Child Prostitution on the Rise

The NY Times reports that child prostitution is on the rise in the U.S. Not surprisingly, it’s trouble at home, more often than not, that leads kids into life on the streets. Once they are there, they embrace desperate measures in order to survive. The numbers are disturbing.

From the Times:

Nearly a third of the children who flee or are kicked out of their homes each year engage in sex for food, drugs or a place to stay, according to a variety of studies published in academic and public health journals. But this kind of dangerous barter system can quickly escalate into more formalized prostitution, when money changes hands. And then, child welfare workers and police officials say, it becomes extremely difficult to help runaways escape the streets.

Watch a related Times video report here.


Convicted child pimp, Antoin Thurman

Pimps comb the streets in search of desperate runaways. In addition to providing them with food and a place to stay, the pimps control the girls through emotional manipulation – providing a taste of the care and affirmation these girls are so obviously lacking at home, while at the same time beating them, verbally abusing them and selling them out.


“My job is to make sure she has what she needs, personal hygiene, get her nails done, take her to buy an outfit, take her out to eat, make her feel wanted,” said another pimp, Antoin Thurman, who was sentenced in 2006 to three years for pandering and related charges in Buckeye, Ariz. “But I keep the money.”

The article describes how many law enforcement officials are now focused on finding and helping runaways before the pimps get to them. Providing shelter, counseling and general aid to high risk runaways may be the most effective way to curtail child prostitution in the U.S. In 2007 Congress proposed to spend $55 million building group homes for runaways, but ultimately never authorized the funding. Personally, I think it makes a lot more sense to pay to put these children in protective services BEFORE they get into prostitution than it does to pay to put them in prison after the fact.

But, like so many social problems, the root cause of child prostitution is found in broken families.


Modern Man is a Wimp

As if we needed to be told yet again:

Australian anthropologist Peter McAllister has a new book entitled “Manthropology,” sub-titled “The Science of the Inadequate Modern Male.” Gratuitous male bashing? Maybe. After all, the same could be said of modern females compared to their ancient forbears. The main point McAllister makes is that our sedentary lifestyles in the modern world have rendered us slower and weaker by far than those who lived in ancient times and even as lately as the last century.

From a Reuters review:

* Roman legions completed more than one-and-a-half marathons a day carrying more than half their body weight in equipment.

* Athens employed 30,000 rowers who could all exceed the achievements of modern oarsmen.

* Australian aboriginals threw a hardwood spear 110 meters or more (the current world javelin record is 98.48).

McAllister said it was difficult to equate the ancient spear with the modern javelin but added: “Given other evidence of Aboriginal man’s superb athleticism you’d have to wonder whether they couldn’t have taken out every modern javelin event they entered.”

Why the decline?

“We are so inactive these days and have been since the industrial revolution really kicked into gear,” McAllister replied. “These people were much more robust than we were.

“We don’t see that because we convert to what things were like about 30 years ago. There’s been such a stark improvement in times, technique has improved out of sight, times and heights have all improved vastly since then but if you go back further it’s a different story

On the other hand, we are living much longer lives, thanks to modern medicine and (no doubt) the low-stress existence afforded by wealth, ease, and technology. So perhaps we are better off in the end. What is interesting about this book is that it is marketed in a way that arbitrarily singles out men.

The book might just as easily have been subtitled “The Science of the Inadequate Modern Female” – since it also cites examples of how women are no longer as stout as the once were. Maybe the author made this decision because strength and vigor (the themes of his study) are traits we more closely associate with masculinity, rather than femininity. Or maybe male-bashing is simply more acceptable in the marketplace.

Remember Maureen Dowd’s book entitled, “Are Men Necessary?” from a few years back? Dowd intends the title with a wink and a nod, no doubt, but it is interesting that a male bashing title is viewed, at least by some, as a marketing plus. Does such a title make women more likely to by the book?

McAllister’s book reminds me of a study from a couple of years back about declines in the male birth rate. The issue of male decline is biological fact, and not merely a fabrication of marketing departments in the publishing industry, as this report from 2007 indicates:

The University of Pittsburgh has found that during the past thirty years, the number of male births has steadily decreased in the U.S. and Japan. Perhaps more worryingly, the study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, also found that an increasing proportion of fetuses that die are male. In Japan, among the fetuses that die, two-thirds are male, up from just over half in 1970.

The study reported an overall decline of 17 males per 10,000 births in the U.S. and a decline of 37 males per 10,000 births in Japan since 1970. Lead investigator Devra Lee Davis said the figures translated to 135,000 fewer males in the U.S. and 127,000 fewer males in Japan.

I have also read that average sperm counts have fallen rapidly over the past century.

