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you who would hurt
the creatures of wood,
meadow, and hearth.
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who follow Artemis.

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in each Moon

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Earth Holidays

"From conception the increase
From increase the swelling
From swelling the thought
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---- Maori Creation Chant

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moon phases
 

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 Favorite Places  

MOST FAVORITE PLACE
Myth*ing Link

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45 million voices Abortion stories

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ABA News
Abolish Sport Hunting
Abolish Animal Terrorism
Abolitionist On-line
Abuse tracker
Action for Change networking site for change agents
"Afghanistan` Project"
Animal Liberation Front ALF
(May the Universe Keep Them Safe and Active for they are the finest of us all and they harm no living thing despite what the bosses tell you)
Animal Police
Animals and Politics
Animal in WI Recomended Site
Anti-Slavery International
More animal links on my website under Social Change Moon
American Thinker
American Center for Democracy Libel Tourism and first amendment rights
Archetypes
Art Links Place's Moon - 3rd col
Art that Saves Animals
Arts Wisconsin
Ashes & Snow use mouse on each picture
ASPCA
Art original

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Banking on Heaven polygamy video
Beautiful Links
Bees do not Sting
Bees & Wannabes
Best Friends Sanctuary and Resources
Big Poon's Very Best Catnip
BILL OF RIGHTS
Bird Food

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C-Span Video Library
CAIDS - Hunters for intelligent alternatives to Chronic Wasting Disease hysteria
Catch the Moon
Center for Feminist Art
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Ceramic Sculpture
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"A Libra whose element is air. She makes birds and what is happening to the air (and herself) through birds"
Chicago Women's Liberation Union
Coalition for American Workers Save jobs for citizens. Prevent in and outsourcing jobs.
Compassion Over Killing
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Corporate Control of US Democracy
Cosmology 3D
Cows with Guns

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Exploitation and trafficking in Women (Hughes)
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removal of feral (recommended site)

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On the Question of Animal Rights
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ohmidog!
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Visit Green's profile on Pinterest.
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Sari Art
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Track Fed Legislation
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void of course
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Sacred hallows-not horror violence

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Wiscat, Wisconsin’s union catalog
Enter the term, “women,” 444 entries; books, periodicals, oral history interviews, and manuscript collections.

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Intern'l Women's Day March 8
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Women's History Month In 1987, Congress declared March to be Women's History Month
Women's Medical Fund, Inc Assisting Wisconsin women who want but cannot afford abortion - please help
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WI Watch Reporters covering the underbelly of policy shaping WI while you are unconscious

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Despite the challenges, we were seeing free and democratic Iraq, we were living the hard laboring moment we believe that every one of us has duty towards our beloved country. By our hands, work, thoughts, sacrifice we will build up the new Iraq.


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US does not work with trafficked slaves to prosecute pimps

Sex trafficking victims' lives in visa limbo: Only half of the rescued women have gotten papers needed to make a fresh start in U.S.
By LISE OLSEN
Nov. 24, 2008, 7:34AM

JULIO CORTEZ CHRONICLE A victim of Houston's sex-trafficking ring is now living with her two sons, ages 6 and 9. They were reunited last summer after she spent more than two years getting visas for herself and her boys.

The federal government has spent seven years and tens of millions of dollars striving to save foreign women exploited in sweatshops or sold as sex slaves in America ­ yet only about half have gotten special visas for victims willing to help prosecute traffickers, according to a Houston Chronicle review.

In Houston, home to one of the nation's most successful anti-trafficking task forces and a major transit point for human trafficking, just 67 of about 120 women rescued after a massive raid in 2005 have obtained the so-called "T visas" to help them rebuild their lives.One woman, who is still without a visa, said she was locked up in the Newtown County jail in East Texas after her rescue but found she had nowhere to go after her release. She told the Chronicle: "My apartment was empty. Everything had been taken ... It's hard to know what to do."

Nationwide, 1,924 people got services from the U.S. Department of Justice as trafficking victims from 2004 to 2007. Only 709 people got visas during those same three years, immigration records show.

The U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 created the T visa program to help victims as the government prosecuted traffickers. In 2001, Congress approved granting as many as 5,000 visas each year. Family members whose lives could be endangered in other countries also are eligible."

There is this available protection that our government wisely determined it needed to provide, and yet we're obviously not doing a good enough job," said Melanne Verveer, who worked on the development of the law as part of the Clinton administration and serves as CEO of the nonprofit Vital Voices Global Partnership.

In the full seven years of the program, only 1,094 T victims got visas, according to statistics from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.Fear of immigration authorities may be the most significant barrier, said Maria Elena Garcia-Upson, a regional spokesperson for USCIS.In an official statement prepared for this story, USCIS said, "

For the entire U.S. government, identification of trafficking victims is challenging due to the circumstances victims find themselves in, the money, power and influence of the traffickers; essentially the nature of human trafficking itself."In fiscal year 2007 alone, the federal government spent $23 million on sex trafficking programs, 279 people got visas and almost 10 times as many were identified as potential victims.

