*ETA: SMSG13 We Can Help Stop Human Trafficking & Give Typhoon Relief Aid

SMSG13 is Social Media for Social Good 2013. This is our fourth year, and the target is to stop human trafficking. A lot of these facts are alarming. And I have to let you know if you research statistics – even your state, it might trigger trauma. But I think that’s why this is so important. Some of the things I read made me a bit queasy.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of commercial sex, debt bondage, or forced labor. They are young children, teenagers, men and women. Trafficking in persons occurs throughout the world, including in the United States.

  • There is a total estimate of 29.8 million people in modern slavery.
  • Globally, the average cost of a slave is $90.
  • 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. More than 70% are female and half are children. - U.S. State Department
  • 1.2 million children are trafficked each year  - UNICEF
  • An estimated 26% of all forced labor victims are children. This means there are 5.5 million child victims at any given point in time. It is also estimated that children make up 21% of forced sexually exploited labor in the private economy. - The International Labour Organisation
  • People are reported to be trafficked from 127 countries to be exploited in 137 countries, affecting every continent and every type of economy
  • Estimated global annual profits made from the exploitation of all trafficked forced labour are $31.6 billion USD
  • In 2006 for every 800 people trafficked, only one person was convicted.
  • Only 0.4% of victims are identified.
  • Human trafficking not only involves sex and labor, but people are also trafficked for organ harvesting.
  • An estimated 30,000 victims of sex trafficking die each year from abuse, disease, torture, and neglect. Eighty percent of those sold into sexual slavery are under 24, and some are as young as six years old.
  • According to a 2009 Washington Times article, the Taliban buys children as young as seven years old to act as suicide bombers. The price for child suicide bombers is between $7,000-$14,000
  • Human trafficking occurs in all fifty states in the U.S. (You can check your state “grade” which might be alarming.) The FBI estimates that over 100,000 children and young women are trafficked in America today. They range in age from nine to 19, with the average being age 11. Many victims are not just runaways or abandoned, but are from “good” families who are coerced by clever traffickers.
  • After drug dealing, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second-largest criminal industry in the world.
  • In the European Union alone, about 880,000 people are in forced labour, according to ILO estimates. That’s 1.8 in every 1,000 persons.
  • Human trafficking is a $9.8 billion domestic industry, with at least 100,000 children being used as prostitutes in America each year.
  • Two children are sold every minute.

And a testimonial of sorts:

They forced me to sleep with as many as 50 customers a day.  I had to give [the pimp] all my money. If I did not [earn a set amount] they punished me by removing my clothes and beating me with a stick until I fainted, electrocuting me, cutting me.

-Kolab, sex trafficking survivor from Cambodia

The charity I settled on is Love 146. I’m still debating on how – let me know if you have an opinion re: paypal or me setting up a Crowdrise campaign. (It may also depend on the handling fees of either.) I really like that Love 146 acts to prevent, but also provides aftercare.

Love 146

I’m pledging $1 per comment for the first day, maybe the first week. (I have to max out at $600. I’m hoping we hit 600 comments before the first week is over. Either way, it doesn’t matter. I’m all in.) I definitely don’t expect everyone to make large donations. Any amount is helpful. $10, $5, $1. 50¢. Whatever you can give. Or if not, hit up your rich friends to donate. Parents, relatives. Have them comment because here’s the kicker with SMSG – even a comment on this blog post helps raise money. Amazing!

Initial pledgers are:

Shiloh Walker will donate $50, and if we hit 100 comments on the charity drive post, another $50, for a total of $100.
SpazP will donate $50
has pledged $100 once we reach 500 comments
Amara Royce
Rissatoo

Remember - every comment helps. As part of this being a fundraiser it’s also a comment drive. We want to raise awareness and spread the word. Together we can make a difference. <3

*ETA: The fundraising page is now live:

**Second ETA: I know we’ve all heard about the tragedy and devastation left by Typhoon Haiyan. It’s horrifying, so what I’ve decided to do is do a 25/75 split with the funds raised.  (25% will go to Save the Children to their specific Typhoon Relief Fund.) This is because yes, aid is greatly needed in the Philippines … and I know we all want to help. But the world is watching. I asked people who had donated, and they felt it was important to also bring attention to human trafficking. And … that’s true. I personally have met three suspected victims of human trafficking the past two weeks, and learned about new recruiting places. It’s terrifying, so I really hope you’ll join me. Just the cost of a cup of coffee or lunch out would really help. Even 100 people giving $1 would make a huge different. Please consider contributing.

Thank you!!!!

Water Changes Everything

It’s my third annual Social Media for Social Good (SMSG) fundraising drive. Today is Make a Difference Day, and this is how I’m choosing to do it. Some of you might have heard of charity:water when Rachel Beckwith’s tragic story made the news. She was an amazing little nine year old, and you can read more of what happened here. I dare you not to cry.

I spent a lot of time researching reputable international charities, and I love that charity:water is so transparent. I think it’ll be fun to check what our little ALBTALBS drive does too.

