Spring Cleaning for the Homeless

pexels-photo-434163.jpegAs spring approaches and many of us go through stuff to be discarded, stop and reflect. While doing volunteer work, I found out that St. Vincent’s  sticks things aside for the homeless. Don’t toss out your back packs. Apparently, this is a hot item for the homeless.


Hungry Predators

Sligo Irish Famine Statue

The high demand and supply in the USA of sexual and labor trafficking contributes to the human trafficking problem. Young adults, male and female as young as twelve, are victims of this serious crime. Less than 10% are kidnapped. Many victims were sold by someone they knew. They are targeted by their vulnerabilities. Victims may have a history of abuse, be developmentally disabled, be foster children, are homeless, or a runaway. After 48-72 hours after running away, a teen will be approached by a sexual trafficker.

The perpetrator breaks their victims down with sleep deprivation and substance abuse in order to control their victims. Often times, the victim is branded with a tattoo designating ownership by the perpetrator. The victim might have a money symbol, a scan code, property of stamp, etc. The locations of these are the key. They are usually on the side or back of the neck, behind an ear, inner lip, or in the pubic area. The female victims are required to have sex even during their menses cycle and are impacted with sponges or tampons. The victims are groomed what to say to medical personnel if they are brought in to be seen.

77% of victims related to human trafficking will suffer a higher episode of PTSD than a war vet due to the constant re-experiencing of the trauma and disturbing memories. They have difficulty sustaining relationships if they manage to escape. The victims avoid internal and external reminders of trauma and stress. They are hyperarousal due to the nervous system reaction of repeated fight or flight.

If you work in a medical facility or clinic, eye clinic, or dental office, etc. be on the lookout of these indicators of human trafficking:

  • patient claims they are out of town and has no address
  • lack of I.D.
  • disassociation or uncommunicative
  • confrontational
  • abnormal reactions
  • someone always talking for the victim
  • eyes downcast when spoken to
  • can’t be seen alone

What can you do about it?

  • watch your tone of voice when speaking to the victim
  • adjust to resistance
  • listen to them
  • don’t judge
  • avoid confrontation
  • kindness goes a long way
  • ask why the person is here or what happened to bring them here
  • express empathy
  • report suspicions to the National Human Trafficking Hotline @ 888-373-7888 or text HELP to 233733.

Want free material on the subject? Go to dsh.gov/ blue-campaign.

Threats Aimed at Job Seekers

Looking for a job is hard work and the last thing you need is identity theft while searching for employment. Today’s job market begins and ends online. It might be easier to apply and look for work online, but the ease of sophisticated threats directed at job seekers is new.

Before entering personal information online, check the web address bar. There should be a ‘s’ at the end of the http during the beginning of the web address. Bogus jobs are set up in order to skim contact information from victims. These ‘jobs’ are often posted on legitimate social media pages. Scams can be sent via a shortened URL such as bit.ly, etc. They can lead anywhere. Keep your shields up on social media.

Don’t provide confidential information until you have signed a contract with the potential employer. Some scammers ask for bank account numbers to set up direct deposit. Don’t be discouraged while seeking employment online, just be careful how you go about it. Limit the amount of contact information. You can set up a specific email address for job hunting. Be selective where you post your resume. An employer can always ask you for your personal information, not shared online, if they are interested. A legitimate employer would never ask these details via email or digital form. Scammers crawl the internet for personal information. Make sure the recruiter on social media is genuine before you click and apply. If the job seems too good to be true, it probably is. Run an online search on the recruiter’s name. The most common job scam online includes data entry, stuffing envelopes, rebate, forms processing, wire transfers, money movement, craft assembly, work from home gigs, and shipping management.

The structure of an email can be a red flag. Scammers often have grammar issues, misspellings, and punctuation errors. They often mimic legitimate letterheads, but if it looks off, just delete it. Don’t download any attachments or links from these emails. It’s a scary world where threats are posed everywhere. Keep your eyes open.

When Criminals Take Over Your Mobile

Hackers have figured out a way to hijack cell phones and steal the valuable information. The criminal contacts the cell provider of the victim and requests a transfer of service from old phone to a new one. They provide the phone company with the last four digits of the victim’s social security number and a fake ID. If they don’t have the information, the culprits use a convincing line about losing or damaging the phone. They make it plausible by providing the address, birth date, and other information that is easily available on the internet. They also use your payment apps, email, and photos. When convinced, the phone company may port the number to a new device that the criminal now has complete control and disconnects the victim’s phone. Now the criminal can reset passwords on every account that uses the phone number for auto recovery. They can also steal money, blackmail the victim, and threaten them. The victim is unable to sign into their accounts.

Most mobile phone carriers are aware of these crimes and are suggesting customers use a pin number. Don’t click onto suspicious sites. Malware embedded in links can secretly download on your device. Don’t publish your phone number on a public profile or social media. Make your passwords long and complicated. Criminals are constantly finding ways to scam people. Be on alert.

Sign of the Ages

I saw this club sign in Juneau and thought it was funny.20170801_084906_001 Juneau club

Sock it to the Airlines

I have to voice a complaint, after listening to the news this morning. First, the airline companies raised the rates and stated it was because of the price of gas. Then they started charging for baggage. Certain airlines now charge for your seat, after you’ve booked your flight. And to top it off, now the leg room will become smaller so that you can’t even cross your legs. What’s next? If the airlines want more business, they should please its customers, instead of stabbing them in their pocket. And what is with them beating up paying customers?  It’s sad that these big companies have gone astray from customer service.

Have a Little Compassion

I heard a waitress yelling at a person while I was waiting for my meal to arrive. She told the man, “Sir, you can’t come in here.” She forced him outside. She came to my table and apologized for the man stinking up the restaurant.

I paid for my meal and on my way out, she pointed the person out to me. I couldn’t believe her attitude! The person she referred to was an elderly man that could barely walk and had slippers on for a rainy day. It was obvious that he was either homeless or something medically wrong.  The waitress didn’t have any compassion.

Luckily, a young, Latino man bought the elderly man a meal and allowed him to sit in his truck to eat it. Hooray and kudos to the young man that helped another person in hard times.

Previous Older Entries