In our society, gender inequality is visible in many areas, including politics, religion, media, cultural norms, and the workplace. Both men and women receive many messages — both overt and covert — in the sense that it is natural for men to have more social power than women.
In this context, it becomes easier to believe that men have a right to control women, even if it requires violence. This is not only wrong, it’s against the law. Therefore, it’s important to consider that working toward gender equality also benefits society as a whole. Rigid gender roles limit everyone, and they are a contributing factor to violence against women. In addition to sexism, there are many other forms of inequality that compound abuse and violence, including racism, homophobia, classism, ageism, and religious persecution.
Violence: 1) physical force used so as to injure, damage or destroy; extreme roughness of action; 2) intense, often devastatingly or explosively powerful force or energy, as of a hurricanes or volcano; 3a) unjust or callous use of force or power, as in violating another’ rights sensibilities, etc. b) the harm done by this; 4) great force or strength of feeling, conduct or expression, vehemence fury.
Women have experienced harsh judgments about body acceptability in what we call patriarchy through the pillars of society in religion, economics, and government throughout Western tradition and in contemporary culture. Western Christian, feminist, ecological theologian and author Sallie McFague writes:
“We face difficult issues concerning the well-being of bodies, especially the most vulnerable ones, confronting us everywhere that we look: experimental genetics, endangered species, AIDS, the homeless, clear-cut logging practices, affirmative action laws, taxation policies, pollution control and water rights, abortion and contraception availability, immigration laws, health insurance and care, educational costs and opportunities and the list goes on and on. The range of eco-theological issues is endless, and the view from the body, especially the needy body, changes how we see every issue. To make things more complex, the rights of some needy bodies are often in competition with the rights of other needy bodies, as in the case of the livelihood of loggers versus the lives of nearly extinct animals or the allocation of scarce funds to meals for disadvantaged school children or for the housebound elderly.”
These issues that McFague speaks of are largely controlled [or guided] under the domain of government. According to Wikipedia: “A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, often a state. It is the political control of a country of people by a governing body that has as its purpose the providership of greater organized forms for sake of the people, including law, law enforcement, a military, education, civil engineering, scientific research, and industry.”
The government’s role is to draw upon the patriarchal masculine energy of control, order, and discipline to govern its people; when used correctly you have a good balance of citizens leading their lives relatively free to do as they please. However when government oversteps its bounds, it chokes and stifles the free flow of commerce, [re]strict legislation (or no legislation), democracy begins to suffer. Government’s main function is to establish order thus making it a masculine construct that is generally governed by men. To give a bit of some historical reference, we turn to Athens a city in ancient Greece that was not simply a polis: it was a democracy. The power of the people and where the citizens are men.
Government in Athens
The Athenians were the first to expel their ruling classes, they possessed a propensity towards freedom, which made the Greek’s allergic to enslavement. Athenians were the best of the Greeks. The Greeks were the best of the political animals. In a paper written for the Women Philosopher Journal, entitled, “A Woman, a Style of Thinking. The Craft of Nicole Loraux”, author, Giulia Sissa states that “We must explore fully the connection between war, citizenship, and democracy. Citizens are men. In ancient societies (and Athens is no exception), the distinctive feature of their gender is their vocation for war, their fighting skills, their ability to take command and consequently to govern, including collectively. Whatever our interest in the life of these societies, we must always take masculinity as our starting point, and its inscription in warfare.”
In Athens, the exclusion of women then immediately appears not only a consequence but also the necessary condition of political competence, which is an extension and a confirmation of a prior military competence. Military valor is the only virtue that is within the reach of everyone. This is true at the level of the city, and equally so at the level of a people. It is because the Greeks are generously endowed with ‘spiritedness’, thumos, that they are uniquely qualified for the art of politics.
Aristotle offers, then, a strongly elitist theory of the value of the collectivity, military virtue is a group quality, but the group in question is a group of warriors, who, on growing older, govern, and are governed by, one another. The same quality of distinction on the battlefield is stretched to become a distinction in the political arena. On the one hand, Athenian oratory extends military excellence to the people in their entirety, because all free, adult, male Athenians among the people are citizens and soldiers, whether in the cavalry, the infantry or the navy.
