4 - Tuesday, October 2, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
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Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
JOSEPH LICHTERMAN and ADRIENNE ROBERTS ANDREW WEINER
EDITOR IN CHIEF . EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
FROM THE A
End modern slavery
Sex trafficking deserves attention and solutions
ith the election fast approaching, birth certificates
and tax returns seem to take precedence over serious
issues, including sex trafficking. However, it's still a
major problem in the United States. According to the National Cen-
ter for Missing and Exploited Children, at least 100,000 children
are trafficked annually in the United States. On Sept. 25, President
Obama specifically addressed the issue, calling on more people to
act against this "modern slavery." Obama's speech, though promis-
ing, was a small push in the larger war against sex trafficking. This
is an unsung issue in our country, and everyone from the president
to the average citizen needs to step up efforts to put an end to such
I was lucky. In the next four years, 48,000
Americans won't be so lucky, because they'll
be murdered with guns in the next president's
term, enough to fill over 200 theaters."
- Stephen Barton, a survivor of the Aurora Col. shooting, said in a recent ad for
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of over 600 mayors who advocate gun control.
an atrocious industry.
At the Clinton Global Initiative on Sept. 25,
President Obama announced plans to issue an
executive order implementing a zero-tolerance
policy when it comes to trafficking in gov-
ernment contracting. He emphasized proper
training for police, judges and educators when
dealing wit'h victims, and the need for fund-
raising efforts to help victims. He also called
on Congress to reauthorize the Trafficking
victims Protection Act, which aims to combat
traffickingbothdomestically andglobally. The
president rightfully designated human traf-
ficking as "one of the greatest human rights
battles of our era."
Here in Michigan, we're not so far removed
from incidents of sex trafficking. In May 2012,
a Detroit man was sentenced to three years in
prison for "conspiring to lure Eastern Euro-
pean women to the U.S." and forcing them to
become strippers. In 2001,this same man lured
two young Ukrainian women to the United
States and forced them to serve as exotic danc-
ers in Detroit. This is happening in Michigan,
yet the state isn't taking sufficient initiative to
put an end to it.
One of the largest forums for online traf-
ficking advertisements is Backpage.com, which
has 70 percent of the market share in prostitu-
tion ads. New York Times columnist Nicholas
Kristof has spoken up against the website, con-
demning the escort ad listings as a front for sex
trafficking in the United States. The website
doesn't validate age in its advertisements, nor
does it make sure the person is willing to pro-
vide the sexual services posted.
Sex trafficking is deplorable and a prevent-
able form of solicitation that we can greatly
reduce and eventually eliminate completely
through community and federal efforts.
Backpage.com needs to remove their person-
al ads and follow in the steps of other web-
sites, such as Craigslist, which is escort free
and still successful.
Awareness needs to be raised to help pre-
vent trafficking, aid victims and arrest those
profiting from this industry. It's the second
largest and fastest growing criminal industry
in the world, yet largely passed over by the
media. By taking steps to prevent sex traffick-
ing from happening, we, as a society, may be
able to release the chains and finally become
free from this modern form of slavery.
f you look at the University's
Maize Pages website - which
catalogues campus student
- you'll find an
nizations, from ERIC
the . Universi-
ty's chapter of FERGUSON
dren to a group
providing financial assistance to
students in Wayne County. All of
these disparate organizations have
a common aim of raising awareness
for a particular issue. In order for
an activist organization to exist,
people must first be aware of the
underlying issue and feel that it
needs to be addressed in some way.
Thus, awareness of an issue is
essential for the existence of all
activist organizations, not just stu-
dent-run ones. Remember Invisible
Children's Kony 2012 campaign?
The video that initially launched
the movement turns seven months
old this Friday, having garnered'
over 110-million views since its
release. It did an incredible job of
raising awareness in Americans
ages 18-29 of the deeds of Joseph
Kony, since 58 percent of them
were aware of the video within
10 days of its release. I found the
video 'through a friend's Facebook
page, and I remember being moved
almost to tears by the video and
pleased that so many people my age
were talking about it.
