I hope you’re all enjoying  my blog and find it informative. I know I’ve been recently posting a lot of Human Trafficking stuff but it really bothers me that modern day slavery exists. There are too many people being treated like commodities; people have become unmoved by human right violations. Circumstances such as being uneducated or being poor are huge factors to why people are trafficked today. Even in the United States it occurs through forced labor and prostitution. Foreigners are mostly targeted to work with no pay and restricted movement. Women and girls are forced to sleep with multiple men at truck stops throughout this nation and not all of them are working at their own will. I think the overall cultprute is globalization. Just reading the way factories are ran in China where nets have to be placed so workers don’t commit suicide is deplorable.

I am going to be posting a few more Q and A and profiles of noteworthy people. I’m thinking more new stories related to human right violations in the near future. If you know any outstanding individual or event that should be profiled or covered contact me via e-mail . Also, if you’d like to give me any feedback feel free to contact me.

I will be working this summer closely with a non profit organization ran by a very close friend. More details to come.




Nightmare for Nigeria’s School Girls

This is horrifying.

The Advocates Post

Girls in school in Nigeria Image: Naija247News Girls in school in Nigeria
Image: Naija247News

On the night of April 14, dozens of armed men showed up at the dormitory of the Government Girls Secondary school in Chibok in northeastern Nigeria.  Dressed in Nigerian military uniforms, they told the girls that they were there to take them to safety and herded the girls into trucks and onto motorcycles.  At first, the girls believed them. But when the men started shooting their guns into the air and shouting, “Allahu Akbar,”  they realized that the men were militants from Boko Haram and that they were in serious danger.

Forty-three girls managed to escape by running away or jumping out of the trucks. But as many as 234 school girls between the ages of 12 and 17 were kidnapped, disappearing into the night without a trace. Two weeks later, their parents still have no idea where they are. And yesterday, village elders from…

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Brazil tackling child prostitution for World Cup

really sad.

The CNN Freedom Project: Ending Modern-Day Slavery

By Shasta Darlington, CNN

The newly-renovated Castelao football stadium looms into sight up ahead. Driving just past it, we see women standing on street corners, leaning into cars and flashing nearly naked bodies in the low light.

We’re in Fortaleza in the northeastern corner of Brazil, one of the World Cup host cities but also known as a magnet for sex tourism.


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Dr. Roza Pati

Professor of Law &  Executive Director, LL.M./J.S.D. Program in

Intercultural Human Rights

Director, Human Trafficking Academy

Member, Pontifical Council for Justice & Peace, The Vatican


Q: How many years have you been teaching International, Human Rights, and Human Trafficking Law at St. Thomas University School of Law?


A: I have been at St. Thomas Law since 2002 as Executive Director of the Graduate Program in Intercultural Human Rights, a program that offers a Master of Laws degree as well as a Doctorate of the Science of Law. Since 2004, I have also been teaching and now I am a tenured Professor of Law. I have taught courses such as International Law, Human Rights Law, Human Trafficking Law, Human Rights and Terrorism, and Health and Human Rights. I am also Faculty Advisor to the renowned Intercultural Human Rights Law Review, a journal that provides a forum for dialogue between scholars and practitioners of various legal cultures in the field of international law generally, and human rights in particular, with the goal to develop effective solutions to global problems, approximating a world public order of human dignity.


Q: Can you tell me a bit about the work you do pertaining Human Trafficking?


A: Well, at St. Thomas Law we have undertaken robust work that relates to combating modern slavery—human trafficking — both academically and practically. Since 2004, we have hosted, organized and participated in numerous symposia, roundtables, conferences and training sessions on multiple issues related to human trafficking, both in our country and abroad: from Vatican City to Bogota, to Bucharest, to Siena, to Monteria, to Vienna, to Buenos Aires, to mention but a few of the venues. Under my direction and guidance, at St. Thomas Law we have developed TheHumanTraffickingAcademy,aproject which was initiallyfundedbythe U.S. DepartmentofJustice,BureauofJustice Assistance. The Academy aimsat conducting education, outreach and research inthefield of human trafficking.Inparticular,itoffersspecializedtrainingandtechnicalassistancetolawenforcement,lawyers, healthcareproviders,teachers,students, researchers,religiousinstitutionsandthecommunityatlargeonissues relatedtothecrimeoftraffickinginpersons. I am happy to note that we are offering a one week intensive Academy on human trafficking this summer, July 28 to August 1, 2014, and I invite all those interested to consider joining us in this most exciting event. Information on the Academy and registration can be accessed through our Academy website at: www.humantraffickingacademy.org .


