IRAQ, LIBYA, AFGHANISTAN – BEFORE & AFTER FOREIGN MILITARY INTERVENTIONS – RESPECT for the SANCTITY of ALL HUMAN LIVES as an IMPERATIVE to Contemporary 21st Century HUMAN CIVILISATION for PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE

 

IRAQ [SEPTEMBER 2016 SUMMIT], LIBYA [OCTOBER 2016 SUMMIT], AFGHANISTAN [NOVEMBER 2016 SUMMIT] – SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIVES BEFORE & AFTER FOREIGN MILITARY INTERVENTIONS


With the backdrops of the Balkans War and the Rwandan Massacre, Grotesque Human Rights abuses have often been used as the main Moral Reason for Foreign Intervention in Countries such as IRAQ, LIBYA and AFGHANISTAN. However, events following the massive destructions inflicted in the course of foreign invasions, Regime Change and the Consequential Failed State dividends and their impact on the Lives of Citizens have raised even Bigger Morale Questions. Questions are also asked as to whether these invasions have contributed in any shape or form to the rise of Islamic Extremism in the post Invasions Era and how the Soft Power of Diplomacy can be made more potent as a tool and model to Conflict Resolution between Dictatorships, States and Citizens to maintain the Peace and prevent the necessity of Foreign Interventions with their costly aggregate collateral damage.

The Central theme to be explored in these ‘GREAT Summit Series on Protecting the Sancity of ALL Human Lives” is the Fitness-for-Purpose, the Wisdom or Otherwise of Military Foreign Interventions in instances of Grotesque Human Rights abuse under so-called Dictatorships / Alternatives to Western Democracies.

SERIES ONE:

The first in the ‘GREAT Summit Series’ would look at the costly examples of IRAQ, LIBYA and AFGHANISTAN and the Distrust in International Arena that that stopped Froeign Intervention in Syria that oxyegenated the Civil War and its backlash of Refugees into Europe. In a Cost-Benefit Approach, the Economics of Foreign Invading Wars would be discussed. The arguments of the Peace Movement would be examined.

SERIES TWO:

Consideration will then be given to ‘Relevant Lessons from the Past [Learned or unlearnt] – the Cost of non-Foreign Military Intervention in former Dictatorships.

SERIES THREE:

This would be followed by Series to Explore the Comparisons of Life of citizens Under Colonialism and Native Self-Rule since the Proclamation of Independence on the African Continent.

EXPECTED PARTICIPANTS = ALL PEACE LOVING CITIZENS IN THE WORLD such as Students & Youth, Professional Women, Mothers, Lawyers, Human Rights Defenders, Peace Activists, Victims of Conflicts & Wars – Refugees, Economists, Policy Makers, Security Experts, Diplomats, Researchers, Academics, Journalists etc

1- Public Sector including but limited to Politicians & Political Parties, Trades Unions, Diplomatic Corps, Military, Police, Democracy & Peace Institutions, Public Funding Institutions etc.

2- Private Sector including but not limited to Entrepreneurs, Businessfolks & Investors, Banks, CBI, IOD, Football Clubs & Other Sporting Groups, Media Groups, Democracy & Peace Institutions, Private Charitable Foundations etc.

3- Charitable Sector including but not limited to Human Rights Defenders, Race Equality Organisations, Educational Institutions, NUS – National Union of Students, NCVO, Women Groups, Peace Institutions, Faith Communities [Churches, Mosques, Temples], Veteran Groups, International Development & Aid Agencies, other Charities, Funding Charitable Foundations etc.

PARTNERSHIPS SOUGHT: Sponsorships Partners, Funding Partners, Media Partners

For further information, please Email =

corpusgreatchancellor@outlook.com

or

corpusgreatcommunications@outlook.com

WHERE
London – T.B.CONFIRMED, London, United Kingdom – View Map
TAGS
London, United Kingdom Events Conference Other
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Corpus GREAT Institutes & Foundation | GREAT Ethical Corpus

Organizer of IRAQ, LIBYA, AFGHANISTAN – BEFORE & AFTER FOREIGN MILITARY INTERVENTIONS – RESPECT for the SANCTITY of ALL HUMAN LIVES as an IMPERATIVE to Contemporary 21st Century HUMAN CIVILISATION for PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE

Corpus GREAT Institutes & Foundation | GREAT Ethical Corpus is a College of Universal Centres of Excllence advocating for a a 21st Century Renaissance for the Sanctity of ALL Human Lives, Global Citizenship Rights, Collective Wellbeing & Peace as Imperatives for a More Perfect Human Civilisation.

Conceptualised at the turn of the Century in 2000, formally incorporated in 2008, GREAT Ethical Corpus has metamorphosized from a Single Issue Equalities Advocacy Group into an International Ethical Corporate with significant history-making achievements.

Corpus GREAT Institutes & Foundation | GREAT Ethical Corpus engages others in Matters of Legitimacy and Difficult Dialogues on the Central Thesis of Leadership Duty of Care for the Protection of the Sanctity of ALL Human Lives, not the least, Humanly Undignifying Matters involving Grotesque Global Citizenship Abuses, Economic Repression of Citizens in Dictatorships and Democracies, Leadership Accountability, Citizens as the Permanent Locus of Power, Governance Responsibility for the Security, Economic and Total Wellbeing of Citizens, Protection of the most Vulnerable in Society, that others would rather be silent on.

In the aftermath of the GREAT Economic Recession which continue to strangulate the Global Economy consequent to the Policy Choices of Governments, Corpus GREAT Institutes is persuaded to engage with matters of Citizens Economic & Financial Inclusion as Taxpayers, Electors and Hirers of Governments and Public Servants and works towards a harmonisation of interests.

