12-09-2019  8:03 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Black Food Professionals See Opportunities to “Scale Up” in School Cafeterias and on Store Shelves

Two Portland women are addressing disparities in the local food scene with Ethiopian and Haitian flavors, ingredients

Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone Climbing Historic Ladders

In 1995, Boone was the first African American woman hired by Portland Fire & Rescue; this year she became its first African American Chief

Christmas Tree Shopping is Harder Than Ever, Thanks to Climate Change and Demographics

For Christmas tree farms to survive, shoppers will need to be more flexible

November Holiday Travel at PDX Brings More Comfort, Convenience and Furry Friends

If you’ve not been to Portland International Airport in a few months, you’re in for some surprises.

NEWS BRIEFS

Conservation Breakthrough for Endangered Butterfly

The Oregon Zoo's breeding success provides new hope in an effort to save Oregon silverspots ...

Meet 80 Local Authors at OHS 52nd Holiday Cheer Book Sale and Signing

This free Oregon Historical Society event will be held this Sunday, December 8 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. ...

Need for Blood Doesn’t Stop for Holidays – Donors Needed

Those who come to give through Dec. 18 will receive a Amazon.com Gift Card ...

North Carolina Court Decision Upholds Removal of Confederate Monument

Lawyers argued that the monument was installed at the end of Reconstruction to further the false “Lost Cause” narrative,...

Artist Talk with 13-year-old Local to be Held This Tuesday, Nov. 26

Hobbs Waters will be discussing his solo exhibit “Thirteen” at The Armory in Portland ...

Accidental shootings by police expose training shortfalls

SEATTLE (AP) — When an Iowa mother tried to take her child from her husband during an argument on a snowy sidewalk in 2015, an officer stepped in to stop the scuffle, but he accidentally fired his weapon as a dog approached. The bullet went through the woman’s arm and into her chest,...

Accidental shootings raise questions about arming teachers

SEATTLE (AP) — As the country looks for ways to deal with mass shootings at schools, some have responded by saying more people should carry guns, including teachers.“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” President Donald Trump told the National...

AP Source: Mizzou hiring Appalachian State's Eli Drinkwitz

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri reached an agreement Sunday with Eliah Drinkwitz to take over the Tigers' once-proud football program, a person with knowledge of the hiring told The Associated Press, making Appalachian State's successful coach the second-youngest in a Power Five...

Missouri fires football coach Barry Odom after 4 seasons

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri fired football coach Barry Odom on Saturday, ending the four-year stay of a respected former player who took over a program in disarray but could never get the Tigers over the hump in the brutal SEC.The Tigers finished 6-6 and 3-5 in the conference after...

OPINION

Will You Answer the Call for Moral Revival?

In embracing and expanding the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Revs. Barber and Theoharis have asked Presidential candidates to consider a debate that focuses exclusively on poverty ...

What I’m Thankful For This Season

Ray Curry gives thanks for a human right that shaped our country throughout the 20th century and that made Thanksgiving possible for so many Americans who, like him, didn’t get here by way of the Mayflower ...

Congressional Black Caucus Members Visit U.S.-Mexico Border: “Mistreatment of Black Immigrants is Another ‘Stain on America’”

Members said they witnessed first-hand the deplorable treatment and plight of Black immigrants ...

Portland, I'm Ready

Last month I had the privilege to stand with hundreds of supporters and announce my intention to run for re-election ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Black church believed to be oldest in US finishes repairs

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A 160-year-old church believed to be the oldest black church in the United States and built by enslaved Africans has been restored to a version of its former glory.A fresh coat of paint covers the freshly carpeted First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia, which...

Nevada third to vote, still up for grabs for 2020 Democrats

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada won its coveted early date in the presidential primary because it was supposed to offer Democrats something different.It’s more racially diverse than the two states that weigh in earlier, Iowa and New Hampshire. Its population is young, working class, largely...

China claims everyone in Xinjiang camps has 'graduated'

BEIJING (AP) — People who were at vocational training centers in China's far west Xinjiang have all ”graduated" and are living happy lives, an official said Monday. But Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities from the region say their family members continue to be...

ENTERTAINMENT

Singer performs in Vegas for 1st time after mass shooting

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Country singer Jason Aldean has performed in Las Vegas for the first time since he was on stage at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival at the beginning of the Oct. 1, 2017 mass shooting.The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Aldean told a packed house at Park MGM’s...

'Frozen 2' leads box office again; 'Playmobil' flops

NEW YORK (AP) — “Frozen 2” blanketed multiplexes for the third straight weekend, continuing its reign at No. 1 with .7 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday. The Walt Disney Co. animated sequel has already grossed 9.7 million worldwide. It will...

