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Why advocates say COVID caused more human trafficking among children

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Why Advocates Say Covid Caused More Human Trafficking Among Children

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The number of human trafficking cases in Missouri has nearly doubled in Missouri in the past five years, and advocates against trafficking are saying it’s happening more often to kids because of the pandemic. 

Based on human trafficking hotline numbers, in 2019, 69 children in Missouri were trafficked. One year later, that number rose to 101 — and experts in the fight against trafficking say some parents are now selling their kids for essentials like food and clothes. 

“It’s the pandemic within the pandemic. It’s the best way I can describe it to you,” Shima Rostami, executive director for Gateway Human Trafficking said Monday. “The data says about 30% of the cases happen with a family member or someone the child knows.”

This is a growing problem in the state of Missouri, and the pandemic has only made it worse. 

“Family members have been exploiting their children before the pandemic, but it got worse because of the pandemic,” said Nanette Ward, founding member of the Stop Human Trafficking Coalition of Central Missouri.

Ward described it as a “survival strategy,” where families are feeling stressed about money or lack of essentials because of their current situation.

During a briefing held at the Capitol Monday by Rep. Sarah Unsicker (D-Shrewsbury) advocates said more collaboration between agencies needs to be done in order to prevent human trafficking. 

“I’m hoping along with legislation, there is this sense that agencies should not be working against each other,” said Jessica Rodriguez, a Washington University student. “It’s everyone’s problem.”

Rostami said that with schools closing and family members losing their jobs during the pandemic, things got worse for children. 

“It wasn’t that they were enjoying selling their children. It was because they were trying to provide necessary items to survive, including food, shelter, and clothes for themself and their families,” Rostami said. 

Shared Hope International gave Missouri an “F” on its report card in prevention and training, continuum of care, and identification of and response to victims, including those in foster care. 

Back in October, a report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that more than 900 kids had been missing in Missouri which led to an audit. That showed that at least one child who went missing was a victim of sex trafficking in four states.

“In Missouri alone in 2020, we had about 28,000 children enrolled at schools,” Rostami said. “Many of those children didn’t come back, and they are not going to.”

While some children might be missing from school, Rostami and her colleagues are working to get inside the classroom to teach about human trafficking and the signs of what to look for. 

“For the past five years, we are trying to get into schools and educate the students and educators about human trafficking, and we are hearing that sex trafficking is not a good topic to talk about to kids,” Rostami said.

A big problem for kids is their access to technology. Rostami said they could already have communication with a trafficker without a parent knowing. 

“By phone and online technology that every kid in Missouri has, traffickers have access to them, they already have started talking to them,” Rostami said. 

After a law passed in 2018, places like hotels, strip clubs, abortion clinics, bus stations, and airports are required to hang posters with resources to help victims of human trafficking. 

“There was an increase in calls to the national hotline after the posters went up,” said Heather Silverman with the National Council of Jewish Women. 

Another issue for the Department of Social Services in Missouri is the labor shortage. 

“The Childs Division, they are doing good work, but they are under pressure because in our district. Our hotline number has lost so many of their staff, so they don’t have the staff to cover those positions,” Rostami said. 

The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) created a special unit back in 2019 to train law enforcement agencies across the state about how to identify human trafficking. 

There’s also legislation in the General Assembly that was approved by a House committee Monday, which strengthens the penalty of sex trafficking a child. That bill, sponsored by Rep. Ed Lewis, R-Moberly, now heads before the full House for approval. House Bill 2032 would set up an advisory council to research and recommend policy in the state involving trafficking. 

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Heat regular-season schedule includes game in Mexico City, team’s second visit there in five years

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Heat Regular-Season Schedule Includes Game In Mexico City, Team’s Second Visit There In Five Years

There will be a south-of-the-border element for the Miami Heat, the NBA confirmed Wednesday.

The Heat, are scheduled for a Dec. 17 game in Mexico City, one that will count against the San Antonio Spurs’ home schedule and be televised nationally on NBA TV.

It will be the Heat’s first regular-season game outside of the United States or Canada since defeating the Brooklyn Nets 101-89 on Dec. 9, 2017 in front of a listed 19,777 in Mexico City.

The game at Mexico City Arena is part of the Spurs’ expansion beyond their AT&T Center home, with the Spurs also to play two games this season in Austin, Texas, as well as one at the downtown Alamodome.

