February 27, 2014

Easy Wins: Low Entry Giveaways

The cool thing about blog giveaways is you can usually tell now many people are entered. The less entered, the better your chances to win. Here's some I found with low entries ending TODAY!

If you have a giveaway with less than 60 entries per prize ending in the next 6 day, please submit it here.

Ends  March 1

BOOKS: The Returned and The Invisible Thread (5 entries)

DVD:  Dino Dan (13 entries)

Ends March 3

Dial Vitimin Boost Body Wash (16 entries)

Ends March 4

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Book and Tote Bag (1 entry)

February 7, 2014

HSBF Giveaway: Spreading Hope (Ended)

For the last Hearts Should Be Free giveaway, I want to focus on one thing:  HOPE.

That there is still, after all this time, after all the work of abolitionists in the past, after every single country outlawing slavery, 27 million slaves in the world today is a discouraging fact.  That number can seem insurmountable.

But while there are a greater number of slaves today than at any other time in history, when you look at the total population of the world, it is also the smallest percentage of that population that it has ever been.  To quote Kevin Bales, slavery "has been pushed to the edges of our society" and is  "standing on the precipice of it's own extinction."   And we can push it over the edge.  We can end it.  We are closer than we have ever been before.

I hope you will join me.  I've made a list of ways that we all can help fight slavery...some small, easy ways, some large.  Every step helps.

I've got a number of wonderful prizes donated by sponsors for this giveaway.  Here's what you can win:

A Rose & Teak Necklace from UNBOUND Style

Earrings From Zen Custom Jewelry

Set of 3 Notecards by Scribbleprints

You can enter this giveaway on the Rafflecopter below.  I'm asking you to share what you plan to do to fight slavery.  Don't worry...you can answer "nothing right now" and that's fine.  I've had to say no to some very good causes to focus my efforts on this one, so I understand that you might be focusing your efforts somewhere else right now and that's great.  Maybe you just learned about this issue and are not ready to commit to do anything about it, and that's understandable too (I first began to learn about modern slavery in 1999...and it's took me this long to get this far).  But if you feel moved by what you've learned about slavery at Hearts Should Be Free and want to do something more, please do check out the list of ideas here and share your plans.

You must be at least 18 to enter.  Entries accepted through Feb. 15.  Winner will be chosen and announced here on Feb. 16.  Full entry rules are listed at the link on the bottom of the Rafflecopter form.

This giveaway is only open in the United States, Canada (except Quebec), The United Kingdom, and the following areas of Australia  (QLD, NT, TAS, and VIC only).   I would love to make my giveaways open in more places, but it's hard to meet all the legal requirements for various countries.  And guess what...helping me find info on giveaway rules in your country is one way you can help change this in the future!  E-mail me at ecarian@yahoo.com if you're interested.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to link to this page? Here's an easy way:

February 5, 2014

Giveaway: 27 Bath and Body

I've you've been following Hearts Should Be Free, you now probably know that there are around 27 million slaves today worldwide.  Sex trafficking accounts for around 58% of known slave labor , and sadly, many of those trafficked for sex are children.    

Today I want to introduce you to a women who is doing something to help these victims of child prostitution.  Chyanne Ledbetter is selling soap and lotion through her shop, 27 Bath and Body, to raise funds so that she can move to Cambodia to start a project to provide safe jobs and a healing environment for rescued girls in recovery.  

I'd like to share my interview with Chyanne Ledbetter about experience in Cambodia and her plans for the future.  

Chyanne, when did you first learn about the issue of human trafficking and specifically child prostitution and what prompted you got get involved? 

I first heard about the issue of human trafficking about four years ago, but it wasn't until I saw the documentary "Nefarious: Merchant of Souls" three years ago that I decided to get involved. The documentary discusses the issue of human trafficking globally; from those being exploited in Las Vegas, to the children being sold for sex in Cambodia. Before the documentary, I had just heard statistics, but viewing Nefarious showed me the flesh that brought the statistics to life. I realized that as humans, our liberties are bound together, and you can either sit on the sidelines, or become involved. Elie Wiesel says it best: “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” 

Tell me a little bit about your plans for 27 Bath and Body...

