More From Alder's Ledge

October 30, 2013

Guilt Free Chocolate

Avoiding Chocolate Made With Child Labor
(part of the Lost Childhood series)

(70% Of World's Cocoa Produced With Child Labor)

As your child (and most likely you too) set out to enjoy this Halloween's bounty of chocolate laden treats there is a very important question that needs to be answered... Where did that chocolate come from?

West Africa produces just over 70 percent of the world's supply of cocoa. Each of the countries that produces this cocoa allow the use of child labor on their vast cocoa farms. The largest producer of these five countries, Ivory Coast, also permits and often encourages the use of forced labor (slavery). All are known to have large human trafficking rings active within their borders supplying children to work the fields of the sprawling cocoa plantations. 

This is where your Halloween chocolate comes from. 

Trafficking And Chocolate 

The children who are sent to the fields to collect the cocoa are not always victims of trafficking. Yet as the demand for cheaper chocolate goes up the number of children being trafficked into the slave trade goes up too. These children, often purchased or bribed into slavery, are subjected to physical, mental, and sexual abuses in an effort to force them into submission. The goal of the trafficker is to break the spirit of the child so that the chances of a runaway becomes minimal. 

Children who are trafficked in Western Africa can be used for many things throughout their life as slaves. Some will be used as child soldiers in times of conflict. Others can become victims of sexual violence and abuse. The use of children as sex slaves is a growing problem across the globe as "sex tourism" becomes an ever increasingly lucrative trade. Yet despite these more notable abuses, most children trafficked in West Africa will be used at some point as child labor. This allows the trafficker the ability to make a reliable income off their slaves while waiting for other higher earning jobs to come along. 

This horrific reality is one that children who are trafficked in West Africa face. They have no say in where they are forced to work or what abusive task they will be forced to perform. From the moment they wake up in the morning to the moment they are allowed to go to sleep they are forced to work in one way or another. There is no rest for these children. With each passing day the hope of freedom is ground out of them as they are degraded and abused at the whim of their owner.

It is modern day slavery.

Chocolate comes into the picture as trafficked children are "employed" on West Africa's vast cocoa plantations. These large operations (many of which are supported by chocolate giants like Hersey's) willingly and knowingly pay the traffickers as the children take to their fields. The use of slave labor allows these farms to increase their yields in multiple ways; including inhumane treatment of forced laborers, longer hours, more strenuous tasks performed, and little to no time for rest between heavy tasks.

The children who work on these plantations are subjected to physical abuse for even the most minor infringements or accidents. If injured while performing dangerous tasks the children are expected to continue working. If an accident includes a life threatening injury the child is given the most minimal treatment and then beaten before being sent back to work. Mercy is not commonly shown to these children. 

Avoiding Chocolate Produced With Child Labor

When buying chocolate this holiday season there are multiple ways to insure that you are buying chocolate that was not made with cocoa produced with child labor (or slave labor). Though the first way is rather simple really, just don't buy chocolate. But for most this way is just too difficult since we have a horrible addiction to the sweet sensations chocolate produces in our mind and mouth. So ignoring the obvious solution of avoidance... here are a few ways you can have a guilt free chocolate fix. 
 Fair Trade

This route is expensive for both the consumers and the farmers alike. While it ensures that the chocolate you are buying was produced by a farmer who was paid a fair price and produced it using ethical labor practices; it does not tell you how much the farmer paid for that certification. This is the portion of that label that is often overlooked. And yet it is important to note that the farmer (or farmers, which is most often the case) had to pay thousands of dollars to gain that label. 

So while you can rest assured that the farmer did not use child labor you cannot rest assured that the process is as nice and neat as you would be led to believe. 

For example-

Besides the thousands of dollars spent to get certified (which could had been used to invest in the workers themselves), the farmers are often paying dues to cooperatives. This increases the amount of money the farmers need to make before their product is worth the time it takes to produce. The increased cost also drives down the amount the farmer would otherwise be capable of paying their workers. 

Yet, outside all this, in the case of child labor and chocolate production fair trade is a valuable tool in helping you avoid chocolate made utilizing child labor. 


The vast majority of organic chocolate comes from South America. So while all organic chocolate may not be completely child free, the source country on the label should indicate another country outside West Africa. This method allows you to decide to buy chocolate that is not produced in the five countries mentioned in the first picture (all of whom are well known for child labor). Yet unless you research the country of origin it does not assure you that the producer did not utilize child labor. 

This method requires the consumer to research both the producer's labor practices and the common labor practices of the country where the cocoa came from. It also may require the consumer to research the ecological cost of cocoa produced in countries that are home to the Amazon Rain Forest. 

Source Country 

The most direct way to find out where your chocolate comes from and how it was produced is to put in the effort to research the producer and the country of origin. This method allows you to both gain knowledge of how your chocolate was produced and where it comes from. To do this you will find it is easier if you find a brand that is Fair Trade or certified organic. You may also want to find a brand you like (since that is the reason behind buying the product anyway). 

Once you find a product you know you want and just can't live without the real fun starts...

First you want to make sure that your chocolate is not made with cocoa from Africa.

Then try and find out just how many companies or facilities the product has gone through before reaching you. Chances are that if the product takes the shortest route from farm to shelf it is child labor free. If the product has to go from one country to the next (and then some) the chances for utilizing child labor in the production and/or harvesting of the cocoa goes up. It also means that less of your money is going back to the person who produced the cocoa in the first place. 

These two steps will greatly reduce the probability of your chocolate being made through the use of child labor or slave labor. 

Don't want to do all that work?

You can always visit sites like 'Stop The Traffik' to learn more about buying chocolate made without child labor. You will still have to do a little reading. But if you made it to the bottom of this post and didn't switch over to a YouTube video of cats or whatnot... I guess a little more reading won't kill you. 

Happy Halloween From All The Alder's Ledge Team

Want To Contact Us?

Tweet To Us On Twitter: @alders_ledge

Source Documents 
(note: not all sources listed)

Food Is 
Stop The Traffik 

Huffington Post

October 20, 2013

From One Circle Of Hell To The Next

Sexual Abuse Of North Korea's Women
(Part One)

For many North Koreans the life they live and that which the outside world imagines are rather different realities. A small percentage of North Koreans can be considered privileged and have access to the luxuries their South Korean neighbors enjoy daily. These lucky few are able to flaunt their wealth behind closed doors as they pretend to be serving their country's goals of a worker's paradise. For most there is the reality that many outside North Korea first think of... death, starvation, oppression, and state sponsored terror.