War is good for business
Participatory democracy vs representative democracy. It’s becoming a benchmark, in that it is regarded as more dynamic, being driven by men and women from all walks of life and not by a political elite or a community of citizens, as advocated in Greek democracy in antiquity…..That heritage, transmitted from renaissance times, had long projected an ideal of virile heroism, resulting in the subjugation of foreigners, slaves, and women, not only because of the kind of work in the production and reproduction they were restricted to, but also, and above all, because they were excluded from knowledge and were thus denied the right to independent thought.
That concern is the focus of all kinds of critical views thus refuting the old myths about women being incapable of holding political office. On this basis, the millennia-old domestication of women and all forms of phallocratization of political power are obviously evidence of the violation of women’s rights. This revolution raises a number of questions, as do all major upheavals. Perceived as inferior beings, long labeled the ‘weaker sex’. This new stance seems to undermine the age-old idea of women adapting to subservience, domestication and the psychological corruption of being gripped by weakness and incapable of intellectual or political pursuits, which gives a fairly clear idea of the gender division of labor and of social gender relations. One may ask; is it any wonder that we find all areas of government predominantly ruled by men?
Social progress and transformation have now changed the situation so much that more power for women means more power for humanity as a whole. In other words, an emphasis is now laid on actually involving women in socio-cultural and intellectual activities, as means of restoring women’s right to think independently and to be openly involved in staking claims for their socio-political well-being. Whatever the reservations of ultra-conservatives and anti-feminists, the place of women seem crucial to the future of modern societies. Social progress and epochal changes depend on the rate of women’s progress in society and progress towards being free. We must remember that we look to government to provide order through the rule of law to provide guidance against such egregious acts, safety through our police services to catch the perpetrators, and our Courts to administer discipline once the culprit[s] are caught. Therefore it is only natural that we breach the subject of good governance through government.
War is good for business. When countries are in a state of war one can rest assured that that new technology [and weapons] offensive and defensive are developed and deployed, to up its ante against its opponent. No matter how secret and state-of-the-art the equipment might be some version of it will soon enough make its way to the commercial market to render the other objects obsolete. In fact, in a recent conversation with an individual who made a point of noting that after landing on the moon NASA no longer works on missions nor develop equipment for space travel per-say, everything that they make and do is within the purview for military advancement. Once their products or services (or some version of it) eventually hit the commercial market, there’s no telling what innovative uses the general public will have for these new technologies. For the purpose of this article, I’m thinking of methods and tools perpetrators use for crime to tie our strong women down through the force of violence; physical and sexual assault, abuse, harassment, rape, stalking and voyeurism all the way into human trafficking.
Human Trafficking: MMIW, Resource Development Areas
I’m focusing this article on human trafficking because it is a global issue affecting men, women, and children who every day fall prey to this very terrifying reality. It is among the most lucrative of criminal activities, done by individuals and organized crime networks, ranks high up with drug and firearms trafficking, generating billions of dollars annually. It’s dangerous because it is a clandestine activity to which anyone can be ensnared, however, when people hear of human trafficking they naturally think sex trafficking, and that it is not their concern because those women are prostitutes. Wrong, wrong, wrong! While there are many ongoing initiatives both at home and abroad there is a pressing need to consolidate everyone’s efforts to inform communities to fight this disturbing threat.
The trafficking of bodies is a lucrative business that ranks 2nd highest in world crime. It is shocking to learn the depth of such activities, a disregard of the body that some would assume ownership of another human being by selling/buying to make a profit from these activities, whether for sexual exploitation, forced labor, domestic servitude or organ harvesting. And that’s the keyword in the definition of trafficking: coercion and exploitation. Those two words must be evident for a trafficking charge to stick. For years and years evidence of potential human trafficking was evident, in the workplace, while traveling, in my community and although I was acutely aware of its effects I didn’t know what it was or what to call it until I received an election campaign email Conservative MP and anti-human trafficking activist Joy Smith during the 2015 elections. I was so moved by her work that I asked to join her to which I received front-line worker training and earned a certificate of completion from British Columbia, Department of Justice.