The plan is to officially launch 27 Bath and Body in Cambodia in 2015-2016. I'm moving there this year, and am planning to do a lot of research and relationship building up to that point. I am planning on initially hiring 3-4 girls, and letting it progress from there. Our main focus on products will be soap, but down the road we also hope to have lotion bars, body scrubs, candles, and lip balms. I'm striving to form relationships with businesses in the United States that will sell our handmade, wholesome products, so we can be truly sustainable. The goal is to help end slavery one soap bar at a time, and bring awareness to the issue. I would love to see many girls rescued, restored, and loved. I would also love to see our soap in houses all over the world, shining a light on the issue. 

How long have you been planning this project? 

I went on a Mission's trip to Cambodia in May of 2013, and I feel like God gave me the idea at that point. When I returned to California I thought about the idea of 27 Bath and Body for a couple months. I wanted to use my talents to fight this, and in July of 2013 I committed to the idea. We officially launched for fundraising on October 27, 2013. 

Why did you decide to start a new project in stead of just supporting or working with another organization already doing work in Cambodia? (Or will you be collaborating with an another organization there?)

The past year and a half I've been volunteering with Agape International Missions, an awesome organization that is fighting human trafficking in Cambodia. When I move to Cambodia, I will be serving as an administrative assistant at the school they offer for the children. I decided to start 27 Bath and Body because I saw that there was an opportunity to spread awareness, and change more lives from a different point of view. A lot of organizations have bracelets, t-shirts, things like that, which is awesome, and it works great. I saw that there are not a lot of social justice soap lines, so this was a chance to spread the message further. One of the missionaries while I was in Cambodia told me they are always looking for more jobs for the girls who are out of recovery, as having an income allows them to truly flourish. He told me there can only be so many hairdressers, bracelet makers...and I realized that I could contribute to helping a few (hopefully many) girls grow into women with vision. I am not opposed to joining forces with other organizations, I think there is strength in numbers- and look forward to building relationships with the NGO's over here and abroad. 

Apart from raising money, how are you preparing for working and living full-time in Cambodia? What challenges do you expect to face there? 

I'm currently trying to learn Khmer (kuh-my) which is the official language of Cambodia. I'm also doing a lot of studying as far as cultural differences, and the history of Cambodia. I think it is really important when going into another country that you respect and understand their culture. Before moving, I'm planning to do a month long intensive missions cross-cultural training. And lastly, I'm reading my bible a lot.  That helps me prepare spiritually. As far as challenges go, I know there will be some, and I can't really have expectations of what they may be. I know there will be challenges regarding cultural differences, and there will be challenges with starting my business in a different country. There is also the challenge of facing human trafficking head on. There are great organizations that are rescuing girls from slavery, but there is so much more work to be done. In Cambodia they don't attempt to hide that they're selling young virgin girls--it is more blatant. 

What kind of support system do you have in place? 

I have an amazing support system! My friends and family have been praying for me, and have offered me financial commitments as well. They have been great in this whole process, I haven't had one person shut me down, or disregard my idea, which has been a blessing. One friend even told me they would send me spices so I could cook my favorite type of food (Mexican). I will have a support system in Cambodia found in Agape International Missions. There are a lot of great missionaries serving over there, and I'm actually moving to Cambodia with a great friend of mine, who is also serving with AIM. 

You've of course traveled to Cambodia before. Can you share some of the things that are different from Cambodian culture than here in the US? 

I definitely have a lot to learn, but there are some stark cultural differences. There are simpler things- such as the superstition that taking pictures with three people is bad luck, especially for the person in the middle. They invest in people, over time, which is more rare in the United States. They are a primarily Buddhist country, so there are differences in that aspect. There is also a cultural difference in the respect for women:  In Cambodia, they have a lot less rights. You look at their history, with the Khmer Rouge, and you can understand more about where the country is at now. 

