The History of William Wilberforce


William Wilberforce is considered one of the biggest heroes in the anti-trafficking movement. Seriously, if you Google "Human trafficking quotes," one of the top results you will find comes from Wilberforce. But why is he such a revered individual? What significance does he have when it comes to human trafficking? William Wilberforce was one of the main individuals responsible for ending the slave trade, then slavery, in England. His life is certainly an incredible one, as well as an interesting and inspiring one.

William Wilberforce was born into a wealthy family. Wilberforce was considered a troublemaker. He never took his studies seriously, as his "neighbor" (or roommate) in college would share: "When he [Wilberforce] returned late in the evening to his rooms, he would summon me to join him…. He was so winning and amusing that I often sat up half the night with him, much to the detriment of my attendance at lectures the next day." However, William had an interest in politics. In the 1780s, Wilberforce would run for Parliament at the age of 21, and won. Sadly, Wilberforce began to realize his life was seemingly pointless. Why was he involved in politics? What was the point of life? These were some of the questions he pondered. Wilberforce began to do some self-reflection, where he would learn the truth of the Gospel, and accepted Christ into his life in the late 1780s. 

Still unsure what he was to do in life, Wilberforce sought out John Newton, the hymn writer famous for Amazing Grace. Wilberforce was prepared to leave politics and seek out Christ. Newton, before converting to Christianity, was a well-known salve trader. John Newton convinced William to not leave politics, and to use his position to make an impact against slavery. Already having knowledge of the slave trade, Wilberforce agreed. He also wrote his mission statement"God Almighty has placed before me two great Objects: - the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners."

What Wilberforce wasn't prepared for was the long fight ahead of him. It's no different from today. Modern day slavery provides economic benefit. When politicians' economic benefit is endangered, they won't easily let go. This is what Wilberforce was fighting. For roughly 20 years, Wilberforce would write bills, with the help of his longtime friend, William Pitt, only to have these bills defeated. Wilberforce eventually retired in 1807, due to his consistent health problems.

While serving in politics, Wilberforce also worked on his other calling, in addition to ending the slave trade: the "reformation of manners." Wilberforce was involved in several philanthropic causes, earning him the nickname "prime minister of a cabinet of philanthropists." Some say he was involved with nearly 70 causes! Wilberforce's work in ending the slave trade would come to a head soon.

In 1807, Parliament voted to abolish the slave trade in England. Wilberforce also helped to end slavery for good. He learned that an Emancipation bill was being written called the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. Sadly, William Wilberforce passed away on July 29th, 1833. 

William's work in fighting the slave trade is incredible. He never gave up. He fought for what he believed in. This is something we can all relate to. I hope you found his story as intriguing and inspiring as I did. 

The Hard Truth on Labor Trafficking

Image credit: 
National Human Trafficking Hotline

There is a common misconception that human trafficking consists only sexual exploitation. This couldn't be further from the truth. While sexual exploitation does make up most cases of human trafficking, there is another type that makes up nearly as many cases: labor trafficking. Labor trafficking, commonly referred to as forced labor, is the second most common type of human trafficking, yet doesn't get nearly as much attention as sex trafficking. Labor trafficking is a horrendous crime, and deserves to be recognized. As January is National Human Trafficking Awareness month, I will be writing articles dedicated to human trafficking.

What is labor trafficking? Defined by the Human Trafficking Hotline, "Labor trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which individuals perform labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion." The top 5 states for labor trafficking are the following: California, Florida, Texas, Georgia, and New York. Why is labor trafficking so prevalent? Unfortunately, for the same reason sex trafficking is prevalent: supply and demand. 

Labor trafficking has, unfortunately, become mainstream in our society. Consumers demand the latest products, the newest clothes, or the best foods. Agriculture, textiles, and manufacturing are some of the top industries where labor trafficking occurs. Traffickers take advantage of vulnerable individuals to meet these demands, because this makes money. According to the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, "The most common agricultural goods listed are sugarcane, cotton, coffee, tobacco, cattle, rice, and fish. In the manufacturing sector, bricks, garments, textiles, footwear, carpets, and fireworks appear most frequently. In mined or quarried goods, gold, coal and diamonds are most common." These items are certainly shocking, because you probably buy these things a lot.