Did you know that:

  • 100% of all public donations directly fund water projects, and they prove every dollar using photos and GPS coordinates on a map
  • 800 million people around the world don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water
  • That is one out of every nine people
  • More people die from lack of clean water and sanitation each year than are killed by all forms of violence, including war
  • 90% of the deaths that result from diarrheal disease occur in children under five
  • About every nineteen seconds a mother loses her child to a water related illness
  • In sub-Saharan Africa 16 million hours each day are spent by women collecting water. This takes time away from work, school, and family.
  • 10% of disease could be reduced with improved access to clean water, sanitation, hygiene education, and water resource management.
  • $1 invested in water becomes $4-12 dollars for the local economy
  • Communities choose a small group of people to oversee each completed charity: water project. Equal numbers of men and women are encouraged to be included. These Water Committees are often the first chance women have to take on elected leadership roles.
  • The WHO reports that over 3.6% of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply, sanitation, and hygiene.
  • Feeding our world takes up to 90% of our freshwater withdrawals but many people in developing nations still don’t have access to enough water for irrigation.
  • Just $20 $65 can provide one person with a clean water project in his/her village

We can make a huge difference.

I know it’s difficult to give, but I’m asking everyone to do what they can. And if you can’t – help spread the word. This is a comment drive, so even just leaving a comment and having one friend do the same helps. Believe me – I know it’s hard out there. I know what it’s like to make well under the poverty rate. I still do. Which is why I’m doing something where everyone can get involved.

These people have already given:

Pledges:

  • I’m going to give $300 if we reach 1,000 comments.
  • Cecilia Grant will give $1 per comment up to 100 comments
  • The Romance Man will give $50 when we reach 250 comments will match my $300 if we get to 1,000 comments!!!
  • C2 will give $150 when we reach 500 comments
  • Farrah Rochon will give $10 for every 100 comments

You can see who all the wonderful, generous people who donated are on the campaign page. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Won’t you join us?

And in the spirit of friendly competition … I’m asking – challenging – 50 bloggers to donate. Even if it’s $1. I think we can do it. (In fact – I’d love to see more bloggers donate than authors. How’s that for competition? But a concrete goal of 50.)
And if privacy is a concern, you can donate anonymously. *coughs* Someone *coughs* already donated $50 to check that out. :)

Let’s do this!

*ETA: I have a specific campaign created for the romance community: http://mycharitywater.org/albtalbs if you’d like to donate. Also, if you’re donating, I would love to add you to the list, to let other people know (peer pressure! :D ) and to give you a shout out. Please feel free to email me with any questions, or to talk about whether or not you want your name/amount to be listed. Thank you!!!

Also, for clarification, my SMSG drives go on for a month. I figure that’s enough time for word to be spread and people to budget what they can to donate. For all of us in the states, it’s a tax deductible charitable donation! (For our international friends, I would look into that too.)

You can check out the numerous giveaways here. To enter, just use your comment url and you’re done!

Walk to Defeat ALS… because you can (Lori’s Post)

Thank you so much, Lime, for having me here again to talk about a cause near and dear to me. Last night was the StandUp2Cancer benefit, and I find it so touching and heroic how people come out of the woodwork to support such amazing and worthwhile causes. I walked in the ACS Relay for Life for several years to support cancer research. Last year, I changed my focus to ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. I’m hoping that you will find it in your hearts to help me out just a little (or a whole freaking lot!). You can donate to my Walk to Defeat ALS here: http://webgw.alsa.org/goto/loris

A lot of people don’t know much, if anything about ALS. It’s a quiet disease, a quiet killer. Back in March, I posted about my sister in law. She was diagnosed with ALS 2 years ago, Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s a neuromuscular disorder that basically paralyzes your body and eventually is fatal. You slowly lose your ability to walk, talk, swallow, breathe. Yet you remain completely aware of everything going on around you and can still feel pain. It is among the cruelest of diseases. Every 90 minutes a person in this country is diagnosed with ALS and every 90 minutes another person will lose their battle against this disease. Very few people live longer than 7 years after diagnosis. The most famous person with ALS today is the brilliant Stephen Hawking.

Sue’s diagnosis took 18 months, which is sadly not unusual. Since I last posted here about ALS, Sue has lost her voice, because the vocal cords don’t work anymore. She has a tube in her stomach for medications and feeding She can’t take care of her most basic needs alone. The saving grace for my brother and sister-in-law has been our local chapter of the ALS Association. The ALS Association is  there to help families in their local communities with the necessary adjustments – providing affordable equipment such as wheelchairs for patients, contractors to retrofit houses, and social services to give patients and their families the support they need. Our local chapter helped my brother find a handicap-equipped van at an affordable price. They recommended a contractor to them who works with the ALS Association to give a special break in price to ALS patients for retrofitting their home. They support a ton of research as well.

Last time I was here I shared the story of Saints player Steve Gleason, who is battling ALS. Since that time, new research has shown that in addition to other brain related injuries, NFL players are 4 times more likely to die from ALS than the rest of the population.