Just a random Question. I love your name, Chyanne. It's very unique, even here. I've had friends from other countries that picked an "American" name when they came hto the US because people had trouble pronouncing their real name. Is that a problem you've had to tackle? Have you needed to have a Cambodian nick-name?

Thanks so much! That is an interesting question. Children, and adults in America actually have trouble pronouncing my name sometimes. I've been called everything from Shane, to Sha-nan, to China.  When I went to Cambodia it was hard for them to say my name, so they called me OG (which stands for original goat in my context). I know that sounds really strange, but they asked me when I started making lotion, and I told them I had raised goats all my life. And my friend said, "The original goat that started it all--you are the OG." So that stuck, and it was easier to say, so I just started introducing myself as such. Honestly though, I respond to pretty much anything:  One of the disciples there even called me "lotion" (because that is what I was teaching him to make), and I responded. I'm thinking when I move back I'll introduce myself as CC--simple, and easy to pronounce :-). 

Anything else you'ld like to share?

I just want to encourage everyone to get involved! We all have unique gifts and talents that we can use to help fight this issue! If you can't contribute time, or your talents, consider helping financially. I know that committed people can bring an end to this injustice, because our liberties are all at stake.

27 Bath and Body 

Giveaway (ENDED)

 27 Bath and Body soaps are made with quality ingredients and unique and appealing scents.  Today you have a chance to win some samples of the following soaps: black amber, lavender, sugared spruce, chamomile, and chai poppyseed. (These are sample sizes, not full size). To enter, just answer a question on the Rafflecopter form below.  Extra entries are available after you answer the first question. (We also have another giveaway going on where you can  win $25 to spend at 27 Bath and Body or other featured shops that are helping victims of human trafficking. .)

You must be at least 18 to enter.  Entries accepted through Feb. 15.  Winner will be chosen and announced here on Feb. 16.  Full entry rules are listed at the link on the bottom of the Rafflecopter form.

This giveaway is only open in the United States, Canada (except Quebec), The United Kingdom, and the following areas of Australia  (QLD, NT, TAS, and VIC only).   I would love to make my giveaways open in more places, but it's hard to meet all the legal requirements for various countries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

February 3, 2014

Slavery Still Exists

"I want to be very clear:  I'm talking about real slavery.  This is not about lousy marriages, this is not about jobs that suck, this is about people who can not walk away, people who are forced to work without pay, people who are operating 24/7 under a threat of violence, and have no pay."
           - Kevin Bales (from his TED Talk in 2010.)

The quote above is from the video that prompted me to start Hearts Should Be Free.  That quote especially caught me, because, I think sometimes when people first hear about modern slavery they wonder, "Is it REAL slavery that we're talking about?  Or is this just some metaphor for being trapped in bad circumstances?"  But the more I learn about slavery today, the more clear it is that this is LITERAL slavery.  I have heard stories of people beaten if they would not work, people's lives being threatened if they tried to leave, and even some branded with tattoos so that they could be found again if they escaped.  Slavery today, in most of it's forms,  is almost identical to slavery throughout most of history.  But there are some differences...

1.  Slavery of the past was a legal activity.  As of 2007, there is no country around the world where slavery is legal, and yet it still continues as a criminal activity in nearly every country (even in developed nations like the United States and Canada).

2.  Slaves are cheaper than they used to be.  Before the civil war, adjusted for inflation to today's money, the average price of a slave would be around $40,000.  Today, the cost of acquiring a slave ranges from around $8,000 to as little as $5--with the average worldwide cost being around $90.  In the past because a slave represented a significant investment, slaveowners were more likely to take better care of their slave and less likely to endanger them.   In many places now  slaves are so cheep that they are treated as disposable.

Slavery is widespread.  There are as many as 27 million slaves in the world today, and the products of slave labor contributes to nearly every industry.  In recent years, slaves have been used to make, grow, mine or harvest a dizzying array of products, including...

