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Posts Tagged ‘Abuse’

Update:

120301 – Politico is reporting that the Senate has defeated the Blunt bill SS.1467 by a vote of 51 to 48. Yay! 

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/73497.html

In can what can only be seen as a slap in the face to women’s rights, attached to Barbara Boxer’s (Of all women!) huge transportation bill entitled “MAP-21 or, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century”, is the Blunt Bomb. Senator Roy Blunt’s bill entitled “S.1467 – Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011” is being debated today in the Senate. It is one of many likely to be attempted over the next few years to undermine the line items achieved for women in the Affordable Healthcare Act. (Obamacare.) Remember, since women do not have the benefit of equal rights under the eye of the law, each line item can be targeted.

The Bomb is a stupid amendment to the Act, (See bottom of the page.) even for the perennially uterus obsessed. Though it calls out the “distinct” elements of the Act for women it does not specifically address them. In fact, the thing is so vague it appears under this proposed bill insurance companies could have a crisis of conscience over just about anything and decide their employees be able to say no to covering, I don’t know, maybe child abuse injuries. Some of the “solons” who are on the lists below ought to know better.

If you see one of yours on the lists below, call them up and yell at them:

Below find a list of the Senate co-sponsors:

Sen McConnell, Mitch [KY] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Johanns, Mike [NE] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Wicker, Roger F. [MS] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Ayotte, Kelly [NH] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Rubio, Marco [FL] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Nelson, E. Benjamin [NE] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Roberts, Pat [KS] – 2/9/2012 
Sen McCain, John [AZ] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Kyl, Jon [AZ] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Coats, Daniel [IN] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Barrasso, John [WY] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Toomey, Pat [PA] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Lugar, Richard G. [IN] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Cornyn, John [TX] – 2/9/2012 Sen Boozman, John [AR] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Paul, Rand [KY] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Hoeven, John [ND] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Graham, Lindsey [SC] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Shelby, Richard C. [AL] – 2/13/2012 
Sen Portman, Rob [OH] – 2/15/2012 
Sen Isakson, Johnny [GA] – 2/16/2012 
Sen Risch, James E. [ID] – 2/17/2012

The Senate bill is short and similar to the House Bill “H.R 1179” of the same name, introduced by Representative Jeff Fortenberry. The House currently has a total of 242 Republicans. I’ll leave it up to you to determine whether any of the with 214 cosponsors on the list below are not in the red zone:

