Category archives: Human Rights

We are not cookie-cutter…”

by Family Research Council

November 30, 2012

We are not cookie-cutter…” That’s just one phrase that’s hit me from Shared Hope International’s annual conference. I’ve spent much of yesterday and today surrounded by heroes. Some of these heroes who have survived years of sexual abuse as a young child. Others, are dedicating their lives to counseling, mentoring, licensing, and advocating for the minor victims of domestic sex trafficking.

If you’re new to this issue, check out Family Research Council’s publication, titled “Modern Slavery: How to Fight Human Trafficking in Your Community.”

Another excellent resource, is the state-specific report card, Protected Innocence Challenge, that Shared Hope released yesterday.

The Protected Innocence Challenge is a comprehensive study on existing state laws designed to inspire and equip advocates. Under the Challenge, every state receives a Report Card that grades the state on 41 key legislative components that must be addressed in state’s laws in order to effectively respond to the crime of domestic minor sex trafficking. In addition, each state receives a complete analysis of this 41-component review and practical recommendations for improvement.

For more information about FRC’s work with Shared Hope, click here.

Welcoming Dmitry

by Robert Morrison

November 13, 2012

My wife and I rolled into the Exxon Mobil station to fill up our tank. Gas was cheap. (At $3.17 a gallon, that at least passes for cheap under this administration.) I stood in line to pre-pay. The kid behind the counter had a name tag: Dmitry. I heard him speaking to the person in front of me with a heavy Slavic accent.

When I came up to the counter, he asked which pump. Nomyer Shest, I said with a straight face. Number Six. Dmitry wasas the Brits would saygobsmacked. He didnt expect to see anyone in the area speaking Russian to him. I was startled, too, since I didnt expect to find any Russians in that neighborhood.

We quickly broke into razgavorconversation. Dmitry seemed genuinely excited to meet someone to whom he could speak his mother tongue. I was truly excited to realize that the language I learned in the Coast Guardeons agocame back to me so readily. (And without the obligatory shot of that clear white liquid that seems to be so essential to any conversation in Russian.)

It was two days after the 2012 presidential election. The state we were traveling through had gone for President Obama. Demographics are changing was the mantra of the election night broadcasts. They sure are, Id say, if you can hear Russian being spoken in that remote area.

Last summer, on our way to the beach, we stopped at a McDonald’s just over the Delaware line. A clutch of Russians were there, happily burbling away in their language. Surrounded as I was by family, all eager to press on, I didnt try any shutkas (jokes) with the Big Mac crowd.

What are they doing in Delaware? All over America, immigration is changing our country. We need to know more about the people who are coming here. Many of us see them in church. Many of the immigrants come to America, yearning to breathe free, and eager to find a sense of community here.

In Maryland, where we live, you can hardly pass a church without seeing either Spanish-language signs for servicesoften Pentecostal servicesin mainline churches. Korean language signs are up, too, although many of these congregations have churches of their own.

In 1800, New Yorker Aaron Burr scurried around Manhattan gathering the votes of Germans, Dutch, Scots-Irish, French Huguenot and Irish immigrants. Burr was not interested in political philosophy so much as in winning elections.

Thats why youll probably never see the collected writings of Aaron Burr. Things written remain, he said, as a caution. (Ill bet Gen. Petraeus wishes he had observed that warning.)

Still, Aaron Burrs actions in New York City tipped the Empire State for the Jefferson-Burr ticket that year. New Yorks 12 Electoral Votes carried the election for the Jeffersonian Republicans.

The Federalists had passed the Alien & Sedition Acts in 1798. They viewed the immigrants with suspicion. They fretted over the demographics. They feared they would never win another election. They never did.

I must admit Im rather tickled at the idea I will get to speak Russianand not have to go to Russia. There is not much in Vladimir Putins not-quite-so-evil empire to attract me.

But I welcome those like Dmitry who come here seeking liberty, seeking an opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their children. I believe we can enlist them in the pro-life, pro-family cause. I believe they will rally to the defense of religious freedom.