In North Korea everything the common Korean does is watched and monitored. Secret police can make anyone, at anytime, simply disappear. The very appearance of being an individual in state that idolizes conformity can be a fatal flaw. There just isn't any room in North Korea for self expression or individual thought. These two things alone are perceived to be the worst threats the state faces even as it's citizens continue to starve to death.

Citizens who are unlucky enough to be deemed an "enemy of the state" find themselves crossing from their current circle in North Korea's hellish existence to the next. These unfortunate souls join an estimated 200 thousand North Koreans in gulags across the country. The "great leader" (and his offspring) have operated these concentration camps for nearly 12 times as long as the Nazis had operated theirs. Yet unlike the Nazi camps, these souls, damned by the state, know that the work they will be doing will not "set them free".

Three Generations

North Koreans who are deemed to be a threat to the tyrants in Pyongyang don't just risk having themselves sent to death camps, but also have their entire families rounded up. North Korea's state policy is that three generations must pay in blood for the accused person's supposed offense. This policy is meant to stamp out the "seed" of the state's enemy.

The three generations policy creates a paralyzing fear in a society that is driven by terror. It creates within the household (a founding base for all civilization) a paranoia that never dissipates. Citizens are encouraged by this fear to monitor their family members. The fear that their brothers', sisters', or parents' mistakes could land them in a prison camp is enough encourage the worst acts of betrayal. Fathers are thus encouraged by the system itself to walk out on their families. Parents who can't provide for their children are encouraged by the system to abandon their children. It is this sense of defeat that chips away at the building blocks upon which North Korea's tyranny is balancing.

In camps the three generation policy is emphasized by a perverse system of bartering with prisoners by camp guards. Family members are told that they can receive rewards for reporting their family members for any given offense. Even though it is well known that many of these such reports will inevitably lead to the public execution of their family members, the rewards are often just enough to break the prisoner. Bribes of food and other vital necessities are the most common rewards. Other times the rewards are just lies and false promises.

This sadistic policy is also applied to the children of prisoners who are born into the concentration camps. Little is provided for the inmates in the way of medical treatment and provisions for raising a newborn. So it is hard to tell just how many children born into these conditions ever actually grow up beyond infancy. The practice of "infant executions" also culls the number of children born into the system the death camps are meant to uphold. But for those who survive their childhood the reality of life behind barbed-wire is all they may possibly know as they are slowly worked to death.

Sexualized Violence 

Once in the death camps the women of North Korea face a reality that is as close to a living death as many will ever come. Every prisoner in North Korea's concentration camps is considered to be less than human in the eyes of the state. Prison guards are trained to view them as animals with whom they can do anything they wish. For the women of North Korea this means they are openly and regularly subjected to rape and sexual molestation. No matter where they are in the camp, at any time, they are expected to subject themselves willingly to rape in all it's forms. There are no exceptions. 

Women who cooperate are raped routinely till the guard or guards move onto their next victim. Yet for many, no matter how well they managed to remain silent during the attacks, this departure of their assailant can mean a sudden execution. For those who appear to have resisted in any way, real or perceived, these victims are often immediately executed. All of them will afflicted with physical, mental, and emotional torment before they are made to "disappear" or suffer in silence. 

Women who survive rape have an added concern if they become pregnant. It is common practice in North Korea's prison camps to force rape victims to have an abortion. These abortions are done without proper medical treatment and are rarely done by a trained doctor. If the woman survives the torment of a crudely performed abortion she must endure the added insult of being refused the right to clean herself afterward. Instead of being given even a shower, forced abortion survivors are left to worry about infection or complications of the procedure itself. 

There is no mercy shown to North Korea's female inmates. They are among the most common victims of public executions, public displays of punishment, and sexualized violence. Girls are targeted for rape from the moment they are old enough to satisfy the guards' lust for virgins and new victims. From that point on the rapes and molestations are a daily threat for female prisoners. 


Childhood in North Korea's concentration camps is almost unimaginable. Husbands and wives who are imprisoned together know that these camps are no place to get pregnant. Yet there is no access to prevention methods of any sort. And as mentioned above, victims of rape are not given access to preventatives either. So any child conceived is at risk from the moment of conception. 

Carrying a child to full term is near impossible. Expecting mothers have to endure severe malnutrition and starvation on a daily basis. Hard labor adds to the stresses of being pregnant in one of North Korea's death camps. Rape and barbaric molestation brings on even more trauma with which the pregnant mother must endure. Then there are the beatings guards use to cause miscarriages in pregnant women.

If a woman under these horrific conditions does manage to give birth to a living child they then face yet another form of perverse barbarism: infant executions.

It was the first time I had seen a newborn baby and I felt happy. But suddenly there were footsteps and a security guard came in and told the mother to turn the baby upside down into a bowl of water. The mother begged the guard to spare her, but he kept beating her. So the mother, her hands shaking, put the baby face down in the water. The crying stopped and a bubble rose up as it died,” 
~ 34 year-old Jee Heon-a.

This story is just one of the tales of such barbaric acts committed by North Korea's prison guards. Not only did this guard attack the mother but then forced the woman to kill her own child. This sort of sadistic hedonism is a long standing undertone to the tales of barbarism carried out by guards who are rewarded for their savagery. The more grotesque they behave, the greater status they achieve in the eyes of a government that values loyalty to it over the lives of it's own citizens.

Ethnic Cleansing 
(Culling Of "Racial Impurities")

Forced abortions are a common treatment in North Korea (both inside and outside prison camps) for the state's policy of riding it's society of "racial impurities". Women are detained upon even the most remote suspicion of having an "impure fetus". At times the forced abortion are ordered by doctors while at other times they are demanded by guards and other agents of the state. In every case they are painful and risk the death of the victimized woman. 

One account of this was given to the United States Human Rights Council and tells of women who were detained for the purpose of causing forced abortions:

"A drug that in diluted form is used to treat skin wounds was injected into pregnant women’s wombs, inducing labor within hours. As there had not been the normal widening of the hipbones during the advance stages of pregnancy to enlarge the birth canal, the labor pains were the same as when delivering a fully grown baby. When the women moaned or cried out in pain as they lay on wooden and cement cell floors, they were hit with wooden stoves and cursed as "bitches who got Chinese sperm and brought this on themselves."'