Rep Adams, Sandy [FL-24] – 1/31/2012 
Rep Aderholt, Robert B. [AL-4] – 2/1/2012 
Rep Akin, W. Todd [MO-2] – 9/20/2011 
Rep Alexander, Rodney [LA-5] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Altmire, Jason [PA-4] – 10/24/2011 
Rep Amash, Justin [MI-3] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Austria, Steve [OH-7] – 2/1/2012 
Rep Bachmann, Michele [MN-6] – 11/3/2011 
Rep Bachus, Spencer [AL-6] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Barletta, Lou [PA-11] – 12/6/2011 
Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G. [MD-6] – 11/1/2011 
Rep Barton, Joe [TX-6] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Benishek, Dan [MI-1] – 1/23/2012 
Rep Berg, Rick [ND] – 1/31/2012 
Rep Bilirakis, Gus M. [FL-9] – 2/9/2012 
Rep Bishop, Rob [UT-1] – 8/1/2011 
Rep Black, Diane [TN-6] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7] – 8/5/2011 
Rep Bonner, Jo [AL-1] – 1/31/2012 
Rep Bordallo, Madeleine Z. [GU] – 10/4/2011 
Rep Boren, Dan [OK-2] – 3/17/2011 
Rep Boustany, Charles W., Jr. [LA-7] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Brady, Kevin [TX-8] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Brooks, Mo [AL-5] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Broun, Paul C. [GA-10] – 11/3/2011 
Rep Buchanan, Vern [FL-13] – 2/2/2012 
Rep Bucshon, Larry [IN-8] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Buerkle, Ann Marie [NY-25] – 4/14/2011 
Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5] – 8/9/2011 
Rep Calvert, Ken [CA-44] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Campbell, John [CA-48] – 2/9/2012 
Rep Canseco, Francisco “Quico” [TX-23] – 5/24/2011 
Rep Capito, Shelley Moore [WV-2] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Carter, John R. [TX-31] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Cassidy, Bill [LA-6] – 10/4/2011 
Rep Chabot, Steve [OH-1] – 8/5/2011 
Rep Chaffetz, Jason [UT-3] – 2/28/2012 
Rep Coble, Howard [NC-6] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Coffman, Mike [CO-6] – 11/3/2011 
Rep Cole, Tom [OK-4] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Conaway, K. Michael [TX-11] – 3/17/2011 
Rep Costello, Jerry F. [IL-12] – 8/1/2011 
Rep Cravaack, Chip [MN-8] – 11/1/2011 
Rep Crawford, Eric A. “Rick” [AR-1] – 10/4/2011 
Rep Crenshaw, Ander [FL-4] – 1/31/2012 
Rep Critz, Mark S. [PA-12] – 1/25/2012 
Rep Cuellar, Henry [TX-28] – 2/15/2012 
Rep Culberson, John Abney [TX-7] – 2/9/2012 
Rep Davis, Geoff [KY-4] – 8/23/2011 
Rep Diaz-Balart, Mario [FL-21] – 2/9/2012 
Rep Duffy, Sean P. [WI-7] – 10/4/2011 
Rep Duncan, Jeff [SC-3] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Duncan, John J., Jr. [TN-2] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Ellmers, Renee L. [NC-2] – 2/9/2012 
Rep Emerson, Jo Ann [MO-8] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Farenthold, Blake [TX-27] – 11/15/2011 
Rep Fincher, Stephen Lee [TN-8] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Fitzpatrick, Michael G. [PA-8] – 8/5/2011 
Rep Flake, Jeff [AZ-6] – 2/13/2012 
Rep Fleischmann, Charles J. “Chuck” [TN-3] – 2/17/2012 
Rep Fleming, John [LA-4] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Flores, Bill [TX-17] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Forbes, J. Randy [VA-4] – 4/7/2011 
Rep Foxx, Virginia [NC-5] – 1/23/2012 
Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-2] – 6/14/2011 
Rep Gallegly, Elton [CA-24] – 2/28/2012 
Rep Gardner, Cory [CO-4] – 2/15/2012 
Rep Gerlach, Jim [PA-6] – 2/17/2012 
Rep Gibbs, Bob [OH-18] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Gingrey, Phil [GA-11] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Gohmert, Louie [TX-1] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Goodlatte, Bob [VA-6] – 8/16/2011 
Rep Gosar, Paul A. [AZ-1] – 2/3/2012 
