Thursday, 28 March 2013
Wednesday, 20 March 2013
Monday, 18 March 2013
I'm reading through this.
And fueled by excessive coffee, I am still awake.
Did you ever imagine yourself in your history books, replacing the big players?
I remember eighth grade history well. I suppose that's what happens when you have Roxane Rollins for a teacher. I still remember the first twelve presidents and most of the Gettysburg Address. I even vaguely remember learning about the Civil War.
I have long wondered whether I could have been like any of the big players in abolition. Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Abraham Lincoln . . . Or even William Wilberforce et al in England. (didn't learn about him until later). Would I have been like any of them? Could I have been one to stand against slavery, even if I was borne into a home full of slaves, and taught that a little extra melanin is a lot less human?
Sometimes it looks like I could have my answer. After all, I live with the knowledge that millions are enslaved today.
Except I was borne into a people proud of our "liberty and justice for all", a people so "civilised" who could barely fathom that just a century and a half ago our progenitors held slaves (well, other than the fact I come from Japanese and Jewish immigrants, and my family hasn't even been in the US that long). I don't know what it is to be taught humans should be owned and to rebel against that.
So I find myself curled up in bed, just trying to succumb to sleep, but it evades me. My face is wet with tears, and I shake, my body wracked with silent, lonely sobs.
I am tired of being comfortable. I am tired of luxury. I do not want complacency. I do not want this damned American Dream.
I wish I had been borne into a life that didn't know hot showers and hot food. Soft beds, Air conditioning. I wish I wasn't addicted to my luxury.
How can I fight this? I'm so addicted that I'm afraid of anything outside of that. I don't want to live in a world that in uncomfortable fighting for freedom. Fighting to give love to the unloved.
I don't feel I can be trusted with it. Why was it that I was borne into this life, and they were borne into that one?
Life--so full of questions. And deficient in fairness.
Sunday, 17 March 2013
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
Saturday, 16 March 2013
The date has a nice ring to it.
The date is one that etched its mark on me.
Honestly, I have no clue what happened that day. I do not remember. Perhaps my book of ponderances has some reference to it.
But I know it is a day that changed me.
I had already found a very strong desire to love her. My Roses are a testament to that.
But nearly two years ago, I needed more than just to adore her. I needed to go to her.
And so, I find myself here sans passport, but with a dream tucked it my pocket. It is obscure but it haunts me still.
There are more questions than answers, but the one answer I do have is where. No clue when, no clue why, no clue how.
My knee aches so much right now.
"Why did you take 3 cups of coffee tonight, you idiot?"
I love you Ayiti.
Friday, 15 March 2013
|Driving south on the Toll Road. The sky looked so clear.|
|Oh look! Marine layer!|
|Blue skies again. The hill at the top of the Toll Road. I've never seen it not brown in Irvine.|
|Psych! More marine layer minutes later.|
|Oh fun! Hide the sun!|
|Foggy fleas. Except a flea would move faster than we did.|
|Coverage finally came back. Oh joy!|
Tuesday, 12 March 2013
I have been asking of myself what is the purpose of eternity? I cannot be sure what to think of it, because the concept just feels to me unfathomable.
But one thing I know, when I ponder heaven, is how much I desire to free of myself. I want so much to be free of my selfishness. I wish I could go on without such constant struggle.
The idea of my being ceasing with my breathing makes sense to me. I don't see eternity written into creation. But then I wonder how I will ever come to the end of myself without actually ending. Could it be that as long as I am subject to entropy I will have death worked into me? Could it be that the only way to be fully composed of only life, and good, and love is to exist but outside of this evil, evil place?
"To leave this poor sick body there, and to fly to a world ten thousand times brighter, more beautiful than this"
Just some sentences from a book. . .
Oh, I do so wish to get above myself and all my childish, petty ways, and to live in a region where there is no temptation and no sin!
He so evidently spoke to God in it, an as if he were used to such speaking. He then made an address on the ministry of disappointments, as he called it. He spoke so cheerfully and hopefully that I began to see almost for the first time God's reason for the petty trials and crosses that help to make up every day of one's life. He said there were few who were not constantly disappointed with themselves, with their slow progress, their childishness and weakness; disappointed with their friends who, strangely enough, were never quite perfect enough, and disappointed with the world, which was always promising so much and giving so little. Then he urged to a wise and patient consent to this discipline, which, if rightly used, would help to temper the soul against the day of sorrow and bereavement. But I am not doing him justice in this meagre report; there was something almost heavenly in his expression which words cannot describe.