For the Heat, the game will come in place of their annually scheduled regular-season trip to San Antonio. Last season’s Heat visit to San Antonio had to be rescheduled due to the pandemic, when the Heat could not field the required eight players in uniform. The Heat swept last season’s two-game series from the Spurs.

During the Heat’s 2017 trip to Mexico City, then Heat-guard Dion Waiters said, “I just found out it was actually bigger than New York. That’s crazy.

“I’ll tell you one thing, the cars don’t stop. It’s worse than New York. It’s crazy.”

Of that 2017 game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said at the time, “I was pleasantly surprised walking around and seeing NBA games on the TV everywhere we went, and the fans recognized us. It felt like we were in Miami.”

That 2017 game in Mexico City came three months after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit the city, requiring an NBA site inspection ahead of the meetings with the Nets.

It again will put the Heat at extreme elevation, Mexico City is 7,350 feet above sea level. The NBA’s highest elevation is Denver, at 5,280.

“It feels like we played two games,” then-Heat guard Goran Dragic said after that 2017 exhibition.

In 2013, a game between the Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves in Mexico City had to be postponed due to smoke filling the arena from a generator malfunction.

Last month, in the Arboledas Park area of Mexico City, NBA Mexico designed local courts with a mural that included a section with a painting of Heat mascot Burnie.

The NBA is returning to international games this season and this preseason after a break due to the pandemic. The last regular-season NBA game in Mexico came in 2019, between the Spurs and Phoenix Suns.

The NBA already has announced preseason games on Oct. 6 and Oct. 8 between the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

The league also will stage a regular-season game between the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons in Paris on Jan. 19.

The NBA’s first game outside of the United States or Canada was a 1984 exhibition between the Suns and New Jersey Nets. The first international regular-season game was in Tokyo in 1990, between the Suns and Utah Jazz.

Among other international venues for Heat games (all exhibitions) have been Nassau, Bahamas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Tel Aviv; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Paris, London; Beijing; Shanghai and Rio De Janeiro. The Heat do not have an international exhibition this year.

In a release issued Wednesday, ahead of the 3 p.m. release of the full 2022-23 NBA schedule, the NBA said:

“The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Zignia today announced that the five-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs and the three-time NBA champion Miami Heat will play a regular-season game at the Arena CDMX in Mexico City on Saturday, Dec. 17, marking the first NBA Mexico City Game since 2019 and the league’s 31st game in Mexico overall, more than any country outside the U.S. and Canada. The NBA and Zignia will continue to collaborate on future NBA initiatives in Mexico over the next several years.”

Tickets for The NBA Mexico City Game 2022 will go on sale at a later date. Beginning today and through Saturday, Sept. 3, fans interested in attending the game can register their interest in tickets and receive access to an exclusive ticket pre-sale by visiting www.nbaenmexico.com.

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Black English is being misidentified as internet slang, speakers say

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Black English Is Being Misidentified As Internet Slang, Speakers Say
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One of the hardest transitions Kyla Jenée Lacey has endured in her life was when her family moved from Chicago to Winter Springs, Florida. a predominantly white town about 30 minutes north of Orlando.

At age 9, for the first time in her life, Lacey realized what it meant to be a racial minority in America. From then on, she was one of the few black students in her classes, she said, and her skin color has become an obstacle to her integration. She felt like the token black girl – and she quickly realized that speaking Vernacular African American English (AAVE) to his white classmates would only question his intelligence.

“For me, it was a lot of survival involved in my socialization because I didn’t feel accepted by other black kids, and I didn’t feel accepted by white kids,” she said.

But outside the boundaries of the school, the black tongue was his refuge. As bilingual kids, she bounced between AAVE and standard English. When she was at home speaking AAVE, she didn’t need to impress anyone; she felt most herself and connected to her heritage, she said.

AAVE, also known as African American English (AAE), African American Language (AAL), Black English, or Ebony, is a style of English often spoken in Black American homes. Linguists don’t know how Black English originated, but they believe it may have originated from West African or Creole languages. Just like these forms of speech, AAVE serves as a communication between people with a common culture.

According to Deandre Miles-Hercules, a doctoral student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the language was created by enslaved black people living in the South, separated from their home country and language. As Black Americans moved north and west during the Great Migration, they took the language with them, and each region created slightly different versions of Black English over time.