Rep Gowdy, Trey [SC-4] – 10/24/2011 
Rep Graves, Sam [MO-6] – 9/7/2011 
Rep Graves, Tom [GA-9] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Griffin, Tim [AR-2] – 11/18/2011 
Rep Griffith, H. Morgan [VA-9] – 5/4/2011 
Rep Grimm, Michael G. [NY-13] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Guinta, Frank C. [NH-1] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Guthrie, Brett [KY-2] – 1/31/2012 
Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4] – 9/7/2011 
Rep Harper, Gregg [MS-3] – 8/5/2011 
Rep Harris, Andy [MD-1] – 7/27/2011 
Rep Hartzler, Vicky [MO-4] – 7/27/2011 
Rep Heck, Joseph J. [NV-3] – 10/4/2011 
Rep Hensarling, Jeb [TX-5] – 2/28/2012 
Rep Herger, Wally [CA-2] – 2/9/2012 
Rep Huelskamp, Tim [KS-1] – 4/14/2011 
Rep Huizenga, Bill [MI-2] – 9/7/2011 
Rep Hultgren, Randy [IL-14] – 8/16/2011 
Rep Hunter, Duncan D. [CA-52] – 2/3/2012 
Rep Jenkins, Lynn [KS-2] – 2/2/2012 
Rep Johnson, Bill [OH-6] – 9/20/2011 
Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3] – 2/1/2012 
Rep Johnson, Timothy V. [IL-15] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] – 8/1/2011 
Rep Jordan, Jim [OH-4] – 2/2/2012 
Rep Kelly, Mike [PA-3] – 10/25/2011 
Rep King, Peter T. [NY-3] – 10/13/2011 
Rep King, Steve [IA-5] – 4/1/2011 
Rep Kingston, Jack [GA-1] – 4/1/2011 
Rep Kinzinger, Adam [IL-11] – 10/12/2011 
Rep Kline, John [MN-2] – 9/22/2011 
Rep Labrador, Raul R. [ID-1] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Lamborn, Doug [CO-5] – 3/17/2011 
Rep Lance, Leonard [NJ-7] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Landry, Jeffrey M. [LA-3] – 10/4/2011 
Rep Lankford, James [OK-5] – 4/14/2011 
Rep Latham, Tom [IA-4] – 10/13/2011 
Rep LaTourette, Steven C. [OH-14] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Latta, Robert E. [OH-5] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Lewis, Jerry [CA-41] – 8/1/2011 
Rep Lipinski, Daniel [IL-3] – 3/17/2011 
Rep LoBiondo, Frank A. [NJ-2] – 2/28/2012 
Rep Long, Billy [MO-7] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Lucas, Frank D. [OK-3] – 2/17/2012 
Rep Luetkemeyer, Blaine [MO-9] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Lummis, Cynthia M. [WY] – 10/12/2011 
Rep Lungren, Daniel E. [CA-3] – 2/1/2012 
Rep Manzullo, Donald A. [IL-16] – 9/20/2011 
Rep Marchant, Kenny [TX-24] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Marino, Tom [PA-10] – 2/2/2012 
Rep McCarthy, Kevin [CA-22] – 2/17/2012 
Rep McCaul, Michael T. [TX-10] – 6/23/2011 
Rep McClintock, Tom [CA-4] – 7/22/2011 
Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11] – 5/4/2011 
Rep McHenry, Patrick T. [NC-10] – 2/6/2012 
Rep McIntyre, Mike [NC-7] – 10/13/2011 
Rep McKeon, Howard P. “Buck” [CA-25] – 11/1/2011 
Rep McKinley, David B. [WV-1] – 2/15/2012 
Rep McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [WA-5] – 3/17/2011 
Rep Meehan, Patrick [PA-7] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Mica, John L. [FL-7] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Miller, Candice S. [MI-10] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Miller, Gary G. [CA-42] – 10/6/2011 
Rep Miller, Jeff [FL-1] – 4/1/2011 
Rep Mulvaney, Mick [SC-5] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Murphy, Tim [PA-18] – 8/23/2011 
Rep Myrick, Sue Wilkins [NC-9] – 8/23/2011 
Rep Neugebauer, Randy [TX-19] – 4/7/2011 
Rep Noem, Kristi L. [SD] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Nugent, Richard [FL-5] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Nunnelee, Alan [MS-1] – 9/13/2011 
Rep Olson, Pete [TX-22] – 1/23/2012 
Rep Palazzo, Steven M. [MS-4] – 8/9/2011 
Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] – 5/24/2011 
Rep Pearce, Stevan [NM-2] – 4/1/2011 