Corpus GREAT Institutes & Foundation | GREAT Ethical Corpus is self-funded for over 7 years demonstrating incredible commitment and a culture of independence with incredible achievements. Moving forwards, Corpus GREAT Institutes is now actively looking to engage Inward Investments from External Funders in short, medium to longer term relationships consistent with and proportionate to the enduring character of thematics, horisons, complexities of subjects of activities and value generation to Public Benefit – in the Advnacement of an Inclusive Cohesive Human Civilisation in which Citizens are Active Stakeholders for Sustainable Peace – a Worthy Legacy to Bequeath Future Generations.

The activities of Corpus GREAT Institutes & Foundation | GREAT Ethical Corpus is strategically directed by a Board of Ambassadors and Fellows constituted by established Professionals, supported by an International Advisory Committee.

Corpus GREAT Institutes & Foundation | GREAT Ethical Corpus is keenly aware of the enromity of its objectives but also about the doability of their delivery through Ethical Partnerships with Forces for Good. As such we welcome Partnerships from all of kindred aspirations, ambitions and purpose to maximise postive difference in the Lives of Global Citizens.

To contact us, please Email:

corpusgreatchancellor@outlook.com

or

corpusgreatcommunications@outlook.com

To the Manifest Protection for the Sanctity of Your Life and ALL Lives; towards a More Peaceful, Perfect Human Civilisation.

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IRAQ [SEPTEMBER 2016 SUMMIT], LIBYA [OCTOBER 2016 SUMMIT], AFGHANISTAN [NOVEMBER 2016 SUMMIT] – SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIVES BEFORE & AFTER FOREIGN MILITARY INTERVENTIONS | Corpus GREAT Institutes Summit Series

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT – FORTHCOMING CORPUS GREAT SUMMIT SERIES ON THE SANCTITY OF ALL HUMAN LIVES/RIGHTS FOR PEACE. PLACES ARE LIMITED. REGISTER NOW!!!

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IRAQ [SEPTEMBER 2016 SUMMIT], LIBYA [OCTOBER 2016 SUMMIT], AFGHANISTAN [NOVEMBER 2016 SUMMIT] – SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIVES BEFORE & AFTER FOREIGN MILITARY INTERVENTIONS 


With the backdrops of the Balkans War and the Rwandan Massacre, Grotesque Human Rights abuses have often been used as the main Moral Reason for Foreign Intervention in Countries such as IRAQ, LIBYA and AFGHANISTAN. However, events following the massive destructions inflicted in the course of foreign invasions, Regime Change and the Consequential Failed State dividends and their impact on the Lives of Citizens have raised even Bigger Morale Questions. Questions are also asked as to whether these invasions have cotributed in any shape or form to the rise of Islamic Extremism in the post Invasions Era and how the Soft Power of Diplomacy can be made more potent as a tool and model to Conflict Resolution between Dictaroships, States and Citizens to maintain the Peace and prevent the necessity of Foreign Interventions.

The Central theme to be explored in these ‘GREAT Summit Series on Protecting the Sancity of Human Lives” is the Fitness-for-Purpose, the Wisdom or Otherwise of Military Foreign Interventions in instances of Grotesque Human Rights abuse under so-called Dictatorships / Alternatives to Western Democracies.

SERIES ONE:

The first in the ‘GREAT Summit Series’ would look at the costly examples of IRAQ, LIBYA and AFGHANISTAN and the Distrust in International Arena that that stopped Froeign Intervention in Syria that oxyegenated the Civil War and its backlash of Refugees into Europe. In a Cost-Benefit Approach, the Economics of Foreign Invading Wars would be discussed. The arguments of the Peace Movement would be examined.

SERIES TWO:

Consideration will then be given to ‘Relevant Lessons from the Past [Learned or unlearnt] – the Cost of non-Foreign Military Intervention in former Dictatorships.

SERIES THREE:

This would be followed by Series to Explore the Comparisons of Life of citizens Under Colonialism and Native Self-Rule since the Proclamation of Independence on the African Continent.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT – FORTHCOMING CORPUS GREAT SUMMIT SERIES ON THE SANCTITY OF ALL HUMAN LIVES/RIGHTS FOR PEACE. PLACES ARE LIMITED. REGISTER NOW!!!

Sonia Thompson, who quit a job paying over $200,000 a year explains why she’s happier earning less than a quarter as much – Corpus GREAT Communications

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Sonia Thompson Machu Picchu

In 2012, Sonia Thompson had it all.

Working in marketing for Johnson & Johnson, she was earning over $200,000 a year, living alone in a three-bedroom townhouse outside of Philadelphia. Things were good.

“I had this job that I loved — for a while — I had a house, I had all the things people say you should have,” she remembers. “I felt like I was living the American Dream.”

Things were good … but not great.

“I was in my early 30s and I had this feeling that there had to be more,” Thompson recalls. “It was great when I was acquiring the things, holding this high-powered job, but there was an emptiness there. I thought there had to be more than these physical things and this money. There has to be more to life than getting a mortgage and going to work every day to pay it off.”

Her revelation wasn’t exactly unexpected. In the first of her nine years working for the healthcare company, she had realized that the corporate life wasn’t for her. One day, she knew, she would want to strike out on her own. As her salary rose over the years, she didn’t inflate her lifestyle along with it, instead choosing to put her spare cash into savings for some day down the road.

“Someday” came when she returned from a two-week trip to South Africa in early 2012. It was the longest trip she’d taken in nine years working for her employer, and coincided with the completion of a manuscript for her book, “Delight Inside: Build Your Dream Business That Keeps Customers Coming Back for More.” Once she received an annual bonus of about $30,000 a month later, she had two years of living expenses saved and was ready to branch out on her own.

Thompson left her six-figure job and sold her 1,600-square-foot home with the idea of building a consulting business around the frameworks outlined in her book.

“Because I had that two-year cushion of savings, I didn’t feel like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I have to make money right now,'” Thompson says. “I had to learn about the type of business I wanted, and I could think strategically instead of taking whatever I could get. That buffer was able to give me what I needed.”

