Climate change region by region | Melting Glaciers | The Art of Blogging (with tips)

The Northern Great Plains is far from any ocean. Water melts off mountain snowpack, slowly trickles down glaciers**, and pools up in basins. The largely arid region is dominated by thirsty industries like agriculture, energy extraction, and tourism.  There’s a byzantine system of century-old water rights and competing interests.

Or as my dad, a Montana cattle rancher, puts it: “Whiskey is for drinking. Water is for fighting.”

Residents might want to steel themselves with a little bourbon as climate change will escalate those water woes, according to this report. Winters will end earlier and snow could decline as much as 25 to 40 percent in the mountainous regions.

It’s culturally critical, too:  The area is home to 27 federally recognized tribes that are already experiencing climate threats such as a lack of access to safe water and declining fisheries. …

“I am large. I contain multitudes,” Walt Whitman said of himself.  But he could have very well said it of the Southwest, where stretches of desert give way to soaring, snow-capped mountains.  Yet this might not be the case for long.

Climate change threatens all of this beautiful ecological diversity, as well as the 60 million people who call this area home, including 182 tribal nations.

In Alaska, water is life, life is shellfish, shellfish is power. But, alas, climate change is about to do a number on the state’s marine life, food webs, and species distributions. According to the climate assessment, ocean acidification is expected to disrupt “corals, crustaceans, crabs, mollusks,” as well as “Tanner and red king crab and pink salmon.”  Lots of indigenous peoples rely on that variety of marine life.

BIG READ: 2018: We broke down what climate change will do, region by region | Grist


wishing you and yours health wealth and happiness and more great blogging in 2012 (an old WP photo I used for my post)


Blogging as an art? Oh my, oh my.  Where do I begin? (This is another long post but trust me, it’s about you.)

In June I was cleaning up and deleting old posts and I was happy to reread many of my old posts but not a single person had read them.  WHAT? That’s perfectly fine.

Whoever came up with the idea of “postaday” was nuts.

I cannot believe “I” tried to blog something every single day.  Back then I was getting the hang of it, so to speak.  When I started this blog in 2011, I had very little knowledge of WP or what blogging could be.  It’s a practice, like writing or yoga or raising pigs.

When you start blogging, learn as you go. And I want to STRONGLY encourage new bloggers to keep at it.

Start with:  Pick a topic/theme you like. Write posts around news articles…. Use links, photos, and videos. (Like I did above)

The big lesson for me was social media, aka sharing blog posts.  It took me two (dreaded) years of blogging to find readers and keep them.  And that is what you must expect.  It takes time, maybe years. Just remember, you will find your niche and you will become a greater writer, photog, chef, poet, or whatever you choose to blog about, if you persist.

Writing about adoption and being adopted was the reason I chose to blog in the first place. (“When you have a book, you must have a blog.” I didn’t create that lovely saying… but yup, it’s true.)  In 2013/4 I was dedicated to research the topic of human trafficking.  (I even did a radio interview about this blog topic when trafficking was a neglected yet news-worthy topic.)  Not grabbing any new readers on that topic for this blog, that didn’t matter to me as much as I needed to learn about it –and was SADLY shocked at what I did learn.   FYI: I also dedicated many 2015 posts to orphanage asylums around the US.  Of course “adoptionland” (adoption controversy) is closely related to human trafficking.  (Those are categories I chose for this blog.)  And, I usually tie-in and write about Indian Country which is my career!

When I tell non-blog friends I blog, after I explain what it is and that it’s perhaps addicting to be a reader/writer, I tell them my LARA blog is for “serious writing.”  (Of course I admit I might have a disorder called ADHD and I secretly experiment making other blogs but don’t yell “bloody murder” when no one reads them.)

OK, but seriously, Bloggers, just remember— YOU get to pick your poison/passion/past-time.  That is the magic key to blogging.  Educate yourself on whatever the topic and new readers will find you!  Even if they don’t find you, (SEO will) and you will learn more than you dare to dream and YOU be a better blogger (and person) for it.  (If you are tech-minded read up on SEO/search engine optimization — very boring stuff…) (11 tips that you can use to optimize your blog posts for SEO (like a Pro).

There are so many great bloggers out there now.  REALLY!!  More than a few years ago I used WP Reader to find blog suggestions.  Today in 02019 I follow (280+) (OMG, that many?) way too many great blogs to keep up with and sometimes I have to choose which blog(s) to read every week.  I do get posts via email which keeps some order to my disorder.

Do not think I don’t care if I don’t read your blog every time. I am simply trying to keep up. I’m old now.

One of the wonders of blogging is you can find bloggers in other countries and learn a great deal from them.  It’s a huge blessing to learn about other parts of this world and what they care about, or write about and share. Google Translate will help you if they are using another language, so anyone, even you can explore the big bad blogworld.

Engaging with others (with comments, shares and reblogs) is truly the best way to blog (and make interesting new friends).  By way of a perfect example, I highly recommend my UK friend Pete who blogs at beetleypete –  he is one of the kindest bloggers in the world.  His excellent blog is about “The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk.”  HERE.

Don’t be discouraged, new and tired bloggers.  Keep at it.  Change your template/theme occasionally.  Maybe get a domain name, once you settle on a theme or niche, and use social media to reach others…  then go wild with that Twitter button!  You may want to blog weekly… or monthly or daily.  But trust me, “daily” is very very hard and requires great skill and loads of research + deep thought + time. (And you will miss all your TV programs, trust me on that.)

(OH NO, I have violated my own rules with this post – it’s WAY TOO LONG!)   (Forgive me this time and all the other times. I will do better.) There are no rules — just the ones you make for yourself…

I made a blog “BLOG SCOUTS” when I was teaching blogging at the local community college. Make art and a logo for your blog – readers love it!

TIP: If you do give up, leave your blog up. You may come back to it. (Put up a “I’m on Hiatus” post and let it sit.)

TIP:  On WordPress,  go to the dashboard and under settings, go to the SHARING tab.  Add the PINTEREST button to your blog.  It will bring you many new readers… I love sharing your posts to Pinterest (and Twitter)… it helps visually if you use a featured (top) photo for each blog post! (I’m not on FB and don’t share there.)

TIP:  You don’t have to “Like” the post but do click LIKE anyway- this tells the blogger you were there. It’s like saying, “hi there blog bud…”

Why this post about glaciers and blogs??

This fall I am working with a poet who retired from glaciology, which is the scientific study of glaciers, or more generally ice and natural phenomena that involve ice.  Dr. Richard Cameron has traveled the planet and I can’t wait to share his poetry with the world.  I will help him publish his collection (then brag/blog about it).

Blogging (and writing) will be a colossal chore if you let it….  Don’t let it!

If you have a blogging question or just want to shoot the breeze, my email is:

p.s. UPDATE::: Healthwise…I’m following the KETO diet, kinda, but it’s more strict.  It’s working wonders and my new hormone cream is the bomb! Can you tell I’m feeling better? 🙂

My dear husband Herb has been in the hospital for a ruptured appendix – his surgery was a success on June 24 but they kept him a week. That was not fun at all.

And you can also use this neat thing (the contact form) to ask me something?



Ireland’s ‘house of tears’ | Origins Canada | 60s Scoop | One Small Sacrifice | and my thanks

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(excerpt) Some of the children – the cute ones, says Ms. Corless – were adopted at a price in North America, often without their mothers’ consent. John P. Rodgers, a survivor of St. Mary’s and an author who wrote a memoir about his experience, For the Love of My Mother, now being developed as a Hollywood film script, believes that the available photographs of the home were part of a marketing ploy. “These beautiful photographs of nuns in religious garb taking care of the children with chubby cheeks, white ankle socks and shoes, neat dress, it’s a real film shot. I realized that was a staged photograph,” he says in an interview.

