Showing posts with label justice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label justice. Show all posts

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Resource on Human Trafficking Prevention: The FBI

I've just spent a bit of time exploring the FBI's Human Trafficking page.  It is a great resource to educate and begin to become engaged in helping to stop modern-day slavery.  If you've never visited the site, I think you should do so.

Among other things, the FBI offers the following tips for identifying trafficking victims:

That’s where you come in. Please keep your eyes out for the following indicators that suggest the possibility of human trafficking:
  • Individuals who have no contact with friends or family and no access to identification documents, bank accounts, or cash;
  • Workplaces where psychological manipulation and control are used;
  • Homes or apartments with inhumane living conditions;
  • People whose communications and movements are always monitored or who have moved or rotated through multiple locations in a short amount of time;
  • Places where locks and fences are positioned to confine occupants; and
  • Workers who have excessively long and unusual hours, are unpaid or paid very little, are unable take breaks or days off and have unusual work restrictions, and/or have unexplained work injuries or signs of untreated illness or disease.
Bear in mind: human trafficking victims can be found in many job locations and industries—including factories, restaurants, elder care facilities, hotels, housekeeping, child-rearing, agriculture, construction and landscaping, food processing, meat-packing, cleaning services…as well as the commercial sex industry.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bed Bug Infestation Spreads | NewsFeed |

To heck with bald eagles! We want DDT!!!

Bed Bug Infestation Spreads | NewsFeed | "It’s an honor no American metropolis would fight for: The City That Bites You Back. But in any race, there’s a loser as well as a winner, and Philadelphia tops this year’s list of the most bed bug-infested cities in the U.S. Terminix, the world’s largest pest control company, annually ranks major cities based on the number of infestations confirmed by their staff. This year’s rankings have Cincinnati coming in second and New York City — the most-infested city for the past two years — coming in third. Cleveland, Miami, Houston, Indianapolis and New Haven joined the top 15 this year."

Friday, January 20, 2012

Scam to Rob Refugees Hits Illinois

This morning I heard from a Bhutanese family here locally that received a call from someone pretending to be from some kind of federal grant agency.  They told the family that they were eligible to receive a ten thousand dollar grant but needed to pay a fee of $600 via Western Union to qualify.  The family actually called me from the Western Union office to ask if it was okay to send the money.  Of course, you may remember that I told you about this scam a couple weeks back.  If you have Bhutanese friends, please warn them about this scam and instruct them not to share personal information or send money.  If they receive a call, it should be reported to their refugee resettlement agency, who should then report it to the proper authorities.  Below is my previous post on this topic:

Today I want to pass on the following information. Please see the link below for details on a scam that has been victimizing Bhutanese Refugees in the US and take the time to warn your friends. Additionally, as tax season approaches, 'tis the season for scams against refugees. Unscrupulous "accountants" have been known to take advantage of refugees by offering to get them larger tax returns. This is often done illegally by misreporting information in various ways.

Immigration scam targeting resettled Bhutanese in US | Bhutan News Service: "The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has notified the US Citizenship and Immigration Services of a telephone scam that appears to target Bhutanese refugees . . . .“A man identifying himself as a representative of the “Federal Grants Department” calls from a Washington, DC-based telephone number, (202) 436-9601, informing recently resettled refugees that they are eligible to receive $10,000 because they are refugees from Bhutan,” ORR reported USCIS. It further said that in order to claim the money, they are instructed to produce a money order for $650, and call the telephone number for further instructions on where to send the money."

Friday, December 2, 2011

I Guess Ethnic Cleansing Doesn't Count as Corruption

Refugee's Depiction of Torture Received in Bhutan
Transparency International has released a report scoring some 183 countries according to what they call a "Corruption Perception Index". In South Asia, their findings show Bhutan as the least corrupt nation in the region. I find such a labeling (i.e. Bhutan as a relatively "clean" nation) to be misleading at best and a disservice to humanity at worse. Those unaware of the Bhutanese government's effort to "cleanse" the nation of ethnic and religious minorities may be tempted to think of Bhutan as a romantic and exotic kingdom - worthy of praise for it ability to preserve a "pure" society. An index like this may have the effect of boosting tourism and thus further prop up and legitimatize the countries criminal regime. It is laughable and sad at the same time. Bhutan has committed crimes against humanity and either forcibly exiled or killed thousands of its residents. What level of "non-corruption" they have managed to obtain has come at the edge of a genocidal sword.

TI ranks Bhutan as least corrupt country in South Asia | Bhutan News Service: "Bhutan has been ranked as the least corrupt country in South Asia. Nepal is the second most corrupt country in South Asia after Afghanistan if one goes by the Corruption Perception Index- 2011 released by Berlin-based Transparency International today."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nepal’s economy dependent on exploitation | MediaGlobal News

God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. (Psa 68:6 ESV)

Here's an article that highlights well an angle of human trafficking that you may not be aware of. I'm not sure that I agree with the tone of the headline which seems to blame Nepal for the large number of women who are exploited. The fault, it seems, lies more with the receiving nations that don't do enough to prevent the abuse of domestic workers. Anyway, this is something the Church should be more greatly aware of. It is shocking to me to know that 9 out of 10 women who leave Nepal for foreign work "are victims of exploitation or sexual violence".