She began doing one-on-one consulting work with clients she found through her network, which turned into the business she runs today: TRY Business School. Now, she offersindividual coaching packages ranging from $199 for a single session to a six-month program for $500 a month, as well as a series of courses that range in price from $147 to $497 and a free summit.

Sonia Thompson Machu Picchu

Courtesy of Sonia ThompsonThompson at Machu Picchu on her first trip to South America.

 

But she’s taking it slow. Right now, her company’s annual revenue is about $36,000 a year, a sum that pales in comparison to her corporate compensation, but has allowed her to build the lifestyle she truly wants to live: half the year in her hometown of Tampa, Florida, and half the year in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a city that captured her heart when she visited it in 2014.

“It’s more than enough to live very comfortably here in Buenos Aires,” Thompson says. “There isn’t the pressure to make so much. I very much intend to make more in the future, but in the meantime there’s not a lot of pressure.”

When asked to describe how her life compares to her high-earning corporate reality only a few years ago, Thompson said that it’s “peaceful.”

“I feel like I lived in a constant state of stress. I was always responding to what my bosses needed. But now I’m able to work from anywhere, which is why I choose to be here in Buenos Aires — and if I don’t like it, I can change it. I feel much more in control of my life and my destiny.”

In fact, she remembers, before she left her job in 2012, a colleague told her, “You’re doing what I wish I had the courage to do.”

She reflects:

I remember that last six months, there were people I knew were unhappy in their jobs but felt stuck. They just didn’t want to leave the “safety” of their jobs. I would tell anyone who is feeling that way that there is so much more to experience and enjoy in life. You’re only getting a tiny slice of it. Maybe you’ll decide the corporate life is for you, but once you decide to explore and see what is possible, you can live the life of your dreams — and probably cheaper than you think you could.

 

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Jean Charles de Menezes Family Loses European Court Battle – Corpus GREAT Communications

 

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Jean Charles de MenezesImage copyrightOther

The family of Jean Charles de Menezes has lost a human rights challenge over the decision not to charge any UK police officer for his fatal shooting.

The Brazilian was killed at London’s Stockwell Tube in 2005 by police who mistook him for a terror suspect.

The decision that there was not enough evidence to prosecute anyone did not breach human rights laws, judges said.

His family, who had argued that the bar for prosecution should be lower, said they were “deeply disappointed”.

Mr de Menezes, an electrician who was 27, was followed and shot in the head by police marksmen who mistook him for a suicide bomber.

The incident came amid heightened tensions two weeks after the 7 July London bombings – in which four suicide bombers killed 52 people – and one day after attempted bombings on the London public transport network.

Profile: Jean Charles de Menezes

BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman said the ruling was “the last opportunity for the family to hold the state accountable”.

“The government and the Met were both very quick to acknowledge that what happened was a catastrophic mistake, but this ruling means the end of the road for the family in terms of changing the law,” he said.

CCTV footage showed Jean Charles de Menezes being pursued by armed officers at Stockwell tube stationImage copyrightPolice handout
Image captionCCTV footage showed Jean Charles de Menezes being pursued by armed officers at Stockwell tube station

Mr de Menezes’ family had challenged the test used by British prosecutors to decide whether there is sufficient evidence to charge someone with a crime.

Known as the 51% test, it says that authorities should only prosecute if a conviction is more likely than not.

‘Denied justice’

Lawyers for Mr de Menezes’ family claimed the threshold for evidence was too high, and was therefore incompatible with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights – which covers the right to life.

However, judges ruled against them by 13 votes to four.

British authorities had thoroughly investigated and concluded there was not sufficient evidence for a realistic chance of conviction of any one officer over the shooting, the court added.

The family had also argued the officers should not have been allowed to say they had acted in self-defence.

However the court in Strasburg backed the legal definition of self-defence in England and Wales – which says there must be an honest belief that the use of force was absolutely necessary.

De Menezes' parents at Stockwell Tube station
Jean Charles de Menezes’ parents, Matozinhos Otone Da Silva and Maria Otone de Menezes, visited the scene of his death at Stockwell Tube station in 2005
Patricia da Silva Armani
Jean Charles de Menezes’ cousin Patricia da Silva Armani, seen here at a protest in 2007, said the family were “deeply disappointed” by the ruling

Mr de Menezes’ cousin Patricia da Silva Armani, who was living with him at the time of his death, said the family would not give up the fight for justice.

“We had hoped that the ruling would give a glimmer of hope, not only to us, but to all other families who have been denied the right to justice after deaths at the hands of the police,” she said.

“We find it unbelievable that our innocent cousin could be shot seven times in the head by the Metropolitan Police when he had done nothing wrong, and yet the police have not had to account for their actions.

“As we have always maintained, we feel that decisions about guilt and innocence should be made by juries, not by faceless bureaucrats and we are deeply saddened that we have been denied that opportunity yet again.”


What is Article 2?

Armed police

In short, the article says the state must never arbitrarily take someone’s life, and must also safeguard the lives of those in its care.

It lists three scenarios where force at the hands of the state could be justified:

  • In defence of any person from unlawful violence
  • In order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained
  • In action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.

It also requires the government to carry out a independent investigation into all deaths caused by the state. This investigation must be brought about by the state of its own accord, and include an element of public scrutiny.


The European court judgment said the case was “undoubtedly tragic” and the frustration of Mr de Menezes’ family at the absence of any individual prosecutions was understandable.

However, the decision not to prosecute any individual officer was not due to any failings in the investigation “or the state’s tolerance of or collusion in unlawful acts”, the judgment said.

It added: “Rather, it was due to the fact that, following a thorough investigation, a prosecutor considered all the facts of the case and concluded that there was insufficient evidence against any individual officer to meet the threshold evidential test in respect of any criminal offence.”

‘Tragic case’

The UK government said the Strasbourg court had handed down “the right judgment”.

“The facts of this case are tragic, but the government considers that the court has upheld the important principle that individuals are only prosecuted where there is a realistic prospect of conviction,” a spokesperson said.