The added insult in many cases is the brutal abuses committed against the victims while and after they are being forced to have brutal abortions. Physical assault is often applied along with verbal abuse as the women are being put through the agony of painful abortions. Yet at times physical assault is also the very tool used to cause the abortions themselves: 

"Mrs. Bang Mi-sun observed ten pregnant women in early 2002 taken to a hospital from the Musan An-jeon-bu detention facility for the purpose of aborting their "half-Chinese babies." Another seven-month pregnant woman adamantly refused to go to the hospital and guards compelled male prisoners to jump on her stomach until the woman aborted on the floor. The woman was then taken to the hospital where she died."

The children who do manage to survive are not afforded the basic dignity that any human life merits. Instead of being treated as a human being, these newborn babies are wrapped up in newspaper or bags and tossed into the garbage to die. In a state that supposedly values the worker and all his potential, entire generations of potential lives are discarded callously by an authoritative state.

While officially the state does not recognize the procedure of forced abortions (like all other abuses it commits), North Korea's obsession with racial purity helps to propagate this atrocious act. It's desire to create a society in which an "ideal Korean" worker exists only serves as a prop for the barbarism of it's corrupt military and political upper-class. In the end it is the upon the backs of North Korea's women that the burden of these disillusions falls. And it is the mother and child that pay in blood for a government that lust after the unachievable. 

Survival Sex

The act of forcing women to have sex for supplies of basic nourishment is an act so perverse that it's name alone seems lacking in it's ability to crudely fit it... survival sex. 

Taking advantage of women who are desperate to provide for their families or find that ever illusive next meal is abhorrent. It would be inconceivable if it wasn't such a defining trait across the spectrum of similar events to that of North Korea's prison camps. Survival sex was present in Nazi death camps during the Holocaust. It showed up during the genocide in Bosnia. And has been seen in Sri Lanka's ethnic cleansing of the Tamils. So it is sadly of little surprise that survival sex can be found in the accounts of North Korean refugees. 

In camp inmates the use of survival sex is often applied when a woman or girl becomes the target of a guard's intent to rape. The victim knows that they have a greater chance at surviving if they cooperate with their assailant. Through not fighting back the victim hopes they will not be killed by their attacker. In addition there comes the hope that they will be shown some "mercy" and given access to food and/or clean water. It is a perverse "game" (as referred to by a camp survivor) that guards use to keep a rape victim under their control (since all rape is about violent domination more so than it is about sex).

The gaining of food or water through rape is not assured for North Korean rape victims. Survival sex for them is something that they don't always know they are being subjected to. Instead they are only treated to just enough resources to keep them alive as their assailants see fit. This highlights the brutality of their plight since it best demonstrates the absolute minimal value the state (and the guards themselves) place upon the lives of these female captives.

The Outer Circle Of Hell

In our next post on this subject we will be taking the journey out of North Korea's inner hell and venturing over the border into China. For many North Korean women this is a journey from one circle of hell to the next. It is plagued by human traffickers, forced marriages, and the ever constant threat of forcible repatriation to North Korea. Even with the hope of crossing over into a better life, many will find this journey a living hell as they are transformed into the walking dead.

To learn more about this subject and others covered by Alder's Ledge:

Follow us on Twitter: @alders_ledge
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Source Documents
(note: not all sources listed)

A Safe World For Women

Women Under Siege Project

Russian Times

October 17, 2013

Never Forget, Never Relent...

A Team of Screamers

There aren't many people who can request Alder's Ledge to do a post, especially one like this one. We are a small team that would rather hide behind the screens from which we work. So when our most soft spoken member asked us to explain to the world a little more about us... well we spent two weeks deciding just how that would or could be done.

So this is what we came up with...

A History...

Alder's Ledge began from the stubbornness of one individual and an old desktop computer. The subject was and has always been somewhat dark and dreary. What first began as widely rejected political opinions slowly gave way to the passion of the founding member... something even more depressing than politics... and that is of course genocide and genocide education.

As that founding member, I remember the first time I became aware of genocide. As a small child I remember turning on the television after school one spring day and seeing the news instead of cartoons. The images of people laying in dirt streets while others hacked away at them with machetes was burned into my mind that day. I recall asking why that was happening only to be told to forget it. But somethings never can be forgotten.

Soon after that came Bosnia. The images of people running for cover as a gunshot broke the silence still chills my blood. Watching a body drop as the world around that poor soul explodes into chaos... these are the things that young minds don't process well. Yet when Bosnia came onto the television I couldn't watch away. It was like I was watching history in replay mode.

For members of Alder's Ledge this story is told over and over again. Some of our members have a family history with genocide. Others have watched it play out on their borders. And others have survived genocide. The relationships we have with it are what drives us. The pain that it has left upon our hearts, our minds, our souls... that is the prick upon our flesh that keeps us moving.

One such member is a beautifully spirited team member from Thailand. Her story of growing up in a country right next door to the one that her family died in inspires us all. The love that she shows to people who many of the rest of us might deem unworthy is humbling in ways words can't express. That desire to address one of the darkest parts of the human experience with a love unlike any other is a light onto our path.

Stories like hers show Alder's Ledge how we are supposed to go about our work. It is why we attempt to be fair and honest in every case of genocide (or human rights violations of any sort). It is why we break complex cases of genocide up into long series of posts rather than condensing the subject. This allows us to explore the complexity of the subject in a way that shows compassion and justice rather than bias or hatred for the perpetrators.

For another member of Alder's Ledge this way of looking at the world has been with her since she was little. Growing up in a country where uniformity is expected, she watched how people act with one another. Seeing how people love, how they hate, how they can be indifferent to the suffering of others, and how they apply empathy in other cases; she learned what it meant to scream. By breaking the patterns that keep us blind to the suffering of others, she learned how to use here gentle voice to shatter the silence.

These are just three members of Alder's Ledge. In each case we have had to learn what it meant to us to scream on behalf of others. We have had to look both inward toward our own souls to examine what genocide meant to us and then look at the world it has ravaged. In every case we have come to the same conclusion. And that is that we can't afford to remain silent.

Our Work...

Currently Alder's Ledge has members in China, Thailand, Europe, and across North America. In each region we all do the same thing, essentially. We work to raise awareness of genocide in our local communities. We find organizations that work to help victims of genocide and then support them in any way we can. In addition we also work to connect our work with that of other organizations so that we can come alongside them and partner with them as best as we can. 
We are, as mentioned above, are a small group of individuals from differing backgrounds. All that we have today, all that this small blog has become, has been hard fought to gain. Every bit of growth we have made has been through sweat and tears. And every last bit of it has always been about helping others at any cost. That is precisely why we hide who we are and how we do it. The end results should be all that ever matter to us. 