The National Institutes of Health agreed. “Their analysis of data collected from 1938 to 1990 indicates that sperm densities in the United States have exhibited an average annual decrease of 1.5 million sperm per milliliter of collected sample, or about 1.5 percent per year,” the NIH said in a statement. “Those in European countries have declined at about twice that rate (3.1 percent per year).”

So what does this all add up to? What is causing the male to simply melt out of the genetic life continuum? Is it pesticide? Fluoride? The microwave oven? Or have men been brainwashed and psyched out and simply scared into biological submission by relentless male bashing marketing campaigns from industries the world over??

You decide.

Results of AIDS vaccine trial ‘weak’ in second analysis —

Results of AIDS vaccine trial ‘weak’ in second analysis —

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Ralph Lauren fires “overweight” model

Filippa Hamilton is the model whose image was photo-shopped by Ralph Lauren so that her waist looked smaller than her head. The image has created a firestorm of negative publicity for Ralph Lauren. And the label has threatened to sue bloggers who publish the guilty image. Well, here it is again, next to a photo of what Hamilton actually looks like.

Hamilton, who is 5’10” and a size 8, claims that she was fired by Ralph Lauren in April for being “overweight.”

‘I’ve been working with them since I was 15 years old, so I considered them my second family,’ the 5ft 10in beauty said. ‘I was very hurt about this.’

Miss Hamilton claims she was fired in April – before the digitally- altered images of her were released.

‘I saw my face in this extremely skinny girl – which is not me,’ she recalled.

‘It makes me sad. It makes me think that Ralph Lauren wants to have this kind of image – and it’s not healthy, it’s not right.

‘And it’s not a good example. When you see this picture young women will look at this and think it’s normal, and it’s not.’

In a statement last night Polo Ralph Lauren denied her claims, saying their relationship ended ‘as a result of her inability to meet the obligations under her contract’.

Hopefully, fashion compaines will learn something from Ralph Lauren’s current woes. There is nothing wrong with using models that are healthy and on the thin side. But distorting images into unhealthy proportions and motivating girls to starve themselves is not good ethics or good business, and consumers are getting fed up with it.

HIV orphans in Vietnam live as pariahs

A moving report in the NY Times today about HIV-positive orphans in AN NHON TAY, Vietnam. Ignorance and fear keep these kids segregated from mainstream society. Local parents are unwilling to let the children attend school along with the orphans:

“The children were so excited,” said Sister Nguyen Thi Bao, who runs the orphanage and had been lobbying for three years to enroll them in the government school. “They had been wishing for this day to come.”

But when they arrived, they found an uprising by the parents of the other students, who refused to let their children enter the school together with the infected orphans. Some of the parents hastily backed away when the orphans walked past.

After a short standoff, the principal, who had agreed to accept the orphans, told Sister Bao that their papers were not in order and that they could not stay.

The children returned to the orphanage, just a short walk down a country road, where they continue to study in small classrooms, still exiled from the uninfected world.

“I was so happy to go to the school,” said a 12-year-old fourth grader for whom Sister Bao insisted on anonymity to keep her from the spotlight. “But then I saw that some parents wouldn’t let their children go to school with me because they are scared of my disease.”

I’m grateful that the Catholic church provides care for these children. It’s alarming to think what might happen to them otherwise. But I wonder how many of us would have the strength to take one of these beautiful children into our home, knowing what tragedy might be awaiting them in the future.

Children sometimes die prematurely and unexpectedly. It is a risk any parent faces. Yet few parents would regret the time they were able to live with and love their child, even if he or she were taken away prematurely. Why is it so much more difficult to imagine taking on a sick child when we know ahead of time that the risk of losing him or her is so high?

HIV-positive orphans at the Mia Hoa orphanage in Vietnam

HIV-positive orphans at the Mia Hoa orphanage in Vietnam

I would hope to have the strength to take on a child such as these – to assume the risk of heartbreak with such reckless abandon. The rewards would be greater than the eventual loss, I am certain. But I don’t know if I have that strength.

Do you?

Pepsi advises men on how to score with women

Pepsi has created a storm of controversy for itself, and a lot of bad p.r. Marketers for Pepsi’s energy drink AMP (a beverage targeted primarily toward men) created an iPhone app, which stereotypes different women and offers advice and pick-up lines with the aim of helping guys “score” with each different type of woman.

Pepsis AMP up before you score application

Pepsi's "AMP up before you score" iPhone application

There’s advice for bookworms, girls on the rebound, even – so I hear – for how to score with a married woman. Wow, that was well thought through, Pepsi. Nice job.

Will the National Organization for Women organize a boycott? I might have to join them on this one. Ah, misogyny – the marketing tool of self-destructive corporations. It says something, however, about our culture that this could have been considered a good idea by any corporate marketing team.

Pepsi is backpedaling hard on this one. But I wonder how many gals will switch to Coca Cola.

Memoir of a former abortion addict —

Memoir of a former abortion addict —

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