Human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable today. It is the act of luring vulnerable individuals and enslaving them into prostitution, forced labor, or for organ removal. They do this by means of threats, use of force and other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, and deception, blackmail, abuse of power that ties and binds victims giving the perpetrator complete control over the other person. These corrupt individuals are in the business of recruiting, transporting, harboring and/or receipt of said persons. They do this simply for the purpose of exploitation and for monetary gain.
According to the Globe and Mail series, Trafficked, about sex trafficking , they say, “It is also something in which indigenous women – and girls – are vastly overrepresented. Aboriginal people make up just 4 percent of the population, but a study in 2014 found they account for about half the victims of trafficking – Public Safety Canada calls them the country’s “population most vulnerable to exploitation.”and In fact they attribute sex trafficking as the main cause for a large number of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
“Indigenous women account for just one in every 25 Canadians, but one 2014 study estimated they are about one in every two victims of human trafficking.” (May Truong, the Globe, and Mail) The situation is an open secret. In fact, Canada has been subject to international rebuke for failing to address it. In 2012, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government unveiled a four-year action plan to prevent human trafficking, prosecute the perpetrators and aid the victims. It is set to expire in March, and Public Safety Canada, responsible for coordinating the federal response, could not provide a breakdown of how the $25-million earmarked for the plan (money the departments involved had to find within their existing budgets) has been allocated.
But the Globe investigation has found that more than 90 percent of what has been spent appears to have gone to law enforcement and to addressing international trafficking. Less than 10 percent – up to $500,000 a year administered by the Justice Department – has been devoted to victim support, and even that hasn’t been entirely put to use. Human trafficking is not a new problem in Canada, but its classification as a crime, is: The legislation was introduced in 2005. As of last August, the RCMP says, charges under the act have led to just 34 convictions specifically for human trafficking (another 56 were for related crimes).
Unlike the United States, Canada has neither a broad national co-ordinating body on the issue nor any detailed annual report on trafficking. There is no central data-collection mechanism, and the information that is gathered rarely includes the victim’s ethnicity – partly for the sake of privacy. But the RCMP is well aware of the problem: Domestic trafficking for sexual exploitation “exists and is widespread,” notes a 2013 study by the force that makes special mention of the higher proportion of indigenous women. [Globe and Mail]
The article continues and says this of our aboriginal women, “[But far worse, human trafficking] ‘is costing aboriginal people their lives,” says Rose Henry, a First Nations educator in Victoria, B.C. “This should be raising alarm bells. But people are choosing not to be aware because it also brings cultural shame – on everybody, not just on the indigenous people.”
And, as Natalie contends: “It’s been put on the backburner, so guys are getting away with it more and more because they’re thinking no one cares about these aboriginal girls – no one’s going to do anything about it anyway.”
In Vancouver, Canada’s first high-security safe house for trafficking victims says 45 percent of its residents are aboriginal, as are 40 percent of the survivors seen by Edmonton’s Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) and a remarkable 70 percent of those in Winnipeg’s street sex trade, according to the Transition, Education and Resources for Females program
In a scathing report last March, a United Nations committee declared that the overrepresentation of indigenous women in Canada stems from their economic and social marginalization and puts them at a “disproportionately high risk for disappearance and murder.” The committee added that “insufficient efforts have been made” to address their vulnerability.
There is “no question Canada lags well behind other nations on this extreme human-rights abuse,” says Barbara Gosse, who was senior research director for a 2014 national task force on the issue sponsored by the Canadian Women’s Foundation” [Globe and Mail, Trafficked]
According to Amnesty International’s report entitled, Out of Sight, Out of Mind, about women in resource development rich areas in Northeastern BC. “Because violent crime is generally underreported, especially crimes of violence against women, the actual levels of violence may be higher than police and court statistics suggest. Women and girls who do report acts of violence face a lack of victim support services, and lengthy court processes, as well as stigmatization in their communities. Jennifer, a violence survivor from Fort St. John, told Amnesty International that “it’s common for girls not to report. There are lots of victims blaming other girls.”