Currently Alder's Ledge donates to Partners Relief and Development on a monthly basis. In addition to this our members donate to local charities and organizations that help refugees in Thailand, Syria, and across Africa (Sudan and Uganda mainly). Members who can, are supported in their volunteer work with groups across the world helping either raise awareness of genocide or refugees of war and ethnic cleansing. 

The rest of our work is done here on the blog. 

Screaming here on the blog is a job that takes hours of research and even longer discussing the topics amongst members with experience in the given issue. Though we are not experts in what we often emerge ourselves into, we do cite any sources that we use to educate ourselves upon the subject at hand. Recently we have begun linking the sources so that readers can continue their research after reading our post. This helps support our belief that a screamer should have a strong desire to learn constantly so that their voice can be confident and loud. 

Our Path Ahead... 

Alder's Ledge will continue to struggle to help spread awareness of genocides both past and present. We try to scream on behalf of the Rohingya and other ethnic groups in Burma who are suffering from what we consider to be genocide. In addition we will be focusing on North Korea, the Romani people in Europe, Syria, and countless other cases of ethnic tension and genocide across the globe. 

To do this we continue to put together presentations with small groups and local organizations. These presentations can consist of anything from dinner parties to simple one on one talks with interested groups or individuals. The main goal is and will always be the spreading of the information we have gathered on any given genocide (past and present). 

Our only motto is and has always been...

Never Forget, Never Relent, Scream.

October 15, 2013

Opting Out

Homosexual Teens And Prejudices In America

This post contains opinions that may be considered offensive to some readers on the basis of religious sensitivities. We make no attempt to hide the role that religious bias plays in this subject. With that said we have made no attempt either not offend any given religion or to target any given religion. Please read with an open mind and remain open to thinking critically about how our religious beliefs play a role in the subject discussed below. 

Thank you, from all of us here at Alder's Ledge.

The Path From Bullying To Opting Out 

There are many reasons that children target one another for bullying. Just looking different can cause a child to become the victim of bullying. The affects of bullying regardless of the reason for it are clear. Children who are bullied have a higher rate of suicide, they suffer depression, become anxious, and can become withdrawn. All of these highlight the isolation that bullying can create for it's victims. 

When left unhindered the symptoms of bullying can create emotional and mental issues that can take years to recover from. For some the scars left from bullying can become so incredibly painful that they seek more permanent ways of dealing with them. For these children the path from bullying can lead them to choosing ways of ending the pain once and for all. 

Suicide is the third leading cause of death in Americans between the age of 15-24 years of age (according to the CDC). On average there are 4,400 children in America who commit suicide each year. In a recent survey of high school aged American children an alarming 14% admitted to having contemplated suicide and 7% admitted to having attempted it before. In a study by Yale University it was noted that children who are victims of bullying are up to nine times more likely to consider suicide. For children suffering from bullying suicide is a last resort to ending the pain.

In the popular HBO series "The Walking Dead", in a world where the characters are surrounded by suffering daily, the act of committing suicide was called "opting out". This callous way of describing the last act of desperate souls best illustrates how society as a whole views those who turn to suicide. They are not seen as having lost hope but rather often portrayed as being cowards. 

This harsh view of suicide only serves to add insult to injury. The life that is lost in this, the most desperate of acts, cannot be returned. Every decision that individual would have made for the rest of their lives is decided in one horrific act. All they had to give the world, all the blessings they had to bestow upon others, and all their future joy is erased with just one act. But it isn't cowardly at all... it is just plain desperate.

For these individuals the pleas they made were sadly left unanswered (4 out of 5 who do commit suicide gave clear warning signs). For these; the rejected, the helpless, the downtrodden, there isn't a better tomorrow. They are simply gone... dead to a world that would not help them. 

Homosexual teens in America have recently received more attention when the subjects of bullying and suicide come up.

"Gay Iowa Teen Commits Suicide, Was Allegedly Bullied By Classmates"

"Gay New Mexico Teen Commits Suicide After Years Of Bullying"

"Another Bullied Gay Teen Commits Suicide"

For some the media attention to this year's rash of suicides amongst homosexual teens was seen as a media ploy. The conservative right tried to write it off as a method of the left to capitalize upon the deaths of children to push politics when talking about marriage equality. And for both sides, the callousness with which they viewed these deaths once again reflected the heartlessness that HBO showed in nicknaming the act "opting out". 

Far too little effort has been made in trying to understand how we can help stop these children from taking their own lives. We have for far too long only offered our condolences to the families they leave behind. And yet the solution to the crisis seems so simple it is painful to ignore. 

Answering Their Cries

Children who are being bullied show warning signs just like those who are contemplating suicide. There are moments where a parent or guardian should be able to spot these signs. All it takes is the effort to understand where your child is coming from and the courage to step in. For some the second part is the hardest of all. There is a fear that your child will resent you or the fact that you are perceived to be interfering. Yet once you have identified your child's suffering you must then ask yourself how can you not intervene?

In cases where a child is being bullied the following symptoms may appear (not always):
  • becoming withdrawn
  • becoming anxious about social interactions
  • wanting to skip school without being sick
  • signs of depression 
  • a decline in school performance 
  • a noticeable decline in self-esteem 
  • signs of physical assault, such as bruises or cuts
If these signs appear it is best to be persistent in your attempts to figure out why your child is displaying any of these symptoms. Some children may want to hide the fact they are being bullied. It is the duty of any adult that thinks a child is being bullied to intervene and stop the abuse immediately. For parents of children who have been bullied it is even more important to be vigilant against future incidents since bullying rarely ends after one incident.

For children who are contemplating suicide there are also signs that must be addressed once identified. It is important to remember that 4 out of 5 children who commit suicide will display clear warning signs, like the ones listed below:

  • trouble sleeping or eating
  • becoming increasingly withdrawn
  • signs of depression
  • losing interest in hobbies or activities 
  • giving away favorite possessions
  • saying goodbye to friends or family 
  • expressing that they can't handle things anymore
  • engaging in self harm or dangerous behaviors
  • increased interest in death or dying 
  • and past attempts at committing suicide 
Though many children will attempt suicide (one study indicated 14% of children in America between grades 7-12) only a portion of those will manage to kill themselves. For children who attempt suicide there is an increased risk of repeating the attempt again if the base problems are not addressed. This is why when bullying is related to the attempt it is ever increasingly important that the bullying itself be dealt with stringently.

