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Archive for the tag “Nicholas Kristof”

More than ‘fair trade’ activism: Doing justice requires risk

fair trade activism vRachel Pieh Jones writes at

… I have a theory about what is partly contributing to the dearth of young Americans willing to spend their lives on behalf of others.

They think they already are.

They think that with their pocketbooks and food choices alone, by sewing their own clothes and purchasing fair-trade coffee, by boycotting Wal-Mart and preaching that as gospel, they have already done their part to address global injustices.

In Nicholas Kristof’s documentary Half the Sky, actress Meg Ryan also thought she was doing her part to highlight child trafficking in Cambodia, but then declines to go on a brothel raid. She says she doesn’t have the “adventure” gene. I appreciate her honesty. I have less appreciation for her ignorance. What did she think fighting sex trafficking would be like, if not going to brothels themselves? Her reticence is symbolic of goodhearted people who have forgotten about risk.

Buying fair-trade coffee, boycotting Gap jeans, and eating only organic vegetarian foods can be important and valuable decisions. They cost time, money, comfort, and an established worldview. But they cannot be the end of our response to the deeply systemic and complex issues that allow human suffering to persist the world over. They don’t require risk.

Read the full text of this very challenging article by clicking here.
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Profiting from a child’s illiteracy

Nicholas KristofNicholas D. Kristof writes at the New York Times:

This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire.

Some young people [in Appalachia] don’t join the military (a traditional escape route for poor, rural Americans) because it’s easier to rely on food stamps and disability payments.

Antipoverty programs also discourage marriage: In a means-tested program like S.S.I., a woman raising a child may receive a bigger check if she refrains from marrying that hard-working guy she likes. Yet marriage is one of the best forces to blunt poverty. In married couple households only one child in 10 grows up in poverty, while almost half do in single-mother households.

Most wrenching of all are the parents who think it’s best if a child stays illiterate, because then the family may be able to claim a disability check each month. … That is a burden on taxpayers, of course, but it can be even worse for children whose families have a huge stake in their failing in school. Those kids may never recover: a 2009 study found that nearly two-thirds of these children make the transition at age 18 into S.S.I. for the adult disabled. They may never hold a job in their entire lives and are condemned to a life of poverty on the dole — and that’s the outcome of a program intended to fight poverty.

There’s no doubt that some families with seriously disabled children receive a lifeline from S.S.I. But the bottom line is that we shouldn’t try to fight poverty with a program that sometimes perpetuates it.

Read the full text of this excellent post by clicking here.
Essential reading: When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor … and Yourself

On-line child sex trafficking up 83% in Georgia blogs:

According to the Georgia Governor’s Office for Children and Families, between 2007 and 2011 on-line sex trafficking of children grew 83% from 106 to 194 children. [Click here for the report.]

What it doesn’t say is that the average life expectancy of a child victimized this way is 7 years from the time they were forced, coerced, or defrauded into it. There is also no way to measure the cumulative lives lost or destroyed, its only a snapshot of who is suffering right now. The article linked here is further evidence that our world (every one of us) must do more to combat commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Backpage is a business, just like Craig’s List. It was clear to advocates that when Craig’s List attempted to stop its site from advertising sex services that the business would just move on over to Backpage. Now a year or so later, we have the evidence that it did just that.

Oh, did you know that Backpage was a private equity investment whose investors included Goldman Sachs? Thanks Nick Kristof for this article exposing this travesty.

Related: Senators call on advertisers and investors to end on-line child sex trafficking
and Selling American girls: The truth about domestic minor sex-trafficking
Help stop child sex trafficking: Love146
Contact the Georgia Governor’s Office for Children and Families by clicking here.

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