Nepal’s economy dependent on exploitation | MediaGlobal News: "Since the 1990s, in light of increased globalization, more and more women are joining the ranks of Nepalese migrant workers. Of the approximately 83,000 Nepalese women that leave the country every year to work for foreign employers, fully 90 percent are victims of exploitation or sexual violence, says a study by the Foreign Nepali Workers Rescue Center (FNWRC).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hunger Strike in Nepali Refugee Camp

To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what to make of this story.  For the past few days, I've been following, with some level of confusion, the development in Nepal's Beldangi 2 camp.  There a young Bhutanese-Nepali woman by the name of Durga Bista has spearheaded a hunger strike with about a dozen other women.  They have vowed to "fast unto death" unless their demands are met and are now a few days into the process.  Their demands?  They appear to be calling upon the Nation of Nepal to grant them "refugee status".

Now, what does that exactly mean?  That's where the confusion comes in.  Bista has said that the group is not asking to become Nepali citizens.  Rather they want to be granted refugee status.  Of course, in the United States, being granted refugee status means that you can legally live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis and begin a process towards obtaining citizenship.  In Nepal, I assume that this is somewhat different.  However, it seems clear enough that Bista and her companions want to be granted some kind of permanent, legal status -- to live and work in Nepal.  The best I can discern is that this group consists of those who reject 3rd country resettlement for whatever reason.  

Anyway, the former camp secretary of Beldangi 2 lives here in Wheaton (he's one of my Nepali brothers actually) so I'm going to do a bit of inquiry to see if I can get a better handle on what's going on.  Since some of you may be concerned, as I am, about these women, I will report back any insights I am able to glean.  Below is a video of Durga Bista explaining her group's demands.  It is in Nepali and I've already been unsuccessful in trying to translate it -- kati chito boleko!

AMENDMENT:  I've just come across another story.  It has actually just left me more confused however.  I can't figure out whether those fasting represent all the people in the camp or just a small portion of people who aren't fully considered as refugees for some reason.  The numbers don't work in the story.  For example, at one point the article refers to 37,000 people who are living a "miserable life" in the camps.  Later, however, we read that "55,000 refugees from Bhutan continue to dwell" in the camps.  Not sure what's going on with those numbers.  Plus the first paragraph says that they are demanding "refugee status and other facilities as enjoyed by by their fellow refugees" in Beldangi 2.  My question is, what are the special circumstances of these women that cause them to not enjoy the benefits of other refugees?  And, who exactly do they represent?

AMENDMENT 2:  Okay, now another story that does shed a bit of light, but just a bit.  Here we get this rather vague statement, "Some 3,749 Bhutanese refugees in five camps . . . have not received identity cards due to various technical reasons and they have been deprived of the government relief package".  The term "various technical reasons" sounds intentionally non-specific.  What technical reasons?  Incorrectly filled out paperwork?  Not really being from Bhutan?  There is sort of a wide range of possibilities.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Endiro Coffee in Uganda -- Don't miss it!

Cool. Here's a review of my sister's new coffee shop in Kampala, Uganda. Super proud of her and the work she is doing there. May the Lord show TIBM how we can get behind her in it. By the way, my dear friend Vincent Lee is responsible for the logo design.  So, if you are in Uganda, don't miss Endiro Coffee, and please tell my sister, Gloria, "Namaste" from me.

UPDATE: Got to talk with Gloria on the phone since posting this.  Let her know that the website for Endiro Coffee was down.  It is back up now.  Check it out here!  Also, please let's all lift up the ministry of Endiro as they seek to launch and support discipleship initiatives among child-headed families in Uganda.

Snapshots #2: Coffee Shop Love | a year in uganda: "Of course I love a good coffee, but I really love Endiro because of the story behind it. My good friend Gloria (in above picture, on right), has had the dream of starting this coffee shop ever since I met her. She’s been a missionary in Nepal and has traveled the world, but her heart now is focused on the vulnerable children of Uganda, and she wanted to open a coffee shop as a means to support some discipleship initiatives she’s developing for child-headed families and other neglected members of society here. Which I think is GREAT. Who doesn’t love buying a latte and feeling like you’ve just done one small thing to save the world?"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The North American Bed Bug Summit

Hey everyone! I just heard that the North American Bed Bug Summit is going on right now here in the Chicago area.  I couldn't be happier to hear that such a thing exists.  Bed bugs are becoming a major problem in the U.S. today and I believe that we need to begin seeing this as an issue of social justice and compassion that the Church -- yes, the Church -- ought to take seriously.  The fact of the matter is that while the bed bugs resurgence likely didn't originate as a problem of the poor and immigrant, it is they who are most vulnerable.  Eradication is extremely expensive and this grows more difficult in older and more communal living spaces such as those often used by the poor, immigrants and refugees.  A middle class person who gets bed bugs can spend hundreds of dollars on an exterminator.  A refugee from Burma or Nepal cannot.
I for one hope that the legalization of DDT and other similar chemicals will be on the table.  I understand that there are environmental concerns with these kind of chemicals, but I am frankly much more concerned with people that I am with plants and animals.  Don't get me wrong.  I love God's creation and feel we have a critical mandate of stewardship of it.  But paramount in this must be our concern for those who are made in God's image.  The Church must muscle past our cringe factor and stand up for the poor on this issue through advocacy, education, and practical help.  In the process, we will undoubtedly get the bugs in our own homes.  That's okay.  It is called solidarity.
I want to point you to a website for more information.  It is Bed Bug Central.  Probably the best place to go for A-Z on bed bugs.