The nuns would send letters to families describing little girls and boys they had available. “One report of an Irish health department in 2012 suggested that perhaps 1,000 children were trafficked from the Tuam institution alone,” Prof. Smith says.

Will there be a TRUTH COMMISSION in IRELAND too?

A harrowing discovery in Ireland casts light on the Catholic Church’s history of abusing unwed mothers and their babies – and emboldened survivors to demand accountability…

But the reality was horrific. They were homes of abuse and neglect; places of forced confinement for the mothers and where babies were allowed to die – murdered, in effect. Kevin Higgins, a lawyer familiar with the issue, says the deaths were “at least manslaughter.” One Irish newspaper has called the scandal “our little Holocaust.”

The reason for the homes was simple and rarely questioned at the time. The mothers were unwed; their children often called “devil’s spawn.” Set up by the government and run by Catholic religious orders, the mother and baby homes were part of a system to deal with the perceived shame of “illegitimate” children and the women who bore them.  …The rest, 796 infants and toddlers, she believed, were in a mass grave in an area of low-cost housing, built on the former grounds of St. Mary’s by Galway County Council.

READ: Ireland’s ‘house of tears’: Why Tuam’s survivors want justice for lost and abused children – The Globe and Mail

*** Has this scandal gone Global?

Many Canadians are unaware that in the immediate postwar decades, federal and provincial governments funded “Homes for Unwed Mothers” in every Canadian province. Over 300,000 unmarried mothers were systematically separated from their babies during this period.  Mothers report verbal, physical, psychological, and sexual abuse in these homes, and the Canadian government has so far done nothing to acknowledge these wrongs.  Origins Canada advocates for a Committee to Investigate such as the one held in Australia to uncover the illegal, unethical and human rights abuses in adoption policies and practices in both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous contexts. This type of inquiry may serve to validate the lifelong psychological and intergenerational damage to families by draconian adoption policies and practices, and to provide mental health and healing services to those denied them so many years ago.  – Valerie Andrews, Executive Director Origins Canada: Supporting Those Separated by Adoption

******** DECLINING International Adoptions

Americans adopted around 5,370 children from other countries in fiscal year 2016. For the first time, males outnumbered females among adoptees from abroad.

Source: International adoptions to U.S. declined in 2016 | Pew Research Center






The $800-million proposed agreement with Sixties Scoop survivors that was announced by the Canadian government isn’t the first aiming to compensate Indigenous people for historical wrongs. (Top photo)

READ: Sixties Scoop settlement the latest involving Canadian Indigenous people – Canada – CBC News


And I thought I’d share some of my own experience being an adoptee.

2nd Edition on Kindle and Amazon

Stop a moment.  Who are you?

Stop and think about…  Have you ever considered that an adoptee doesn’t know who they are …?

Placed as a baby, decisions were made for me and my life in a Wisconsin courtroom in 1957. At age 22, in 1978, I went back to that courtroom and found a judge who luckily remembered my adoption and I asked for his help.

Many still do not appreciate or know how difficult it is to find out (WHO YOU ARE) after a sealed closed adoption. Those who don’t experience being adopted have little comparison, comprehension or compassion for its complexities, or what life is like in legal limbo.

I’m a Split Feather, a Lost Bird, an adoptee with Native American ancestry. I know this because I opened my adoption. I wanted to know my name, and why my parents gave me up, or had they abandoned me.

I wanted the truth, good, bad, both. I wanted what you what – ancestors, names, places.

Truly it was like being trapped in two worlds… (After my memoir came we did Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects) – now living with two sets of parents and two last names; life gets fuzzy between truth and fiction.  As a young adult adoptee, it was pure nonsense having to accept “this was done in your best interest.”  Clearly that wasn’t enough information to build a life on.  I needed more.  I needed my own medical information, I told the kind judge.

To get to the truth was all uphill. Years of uphill. Laws made it illegal for me to look or know my own name.  (How strange and confusing all this was.)

The tragedy was I felt like a lost-and-found item in a department store. Unclaimed, some strangers came in, spotted me and said “I’ll take that one.” As their child, I became invisible, unidentifiable, and perfectly suited to blend in with all the other Americans.  (But I didn’t ask for this.)

The agency Catholic Charities handled me (the newborn) and sealed my fate.  My identity and my mother’s identity would remain a secret, papal leaders decreed. (It’s still happening –  records are legally changed and locked up!)

It would take years before I could rightfully claim my identity and know what happened that I happened.

Because adoption records were locked by Wisconsin law, my decision to know who I am involved risk.  Not only would this test my courage, it could get me locked up.

It also meant I’d face the fear of my birthmother rejecting me a second time.

My memoir One Small Sacrifice tells the entire story of how I went from one of the Stolen Generations to now, today… (I was using my adoptee name when I wrote it in 2004. I legally changed my name in 2015 to Trace Lara Hentz. More INFO)

As for any settlement, the USA has not issued an apology or any settlement for the Indian Adoption Projects or ARENA (a program that moved children from Canada to the US and vice versa.) I helped to write and publish a book series so one day, some day, we will have this history to use in the courts.

************************************** AND ONE MORE THING

a little cyber ghost treat that looks good!

I really want you to know that your blogs are so good, my words are insufficient.  I often read HOURS because of you all on wordpress. We are our own community of souls putting good thoughts and ideas out there into the blogosphere. Your photography, your poetry, your reviews, your art, your writing, your books, your experiences fill me up (usually on Mondays!) I cannot thank you enough — all of you. XOX Lara/Trace

Next Generation Nepal | “earthquake orphans” | Reconnecting Trafficked Children with Their Families

Reconnecting Trafficked Children with Their Families. Next Generation Nepal rebuilds family connections torn apart by child trafficking and helps rural communities become stronger, healthier places to raise their children.

SEE: Next Generation Nepal – How We Work

NGN Turns 10: A Decade of Rescuing and Reunifying Trafficked Children with their Families

With your help, we have brought over 500 children home, raised awareness and started an initiative to stop trafficking before it begins.

Dear Friend of Next Generation Nepal,

It has been 12 years since I first arrived in Nepal for what I thought would be a small blip in my story. Little did I know that I was about to embark down a path that would change the entire trajectory of my life in ways I couldn’t imagine.

This journey began in 2004 when I volunteered at Little Princes Children’s Home on the outskirts of Kathmandu and met a group of boys and girls who would change my life forever. I’d been led to believe that these kids were orphans, which invoked heartfelt empathy and a strong desire for me to bring them joy in their young lives. I soon learned the truth—they had mothers and fathers, siblings and communities where they once had a full and happy life which they had been taken from. I was shocked to know these kids had been trafficked. It was because of this realization that I made a promise to do whatever possible to bring them and as many others back home. Out of that promise the seed that would grow into Next Generation Nepal was planted.

It took two years of commitment and hard work, but, in 2006, NGN was finally able to open the doors of its official office in Nepal and rescue the Little Princes. Soon after, I set off to the remote district of Humla in search of their families. This was the first rescue and reunification that NGN did.

Over the last 10 years, NGN has continued to grow.  Today we work in 31 districts and have helped reconnect over 500 children with their families! In addition to our reintegration work, NGN is now considered an expert on ethical volunteering in Nepal, and our Community Anti-Trafficking (CAT) project works to prevent children from being trafficked in the first place.