Bamboo, Bricks, Carpets, Cassiterite, Cement, Charcoal, Christmas Decorations, Clothing, Cotton, Cottonseed, Coal, Coltan, Coffee, Drugs. Electronics, Fireworks, Flowers (real and artificial), Fluorspar, Food/Produce, Footware, Gemstones, Gold, Granite, Gravel, Iron, Nails, Palm Oil, Palm Thatch, Pornography, Rubber, Soap, Stone, Surgical instruments, Teak, Textiles, Timber, Tobacco, and Toys.

Slave labor has also been used for various services including prostitution, housecleaning, cooking, childcare, and hair styling.  Children are also forced to beg, while others are forced to fight as child soldiers.

The first step in ending slavery is simply making more people aware that it exists.  That's why I started Hearts Should Be Free.   You can learn more ways that we can help end slavery here.

To help me spread awareness, Temeka of Zen Custom Jewelry is donating a pair of earring and a bracelet for this giveaway.  She is also donating another pair of her beautiful hand-made earrings which is being given away in another Hearts Should Be Free giveaway here.

To enter to win the earrings shown above, just answer a question on the Rafflecopter form below.  Extra entries are available after you answer the first question.

You must be at least 18 to enter.  Entries accepted through Feb. 15.  Winner will be chosen and announced here on Feb. 16.  Full entry rules are listed at the link on the bottom of the Rafflecopter form.

This giveaway is only open in the United States, Canada (except Quebec), The United Kingdom, and the following areas of Australia  (QLD, NT, TAS, and VIC only).   I would love to make my giveaways open in more places, but it's hard to meet all the legal requirements for various countries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For the information on this page I consulted the following sources:
2010 Ted Talk by Kevin Bales
US State Department's Trafficking in Person's Report
US State Department's List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.
Wikipedia Abolition of Slavery Timeline

February 1, 2014

HSBF Giveaway: $25 to Spend at Etsy Shops Fighting Slavery!

Would you like to enter win $25 to spend at shops that donate 100% of their profits to fight modern slavery?   Well read on, because you can!

This year at Such Fun to Give, I wanted to have at least one giveaway that would not only raise awareness of modern slavery, but would help raise funds for to help too. So, I called out to sponsors to help pay for a prize that would come with a donation. None of the shops listed on this giveaway payed a dime for this prize:  so when the winner spends his prize at these shops, 100% of the profits will go to a charity that helps victims of slavery.

Here's a preview of some of the items the winner could get...

Mottled Hunter Green string ...

Turquoise Dangle Earrings

Saat Lotion - 2oz purse fri...

Button Earrings

Labradorite Stone Earrings

Turquoise Dangle Earrings

Blessed Necklace

Paper drinking straws - aqua...

Lampwork Glass Bead Earrings

Blue Sweater

4.4 oz Freedom Bar: UPLIFT (...

Push Pins with Purpose / Bri...

4.4 oz Chamomile Freedom Bar

Black Lace Skinny Pants - up...

Turquoise Freedom Bottle-cap...
I am so inspired by all the shops I found on Etsy that are helping to raise money for this cause.  This giveaway only features the ones that were giving 100% and gave me permission to include them in this giveaway:  you can browse many more shops I found on my Shop2Flight Slavery Squidoo page.

Would you like to follow their lead?  As part of Hearts Should Be Free I'm hosing an Anti-Slavery garage sale where you can list used or hand-crafted items for sale to fight slavery!  It's very easy...if you've ever sold something on Ebay, you can do this.  Learn more and shop what other's have listed here.

The Winner of This Prize Can Spend $25 in Any of the Following Shops

Their jewelry is made by and supports women in a safehouse in the Dominican republic.  Their project  is part of drvision.org.  Learn more on their Website.

The Butterfly Project sells jewelry made by former slaves in safe houses, providing them with a safe income.  They also support Love146 and the Born2Fly project.  Learn more at their website here.

Profits from this shop help fund a project that will provide a safe place for victims of sex trafficking in Cambodia to earn an income away from the sex trade.  Learn more on their Facebook Page.  (There is another HSBF giveaway going on for a sample of her soaps here.)