When Elian Gonzales, the 6-year old refugee from Cuba, was seized at gunpoint by federal agents on orders of Bill Clintons Attorney General, Janet Reno, Cuban-Americans were outraged. So was I.

Renos raiders grabbed that little boy from the arms of his loving family on Easter Sunday morning. That November, the Cuban-Americans voted overwhelmingly for George W. Bush. Florida turned out to be crucial in the 2000 elections, when Bush won by a mere 537 votes statewide.

Immigrants have many times determined presidential outcomes. Are we their friends? Shouldnt we be?

Some Thoughts on Human Nature and Political Action

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 23, 2012

Constants in the world include the Rock of Gibraltar, Mick Jagger, and human nature. The first of these is immovable. The second is incomprehensible. The third is the subject of this short essay.

A national election occurs two weeks from today. It is, in a sense, a referendum on human nature. Conservatives argue that because man is imperfectible, our long, diffident, inconsistent struggle out of barbarity should be welcomed, even celebrated, as we continue to strive to do better.

Liberals argue that because man is perfectible, our erratic strides toward human dignity are ignoble, inadequate, and embarrassing. This is why massive statist intervention to re-craft both man and his society are, to the Left, so profoundly important: The enlightened few, the Gnostic elite, should guide the pathetic masses with firm benevolence. From the size of their soft drinks to the partners they marry, endless adjustments, large and minute, can be made through the guidance of those whose vast wisdom will die with them.

Our intellectual achievements are beyond impressive: from nanotechnology to the quantum theory, we’re sharp cookies. But are we really any different from those who, building their tower to the heavens, find their grand plans and pretensions shattered in confusion? Are we so unmindful of our finitude and so confident in our potential for perfection that like lemmings moving in herd-like solidarity, we eventually find ourselves drowning after falling, unexpectedly, off the cliff of our own arrogance?

Even as the Internet has opened vast vistas of personal communication and international commerce, “about 2 million sexual predators are online around the world.” In an era of almost immeasurable abundance, nearly 11 million children die annually of hunger. We fling our intricate machines to the stars and murder one another with increasing diligence.

The point: Conservatives should aim to foster virtue, in individuals, cultures, and governments. But this side of heaven, man cannot be perfected. Moral character is best formed early, in family and church and the decent communities they form. Let’s work to that end, and be ever leery of those whose relentless dissatisfaction - animated by a false understanding of man’s promise - assures us that our country is, because imperfect, permanently ignoble.

We are both the image-bearers of God and sons of Adam . We cannot fulfill the hope of the first characterization without a sober recognition of the permanence of the latter.

Real Needs, Real Compassion

by Rob Schwarzwalder

July 24, 2012

Recently, World Magazine founder Joel Belz asked readers these questions: “If you could identify just one issue that is terribly askew in our culture today, and then were granted as a gift from God the ability to set that one issue right, what would it be? What specific cultural victory, if we could win it, would provide the most leverage to produce a society that is closer to the cultural blueprint God has designed for us?”

Here is Joel’s analysis of the many comments sent to him, in order of the number of responses received:

1. The secularization of our society—led by the rejection of a Creator God and the dominance of evolutionary thinking.

2. Loss of the distinctive identities of men and women, leading to a loss of understanding of marriage and family.

3. Abortion.

4. Loss of the tools to educate and shape the rising generation.

5. Sense of entitlement, selfishness, and complacency.

6. Loss of a defined dominant culture, with attendant culture wars.

7. Loss of specific freedoms.

8. Loss of honest and civil public discourse.

9. Obsession with sex.

This list demonstrates the seriousness with which at least a part of the Evangelical community (which composes most of World‘s readership) takes the reality of cultural decay in our time. The good news is that many Evangelicals are involved in activities to bring the fragrance of Christ to our society and its politics. They know that pathologies and problems are more than statistics, lines on a chart or multi-colored graphs. They are composed of real people - men, women, and children with names and needs, hopes and hurts. From ultrasound vans to rescuing young people trapped in sexual slavery, Evangelicals are working - usually quietly, without fanfare or media attention - to show the love of their Savior with tangible compassion.