NGN has persevered through a civil war, earthquakes and constant political unrest, but we have not let anything stand in our way in accomplishing our mission. Our teams continue to rescue, care and search in the remotest parts of Nepal for the families of these children so that we can bring them home.

NGN is celebrating the joy of 10 years of rescuing and reunifying trafficked children as well as broadening NGN’s reach into bringing awareness to families and communities of the causes of trafficking and stopping it before it begins.

There are still thousands of children who have been displaced from their families and living in abusive conditions for the financial gain of their captors. Please help us to begin this next 10 years by supporting NGN’s work so we can not only bring hundreds more children home, but to stop child trafficking at its core.

With Gratitude,

Conor Grennan (author)
President, Next Generation Nepal

MORE:  After the Great Nepal Earthquake
April 25, 2016

I drove to the NGN transit home where I was overjoyed to find 17 children playing games in a make-shift tent of tarpaulins, and being cared for by our staff and —believe it or not— the Little Princes!  Yes, the now young adults whom NGN Founder Conor Grennan had made famous as children in his book, “Little Princes,” had kept their promise that in the event of an earthquake they would protect the younger children. In addition to this we had a four-week supply of food, water and medicines, so even if the roads and airport were shut off, we could all still survive.

Within the heavily cracked walls of a room at the Central Child Welfare Board, I joined the Government and other NGOs to plan what our response would be for affected children. We knew that the situation in Kathmandu was not as bad as the rural areas. But we also knew that the traffickers were already prowling the villages looking for children to remove them from their frightened parents and place them in profit-making children’s homes.  To make matters worse, several children’s homes were already announcing hundreds of new places for children to come to Kathmandu. It was like the previous decade’s civil war all over again—families would be torn apart by hollow promises of safety and education, only to be used as fundraising tools by organizations wishing to profit from the millions of dollars of disaster aid money flowing into the country.  All these unscrupulous organizations needed to succeed in their plans were children to be falsely presented as “earthquake orphans.” We had to act fast.

…A child-friendly space is a basically a large tent that acts as a safe space for children after a disaster. In the NGN child-friendly spaces, the children were offered structured play and learning activities, psycho-social counseling and locally-prepared nutritious meals. This gave them the opportunity to regain a sense of normality in their lives, and allowed their parents some much-needed respite.  But our child-friendly spaces were more than this—they also built trust with the local community, which, in time, allowed NGN to start raising awareness within the community of the dangers of child trafficking and the importance of family preservation.

By July we had established 11 child-friendly spaces in hard-hit villages where we had assessed there was a high risk of trafficking. We had also supported the Nepal Police to establish two transport check posts where we could intercept buses to search for children who might be being trafficked to Kathmandu.  When we found unaccompanied children on the buses, we rescued them, and the local government returned them to their families.

By now we were also able to roll out our awareness-raising campaigns. These included a traveling acting troupe that performed a street drama about child traffickers pretending to be representatives of NGOs to lure vulnerable children to the city; several passionate street rallies led by school children demanding an “end to child trafficking”; leaflets and posters; competitions and speeches; and a radio jingle to reach the most remote families whom we could not access by road or foot.


An International Adoption Clouded in Deception

February 20, 2012: Imagine a complete stranger telling you that your adopted daughter, who you always believed was an orphan, was actually not. “Surreal and heart wrenching” is how Ana would describe it.
Names have been changed in the story to protect the privacy of those involved.

In early 2004, a Spanish woman named Ana wanted to adopt a Nepalese child. Nepal was still in an armed conflict and she was told that many children were losing their parents. She arranged a meeting with a representative at the Consulate of Nepal in Spain to find out more information. Ana was given the contact information for an orphanage in Nepal and started the complex process necessary to adopt a child.

After about one year, the adoption became official and Ana, overcome with joy, traveled to the orphanage in Kathmandu to meet her new daughter and bring her home to Spain. The orphanage had arranged for Ana to adopt Sunitha, a six-year-old girl with a personality that enchanted Ana from the beginning. As months passed, Sunitha quickly learned Spanish and slowly began assimilating to Spanish culture. “Sunitha was becoming a Spaniard, but I also wanted her to be aware of her Nepalese heritage. I did not want Sunitha to forget her origins,” said Ana…

Keep Reading


Editor’s Note
Many of the children in Nepal’s “orphanages” are there because traffickers (who are sometimes relatives) deceive parents in remote villages into allowing them to take their kids to “elite educational facilities” that are actually centers for child exploitation. In fewer instances, impoverished Nepalese parents make desperate decisions to take their children themselves to children’s homes under the assumption that they will at least have a chance at an education and a successful life. However, these parents do not think the homes’ managers would ever send their children overseas through adoption. They assume that children’s homes will care for their kids until they enter college and can work on their own.

According to The U.S. State Department website, the United States “continues to strongly recommend that prospective adoptive parents refrain from adopting children from Nepal due to grave concerns about the reliability of Nepal’s adoption system and credible reports that children have been stolen from birth parents, who did not intend to irrevocably relinquish parental rights as required by INA 101(b)(1)(F). We also strongly urge adoption service providers not to accept new applications for adoption from Nepal.” To read more about the US State Department’s guidelines on adoptions from Nepal click here.


Last year: Children left devastated by the earthquake in Nepal in 2015 were preyed upon by slave traders… Wealthy British families are buying children left devastated by last year’s earthquake in Nepal to work as domestic slaves. The children – who are as young as 10 – are being sold for as little as £5,250 (Rs 500,000, $7,468) by black market gangs operating in India’s Punjab region, according to an investigation by The Sun. I published about Nepal here.

Here is another adoption trafficking victim here.

Just remember conflict areas like Syria are ripe for human trafficking.


Adoptly Adoption App Loses Kickstarter Campaign | Embryo Adoption

The outrage WAS fast concerning this… and it got pulled…. LT

Adoptly is a controversial app that simplifies the child adoption process. Kickstarter recently pulled the campaign.

Source: Adoptly Adoption App Loses Kickstarter Campaign | Digital Trends

This I just heard about… LT

Inga adds her story to THE ATLANTIC’s  long-running adoption series:

I wanted to adopt and was devastated when our adoption did not work out. It is a long and very painful story in itself—one that others judge me for, and some of my friends became my enemies. … Embryo adoption gave us a chance to adopt again but avoid the trauma of mother-child separation from a traditional adoption—which clearly did not work for us. I did not consider egg donation because my goal was different; I wanted to adopt an embryo that was already created. …

I chose an anonymous adoption, and the embryo had been frozen for a little less than four years. … He is now 17 months old. … I do not consider my youngest child adopted, even if he is genetically not mine—because he is biologically mine, 100 percent. After all, I carried him for nine months and gave birth to him; how much more “biological” can it be?

Read the whole story here.

Korean Adoptee Adam Crapser To Be Deported

adam-crapserThe Adoptee Rights Campaign reported October 25 that 40-year-old Adam Crapser, adopted from Korea when he was three years old, will be deported.

In a nutshell, this is why:

  • When Adam was adopted, the U.S. government did not provide automatic citizenship to internationally adopted children. Adam’s adoptive parents never got him U.S. citizenship.
  •  A federal immigration law requires that anyone who commits a felony and is not a U.S. citizen is subject to deportation–including adoptees. Adam committed felonies. He served his time for them.

None of us condones the commission of crimes, but it’s an outrage that the United States is deporting international adoptees, brought to the U.S. legally as children by U.S. citizens for the purpose of becoming the sons and daughters of American parents.  Two governments–in this case, South Korea and the United States–sanctioned all the paperwork.