The influx of transient workers, difficult for accountability. Safe, affordable, access to affordable housing. Stereotypes that women at a place of risk, plus high substance use of transient workers. Hyper-masculinity that is found in the camps and the men themselves are underserviced sufferings from various mental health conditions. Overt physical, sexual violence and racism. The environmental violence that interferes with your rights to reproductive justice. Being able to raise your children the way that you would, in unison with the land, the resource projects interrupts that planting and harvesting. Migratory corridor impact on hunting, increase the mercury levels yet again, as they have experienced this several times. It has restricted how many times they can fish throughout the year. Providing land base food to your family and worried about poisoning. Losing the ability to raise children rooted in their culture which is land-based the land is corrupted.
During research visits to the northeast, Amnesty heard a staggering number of stories of women and girls, particularly indigenous women and girls, who have faced pervasive violence throughout their lives— including violence within the family, in the workplace, and in the community. The stories shared with Amnesty International included accounts of domestic violence and violence against women, as well as encounters with strangers ranging from aggressive harassment to extreme violence, and unsolicited offers of drugs and money in exchange for sex, [no safe public transportation] attempts to coerce women into vehicles with groups of men, sexual assault, and gang rapes.” And this is how the cycle enslavement begins, economic insecurity leads women to stay in unsafe relationships or enter into a relationship to gain housing and meet other needs, which exposes them to the dangers of sex trafficking.
Sex trafficking is a form of human trafficking. According to the Amnesty report, some men make the women pay off their debt by selling sex while some men [especially through dating sites] imply that they will provide sex in exchange for drugs, money or alcohol. The Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society tries to maintain regular contact with approximately 46 “high, high risk” women who sell sex in the streets because they have few other options to earn a living. Most have addiction issues. All the women are from northeast BC, and about half are Indigenous women. “If we don’t keep track, who will?” said Sylvia Lane a social worker. For them, it’s a survival issue as many are homeless and have nowhere to go. The Resource center tries to keep in regular contact as some women travel to other communities to sell sex and no one would know if they’d ever go missing.
“For traffickers, a woman is a commodity. That’s all she is.” says Jim Zucchero of Calgary based NGO, Canadian Women’s Foundation “For women, it’s the search for a way to get ahead or get out of the situation they’re in…Traffickers are master manipulators who give women and girls false hope. It might be the hope of a nice car or a nice condo. For young girls, it might be the glamour parties or most often, the dream of a loving relationship.” They’ve been known to lure unsuspecting victims through modeling, sports and entertainment industries, through the internet dating sites and social media. “And then the control begins.” Continues Zucchero “It can be as simple as swapping her cell phone. In one simple move; the trafficker has isolated her and acquired her complete list of phone contacts. If she tries to leave, he can threaten to track down not just her, but her family and friends. Or he can threaten to reveal to everyone on her contact list or social media that she is working as a prostitute. There are all kinds of other ways to isolate and intimidate. Traffickers take their money, their bank card, their keys, and ID.”
With the advancement in technologies, especially in the many ways, it has taken leaps and bounds pushing ahead moving forward and getting more sophisticated one has to wonder what techniques criminals have abandoned for savvier and newer technological solutions. Just recently I attended a book launch at King Law Chambers in Toronto, for authors Gerald Chan, Susan Magotiaux who wrote, Digital Evidence – a Practitioners Handbook that serves as a clear, concise guide to digital evidence in the criminal context. Right at the beginning, they acknowledge “As technology advances at an exponential rate, the law and practice surrounding digital evidence are in constant flux.” In fact, at the time of publishing their book, most of their material and techniques have advanced that they’d have to write a new book probably every six months or publish in a three-ring binder format and every couple of month publish replacement pages where technology has advanced rendering their advice obsolete. Their advice is to stick to the basics no matter how our environments change even [or especially] in technology, the law IS the law and the basic frameworks of law still applies no matter the environment. Basically, break it down and stick to the basics.
Traffickers need to keep track of their commodity, some women are even tattooed-branded. This strikes to the heart of a major issue with assaults and trafficking cases; bodily integrity. According to Martha Naussaum, “Bodily integrity is the inviolability of the physical body and emphasizes the importance of personal autonomy and the self-determination of human beings over their own bodies. It considers the violation of bodily integrity as an unethical infringement, intrusive, and [possibly] criminal…Being able to move freely from place to place; being able to be secure against violent assault, including sexual assault… having opportunities for sexual satisfaction and for choice in matters of reproduction”. Bodily integrity includes; freedom of movement, security of person, reproductive and sexual rights, women’s health, breaking women’s isolation, education and networking. That is why the emphasis is now laid on actually involving women in socio-cultural and intellectual activities, as means of restoring women’s right to think independently and to be openly involved in staking claims for their socio-political well-being.