Rep Pence, Mike [IN-6] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Peterson, Collin C. [MN-7] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Petri, Thomas E. [WI-6] – 2/17/2012 
Rep Platts, Todd Russell [PA-19] – 8/5/2011 
Rep Poe, Ted [TX-2] – 2/13/2012 
Rep Pompeo, Mike [KS-4] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Posey, Bill [FL-15] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Price, Tom [GA-6] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Quayle, Benjamin [AZ-3] – 2/17/2012 
Rep Reed, Tom [NY-29] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Rehberg, Denny [MT] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Renacci, James B. [OH-16] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Ribble, Reid J. [WI-8] – 1/31/2012 
Rep Rigell, E. Scott [VA-2] – 11/3/2011 
Rep Rivera, David [FL-25] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Roby, Martha [AL-2] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Roe, David P. [TN-1] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Rogers, Harold [KY-5] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Rogers, Mike D. [AL-3] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Rogers, Mike J. [MI-8] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Rohrabacher, Dana [CA-46] – 2/17/2012 
Rep Rokita, Todd [IN-4] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Rooney, Thomas J. [FL-16] – 4/1/2011 
Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [FL-18] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Roskam, Peter J. [IL-6] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Ross, Dennis [FL-12] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Royce, Edward R. [CA-40] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Runyan, Jon [NJ-3] – 2/28/2012 
Rep Ryan, Paul [WI-1] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Scalise, Steve [LA-1] – 3/17/2011 
Rep Schilling, Robert T. [IL-17] – 8/9/2011 
Rep Schmidt, Jean [OH-2] – 7/28/2011 
Rep Schock, Aaron [IL-18] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Schweikert, David [AZ-5] – 2/3/2012 
Rep Scott, Austin [GA-8] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Scott, Tim [SC-1] – 9/20/2011 
Rep Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. [WI-5] – 7/22/2011 
Rep Sessions, Pete [TX-32] – 2/13/2012 
Rep Shimkus, John [IL-19] – 2/17/2012 
Rep Shuster, Bill [PA-9] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Smith, Adrian [NE-3] – 7/28/2011 
Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4] – 6/14/2011 
Rep Smith, Lamar [TX-21] – 2/1/2012 
Rep Southerland, Steve [FL-2] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Stearns, Cliff [FL-6] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Stivers, Steve [OH-15] – 2/9/2012 
Rep Stutzman, Marlin A. [IN-3] – 2/1/2012 
Rep Sullivan, John [OK-1] – 2/15/2012 
Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2] – 7/22/2011 
Rep Thompson, Glenn [PA-5] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Thornberry, Mac [TX-13] – 10/6/2011 
Rep Tiberi, Patrick J. [OH-12] – 3/17/2011 
Rep Turner, Michael R. [OH-3] – 1/23/2012 
Rep Turner, Robert L. [NY-9] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Upton, Fred [MI-6] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Walberg, Tim [MI-7] – 3/17/2011 
Rep Walsh, Joe [IL-8] – 9/23/2011 
Rep West, Allen B. [FL-22] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Westmoreland, Lynn A. [GA-3] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Whitfield, Ed [KY-1] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Wilson, Joe [SC-2] – 2/9/2012 
Rep Wittman, Robert J. [VA-1] – 2/15/2012 
Rep Wolf, Frank R. [VA-10] – 2/2/2012 
Rep Womack, Steve [AR-3] – 2/13/2012 
Rep Yoder, Kevin [KS-3] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Young, Todd C. [IN-9] – 2/7/2012