Source: Korean Adoptee Adam Crapser To Be Deported

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On October 24, 2016, Immigration Judge John C. O’Dell ruled that Korean adoptee Adam Crapser would not be granted relief for cancellation of removal and will be deported to South Korea.  Adopted at the age of 3 by U.S. citizens and surviving two sets of abusive adoptive parents, Mr. Crapser is being deported to a country where he does not speak the native language, does not know the culture, and will have great difficulty securing gainful employment and integrating into Korean society.

Adam (the father of young children, married, living in Oregon) is one of an estimated 35,000 intercountry adoptees who do not have U. S. citizenship.  Introduced in November 2015, the Adoptee Citizenship Act will close a loophole in a 2001 law and grant citizenship to these adoptees.


[Someone explain to me how this is not human trafficking… It’s known and documented that adoptees have issues (primarily emotional trauma or long-term PTSD) and add to that, Adam suffered abuse at the hands of adoptive parents (TWO SETS), then was reassigned adding more trauma.  He needs our help, not deportation. LT]

More on Deporting Adoptees here

Child trafficking: what are we really talking about?

The moral panic over child trafficking detracts from important questions about children and childhood, the state, and immigration. We worry about child trafficking, but what exactly is it?

A Syrian family proceeds north to Serbia from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in August 2015. Stephen Ryan for the IFRC/Flickr. Creative Commons.
 Child trafficking generates great anxiety amongst professionals, parents, and the general public. It is simply an abhorrent idea: how could adults buy and sell vulnerable children? Extensive effort has thus been put into combatting the practice. In the UK, local authorities have drafted guidelines for identifying and working with trafficked children, and child trafficking units have been established across many counties in the country. These and other efforts might suggest that we are faced with a severe and growing problem; a child trafficking epidemic that demands increasing attention and resources. But is that really so? What is the extent of the problem, and indeed, when authorities talk about child trafficking, what do they actually mean? Scrutiny of the policy discourse and available evidence shows that often a very different reality exists than the image of ‘trafficking’ shown to the public.Child trafficking, according to the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), is when children are recruited, moved or transported, and then exploited, forced to work or sold. They are often subject to multiple forms of exploitation. Children are trafficked for: child sexual exploitation, benefit fraud, forced marriage, domestic servitude such as cleaning, childcare, cooking, forced labour in factories or agriculture, criminal activity such as pickpocketing, begging, transporting drugs, working on cannabis farms, selling pirated DVDs, and bag theft. It is often asserted that many children are trafficked into the UK from abroad, though children are also said to be trafficked from one part of the UK to another. Figures from the UK National Crime Agency’s third annual Strategic Assessment of the Nature and Scale of Human Trafficking in 2013 (released in September 2014) estimated that of the 2,744 people identified as potential victims of trafficking, 602 were children; an increase of 22 percent from 2012.

All of these numbers might suggest that the phenomenon is indeed on the ascendency, although closer attention to the data reveals that those identified were potential victims rather than actual victims of child / human trafficking. This, alone, should give major pause for thought.

A challenge faced by those seeking to count victims of trafficking lies in the rather woolly definition and idea of trafficking itself. The supposed clarity offered by the NSPCC definition—itself taken from the Palermo Protocol, 2000—often falls apart in practice because it is often very difficult to identify what should be included (and excluded) when we talk about child trafficking. According to the definition, movement or mobility is necessary for trafficking to have taken place (child A is moved from location X to location Y). But is movement of children necessarily harmful? Clearly not, as demonstrated by the ‘mom’s taxi’ phenomenon that is experienced by middle-class children across the world as they are ferried from one supposedly socially-enhancing activity to another. So it’s not actually the movement of children across spaces that’s concerning. Rather, it’s what happens to children during and after the journey.

What if a child’s life is awful before the journey? For example, when a child from a war-torn country moves or is sent by parents to be brought up by friends or relatives elsewhere. Does this constitute child trafficking? In practice, different agencies (governmental and NGO) have defined child trafficking so loosely that almost any form of movement involving a child can end up being described as ‘child trafficking’. Some reports include adoption, fostering, and children going missing from care within their working definitions of trafficking; others include children placed illegally in children’s homes. This lack of consistency means that it is often impossible to know not only what the problem is, but also if it is getting worse, better, or remaining roughly consistent over time.

The second definitional problem relates to the idea of the child itself. What do we include (and exclude) in our definition of a child? Are we talking about children up to the age of 16 (the school-leaving age and legal age of sexual consent in the UK), or 18, or perhaps even 21 years, as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child suggests? Not only does the lack of agreement make giving accurate numbers on child trafficking (if we can neatly pin this down) across the world an exercise in futility, but also the issue throws into sharp relief contested ideas about young people and sex. When is a young person able to understand and consent to their movement regardless of what the outcome of is movement is, and when do they need protection from it? Different perspectives across countries and over time suggest, again, that there is no way of knowing whether this is a problem that is worsening, improving, or staying that same.

What else is going on here?

It is right that children and young people (wherever they come from) should be protected from harm, but the current scare about child trafficking might best be seen as an example of moral panic. Moral panics exaggerate issues of genuine concern. In doing so, they draw attention away from other important social issues and contribute to wider societal fear. They are not, as Jock Young argued in 2009, one-off disturbances. They reappear in connection with shifts in the wider social order. As my colleagues and I have written elsewhere, the idea of child trafficking is an old concern that first appeared in the late nineteenth century, another time of widespread social anxiety. At that time, concern about the ‘white slave trade’ focused on the (mistaken) idea that young women were being seduced in large numbers and transported to brothels in Europe.

The re-appearance of child trafficking as a social issue today connects with wider concerns about immigration and asylum seekers, children and childhood, as well as the police and social services. It speaks to the language of moral outrage: “how could we let this happen?” It speaks to a feeling of loss; to the notion that childhood has been somehow ‘lost’ or ‘stolen’, and is ‘in crisis’. And it speaks to a widespread sense that the world is increasingly out of control; that ‘something must be done’. In particular, it helps to fuel further anxiety about a supposed widespread practice of ‘modern slavery’; in this case the enslavement of children torn away from the protection of their family, with no regard for the circumstances from which the child has moved or is being moved.

The outcome of this moral panic is that our sights are taken away from more pressing concerns faced by children deemed to have been trafficked. It is far easier to label a child as a victim of trafficking than to argue that he or she is a victim of wider socio-political and economic harms, and that these need to be addressed. Thus we condone highly illiberal and repressive immigration policies that scapegoat and stigmatise both adults and children in the name of protecting children from being trafficked across borders. We also contribute to the increasing surveillance of children and young people, whose lives are evermore regulated and managed in the name of child ‘protection’. Rather than panicking about child trafficking, I suggest that the interests of children and young people would be better served by more compassionate welfare and immigration policies that give support to their families, and by the provision of mainstream youth services that allow them to enjoy their childhoods without constant scrutiny and supervision.

An earlier version of this was published in 2008. SOURCE

My definition of trafficking is closed adoption and its victim, the adoptee, loses their identity, family and name. For that reason we need to Abolish Adoption NOW.


The New Abolition: Ending Adoption in Our Time via @sharethis

— http:LaraTraceHentz (@Trace15) October 20, 2015


Adoption file reveals more about Homer G. Phillips stolen baby mystery


ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – An adoption file that could answer many questions concerning allegations that babies were stolen and then sold at the old Homer G. Phillips Hospital has been released. One attorney calls what’s inside this file, evidence of a cover up. He and his client say there are forgeries and lies.

