Monday, August 5, 2013


It had been a busy year, and although school had closed for the summer, there would be no fun in the sun for Nancy, because she needed a summer job. Next year she would be a high school senior. Being a senior meant many activities, and activities required MONEY!

Nancy was 17 years old and lived in a quiet neighborhood located in Rancho Cucamonga with her mother, Chloe, and two brothers, Sidney and Marcus, who were ages 15 and 13 respectively. They were “almost” a middle-class family, except her mother had to work two jobs just to make ends meet.  Nancy often dreamed of a better life for herself and her family, but it seemed like things would never get any better.

After seeing a job announcement advertising summer positions for teens 15-18 years of age, Nancy finalized an existing resume she wanted have for an interview the next day at the Alta Loma Sheraton.  A company outside of Cucamonga was seeking youth to work as tour guides for special summer events and all hires were also to attend training in Alta Loma. This training requirement could possibly lessen the chance of her mother giving Nancy permission. If her mother said “yes,” she would need to arrive to the hotel early as only the first 50 teens would be granted an interview.

When Chloe came home from work, Nancy did not waste any time in telling her mother about her resume, the summer job interview and the required training in Alta Loma. Her mother didn't really want to say “yes,” but knew she needed Nancy’s help with earning extra funds for next year’s senior high school activities.  After remembering that her cousin, who lived in Alta Loma could check on Nancy while she was in the city, Chloe finally approved and shifted her attention to fixing dinner.

Nancy’s excitement caused her to sleep light that night.  She arose early the next morning before the alarm clock buzzed.  After a quick shower, she fixed a cute hairdo, and found an appropriate outfit all before 7:00 a.m.  Since she was early, Chloe had time to drop Nancy off at the Sheraton on her way to her workplace in the surrounding area.

Once at the interview site, Nancy greeted a few classmates who had already arrived. The first 50 applicants were taken by elevator to an underground interview room.  She made sure her cell phone was in her purse so she could call her mother after the interview. Once in the interview room, which was furnished with tables and chairs, the applicants were told to find a seat. With eagerness, one of the teen boys blurted out, “When are you going to start the interviews?” A dark burly man with a strange accent stepped forward and told the teen to shut up, and without notice he felt the man’s back hand across his face—causing his lower lip to bleed. It quickly became evident that things were not going as anticipated. Here were 50 helpless teens trapped underground with no way out and their fate in the hands of total strangers. Each was subjected to a body frisk, which resulted in all identification cards, check cards, money, jewelry and cell phones being confiscated. Afterwards, Nancy and the other girls were led by a female, who looked American, to a different room while the teen boys remained in the interview room with the dark burly man. Suddenly, they heard a loud voice over the intercom say the following, “We would like to acknowledge the new employees added to our company today. Welcome aboard.  You are now our property!” 

For some unknown reason, Nancy was separated from the other girls, blindfolded, drugged and transported to a location outside of the state. When the drugs wore off, she was told she was in New York City and introduced to a woman who gave her a bag of skimpy outfits for her first job that night. She had been sold to a well-known slave lord in NYC, and one of “his girls,” Kat [a nickname for Kathryn], was to show her the ropes and tell her what she had to do each night to make money. They were unthinkable things and a virgin’s worst nightmare. Night after night, Nancy’s thoughts about home, her mother and brothers grew stronger and she wondered what they must be thinking. She had just vanished from the interview in Alta Loma and had no way to contact her family or friends. 

One fateful night, unbeknownst to Nancy, the silent prayers she had been offering in her heart since her kidnapping were going to be answered.  Her client, dressed in extraordinary attire, was unlike the other men, who considered her a sex toy. It turned out that this man actually wanted to help free her from her slavery and get her home safely. He introduced himself as Mr. Barnaba. After giving her his business card along with some important instructions, he told her he would meet with her again after arrangements for her departure were finalized.  Now full of hope, Nancy couldn’t wait to see Mr. Barnaba a second time because she would soon be free again and home with her family.

