.

I’ve had links to Invisible Children on this blog for as long as I’ve been writing here. I’ve written about the plight child soldiers before. The first time five years ago in 2007. As always, it’s important to understand what our support is fueling, and how, and what our awareness accomplishes. I’m writing here again because I’m concerned with the lack of understanding about what might really be happening in Uganda right now, and where the money being raised by Invisible Children is being spent. Viral can be good, but not if it causes us to act without doing research.

Look at all sides of an issue. Here is a critical look at Invisible Children and the KONY 12 campaign. Doing nothing is not an option, certainly. But we need to make choices with as much information as we can get our hands on.

Here is more perspective, some from people on the ground in Uganda. I’ll be adding more links to this post as I find them. Read these, read what is available at Invisible Children, then decide for yourself how you will act.

Stop Joseph Kony

“If the world knows who Joseph Kony is, it will unite to stop him.” It’s amazing it is taking the world so long to take action against this man.

Help raise awareness of the evil that is Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, a force whose soldiers are predominantly children stolen from their families.”When abducting the children, Kony and his army often killed their family and neighbors thus leaving the children with little choice but to fight for him.” Watch the video.

Then, decide where and how you’ll  pledge your support.

As always, it’s important to understand what your support is fueling, and how. Here is a critical look at Invisible Children and the KONY 12 campaign. Doing nothing is not an option. Make your choices with as much information as you can get your hands on.

The Connection Between Internet Porn And Child Sex Trafficking

Several years ago I posted an audio interview with Partrick Trueman on pornography, prostitution and child sex trafficking. I met Mr. Trueman, former Chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Criminal Division, U. S. Department of Justice, face-to-face in Washington, D.C. for the taped interview. The stories he shared in that interview made a case for a clear connection between forced sexual slavery and the internet porn industry.

Sometimes, however, words aren’t enough. We need more. 

Chris Johnson sent me this music video by Mr. J. Medeiros and it has haunted me. As the description on YouTube states, this is hip-hop take on how the Philippines has been “victimized by Human Trafficking. It was directed by Sam Sanchez of Stick Productions in 2006. It has inspired an international human rights movement called the “Constance Campaign.” Mr. J spearheaded the movement and has partnered with Non-Profit’s like”

The lyrics are haunting. 

he’s about to turn six into six thousand
and all you have to do is click on your web browser
its not illegal to use raping as a cash crop
as long as it says she’s 18 on your laptop

And it’s happening under our noses here in the U.S. as well. What will you do with this information?

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Alone – A Narrative Look At Forced Sexual Slavery In America

Lesli Woodruff alerted me to Alone this morning on Facebook. Her friend, Daniel McCullum,co-wrote and directed this narrative short film that tells the story of Jessie, a young girl dragged into the dark hole of sexual slavery, and her one chance at being rescued. It’s an honest look into the dark world of sexual slavery with an ending that drives home the reality of what keeps this practice alive and well, in places we’d never expect.

I asked Daniel McCullum, what motivated him to make this film?

“In the fall of 2009, I attended a presentation by the makers of the documentary Sex & Money  that really opened my eyes, ” McCullum told me. “I was shocked by the fact that forced sexual slavery is happening to girls of every social status, location, and ethnicity. No one is safe from being a victim in this industry. And that men from all walks of life are making it possible. I was shaken by the fact that it impacts all of us, whether we acknowledge it or not.”

What strikes me about this film, is the absence of sensationalism.

Sex is not exploited in the film, in fact, great care was taken to make sure the opposite occurred. I personally appreciated the completely black moments of uncomfortable darkness in the film. McCullum explains, “Very early in the process, we agreed that we didn’t want to make a film that further exploited the women being portrayed, or the actress in the film. We wanted to make sure the viewer saw sex in this context as being robbery. So creating a film that used sex to titillate was simply not an option.”

Do yourself a favor and make 15 minutes to watch. 

“I wanted to put the audience in the shoes of this guy, who at the end of the film, closes his eyes and runs away,” McCullum said. “He leaves her alone in the room, because he is too afraid to face the truth. He represents our society, afraid to really admit there is a problem. If she gets saved in the film, the burden of action is taken off the viewer, when today’s truth is that most of these girls will not be saved.”

The truth is hard to accept, but it doesn’t diminish the truth. Thank you, Daniel, for this excellent short film.