Q. What motivated you to speak out against Human Trafficking?


A: My interest started early on, in 1994-1995, back in my homeland by birth, the Eastern European country of Albania. I was a public official, President of the Council of the District of Lezhe, in North-Western Albania. At that time, right after the fall of Communism in my country, with the opening of the borders and the freedom of movement, people started to migrate to Western Europe in large numbers. Unfortunately, a number of women and young girls were lured or forced to migrate to various countries to be exploited, mostly in commercial sexual industry. Young girls who were aspiring for a better life were actually defrauded into commercial sexual exploitation in the brothels and on the streets of Western Europe. This phenomenon shocked the conscience and the moral code of our communities and it is since then that I started doing work to fight human trafficking. I had the chance to go onto the streets of Rome, Turin and Milan, with the Italian police late at night, and was shocked by the reality of Albanian girls exploited by organized crime. That was the start of my modest journey in combating human trafficking. I have not stopped since.


Q: What are some of your most valued professional achievements?


A: In my 26 years of work experience, God has blessed me with many professional achievements, and it is indeed hard to choose, from amongst such experiences, the ones to be most valued. In a way, I feel great about all my professional life from my early start as a teacher to an elected public official in various capacities, including Member of Parliament and Cabinet Member, Secretary of State for Youth and Women, to officer and consultant of prestigious international NGOs such as International Rescue Committee (IRC), Mercy Corps and OXFAM Great Britain, to Professor of Law and Executive Director of Intercultural Human Rights and Director of Human Trafficking Academy at St. Thomas University School of Law, to Member of Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican. And, the greatest blessing that permeates all my professional life is working with people and for people, particularly those marginalized. As a proud citizen of the United States, my adopted homeland, I have joined those who strive for human rights and human dignity world-wide. In this great republic of ours, there are endless opportunities to serve and love others, to care for your neighbor– it is indeed a most cherished American value, as is the other distinctly American value of meritocracy.


Q: Can you tell me about your experience serving as a Member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, at the Vatican?


A. I am indeed humbled by my appointment by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. I am presently the only U.S. Member of the Council, and I do consider it a great responsibility. The Council is uniquely positioned to promote peace and justice in the world, all in light of the Gospel and the social teaching of the Church. The work of the Council focuses on action-oriented studies to promote justice, particularly social justice, social and human development, eradication of poverty; work for peace and international security; focus on the dignity of the human person as the foundation for the protection and promotion of universal, interdependent and inalienable human rights. As a member of the Council, I am invited to discern the signs of our times: to raise issues of concern in our Western Hemisphere and to offer ideas and explore solutions to the problems. One particular issue that I am bringing up for deeper discussion is the role of religious institutions of all faiths, in eliminating human trafficking. A large part of my scholarship over many years has been dedicated to looking into human trafficking as a major violation of human rights, and to the duties of nation-states to combat human trafficking locally and globally. I am thrilled to see our Holy Father Pope Francis putting an emphatic priority to the de facto abolishment of modern-day slavery, and I am very much optimistic that his inter-faith initiative will yield great results.


Q: What are some things being done to combat human trafficking in the United States?


A: For over a decade and a half, combating human trafficking has been a policy priority in the United States. We have a good federal law, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act 2000 (as reauthorized and amended in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2011), which focuses not only on the prosecution of the trafficking crime, but also on the protection of victims and preventative efforts. This legislation has resulted in numerous prosecutions of traffickers in almost every state, and the rescue and protection of numerous victims U.S. and foreign-born victims. We have a robust civil society, media, academic, NGO and religious sector that contribute to combating human trafficking, by providing services for the victims, conducting research and engaging in advocacy. Lately, there is also a tendency to work with the private sector in focusing on corporate social responsibility and tracing the supply chain, so that the Americans consume products that have been manufactured by slave-free labor.