In a tragic case of mistaken identity, undercover police officers began following Mr de Menezes on 22 July 2005 because they thought he looked like Hussain Osman, a failed suicide bomber who was on the run.

Mr de Menezes’ flat shared a communal entrance with a property linked to Osman.

The undercover police followed him into the station where he was pinned down and shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder by two officers trained in stopping suicide bombers.

The CPS ruled out prosecuting officers in 2006, but they did charge the Met Police with breaching health and safety laws, leading to a £175,000 fine.


Legal timeline

Campaigners for Jean Charles de Menezes
A memorial to Mr Menezes was unveiled outside Stockwell station in 2010
  • 22 July 2005: Shot dead by police at Stockwell Tube station
  • 17 July 2006: CPS says no officers will be prosecuted, but Met Police will be tried for breaching health and safety laws
  • 1 November 2007: Met Police found guilty of breaching health and safety laws and fined
  • 22 October 2008: Inquest under way – coroner rules out unlawful killing verdict a month later
  • 12 December 2008: Inquest jury returns open verdict
  • 16 November 2009: Met Police settles damages claim with family
  • 10 June 2015: De Menezes family take legal challenge to European Court of Human Rights
  • 30 March 2016: Family lose challenge over decision not to charge any police officer over the shooting

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Shandra Woworuntu: My Life as a Sex-trafficking Victim – Corpus GREAT Communications

 

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  • 30 March 2016
  • From the sectionMagazine
Shandra WoworuntuImage copyrightLynn Savarese

Shandra Woworuntu arrived in the US hoping to start a new career in the hotel industry. Instead, she found she had been trafficked into a world of prostitution and sexual slavery, forced drug-taking and violence. It was months before she was able to turn the tables on her persecutors. Some readers may find her account of the ordeal upsetting.

I arrived in the United States in the first week of June, 2001. To me, America was a place of promise and opportunity. As I moved through immigration I felt excited to be in a new country, albeit one that felt strangely familiar from movies and TV.

In the arrivals hall I heard my name, and turned to see a man holding a sign with my picture. It wasn’t a photo I cared for very much. The recruitment agency in Indonesia had dressed me up in a revealing tank top. But the man holding it smiled at me warmly. His name was Johnny, and I was expecting him to drive me to the hotel I would be working in.

The fact that this hotel was in Chicago, and I had arrived at JFK airport in New York nearly 800 miles away, shows how naive I was. I was 24 and had no idea what I was getting into.

After graduating with a degree in finance, I had worked for an international bank in Indonesia as an analyst and trader. But in 1998, Indonesia was hit by the Asian financial crisis, and the following year the country was thrown into political turmoil. I lost my job.

Shandra and her colleagues at the Indonesian bankImage copyrightShandra Woworuntu
Image captionShandra stands just to the right of the man in the centre

So to support my three-year-old daughter I started to look for work overseas. That was when I saw an ad in a newspaper for work in the hospitality industry in big hotels in the US, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. I picked the US, and applied.

The requirement was that I could speak a little English and pay a fee of 30m Indonesian rupiahs (in 2001, about $2,700). There was a lengthy recruitment process, with lots of interviews. Among other things they asked me to walk up and down and smile. “Customer service is the key to this job,” I was told.

I passed all the tests and took the job. The plan was that my mother and sister would look after my little girl while I worked abroad for six months, earning $5,000 a month. Then I would come home to raise my daughter.

I arrived at JFK with four other women and a man, and we were divided into two groups. Johnny took all my documents, including my passport, and led me to his car with two of the other women.

That was when things started to get strange.

A driver took us a short way, to Flushing in Queens, before he pulled into a car park and stopped the car. Johnny told the three of us to get out and get into a different car with a different driver. We did as we were told, and I watched through the window as the new driver gave Johnny some money. I thought, “Something here is not right,” but I told myself not to worry, that it must be part of the way the hotel chain did business with the company they used to pick people up from the airport.

But the new driver didn’t take us very far either. He parked outside a diner, and again we had to get out of the car and get into another one, as money changed hands. Then a third driver took us to a house, and we were exchanged again.

The fourth driver had a gun. He forced us to get in his car and took us to a house in Brooklyn, then rapped on the door, calling “Mama-san! New girl!”

By this time I was freaking out, because I knew “Mama-san” meant the madam of a brothel. But by this time, because of the gun, there was no escape.

The door swung open and I saw a little girl, perhaps 12 or 13, lying on the ground screaming as a group of men took turns to kick her. Blood poured from her nose and she was howling, screaming in pain. One of the men grinned and started fooling around with a baseball bat in front of me, as if in warning.

And just a few hours after my arrival in the US, I was forced to have sex.

The brothel in BrooklynImage copyrightShandra Woworuntu
Image captionThe brothel in Brooklyn where Shandra was taken on her first day in the US

I was terrified, but something in my head clicked into place – some kind of survival instinct. I learned from witnessing that first act of violence to do what I was told.

The following day, Johnny appeared and apologised at length for everything that had happened to us after we had parted company. He said there must have been a terrible mistake. That day we would get our pictures taken for our ID cards, and we would be taken to buy uniforms, and then we would go to the hotel in Chicago to start our jobs.

“We’ll be OK,” he said, rubbing my back. “It won’t happen again.” I trusted him. After the bad things I had just endured he was like an angel. “OK,” I thought. “The nightmare is over. Now I’ll go to Chicago to start my job.”

A man came and took us to a photo studio, where we had our pictures taken, and then he drove us to a store to buy uniforms. But it was a lingerie store, full of skimpy, frilly things, the like of which I had never seen before. They were not “uniforms”.

It’s kind of funny, to look back on that moment. I knew I was being lied to and that my situation was perilous. I remember looking around that shop, wondering if I could somehow slip away, disappear. But I was scared and I didn’t know anyone in America, so I was reluctant to leave the other two Indonesian girls. I turned, and saw that they were enjoying the shopping trip.