Teachers Join Demand For Village Voice To Stop Child Sex Trafficking Ads

No form of child slavery is more defiling than child sex trafficking. 

I find it difficult to understand how any reasonable human being could debate that point. Yet, apparently, The Village Voice is having a hard time understanding their role in supporting the trafficking of children for sex. Otherwise, it would not take 60,000 people to convince them to simply do the right thing and take every measure possible, not only to “ban” child sex trafficking ads from their platform, but assist authorities in helping identify and bringing to justice those placing the ads.

“I am a retired teacher and child care worker,” said California resident William Boosinger. “I spent most of my career trying to heal children who had been violated in this foul manner. It’s time to shut down this web site.” I couldn’t agree more. This is a quote from a press release sent out by this morning. The entirety of the press release is below.

If you agree, add your signature to the petition.


Active and retired teachers join 60,000 people in supporting interfaith coalition’s growing campaign on calling on Village Voice Media to block child sex trafficking ads.

NEW YORK, NY – Teachers across the U.S. are joining more than 60,000 people supporting a popular campaign on calling on Village Voice Media to stop selling child sex trafficking ads on online classified site

“I am a high school teacher and know what this does to the lives of impressionable young people,” said Brooklyn teacher and father Martin Haber. “It’s not hip or cool, it’s a betrayal of our youth. I have an 18-year old daughter who noticed the graphic nature of the other day. She asked, ‘How is it even legal?’”

“I am a retired teacher and child care worker,” said California resident William Boosinger. “I spent most of my career trying to heal children who had been violated in this foul manner. It’s time to shut down this web site.”

Groundswell, the social action initiative of Auburn Theological Seminary, convened a coalition of leading clergy and religious leaders to launch the campaign on after multiple ads for sex trafficking victims were identified on, an online classified website owned by Village Voice Media. The campaign has attracted support from parents and grandparents in all 50 states.

“By joining this campaign, teachers like Martin and William are using the power of technology to stand up for their values – that boys and girls shouldn’t be sold for sex on,” said Director of Organizing Amanda Kloer. “ seeks to empower people to take action on the issues that matter to them, and it has been incredible to watch these teachers advocate for kids.”

Live signature totals from the Groundswell’s campaign:

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Elaine Schuster – Fighting To End Human Trafficking

Hidden in the news of last year’s United Nations panel discussion about how news organizations are dealing with the topic of modern slavery and human trafficking, was a women who has been on the forefront of this discussion for a good portion of her life. The event, covered by The Huffington Post and recently brought back into the light by AOL, was cosponsored by The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University. Elaine Schuster is the main reason why.

Since 2004, Elaine Schuster committed $5.5 million to create and develop the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University which has a project devoted to in-depth reporting on Human Trafficking & Slavery. Yet, for the most part, her name remains hidden in the those associated with this most laudable cause. Her generosity and tireless passion is paying off. This panel and the Schuster Institute’s reporting project committed to original reporting that shines a light on this shocking human rights issue are evidence of that.

As reported by the Huffington Post: “Among the main points: Panelists urged reporters and editors to avoid salacious details and splashy, “sexy” headlines that can prevent a more nuanced examination of trafficked persons’ lives and experiences. Journalists lamented the lack of solid data, noting that the available statistics are contradictory, unreliable, insufficient, and often skewed by ideology.” – The News Media’s Role In Exposing Human Trafficking

Here is the closing video from the session. In this segment, Antonio Maria Costa adresses the often asked question, “How can I help?” All of the videos from this session can be seen on YouTube at The Schuster Institute.

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Human Trafficking In the United States

A staggering 46% of all traffficking in the United States feed prostitution. The average age of beginning in prostitution in the US is 13. Read more: End Slavery Now

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Decriminalize Child Prostitution?

Believe it or not, the average age for a girl entering prostitution is 13 years old, and the average age is declining as buyers want younger and younger children. via Why Decriminalize Child Prostitution?.

Children should not be punished for being forced into prostitution. I doubt many would argue with that statement. But will decriminalizing child prostitution help or harm?

This is a post that should be read by anyone interested in seeing victims of child sex trafficking helped. Complex doesn’t begin to describe the issue, but Janice Shaw Crouse and Penny Young Nance present a well thought out argument against decriminalizing child prostitution.

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