Why is labor trafficking so horrible? People living under these conditions are rarely paid (if paid at all), and forced to work in dangerous conditions. They're forced to work long, hard hours, with little to no breaks. It's backbreaking labor. They're also not allowed to leave or the trafficker threatens them (usually with deportation, violence, or harm to their families). It's an evil practice. In an interview for FRONTLINE documentary Trafficked in America, a former Trillium worker revealed how the children forced to work were constantly threatened if they didn't do their work or complained about the pay. "Many of my friends told me that they received death threats — they would kill their father, their mother — if they didn’t want to pay or work." Trillium is currently under investigation for allegedly trafficking illegal minors for labor.

This is why many experts believe that labor trafficking cases actually surpass sex trafficking. The reason we see sex trafficking is higher is because it is more mainstream and somewhat easier to detect. We won't know how prevalent labor trafficking is unless the media, the government, law enforcement, and even society recognizes the seriousness of labor trafficking.

How can you recognize the signs of labor trafficking? Based on Polaris Project's model, here are the top red flags you should be aware of for labor trafficking:
  • Feel pressured by their employer to stay in a job or situation they want to leave
  • Do not have control of their passport or other identity documents
  • Owe money to an employer or recruiter and/or not being paid what they were promised or are owed
  • Are living and working in isolated conditions, largely cut off from interaction with others or support systems
  • Appear to be monitored by another person when talking or interacting with others
  • Are living in dangerous, overcrowded or inhumane conditions provided by an employer
  • Are being threatened by their boss with deportation or other harm
  • Are working in dangerous conditions, without proper safety gear, training, adequate breaks and other protections
You can check out Polaris Project to learn more facts about labor trafficking.

Labor trafficking is equally evil as sex trafficking. Traffickers take advantage of the most vulnerable among us, and use them for profits. The best way you can fight this issue is by becoming a conscious consumer. By paying attention to what you buy, you can make an impact against these evil traffickers. You want to make a statement? Buy organic groceries or from a local farmer. Buy products from certified, transparent and responsible companies that place people over products. Tell your friends and family about this, and help others become informed in becoming a conscious consumer. If we all do our part, we can make a difference in this fight.

Child Marriage Should Be Abolished in the United States

Image credit: UN Women

Children under the age of 18 aren't allowed to drink, vote, or get tattoos. In the United States, however, it is legal for them to get married. How does that make sense? Child marriage is legal in majority of the U.S., and it should be abolished.

Most people against child marriage consider it a form of forced marriage. Child marriage is defined as "any formal marriage or informal union between a child under the age of 18 and an adult or another child." Child marriage is defined as "any formal marriage or informal union between a child under the age of 18 and an adult or another child." The majority of children married are girls. Between the years 2000 - 2018, nearly 300,000 minors were wedded. In most cases, these kids are married to a much older adult. Currently, there is no federal law banning child marriages. Now, how many states have outright banned child marriage? Only six. Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and New York. Six out of the 50 states have made it illegal to marry if under the age of 18.

What are the problems with child marriage, aside from the moral outrage we all feel? For starters, there's the impact on mental health from child marriages for the victims. Most victims struggle with low self-esteem and PTSD. Child brides/grooms have less rights and resources to get out of their situation. Unicef shared that girls who are forced to marry before the age of 18 are more likely to experience domestic violence. The imbalance of power, large age-gap, and lack of education, many child brides are likely to be abused or violated. Because domestic violence shelters are geared towards women, girls are unable to seek refuge. There are limited resources for divorce in child marriages, nor are they able to get an order of protection. Victims of child marriage aren't allowed to escape.

Additionally, many girls married young usually drop out (or are forced to drop out) of school. "They have worse economic and health outcomes than their unmarried peers, which are eventually passed down to their own children, further straining a country’s capacity to provide quality health and education services." Let's not forget the sexual abuse that can arise from these marriages. When an adult "has sex" with a minor, this is declared as statutory rape and that adult is charged as a sex offender. When that child just so happens to be that adult's marital partner, the law changes.

So what can be done? Continuously being aware of this crime, for starters. I was shocked to learn that child marriage is legal in majority of this country. Some states do require that you have to be a certain age to be married, but there must be parental consent. This simply means you, as a marital clerk, could see a young girl bawling her eyes out begging not to be married, and you have no authority to go against the family's wishes. Parental consent shouldn't be an option. If they're under the age of 18, it should be illegal. No other way around it. If we cannot protect our children, then the discussion for human rights is irrelevant. Child marriage should be abolished in the United States. we cannot protect our children, then the discussion for human rights is irrelevant. Child marriage should be abolished in the United States.

Eight Impactful Reasons To Give Up Pornography

Image credit: Pexel

"Porn is free because you pay with your soul." I fully believe in this phrase. Watching porn is considered a way to "destress" or "unwind" after a long day or to cope with some hardship in life, the same way alcohol or drugs can be used to "deal" with life. Unfortunately, these three things cause more harm than good. There are many reasons to give up pornography, but here are eight impactful reasons to give up porn.