Evangelicals and Catholics are ministering in myriad ways to untold numbers of people throughout our society. FRC’s Real Compassion website provides links to both the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Catholic Charities sites. In each of them, you can find creative and effective ministries - national, regional, and local - through which you can make a difference in combating the very things World’s readers rightly have discerned as crying needs.

Abortion: the Modern Day Slave Master?

by Family Research Council

June 26, 2012

I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper. So spoke Abraham Lincoln as he signed the Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago this year. At the close of the Civil War a few years after the proclamation was issued, slavery was abolished on American soil.

But the story of the slave does not end there.

Now, 150 years of remarkable technological development later, human trafficking, often called modern day slavery, holds 27 million men, women, and children captive to its grasp. The U.S. State Departments 2012 Trafficking in Human Persons Report was released on June 19th at a ceremony in Washington. Dignitaries and speakers at the event included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero; and Ambassador-at-Large, Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Luis C. deBaca. All three praised the improvements made in the past year in countries imposing stricter policies against human trafficking. They highlighted the human element in the numbers, reminding people that the fight to end modern day slavery is about faces, not statistics.

Both the speakers and the report acknowledge that in addition to the need to go after the perpetrators of human trafficking, much is needed in the area of support and care for the victims. According to the report:

Because this crime undermines the most basic human rights, protection services must be considered just as important as investigating and prosecuting the offenders… If governments fail to provide comprehensive protection as a complement to prevention and prosecution efforts, they risk deepening, rather than alleviating, the original harm.

Secretary Clinton also said in her remarks: …in this years report, we are especially focused on that third P, victim protection. She went on to say that fighting to end modern day slavery is a high priority for President Obama and the Obama Administration. Its something that is not just political and not just a policy, but very personal and very deep.

Unfortunately, there is a political component to the Obama Administrations fight against slavery. When it comes down to choosing to support victims of human trafficking or abortion providers, the Administration chooses abortion.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awards grant money to organizations combating human trafficking and offering support to victims. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), a five-year recipient of the funding, has an Anti-Trafficking Services Program through its Migration and Refugee Services division, which has proven highly effective for more than ten years. Despite this programs proven track record of helping people escape slavery and start a new life, when the USCCB re-applied for grant funding in 2011, the application was denied. The only explainable reason? The program fails to offer victims sterilization, contraception, and abortion. In their own words:

We believe despite submission of a proposal that built off the success of our prior work and offered value-added elements based on observed trends and quality improvement strategies, we were not granted a new award based solely on the issue of our willingness to pay for abortion or contraception, or make referrals for certain reproductive health services.

The Obama Administration would sooner spurn an organization rescuing lives out of slavery then deny those ending life the opportunity for more clients. Not only does this blatantly communicate to the victims of trafficking that their support comes second to that of abortion providers, but it completely disregards the important fact that abortion clinics frequently side with the trafficker, pimp, and sex abuser against the victim.

Especially in the developing world, but also here in the U.S.for the pimp running a brothel, pregnancies mean money lost and must be dealt with through abortion so the girl can get back to work. This equates to steady customers for the neighborhood abortion clinic, many of which have been documented not only to cover up the crimes against these sex slaves, but even to advise the abuser how to run his business. Last year, FRC explored in greater depth the connection between abortion providers to human trafficking here in the US in a webcast (viewable here). The results were shocking. Victims of modern day slavery are in need of real support not found in abortion clinics.

The problem of human trafficking is not limited to poor countries or the urban areas of the developing world. It happens here at home, as well. In light of that, many state governments have taken steps to fight human trafficking and support victims at the local level. At least 68 bills combating human trafficking have been introduced in 26 states this year. Fourteen of those have already passed into law and three more are awaiting governors signatures. One of those three is Ohios HB262. It is a broad-scale bill encompassing increased penalties for human traffickers, greater education for officers and those at risk for trafficking, and increased support measures for victims of human trafficking. The bill passed the legislature on June 20th and is awaiting action by Buckeye state Governor Kasich.