The average life expectancy of an ALS patient ranges from 2 to 5 years from the time of diagnosis.  We are now at the 2 -year mark. I know that there is quickly going to come a day when we no longer have Sue with us. She’s been my sister for the last 30 years. I hate that this is happening to her and my brother and my nieces. There is no cure for ALS. There is not even any sort of treatment yet. While I hate to say it, it’s not likely that Sue will benefit directly from the ongoing research. Where she doesbenefit immediately is with the support offered to them by the ALS Association and the community of families that reside within it. The ALS community is a tightly-kit one, and it breaks my heart every time my brother tells me that one of their friends has lost their battle.

My greatest hope is that Sue will win her battle, and be here to watch both of her daughters graduate from college, dance at their weddings, and live to see her grandchildren. I pray we find a cure for the millions of people with ALS, but most especially… and selfishly (I admit)… I pray for a cure for Sue, my brother, and my nieces. I am so very proud of Sue and my big brother – they personify grace and dignity and unselfish unconditional love.

Because every donation goes almost exclusively to the local chapters, every gift you make will go directly toward helping my brother and his family. Here is, in part, how donations help:

  • $25 pays for a walking cane that will transform the hope for safety into peace of mind.
  • $60 helps webcast an “Ask the Experts” research summit online for those who are unable to attend in person.
  • $100 enables repairs and maintenance of an augmentative communication device (AAC) from the ALS loan closet.
  • $250 funds one of sixteen monthly support groups that serve people with ALS and their families in my community.
  • $600 supports one day of a multi-disciplinary satellite clinic which serves people with ALS who aren’t able to travel long distances.

Money is so tight for so many of us. I’d really appreciate anything that you could donate to help fight against ALS. Even $5 or $10 helps! With your help, we can make a tangible difference in the lives of families affected by this disease. Last year, your generous donations helped to raise close to $6500 for my team of walkers. My own personal goal is to raise $1500. You have already helped me get partway there.

To donate to my Walk to Defeat ALS: http://webgw.alsa.org/goto/loris

Find out more about ALS and the amazing work being done by the ALS Association here: http://www.alsa.org/

(International!) Pay It Forward Day!

Hi friends!

I only just learned it’s International Pay It Forward Day. :) So… nothing hugely organized – but, I wanted to ask – is there anything I’m able to do for you?

I asked on twitter too.

If so – just let me know. I’ll do my best.

Did you know about it? Will you try to do anything? (I’m being lazy and staying in…)

Somewhat along those lines… National Make a Difference Day is coming up in the fall – and I always have a Social Media for Social Good fundraiser. I’m still trying to pick a charity. One that does something that matters, is a 501c3 (at least in the states), is well run, and ideally, international. If you’ve got suggestions I’d love to hear them.

Also – I know charities can send a lot of mail. Like a lot of solicitations. I’ve gotten so much mail from Save the Children, from last year and previous years. And other organizations. (I’m sorry about that.) I wanted to know then – if I started a collection on paypal or something – would you be more or less interested in donating? (That way you wouldn’t get the email/paper mail solicitations.) Paypal would take a slight fee, so it wouldn’t be a 100% donation – and all the other issues, but it would save you the junk mail.

Thoughts?

Social Media for Social Good (SMSG) 11 Winners

Hi Everyone – I know I said I’d post this on ~August 30. Sorry. I know I should have gotten that done, but we weren’t quite done with the drive yet. It went a bit longer, but we also raised more money, so I think that’s fine. Then, my computer kinda broke, car accidents, hospitalizations, illness, death of a family friend and so on and so forth so… it’s been a bit nutty.

What on earth am I talking about? Remember the charity drive? A Humanitarian Crisis: What We Can Do To Help and that there were prizes?

My apologies for the month long delay. Anyway, here are the winners! Because there were so many prizes, I’ll list the person/group giving the prize, and the winners. To make it easier and cut down on confusion, I also included the link to the comment so you can see if that’s you or not.

  • Christine Bell – Francesca and kiersten, please let me know which 5 of Christine’s books you’d like and in what e-format
  • Susanna Fraser – Brandi E. please email me which book you’d like and in what e-format
  • Nadia Lee – Rose
  • Dee Tenorio – jk – please tell me which of Dee’s series you’d like and in what e-format
  • Anne Holly – Sami
  • Courtney Milan – Her winner was chosen on her blog. Thank you so much, Courtney! xoxo
  • Jill Sorenson – Karen
  • Jeanette Murray – Nat
  • St. Martin’s Press Authors Gift Basket – Jane
  • Nikki Duncan – Janet please let me know if you’d like the Sensory Ops books in print or digital; Mary Ann you get an ARC of Tangled in Tulle
  • Shiloh Walker – aliciaeflores1 please let me know what e-format you’d like the Grimm books to be in

You can use the contact form and I’ll forward your information on. I think that’ll make it easier since it’s been awhile. Please get back to me by Saturday, October 1, 2011. Eastern time. (If you don’t get your information to me in time, sorry, but you forfeit your prize.) And in case you were wondering? All the winners were chosen randomly.

And um… if you said you’d donate but haven’t yet, please please do so? If you’re in the US, here’s the matching gift appeal link. Thanks! (If you didn’t before but decide to now, that’s fantastic too! And if you’d like to let me know the amount so I can add it to our total that’d rock too!)