“This is robbing me of my joy, it’s robbing me of my joy.” said Zella Jackson Price.

Zella Jackson price was filled with joy last month after being reunited with her daughter Diane. Zella Price had been told some 50 years ago Diane died hours after birth at the old hospital. She’s is upset about details found in daughter Diane’s adoption file.

Price said, “Now you have riled me, you are trying to kill my character, you’re trying to lie and say I was at one hospital.”

Diane’s alleged birth certificate says Zella Price delivered her at St. Louis City Hospital One, the traditionally white hospital.

“I’ve never been to city hospital in my life. I cannot tell you where it was.” She also is upset because the file claims she abandoned her baby at that hospital. She denied is. Her attorney Al Watkins has also looked at the adoption file, “There are some things that scream out at you.” said Price.

Watkins said there are discrepancies in the 103 pages. Watkins says they have living proof Zella delivered Diane at Homer G. Phillips Hospital.

“We have a witness who was an employee of Homer G. Phillips at the time baby Dianne was delivered who visited Mrs. Jackson Price at the time she delivered Diane at Homer G. Phillips. He said people’s names on documents appear to be forged. While looking at the birth certificate Price said, “That’s not my signature that’s not my signature at all.” said Watkins.

A known signature of Diane and one in the file looks very different. Documents also say court officials were unable to locate Zella which Zella questions. She was well known in the community, she performed gospel music at many churches, her actual address was on the so called birth certificate. She was even in a movie.

“When you tell one lie you have to tell another one to cover that lie. So I think it’s lies upon lies.” said Price.

Attorney Al Watkins said they are a long way from knowing what may of happened at the hospital. He says, “We are the fifty yard line at best.”

Watkins is still waiting for medical records to be released by the city concerning Zella and Diane while at Homer G. Phillips

via Adoption file reveals more about Homer G. Phillips stolen baby mystery |

Adoptee-Abductee Reunites with Mom 41 Years After He Was Taken as a Baby

Man Abducted from Chile as Baby Reunited with Mother 41 Years Later
Nelly Reyes and Travis Tolliver

By Tara Fowler | @waterfowlerta | 05/26/2015

Travis Tolliver burst into tears as he held his biological mother Nelly Reyes for the first time – 41 years after they’d last laid eyes on each other.

“I don’t know how I feel,” he told CNN after reuniting with his mom at Chile’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport. “It’s crazy! I never thought this could happen.”

Abducted as a baby, Tolliver was raised by a Tacoma, Washington, couple who didn’t know he’d been taken. His adoptive parents were simply told that he’d been abandoned. But the truth was much more sinister: Tolliver was stolen from his mother, who was told her baby had died, though she was never shown a body.

It’s unclear how he ultimately made it from his native country of Chile to the United States, but he’s one of the “Children of Silence” – infants who were taken from their birth parents in Chile during a dictatorship there.

Reyes was just 19 when she gave birth to Tolliver. She’d had a healthy pregnancy, so it was a shock when doctors told her he’d died.

“I’m going to hug him every day,” the now 61-year-old told CNN. “I love him so much.”

And now that he’s met his biological mother, Tolliver hopes to overcome his “abandonment issues.”

“I wasn’t given up willingly like I thought for all these years, so that makes my heart feel wonderful,” he said.

Egg Donation: the newest form of human trafficking

Bioethics @ TIU

itsagirlPosted March 14th, 2015 by Sarah Sawicki

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the troubling lack of informed consent for egg donation. Many women are completely unaware of the risks and side effects of the procedure. But what seems to be the bigger, underlying problem is that there is a lack of regulation for and research about egg donation.

The lack of regulation for egg donation is alarming on multiple levels. On one hand, it runs along a thin line between altruistic endeavor and sale of a human being. Additionally, it allows for the exploitation of women in need. In fact, women in third world  and developing countries are especially susceptible to this kind of exploitation. Much of egg donation has been outsourced to foreign countries where things can be done cheaper, not very different from the trend seen in modern industry. calls egg harvesting, “the newest form of human trafficking.”

While Europe has responded to these ethical concerns with the “European Parliament Resolution on the Trade in Human Egg Cells”, America is notably lacking any kind of regulation at all. Despite being one of the wealthiest and most well educated countries in the world, the United States has shown a complete disregard for an issue that is an affront to its ethos. As Clark and Lahl write in their article, “Egg Donors and Human Trafficking”,

“Vulnerable young women, trusting the medical establishment with their well-being, are being heavily recruited by means of deceptive advertisements and coerced with large sums of money in relation to their social-economic status. “

How can Americans fight for feminism and equal rights when we don’t hold institutions that exploit women accountable? How can we truly progress if we don’t recognize our failures and do what it takes to correct them? We can use the hashtag #HeForShe all we want, but until we take a stand for those who are most at risk, we will not truly be a society that stands for truth, justice, and liberty for all.

via Feminism and Egg Donation – Bioethics @ TIU.

Torn from their mothers’ arms #HumanTrafficking

adoptee rightsPOUND PUP LEGACY |  Submitted by Kerry on Wed, 2015-03-25

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It’s a tale of terrible heartbreak Britain’s tried to forget: Hundreds of thousands of mothers forced to give up their babies because they weren’t married. Now they want justice

By Frances Hardy/ The Daily Mail
24 March 2015

The legacy of loss and yearning has persisted — intractable and insistent — like a physical pain throughout Lorna Read’s adult life.

A day has not passed when she did not think of the daughter, her perfect baby with the white-blonde hair, she was forced to give up for adoption.

On a spring day in April 1969, when the child she had called Rowan was six weeks old, Lorna signed away her right to motherhood.

She did so for the simple reason — unimaginable today — that she was a single mother, having become pregnant to an art lecturer 11 years her senior when she was 23.

‘I can still summon up a picture of my last sight of her: a forlorn little baby with huge blue eyes, wrapped in a blanket.

‘I’d been told by nuns in the maternity home where I gave birth not to form a bond, not to breastfeed, not to love her. But, of course, I did love her and it was absolute torture to try to ignore her. I walked to the bus stop the day I left her, and sobbed. And ever since I have felt empty, as if a part of me is missing.

‘When Rowan was eight months old, her adoptive parents sent me, anonymously, a lovely photo of her. It’s the one possession I would have gone into a blazing house to save.

‘I thought of her every day. I had lots of short-lived relationships with men, but it was as if I couldn’t love anyone else until I’d found her again. And I couldn’t contemplate having another baby. It would almost have felt like being unfaithful to her.

‘Every day on her birthday, I’d light a candle for her and cry. It was the only day I allowed myself to cry because I knew if I didn’t hold back I’d open the floodgates and never stop.’

Lorna, 69, an author and literary consultant from West London, remains single and has never had another child.

Educated and articulate, she is one of an estimated half a million unmarried mothers in the UK who, between the Fifties and Eighties, were marginalised by ‘respectable’ society determined to stigmatise illegitimacy.

Denied access to housing, and bullied by parents, religious groups or social workers, these women were forced to give up their babies for adoption — for the sole reason that they were single parents.

Too often, they were not given information about housing and financial help to which they were entitled. There was no question of these women being found to be unfit mothers; they were simply prevented from becoming mothers at all.

For four decades, Lorna carried the burden of her loss silently and stoically. But now she has joined a growing band of women who, because of that stigma once attached to illegitimacy, are seeking a Government apology for the forced adoptions.

