Human Trafficking: Today’s Slavery

When did slavery end?  No, it was not with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.  Slavery is alive and well today.  You may think that if it’s alive it’s in Africa or some other third world country, as I did, until I heard a talk at our church about human trafficking in Los Angeles.  Human trafficking is happening right in your back yard, except you’ve never seen it.

How does human trafficking work?  Two examples:  A young girl runs away from home; within a few days she will be approached by a human trafficker and groomed.  She will be told that the person talking to her cares for her and that he will take care of her.  With time she will learn to trust this person as her boyfriend who has her interest at heart.  Once she commits to this fellow, he drops the hammer.  He’ll tell her that they can make a huge amount of money in the sex business.  He assures her that he loves her and that sex with others for money is not that bad and it really validates their relationship.  If she objects he will turn to intimidation. He will tell her that if she refuses he will hurt her and her family.   The human trafficking pimps are so good at what they do that they manage to take complete control of the girls by threats of physical and psychological intimidation.  At a recent church human trafficking workshop, an LAPD Lieutenant who is the head the Human Trafficking Division told this story of a young girl they interviewed:  This young girl told her story about how she got enmeshed in this.  The police were able to arrest the pimp and prepare a criminal case against him.  When they went to court the girl refused to testify against the pimp for fear of reprisal.

A second way young girls get involved goes something like this:  A beautiful young woman is working at a department store.  A well dressed gorgeous woman approaches her and tells her that she knows a job she can get her that will pay her way more than she can make at the store.  She tells the young woman that she can pick her up after her shift and take her to her office where she will lay out her case.  The young woman agrees.  At the end of her shift she picks her up in a brand new Mercedes-Benz.  The young lady is now very impressed,  She takes her to her office where she meets this hunk of a young man who just sweeps her off her feet.  This young man then grooms her until she is in.  He then tells her what her real job will be:  sex for money.  If she objects, the threat will come.  Threats of violence both to her and her family.

Here are some facts about human trafficking:

1.  There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today, that’s the highest number in history

2  Human trafficking has been identified as the second largest criminal enterprise in the world, second only to drug trafficking.

3.  The United States is one of the top three destination points for human trafficking, with California, Nevada, New York, and Texas as the top states.

4.  According to estimates, 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation and 19% labor exploitation.

5.  The average age for of a young woman in human trafficking is now 12 years old.  Click here for more information.

An important point made by the LAPD Lieutenant mentioned earlier:  Victims of human trafficking are NOT prostitutes.  They are victims.  A 12-year old girl does not volunteer to be a sex slave.

Click  here for a 43-minute documentary by CNN called Amber Lyon’s Documentary.

What can we do?  Be informed and inform others.  If you run into anyone involved in human trafficking give them a number they can call for help.  Human Trafficking Hotline:  1-888-3737-888; or contact Zoe at 661-255-7963.

Read the book:  How You can Fight Human Trafficking by Susan Patterson and Through God’s Grace Ministry.  You can buy it on Amazon.com

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Assisted Suicide is Neither Compassionate nor “Death With Dignity:” Oppose California’s SB 128

It is often said that whoever controls the language controls the debate.  This is true when it comes to the “compassionate left.”  They clothe their words in such flowery language as “compassion,”  “death with dignity, “personal choices,” and other words that would lead you to believe that only a Nazi would oppose such things.  When we speak of assisted suicide, such as practiced in three U.S. states, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, such flowery words are far from the truth.  What they’re selling is death, killing and possible rampant elder abuse.  Recently, the Los Angeles Times, to its credit, published an opinion piece by a doctor, called “We should Think Twice About Death With Dignity.”  Click here  to read it.

This is a hot-button issue.  Unfortunately, many people are hugely uninformed about it.  I would not want to have my life prolonged by any extreme means.  I’ve put this in writing in my Living Trust.  However, assisted suicide is another story and needs to be carefully investigated before we decide where we stand on it.  No matter where you stand on this issue, the most damaging and scariest part about such a law is the slippery slope that it creates. Once the door is open you can never close it again.  Can we afford this?  Here are some facts to consider:

In the Netherlands and in Belgium where they have such laws, the slippery slope is no longer slippery, it’s an avalanche.   In Belgium twin brothers who were going blind decided to kill themselves because they could not stand not being able to see each other once blind. Click here to read their story.  Dutch doctors report that assisted suicide is out of control and impossible to regulate. Additionally, the law in the Netherlands has morphed into doctors administering euthanasia without a person’s consent.  The Ohio Patient’s Rights Council reports these findings:  “In addition, 8,100 patients died as a result of doctors deliberately giving them overdoses of pain medication, not for the primary purpose of controlling pain, but to hasten the patient’s death. (13) In 61% of these cases (4,941 patients), the intentional overdose was given without the patient’s consent.”

Oregon’s law is equally impossible to regulate or supervise.  See additional details related to Oregon in particular later in this article.  The possibility of abuse is huge and uncontrollable.

In California there is a pending bill, SB 128, which will bring assisted suicide to California.  Once this is legal in California it will spread like wildfire to all other states.  The experience in Oregon, Vermont and Washington has shown that there is little or no oversight at all.  Lethal medicine can be picked up and administered by a family member.  In many cases, the sick and feeble are under immense pressure to take their own life, not wanting to burden their family.