‘Benson,’ ‘Star Trek’ actor René Auberjonois has died at 79

LOS ANGELES (AP) — René Auberjonois, a prolific actor best known for his roles on the television shows “Benson” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and his part in the 1970 film “M.A.S.H.” playing Father Mulcahy, has died. He was 79. The actor died...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

US Catholic priests beset by overwork, isolation, scandals

CHICOPEE, Mass. (AP) — More than a century ago, waves of Catholic immigrants from Ireland, Poland and...

North Korea calls Trump 'erratic' old man over tweets

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea insulted U.S. President Donald Trump again on Monday, calling him a...

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker has died

Paul Volcker, who as Federal Reserve chairman in the early 1980s elevated interest rates to historic highs and...

Female minister, 34, tapped to become Finland's youngest PM

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — A 34-year-old transport minister and lawmaker has been tapped to become Finland's...

North Korea calls Trump 'erratic' old man over tweets

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea insulted U.S. President Donald Trump again on Monday, calling him a...

N. Korea believed to test new rocket engine to provoke US

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A day after North Korea said it had performed a “very important...

McMenamins
The Root

Sex Trafficking"He'd take wooden bats and hit me. I thought he loved me, but he'd turn around and beat me and all the girls in his house. But you just can't get up and leave. He would threaten me about my family… I was afraid of getting hurt, so I just stayed."

The speaker, who says she met her pimp when she was 11 years old, is seen in shadow to protect her identity. But you can tell that she's black, and she sounds like she's still young.

She's not the only one who fits that description. In another segment of a YouTube video projected onto a screen in a packed Washington Convention Center ballroom at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Annual Legislative Conference session on Modern Slavery and Sexual Trafficking is "Erika." She says she was 13 or 14 years old when she was lured into forced prostitution.

"I was shaped like a boy. Very stringy, very thin, very underdeveloped. It flabbergasts me that the people who were coming to buy us -- the Johns, if you will -- they knew I was a child. "

When the screen goes dark, April Jones, the moderator of the two-hour "brain trust" conversation of experts on human trafficking, expresses what many in the room are no doubt thinking.

"The thing I noticed most about that video," she says, "is that everyone spoke perfect English. Everyone was from this country. This is not something that happened hundreds of years ago. It's happening here and now."

"It," of course, is slavery. From the point of view of panelist Ambassador Luis C.deBaca, director of the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, to call it anything else is a euphemism just as avoidant as previous ones in American history like "servitude" or "our peculiar institution."

Today, he says, its victims are diverse. "It's a woman lured from her home in another country with the promise of a good job. It's the man recruited to work on a fishing boat, who, once land is out of sight, is forced to work 20 hours a day, who's made to eat the bait, who's raped by the ship's operator."

But in the United States, when it comes to sexual slavery, it's often girls like Erika.

Panelist Malika Saadar Sar is a hero of the anti-trafficking community for her work with the Rebecca Project for Human Rights. She worked to shut down Craigslist ads that led to kids being sold for sex. "People sold for sex in this country are American children who are disproportionately black and brown," she says. "They are between the ages of 12 and 13 -- middle school aged. "

Indeed, according to the most recent FBI report on the issue, 83 percent of victims of confirmed sex-trafficking cases were identified as U.S. citizens. Forty percent of the victims and 62 percent of the suspected perpetrators were black.

In some places, the demographic breakdown is even more dramatic, like in Houston. The jurisdiction of panel host Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee is what she calls a "hub" of sexual slavery. According to panelist Ann Johnson, Harris County, Texas, prosecutor and human trafficking specialist, the breakdown of victims there is "roughly 55 African American, 25 Hispanic and 20 Caucasian."

In individual cases, abuse and poverty at home may combine to make girls -- often runaways -- vulnerable to the men who see them as human capital, says Johnson. Just as often, says Saadar Sar, they're victimized when they age out of the foster care system and the state no longer keeps track.

In other words, as they're held against their will, often subjected to torture, earning money for pimps through forced sex, no one is going to come looking for them.

There's an even more insidious factor that compounds all of that. It's one that makes the victims feel as though seeking help would be futile, according to C.deBaca. "It's the notion that crime in the Hispanic community, in the black community, is not to be taken as seriously. Because that's not where law enforcement officers go, that's where the traffickers decide to go."

Those issues, plus a long-standing commitment by the Congressional Black Caucus to be a voice on Capitol Hill for the vulnerable anywhere, are why Jackson-Lee says putting a stop to human trafficking is a natural part of the mission of the group of African-American elected officials.

"I want to be clear that many of modern-day slavery involves sex, and that it's just as devastating as the slavery we're more familiar with," she told The Root.

On March 8, 2013, President Obama signed legislation that renewed the nation's most important tool to fight modern-day slavery, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

Lee says it's not enough.

"We need specific legislation -- more local and state law enforcement to be alert to issues of human trafficking in states and local jurisdictions. We need more trained law enforcement so that we can prevent this," she said.

For Saadar Sar the effort is a desperate one. "Many of these girls are the great-great-granddaughters of those who were enslaved during an earlier part of our history," she says. "We must do the work of building underground railroads away from this new form of slavery."

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