Despite how effective the cam-
paign was at raising awareness for
these under-discussed atrocities,
it was slammed with a withering
broadside of criticism for the man-
ner in which it advocated a solution
to the conflict. There are other con-
troversial issues that have reached
a significant sector of Americans
through traditional and social
media as well, such as the ongoing
civil war in Syria and the dispute
between Israel and Iran over the
latter's nuclear activities. When
organizations such as the Friends
of Syria Group or J-Street discuss
methods to remedy the issues, they,
become as vulnerable to criticism
as the Kony campaign proved to be.
An organization faces consider-
able hurdles if it wants to see its
exact prescription for an issue ful-
filled, and a major one of those is
fundraising. This isn't a straight-
forward process, since members
of the public that support an
organization on principle may not
be willing to make a significant
donation to an organization. Orga-
nizations also need some kind of
legitimizing and powerful force
behind their activities, whether
that's through the government or
through private institutions. The
Kony issue, for example, neces-
sitates military force that Invis-
ible Children isn't in any position
to provide. They've sought. pri-
vate donations and lobbied the
U.S. government to provide force.
However, opinions on those meth-
ods vary greatly. Criticism of an
activist organization encourages a
productive dialogue regarding the
best way to solve an issue.
This criticism has the poten-
tial to frustrate some of those on
this campus who are members of
Invisible Children or those who
fervently believe that Kony and
his Lord's Resistance Army need*
to be stopped immediately. How-
ever, that criticism will ultimately
benefit their cause. Awareness
of an issue is only a baby step on
the path to that issue's resolution.
Whether it's most feasible to cap-
ture or kill Kony, how to help those
affected by the LRA and how to
prevent another tragedy are three
questions that have a multitude of
answers. Larger-scale issues like
the Syrian civil war - involving
international diplomacy and tens
of thousands of deaths - are even
more difficult to address.
But there's an even more impor-
tant reason why Invisible Children
and other organizations benefit
from the debate and criticism in
implementing their agendas. This
creates an environment where
many responses to issues can be
proposed, their merits examined
and their flaws exposed. Student
activists should know that though
awareness is fundamental to any
effort to address an issue, what
happens after awareness has been
raised is at least as important and
far more difficult a task.
- Eric Ferguson can be
reached at email@example.com.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
" Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Eli Cahan, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis,
Patrick Maillet, Harsha Nahata, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Gus Turner
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
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300 words and must include the writer's full name and University affiliation. We do
not print anonymous letters. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
STEFANIE RUBINSTEIN I VlEWPl T
Claim your voice
DEREK WOLFE I
An unexpected message
A friend recently told me she didn't believe
in voting. Intrigued, I pressed her with the
obvious question: why not? She told me that
she thought her one vote wouldn't matter
among the millions of votes cast on Nov. 6. As
she rattled off a list of reasons, I was forced to
reconsider whyI was voting in this election.
I'm voting because I believe we as stu-
dents should have the right to graduate with
the guarantee of jobs. The economy needs a
revival, backed by American workers and a
thriving middle class of educated Americans.
This is only possible if we provide all citizens
with the education necessary for success..
I'm voting because my friends of different
sexual orientation should have the right to
love who they choose, a right I've been guar-
anteed throughout my life.
I'm voting for my rights as a woman. I
believe that I should have the right to make
as much money as my male counterparts for
the same job, and the right to make medical
decisions about my own body.
Above all, I'm voting to move forward as a
This election, we Americans have to make
an important choice to either propel this coun-
try forward or to spiral backward into the past.
If we give up on our progress now, we'll
return to a time 93 years ago when women
were not treated as equals, a time 47 years
ago when contraception was illegal, a ltime
eight years ago when no state had legalized
gay marriage and to a time five years ago
when this economy was in the hands of a
select few institutions.
Although this backsliding may seem out of
the realm of possibility, it's all too real. The
threats of restricted abortion, a constitution-
al amendment to define marriage as between
a man and a woman and the deregulation
of the financial system that caused the eco-
nomic meltdown are all on the table for dis-
cussion. Without a strong opposition to these
ideas, they'll come to fruition and we'll have
no one to- blame but ourselves as we watch
our government turn back time.
whether you feel passionate about women's
health, marriage equality, the disappearing
middle class or countless other topics, vote in
this election and vote in Michigan. Although
a vote holds obvious meaning anywhere in
the United States, Michigan's importance as
a swing state means our votes are essential in
shaping this presidential election.