Over the next paragraphs combine the two themes; the criminal and the criminal’s tools. The tools that criminals use, especially in cases of trafficking, strikes a strong similarity with advances in technology that, strangely enough, is emerging from military and medical development. High tech surveillance and digital implantation devices are not new but they are getting incredibly sophisticated. Although created for militaristic and medical uses – in the wrong hands (or when they become commercialized and readily available in the [black] market) – should be a source for added concern and should stay on our peripheral radar.
Additionally, please keep in mind that trafficking and all its facets are an umbrella criminal activity that employs a whole gamut of singular crimes that are punishable independently. Human trafficking will use all or a combination of: assault, rape, battery, kidnapping, harassment, murder, prostitution, theft, money laundering, just to name a few, to complete one or several of its transactions. Therefore to talk about human trafficking means one would need to address all these various levels of crime. Each time we strengthen laws and legislation affecting any of these crimes – even independently – puts a wrench into plans for this ‘higher’ level of crime making it difficult to conduct their activities.
Surveillance – Bill C51/59
Patriot Act, October 26, 2001:
“This new law that I sign today will allow surveillance of all communications used by terrorists, including emails, the Internet, and cell phones. As of today, we’ll be able to better meet the technological challenges posed by this proliferation of communications technology. The American people need to know that we’re collecting a lot of information and we’re spending a great deal of time trying to gather as much intelligence as we possibly can, to chase down every lead, to run down every hint so that we can keep America safe. And it’s happening.”~ Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet, author Yasha Levine
The Patriot Act was in response to the 911 events, over a decade later Harper introduces Bill C51 providing security agencies an unusual amount of surveillance power and authority. But in response to what? I wasn’t aware of Bill C51, it crept up on me. I was too occupied experiencing some technical difficulties with my own computer equipment having just fallen prey to a phishing scam and since then weird stuff started to happen, so technology, needless to say, everything good and bad about it, became an obsessing issue. Privacy. I felt invaded. Then I learned of Joy Smith and her anti-human trafficking work and realized the same methods and tactics that traffickers and stalkers use I was personally experiencing. Also, having worked at Immigration and Refugee board, combined with my traveling experience for my work in the cultural sector, I also understood, how these perpetrators could ensnare any one of my colleagues. Wanting to learn more about cyber-crime and how to protect oneself I decided to deepen my research and that’s when I became aware of Bill C 51. The more I learned about Bill C51’s information sharing and mass surveillance (etc.), I stopped thinking about government, and I began thinking about stalkers and human traffickers!
The same methods the government employs traffickers and stalkers can do as well as I suspect many of them are cybercriminals or closely have accesses to one. They might even be savvier than law engagement officers by using the dark web for their operations allowing users and website operators to remain anonymous or untraceable. “According to researchers, only 4% of the internet is visible to the general public. Meaning that the remaining 96% of the internet is made up of “The Deep Web”. Dark Web or Dark Net is a subset of the Deep Web where there are sites that sell drugs, hacking software, counterfeit money, [money laundering] and more.” [darkweb.com]
Additionally, the police have been recently caught using unauthorized Stingray surveillance by the courts. Stingray surveillance a cell phone listening device where you can ping off of any cell phone tower to have access to basically anyone’s calls. Imagine stalkers and traffickers keeping track of their investments using this piece of technology monitoring every phone call and text message that is sent and received. Then there’s the use of drones, sure they are fun for sport. However it is easy to employ for nefarious reasons, floating 50ft above, so you won’t even notice this silent gadget following every move of an individual and peeping through windows. How do victims/ prisoners ever expect to escape their condition? It gets worse.