#1: Give up supporting an industry that profits from abuse and toxic narratives.
People don't understand the normalization of horrible crimes in pornography. Rape, incest, racism, sexual violence, sex trafficking, CSAM, these are crimes that should make everyone disgusted. Instead, pornography makes it sexually appealing. Research proves that "as few as 1 in 3 and as many as 9 in 10 porn scenes contain physical violence or aggression." Don't support an industry that makes horrible crimes "sexy." There is nothing sexually appealing about any of this.

#2: Porn destroys your mental health.
There is a correlation between how porn consumption is linked to lowered mental health. People who consume porn are more likely to struggle with loneliness, anxiety, depression, or life satisfaction. Having a porn addiction is a dirty little secret nobody likes to have. You've never heard someone brag about having an alcohol or drug addiction. Porn is no different. In addition to this secrecy, you isolate yourself to consume more porn. It's an unhealthy cycle that feeds off each other. Most people who give up porn, however, have noticed their mental health improve.

#3: You can form proper, meaningful relationships.
Pornography sets unrealistic standards of what a relationship should be. Pornography destroys relationships. It is another form of cheating. And it's not only romantic partners in terms of relationships. Families can get destroyed by a family member's porn habits. 

#4: The research doesn't lie on porn's effects on an individual.
You can easily Google the hundreds of studies on how pornography negatively impacts people. The research doesn't lie. The facts don't lie. Pornography damages.

#5: Boost your self-esteem.
This bounces off of #3. Pornography sells a lie of how men and women should look and behave. Instead of believing that a woman's breasts or body should be a certain size, or a man's penis should be a certain length, you will appreciate your partner for who he/she is. People think these unrealistic standards are what is desired. It's all lies. You're built the way God made you, and it's perfect.

#6: You can do more productive things.
By giving up pornography, you will have more free time. You will be able to do things that make you happy. Going to the gym, hanging out with friends, learning a new skill. These things will only make you happy, which will boost your mental health.

#7: Stand by survivors.
Many survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, or rape (either as an adult or child) have shared how their abuse was filmed and uploaded onto popular porn sites. Back in November of 2020, 40 "Jane Does" filed a lawsuit against Pornhub for profiting off of their abuse videos and refusing to properly moderate what videos/images were uploaded. The porn industry exploits survivors of horrendous crimes. By giving up porn, you are showing you support and stand by survivors. 

#8: You'll be free.
This one doesn't need any more explanation. Instead of being a slave to this addiction, you'll be able to lead yourself. Not rely on some counterfeit version of happiness.

Conclusion

I've often thought about why I choose to speak out against pornography. After learning all of what I know, there is no way I can stay silent. Watching porn is damaging to everyone, from the people in the videos to you yourself. So what can be done? Speak out! Inform your friends and family. I always say education is key.

If you or someone you know is struggling with porn addiction, please listen closely. You aren't a bad person. You're human. We all struggle and make mistakes. That doesn't mean hope is lost. Check out Love Always Ministries or Fortify as resources. Pornography is a stain on society. It's an incredibly difficult habit to kick, but it isn't impossible. 

Follow me on Instagram at @youngpatriotrising for my latest Reel for Fight The New Drug's #RepTheMovement Day!

When Women are the Traffickers

Whenever we hear about perpetrators of human trafficking, we think of men. After all, the majority of human traffickers (aka pimps) are male. But what happens when a woman is a trafficker? Ghislaine Maxwell broke the stereotype that women are not (or cannot be) traffickers. She recruited and trafficked young girls for Jeffery Epstein. She is 100% guilty. Unfortunately, much of western society doesn't think women can traffic. "Just as there is no one type of trafficking victim, perpetrators of this crime also vary," shares the U.S. Department of Justice. To believe that women are incapable of being human traffickers is a dangerous lie.

Human trafficking is defined as "a crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services, or to engage in commercial sex acts." Traffickers target vulnerable individuals, and exploit their weakness for profit. Through grooming and manipulation, a trafficker places their victim under their control completely. So how can a woman be successful as a trafficker? Well, cultural biases make it easier for women to traffic. 