The Movement for an Adoption Apology (MAA) was co-founded by Veronica Smith, 74, a retired nursing manager, in 2010 after the then Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard made a formal expression of regret for the ‘shameful’ treatment of unmarried mothers in Australia in decades gone by.

The MAA knows that similarly punitive policies were being pursued in Britain at the same time, and continues to campaign vigorously for more signatories to its petition.

Veronica says she was ‘coerced, cajoled and cornered’ into having her own baby daughter taken away within a week of her birth in March 1965.

She argues that an apology would help to atone for the trauma and grief she and other unmarried mothers have endured throughout their lives.

The shame of illegitimacy was acute, even in the so-called Swinging Sixties; so much so that Veronica’s devoutly Catholic father, a Lieutenant-Colonel, never knew about her child.

‘My elder sister and mother told me: “Daddy must never know about this. The disgrace would kill him,” ’ recalls Veronica. ‘I honestly felt if I’d murdered someone it might have been more acceptable.

‘I’d committed a mortal sin and in the eyes of the Catholic Church I’d never go to heaven.’

Veronica was a nurse at Butlin’s holiday camp in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, when, aged 24, she accidentally became pregnant during a short-lived relationship with Sam, a Red Coat. ‘I went to a GP and he said all he could offer me to try to end the pregnancy was a douche, then he told me to have a hot bath and drink gin. It didn’t work,’ she recalls.

‘I wrote to my elder sister. A letter came back, saying: “Don’t worry. It’s sorted.” And I remember the train journey to Victoria. I was crying, scared. I had no idea what would happen.’

Veronica’s sister had booked her into a Catholic hostel in Tulse Hill, South London. An austere corrective institution, it was not unlike the convent laundry depicted in Philomena, the 2013 film which told the true story of a young Catholic woman forced to give her child up for adoption in Fifties Ireland. Veronica scrubbed floors as a penance for her sins.

Like all the other unmarried mothers at the hostel, she had to knit a layette — bootees, a hat, leggings and a matinee jacket — for the baby she would hand over to strangers.

Veronica remembers, too, clandestine meetings with her mother and the fabrication of a story for her father’s sake that she was ‘working abroad’.

‘My mother used to meet me every fortnight or so at Wimbledon station, and she’d bring airmail paper so we could concoct a letter for my father about my job overseas,’ she says.

Veronica’s daughter was born at a private maternity hospital in Guildford, Surrey, on March 2, 1965. She has one poignant memory of her baby.

‘I called her Angela because she looked like an angel in a painting,’ she says. She was even given a drug to stop her breast milk.

‘It’s totally unnatural to carry a child for nine months then to have it taken away. It’s not what we’re put on Earth to do,’ she says.

‘Yet it was assumed we’d have our babies adopted. We weren’t told about the resources, the housing or benefits that were available to us.

‘My parents had a six-bedroom house in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, but I knew absolutely that it would be fruitless to ask to live with them. My baby was fostered, then adopted and I was told to go home and forget about her.

‘So I shut it out completely. My life was stolen, really. I didn’t have any proper relationships and put all my energies into work as a nurse.’

Veronica, who is serene, capable and softly spoken, quietly bore the weight of her unresolved sorrow for almost three decades.

Her father had died without knowing her secret, and the pressure her mother had exerted on her to give her child away caused a rift that was not healed. Then in 1990 — childless and unmarried — Veronica faced the menopause and had a breakdown.

‘Perhaps it was because it was the end of my fertility, but something seemed to unlock in my head and all my grief came tumbling out,’ she says.

‘I fell apart. I couldn’t stop crying. I went to my boss and sat in her office blubbing. It all came out about my daughter; the first time I’d ever spoken about her other than to one close friend.’

As she recovered, Veronica found solace in searching for her child, named Catherine by her adoptive parents. Channels of communication, denied to women in the Sixties when it was illegal to have contact with an adopted child, had opened up.

She traced Catherine and discovered that she had enjoyed a stable and happy upbringing with parents, both academics, who had emigrated to Canada.

But forging a relationship with a daughter who is a stranger proved tricky. ‘I wrote a rather gushing letter full of how wonderful it was to find her and I think I overwhelmed her,’ says Veronica.

Indeed, for several years, the birthday and Christmas cards Veronica sent with dogged and hopeful persistence went unacknowledged.

Meanwhile, unburdened of the compulsion to keep her secret, Veronica sought a fresh start. She moved from London to East Sussex where in 1993, at a singles’ club, she met Roger, 69, a divorcee with a grown-up son and two daughters.

‘And the first time we went out I said: “I’ve got a daughter, too,” ’ she smiles.

The admission was liberating: Roger, who is now her husband, supported Veronica’s efforts to build a relationship with her daughter.

Then, in 2008, an unexpected email arrived from Catherine. She’d had a baby. Within a year, Veronica had met not only Catherine, but also her new granddaughter.

She recalls the day when her daughter’s car pulled into the drive of the house with sweeping coastal views which she shares with Roger.

‘Catherine walked in with her toddler and all her baby stuff as if she was at home and gave me a big hug. It was wonderful. Now she introduces me as her “other mum”, and I’m also Grandma Veronica.’

For Lorna Read, too, there was eventually to be a happy resolution to the agony of separation from her daughter. But for her it also came after many years of emotional trauma following her pregnancy in 1968.

At that time, her parents disowned her and she, too, was treated as a fallen woman, even though it was her philandering lover who abandoned her.

‘He was an art lecturer 11 years my senior and he’d asked me to marry him,’ she says. ‘Then I got pregnant, and after three months he threw me out of the house and installed another woman there.

‘No decent landlord would give me accommodation because I was single and pregnant, so I ended up in a bedsit in the East End of London, up 89 stairs. It was overrun with mice and I shared a cold water tap on the landing.’

Lorna, a graduate, found temporary work in the civil service. ‘I bought a ring for nine shillings (45p) from Woolworth’s and told everyone my husband was away at sea,’ she says.

Meanwhile, she endured the full weight of her social workers’ disapproval for her moral laxity. ‘They told me I was feckless and had nothing to offer a child,’ she says. ‘They said there were lots of God-fearing people who’d give my baby a good Christian upbringing.’

When Lorna’s baby was born in a maternity home run by nuns, she named her daughter Rowan after the tree which is believed to have protective properties.

She tried vainly to stem the flood of love she felt for the little girl. ‘She had a cry with a little hiccup at the end, but I’d been told to ignore her after she was born — not to reach out and pick her up — which was torture. All the time I tried to put a stopper on my emotions and it took all the strength I had,’ she says.

After her discharge, Lorna’s daughter was placed in foster care in South London. She begged for time to try to find a home for herself and her baby, and was given six weeks’ grace, after which, she was told, the child would be adopted.

‘I traipsed the streets looking for accommodation, but no one would take a single mother and baby,’ she remembers. When the time was up, I was forced to say goodbye to her. It felt as if the world had ended. The legacy of heartbreak stayed with me.’

It was only in 2005 that she was able to trace her daughter — renamed Rhiannon by her adoptive parents — through an adoption and reunion organisation. A bond was forged instantaneously.

‘I met her at the ticket barrier at Liverpool Street Station. She’d travelled from Ipswich, where she lived then. She said, “Hello Mum”, and we haven’t stopped talking since.

She is warm, outgoing, artistic, caring. She also has the most wonderful adoptive mother, Jo, a geography teacher, who is solid, dependable, intelligent. Rhiannon tells everyone she has two mums now, and Jo calls her our mutual daughter.’

Not every search for an adopted child, of course, is resolved as neatly. Pat Ferrett, 67, from Ramsgate, Kent, was 17 and working as an accounts clerk when she fell pregnant in 1965 by her fiance. She needed her father’s consent to marry because, as the law stood then, she was underage.