Two souls dwell in my poor little body, and which of them is me and which of them isn't, it would be hard to tell.
We only know ourselves and what we really are, when the force of circumstances bring us out.
And it is plain that self-love cannot die without a fearful struggle
Sunday, 10 March 2013
Found this tonight on Twitter.
Anaheim and Westminster PD participate with the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force. This is great news since Anaheim is known to have a lot of street walkers on the west end (and some might have heard of the recent bust right next to Disneyland) Anaheim and Westminster probably have the largest rates of prostitution in OC (pure speculation here), as Ball Road in Anaheim/Buena Park (coincidentally cities with two famous theme parks) is a known track, and Westminster/Little Saigon is the largest Vietnamese community in the US. Little Saigon/Korean District are rife with shady massage parlours and the Backpage ads for the area are full of young Asian and Hispanic girls.
These two cities are making huge strides in recognising that prostitutes are not just criminals. Often they are victims who need a lot of love and a second chance at life. I get dozens of emails from the task force every month full of volunteer and donation opportunities. It is so exciting to see this group of people coming together to speak up for those who've had their voices stolen, and to educate the community to prevent our kids from becoming victims.
Sadly a Twitter search on Anaheim PD brought up mostly complaints from disgruntled locals. But I think they need someone to celebrate how awesome they are and thank them for keeping our area safe. Way to go APD!!
Prostitution and Human Trafficking: A Paradigm Shift By Steve Marcin
In 2010 the Anaheim Police Department (APD) vice detail in Orange County, California, realized that most of the prostitutes it had contact with came from similar backgrounds. Analysis of their common circumstances and reasons for prostituting caused investigators to believe that they were sex trafficking victims. Human trafficking is using force, fraud, or coercion to recruit, obtain, or provide a person for sexual exploitation. This shift in perspective produced an innovative approach to addressing the problem.
In over 100 arrests, most of the women expressed that prostitution was not their career of choice. In a 1998 study, 88 percent of the prostituted women surveyed stated that they wanted to leave the sex trade industry. 1 The majority of prostitutes interviewed by APD vice investigators believed that selling themselves was their only alternative for survival. Further investigation showed that these women shared similar circumstances that led them to prostitution. Many came from dysfunctional homes, had few friends or family members who cared about them, and were drug addicts or alcoholics. Arrest and contact data indicated that most of these women were between 18 and 29 years old. Unfortunate situations and poor choices made them vulnerable.
Most of the women described their path into the sex trade as a boyfriend transforming into a pimp or a girlfriend becoming a prostitute. A man recognized the woman’s situation and gained access through affection, compassion, and a promise to care. He became a companion who listened, understood, and shared the desire for a better future. The new beau quickly made an offer—leave with him and he would take care of her. She left for a better life. The man quickly moved her to another county or state. Once relocated, the partnership transitioned into an abusive domestic relationship. The man dominated the woman and controlled where she stayed, when and what she ate, what clothes she wore, what she did, and when she did it. Even if the woman could call for help, she had no one to rescue her. The man told her that they needed money and that she would have to earn it. People see a pimp as someone who obtains customers for a prostitute. The reality is that they use manipulation, threats, and violence to keep these women from leaving. They depend on the women they recruit into prostitution. These men use mental, emotional, and physical abuse to keep the women generating money. 2 Out of fear or a desire to be cared for, hookers protect their pimps. The men abandon women who are unable or unwilling to provide any more revenue. Most prostitutes recognize their actions as illegal; however, a substantial number of them truly are victims.
Pimps use various control methods to keep the women working the streets. Many of the prostitutes spoke of daily physical abuse, emotional dominance, and lies about caring. These men burned the women with curling irons, strangled, and punched them. They told the prostitutes that their families would be ashamed of them for being a hooker and that no one else would care for them.
Alone and removed from family and friends, these women have no money and depend on their pimps for food, shelter, and clothing. Human sex trafficking victims equate to modern day slaves. The vice detail’s findings supported the argument that “The most insidious and common pattern appeared to be young women being convinced to exploit themselves for the financial benefit of someone else. Betrayals by the people closest to prostituted women appeared to be only the first injustice in a path . . . rife with violence, degradation, and extreme physical stress.” 3
After close analysis of prostitutes and their situations, the APD instituted a new approach where it viewed prostitution as possible human trafficking. The recognition, rescue, and aid of these victims became the most important tactic in addressing the problem.