For homosexual teens who become suicidal the bullying can also come from sources outside the school system. 

 Bullies In Faith And Family

Growing up many of us here at Alder's Ledge were exposed to several influences that openly portrayed homosexuality as morally wrong. Whether it was through Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or for some of us an officially atheist state mantra; these influences were put in place from the moment we were able to comprehend what it meant to be "normal". The church (or the state) told us that we were meant to pair off with one member from either sex and create more empty minds for their congregations. That is just plain and simple how the cycle of indoctrination is supposed to work. You are supposed to be born into the system and live by it. 

Over the years we each broke free from the framework that either G-d or country decided for us. For our Chinese members this was harder for the rest of us. But for those of us in the West it wasn't exactly easy either. In both cases it took a moment of rebellion... a moment where our eyes came open and our hearts finally began to beat. 

For one of our members the moment of realization that a relationship with G-d didn't mean having to forgo a relationship with their fellow man came rather recently. For another it was a moment that came from getting "gay bashed" even though he wasn't gay. And for the most tenderhearted member of Alder's Ledge it came from simply watching people... just watching and learning what love meant.

We can't express why our given faiths tried to teach us to look down upon another person simply because of who they loved. For many of us it took years to rationalize our religion with our views of our fellow man. But in the end we all came to one conclusion... whether it be society or our religions, the prejudices against homosexuality are unbearable.

That is why we decided to highlight this subject. The facts about this subject may not pertain to genocide (yet in some cases they do). But they do speak to the human rights issues that Americans and the rest of the world tend to overlook. And one of those happens to be the treatment of homosexuals as second class citizens.

This is only further complicated by the troubles homosexuals have to face when dealing with their family and individual faiths.

It is reported that nearly half of all gay males face negative parental reactions when coming out as homosexual. Of these nearly one quarter of them face being thrown out of their parents' homes as a result of openly admitting their sexuality. This contributes to studies that have indicated that anywhere from between 25 to 50 percent of homeless youth are homosexual or transgendered.

For many homosexual youths the reality of remaining "in the closet", or not admitting their sexuality to their parents, is something they will live with well into their adult years. Fear of rejection is only more so amplified by the fact the person they fear it from is their own parent.

As for faith...

Christianity in America, more often than not, cast homosexuality onto a long list of sins. Though the Bible tells Christians that they are not allowed to judge others (and that only G-d is supposed to) this classification opens up homosexuals to increased prejudice from the church. It allows for pastors (priest, fathers, or whatever else they might be called) to scrutinize the sexual orientation of certain members. Not only that, but the scolding is delivered from a pulpit in front of friends, neighbors, and family.

Islam on the other hand makes no attempt to hide it's condemnation of homosexuality but permits the given authorities the right to punish it as they see fit. This is one of the leading reasons why governments like Iran are able to openly kill homosexuals without much condemnation by Muslims across the world. While the religion of peace should be opposing the excessive abuses committed against homosexuals across conservative Muslim countries there is an eerie silence over the mouths of the faithful.

Judaism on the other hand has a far more hypocritical stance when it comes to homosexuality. We tend to portray ourselves as the open-minded branch of the Abrahamic faiths and yet strong prejudices against gays still exists. Beneath a facade of being "liberal", Jews across the world still tend to isolate homosexuals through the same practices seen in any other religion. So while we may lie and say we accept our gay brothers and sisters... we are just as vile perpetrators of prejudices against them as any other. The main difference is that we are lying to their faces while we do it.

Religion should never be wielded like a sword. The jihad (inner struggle) to accept that which we cannot change should not drive us to an outward struggle. We are to treat our fellow man as we wish ourselves to be treated. This is the greatest sign of maturity in our faiths. It is the one and true way to show the love that G-d first showed to us (even when we did not deserve it).

Most of us at Alder's Ledge do not view homosexuality as a sin. Those who do believe that they cannot judge someone else for sinning differently than they do. The main point, however, is that we had to break with the established views of our faiths to be able to embrace, in love, those G-d has given us. And that is something that needs to change.

The faiths we embrace should not need to be rebelled against to allow us to express the love they claim to embody. The masses that make up these faiths should be fighting against the prejudices they have helped to sow in our societies. They should be a place for people to turn to not be afraid of because of, or hate due to, the way they have treated them.

When a child is bullied due to their sexuality there are two things they should be able to turn to for comfort; their family and their faith. If these two things are left off the table then why do we expect society to fix the mess these two created? The family that cast them out to the wolves and the religion that rejected them are as much to blame as the bully itself. The contributions these two have made to the ongoing prejudice cannot be ignored.

Love may not fix everything.

But what better place to start?

Want to learn more or have questions for the author(s)?

Contact us on Twitter: @alders_ledge
Or FaceBook: Alder's Ledge

Source Documents
(note: not all sources listed)

Bullying Statistics 

Kid's Health

The Jason Foundation 


October 9, 2013

A Silent Scream

Child Abuse And Neglect In Indiana (And Across The Country).
(part of the Lost Childhood series)

(80% of children who die from abuse are under the age of 4)

Across the country there is a common perception that child abuse and neglect are things that happen in someone else’s neighborhood. We tend to imagine that we live in a world where such grotesque acts of depravity could not be happening right next door. Instead we greet our neighbors with smiles and try to imagine that the picturesque world we have made for ourselves is just that… picturesque.

Statistics on our neighborhoods, our cities, our states, and our country as a whole do not paint our world as we would wish it to be. With a few clicks of the mouse you can easily find the numbers for your state, your county, and your city. With just a few moments of research you can see just how such a wretched crime is being ignored as it happens again and again… right next door.

 (Image via Child Help)

For Indiana, the home state of Alder’s Ledge, these numbers are daunting. 

During 2010 in Indiana there were 23,095 cases of child abuse or neglect. That is the amounts to around 14.5 children out of every1,000 children in Indiana. Of these 11 percent were physically abused, 16.2 percent were sexually abused, and 89 percent were severely neglected. This is only made more tragic when we factor in that 17 of these children succumbed to the trauma inflicted upon them by their abusers and/or the neglect they suffered.

This is just one state. It is just one portion of the world where people are expected to be wholesome and kindhearted. It is after all home to the infamous “Hoosier hospitality”. And Hoosiers are among some of the most generous people when it comes to donating to charitable causes.