But he refused. To compound Pat’s misery, her fiance then refused to acknowledge paternity. They had not actually had intercourse: she had become pregnant through ‘heavy petting’ as it was then termed.

Naively, neither had imagined this was possible; her fiance assumed another man was the father. Though her father organised a private adoption, she never forgot her son.

It is the scent of her newborn that stays with her even now. ‘I can still summon it up; a warm, sweet smell like honeysuckle,’ she says. ‘When I held him for the last time, I almost couldn’t breathe. I felt as if everything had been taken from me.’

Pat went on to marry another man. She had two children, now aged 45 and 44, by her first husband. They divorced and she is now happily wed to Frank, 77, a retired printer.

But the yearning to find her first child remained and in 2005 she traced him and sent him a letter via an intermediary. The response was businesslike. He assured Pat that he’d had a happy childhood. He’d attended public school and university, married a beautiful woman and had two adorable children.

But he added that he felt no need to form a relationship with Pat; neither did he wish to correspond further. Pat, though she was bereft, accepted her son’s decision.

‘I’m glad he had an education I could never have provided for him; that he’d turned into a solid, upright young man. I would have loved a relationship with him, but I know he’s had a good life.’

And so she goes on from day to day, scarred like so many other women by the shattering knowledge that she can never get back the years of happiness that were snatched away from her.

Headlines: trafficking, adoption, Indian Child Welfare

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014, the House of Representatives unanimously approved H.R. 4980, the “Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.” This bipartisan, bicameral bill reflects agreements reached between House and Senate leaders on three separate bills designed to prevent sex trafficking of children in foster care, increase adoptions from foster care, and increase child support collections for families, among other purposes.

House Committee on Ways and Means sealRead the full press release at Chairman Dave Camp’s website.


Alaska Supreme Court sides with Interior tribe in child custody, sovereignty case

The Alaska Supreme Court ruled Friday in support of an Interior tribal court in a child custody and tribal sovereignty Native American Rights Fund logocase that was contested by Gov. Sean Parnell’s administration.

The case, Simmonds v. Parks, started almost six years ago as a custody dispute in the Village of Minto, a town of 200 people about 130 road miles northwest of Fairbanks.

Read the full article at the website.

Learn more about the case at the Native American Rights Fund website.


Why Are These Indian Children Being Torn Away From Their Homes?

Imagine entering family court and knowing that what’s at stake is the person you hold most dear – your child. Now imagine having a judge tell you that he’s removing your child from your custody, from your home. When you ask him why, the judge’s replies, “I honestly can’t tell you.” The judge then signs an order giving custody of your son to Social Services.

You might think that such a court proceeding could never happen in the United States – but you’d be wrong.

Read the full article by Stephen Pevar at the ACLU website.




The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Tribes (NRC4Tribes) is one of the new resource centers within the Children’s Bureau Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) National Network. The NRC4Tribes joins the Children’s Bureau’s Child Welfare Training and Technical Assistance Network (T/TANetwork) which is designed to improve child welfare systems and to support States and Tribes in achieving sustainable, systemic change that results in greater safety, permanency, and well-being for children, youth, and families.

The Children’s Bureau is located within the Administration for Children,Youth and Families (ACF) of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Tribes continue to be able to access training and technical assistance (T/TA) through various national resources centers within the Children’s Bureau national T/TA Network.The NRC for Tribes is the focal point for coordinated and culturally competent child welfare T/TA for Tribes within theT/TA Network.The NRC4Tribes works collaboratively with Tribes and the T/TA Network to assist Tribes in the enhancement of child welfare services and the promotion of safety, permanency and well-being for American Indian/Alaska Native children and families.


“Those are Our People and That’s our Family” written by Erika Bjorum

August 7, 2014

“Those are Our People and That’s our Family”, written by Erika Bjorum, who conducted a graduate research project with Maine-Wabanaki REACH, is published in the latest edition of Journal of Public Child Welfare. Her study examined the perspectives of Wabanaki community members and child welfare staff on state child welfare involvement in Wabanaki communities.

In the acknowledgements, Erika states, “The author gratefully acknowledges the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Convening Group and the staff from the Muskie School of Public Service for their partnership in developing and carrying out this project, as well as their valuable contributions to the editing process.”

Soap offers hope for sex trafficking victims in Metro Detroit

When a man she trusted began trafficking out Theresa Flores at hotels around Detroit, the 15-year-old could only focus on when it would all be over and she could wash off with soap and water.

“Many times we think of the girl as just a prostitute or someone on the street doing it for the drugs,” said Flores, of her experience with sex trafficking. “For many years I didn’t know what to call what happened to me, and I had a hard time healing.”

Having broken away from the industry, Flores is now working to raise awareness and prevent other women from being trafficked like she was.

On Saturday Jan. 11, Flores’ group Save Our Adolescents From Prostitution, packaged and distributed 130,000 bars of soap with the number for the trafficking awareness hotline on them to 70 hotels and motels in Metro Detroit ahead of the North American International Auto Show. Trafficking can get a boost from large-scale events where many out-of-towners come in to stay at hotels and motels, Flores said.

Flores said the group doesn’t call the hotels and motels before members arrive to avoid being rejected outright. The hotel-size bars of soap have a label attached that reads, “Are you being forced to do anything you do not want to do? Have you you been threatened if you try to leave? Have you witnessed young girls being prostituted? If so, please call: 1-888-3737-888.”

Later this month the group will hold the same event in New Jersey, ahead of the Super Bowl, often cited as a prime time for sex trafficking and prostitution. The state has been planning ways to crack down on it in the weeks before and after the big game.

Nationally, leaders are starting to take notice of the problem of human trafficking.

Continue reading…

An interview with Daniel Ibn Zayd

(reposted from American Indian Adoptees)

Transracial Eyes logo

By Trace/Lara

The following interview is with Daniel Ibn Zayd, an adoptee and contributor to a collective of transracial adoptees called TRANSRACIAL EYES.
He was kind to answer some questions for me via email. His bio follows this interview.

Tell us about you, what you do, where you are, and how did you come to know so much about adoption:

Daniel: I was born in Lebanon in 1963 and almost immediately adopted to the United States. At the age of 40, I decided to return, determined to find family, and if not that at least a sense of culture, language, and perhaps identity in returning to my place of birth. As I met adoptees from other countries, as well as domestic adoptees in the States, I became more active in adoptee rights. I was most struck in Lebanon by those who didn’t get why I was searching, or who were most critical of it;  they happened to be of the class I was adopted into. Those on the other hand who did get it, were likewise dispossessed and displaced: migrant workers, refugees, marginalized communities, etc. I took this as a focal point to try and understand economically and politically adoption as a process and as an industry. My first breakthrough was connecting international and domestic adoption, and from there examining similar human traffickings. I adamantly avoid the personal aspect of it because I see this as a diversion to the discussion that must take place. It’s like abolitionists focusing on the narratives of slaves, discussing whether they could be “happy” on the plantation — it avoids the bigger economic and political picture that adoption, like slavery, perfectly fits into, unfortunately.

I was impressed you have been covering the issues surrounding the Christian group in Montana who is advocating for changing the Indian Child Welfare Act and lobbying legislators in the US. How did you come to learn about American Indian adoptees and the ICWA? 