How America Developed Two Sign Languages ​​- One White, One Black

For Lacey, it wasn’t until she attended school at the University of Central Florida in the early 2000s, surrounded by all-black roommates and more black people, that she began to dispel the idea. that his humanity would never be as validated as his White counterparts. She no longer had to blend in or prove herself to people who would look down on her for speaking AAVE, she said.

So when she started seeing non-black people disrespecting AAVE in virtual spaces more recently, she was in a rush. It annoyed him, for example, to see subtitles added to broadcast newsmagazines when black interviewees spoke coherently. She also hated how the language had been weaponized online by non-black people to imply an aggressive tone, and how non-native AAVE speakers sometimes mispronounced black English words because they had only seen them. typed on a screen.

“I know the words have different meanings in different groups,” she said. “You can’t take very ingrained black language, an absolute staple of black language, and say, because there’s confusion on Twitter, we’re not allowed to use our words.”

As Gen Z influencers and black artists continue to shape the internet landscape, from viral memes to TikTok dances, AAVE has appeared in more online spaces. But some black AAVE speakers believe the language has been misidentified as new vocabulary started by young people – and they have been calling on non-blacks to glorify internet stars who slaughter speech and fail to understand the cultural significance of language.

Language uncovers the evolution of a speaker’s history, geography and culture, Miles-Hercule said. While AAVE lands in the laps of people who didn’t grow up speaking it, those who try and fail to use it properly may be considered ignorant by black communities. At worst, they are seen as appropriating black culture and perpetuating racism as they attack black speech without taking on the struggle of black Americans, the speakers say.

Amoura Monroe, a 20-year-old living in Los Angeles argues that a big part of the problem comes when the language is misattributed to Gen Z lingo, stan culture, or internet slang.

For example, “Gen Z Hospital,” a skit from “Saturday Night Live,” was meant to poke fun at the way young people talk. But like Monroe and others Twitter users noted, many words, such as “tea” and “pressed”, were actually derived from AAVE. (NBCUniversal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

“It takes away the significance,” Monroe said of using AAVE for comedy. “Black people are ridiculed for this. … They laugh at them and people stereotype us for talking that way.

Words such as “kill,” “period,” “extra,” and “cap” take on slightly different meanings in the context of AAVE, which many non-native speakers are unable to fully grasp, Monroe added.

Monroe said she was also bothered by celebrities trying to speak AAVE. These non-black people speak it as a form of entertainment, “giving them a black caricature in a way, kind of like a minstrel show,” Monroe said. Meanwhile, she added, black people are denigrated and told they speak badly when using it.

Recently, song lyrics including AAVE were at the center of the debate. In June, a The social media storm has led singer-songwriter Lizzo to change the lyrics of his song ‘Grrrls’ after disability advocates pointed out that a word in its original version, ‘spaz’, is seen as an ableist insult. The word has been used to denigrate people with disabilities who suffer from spasms, including those with cerebral palsy or spinal muscular atrophy.

Beyoncé has used the slur ‘ableist’ in a new song. After the outcry, she deletes it.

Then, in August, Beyoncé announced she would drop the same word from “Heated,” a song from her latest album, “Renaissance.”

Some AAVE speakers have defended black artists, saying the word has another meaning — to go wild — and that its use in “Grrrls” and “Heated” was not meant to offend.

“Lizzo let WHITE people bully her into not using AAVE in her song,” said a fan tweeted. “Black people have been using ‘spazz’ for decades and it has nothing to do with making fun of people with disabilities.”

Others disagreed: “The word is an insult. Let it go and leave some compassion for the people who have been hurt by that word instead,” said one black autistic man. wrote.

Dilemmas such as those of Lizzo and Beyoncé reveal the conflicts that have arisen as AAVE becomes more mainstream in pop culture, especially through song lyrics and social media posts.

How Iggy Azalea mastered his ‘blaccent’

AAVE speakers have also criticized what they see as the hypocrisy of non-black people on the internet who monitor language use while profiting from various aspects of black life.

According to Jamaal Muwwakkil, also a doctoral student at UC Santa Barbara, non-black people often gain social capital when they use black language and culture: “When we think about social media and entertainment, the economic capital that people derive from the appropriation of black language, fashion, etc., in many ways replaces the loss of economic capital…of our literal bodies in movable slavery.

Black speakers point up the memification of Sweet Brown – who said “No one has time for that” in a 2012 Oklahoma City TV report – as evidence of how the use of black language can elevate the social status of a person. The viral clip led to Brown’s multiple TV appearances and film role.