So we are left with the fact that child abuse is not something that can be kept at bay by our good intentions. Once the doors close the skeletons come out of the closets. When the world isn’t looking the monsters inside us seem all too willing to come out and stretch their muscles. Inside each of us is the potential for tremendous good and unconscionable maliciousness. The only difference between the people who commit this crime and those who do not is the ability to choose the prior rather than embracing the later.

There is no excuse for this behavior. There is no defense for the abuse and slaughter of innocent children, ever.

During 2009 in Indiana of the 38 children killed due to abuse and/or neglect 79 percent of them were three years of age (or younger). All of these children could have been spared the fate their abusers dealt them. Yet the silence of our society allowed them to perish.

For the children who survive their abuse and/or neglect there are lasting effects that span well into their adulthood.

  • 14% of all men in prison in the United States and 36% of all women were victims of child abuse and/or neglect. (Nearly twice the frequency seen in the rest of the population.)
  • Children who are abused are nearly nine times more likely to become involved in criminal activities.
  • About 80% of 21 year-old adults who had been abused as children tested positive for at least one psychological disorder.
  • Around 30% of abused and/or neglected children will later in life abuse their own children.
  • Children who are abused are nearly three times more likely to have a substance abuse problem by the age of 18 than children who were not reported to have been abused.
In addition the cost to society itself is astounding. Americans on an average year pay and estimated 124 billion dollars as a result of the direct effects of child abuse. This number is however an estimate since an untold number of cases of child abuse go unreported every year.

Child abuse and neglect can be defined in several ways. Children who suffer from neglect of abuse do not necessarily suffer just one form or another. In many cases children who are reported as having suffered abuse often are recorded as suffering multiple types of abuse and neglect.

While neglect of a dependent is the most prevalent it is also the most noticeable form of abuse. Sexual abuse, physical abuse, and psychological abuse are harder to identify without the crime itself being reported by either the victim or a witness. This is made even more difficult when one realizes that the perpetrator of these crimes often uses intimidation or inherit trust to keep the victim silent.

Breaking The Silence

This crime knows no boundaries. Though the myths all claim it is a social ill that is mainly the problem of the underprivileged and poor the facts all show it is a pervasive disease of mankind. There are no members of society that are beyond it. There is no social class that does not commit it. There is no religion or culture that does not have it amongst them. Money, education, faith, and good intentions do not stop it. The only source of preventing it is through persistent vigilance.

When pushed to their limits parents, family members, and general custodians of children can reach a breaking point. However, the moment the child is forced to suffer physical, emotional, or sexual abuse the excuse of being frustrated cannot be applied or allowed. There must be a zero tolerance threshold for these acts. The effect of even one incident costs both the family and community for the remainder of that child's life. In addition, just one incident of abuse and/or neglect creates barriers in that child's life that may limit the child's mental and emotional development. 

As a society we have an obligation to our most precious gift, our children, to readily combat this crime. We must realize as a whole that these victims have no ability to defend themselves or knowledge of how to seek a way out. Abuse isolates a child in a way that prevents them from seeking help (especially when the abuser is a family member or parent). Therefore, these children rely upon the intervention of adults (whether that be relatives or community members). 

Society as a whole must realize that child abuse does not simply pertain to physical abuse. Sexual acts (or forcing the witnessing of sexual acts), psychological abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, and verbal abuse are all forms of abuse that must also be identified and punished without exception. The myth that "if it isn't violent it isn't abuse" cannot be permitted to continue. Any and all forms of abuse must be punished with the full force of our laws and zeal. 

In addition the said laws must be persistently scrutiny so as to be certain that there is no way for abusive cases to slip through the system. Whenever a child dies from abuse (especially when it has been reported) the system must be investigated and the failures must be identified. In cases where the system has failed due to neglect of it's operators those responsible must be punished to the fullest extent. When it comes to the life of any child there is no room for failure.

As for those of us who are not in a position to pursue these crimes there is always the responsibility to report them. By turning our eyes away we become accomplices in the suffering that these children have to face daily. If we are not willing to scream for them we must ask ourselves who will?

To report a suspected case of neglect or abuse all you have to do is make one simple phone call:

  • United States or Canada: 1-800-422-4453
  • UK: 0800-1111
  • Australia: 1-800-688-009
  • New Zealand: 0800-543-754 
(For more international list please visit:

By utilizing your voice you give these children a chance at a life free from abuse. Though the consequences of the abuse they have already sustained may not change, the hope for a better tomorrow is given to them. And all it takes is one phone call.

If you suspect a child is being sexually abused you can also call:

In Indiana there are resources available for parents who feel they need help caring for an infant. The "Safe Haven Law" allows for parents who wish to surrender their infant the ability to do so for 30 days after birth. As long as there are no signs of intentional abuse the person surrendering the child will only need to prove they are the legal custodian of the child.

If you are an Indiana parent of a baby less than 30 days of age and can't provide for him/her you can learn more about your options by visiting: or calling 1-877-796-HOPE (4673).

Help break the silence by visiting any of the sources listed below to learn how you can help raise awareness of this horrible crime. You can also help by sharing articles like this one and thus raising awareness of child abuse. Lending your voice, your vigilance, and your compassion is the only way that this crime can be stopped. So do your part and scream for those who have been made mute by this wretched crime.

Want to know more about this subject?

Follow us on Twitter: @alders_ledge
Follow us on Facebook: Alder's Ledge

Source Documents
(note: not all sources listed)

Prevent Child Abuse Indiana


Child Help

National Children's Alliance

Help Guide

October 7, 2013

Scarier Than Ghosts And Goblins

Child Labor, Slavery, and Halloween
(part of the Lost Childhood series)

(Ghana and Ivory Coasts supply 75% of worlds' chocolate)

As the holiday season approaches many of us will begin to be tempted by seemingly endless displays of candies and chocolates at our local grocery store. The somewhat cleverly designed and well placed displays make it hard to ignore the massive amounts of cocoa that is available from October on through February. One holiday after the other brings candies and chocolates of different shapes and colors. But most of them have one thing in common (if they aren't "fair trade"). The use of child labor and/or slavery somewhere along the supply line.

As more information has come out about the use of both trafficked slaves and children on cocoa plantations in Ghana and the Ivory Coast the chocolate industry has deflected much of it's critics. Many of the largest chocolate companies in the world have denied access to humanitarian groups and reporters trying to gain access to the cacao farms in these countries. When reports do come out from these farms the news is almost always about vast human rights abuses being committed behind the veil that the corporations have erected.