Then I looked at my escort and saw he was concealing a gun, and he was watching me. He made a gesture that told me not to try anything.

Later that day our group was split up and I was to see little of those two women again. I was taken away by car, not to Chicago, but to a place where my traffickers forced me to perform sex acts.

The traffickers were Indonesian, Taiwanese, Malaysian Chinese and American. Only two of them spoke English – mostly, they would just use body language, shoves, and crude words. One thing that especially confused and terrified me that night, and that continued to weigh on me in the weeks that followed, was that one of the men had a police badge. To this day I don’t know if he was a real policeman.

They told me I owed them $30,000 and I would pay off the debt $100 at a time by serving men. Over the following weeks and months, I was taken up and down Interstate 95, to different brothels, apartment buildings, hotels and casinos on the East Coast. I was rarely two days in the same place, and I never knew where I was or where I was going.

These brothels were like normal houses on the outside and discos on the inside, with flashing lights and loud music. Cocaine, crystal meth and weed were laid out on the tables. The traffickers made me take drugs at gunpoint, and maybe it helped make it all bearable. Day and night, I just drank beer and whisky because that’s all that was on offer. I had no idea that you could drink the tap water in America.

Shandra and other trafficking victims in ConnecticutImage copyrightShandra Woworuntu
Image captionShandra and three other trafficking victims near a brothel in Connecticut. They were told to pose.

Twenty-four hours a day, we girls would sit around, completely naked, waiting for customers to come in. If no-one came then we might sleep a little, though never in a bed. But the quiet times were also when the traffickers themselves would rape us. So we had to stay alert. Nothing was predictable.

Despite this vigilance, it was like I was numb, unable to cry. Overwhelmed with sadness, anger, disappointment, I just went through the motions, doing what I was told and trying hard to survive. I remembered the sight of that small girl being beaten, and I saw the traffickers hurt other women too if they made trouble or refused sex. The gun, the knife and the baseball bat were fixtures in a shifting and unstable world.

They gave me the nickname “Candy”. All the trafficked women were Asian – besides us Indonesians, there were girls from Thailand, China and Malaysia. There were also women who were not sex slaves. They were prostitutes who earned money and seemed free to come and go.

Most nights, at around midnight, one of the traffickers would drive me to a casino. They would dress me up to look like a princess. My trafficker would wear a black suit and shiny black shoes, and walk silently alongside me like he was my bodyguard, all the time holding a gun to my back. We didn’t go through the lobby, but through the staff entrance and up the laundry lift.

I remember the first time I was ushered into a casino hotel room, I thought perhaps I would be able to make a run for it when I came out. But my trafficker was waiting for me in the corridor. He showed me into the next room. And the next one. Forty-five minutes in each room, night after night after night, the trafficker always waiting on the other side of the door.

Because I was compliant, I was not beaten by my traffickers, but the customers were very violent. Some of them looked like they were members of the Asian mafia, but there were also white guys, black guys, and Hispanic guys. There were old men and young university students. I was their property for 45 minutes and I had to do what they said or they hurt me.

What I endured was difficult and painful. Physically, I was weak. The traffickers only fed me plain rice soup with a few pickles, and I was often high on drugs. The constant threat of violence, and the need to stay on high alert, was also very exhausting.

My only possession – apart from my “uniform” – was a pocketbook [a small handbag], and the things it contained. I had a dictionary, a small Bible, and some pens and books of matches I pilfered from hotel rooms, with the names of the casinos on them.

I also kept a diary, something I had done since I was little. Writing in a mix of Indonesian, English, Japanese and symbols, I tried to record what I did, where I went and how many people were with me. I kept track of dates too, as best as I could. It was difficult because inside the brothels, there was no way for me to know if it was day or night.

My mind was always thinking about escape, but the opportunities were so rare.

One night I was locked in an attic in a brothel in Connecticut. The room had a window that I found I could open, so I roped the bed sheets and my clothes together and tied them to the window frame, then clambered out. But I got to the end of my makeshift rope and saw I was still a long, long way from the ground. There was nothing for it but to climb back up.

Then, one day, I was taken to the brothel in Brooklyn where I had arrived on my first day in the US. I was with a 15-year-old Indonesian girl I’ll call Nina, who had become a friend. She was a sweet, beautiful girl. And she was spirited – on one occasion she refused to do as she was told, and a trafficker roughly twisted her hand, causing her to scream.

We were talking with another woman who was in the brothel, who was the “bottom bitch”, which means she was sort of in charge of us. She was being nice, saying that if we ever got out I should call this guy who would give us a proper job, and we would be able to save up some money to go home. I wrote his number in small piece of paper and I kept it safe.

And it was while she was talking about our debt – the $30,000 the traffickers said we had to pay back – that I just started to freak out. I felt sure I would die before I ever served 300 men. I closed my eyes and prayed for some kind of help.

Not long afterwards, I went to the bathroom and saw a small window. It was screwed shut, but Nina and I turned all the taps on loud, and, my hands shaking, I used a spoon to unscrew the bracket as quickly as I could. Then we climbed through the window and jumped down on the other side.

We called the number we had been given and an Indonesian man answered. Just like the bottom bitch had said, he promised to help us. We were so excited. He met us and checked us into a hotel, and told us to wait there until he could find us jobs.

He looked after us, bought us food and clothes and so on. But after a few weeks he tried to get us to sleep with men in the hotel. When we refused, he phoned Johnny to come and pick us up. It turned out he was just another trafficker, and he, the bottom bitch, and everybody else were all working together.

Shandra Woworuntu and one of her traffickersImage copyrightShandra Woworuntu
Image captionShandra with the last man who trafficked her

This is when I finally had a stroke of luck.

Near the hotel, before Johnny arrived, I managed to escape from my new trafficker and I took off down the street, wearing only slippers and carrying nothing but my pocketbook. I turned, and shouted at Nina to follow me, but the trafficker held on to her tightly.