THIS IS ONLY A SHORT STORY, but there are many men, women and children, who are not as fortunate as Nancy to be freed from this Modern-day Slavery. Unfortunately, the stories of most present-day victims have a different and not so happy ending.  

Trafficking in Persons Report 2013

Secretary Kerry (June 19): "When we help countries to prosecute traffickers, we are strengthening the rule of law. When we bring victims out of exploitation, we are helping to create more stable and productive communities. When we stop this crime from happening in the first place, we are preventing the abuse of those who are victimized as well as the ripple effect that caused damage throughout communities into our broader environment and which corrupt our global supply chains. We all have an interest in stopping this crime. That’s why President Obama is so focused on this issue. And that’s why, as Secretary of State, I will continue to make the fight against modern-day slavery a priority for this Department and for the country." 
You're probably asking: "What can I do to help stop the atrocity of ‘Modern-day Slavery?  You can lend your support by doing the following: educating ourselves and sharing information with others, offering fervent and consistent prayers, and giving financial gifts.  Please visit the websites below for more information:

Freedom is something we all hold dear, but it becomes more precious as the threat of it draws near. #VES

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Happy August 1st to you all! A new month with new possibilities! I am thankful to God!
This is a short post; but I believe it will be helpful to those of you, who frequent Social Media sites [e.g. Twitter]. Have you ever experienced any type of suspension in your life? Suspended from school during your younger years: a driver’s license, or temporarily from a membership?  Well, suspension isn't painful: but it’s unpleasant, because it means having privileges taken away for a period of time. Every organization that executes suspension has a designated time period for suspensions. So, we must be prepared to wait on their terms.

Have you ever been suspended from social media? They have a lot of rules you try for users to follow. If you get too zealous [they call it aggressive] in your activity; you will find yourself suddenly on suspension. What makes this suspension frustrating about resolving or appealing your suspension-- is that you can’t speak with anyone; and everything is done online. The support department has its days and times they address each case and you can find yourself in a waiting game. You sometimes wonder what they're thinking about; because you can't think of what you might have done to be get suspended. If it is your second time; you'll probably have to wait longer before your case is resolved and your activity is reinstated. It can be frustrating; because your account is locked and your followers/following numbers are reduced to zero [Yet, your followers are still in tact].

I've been suspended twice on Twitter and learned a few things to ensure I'm never suspended again! (*,*) There are things you can do during your suspensioncreate a temporary account under another name [use a middle name with a birth name][1]; you can contact followers via email if you exchanged personal information; and share your plight; and review the settings of applications you use for your followers [, etc.]. Automated tweets are not acceptable with Twitter; so you might modify your settings to ensure that any new followers don’t receive an automated tweet. Twitter Support monitors numbers, so make sure you use discretion with Direct retweets, mentions and direct messaging. [SIDE NOTE: One problem that can occur with DMs is hackers will use your account to send unsolicited messages to your followers. This will exhaust your limit.] 

The irony of being suspended is that there are other users doing more damage with phishing and pimping users to increase their following. Many users fish around for people they can mention in a tweet. This is to make you think you know them. In turn, you will mention or even follow them. Once, you follow them, you give them access to your Timeline [TL].  It’s a good idea to check their profile and see what they’re doing on their TL. If they don’t look good; you can block them. I have no problem with having a 'block party.' It's important to protect your TL from online profiteers, crazy people and those, who don't share the same interests! Some people never tweet anything noteworthy; but they send mentions all day long. If they're not about what you're about; you don't want to invite the wrong users.

Once, your suspension is lifted, take things slow and try not to repeat the practices that initially caused your suspension.  It’s a good idea to curtail the mention of all those who favor, mention, reply and retweet your tweets. Don’t worry about what others are doing; because there are many people getting suspended for violating the rules [you just don't know them]. Just make sure you follow the rules, so your experience on Social Media can be a pleasant one. Happy Tweeting everyone! (*o*)

[1] This can pose a problem, because you can end up with two accounts. You can tweet your followers that your original account is active; but not everyone will take notice or unfollow the temporary account to join you at your original/active account.