The Houston ringThe November 2005 arrests in Houston of eight members of a cantina-based ring run by Salvadoran Maximino Mondragon still is one of the nation's largest rescues of so-called sex slaves. Young women and girls from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua were tricked by traffickers into coming to the U.S., then forced to allow cantina customers to buy them overpriced beers and intimately touch them, federal indictments say.

Ring members collected nearly all that money, forcing workers to repay smuggling fees as high as $15,000, plus expenses. Some women were beaten and forced to prostitute themselves. Recruited from Central America with lies about legitimate jobs, victims say they were offered up as "carne fresca" ­ fresh meat ­ to customers. Many were working around midnight on Nov. 13, 2005, when agents in an anti-trafficking task force descended on five cantinas and restaurants in northwest Houston.

Three years later, 67 plucked from the Mondragon cantinas have both T visas and four-year work permits, according to Andre Rodriguez, an attorney for the YMCA International Services who tracked 99 of the women earlier this year.

Some also have been reunited with small children left behind in Central America when traffickers falsely promised the women work in the U.S." It's a little difficult, but I'm happy to have them with me," said one trafficking survivor who now lives with her sons in a cramped Houston apartment after four years apart. Nineteen others have applied for the visas but are waiting. At least nine are stuck somewhere in the complex paperwork process. Three have been deported, possibly by choice. One was a teenager, according to Wafa Abdin, an attorney for Catholic Charities, who said she was unable to interview the girl."

We worry most about the youngest victims," Abdin said. " Some never knew anything but abuse and had no one to take care of them or to teach them to protect themselves ... some are going to be lost." Yet about 20 others remain in limbo, most of whom were among those detained for six months after the raid, according to Chronicle interviews with advocates, victims and attorneys. Those women apparently were separated from others after the rescue because they refused to speak, made mistakes, lied in statements or were described as traffickers' girlfriends, according to immigration lawyers who eventually won their release. One said she was ashamed and feared her former captors' accomplices would take revenge on relatives back in El Salvador."No one knew what was going to happen to us," she said.


Where it began

The first T visas were issued in 2001 when about 300 mostly Vietnamese women were rescued from the Daewoosa garment factory in American Samoa. All had paid for one-way tickets to the island, believing they were getting good jobs, but instead were held prisoner and forced to work without pay or adequate food.

In 2005, a federal judge sentenced the former factory owner to 40 years in prison and ordered him to pay $1.8 million in restitution. Nationally, 260 Daewoosa victims got T visas ­ 40 others had been flown back by the trafficker to Vietnam before advocates could help them, according to Nguyen Dinh Thang, executive director of Boat People SOS, the nonprofit that helped the workers resettle in the mainland U.S. Twenty ended up in the Houston area. Some opened manicure parlors and tailoring shops.

Federal law gave victims the opportunity to apply for permanent residence or citizenship after their T visas expire. But none has been able to do so because U.S. government officials have not yet issued required regulations."I don't know what to tell my clients," said An Phong Vo, who works with those who live in Houston as staff attorney for the local office of Boat People SOS. "They're pro-active members of American society. They live and work together. ... Many of them want to get their green cards and eventually become U.S. citizens."

Over the years, the federal government has helped fund and set up more than 40 anti-trafficking task forces across the United States. Agents have arrested 449 traffickers and convicted more than 75 percent, according to U.S. Department of Justice statistics. Eight members of the Mondragon ring were convicted; five are serving prison time. Mondragon faces sentencing in February. Nearly every case depends heavily on victims' testimony.

Martiza Conde Vazquez, a task force member based at the FBI Houston office, has learned how hard it is to coax the truth from traumatized and fearful victims. "Even though they're free from the traffickers, they are still slave to their fears, and I don't think that goes away," she said.

The T visa process is designed to be initiated by victims and reviewed by immigration officials ­ prosecutors are not directly involved. The law is designed this way so it doesn't appear that victims receive a visa in exchange for testimony.

Threats to their livesThe YMCA International Services in Houston provides short-term help to victims, but advocates say that isn't enough. Many have gotten jobs, but dozens of others live in Houston illegally, without work permits. Some are in abusive relationships. A few have drifted back to cantinas, according to Chronicle interviews. At least two report receiving death threats.

Jose Benitez, director of the Federation of Inmigrantes y Trabajadores Unidos (Federation of United Immigrants and Workers), who regularly helps cantina survivors, says he also has been threatened via cell phone. He fears some women would be immediately executed if deported to Central America.

Applications for T visas can be tricky and tedious: obtaining documents from native countries; producing gut-wrenching statements about abuse; winning law enforcement support; staying in touch with unpaid attorneys.

It's often a struggle to pay the $545 most need as part of the paperwork. Some give up or fail to qualify. And the wait for a visa can be long.One woman, who worked in a Houston cantina for a year, spent more than two years getting visas for herself and her sons.

Last summer they were reunited at the airport, the boys' only possessions carried in tiny backpacks.


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