Women are perceived as trustworthy, gentle, caring, or loving. Motherly would be the word for this. If your child ran up to a woman, you wouldn't feel overly uneasy. The same cannot be said about a man. Additionally, Hollywood has created the image that human trafficking only involves men as the perpetrators, women can only be the victims, and that some form of kidnapping and/or physical harm is involved. These are all lies. Human trafficking depends on mental manipulation, not physical. Women can talk to a potential victim and be seen as a good listener or trusting, not having any ill intentions. That makes female recruiters even more effective. A young girl will trust a woman, because that woman can be seen as a motherly or sisterly figure. Many women who traffic for the same reason a man traffics: for money and power. 

A law-based article shared by The Albany Government Law Review stated the following about Hollywood's perception of human trafficking: "In contemporary Americanized western cultures, such as that in the United States, violence and aggression are habitually interpreted or characterized as masculine features. Observers claim that when violence is perpetrated by a woman, her behavior is frequently not interpreted as the action of an autonomous, psychologically sound adult, but rather as a product of mental or emotional illness, due to gender-based oppression or exploitation, attendant to a male culprit." Victims can be recruited more easily because a woman is perceived as trusting, and seen as less threatening than a man. 

There are many countries that don't have the same view of women like American western cultures. Countries like Nigeria, Israel, or Venezuela view women as much of a threat as men. In Nigeria and Thailand, it's actually common that women are the ones spearheading a trafficking operation. Women, just like men, can cause equal damage in human trafficking. Sadly, there isn't much research in the United States on female traffickers, and that shouldn't be the case.

Now, does this mean women who traffic weren't victims before? No. There are many cases where a woman was trafficked, and her trafficker led her into recruiting other girls. In an interview with Stop Modern Day Slavery, trafficking survivor Elizabeth Quiroz shared how her pimp, through exploitation, created a blurred view of right and wrong. Quiroz almost trafficked another young girl to her boyfriend, believing she was helping this girl, and that her boyfriend would be proud. This is just one example. While there are many women who traffic out of greed, we cannot ignore women who traffic after being trafficked themselves.

Assuming someone can be a victim of human trafficking or domestic violence based on gender alone is regressive. The same way we cannot assume perpetrators of human trafficking are one gender. Women can be traffickers, and we cannot continue to pretend this doesn't exist. Ghislaine Maxwell is proof of that.

The Scary Connection Between Domestic Violence and Pornography


Since Halloween recently passed, and this month is Fight The New Drug's yearly "No Porn November" challenge, I thought it was appropriate to write this post. Discussing pornography is always avoided, because it's such a hot topic. Many people are okay with pornography, many people are not. You never know who is on what side for porn. This is a topic I felt obligated to write about, as the issue of domestic violence and the issue of pornography are often discussed on this blog. The connection between porn consumption and domestic violence isn't only scary, it's real life. 

There are many disgusting acts that pornography normalizes. Rape, child abuse, incest, human trafficking. It may not surprise you that domestic violence is another act that is normalized in pornography. Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Pornography gives different views of men versus women. Men are seen as dominant and aggressive towards their female partners. Men are not men if they don't physically harm their partner. Women, on the other hand, are seen as easy to please and love to be abused or injured during sex. They're objects meant for pleasure.

One study found that on popular porn websites that "more than 1 in every 3 porn videos depicts sexual violence or aggression." "A common feature of contemporary porn videos is painful anal penetration as well as brutal gang rape and men slapping or choking women or pulling their hair while they penetrate them orally, vaginally, and anally," writes Walter DeKeseredy, Ph.D., and Rus Ervin Funk, MSW, CSE.

Pornography desensitizes. Instead of having the inhibitions to know right from wrong, pornography takes that away. It warps your mind into thinking these actions are normal. If you saw a woman being raped on the street, no normal person would sit back and allow it to continue. Why does this change when it comes to porn? However, according several researched articles, there is an indication that someone who consumes porn is "more likely to sexually objectify and dehumanize others, more likely to express an intent to rape, less likely to intervene during a sexual assault, more likely to victim-blame survivors of sexual assault, more likely to support violence against women, more likely to forward sexts without consent, and more likely to commit actual acts of sexual violence." WOW. Your mind cannot tell you what is right or wrong anymore once you're desensitizeddesensitized

It isn't only pornography that normalizes these things. Let's not forget the series, Fifty Shades of Grey, that pushed the idea that women can change an abusive partner. That's not a realistic view for women. This never happens. Majority of music pushes the normalization of rape or abuse of women. The issue doesn't only lie with pornography, although it is a larger part of the problem. 