However, Muwwakkil said, without the known historical and cultural context of native speakers, AAE is vulnerable to distortion online.

Is there a DC dialect? It’s a topic that locals are “cisified” enough to discuss.

The terminology used to describe Black English is also controversial. Muwwakkil disapproves of the use of the term AAVE and prefers African American English, as he believes speech and gestures are not a different language, vernacular or dialect.

He also takes issue with the term code-switching, or switching between two languages, which he says is disproportionately applied to black people and implies that African-American English has less legitimacy than standard English. Everyone changes the way they speak depending on their relationship to the person and the setting they’re conversing in, he said, and different ways of speaking should be equally acceptable, a concept called “code meshing.” .

Several years removed from her high school days, Lacey said she always switches from Black English to Standard English to avoid discrimination, although she wishes she didn’t feel the need to.

But she also sees refusing to talk about it around white people as a form of control, she said: “AAVE is the closest thing we have to a cultural secret.”

Despite what some black speakers view as misuse and scrutiny of the language, they believe it will continue to thrive as a bastion of black culture – and that it will continue to evolve as black people intend it.

As Muwwakkil said, “There will never be a way of ceasing to be the creative force that has always been part of black language and culture.

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Man arrested after gunshots outside Prior Lake home

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Man Arrested After Gunshots Outside Prior Lake Home

LAKE FRONT, Minnesota — Prior Lake police say a man was arrested and no one was injured after shots were fired outside a home early Wednesday.

Multiple 911 calls about gunshots brought officers to the 3600 block of Willow Beach Street Southwest just before 2:30 a.m., the Prior Lake Police Department said.

Police said they saw “activity in the yard outside the house” and heard more gunshots nearby.

Officers arrested a man and recovered a handgun.

Police said there was no threat to the public.

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Aaron Rodgers laments Packers training camp mistakes: ‘Simple plays, we get it wrong’

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Aaron Rodgers Laments Packers Training Camp Mistakes: 'Simple Plays, We Get It Wrong'

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NFL preseason and training camp are the best ways to hone offense, but for a four-time NFL MVP like Aaron Rodgers, patience can certainly run out.

The Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints faced off in joint workouts. While the defense had looked solid, Rodgers lamented the offense’s errors.

“A lot of mental errors, a lot of pre-snap penalties,” the Packers star said Tuesday. “It was kind of the camp theme. Simple, simple games that we miss.”

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Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers conducts a drill prior to a joint NFL football workout with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday August 16, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

The Packers traded Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders and lost Marquez Valdes-Scantling to the Kansas City Chiefs, not to mention offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett who took over as head coach of the Denver Broncos.

Green Bay added Sammy Watkins and selected Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure in the draft. Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers are also back.

However, as the Packers prepare, Rodgers has openly said the mistakes have to stop.

PATRIOTS AND PANTHERS WARM UP IN JOINT TRAINING WITH SEVERAL PLAYERS EJECTED TO FIGHT

“It’s some of the same guys unfortunately. Repeated mistakes (are) a problem, so we just have to clean those things up a bit. Young guys, especially young receivers, we have to be a lot more consistent. Lots of falls, lots of wrong route decisions, taking the wrong route. We need to improve in this area. But I felt like the line held up pretty well, which was good to see.” Rodgers added.

Aaron Rodgers Of The Green Bay Packers Gestures Before A Joint Nfl Football Practice Session With The New Orleans Saints On Tuesday August 16, 2022 In Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers gestures before a joint NFL football practice session with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday August 16, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

“I mean there’s definitely some guys that you feel really good with. Obviously I can play Cobby (Randall Cobb) in my sleep. And when he’s healthy, he’s the first receiver of league slots. I feel, especially after today, better with Sammy. And then there are a lot of opportunities after that.

The Saints defense is not to be overlooked and is probably the perfect team to train against in preparation for the season.

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Dennis Allen Watches A Drill Prior To An Nfl Football Joint Practice Session With The Green Bay Packers On Tuesday August 16, 2022 In Green Bay, Wisconsin.

New Orleans Saints head coach Dennis Allen watches a drill prior to an NFL football joint practice session with the Green Bay Packers on Tuesday August 16, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

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The New Orleans defense was fourth in points allowed and seventh in yards allowed. The Saints beat the Packers 38-3 in last season’s opener. They shot Rodgers twice and fired him once.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Fundraising launched for the statue of Freya, the euthanized Norwegian walrus

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Fundraising Launched For The Statue Of Freya, The Euthanized Norwegian Walrus

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Authorities decided to euthanize the walrus in the early hours of Sunday local time after the public ignored repeated warnings to keep their distance from her.