Traffickers need to track and keep a watchful eye on the individuals they are trafficking depending on the level of ‘freedom of movement’ provided to the victim and the activities they are to perform [sex trafficking to the elite, espionage, smuggling as a drug mule etc.] In both books, NanoWeapons [Del Monte] and in Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind, by Yurval Harari, provides an account of how nanobots that impersonates insects are used for surveillance, “The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) a US military research agency, is developing cyborgs out of insects. The idea is to implant electronic chips, detectors and processors in the body of a fly or a cockroach, which will enable either human or an automatic operator to control the insect’s movements remotely and to absorb and transmit the information. Such a fly could be sitting on the wall at enemy headquarters eavesdrop on the most secret conversations, and if it isn’t caught first by a spider, could inform us exactly what the enemy is planning.”
Harari continues by providing an example, “Today many Americans believe that the solution to terrorism is technological rather than political. Just give millions more to the nanotechnology industry, they believe, and the United States could send bionic spy-flies into every Afghan cave, Yemenite redoubt and North African encampment. Once that’s done, Osama Bin Laden’s heirs will not be able to make a cup of coffee without a CIA spy-fly passing this vital information back to headquarters in Langley. Allocate millions more to brain research, and every airport could be equipped with ultra-sophisticated FMRI scanners that could immediately recognize angry and hateful thoughts in people’s brains. Will it really work? Who knows? Is it wise to develop bionic flies and though reading scanners? Not necessarily. Be that as it may, as you read these lines, the US Department of Defense is transferring millions of dollars to nanotechnology and brain laboratories for work on these and other such ideas.”
Harari seems to be on par echoing some of the sentiments coming out of Silicon Valley regarding nanotechnology and brain laboratories. Brain scanning is not too far off in becoming a reality if it hasn’t already. It falls in the same category of making mindfiles for mind cloning. In the book Virtually Human, by Martine Rothblatt, she answer these questions, defining “that a mindclone is a replica of a particular person’s mannerisms, personality, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes, and values, determined from a mindfile of our lifetime’s digital footprints, by mindware that auto-tunes to each of our unique flavors of consciousness, as found in our mindfile.” Basically, watch your digital footprint, this is about downloading your consciousness into a computer program. To illustrate you might want to watch the Johnny Depp movie Transcendence. We will continue this discussion well into April (and May), Sexual Assault Awareness Month, you might think this is the way of Hollywood style thinking but make no mistake it’s already here. We have nanite surveillance that are microscopic to the eyes that could easily go in your eyes to see everything that you see, they can be in your hair – they can be anywhere inside and outside of your body and you would not be aware at all that your every move is being tracked. Or what about nano spy-flies. Using this unique piece of technology your stalker or trafficker surveilling your every move and intimate conversations right in front of your very own eyes and you wouldn’t be the wiser, thinking it’s just a simple fly. Well, this brings reality to the saying “To be a fly on the wall.” Oh but there is more in the world of nano[bio]technology, let us continue.
Nano Technology: The future of sexual assault and rape. “They” now have new “tools”, How new [cyber/bio] technology can change the playing field in sexual assault/rape cases
In the book, Nanoweapons: A Growing Threat to Humanity, author Louis A. Del Monte describes the deadliest weapon ever developed, over and above nuclear technology, which could render humanity extinct. “Nanoweapons, like nuclear and biological weapons threaten the survival of humanity. Nanoweapons represents the ultimate threat because controlling extremely sophisticated nano weapon may be beyond the capability of human intelligence. Make no mistake, Nanoweapons are real and a new arms race is underway. Based on the publicly available information, China, Russian and the United States are currently competing in a multibillion-dollar nano weapons arms race. Other nations like Germany are close on their heels.” Although the text explains that the use of this technology is mainly for military, nanotechnology in its broader sense is also employed for commercial, medical and industrial use. For the purpose of our discussion, we are attempting to highlight how the rapid advancement of new technologies can be used as a force for good and bad, particularly in the area of sexual harassment and assault under the umbrella term of trafficking.
Similar to nuclear and bio[nano]technology there are many uses it can play a role in the force for good, especially in the area(s) of medicine, energy industries etc. The medical application of nanotechnology is termed “nanomedicine”. Nanomedicine is the science and technology of diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease and traumatic injury of relieving pain and of preserving and improving human health using nanoscale structured materials. We’re talking about biotechnology, genetic engineering and eventually complex machine systems and nanorobots. Currently, nanotechnology projections suggest that by the year 2050 artificially intelligent self-replicating (very dangerous at that stage) nanobots will become a reality designed and manufactured by superintelligent computers.