In some of the worst cases the very governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast have harassed and expelled journalists for reporting on the chocolate industry within their borders. Some have even claimed that at least one journalist has been killed for his reporting on the industry. All of this in the name of keeping that dark chocolate powder flowing into the hands of companies like Mars, Hersey's, and Nestle.

While some children in West Africa do seek out employment on these farms on their own due to the plague of poverty across West African countries, many more are sold into the trade. This practice often peaks during times of political unrest and in areas where militias rule through fear. Yet it is also plentiful even in areas where Western tourism and companies are found. It is especially profitable for the traffickers where Western companies build up plantations just beyond the peering eyes of the outside world.

In Ghana and the Ivory Coast children as young as 7 have been documented operating dangerous (potentially fatally so) equipment and doing jobs even grown men would find difficult. The average age in these two countries for children to be in the "work force" is 12-16 years of age. However, most will have started working much younger. And for those who injure themselves along the way, these sorts of dangerous jobs may become their only source of work through adulthood.

“Some of the bags were taller than me. It took two people to put the bag on my head. And when you didn’t hurry, you were beaten.”
~ Aly Diabate, former cocoa slave.

The work day for these children begins as soon as the sun begins to rise. They take to the cacao trees with heavy and dangerous machetes. Forced to climb the trees without any of the proper supports or tools to do the job they use their knives to cut down the cacao bean. Children who are not sent up the trees are forced to gather the beans and fill huge sacks with the harvest. These children are then expected to either drag the heavy loads back to the production facilities or have them placed upon their backs or heads and walk the sacks back. There is no sense of mercy in the fields as the children are beaten and yelled at for even the most minor of infractions. Anyone who dares slow down the production process is subjected to savage abuses that almost perfectly mirror the American South and the cotton plantations.

Once the dangers of harvesting the cacao beans is over the children are exposed to even more dangers. Their health is put at risk as they are exposed to chemicals, some of which are banned in the United States, used both on the harvested cacao and the trees themselves. Hulls of the beans are harvested and sold for several uses across the world (mulch being one), so the chemical soaked hulls must be handled by the children as well. During all of this these children are exposed to these chemicals on their bodies, in their lungs, and on the clothing they must wear day in and day out.

The health of these children is not a priority of companies that employ these tactics on their plantations across Western Africa. While Hersey's claims to be fighting the use of slave labor and child abuse the truth still stacks up against the chocolate giant. Over the past several years reports (and court cases) have been stacking up across the table from Hersey's corporate office. Accusations of supporting the beatings of children, encouraging of trafficking, and covering up of deaths of farm workers have all come down the line. And yet the chocolate giant has been incapable of proving any of it's accusers wrong.

Nestle, yet another giant, has done no better when fighting against the peering eyes of outsiders. Slavery, child labor, and the employment of traffickers has left a blight upon the image of a company that hides behind logos designed to appeal to children. When accused, much like Hersey's, Nestle has turned to the governments of the countries it operates in as though to hint at their complicity in the crimes. And it is this common deflection tactic that brings us to another portion of the story...

Ghana and Ivory Coast have long been accused of having their governments hands in the process of producing enormous quantities of cacao. Through turning a blind eye to the abuses, lining their pockets with corporate pay offs, and denying access to investigators the two regimes have hid the bulk of the evidence from the consumers. With every accusation levied against Hersey's and the other market leaders the two governments have been found to not only be helping the companies but willingly covering up their bed partners' offenses.

Ending The "Worst Forms Of Child Labor"

With a country where almost half the population is illiterate the government of Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) can hardly afford to continue the punishing process in which chocolate is currently produced. The utilization of their most precious resource in production of a commodity they can afford to neglect robs the country of it's actual potential. Companies and governments in the West should be more than able to realize that by supporting this self-destructive habit will only continue to hold back the country itself. It will also continue to rob the world of the valuable contributions these children could have been offering the world community had they not been exploited by Western companies and the local offenders (as well as their own government). 

For this reason it is valuable for us to note that some efforts have been made in fighting the "worse forms of child labor" in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Some companies, including Hersey's, have cooperated with local governments in building schools for children who work on cacao farms. Yet the main draw back of this small gesture is that the children continue to have to work dangerous jobs for much of the year. 

In 2001 many of these same companies also promised the world that they would make their chocolate "child labor free" by 2005. Of course that benchmark came and went without any real condemnation when none of the companies managed to produce even a single line of chocolate without utilizing child labor. These companies did move the date to 2008 and lowered the rate to 50% of their production as being "child labor free". And once again the process of utilizing child labor along with slave labor did not change as the targeted date passed without notice. 

So how can the system be changed when little to nothing is being done to end the use of any form of child labor (and/or slave labor)?

The main way any form of change occurs in the current system of consumerism is for the consumers themselves to start the change they desire. This means that as consumers we must not only avoid buying chocolate that utilizes child labor but also spread awareness of this issue. Through the creation of a vocal minority in the supply chain the consumers can start a revolt of sorts that would ultimately put pressure on the companies themselves. Buy not buying, lobbying the companies themselves, and protesting vocally (screaming) the consumer can demand the change they seek in the process of producing the products we would like to enjoy. 

If no effort is made on the consumer end of the process then no change will ever come. We cannot rely upon governments, companies, and international organizations to create the change we seek. We are the source of change. We are the ones who hold the power in this relationship. All you have to do is stop buying and start fighting. 

These children have been robbed of their voice. You can use yours to return theirs to them. 

These children have been robbed of their freedoms. You can use yours to fight for theirs. 

This holiday season do your part in waging a little war against the use of slavery and child labor. Raise your voice against the oppression and abuse of these innocent children and trafficked souls. Keep your cash and say no to the product their blood, sweat, and tears helped produce. It is the only way to we will ever bring an end to all the "worse forms" of abuse the world has to offer our most precious resource... our children.

Want to learn more about this subject? 

Follow us on Twitter: @alders_ledge
Or on Facebook: Alder's Ledge

Source Documents
(note: not all sources listed)

Food Empowerment Project

International Labor Rights Forum

Confectionery News

October 4, 2013

Hungry And Desperate

Refugees Face Death While Seeking Freedom
(Footsteps In The Dark series)

(North Korea denies "death camps" yet satellite images show the camps clearly.)