Traditionally, the role of law enforcement agencies is to enforce laws. The response to street prostitution has been to arrest hookers. This approach was narrow in scope and usually did not involve the pimp. The standard procedure was for undercover officers to pose as customers, obtain a solicitation, and arrest the prostitute. They repeated the process often to incarcerate as many women as possible.
These tactics resulted in misdemeanor filings and a temporary relocation of the activity. Prostitution soon returned. This rebound resulted from new prostitutes arriving in the area. The new hookers and pimps had no idea what law enforcement efforts previously took place. The activity gradually increased until the police reacted and conducted another undercover operation. The cycle repeated itself.
The APD dramatically changed its tactics. The goal became rescuing women from their pimps and redirecting their lives, reducing prostitution one life at a time. This paradigm shift meant considering prostitutes as potential victims and identifying pimps as suspects. This role transition became the basis of a new approach where prostitution activity was viewed as potential human sex trafficking. The department adopted new strategies to—
assist women in escaping prostitution;
help them realize their situations and the circumstances that got them there;
provide services to assist with redirecting their lives in a positive direction;
seek cooperation in pursuing the pimps who trafficked them as prostitutes.
The APD implemented this new approach by instituting several tactics.
1. Remove the prostitutes. Undercover vice investigators contact street walkers, obtain solicitations, take the women into custody, and transport them to the police department. 2. Begin the transformation. At the department, officers remove the handcuffs and direct the women to a special interview room, an office converted to be comfortable. Victim advocates and volunteers decorate the room with soft-colored paint, a couch, love seat, lamps, blankets, magazines, paintings, and stuffed animals. 3. Rescue the victims. Arresting officers explain to the women that they rescued them. They discuss the manipulation and control that led the victims into prostitution. This experience becomes emotional once the women realize their situation. 4. Correct the life course. The APD collaborates with a nonprofit victim advocacy organization to obtain advocates for the victims. Once the women’s mind-set shifts from in-custody prostitute to human trafficking victim, the investigator introduces the practitioner. The officer leaves the room to allow for counseling and assistance. The women receive a change of clothes and a backpack of toiletries, makeup, and other essentials. The advocate offers food, shelter, counseling, transportation, job training, and life-management skills. Occasionally, the women reject this approach and submit to their current situation. Most victims accept this assistance and express their desire for a better life. 5. Collect the evidence. The top priority is to rescue these women and prevent them from returning to prostitution. The second priority is to pursue the trafficker. After the recovery process begins, investigators reintroduce themselves. They seek cooperation in building a case against the pimp. Vice officers gather evidence, including statements, hotel register records, video surveillance tapes, cell phone pictures, and text messages. 6. Pursue the pimp. When they obtain sufficient evidence, vice investigators seek out and arrest the pimp. A prostitution arrest results in a misdemeanor citation, with the hooker getting out of jail and working again within a few hours. If the prostitute remains in custody, the pimp obtains another woman. In California, pimping and pandering charges carry a minimum sentence of 3 years in state prison. Arresting the pimp results in a bigger impact on deterring prostitution activity. 7. Prosecute the trafficker. This human trafficking approach initially surprised the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Pimping and pandering prosecutions were rare, with only three such arrests in Anaheim between 2008 and August 2011, when this program started. Presenting newly-reformed street prostitutes as victims in court brought uncertainty and reluctance from filing deputy district attorneys. The APD vice sergeant and investigators hosted meetings and training sessions with deputy district attorneys to outline the new approach, its impact on prostitution, and the potential to save lives. Prosecutors recognized the jury appeal in presenting the story of human trafficking and equating it to sex slavery. The vice sergeant became a court expert in pimping, pandering, and human trafficking. Successful prosecutions brought confidence and enthusiasm toward Anaheim’s human trafficking filings. These cases now have a reputation for quality, thoroughness, and jury appeal.
This project has provided an innovative method to address prostitution. Success stories of women rescued from sex trafficking provide a human measure of this effort. From the project’s inception in August 2011 through April 2012, the APD vice detail has saved 29 women from their traffickers. Almost 40 percent are under 18 years old. Of those juveniles, records indicated that 77 percent were missing persons. Traffickers transported 81 percent of the 29 out of their home counties.
Each rescue is significant. The examples provided follow the victims through prosecution of their traffickers. These represent 2 of 29 cases demonstrating how this problem-solving method accomplished more than reducing calls for service.