Applications in nanomedicine include nano-materials biological devices and nano-electronic biosensors. Future applications are likely to include biological machines and nanorobotics. Nanomaterials are particularly useful in nanomedicine since their size is in the same range as the biological molecules. Nanotechnologies are working to bond nanomaterials with biological molecules to construct “drug carriers”. This is leading to an entirely new class of nanomedicine, called “smart drugs”. Smart drugs are analogous to “smart bombs”. As you read about the advances in the biotechnological community it is easy to become hopeful in what’s available in treatments to patients if diagnosed with a critical illness.
However, this is an area to demonstrate one of the most clandestine areas of human trafficking, which would be the trafficking of body parts and organs for the benefit and furthering of medical developments in the bio-community. Strangely enough, it’s not the technology sector that’s encouraging advancements in the biofields, in fact, it’s the opposite. The bio-community have been pushing the envelope trying to find new ways and techniques to treat illnesses and cancers, it is only natural and fitting that they would turn to the technology sector to develop modes for early detection and delivery of medication. But how do they test these devices to see if they really work? Human experimentation. I would imagine a human would be more preferable than animals at this stage in development. In speaking of human and organ trafficking if a medical entity or individual employs the services of traffickers for, as an example, testing of a drug and/or procedure that means they do not want to abide by the laws that govern the ethical testing of human subjects.
For example, gaining proper consent from the patient will enable researchers to skip all sorts of cautionary guidelines set up by industry standards aimed at protecting the medical subject. Essentially, the individual(s) is ignoring the human rights of the patient (the trafficked individual) to which they are now no longer human but simply an object. Not gaining consent allows the researcher to go well beyond what industry standards allow them to and what the law suggests in terms of patient rights. One would also employ the use of a trafficker to forgo providing proper patient care or compensation by industry standards (or none at all), perhaps they expect the patient will not live to see the end of such medical testing. Once in the hands of the client, the victim could be subjected to all sorts of tests that if done legally such studies that they are conducting would render their activities as inhumane.
Especially with the uses of nano-technology the subject might not even know that they are being trafficked for their organs and body parts. Perhaps the individual was not forcibly removed from their home, they conduct their lives as they normally would as tests are conducted remotely through “smart drugs” and/or “smart bombs”. The patent could be infected with a deadly virus or disease and be treated through a series of medical doses to see which drug cures the virus or who’s to say they are trying to cure an illness – they could make a deadly biochemical weapon and administer it through nanites to observe its effectiveness. This is what author Louis Del Monte, cautions in his book, Nanoweapons and provides some alarming scenarios in terms of acts of genocide through the use of nanotechnology. He says. “What you don’t know may kill you! If we assume the toxin payload each nanobot carries is 1,000 nanograms, similar to the weight ratio of a fighter aircraft to its ordinance payload, each nanobot could theoretically kill ten humans. An autopsy will reveal the presence of a solution and may attribute the death to food poisoning, not foul play. Even worse, if it is botulinum toxin type H, the most deadly in existence there is no known antidote….The injection point would be invisible to conventional autopsy techniques. This means that it is entirely possible that the medical examiner will attribute your death to an unknown cause but not suggest foul play.”
Imagine, the patient will keep visiting the doctor complaining of various side effects and the doctor would not know how to treat the condition or send them through various tests, all the while not knowing what’s going on in the patient. Any drugs he prescribes might mix with what the smart drug is delivering and render the patient even more sick, unconscious, or worse – dead. And imagine the possibilities when the self-replicating nanite technology becomes available. There are a variety of reasons one would consult the world of trafficking of persons, body parts and organs in the name of medical advancement. Yet one would definitely agree the main underlining reason would be to bypass the proper channels to escape scrutiny or to relieve themselves of having to abide by industry standards, perhaps the work might not be approved for funding to complete the research and more testing is needed, or worse perhaps the work might have been rejected.