Here is the bill:

S.1467 — Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011 (Introduced in Senate – IS)

S 1467 IS

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1467

To amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to protect rights of conscience with regard to requirements for coverage of specific items and services.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

August 2, 2011

Mr. BLUNT (for himself, Mr. RUBIO, and Ms. AYOTTE) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

A BILL

To amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to protect rights of conscience with regard to requirements for coverage of specific items and services.

1.           Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011′.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.

(a) Findings- Congress finds the following:

(1) As Thomas Jefferson declared to New London Methodists in 1809, `[n]o provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority’.

(2) Jefferson’s statement expresses a conviction on respect for conscience that is deeply embedded in the history and traditions of our Nation and codified in numerous State and Federal laws, including laws on health care.

(3) Until enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148, in this section referred to as `PPACA’), the Federal Government has not sought to impose specific coverage or care requirements that infringe on the rights of conscience of insurers, purchasers of insurance, plan sponsors, beneficiaries, and other stakeholders, such as individual or institutional health care providers.

(4) PPACA creates a new nationwide requirement for health plans to cover `essential health benefits’ and `preventive services’ (including a distinct set of `preventive services for women’), delegating to the Department of Health and Human Services the authority to provide a list of detailed services under each category, and imposes other new requirements with respect to the provision of health care services.

(5) While PPACA provides an exemption for some religious groups that object to participation in Government health programs generally, it does not allow purchasers, plan sponsors, and other stakeholders with religious or moral objections to specific items or services to decline providing or obtaining coverage of such items or services, or allow health care providers with such objections to decline to provide them.

(6) By creating new barriers to health insurance and causing the loss of existing insurance arrangements, these inflexible mandates in PPACA jeopardize the ability of individuals to exercise their rights of conscience and their ability to freely participate in the health insurance and health care marketplace.

(b) Purposes- The purposes of this Act are–

(1) to ensure that health care stakeholders retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions, without fear of being penalized or discriminated against under PPACA; and

(2) to ensure that no requirement in PPACA creates new pressures to exclude those exercising such conscientious objection from health plans or other programs under PPACA.

SEC. 3. RESPECT FOR RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE.

(a) In General- Section 1302(b) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148; 42 U.S.C. 18022(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

`(6) RESPECTING RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE WITH REGARD TO SPECIFIC ITEMS OR SERVICES-

`(A) FOR HEALTH PLANS- A health plan shall not be considered to have failed to provide the essential health benefits package described in subsection (a) (or preventive health services described in section 2713 of the Public Health Service Act), to fail to be a qualified health plan, or to fail to fulfill any other requirement under this title on the basis that it declines to provide coverage of specific items or services because–

`(i) providing coverage (or, in the case of a sponsor of a group health plan, paying for coverage) of such specific items or services is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan; or

`(ii) such coverage (in the case of individual coverage) is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the purchaser or beneficiary of the coverage.

`(B) FOR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS- Nothing in this title (or any amendment made by this title) shall be construed to require an individual or institutional health care provider, or authorize a health plan to require a provider, to provide, participate in, or refer for a specific item or service contrary to the provider’s religious beliefs or moral convictions. Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a health plan shall not be considered to have failed to provide timely or other access to items or services under this title (or any amendment made by this title) or to fulfill any other requirement under this title because it has respected the rights of conscience of such a provider pursuant to this paragraph.

`(C) NONDISCRIMINATION IN EXERCISING RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE- No Exchange or other official or entity acting in a governmental capacity in the course of implementing this title (or any amendment made by this title) shall discriminate against a health plan, plan sponsor, health care provider, or other person because of such plan’s, sponsor’s, provider’s, or person’s unwillingness to provide coverage of, participate in, or refer for, specific items or services pursuant to this paragraph.

`(D) CONSTRUCTION- Nothing in subparagraph (A) or (B) shall be construed to permit a health plan or provider to discriminate in a manner inconsistent with subparagraphs (B) and (D) of paragraph (4).

`(E) PRIVATE RIGHTS OF ACTION- The various protections of conscience in this paragraph constitute the protection of individual rights and create a private cause of action for those persons or entities protected. Any person or entity may assert a violation of this paragraph as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding.

`(F) REMEDIES-

`(i) FEDERAL JURISDICTION- The Federal courts shall have jurisdiction to prevent and redress actual or threatened violations of this paragraph by granting all forms of legal or equitable relief, including, but not limited to, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, damages, costs, and attorney fees.