Daniel: When I arrived in Beirut I was working in academia, and I took advantage of this position to further research aspects of resistance to the above economic and political realities that govern our lives. Much of this research focused on groups who culturally expressed their resistance, for example, the artists of the Mexican Revolution or the Black Panther Party (I was teaching graphic design and illustration). In expanding on notions of dispossession and the like, the Indigenous Nations of the Americas came into focus, especially concerning the political changes in South America, but also in terms of attempts to reclaim culture, language, and community. It was an obvious addition to such research. More personally, my parents had retired to a town in the southwest next to a large Navajo reservation, and an old school to “deculture” Indian children existed near their house.

I am obsessed by the benign destruction that such “innocent” places represent, and the economic and political position such “adoptions” hold in the imperial forays of the U.S. In one of my classes I used the case of Leonard Peltier and the movie “Incident at Oglala” to portray much of this, making parallels with the local occupation of Palestine. I’ve also had many debates with those tribal members who reflect locally here in Lebanon what Frantz Fanon calls “native intellectuals”: those who advocate for their own oppression and domination, and who take on the colonizing narrative as their own. It is absolutely imperative that we understand historically speaking the derivations of adoption, and its use as a tool by imperial nations against their former/current colonies, and how this relates to the destruction of indigenous peoples in the Americas, Australia, as well as in French overseas territories for just a few examples. This reflects more the true basis of what adoption was designed to do.

Are you a journalist by trade? Tell us about your activism:

Daniel: I’m not a journalist by trade, but have published a fair bit of writing. My activism is currently tending to mix the visual, written, and philosophical realms. In 2009 I started a collective of artists that we called Jamaa Al-Yad; roughly translated it means “Clenched Fist”, which we take as a sign of resistance. Much of our initial work required of us bylaws and charter that would pass evaluation by the Lebanese government. We were given a template to use that in many ways reflected French and American influence on the country, taking for granted such things as parliamentary procedure, fifty-percent plus one voting; hierarchies of officers/members, etc. We took almost two years to write from scratch bylaws and charter that avoided all of this. We based them in research gleaned from Iroquois sources and the methodology of Quaker meetings to very local ways of communal associations; the best of many worlds. We received our approval three years ago, and many other non-profit and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have adapted our charter and bylaws for their own use, which is very satisfying. My sense of activism is that it must be lived, not just theorized or super-mediated. Anything else is just preaching or hypocritical advocacy.

Have you been able to find your natural family and reconnect? What was that like for you?

Daniel: I haven’t. I have instead been introduced to a bottomless abyss of trafficking, displacement, dispossession, and marginalization the knowledge of which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I have managed to integrate myself into my neighborhood as well as various communities that I never expected would welcome me back, and this along with the support of my adoptive family allows me to persevere here.

For adoptees out there who are transracial (adopted outside of your culture), many who read this blog are Split Feathers who have questions about this, have you any suggestions on how we can change the views on international adoption and adoption in general:

Daniel: I’m actually writing a book on this subject that shifts the burden here. Why try and change an inherently broken and corrupt system? In my research it quickly becomes apparent the uses of adoption originally were never for family creation, but for everything having to do with political and economic domination, including indentured servitude, emptying of poorhouses, populating of colonies, destruction of tribes and indigenous peoples, etc. So for us to go along with the “lie” that adoption is about family creation is to be accomplices in our own dehumanization. Much more important is our own grounding not in terms of our adopting class but in that of our originating communities. Even if we are transracially “American” or acculturated “American”, what does this mean when many groups who have managed to assimilate were formerly considered Other within American society?

These groups were forced to give up their language, culture, and identity that, when studied, are amazing sources of resistance, strength, and self-awareness. This is hard work because none of this is part of the dominant cultural mode, and we have to go out of our way to find such material. But it’s out there, and it is much more grounding than pretending to be “American”, whatever that even means these days. I’m not advocating claiming this or that identity; actually I’m saying the opposite: Find the cultural roots of resistance that existed in communities before they were assimilated into dominant societies, themselves historically full of mixes, overlaps, and interconnections. This gives us much more in the way of common cause, and will do more to bring us back to a sense of community than walking around manifesting affected cultural references that the dominant mode deigns allows us.

Daniel Ibn Zayd currently lives in Beirut; in 2009 he founded the artists’ collective Jamaa Al-Yad,  He has helped form a collective of transracial adoptees, Transracial Eyes, at, and he is also active on the discussion boards of Adult Adoptees Advocating for Change at  He is currently working on a book that examines the political and economic aspects of human trafficking including adoption.  He can be reached by email at: or his blog:

Visit Daniel’s blog. It is eye-opening and thought-provoking! There is so much we learned from this interview… Thank you Daniel….

(reposting from American Indian Adoptees.. this interview is very relevant to the trafficking issues related to adoption…Lara)

Not Forgive: Why anger is necessary to heal

Is forgiveness always necessary, or even possible?

Many people believe that forgiveness is necessary if we are to put the past behind us and move on. Twelve-step programs teach the philosophy that we should forgive others because they, like us, were doing the best they could at the time. Many religions teach that forgiveness is the only fair and compassionate thing to do, since we have all sinned and we have all hurt others. Many psychotherapists also believe that forgiveness is necessary in order to heal. But as wise as spiritual leaders and therapists are concerning the importance of forgiveness, sometimes forgiveness is not possible. Unfortunately, we have not been given permission to choose not to forgive. It is my belief that forgiveness is not necessary for healing, and in some cases may not be the healthiest thing to do. This is especially true when forgiving is tantamount to giving permission to hurt you again.

Sometimes we need to hold onto the very thing that prevents us from forgiving in order to cope and survive — angerAnger can be a powerful motivator, especially for those who have been victimized. Anger can help us rise above the victimization and to fight our way back from the most devastating of traumas. For example, research shows that female victims of rape who allowed themselves to express their rage about being raped were able to recover from the trauma much better than those who never got angry. It is often anger that motivates a victim to continue facing the pain.

In the case of child sexual abuse, it is often anger that helps victims feel separate from their abuser (victims of incest, in particular, often feel too enmeshed with their abuser) since anger separates us from others. Victims also need their anger in order to ward off feelings of shame and guilt (victims of all forms of abuse, especially sexual abuse, tend to blame themselves for their own victimization).

Hopefully, there will come a time when a victim no longer needs her anger. When this happens she or he will be more able to look at forgiveness as a viable option. But each person needs to come to this point on his or her own and not be pressured to forgive because it is the “politically correct” thing to do.

From Lara: Soon I will be writing about a recent conference at Yale about Indigenous Slavery and Incarceration. One of the speakers mentioned forgiveness and that it is NOT what we want or need as Indian People. That would be ridiculous considering the history of atrocities and abuses that have happened to First Nations and American Indians in the name of Christianity and by the Nations Builders who perpetuated these crimes against our humanity and still do. The denial of our history is systemic; genocide and colonialism around the world is the cause of continued anger. Rightly so.

I have anger about many things. I am not going to forgive Human Trafficking or worldwide genocide or Slavery… my concern is we end it, not forgive it.

Polaris Project Releases Report on Human Trafficking Trends in the US


Since 2007, we have worked closely with local partners to help tens of thousands of callers connect with the help and services they need. As a result of the calls, emails, and online tip reports fielded by the hotline over the course of our first five years of operation, the NHTRC maintains one of the most extensive data sets on the issue of human trafficking in the United States.

From December 7, 2007, through December 31, 2012, the NHTRC answered 65,557 calls, 1,735 online tip forms, and 5,251 emails — totaling more than 72,000 interactions. This report is based on the information learned from these interactions during the first five years of the hotline’s operation by Polaris Project.

Read more and download the report at: