Monthly Archives: April 2023

An End to Trafficking: 5 Ways We Can Work Together to Stop Human Trafficking

You may have used biometric time clock systems in the workplace, but did you know this same technology is being applied to help fight human trafficking? Undocumented trafficking victims can be tracked by using photos obtained from their families and comparing these to biometric data gained when traffickers attempt to move them across borders. This is just one of many projects aimed at using advanced technology to find victims and break apart trafficking rings.

While you may not be able to take part in such projects, there are plenty of things you can do in your daily life to help combat this insidious underground industry. The following five tips are a great place to start:

1. Understand the risk factors

Knowing the risk factors for becoming a victim of human trafficking is the best way to protect yourself and those you love. Political instability, racism and other forms of prejudice, poverty, addiction, mental health problems, and gang involvement are the biggest risk factors. Victims can also be targeted online, so it’s important that you and your loved ones know about romance and sextortion scams and adopt cyber hygiene practices.

2. Learn about the indicators of human trafficking

Whether at work, on a night out, or while traveling, there’s a possibility that you may encounter a victim of trafficking in your day-to-day life. If you know the signs to look out for, you can alert the authorities and potentially save someone from a horrible fate.

If someone lives with their employer and/or lives in poor conditions with a lot of other people, this can be an indicator that something is wrong. If you see signs of physical abuse, the person appears fearful, and they’re not able to talk freely without their employer present, these are major red flags. Another more subtle sign to look out for is someone whose answers seem scripted or rehearsed.

3. Know who to contact if you suspect someone is in trouble

If you suspect you’ve encountered a human trafficking victim but don’t know who to contact, you may feel lost and helpless. So it’s important to pre-arm yourself with the numbers to call. In the US, your go-to should be 911 and the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

When traveling, make a point of noting down relevant phone numbers for authorities in the countries you visit. This is a good habit to get into anyway, as you never know when you may need emergency assistance. If in doubt, you should be able to obtain guidance from your embassy.

4. Become a mentor

If you’re passionate about preventing human trafficking, consider mentoring at-risk youth in your area. As a mentor, you can provide the support necessary to ensure vulnerable young people don’t slip into the clutches of traffickers. Doing so can be far easier than you think. Start by looking up mentoring programs in your area, find one that you know you can commit to, and get involved.

5. Be a conscious consumer

Trafficked victims are often forced to work for little or no remuneration, and the goods and services they produce may be up for consumption in your part of the world. From clothing and electronics to food and beauty services, these exploitative products and services are rife. So, take the time to research companies and industries before you purchase from them.

Keep these tips in mind as you navigate the world, and you may be able to play a small but pivotal role in putting an end to human trafficking.

Milky Merrymaking: 5 Festivals Around the World That Are Dedicated to Milk

Whether you are an ice cream lover or a health-conscious fan of a2 protein milk, the dairy-derived products you consume have had a massive impact on the world. Indeed, many cultures celebrate dairy in unique and fascinating ways. Of all this milky merrymaking, the following festivals are perhaps the most interesting.

1. World Milk Day – Global

Let’s kick off with the largest celebration of dairy – World Milk Day. Held on June 1st each year, this event spans North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the South Pacific. It truly is a global event, triggering talks, shows, exhibitions, and events centering around sustainability and environmental protection.

2. Latte in Festa – Trentino, Italy

This celebration of all things dairy takes place in the far north of Italy in the Trentino province. The festival aims to introduce people to the backstory of milk and the environment and conditions that go into getting it from farm to table. During the three-day event, visitors are invited to taste ice cream, engage in fun activities, and learn about everything from haymaking to traditional Italian architecture.

3. Cow parades – Switzerland

Each summer in Switzerland, farmers take their cattle up onto the higher slopes of the mountains to munch on the fresh grass and herbs that thrive during the warmer months of the year. The cows and their herders generally get to enjoy three months of this lushness before the time comes to head back down and avoid the big freeze.

This is where the cow parades come in. Swiss people recognize cows as the bringers of milk, cheese, chocolate – all the finer things in life. So, they dress the creatures in flowered crowns and honor them as they return from the mountains. The exact time of the cow parades will differ depending on climatic conditions, but it’s usually sometime in September or October. Similar cattle-driving parades – known as almabtriebs – are held in Austria each year.

4. Pongal – India and Sri Lanka

Pongal is a general harvest festival. However, cows and dairy are central to the event. Indeed, the word “Pongal” means “to boil and overflow” and comes from the traditional dish prepared for the festival – a blend of rice, raw sugar, and milk.

Pongal is celebrated in January, around the winter solstice, and cows are given plenty of special treats. During the Mattu Pongal phase of the festival, participants will bathe the cows, polish and paint their horns, and place bright flower garlands around their necks. They also get treated to venn pongal, jaggery (raw sugar), honey, banana, and an assortment of fruits, making the festival a brilliant time for all cows lucky enough to be involved.

5. Cow Hug Day – India

This festival created a bit of a kerfuffle in 2023. It was put forward by India’s Animal Welfare Board as an alternative to Valentine’s Day. The idea is both adorable and in line with Hindu beliefs about the sacred nature of cows. However, it was met with mockery, both in India and abroad.

Sadly, the proposal was rolled back, and Cow Hug Day never happened. However, it revealed to the world just how much some Hindu adherents despise Valentine’s Day. There are even anti-Valentine’s Day squads who make it their mission to stamp out the holiday. Cow Hug Day was a gentle way of pushing that mission forward.

Dairy has had a major effect on the development of human society. Nowhere is this fact more evident than in the celebrations held each year in honor of milk and the cows that produce it. Which of these events will you add to your travel itinerary?


Life Advice: 5 Sage Pieces of Advice for the General Public from Practicing Lawyers

We tend to turn to legal professionals only when we directly need their services. However, these experts have a broad understanding of the law and deep knowledge in specific fields, making them a wealth of valuable information that can improve your life.

You probably don’t want to pay a lawyer’s hourly rate to get general life advice, and luckily, you don’t have to. We gathered advice from Albury solicitors, New York attorneys, and legal professionals all over the world and distilled their most valuable ideas into the five core tips below.

1. Read before you sign anything

From employment contracts to terms of service, you should never sign a document you haven’t thoroughly read and understood. Of course, many contracts are so long and laborious that it’s easy to dismiss this advice and hope for the best. However, you could be getting yourself into all sorts of trouble down the line. If you don’t have the patience to struggle through endless pages of legal jargon, hire a lawyer to go over the contract for you. If it’s the T&Cs for a product, service, or subscription, consider using a free AI tool to summarize the document, explain it to you like you’re five, and point out any clauses that could be problematic.

2. Be clear in your expectations

Whether it’s with your life partner, business partner, or anyone else for that matter, always be clear about your expectations. Many employment disputes and lawsuits arise from miscommunications, false promises, and unmet expectations. Clarity and openness can help you avoid legal issues, and these qualities will serve you well in every other aspect of your life.

3. Treat everyone you meet with respect

Whether it’s someone asking you for money on the street, a police officer, a customer service attendant, or your fellow patrons in a restaurant, it’s important to show respect to those you encounter. You may not agree with someone’s lifestyle or choice of profession. You may think you’re within your rights to be rude, loud, and obnoxious. However, if you let these ideas dictate your behavior, you’ll be in for a lifetime of conflicts, large and small.

By contrast, respect can serve you well in all areas of your life, helping you avoid conflict and enjoy more productive interactions with the people you meet.

4. Keep good records

From your taxes to your property lines and everything in between, it will serve you well to have clear records. Digitize as much as possible to save on space, and ensure everything is filed in a logical way. In the workplace, keep records of important meetings, and if anything important is discussed verbally, send a follow-up email confirming whatever was agreed on.

When you’re diligent with record-keeping, you can nip potential disputes in the bud and protect your rights, your property, and your reputation.

5. Keep your mouth shut until your lawyer is present

Regardless of whether you’re guilty or innocent, if you’re ever called in for questioning, it’s crucial to invoke your right to legal counsel. Wrongful convictions can and do happen, and the defense lawyers we spoke to explained that some of their cases would never have even gotten to court if their client had kept quiet and insisted on having a lawyer present.

Keep these sage pieces of wisdom in mind as you navigate the complexities of modern life, and you should be able to avoid unnecessary conflicts and make the most of the opportunities that come your way.


Housekeeping Horrors: 6 of the Worst Things Cleaners Have Discovered at Work

There’s more than one reason why it’s essential to have workers’ compensation insurance for a cleaning business. Beyond the regulations and legalities, cleaners and housekeepers encounter a shocking array of dangerous and disgusting things during the course of the average shift.

You can probably already imagine that toilets are no one’s favorite thing to clean. However, we guarantee you’ll be aghast when you read the following stories of housekeeping horrors.

1. Post-party uglinesses

A few beer cans and overflowing ashtrays are one thing, but some hotel guests go above and beyond when they let loose. Syringes, drug paraphernalia, strange stains, bodily fluids, and burn marks are all common – if disgusting – discoveries. However, one cleaner quit her job on the spot after walking into a room that had all of the above plus vomit on the ceiling. We can’t say we blame her!

2. The aftermath of sunburn

At least once in your life, you’ve probably had a sunburn so bad it peeled. While there certainly is a kind of sick satisfaction to peeling away your flaking skin, this is something you should never leave for someone else to clean up.

Sadly, some hotel guests seem to think good manners aren’t necessary if you’re paying for a room. One poor housekeeper came into a hotel room to discover a pile of peeled-off skin beside the bed. Even thinking about it is disgusting, let alone having to clean it up.

3. Living things

From maggots to feral cats, housekeepers have found some wild creatures in hotel rooms and holiday rentals. Whether they’re brought in by the occupants or find their own way in, attracted by old, rotting food, cleaning up after them is never a fun time for the poor housekeepers.

4. Full bathtubs

At first glance, this might not seem all that gross, especially compared to some of the other entries on the list. But take a moment to think about it. You have to clean the tub after some random person has checked out, and it’s full of murky water. You have no idea what they were doing in the bath or what could be lurking under the surface, but you have to reach in to unplug it. This is the reason why most hotel bath plugs are on a chain!

5. Gross things tucked away in hiding places

This is a common theme reported not just by housekeepers but by unlucky guests. Some people apparently like to take disgusting things and hide them around their hotel room before they check out. As you can imagine, this creates a genuine moment of horror for whoever finds it. Commonly discovered surprise items include tampons and sanitary napkins, condoms, bodily excretions, fried chicken, and wedding rings.

6. Piles of hoarded junk

Some of the worst housekeeping horror stories come from hotels and apart-hotels that allow long-term guests. While most people are clean, quiet, and respectful, a few can cause quite a stir when it comes time to clean their rooms.

Quite a few housekeepers reported having to clean up after hoarders who kept mountains of junk piled in their rooms. The terrifying part of this cleaning job is that you never know what you might find under the next pile of garbage. What looks like an innocent pile of magazines could have old food, feces, maggots, or all sorts of other horrors hiding beneath it.

After reading about these nightmarish situations, we hope you have a new-found respect for cleaners and housekeepers. If you can afford to tip them, do it because, sadly, the people who leave the worst messes often don’t.