`(ii) INITIATING PARTY- An action under this paragraph may be instituted by the Attorney General of the United States, or by any person or entity having standing to complain of a threatened or actual violation of this paragraph, including, but not limited to, any actual or prospective plan sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering a plan, any actual or prospective purchaser or beneficiary of a plan, and any individual or institutional health care provider.

`(iii) INTERIM RELIEF- Pending final determination of any action under this paragraph, the court may at any time enter such restraining order or prohibitions, or take such other actions, as it deems necessary.

`(G) ADMINISTRATION- The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services is designated to receive complaints of discrimination based on this paragraph and coordinate the investigation of such complaints.

`(H) ACTUARIAL EQUIVALENCE- Nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit the Secretary from issuing regulations or other guidance to ensure that health plans excluding specific items or services under this paragraph shall have an aggregate actuarial value at least equivalent to that of plans at the same level of coverage that do not exclude such items or services.’.

(b) Effective Date- The amendment made by subsection (a) shall be effective as if included in the enactment of Public Law 111-148.

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As part of the 16 days campaign toward the Elimination of Violence against Women, the UN has announced the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

“Combating slavery means not only its direct prohibition by law but also fighting against poverty, illiteracy, economic and social disparities, gender discrimination and violence against women and children.  We need to enforce laws against slavery; create mechanisms to combat such practices; reinforce bilateral, regional and international cooperation, including with non-governmental organizations that assist victims; and launch awareness raising campaigns.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Message for the International Day

for the Abolition of Slavery

2 December 2009

Slavery is an international problem. Wikipedia identifies slavery as:

[Slavery is a form of forced labor in which people are considered to be the property of others. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to receive compensation (such as wages)…]

Perhaps we in the United States like to think we fully know what slavery is and condemn it. After all, we sent Eleanor to the United Nations in 1948 and thought we took care of that. We passed civil rights laws and thought that was an end. Some of us have  attempted apologies or reparations.

However, it still exists internationally and it still exists here. We are still a patriarchal society; we don’t place an economic value on the work that people, say, like abused women trapped in their home, do, or are not able to do, because of their situation. Women (and some men) still only have a domestic value if they take their skills across the street to their neighbor who pays them an hourly wage for their babysitting, caretaking and cooking. Therefore, we don’t count an abused woman’s plight as an aspect of slavery. It is. Yet domestic violence is rarely even treated as assault and battery, much less attempted murder or slave trafficking. Never the less, the abusers diminishment tactics that are used are very much the same.

Human trafficking is a component of slavery. It is here in the United States.

Wikipedia says:

[…Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world,[4] with the total annual revenue for trafficking in persons estimated to be between USD$5 billion and $9 billion.[5] The Council of Europe states, “People trafficking has reached epidemic proportions over the past decade, with a global annual market of about $42.5 billion.”[6][7] Trafficking victims typically are recruited using coercion, deception, fraud, the abuse of power, or outright abduction…]

The FBI website has the “Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Task Force Complaint Line” at 1-888-428-7581.

The FBI also has a website devoted to understanding your rights and where you can find help it you are a victim of trafficking and are in the United States.

HumanTrafficking.org is an organization previously supported by the USA State Department, and now, by the Academy of Educational Development (AED). It’s purpose is to bring Governments and NGO’s (Nongovernmental Organizations) in East Asia and the Pacific together, to share knowledge country specific information and laws, action plans and activities in the realm of human trafficking.

They have a hotline you can call if you suspect trafficking.

HOTLINE: 1.888.3737.888

HumanTrafficking states that the United States is principally a transit and destination country for human trafficking.  However, their numbers, while large, appear to reflect that of 2007. In fact, in looking around the web I realized that there was a dearth of figures for 2008 or 2009.

I found a clue to this mystery at another UN organization, UNESCO. They have begun a new project to strengthen research and conduct a literature review and meta-analysis of existing statements on human trafficking.