When the Anaheim vice detail conducted a covert prostitution operation, officers observed Jessica (not her real name) walking the street. An undercover investigator contacted her, obtained a solicitation, and arrested her for prostitution. Officers transported Jessica to the police department. After an emotional conversation, she explained that she was under the control of a violent and physically abusive panderer. Jessica showed signs of physical trauma. A medical examination revealed a fractured orbital socket, two black eyes, burn marks on both legs, and strangulation marks on her neck. Jessica indicated that her pimp inflicted these injuries when she voiced her desire to stop selling herself. She cooperated with investigators who located and arrested the pimp.
Jessica received the aid of a victim advocate who provided her with safe housing, food, and a change of clothes. The advocate remained close to Jessica through frequent contacts and services and supported her throughout her trafficker’s criminal court proceedings. Jessica testified at the trial where the jury found the pimp guilty of several charges, including attempted murder. He is serving a life sentence.
The commitment to Jessica did not end in the courtroom. The victim advocate and members of the vice detail maintain contact with her on a monthly basis. She reconnected with her family outside California and pursued a new career. Anaheim’s problem-solving approach enabled Jessica’s rescue from the human sex trafficking subculture.
In another undercover vice operation, investigators contacted, arrested, and transported Melissa (fictitious name). Following a long, emotional interview, Melissa decided to save herself. She supplied sufficient evidence for vice investigators to arrest her trafficker. Her victim advocate provided safe housing for the night and transportation home to her family in Florida.
Melissa returned to California to testify in the jury trial against her pimp. She gave compelling testimony, resulting in a conviction. Melissa testified that the victim-centered approach of the vice investigators and her victim advocate helped her escape from the world of prostitution and human trafficking. After her rescue Melissa completed a prostitution rehabilitation program and pursued a new career.
The Anaheim Police Department’s priority is recognizing, rescuing, and redirecting the lives of prostituted women. Vice investigators and victim advocates have a positive impact on these situations. This problem-solving approach to reducing street prostitution saves lives.
Maps, graphs, and charts cannot describe the human success stories and incidents of positive life change. The publicity surrounding this problem-solving approach attracted attention, awareness, and contributions from the media, the public, faith-based organizations, local businesses, other law enforcement organizations, and victim advocate agencies. Problem-solving methods impact community problems, but more significantly affect the lives of community members themselves.
Between August 2011, when the project started, and April 30, 2012, the Anaheim vice detail arrested and charged 27 pimps. The courts convicted 16, and 11 await trial. Of the 29 human trafficking victims rescued.
1. 74 percent remain free from subsequent arrest; 2. 3 returned to prostitution; 3. 10 maintain contact with their victim advocates; 4. 2 returned to school; 5. 2 adult victims continue counseling; and 6. 2 continue cooperation with law enforcement and currently are preparing to testify against their traffickers.
The parent of one juvenile victim relocated to a better neighborhood and school district for her daughter. One adult victim stated that she is thankful that she no longer must have sex with strangers. These stories epitomize the Anaheim Police Department’s human trafficking project.
As of October 31, 2012, 38 pimps have been arrested and charged. Twenty were convicted and 18 are awaiting trial. The Anaheim vice detail has rescued 52 human trafficking victims; only 4 are known to have returned to prostitution.
1 Melissa Farley and Howard Barkan, “Prostitution, Violence, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Women and Health 27, no. 3 (1998): 37-49.
2 M. Alexis Kennedy, Carolin Klein, Jessica T.K. Bristowe, Barry S. Cooper, and John C. Yuille, “Routes of Recruitment into Prostitution: Pimps’ Techniques and Other Circumstances that Lead to Street Prostitution,” Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma 15, no. 2 (2007): 1-19.
3 B. Bullough and V.L. Bullough, “Female Prostitution: Current Research and Changing Interp
Saturday, 9 March 2013
Friday, 8 March 2013
Thursday, 7 March 2013
I feel like every extra day I spend in Orange County just drowns me in the American Dream. There are so many broken people there. They need love. But I feel my great weakness is resisting the way my environment suffocates me. I don't know how to fight the pressure. I don't know how to even breathe when I'm surrounded by concrete idols.
My greatest fear is being a casualty of the American Dream. Of a life of schedules and patterns. I want a life that astounds me. I want a heart for people. And I want to love solitude again.
|note the gym to the right of the bridge. I've been in it. you can work out and watch 12 lanes of cars speed by. I suppose it's better than watching TV but I still don't get it.|
|I'm supposed to feel special for living here.|
|I love those huge clouds. How blue the sky is. The purple mountain's majesty.|
I really miss the crunch of gravel under my feet being the loudest thing I heard while walking the trails. I miss the freezing water of the creeks. Watching snowflakes tumble from the sky. The silence and the solitude and the realisation of how insignificant I am.