Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | JANUARY 21, 2015 5:00 AM

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Speak up for LGBT rights

On Jan. 16, the Supreme Court announced it will take up same-sex marriage. While marriage equality has gained attention in recent years, the movement is older than many Americans realize.

During slavery, African American couples were barred from marriage. Such unions were not recognized until after the Civil War. Fewer than 50 years ago, states prohibited interracial marriage.

It was claimed that these unions interfered with God’s plan for humanity. Today, LGBT couples are denied the right to marry in 14 states. Their families go without basic protections most Americans take for granted.

Sadly, many Americans are still threatened by marriage equality. Changing their minds is just as important as changing our laws. Dialogue is the only way to do this. There’s a lot of talking to do, and we need more voices.

This means more LGBT voices, straight voices, and religious voices. But the most important voices are those still in the closet. Come out — you have the most potential to help realize change. We must tell our opponents, we are your children, your neighbors, your coworkers, and your pastors. And we are entitled to equal protection under the law.

It’s time to speak up.

Rob Humble

End human trafficking

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month.  People are joining together to work toward eradicating slavery and human trafficking entirely.

Human trafficking is a horrific crime against the fundamental rights and dignity of its victims. The United Nations Protocol on Human Trafficking defines it as the “recruitment, transportation, harboring or receipt of persons by means of force, fraud or coercion.”

Every country in the world is affected by trafficking. The United States is no exception, serving as a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children — both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. The U.N. International Labor Organization’s 2012 Estimate on Forced Labor and the U.S. Department of Justice provides some statistics on human trafficking.

• The average age of entry into prostitution in the United States is 13-14 years old.

• Children aged 17 years and below represent 26 percent of total victims, representing a total of 5.5 million child victims worldwide.

• 55 percent of forced labor victims are women and girls, as are 98 percent of sex trafficking victims.

• Nearly 1.5 million victims are laboring in conditions of forced labor, sexual exploitation, and servitude in the United States, Canada, and the EU.

• Human trafficking generates $9.5 billion yearly in the United States and $32 billion worldwide.

There are numerous organizations worldwide working on human trafficking prevention, rescue and rehabilitation. Go to www.Clintonfranciscans.com for a complete listing.

Nancy Miller

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