Our country should continue to take action to help victims of modern day slavery by engaging in the legislative process, supporting involved ministries, working internationally through State Department advocacy and diplomacy, and certainly through our prayers. We must not allow abortion to be the modern day slave master.

 

The Chen Saga Continues - and Needs Prayer

by Rob Schwarzwalder

May 2, 2012

According to Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers (WRWF), the woman who helped Chinese human rights dissident Chen Guangcheng escape from his house arrest, has been “detained” by the Chinese authorities.

According to (He) Peirong, Chen spent months on his back, pretending to be near death, so that his guards would relax their vigilance. Then on April 22, with exquisite timing, he scaled a wall and ran for his life, taking several wrong turns and falling into a river because of his blindness. Peirong drove 20 hours to meet Chen and fooled the village guards into letting her in. She disguised herself as a courier. Then she drove Chen another eight hours still wet from his fall in the river to safety in Beijing. Their plan was so masterfully executed that the authorities did not realize Chen was gone for four days.”

WRWF is a ministry devoted to ending forced abortion and sexual slavery in China. The horror of the Chinese government’s commitment to abortion through the ninth month of pregnancy in order to enforce it’s “one child” policy has resulted in enormous suffering for women, not to mention the deaths of their unborn children.

As millions of Americans take time this week to participate in our National Day of Prayer, let us pray for the protection of He Peirong, Chen Guangcheng, and their families, and for guidance for such U.S. officials as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke (who accompanied Chen to the hospital where he is now being treated), as this situation continues to unfold.

This Ones for the Girls: A different take on International Womens Day

by Krystle Gabele

March 8, 2012

Today is International Womens Day, a time of celebrating womens achievements. As a woman, I am particularly celebrating the strength of the female role models in my life, as well as those who have shaped my overall philosophical views.

I am celebrating the strength of someone who influenced me to shoot for the stars. My great-grandmother, who was a pillar of strength and faith during her time on Earth, always told me, You can do anything with hard work and trust in God. She was born in 1903 and lived until the age of 97. Growing up, I would always hear stories of how she taught in a one room schoolhouse in Floyd County, Va. and being mesmerized about how awesome it would have been to be transported back in time. I am certain she was a dynamic teacher, and her love of history has been passed down for me to share with future generations of our family.

While having role models to inspire you is something to celebrate, the sad truth is that there are far fewer of these role models today than there would have been had it not been for the devastating practice of abortion. As we commemorate International Womens Day, we have to question why those who celebrate womens rights would advocate for such a practice. Feminists, represented by groups such as National Organization for Women, often argue for a womans right to choose, so you would think the feminists would want to promote life to allow more women the chance to experience the opportunities of leadership.

Unfortunately, abortion continues, and internationally, sex-selective abortions are being performed every day. According to research reported by Nicholas Eberstadt in The New Atlantis, sex-selective abortions are contributing to a loss of baby girls, not just inChina, but in other countries around the world. This trend is skewing the population balance to have an inordinately larger number of males than females.

Estimates by the United Nations Population Division (UNPD) and the U.S. Census Bureaus International Programs Center (IPC) the two major organizations charged with tracking and projecting global population trends make the point. According to estimates based on IPC data, a total of 21 countries or territories (including a number of European and Pacific Island areas) had SRBs of 107 or higher in the year 2010; the total population of the regions beset by unnaturally high SRBs amounted to 2.7 billion, or about 40 percent of the worlds total population. For its part, UNPD estimates that 24 countries and territories (a slightly different roster from IPCs, including some additional European, South American, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Pacific settings) had SRBs of 107 or higher for the 2005-2010 period, for a total population similar to the IPC figure.

The article goes one step further to illustrate the negative social impact of sex-selective abortions. In countries likeChina, this practice will only contribute to a higher rate of unmarried men, and in addition to women being scarce, it will lead towards increasing prostitution rates and a rise in human trafficking.

Women should be outraged, and should step up to speak about this injustice. We are witnessing the possibility of increased crimes against women through this horrid practice, not to mention the loss of life. Who will pave the way for women in the future if this practice continues?