I found a police station and told an officer my whole story. He didn’t believe me and turned me away. It was perfectly safe for me, he said, to go back on the streets with no money or documents. Desperate for help, I approached two other police officers on the street and got the same response.

So I went to the Indonesian consulate, to seek help getting documents such as a passport, and some support. I knew that they had a room that people could sleep in in an emergency. But they didn’t help me either.

I was angry and upset. I didn’t know what to do. I had come to the US in the summer, but it was getting towards winter now and I was cold. I slept on the Staten Island Ferry, the NYC subway and in Times Square. I begged for food from strangers, and whenever I could get them to listen, I told them my story, and I told them that there was a house nearby where women were imprisoned, and that they needed help.

One day, in Grand Ferry Park in Williamsburg, a man called Eddy bought me some food. He was from Ohio, a sailor on holiday. “Come back tomorrow at noon,” he said, after I had gone through my tale.

I was so happy I didn’t stop to ask him what “noon” meant. I knew from school that “afternoon” meant PM, so my best guess was that “noon” was another word for “morning”. So early the next day I went to the same place in the park, and waited hours for Eddy to return.

When he finally came, he told me he had made some calls on my behalf. He had spoken to the FBI, and the FBI had phoned the police precinct. We were to go that minute to the station, where the officers would try to help me.

So Eddy drove me there, and two detectives questioned me at length. I showed them my diary with details of the location of the brothels, and the books of matches from the casinos where I had been forced to work. They phoned the airline and immigration, and they found that my story checked out.

“OK,” they said in the end. “Are you ready to go?”

“Go where?” I asked.

“To pick up your friends,” they replied.

So I got in a police car and we drove to the brothel in Brooklyn. To my relief I was able to find it again.

Shandra WoworuntuImage copyrightLes Menocal

Find out more


It was just like a scene from a movie, except instead of watching it on TV I was looking out of the window of a parked car. Outside the brothel, there were undercover police pretending to be homeless people – I remember one of them pushing a shopping trolley. Then there were detectives, armed police and a Swat team with sniper rifles lurking nearby.

I can enjoy it now, but at the time I was very tense, and worried that the police would enter the building and find that nothing was happening there that night. Would they think I was lying? Would I go to jail, instead of my persecutors?

A police officer dressed as a customer pressed the buzzer to the brothel. I saw Johnny appear in the doorway, and, after a brief discussion, swing open the metal grille. He was instantly forced back into the blackness. Within seconds, the whole team of police had swept up the steps and into the building. Not a single shot was fired.

An hour passed. Then I was told I could get out of the car and approach the building. They had covered one of the windows with paper and cut a hole in it for me to look through. In this way, I identified Johnny and the girls working in the brothel without being seen. There were three women there, Nina among them.

Let me tell you that when I saw those women emerge from the building, naked except for towels wrapped around them, it was the greatest moment of my life. Giving birth is a miracle, yes, but nothing compares to the emotions I experienced as my friends gained their freedom. In the flashing blue and red lights of the police cars, we were dancing, yelling, screaming for joy!

Johnny was charged and eventually convicted, as were two other men who were caught in the following days. I still needed support, though, and an opportunity to heal.

The FBI connected me with Safe Horizon, an organisation in New York that helps victims of crime and abuse, including survivors of human trafficking. They helped me to stay in the United States legally, provided me with shelter and connected me with resources to get a job.

More than a dozen business cardsImage copyrightShandra Woworuntu
Image captionBusiness cards from the many people who helped Shandra’s case

I could have returned to my family in Indonesia, but the FBI needed my testimony to make their case against the traffickers, and I really wanted them to go to jail. The whole process took years.

In Indonesia, the traffickers came looking for me at my mother’s house, and she and my daughter had to go into hiding. Those men were looking for me for a long time. So great was the danger to my daughter that eventually the US government and Safe Horizon made it possible for her to join me in America. We were finally reunited in 2004.

In return for helping the government, I was granted permanent residency in 2010. At that point, they told me I could choose a new name, for my own safety. But I decided to stick with good old Shandra Woworuntu. It is, after all, my name. The traffickers took so much – why should I give them that too?

A couple of years after my escape, I began getting severe pain and numbness in my joints. I developed skin problems and found I was suffering from terrible migraines.

After many tests, the doctors put it all down to the psychological toll of what I had been through.

It’s been 15 years now, but I still have sleepless nights. My relationships with men are still far from normal. I still see a therapist every week, and I still go, once a fortnight, to a psychiatrist to pick up a prescription for anti-depressants.

I still get flashbacks, all the time. The smell of whisky makes me retch and if I hear certain ringtones – the ones my traffickers had – my body stiffens with fear. Faces in a crowd terrify me – they jump out, familiar for an instant, and I go to pieces.

Spend any time with me and you will see me fiddling nervously with the ring on my finger to calm myself down. I used to wear an elastic band on my arm, that I would snap continuously, and a scarf that I would twist about.

So happiness eludes me, and perhaps it always will. But I have got better at dealing with my flashbacks. I love to sing in a choir, and I have found raising my children to be very healing. My little girl is a big girl now – a teenager! – and I have a nine-year-old son too.

I have decided to do everything I can to help other victims of trafficking. I started an organisation, Mentari, which helps survivors reintegrate into community, and connects them to the job market.

An Indonesian girl reading the comic book that warns of traffickingImage copyrightShandra Woworuntu
Image captionAn Indonesian girl reading the comic book that warns of trafficking

At the same time, we are trying to raise awareness of the risks of coming to the US among people who still see this country as some kind of dream land. Every year, 17,000 to 19,000 people are brought to the US to be trafficked. Last year, we helped publish an educational comic book on the issue in Indonesian. We also provide chickens and seed so that the poorest can raise the chickens to sell and eat, and don’t feel they have to sell their children to traffickers.