This is why from the levels of trafficking, organ trafficking and of body parts yields the highest returns for a trafficker and why the activity is so clandestine, discreet and it is extremely difficult to get enough information let alone catch the perpetrators. Especially for densely populated countries such as India and China, it is somewhat easier to arrange for a body snatching transactions to take place.
Remember what I cautioned earlier, human trafficking is an umbrella activity that covers many levels of crime. To use these little gadgets, for nefarious reasons, would need not be for reasons for trafficking per say. It could be used in forms of revenge, for example, from a jilted lover, surveillance from overprotective parents and romantic partners, vigilante, religious fanatics, stalkers and rapists (etc.). For example, it could be used in honor killings – now how would authorities one; figure that it was a crime, and two catch the perpetrators?
Remember the date rape drug? Someone spikes your drink and once the drug takes effect you’re basically rendered useless. The individual would be controlled and threatened to do almost anything or else. At least with the date rape drug, the drug itself passes through the body where the individual can regain consciousness and heal. With nanites, how do you; one; know it’s in your body and two; remove them from your body, especially if it is the type of neuro-implants. For nanites that need an injection, can one even find the injection site in the first place, be assured that the very act of injecting an individual without consent is considered under the criminal code; assault and or battery. It would be the same as picking up a gun, a bat, a knife – any object that could be used for harm, according to law it’s the intent that matters, – and for this crime the syringe would be the object considered for harm and the bottle of chloroform if the victim needed to be sedated for the injection.
The environment necessary for people to accept nanobots might be easier to create than the devices themselves. If constant monitoring and increased medicalization of life become widely accepted, people may be prepared to accept internet monitoring. If handheld devices send data to computers that produce automated treatment recommendation they need for health care professionals may diminish. It may seem perfectly reasonable to then transfer all these functions to nanobots. They will monitor levels of biomarkers and carry drugs and hormones to correct imbalances. This will be done through what is called the internet of things (IoT) which is defined as “data and devices continually available through the internet.
The IoT incorporates everything from the body sensor to the recent cloud computing, be it a telemedicine, application or vehicle tracking system the foremost step is to collect or acquire data from the devices or things. Based on the characteristics of the thing different types of data collectors are used. The thing may be a static body (body sensor or RFID tags) or a dynamic vehicle (sensors and chips). While it may currently seem imaginative and speculative step-by-step and motivates important goals, we may end up with nanobots running through our bodies monitoring and correcting all sorts of physiological measurements. Therefore if you are willing to have your body internet-monitored 24/7 a trust must be built with the person at the other end of the handheld device that sends data to the computers that produce the automated treatment. That person has the ability to change the physiology of your body; make you fat, catch the flu, change the pigmentation in your skin, increase the pain of your menstrual cramps, how much you bleed, inflation anywhere in the body, high blood pressure, heart palpitation etc, etc,. You are literally placing your life into that person’s hand and hope that this person isn’t sinister in nature.
Can nanobots and implants be deactivated? Is there a kill code command or is it up to each engineer to determine what that might be. Del Monte cautions even if there is a kill command, these nanobots could evolve after deployment and become immune like a virus often does, where you can’t deactivate it. Remember we are using “smart” computers and AI technology where the program is constantly learning! Imagine if you are a frontline worker trying to emancipate a trafficked victim from her enslavement where to begin? If a victim could even manage to hamper the surveillance capabilities to plan an escape it’s trafficker would activate the nanobot (or neural nano implant) and zap your brain is fried by some naturally looking tragedy, such as an aneurysm, and no one would be the wiser of what really happened.
So this is “a” version of the many avenues of what our future can be. Make no mistake “a” version of this future is coming, in fact, it might already be here. This is when we turn to human rights legislation and the law for it not to work in being reactive but instead proactive anticipating and advancing legislation to adapt to technology’s ever rapid advancements.
What happens when the gender divide is closed? When the Strong Woman is untied, given her self-governance and autonomy, to move about as she pleases, what happens when she taps into her beautiful and bountiful soul and pulls out the treasures and gifts that are needed to heal the world. What happens when she unites as equal to the masculine when she bounds herself freely and delights in that bond to another?
The answers are already before us, in ancient scriptures, myths, and prayers.
Up next: Passover celebration – Song of Songs