Margaret Dore, a Washington attorney who specializes in these cases, has written extensively on the dangerous practices that occur in each state that has this law.  Click here to read her compelling and shocking analysis.

Another huge issue is who supervises the execution of these laws and how effective can they be controlled?  We’re not just losing money, we’re losing lives, human lives.  Here is an example of the non-supervision of the Oregon law as published by the Ohio Patients Rights Council:

Under Oregon’s law permitting physician-assisted suicide, the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) – previously called the Oregon Health Division (OHD) – is required to collect information, review a sample of cases and publish a yearly statistical report. (1)Since the law, called the “Death with Dignity Act,” went into effect in 1997, ten  official reports have been published. However, due to major flaws in the law and the state’s reporting system, there is no way to know for sure how many or under what circumstances patients have died from physician-assisted suicide.

Statements made by individuals who have been involved in assisted suicide in Oregon — those who implement it, compile official reports about it, or prescribe the lethal drugs — clearly show that the law’s “safeguards” are not protective and that effective monitoring is close to non-existent. (2)

Has This House Become a Den of Robbers?

“Social Justice” is often used in religious circles, as a call to action.  Of course no one ever defines what they mean by the term.  Is there a difference between justice and “social justice”?  if so, how?  It is universally understood that “social justice” refers to a more left-wing interpretation of what Jesus taught, that is, to take care of the vulnerable, the weak, and the poor.  Those who promote “social justice,” more than likely, have an economic interpretation of the term, more akin to, say, income inequality.  The Bible is filled with many calls for justice; it does not qualify the term with an adjective.  In Micah 6:6-8 it states this: “O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”  In Isaiah 1:11-17 it states:  “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean, remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes, cease to do evil learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”

What has this to do with abortion or pro-life?  Plenty.  What does it mean to do justice?  Do we do justice when we kill the unborn and call it “women’s health”?  Are we doing justice when we declare what is just only by what we feel is true and right, rather than what morality, truth and justice say is true?  Do we set ourselves up as our own god when we make these choices?  Again, the Bible here is informative.  In Jeremiah 7:1-15, the Lord says it this way:  “If you truly act justly one with another, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, then I will dwell with you in this place.”

In our culture, abortion is legal up to birth.  In recent time, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, an abortion doctor in Philadelphia was convicted of murder, not for doing abortions but killing the newborn after delivery.  Here is why he was convicted:  “Jury finds Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell guilty of three counts of first-degree murder for the death of three babies that prosecutors said were delivered alive and subsequently killed. NBC News’ Chris Clackum reports.” This is how is was reported by NBC News.  Click here to read the story.  So it was plain to see that Dr. Gosnell was only convicted because he actually killed a baby after it came out of the womb. Had he killed the baby before extraction he would not have been convicted.  Now you can argue when life begins, but you cannot argue that a baby is not a human being until it comes out of the womb.  To do so, as many do, is intellectually dishonest and plain foolishness.  Are we doing justice when we kill unborn babies?  Are we doing “social justice” when we kill unborn babies?

Jeremiah 7:1-15 has this stern, but unmistakable warning:  “Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal ….and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, “we are safe!” only to go on doing these abomonations?  Has this house become a den of robbers?”  Verse 15 continues: “And I will cast you out of my sight, just as I cast out all your kinfolk, all the offspring of Ephraim.”

They Have Eyes to See, but They Don’t See; They Have Ears to Hear, but They Don’t Hear

Yesterday I attended “One Life LA,”  the first Los Angeles, California, Walk for Life.  The event started at Olvera Street, the IMG_0067 famous Downtown Pueblo de Los Angeles historic monument dating back to Spanish California.  About 15,000 people attended.  The purpose of the walk was to show Los Angeles that life is precious and should be protected from conception to natural death as Archbishop Jose Gomez, and many other speakers mentioned in their talks.  As I predicted, the main stream media completely ignored it.  EWTN, a Catholic Television Network, televised the talks live, but no other media showed up.

Later that evening, as I was heading to church, I was listening to KNX News Radio in my car.  Among the things of the day that they reported was that about two dozen marched in honor of Martin Luther King Holiday in Long Beach,  No mention of the 15,000 people in Downtown Los Angeles marching for life.  This morning, the Los Angeles Times failed to even mention the event.  Now, compare this to when a couple of dozen anarchists, bent on violence and destruction, showed up in Downtown Los Angeles, not long ago, demonstrating against the Police killings of two black men in New York and Ferguson, Missouri.  For a month the nightly news was filled with marauding hoodlums and news reporters interviewing people on the street about why they were there.  But, when an event that the leftist media (all media except Fox News Channel), disapproves of or does not comport with their world view, then they just ignore it. Whenever  a few hundred people gather for an immigration rally, something the leftist media loves, they’re all over it, but when 15,000 pro-life people have and event, they just look the other way.  They have eyes to see, but they don’t see; they have ears to hear, but they don’t hear.