 

International Womens Day: An Endangered Sex

by Robert Morrison

March 8, 2012

I love women. That should be obvious. If I dont get to talk to my sister at least once a week, Im blue. Im forever pestering my wife to let me talk to our daughter when she checks in, almost daily. And dont ask about my infant twin granddaughters.

When my wife was named as the commanding officer of the Naval Academy Clinic, she refused to let the public affairs office announce the first female, CO; (she was like Margaret Thatcher in that respect). Still, I was bursting with pride for her achievement.

I shouldnt need to say these things. It should be assumed that a gentleman of mature years will take a courtly interest in the fairer sex. But I do need to say them because Im being daily accused of waging war against women.

You see, the Left thinks that because I dont approve of a womans right to choose abortion, Im a domineering, patriarchal, male chauvinist pig. Hogwash. They say if I dont accede to their demands for legalizing unmarriage and agree to pay for elective surgery to change ones sex, then Im a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal.

Today is International Womens Day. Google has a special logo. And the Washington Post has a full-page article explaining in depth the importance of this 101st anniversary.

I called our daughter to congratulate her. She was fretting over not voting in her states primary. She agrees with a young friend who said women have a duty to vote here because so many women around the world are denied that right.

Generally, I agree. But in the case of that primary, when there is no other question on the ballot, you have no duty to vote when you disapprove of both candidates and of the questionable means of restricting voter choices.

Sec. of State Hillary Clinton knows more about elections and primaries than I do. And she will doubtless be observing International Womens Day. She has made promoting womens issues central to her tenure at State.

Madame Secretary once said that abortion is wrong (Newsweek, October 31, 1994). Only once. Before that single statement, and ever after, she has done all in her power to promote abortion around the world. Kenya, a mostly Christian country, was pressured into legalizing abortion in its new constitution by Madame Secretarys State Department and by not very subtle pressures from Joe Biden. And Madame Secretary gave our Canadian good neighbors a public tongue-lashingin Ottawa!for not pushing abortion in Africa. The only place the administration in which Mrs. Clinton serves has actually made abortion rare is on the Moon.

I am waiting for Madame Secretary to speak out against sex selection abortions. Can she at least stand against forced abortion in China? Surely, with her well-advertised concern for women, she can argue that forcing tens of millions of women to have abortions is against their freedom to choose. Her silence is deafening.

Dr. Nick Eberstadt is not silent. This scholar at the American Enterprise Institute published a powerful study of the worldwide war against baby girls. This widely respected demographer, writing in The New Atlantis, shows how in many cultures, the preference for boys is having a drastic effect on the sex ratio at birth (SRB). Hundreds of millions of women are being killed as unborn baby girls because pre-natal testing has determined they are female. This is genocide.

This is the lethal cultural contradiction of radical feminism. They say a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. They say if men could get pregnant then abortion would be a sacrament. To these unfeminine feminists, abortion is a sacrament. So how do these radicals respond to the incontrovertible evidence that what they view as a fundamental human right is being deployed daily to bring about an historic human wrong?

Abortion is a global danger to women. No one understood this better than the late Pope John Paul II. He issued an encyclical titled On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.

The formal title of the document is Dignitatis Mulieribus. That has a certain ring to it. Im not Catholic and I dont speak Latin, but that phrase, the dignity of women, has to touch the hardest of male hearts.

And heres what John Paul the Great wrote to the UN Womens Conference that met in 1995 in Beijing, of all places:

As most women themselves point out, equality of dignity does not mean “sameness with men”. This would only impoverish women and all of society, by deforming or losing the unique richness and the inherent value of femininity. In the Churchs outlook, women and men have been called by the Creator to live in profound communion with one another, with reciprocal knowledge and giving of self, acting together for the common good with the complementary characteristics of that which is feminine and masculine.

We have just gone through a wrenching and ugly episode in our national life. Rush Limbaugh has apologized for saying a word about a woman he should never have said.