Not all victims of trafficking are poor, though. Some, like me, have college degrees. I have helped a doctor and a teacher from the Philippines. I have also helped men who were trafficked, not only women, and one person who was 65 years old.

I have spoken about my experiences at church halls, schools, universities and government institutions.

After I first started to tell my story, the Indonesian consulate approached me, not with an apology but a request for me to retract my statements about their refusal to help. Sorry, too late – it’s out there. I can’t pretend what you did didn’t happen. Even after my case made the news, the Indonesian government didn’t bother to get in touch to check if I was OK, or needed help.

As well as working with community groups, I have also addressed the Mexican government and last year I testified before the US Senate.

I asked the senators to introduce legislation to ensure that workers recruited overseas know their rights, are not charged fees, and are told the truth about the salary and living conditions they can expect in the US. I’m happy to say that since then the law has been changed and overseas recruitment agencies have to register with the Department of Labour before they can operate.

I was also lobbying the Senate, on behalf of the National Survivor Network, to place victims of human trafficking in roles where we can have a direct impact on policy.

The Survivors of Human Trafficking Empowerment Act has done exactly that. I’m honoured to say that in December 2015 I was asked to join a new advisory council, and we met for the first time in January, at the White House.

Shandra speaking in a news conferenceImage copyrightNY State Assembly
Image captionShandra speaking after the New York Assembly pledged to crack down on trafficking
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Shandra speaks during a news conference with U.S. House of Representatives Victims' Rights Caucus Chairman Rep. Ted Poe and Rep. Carolyn MaloneyImage copyrightGetty Images
Image captionAt a news conference with members of Congress Ted Poe and Carolyn Maloney
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Shandra with other members of the Advisory Council on Human Trafficking and Secretary of State John KerryImage copyrightThe White House
Image captionAnd at the White House with fellow members of the Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, and Secretary of State John Kerry

We urgently need to educate Americans about this subject. Looking back on my own experiences, I think all those casino and hotel workers must have known what was going on. And that brothel in Brooklyn was in a residential area – did the neighbours never stop to ask why an endless stream of men came to the house, night and day?

The problem is that people see trafficked women as prostitutes, and they see prostitutes not as victims, but criminals. And in cities, people turn a blind eye to all sorts of criminality.

We might start by putting men who pay for sex in jail. After that brothel in Brooklyn was raided many sex buyers were interviewed, but all were later released.

Nowadays, men who are caught in the act are sent to a one-day session called John School. It’s not really punishment, but it teaches them how to identify children in brothels, and women being coerced into sex work. Good – but not good enough. I think men who pay for sex with trafficked women or men should have their names put on a public list, just like they do for child abusers and sexual predators.

I am still close friends with Nina, who recently turned 30. And for years, I had a phone number for Eddy, the man who spoke to the FBI on my behalf, when I was desperate.

In 2014, around Christmas, I dialled the number. I was going to tell him about everything that had happened to me, but he cut me off, saying, “I know it all. I followed the news. I am so glad for you, that you have made a life for yourself.”

Then he said, “Don’t even think about saying thank you to me – you have done it all yourself.”

But I would like to thank you, Eddy, for listening to my story that day in the park, and helping me start my life again.

Shandra on stage, her fist in the airImage copyrightGetty Images
Image captionShandra Woworuntu speaking at a march to end violence against women, in March 2016
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Shandra making a V signImage copyrightMentari

Listen to Shandra Woworuntu speak to Outlook on the BBC World Service.

 

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Solidarity with the Total Wellbeing of ALL Women, Rapid Gender Equality & Removal of All Instruments of Gender Discrimination on International Women’s Day 2016: “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality” – Corpus GREAT Communications

Solidarity with the Total Wellbeing of ALL Women, Rapid Gender Equality & Removal of All Instruments of Gender Discrimination on International Women’s Day 2016: “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It U…

Source: Solidarity with the Total Wellbeing of ALL Women, Rapid Gender Equality & Removal of All Instruments of Gender Discrimination on International Women’s Day 2016: “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality” – Corpus GREAT Communications

Solidarity with the Total Wellbeing of ALL Women, Rapid Gender Equality & Removal of All Instruments of Gender Discrimination on International Women’s Day 2016: “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality” – Corpus GREAT Communications

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Solidarity with the Total Wellbeing of ALL Women, Rapid Gender Equality & Removal of All Instruments of Gender Discrimination on International Women’s Day 2016: “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.

 

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On International Women’s Day 2016, Corpus GREAT Institutes | GREAT Ethical Corpus register unflinching support for SMART Programs of Action to Manifest the Holistic Wellbeing of ALL Women, Expedition of Efforts to Realise Gender Equality, not least the Removal of All Blockages, Discrimination, Stigma and Stereotyping of Women across the Globe.    

Dr Koku Adomdza HRH, Chancellor, President & Consultant Fellow at Corpus GREAT Institutes reflects that, “We believe that discrimination Against Women is Primitive and should be abolished with deliberate rapid abandon by the Enlightened. If women can go through the rigours of Pregnancy, Childbirth, Childcare and Parenting, there is hardly anything that men can do that women [the bearers of men] cannot do; except where there is greater exposure to health risks. We seize this opportunity to condemn all Acts of Violence, Aggression, Bullying, Abduction, Child Marriages, Forced Marriages, Human Trafficking, Sexual Violence against Females as barbaric and should be stopped by Men forthwith. While not all Women are virtuous similar to men, Gender Equality is a Fundamental Human Legal Requirement that must be complied with, for the good of Human Civilisation. That it has taken this long is a damnation of the Societal Progress. There is no reason why there cannot be a Global Revolution for the Total Eradication of Discrimination against Women from 2016. We strongly advocate for such without reservation.

After over a century of Gender Equality Struggle, it is scandalous that Men-dominated Human Civilisation remains starkly deficient by oppressive conveyor belts of Institutional and Process Discrimination Against Womenfolk.