Do What I Say, not What I Do

After the death of Governor Mario Cuomo of New York this past week, the press was reporting on his controversial stand on abortion, even though he claimed to be a faithful Catholic.  His response was that, although he personally opposed abortion, he would not make a law banning it.  This is the position of liberal Catholics and Christians.   This position is also the most senseless, illogical and mind-bending position that shreds any sense of logic.  Cuomo defends his position by claiming that his pro-choice supporters are the same people who do the “social justice” that the Catholic Church promotes.  What?  As long as you do some good, you can do some bad and it’s ok?  By that measure Hitler did some good too.  He revived Germany from a defeated, starving nation to a booming economy; do we forgive him for the evil that he did then?

The magazine, First Things, has a fine piece on Cuomo’s position on abortion. Cuomo is apologetic about his position, stating  “that as a legislator he was not responsible for passing laws to protect those lives. In an address at the University of Notre Dame, he said: “What is ideally desirable isn’t always feasible, that there can be different political approaches to abortion besides unyielding adherence to an absolute prohibition.”  This is pure gobbledygook.  It makes no sense.  By this logic you could say that although murder is wrong, I would not want to legislate against it, because there are people out there who don’t think that murder is wrong, that it’s just “women’s health.”   Legislation is all about making value and moral judgements.  Why do we have a law against drunk driving?  After all, many people enjoy drinking. The piece on First Things debunks this reasoning in detail and is well worth reading.  Click here to read it.

Stephen Hawking and the Dignity of the Human Person

Last week I saw the movie “The Theory of Everything,” the story of the great British scientist, Stephen Hawking.  As a young man out of college, Hawking got the shocking news that he has what is now known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.  The movie has an emotional scene where the doctor explains to Stephen Hawking the bad news.  The doctor tells him he has no more than two years to live and he can do nothing for him.  Hawking, not only has a brilliant mind, a genius, if you will, he has lots of courage.  He is not defeated.  He gets along as best he can.  He marries, has children, and becomes one of the world’s best scientists.  The disease takes its toll on him, rendering him completely paralyzed and unable to speak.  He not only did not die in two years, as the doctors predicted, but 50 plus years later is just as prolific a scientist as ever.  He is still alive today.

While watching the movie I could not help but think of the recent case of a young 29-year-old woman, Brittany Maynard, who committed suicide via euthanasia in Oregon, after moving there for this purpose.  Brittany made her case very public and indicated that she chose this path voluntarily, with no regrets.  Doctors had given her six months to live.  Who is to say, that something could not have happened in the next six months that would have mitigated her condition, as unlikely as it was?  Certainly, Stephen Hawking’s condition was just as serious.

The question that we must answer is, do we have the right to take our own lives?  Why or why not?  I would want to err on the side of doing the right thing.  Committing suicide, under any circumstances, does not seem to me to be the right thing.  Who gave us life?  Those of us who believe in a supreme being, believe that it was God.  It then follows that only God can take a life.  Indeed, in the 6th Commandment, God orders us not to kill; this includes ourselves, in my view.

In an earlier piece on this blog, I wrote a piece on “Pascal’s Wager.”  In short, Pascal’s Wager, is a hypothetical bet.  If you bet that there is no God and lose, you’re finished.  If you bet that there is a God and it turns out there is, you end up on the right side and save your eternal life, if you lose the bet, you’re in darkness forever.  When it comes to ending a life, I want to bet on the right side of things and not on my own understanding or ease of things.

Selective Outrage: the Dignity of Life and the Political Left

The recent Ferguson, Missouri riots confirm one stark fact:  The political left is outraged only when it fits their political agenda, such as when a black person is killed by a white person without regard to self-defense, or the facts.  Was the political left outraged when two Sacramento California police officers were killed by an illegal alien who had been deported three times?  Two men who gave their lives to protect the rest of us and no one is outraged like the Ferguson mob is outraged.  Were these two police officers’ lives less valuable than a street thug in Ferguson?  Why do I call him a thug?  He had just robbed a market, shoved the owner who confronted him and then walked down the middle of a street like he owned it.  What else do you call such a person?

When I refer to the political left, I’m referring to people like Al Sharpton, the main stream media such as MSNBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, Occupy Wall Street, the universities, Hollywood and other misfits.  Ferguson is a case in point.  A young thug attacks a police officer and proceeds to attempt to kill him; he is shot dead after being ordered to stop and the political left is outraged.  According to the political left, the white police officer is to blame for killing someone who was trying to kill him; well, I suppose that the police officer should have let this thug kill him, if you follow their logic.  Where is the outrage when over 500 black people are shot to death each year in the city of Chicago alone?  Did Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson come and protest these killings?  According to the political left, it’s an outrage when a white person kills a black person but not an outrage when blacks kill other blacks.  Is this not a holocaust and mindless loss of human life? it is simply to support their political agenda which states that America is racist and police are out to kill black people.  They are not interested in facts, only their agenda.  These are scary people.

Who gravitates to riots, such as in Ferguson?  I can’t prove it, but I suspect that many are anarchists, criminals, street thugs looking for a reason to cause chaos and damage to please their twisted minds, not people who are protesting the loss of a human life.