Q: In what ways does human trafficking affect interstate and foreign commerce?


A: Indeed, in many ways it does, and it might get too technical to explain it in legal terminology. To put it in brief, though human trafficking is not premised on movement, it does nevertheless involve movement of people in its transnational crime dimension, whether perpetrated by organized crime or by single individuals. The traffickers recruit people abroad mostly by fraud, but also force, transfer them across national and state borders and then they coerce them into forced labor or commercial sex, putting victims in slave-like conditions and controlling them as if they were property items. For instance, prostitution in American cities encourages a market for trafficking people from abroad, bringing them into the U.S., clandestinely or through visa fraud, advertising them all over the internet, coordinate their “services” by using cell phones etc.—this way clearly affecting inter-state and foreign commerce. But, even purely local activity of human trafficking, could, in the aggregate, frustrate the broader regulation for protection of interstate commerce, and human trafficking, in almost all cases, affects interstate commerce in one way or another.


Q: Why do you think forced labor thrives — a criminal activity that is almost completely invisible to people in the U.S?


A: Mainly for two reasons: first, lack of awareness in the broader community, and the resulting inability to identify trafficking activity; and second, the existence of a constant demand for cheap labor, cheap products and services, as well as the adult entertainment industry.


Q: What are some things people can do to combat human trafficking?


A: In general, the public and private sector has to work to reduce the vulnerability of those strata of the population that provide the readily available supply. In particular, each one of us should become aware of the fact that there are slaves around us, and that they may be the ones who produced the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and perform the cleaning services we request at times. So, my call would be to educate ourselves about human trafficking: join or create an awareness club, watch a documentary about human trafficking, advocate that your school create modules related to human trafficking, contact your church, or temple, or mosque and ask that they organize events to raise awareness of human trafficking. One such venue where you one can get more information about human trafficking, training videos for various professionals and community at large, as well as reference to various resources is the website of our Human Trafficking Academy at www.humantraffickingacademy.org . I thank you for the opportunity to share these few words with you and your audience.



Human Trafficking: Q & A with Dr. Roza Pati

Spotlight on Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking is a human rights issue many don’t know about but it’s one of the most lucrative forms of human exploitation in the world.

According to, Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relation, The Facts about human trafficking for forced Labor, human trafficking is a serious criminal activity on the rise worldwide.

“Annually, approximately 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders; millions more are enslaved in their own countries.”

Being poor or an immigrant is one of the biggest factors that contribute to human trafficking.

“These workers are made more vulnerable to forced labor practices because of unemployment, poverty, crime, discrimination, corruption, political conflict, and cultural acceptance of the practice.”

The types of forced labor people are subjected to are, sexual exploitation, debt bondage; all forced labor.

Sexual exploitation is the most lucrative forms of forced labor often reigning supreme in the sex industry. Trafficked victims are subjected to psychological damage; they become mentally enslaved, by various actions such as gang rape, and skin branding in the case of sexual exploitation.

According to the Polaris Project, “The average victim may be forced to have sex up to 20-48 times a day.”

Kasey Walker, Kean University’s, Human Rights club Treasurer, believes taking action is key in preventing human trafficking; educating ourselves.

“The first step to fighting an almost invisible problem is making people aware that yes it actually does exist,” said Walker. “While we do see the trafficking of African, Asians, and Hispanics; the biggest unseen variable is that every year thousands of American women and girls as young as 14 are being used for sex and domestic work.”

Walker believes in speaking out and keeping close on society.

“The biggest thing we can do is to be aware of the warning signs,” said Walker. “It’s better to report and be wrong than not report and have been right, leaving a life in danger.”

In an era of globalization human trafficking will grow if there isn’t efficient legislation and protocols focused on combating the essence of it.

In the article, “New Threats to Human Security in the Era of Globalization,” by sakiko Fukuda-Parr the concept of human insecurity is presented.

“Many new threats to human securities are emerging or old threats are being intensified as the pace of globalization accelerates, outpacing the capacity of governments to develop policy responses.”