Given that every human being is a product of the Womb of a Woman, it remains a Conundrum that Gender Equality has not been attained.

The continued marginalisation and exclusion of Women characterises one of the needless but man-inflicted widespread unenlightened blight, which deprives the World of the unearthed Colossal Contributions that Women could make, besides the priceless yet unrewarding functions of procreation, childbearing and home-management.

The Incredible Strength of Women is dotted throughout history where regardless of the complicated web of Discrimination against Women, some have broken through and made history – Clara Zetkin, Sojourner Truth, Florence Nightingale, Madam Theresa, Indira Ghandi, Yaa Asantewaa, Bernice Akua Takyiwaa Sunu, Rosa Parkes, Angela Davies, Dr Maya Angelou, Madam Ruth Rose Mable Sunu-Ocloo, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Queen Elizabeth II, Winnie Mandela, Malala Yousafzai – to name a few. Imagine therefore the tremendous Added-value in a world with zero-tolerance of Discrimination Against Women?

In the light of the foregoing we call for a 21st Century Gender Equality Renaissance for the Total Eradication of Discrimination against Women i.e. beyond Legislation.

We wish All Women of the World Godspeed and Total Wellbeing.

 

 

International Women’s Day | What Is It, How Did It Start & How to Participate

What is International Women’s Day?

International Women’s Day is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements – from the political to the social – while calling for gender equality. It has been observed since the early 1900s and is now recognised each year on March 8.

IWD Philipino Women

Filipino women march in Manila, Philippines, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2016

This year there is a Google Doodle marking the celebration featuring women and girls across the world who complete the sentence ‘One day I will’, talking about their dreams and ambitions.

 

What’s This Year’s Theme?

The 2016 theme is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”. The idea is to accelerate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which was formally adopted by world leaders at a 2015 UN summit. It focuses on reducing poverty, huger, disease and gender equality.

 

IWD Pakistani Women

A rally to mark International Women’s Day 2016 in Lahore, Pakistan

Google visited 13 countries and spoke to 337 women to create the video. Their goals varied from “swimming with pigs in the Bahamas” to “giving a voice to those girls who can’t speak”.

The cities visited were San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Lagos, Moscow, Cairo, Berlin, London, Paris, Jakarta, Bangkok, New Delhi and Tokyo.

Women and girls who are inspired by the doodle are encouraged to take to Twitter to share their own aspirations with the hashtag #OneDayIWill.

Even women who have already accomplished great things were interviewed. Dame Jane Goodall, one of the world’s leading experts on chimpanzees, shares her hope to one day discuss the environment with the Pope.

Malala Yousafzai, the youngest ever recipient of a Nobel Prize, and activist Muzoon Almellehan will continue to work towards a future where every girl can go to school.

 

How Did It Start?

It’s difficult to say exactly when IWD (as it’s known) began. Its roots can be traced to 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding voting rights, better pay and shorter working hours.

A year later, the first National Woman’s Day was observed in the US on 28 February in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America.

“In 1911, it was celebrated for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March.”

In 1910, a woman called Clara Zetkin – leader of the ‘women’s office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany – tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She suggested that every country should celebrate women on one day every year to push for their demands.

A conference of more than 100 women from 17 countries agreed to her suggestion and IWD was formed. In 1911, it was celebrated for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19.

In 1913, it was decided to transfer IWD to March 8, and it has been celebrated on that day ever since. The day was only recognised by the United Nations in 1975, but ever since it has created a theme each year for the celebration.

 

What Anniversary Are We On Now?

The first IWD to be officially recognised as thus happened in 1911, so the centenary was celebrated in 2011. This year is the 105th.

In 2011, US President Barack Obama proclaimed March to be ‘Women’s History Month’.

 

IWD President Obama

Barack Obama coined Women’s History Month

 

Why Do We Still Celebrate It?

The original aim of the day – to achieve full gender equality for women the world – has still not been realised. A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Figures show that globally, women’s education, health and violence towards women is still worse than that of men.

On IWD, women across the world come together to force the world to recognise these inequalities – whilst celebrating the achievements of women who have overcome these barriers.

 

IWD Malala

Malala Yousafzai won a Nobel Prize for speaking out for girls’ rights to education

 

How Can You Celebrate?

There are many ways you can get involved in IWD:

 

IWD Kabul

An artist paints a mural of a female police officer to mark International Women’s Day in Kabul, Afghanistan

 

  1. Make A Pledge For Parity

This involves going to the IWD website and pledging to help women and girls achieve their ambitions; call for gender-balanced leadership and create flexible cultures.

  1. Join One Of The Many Events Happening Around The World

The IWD website shows where events are happening in countries and towns. For instance in London, there are a number of panels, luncheons, and even a football match between West Ham ladies and Tottenham Hotspur ladies.

  1. Host Your Own Event

It’s still not too late. IWD encourages people to host a prominent speaker and create an event of their own.

  1. Go To Southbank’s Women Of The World Festival

This takes place in London from March 8-13 to celebrate IWD with a series of events.

 

 Thousands Of Women Marched Last Weekend In The UK – Was This For IWD?

No, not specifically. But they are connected. As March is women’s history month, a number of organisations have set up events around this time to highlight inequality.

On Saturday March 5, around 10,000 women marched in London as part of the ninth annual Million Women Rise march. It takes place on the weekend before IWD every year, and brings together thousands of women marching to end male violence against women.

On Sunday March 6, women marched in London as part of Care International’s Walk In Her Shoes.  Annie Lennox, Bianca Jagger and Dr Helen Pankhurst led the event that celebrated women’s achievement across the globe.

 

IWD Annie Lennox

Annie Lennox takes Part In the ‘Walk In Her Shoes’ march in London

How Is IWD Celebrated Across The World?

Countries celebrate it in different ways. It is an official holiday in a number of places including: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.

Other countries celebrate it in a similar way to Mother’s Day with men presenting their wives, girlfriends, mothers and female friends with flowers and gifts.

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