So to my friend who believes voting doesn't
matter, I have this to say: While I only have
one voice, I vote because I believe it's mine
alone to have. Don't'allow yours to be taken
away from you because you feel small or insig-
nificant. There are more than 300-million
individual voices in this country and you have
the right to claim yours.
Stefanie Rubinstein is a Campus Team
Leader with Organizing for America.
The Power Center wasn't even
half full, yet somehow an attendance
record was set for the tour thus far -
which says a lot about Cain's lasting
popularity. I highly.doubt there was
one Republican in the crowd, except
for the chair of the University's
chapter of College Republicans. It
was 600 liberal arts students ready
to make a mockery out of this event
and man. On top of that, the open-
ing band was a group of guys singing
Britney Spears's "Toxic" accompa-
nied by violin. Picture that.
The second Cain took the stage
my first reaction was disbelief.
Did this guy really run for presi-
dent? His persona seemed forced.
He talked back to the audience
whenever someone shouted some-
thing outrageous. It felt like I was
watching stand-up comedy. But,
behind the laughs .(and trust me,
there were plenty) and the crowd
chanting "USA, USA,,USA" and "9,
9, 9", there were parts of his mes-
sage that resonated.
Cain discussed how the Ameri-
can dream still exists, even in an
LE T TE R TO T HE E DI TOR
Vote yes' on Proposal
3,for clean energy
TO THE DAILY:
As a University of Michigan
senior graduating during a tough
economic moment for our coun-
try and even tougher job market,
it feels as though so much of my
future is riding on the outcome of
the Nov. 6th elections. That's why
I'm so strongly in favor of Proposal
3 for increased reliance on clean
era of so much economic uncer-
tainty. He stressed the impor-
tance of everyone having their
own dreams and using goals as
stepping stones to reach them. He
told the crowd an uplifting story
about his father and his own rise
to success through jobs in the U.S.
Navy, Pillsbury, Burger King, God-
father's Pizza and even as a radio
talk show host. He may have got-
ten lucky at times, but there's no
questioning that he worked hard,
to get where he is today.
Although this event was hosted
by the College Republicans, it wasn't
particularly partisan. Cain said
Washington needs to be changed
and it will only happen if the public
demands it. That's something that I
can't disagree with. He also couldn't
help but comment that the demise
of his campaign was due to political
lies. That one's up for debate.
Toward the end of his remarks,
Cain made it clear through a hilari-
ous rant, that the United States is
the greatest country in the world,
which deservedly brought the audi-
ence to its feet. The lack of partisan
politics from a political figure was
refreshing and welcomed. He didn't
endorse Republican presidential
candidate Mitt- Romney and made
no reference to his own views as a
Republican. It was all about Amer-
ica, the positives and negatives and
the importance of an education.
It doesn't matter to me that his
views don't necessarily align with
mine because the fact is we're both
Americans who have achieved or
aim toward success. There's always
some form of common ground with
everyone, which is important to
keep in mind as we inch toward the
When the tour concludes at the
end of the year, my guess is that
Cain will fall into national obscu-
rity. My hope though, is that his
message will live on for a longtime.
Because what this out-there, crazy
guy taught me is that with a col-
lege education and a good attitude,
there's still hope.
Derek Wolfe is an LSA freshman.
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energy and more Michigan jobs. which could have been kept in
Raising our renewable energy Michigan by shifting to solar and
standard to 25 percent by the year wind power right here in our state.
2025 (which is similar to the stan- I support Proposal 3 not just for
dards already adopted by 30 other the jobs it will create, but for the
states) won't just protect our air, moneyit will prevent from leaving
water and climate - it will create Michigan, forthe health of our peo-
at least 74,000 clean energy jobs. ple and economy and for the quality
These jobs are manufacturing and of our air and water.
engineering jobs that can't be sent If you value these things as much
out-of-state, and that's reallywhat's as I do, then vote yes on Proposal 3.
most important for me. Michigan
also spent 1.7 billion dollars last Evan Granito
year importing coal and oil; money .LSA senior
A' A A