It’s up to everyone to make it their mission to speak up against human trafficking; it’s not a foreign problem but one close to home.



Learn more at CNN’s Freedom Project blog  by clicking on the picture:


Steps in Preventing Human Trafficking: Signs a person might show that is a trafficked victim

What is human Trafficking?

Human Trafficking is modern day slavery. People’s freedom is taken from them and they are treated as a commodity . Victims are usually poor, and foreigners. The most targeted are women and children for sexual exploitation and men usually for hard labor.

Signs to look out for: You might just save someone

1)   He or she shows psychical and psychological sings of abuse.

2)   Terrible health condition.

3)   Seems to be a foreigner and does not know the language.

4)   Works excessively and receives little or no pay.

5)   Restricted movement; identity documents are withheld.


check out this video on what the faces of human trafficking looks like.

This weeks Highlights

The top 4 news worthy stories you should know about to stay informed. This past week a lot of noteworthy events have occurred.  From the Ukraine, Venezuela, to drug lord El Chapo Guzman’s capture and Muslim ethnic cleansing in Central African Republic. All in all, these events around the world have impacted  social norms specifically human rights.

Turmoil in the Ukraine

The Ukraine has been in turmoil since mid-January and has currently led to blood shed during peaceful protests. The protests were brought about because of the strong anti-government support the people have for their president Yanukovych. In the clash between protestors and the police in the Capital of Kiev many were left wounded and dead. An eye witness account by Zoryan Kis, Campaign coordinator at Amnesty International Ukraine details the horrifying situation playing out in the Ukraine. Yanukovych is currently being pursued with warrants of arrest for mass murder.


Photo credit: Alexandr Piliugun/Amnesty International

Protests in Venezuela

The people of Venezuela are angry with their living and economic conditions. Current President Maduro can be compared to ex-president Chavez; socialist tyrant. Venezuelans need to have basic human necessities met and should not be deprived of it. People should be able to have cooking oil, milk, and other basic foods. The protests are a cry for freedom from government oppression; the violence has escalated. The people of Venezuela are tired of their government and demand change.


photo credit: Reuters/Marco Bello

El Chapo: The most wanted Drug Lord is captured

Since his escape from Mexico’s Puente Grande Prison back in 2001, El Chapo had remained at large. The head of the Sinaloa Cartel, had been pursued by both Mexican armed forces and U.S officials in a coalition over the years. He was captured this past Saturday, while he slept. The investigation that led to his capture consisted of countless tips that helped authorities discover his escape routes; tunnels that connected to the city’s sewage system. Also, the arrest of important informants and wire tapes were vital in capturing him.


Photo credit: CNN

Muslims slayed in Central African Republic 

Human Rights groups, are urging for the halt of the massacre of Muslims in the Central African Republic. Christian anti-balaka militias are the culprits in the revenge attacks against the Muslim population. They blame the Muslims for the Seleka’s rebel groups abuses the Christian population endured. Its ethnic cleansing; public lynching’s and burnings are carried out. The anti-balaka militias are targeting women and children without any hesitation. The ones who are lucky enough to live through the attacks are displaced. While, the food crises is becoming graver; atrocities continue to occur.


Photo credit: Reuters


An introduction

I’m Sonia Aquije, 21, an aspiring journalist/writer. I’m currently a junior at Kean University at Union, NJ. I write for The Tower; the University’s newspaper since 2011. I’ve written everything from news, features, column, to arts and entertainment.  I’ve recently joined Her Campus Kean online magazine as a contributing writer.  I started this blog because of my specialty writing class. I’m positive this will be a great challenging experience.

Not many know that I care about human rights, so this will be the perfect outlet. I was part of the Amnesty International chapter at Kean a few semesters ago and I held the position of president. I really embraced the concept of making a difference in the world. I’ve also taken a Holocaust and genocide class that gave me an in depth understanding of humanity.  I would love to share my thoughts on certain issues and human right violations. The world is very complicated and sometimes we forget what really matters. We should respect, be compassionate, and care about others. Conflicts won’t be solved if no one cares to stop them. I will be posting article links along with my personal commentary along with pictures and videos.  I would love feedback, I’m looking forward to this #EXCITED.



me :p

me :p