Defection from North Korea is simply defined as crossing the border without expressed permission by the state. Those who are treated as second class citizens in the system are not allowed to ever leave the country. The fear that they might not return isn't really exaggerated in a country where mass starvation is a persistent threat to the underclass. Given the chance these abuses peasants would rush the borders in a heart beat. Yet the North Koreans making it out aren't from the lowest cast of North Korea's communists system. Instead the defectors are coming from the youth of all classes (with the exception of the elites). 

Young Koreans in the North have some idea of what awaits just beyond the fortified borders. The lies they have been fed all their lives cause reasonable doubts. Yet these young North Koreans compose the bulk of refugees attempting to illegally flee the country. And given the challenges that face them on the other side they are either just naive to believe freedom is possible or desperate enough to die for it. 

Regardless of what brings them out of the country that has kept them as slaves from birth, the first steps these young Korean defectors face are terrifying. In just moments they go from being disenchanted North Koreans to being stateless. The country they find themselves in, China, is hostile toward them. The people they are suddenly surrounded by can't really be trusted. And the bribes, the lies, the danger that got them out of North Korea are all just the beginning of what they now face. 

On the other side they are met by a country of wolves. Citizens of China have been bribed with rewards for spotting and turning in Korean refugees. The police in China are ruthless in their attempts to root out any North Koreans attempting to make their way to safety. This all further complicated by the presence of North Korean agents sent over into China to spot and capture North Koreans on the run.

Hiding, Starving, And Desperate.

“If these refugees are found in China, the Chinese government sends them back to North Korea, where they will face imprisonment or death,” ~ Yoon Sun Na

The only thing refugees from North Korea have is their ability to go unnoticed. Anything, any little minor detail, can out them as a defector from the dreaded North. A loose word, a misspoken statement, can raise the suspicions of an eavesdropper. Anyone and everyone they come across is therefore met with suspicion. Every smile is a mask and every handshake a possible handcuff.

When North Koreans flee they are often in search of food. Hunger is a major motivator for those who dare to cross the border into China. They take to desperate measures to find anything that they can use as food. For the nine recently returned youth who were captured in Laos this had meant digging through discarded food. They were reported to have mixed fish bones and rice into porridge just to have something to eat. Then they would consume toothpaste in an effort to help digest what food they had managed to scavenge.

These stories seem hard to believe in a world where we have a McDonalds on every block and a Starbucks in every spare corner. Food surrounds those of us in the West. And for the developing economy in China this is starting to become more normal. The constant presence food becomes a luxury for us as we take every spare moment to indulge in some form of it. So much so that we don't often pay attention to the food itself.

For the North Koreans, especially those outside Pyongyang, life is rarely defined by food in the aspect of what they recently ate. Rather food becomes a milestone that they struggle to reach as the days pass without it. Children who have been abandoned or made orphans are even worse off as they take to eating whatever they can find. Grass, tree bark, and at times clay become sources of material with which to fill their stomachs. This is in spite of the fact that North Korea claims to be prospering.

Once outside North Korea these young refugees use their life long experience with hunger to keep themselves moving. They know that the food they find is not free. There is always a price for scavenging whether it is social or physical punishment. Then there is the reality that being seen scavenging can be a red flag for the ever-prying eyes of a hostile world.

For 70-80% of the North Korean girls and women that flee the threat of hunger and forced repatriation is further complicated by human trafficking. When these desperate girls are over the border they become targets for traffickers that are more than willing to exploit the victims illegal status in China. These numbers are also added to by traffickers that lure North Korean women over the border in the first place; promising freedom, safety, food, and shelter all as ploys to enslave the would be refugee.

For those who manage to evade forced repatriation to the North, trafficking by criminals, and starvation as they run... the journey has only begun.

There is no safe harbor in China for North Koreans on the run. Once over the border these refugees must continue moving toward Mongolia, Laos, Thailand, Russia, or find ways over the border elsewhere. The path they choose is often decided shortly after fleeing North Korea or is determined by what networks they can find after arrival. This short window of deciding whether to hide where they are at or run further is the most dangerous time these refugees face. It is in this window that they risk all the dangers of being exposed, captured, or trafficked.

The Railroad System

Over the years of isolation North Koreans have endured there has been progress made in alleviating there suffering. Networks across the border have been forged as countless organizations strive to establish routes upon which to smuggle refugees out of China. These organizations play constant games of cat and mouse with authorities who remain determined to stem the flow of Korean refugees. Every move they make not only risk the safety of the refugees but also the security of the network they have forged. 

The most notable case as of recently where the system has failed was in Laos where the Laotian government agreed to forcibly repatriate 9 young Korean refugees. This illustrated to the world that China's long held agreement with the North goes well beyond it's borders. When refugees begin to feel safe they are often still well within reach of the red states' grasp. Meaning for most that they must either reach South Korea or get as far away from China as possible. 

For organizations that can manage to cart refugees out of China's reach this is an expensive endeavor. For the organization Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) this can cost 2,500 dollars to get a refugee to safety. That is a price that is almost comparable to the average cost a trafficked person is sold for in Cambodia or Thailand. And yet in this case it is the cost of freedom for these North Korean individuals.

With the help of donations and private funding LiNK is able to do amazing things for refugees that have faced a living nightmare while escaping what some call "hell on earth".

A simple donation of 100 dollars can provide shelter for refugees and refugee rescue teams along the journey to safety. 

A donation of 250 dollars can provide the basic necessities to refugees needed by North Korean refugees; including food, water, clothing, and medical attention. 

A larger donation of 500 dollars can give refugees safe transportation to countries where they can be safe from forced repatriation (including cars and buses). 

And for those who are able, a donation of 2,500 can provide all the funds needed to bring a refugee to safety and liberty. 

This is just one of the organizations helping North Koreans reach a better life and escape from a regime that has denied them so much. Through there work they contribute to an extensive underground railroad system that is bringing desperate refugees to safety. And you can help...

By visiting, promoting, and donating to LiNK you can help scream on behalf of the North Korean people. Using your voice you can help to fight the dehumanization that North Koreans have had to live with in their homeland and the prejudices they face outside it. You can echo their voices to a world that knows so very little about their struggle. And you can put your money and time to use by helping to give hope where it is most needed. 

Please visit LiNK today and watch how you can support the #BridgeToNorthKorea.

This is the second article on this subject. We will continue to highlight the struggle of North Koreans and what you can do to help them in future articles. If you would like to learn more please read our source documents, contacts us on Twitter (@alders_ledge), or follow us on Facebook (key words: Alder's Ledge). And most of all, to learn more about the organization highlighted above, visit:

Source Documents
*Note: not all sources listed.

Washington Times