So why does this matter? How does this impact anyone? Because porn consumption is affecting our youth. Many teenagers and even children are getting their sexual education from porn. Majority of porn videos contain some form of aggression, either physical (i.e. spanking, gagging) or verbal (name-calling). Common themes in violent porn videos include brutal gang rape or choking a partner. Men are the majority of perpetrators, while women were seen enjoying these acts. THIS is what your children is being taught. Boys are taught that violently assaulting violently assaulting (even raping) a woman is normal, while girls are taught that these acts committed to them is acceptable. And don't be fooled: this is happening. One perfect example was Billie Eilish, who started watching porn at 11 years old, and it affected how she perceived relationships with men. "The first few times I had sex, I was not saying no to things that were not good; it was because I thought that's what I was supposed to be attracted to," Billie shared in an interview with Howard Stern. 

If we don't stand up for the next generation, then who will?

Do not be fooled. Pornography does have a connection to domestic violencedomestic violence. It is normalized and very popular on porn sites. Porn is not a substitute for sex, and it certainly isn't a form of education. We cannot stay silent on this. Please join me in education friends and family on the dangers of porn this month. Fight for love.

Three Myths about Pornography

Photo by Fauxels from Pexels

Pornography sells many lies. Unfortunately, society believes the lies. Several myths are construed as truth by supporters (and even non-supporters) of pornography. People tend to get upset or offended if you start mentioning the true horrors behind the porn industry. Sadly, we live in such a sexualized society that if you criticize their foundation, it is unacceptable. Look at where we are. If you say having pornographic material in schools is inappropriate, you're called every name in the book. However, that is not the focus of this article. There are several myths about pornography that need to be debunked.

Porn Myth #1: Anyone in pornography is there willingly. 
Pornography is harmless entertainment.

These could have been separated, but in my opinion, these two go hand-in-hand. Most of us think that if someone is in a porn video, or considered a porn performer, that they are there by choice. After all, the age to enter pornography is 18. That's an adult, and adults can make informed decisions. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is never a clear-cut way to know if someone in a porn scene wants to be there. There are real stories of men and women who were trafficked, raped, or sexually abused. When this happens, it goes two ways. Someone coerced, forced, or manipulated them into doing these acts. What about performers who choose to do these scenes? Sadly, they are also victims of sexual abuse, as many get exploited and coerced into doing a certain scene. Fight The New Drug shared one quote from a former performer on how they were forced into a scene: "I was threatened that if I did not do the scene I was going to get sued for lots of money."

The idea that pornography is "harmless entertainment" couldn't be further from the truth. Several female performers have described getting injured on set. Again, there's the trafficking aspect of pornography. Many victims of human trafficking have had their abuse uploaded onto popular porn sites. Because porn sites do little to ensure their content is legal, these videos can get viewed by millions of people per day. Victims of rape, human trafficking, or sexual abuse are forced to relive their trauma because these videos exist.

Porn Myth #2: Watching pornography doesn't equate 
to cheating on a partner/spouse.

This is actually a heavily debated question. Many supporters of this argument state that watching porn doesn't mean you are cheating on your partner because they're not sleeping with that person. If a man has a girlfriend, but watches porn, he isn't "cheating." He's just watching some "harmless entertainment." Watching pornography doesn't only damage you as a person, but it damages your ability to be in a healthy relationship. Porn sells the idea that men and women are perfect. So what happens when your spouse or partner doesn't seem as "perfect" as the actors and actresses in a porn video? Porn leads to objectification. Porn also causes secrecy. If you struggled with drug or alcohol abuse, would you go parading this to your friends, family, or partner? Probably not. The secrecy associated with porn consumption, especially in a relationship, is detrimental, which leads to poorer communication (an essential part of a healthy relationship). Porn costs you the ability to be truly happy in a relationship.

Porn Myth #3: You aren't hurting anyone by 
watching porn.

This goes back to the first myth. With all I described with victims of human trafficking and rape having their abuse recorded and uploaded online, by watching their "performance," you further add onto their trauma. Aside from this obvious aspect, who else can porn harm? Everyone in your life. Your family, your friends, your partner or significant other, and even yourself, they're all harmed by pornography. How porn impacts you as a human being is no joke. Your self-esteem and mental health declines as a result of consuming porn. It's no joke when you hear people say, "Porn is free because you pay with your soul." 

Conclusion

Regrettably, and I hate to be so negative, but there is no way to avoid pornographic material. Hollywood, the music industry, social media, and the Internet makes pornography easily accessible. This doesn't mean we cannot guard our eyes and ears from what we consume. Do not believe the lies sold by mainstream culture.

If you or someone you know is struggling with porn addiction, there is hope! Check out either Fortify or Love Always Ministries.