UNESCO offers a data comparison sheet to show the difficulties with which they are working. Big crime activities are notoriously hard to quantify precisely because they are hidden. Assume, however, that the smallest figure of 600-800,000 people, supplied by the US, has been trafficked globally, between 2000 and 2008.

That figure does not include those who are trafficked within their national borders. According to Wiki, in 2007, 40% were thought to be trafficked sex slaves worth an estimated $29,210 each. The average profit was $3,175 with the lowest for a bonded slave laborer at $950. That is 2.54 billion.  In fact, Wiki quoting, Siddharth Kara, estimates the total for slavers to be around 91.2 billion in just 2007.

This figure does not include the asset and production value of slaves to the new owners. However, these values can be quantified. Learning is one of the first steps toward understanding and then acting. One of my must-reads this week is Siddarth Kara’s book, “Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery”.

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Update: in case you don’t get to the comment section on this post, Swarna Rajagopalan has provided a WordPress link to Prajnya Trust’s list of their activities for the 16 days campaign HERE.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

“Our goal is clear: an end to these inexcusable crimes – whether it is the use of rape as a weapon of war, domestic violence, sex trafficking, so-called “honour” crimes or female genital mutilation/cutting. We must address the roots of this violence by eradicating discrimination and changing the mindsets that perpetuate it.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Message for the International Day for the

Elimination of VIolence against Women

25 November 2009

November 25th marked the 10th anniversary of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The attendant 16 days campaign dedicated to the elimination of violence against women, is marked by a series of events hosted around the world. The international Theme is “Commit, Act, Demand”.

At Rutger’s Center for Women’s Global Leadership, organizations offering specific websites have been featured for their efforts in the elimination of violence against women. Rutger’s supporting theme is to “Take back the Tech”. The idea is to use median and the internet to revitalize and catalyze and engage the world against violence to women. The sites below are in English unless otherwise specified.

Brazil –

The “AGENDE” (in Portuguese) site could be found using Yahoo, not Google. They have had active yearly campaigns since 2003.

India –

The “Prajnya Trust” has chronicled it’s campaign against violence to women. I had trouble loading it directly but you can reach it by going first to the Prajnya Trust website HERE. If you are searching for resonance in your belief for a knowledge based, peaceful, diverse and democratic world, you will find it on the “More About” page of Prajnya.

International –

The “World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters” (French, also English and Spanish) was also found through Yahoo. They state that “Community radio producers from Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America and the Caribbean will dedicat(e) their 16 days campaign to highlight the effort of women and men working to put an end to gender violence

International –

“Save Darfur” has produced a list of actions to take for each day of the 16 days campaign. Today’s for November 30th asks that you write a letter to your editor telling them about the 16 days campaign, the violence in the Sudan and urging others in your community to get involved.

Ireland –

Women’s Aid”  has been working to address women’s issues for 30 years. They set up a WordPress blog for just this event. In addition to other actions, they have developed a reading list of books that they believe pertain to the issue of violence against women.

Mongolia –

The “National Center Against Violence” has bee operating since 1997. The have begun a “white ribbon” distribution campaign to men to encourage them to take a personal stance against violence. In addition to other activities, on the 29th, they distributed information regarding “Human Rights Day’ and the work of women in this field.

Uganda –

The “Gender Based Violence Prevention Network” again found by Yahoo, has it’s own 16 days campaign. They state that over 35 member organizations are participating in activities and providing information kits.

So, what’s happening in your neighborhood?

The National Domestic Violence Hotline might be one place to check out.

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ABC has reported that President Obama will fight the release of additional detainee abuse photos, that the ACLU has requested.

 http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/05/president-oba-5.html

 See the ACLU’s response HERE.

 Yah, why release more proof of your miscreant behavior, when you or someone in Congress might get sued for it….

 And, all this on the heels of Philip Zelikow’s  testimony to the Senate Hearing Committee today.

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