A walrus named Freya at the water’s edge at Frognerstranda in Oslo, Norway, Monday, July 18, 2022. Tor Erik Schrøder/NTB Scanpix via AP

A fundraising campaign has been launched to build a statue in memory of Freya, a 1,300-pound walrus euthanized this week by Norwegian authorities, who said she was a threat to human safety.

The young female walrus – nicknamed after the Norse goddess of beauty and love – has been causing a stir in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, since mid-July, napping on boats and sunbathing on the discarded.

Authorities decided to euthanize the walrus in the early hours of Sunday local time after the public ignored repeated warnings to keep their distance from her. Authorities had considered moving the walrus but ultimately decided the operation was too risky. Marine experts say there is a chance that a sedated marine mammal could drown.

Many people denounced this decision as a national disgrace. Some have raised questions about why authorities did not attempt to move the walrus to a safer area or wait for it to leave on its own once the summer crowds dispersed.

Freya’s death ‘has a strong negative signaling effect that we in Norway, and especially in Oslo, are unable to provide living space for wild animals,’ the collection organizers wrote. funds in their appeal.

“By erecting a statue of the symbol that Freya has quickly become, we will always remind (and future generations) that we cannot or should not always kill and suppress nature when she is ‘in the way,’” they added.

The campaign had raised nearly $20,000 by Wednesday, and organizers said several sculptors had expressed interest in creating the statue. In case the project does not move forward, all donations will go to the Norwegian branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature, they said.

Oslo officials did not immediately respond to a question about whether they had been asked about the placement of a statue in the city.

Walruses normally live in the ice-covered waters of Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia and Alaska. There are approximately 25,000 Atlantic walruses and 200,000 Pacific walruses in the wild. They typically rest on sea ice between feeding bouts.

Fundraising Launched For The Statue Of Freya, The Euthanized Norwegian Walrus
Freya the walrus sitting on a boat at Frognerkilen in Oslo, Norway, Monday July 18, 2022. – Tor Erik Schrøder/NTB Scanpix via AP

However, climate change is pushing animals further and further away from their natural habitats. A beluga whale trapped in a river northwest of Paris, far from its Arctic home, died this month as rescuers tried to bring the 13ft mammal to shore.

Freya had also been seen along the coasts of several European countries in recent months, including Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands.

“Unfortunately, the situation is going to get worse as more and more of these polar species start coming into different waters,” said Karen Stockin, a marine ecologist at Massey University in New Zealand. New Zealand faces similar challenges in managing marine mammals, including sea lions and leopard seals, which venture into the Pacific nation from Antarctica.

“Our days of having clearer and more defined boundaries between some of these animals and our own existence – with climate change – are going to become fewer. We are going to have more overlap in our communities and our coastal environment. And therefore people will have to prepare for it,” said Stockin, who has spent the past few days rescuing a pod of wild dolphins stranded on an island off Auckland, New Zealand.

The frenzy of attention Freya garnered during her time in Oslo – crowds swarming within feet of the walrus – showed more needed to be done to educate the public on how to stay safe, marine experts say. Authorities released a photo on Sunday of dozens of people huddled together on a pier near the animal.

“You wouldn’t be on the Serengeti and think it’s good to be up close and personal with a lion,” Stockin said. She said that in cases like Freya’s, authorities should focus on “people management, not animal management.”

“Something weird is going on when it comes to marine mammals. People will get much closer than they ever would to any typical sized terrestrial wild animal. It’s crazy,” Stockin said. “And if it’s not handled properly by the authorities. . . it is the animal that suffers.

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Dennis Hare arrested for murder after ‘suspicious’ death of woman near Fountain

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Dennis Hare Arrested For Murder After 'Suspicious' Death Of Woman Near Fountain

A man was arrested on Tuesday for first degree murder after the death of a woman near Fountain was deemed “suspicious”, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said.

Fountain police were called to a reported overdose in the 9000 block of Squirrel Creek Road, outside of Fountain, where they found Lisa Weidlich, 43, dead.

After determining the matter was within the jurisdiction of El Paso County, detectives from the Sheriff’s Office attended the scene to investigate.

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