Bill Maher will soon apologize for calling a conservative woman a word I cannot even print. (Mr. Maher will apologize, wont he?)

Both of these prominent men should read Dignitatis Mulieribus. We should send a copy to Madame Secretary. Perhaps by the next International Womens Day, we can all do more for endangered unborn women. We need to do more to defend the dignity of women. That dignity is, after all, endowed by God.

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month” - What You Can Do

by Rob Schwarzwalder

January 11, 2012

January has been declared National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. It’s timely that the seriousness of this issue is being recognized, as it is not only a global crisis but a growing problem here at home.

Thankfully, the mainstream media are picking up on the crisis of human trafficking in the U.S., which FRC highlighted in two events last year. In a gripping new report, Fox News states that “with increasing technology and the Internet, human trafficking has become more accessible and more anonymous.” Even the normally business-focused Forbes Magazine is informing its readers about “How To End Sex Trafficking and Human Slavery.”

As Fox reporter Elizabeth Prann notes, “Experts say, across the globe, millions of people are trafficked each year. Hundreds of thousands of the victims are women and girls. But what surprises many — is the rate it is happening in affluent neighborhoods where minors are being turned into sex slaves.”

According to Rob McKenna, Attorney General of Washington State and current president of the National Association of Attorneys General, “Human trafficking is a $32 billion global industry, the fastest growing and second largest criminal activity in the world, tied with arms and after drug dealing … I urge all Americans to educate themselves about all forms of modern slavery and the signs and consequences of human trafficking. Together, we will combat this crime within our borders and join with our partners around the world to end it.”

The problem is grave and the harm it inflicts so painful it is difficult to describe. However, there is good news - the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability lists 31 Evangelical ministries that seek to help girls and women enmeshed in the sex trade, and Catholic Charities has launched a major project to restore the victims of this horrible practice to well-being. You can link to both sites by visiting FRC’s RealCompassion.org web site.

Our Declaration of Independence argues that “all men are created equal,” a reflection of the Bible’s teaching that each person is made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Our Judeo-Christian moral heritage and the charter document of our country both affirm the dignity of each life, and that none should be used as a commodity or debased as a non-person. Let’s pray that our government and law enforcement officials, churches and ministries, and private charities will be effective in ridding America of this horrible practice. And, as we always say at FRC, the best guarantee of a good life - one in which girls are protected and given a healthy start - is a strong, loving, and worshipful family.

How Does Your State Rank on the Issue of Child Sex Trafficking?

by Family Research Council

December 21, 2011

The State Department annually releases a “report card” evaluating countries’ work and progress on combating the heinous crime of trafficking of human person for either labor or sex slavery. In 2010, the United States was included in the ranking and evaluation for the first time, scoring in the highest tier, although its narrative showed much room for improvement in this area where all can agree that one exploited person is one too many.

On that note, in late November Shared Hope, a non-profit organization dedicated to the eradication of sex trafficking through education and public awareness, released a domestic version of the report, “The Protected Innocence Initiative,” grading individual states on their efforts to combat child sex trafficking.

In their words, “The Protected Innocence Initiative is a comprehensive strategy to promote zero tolerance for child sex trafficking. In partnership with the American Center for Law &Justice, Shared Hope International conducted a comprehensive analysis of each states existing laws. The Protected Innocence Legislative Framework solely evaluates a states existing laws and does not evaluate enforcement or implementation.

The methodology was vetted by experts in the anti-trafficking field including Ambassador Mark Lagon (U.S. Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons 2007-2009) and directors from the following organizations: the National District Attorneys Association; American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law; the Protection Project at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies; ECPAT-USA; Children at Risk, Houston, Texas; and A Future Not a Past, Atlanta, Georgia.”

Criteria used to evaluate states’ grades included criminal provisions addressing traffickers, demand and facilitators, protections for child victims, and criminal justice tools for investigation and prosecution, among others.

According to the report, the worst ranking states in the U.S. include Virginia, Michigan, Maryland, and Colorado, to name just a few. Some of the best states were Missouri, Washington and Texas.

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