A Problem That Can Be Fought

According to the UN global initiative to fight human trafficking, the trafficking of human being is the fastest growing form of international crime and the third largest criminal industry after drugs and arms trafficking. In some cases no doubt, some of the same people are perpetrators. A recent study by the International Labor Organization found that globally the illegal profits generated by human trafficking is $150 bn or 3 times what it was thought to be. It involves 21 million people, and about two thirds of the profits, ($99 bn) come from commercial sexual exploitation. The rest comes from forced labor, including domestic, construction and mining.

Once the shock and cringing are over, the part of the report that ought to stay with us is what we can do to combat this. Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International, describing the persistence of slavery as one the modern economy depends on, says “ We have to realize the problem is one that touches us all… in a globalized economy we all buy products likely to be tainted by forced labor. That is why the governments need to take concrete steps to address forced labor across the world.” He suggests, for example, introducing extraterritorial legislation to make business executives responsible for slavery in their supply chains, and supporting a binding protocol strengthening international standards against forced labor.

The point is being horrified is not enough, we must understand that no matter what governments individually and together decide to do, that these are problems can be fought.

Children Into Schools

Worldwide, 57 million children are not in school, many are working. That’s why The Emergency Coalition For Global Education Action recently launched a campaign using global leaders, celebrities and officials like UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to ensure that the goal of having these 57 million children in school by the end of 2015 is met. The Countdown Summit was held in Washington, D.C. as a way to pressure the international community to take action on behalf of children everywhere. The effort is to ensure that that Millennium Development Goal is reached. If not, at the current rate, it would take until 2086 before all children who need to be in school are enrolled and learning. The Coalition includes people like singer and songwriter Shakira, actors Jude Law and Goldie Hawn and CNN International anchor Isha Sesay. All are willing to work even harder to accelerate the progress of ensuring all children who need to be are in school by the end of next year.

Since child labor must end and education has proven to be an anti-poverty tool, success seems a necessity.

Child To Child

The Dadaab refuge camp in north-eastern Kenya is one of the largest refugee camps and has been home to some 400,000 refugees for the last 23 years. They come mainly from Somalia, people who have fled conflict, famine, and drought. The BBC reports  that under the auspices of Care International, the aid agency which provides many of the camps services, the children of Dadaab have written letters of hope to the children of Syrian refugees now in the Refugee Assistance Centre in Amman, Jordan.  As one would expect, they’re touching letters but also reveal the resilience of the children.” Don’t be hopeless, we are with you, and if there’s war in your country, tolerance is necessary,” writes Zahra Dahir Ali. “We are praying for you God gives you better life and with the help of God as soon as possible you will get peace in your country because we are feeling the same way you are feeling,” writes Abashir Hussein. “I am sure 100% that if you practice learning and struggling, you will excel at the end,” Hibo Mahamed Dubow writes, “Last but not least I tell you not to lose hope because you have been refugees for only three years. What do you think of people who are refugees for about two decades?”

Care International says the letters were well received. The young Syrians are now drafting responses.

Beyond Our Pets

Americans spent $55.7 billion on their pets last year—actually a %4.5 increase over the year before. While the figure includes spending on food and veterinarians, pet services such as grooming, training and boarding grew fastest, %6.1 , or $4.5 billion. And those items are expected to grow even more  this year. Still the largest expenditure was on food, $21.6 billion. Trade groups say that pet owners are looking for higher quality food for their animals. They add that food and veterinary expenses are  very much related to wanting improved health care for pets.

Since humans do have a responsibility to animals, it’s comforting that pets are well treated. Let’s hope that the love of animals this speaks to will translate to other animal causes such as the killing of elephants and rhinos for their tusks, animal smuggling, abandoned pets, horses and cattle suffering from drought in central California, animal abuse of all kinds…