They support The Good Shepherd, and organization which serves  women, children, families and victims of human trafficking to improve dignity, support self-sufficiency and enhance their quality of life.

Supports My Refuge House, a non-profit which helps victims of trafficking rebuild their lives.

Supports local safehouses and Free the Girls, a non-profit organization that provides job opportunities for survivors of sex trafficking.  Learn more here.

Supports both national and local organizations (VA Beach, VA area) that are active in the fight against Human Trafficking.

To enter to win the World Love map print above, just answer a question on the Rafflecopter form below.  Extra entries are available after you answer the first question.

You must be 18 to enter.  Entries accepted through Feb. 15.  Winner will be chosen and announced here Feb. 12.  Full entry rules are listed at the link on the bottom of the Rafflecopter form.

This giveaway is only open in the United States, Canada (except Quebec), The United Kingdom, and the following areas of Australia  (QLD, NT, TAS, and VIC only).   Some of the shops above may not ship to your area, so your giveaway winnings must be spent at a shop that ships where you life. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How YOU Can Help Fight Slavery

I am inspired, both by what I've experienced here during Hearts Should Be Free and from the many stories I've heard from people who were moved by the problem of slavery to do something, that ANYONE can make a difference.

Below are some specific ways you can help.  Remember, even small things you do can help, because you are ONE MORE PERSON doing it, and you are not alone.

Become Educated About Modern Slavery
The first step in fighting modern slavery is understanding the problem.  Below are some great resources to educate yourself about modern slavery.

Spread Awareness 
Once you've learned about modern slavery, you can share what you learn with others and spread awareness.

  • Just talk about what you know!  Nothing more simple than that!
  • Share a fact, an article, a video, or infographic on social media, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.  
  • There are various free printable resources at the Trafficking Resource Center which you can  distribute or post on public bulletin boards, or distribute at workplaces, churches, community centers, etc. 
  • Help out with Hearts Should Be Free (the annual awareness event I host on this blog).  Learn how you can help here.  

Use Your Phone to Fight Trafficking
  •  While you travel, snap pictures of your hotel room and add them to a police searchable database with the TraffikCam app.  Hundreds of pictures of trafficking victims are posted on the internet every month, many in hotel rooms, and this helps police identify where these people are.  More Info Here.

Help an Organization Fighting Slavery
  • Join an anti-trafficking Coalition.  (US Residents: You can see if there's one in your area here, or here,  and if not, you can always start one!)
  • You can support a charity helping to end slavery/help victims by selling items through Ebay giving works (things in your home you don't need, crafts, etc.).  You can find a list of charities related to human trafficking here.  (Through Feb 22 you can also list items you're selling in the Hearts Should Be Free Online Anit-Slavery Garage Sale)

Shop With Awareness/Hold Companies Accountable
Because companies do not properly monitor their supply chains, many of the items we buy may have been made with materials that were made with slave labor.  We can help change this.

  • Visit Free To Work or Know the Chain to see how various companies rate on what they are doing to prevent slavery.  (They also have a mobile app that lets you scan bar codes for products and see how they rank.)
  • Write your favorite brands about this issue.  ChainStoreReaction is a site that makes it easy for your to write letters to companies encouraging them to take steps to investigate and eliminate slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains, and see how they've responded to past letters.   You can also usually find contact info on a company website as well.  
  • Fair Trade products seek to insure that not only all their employees but all of the people who contribute to the materials they use are paid a living wage.  This emphasis and the extra scrutiny on the supply chain that comes with it means that fair trade products are much less likely to be tainted with slave labor.  When you buy fair trade, you not only help provide a living wage for the people who make that product, but you send a message to other companies that this is important.  
  • You can browse and shop at fair trade companies, companies which sell products made by rescued victims of slavery (providing them safe employment), and companies which donate to anti-slavery charities here.

Take Political Action
While all countries have laws against slavery, some laws are better crafted to deal with the problem, while others contribute to the problem or are not well enforced.  You can help influence your government officials to work towards the eradication of slavery. ( I'm afraid most of my info info below is somewhat US centered, since I have more experience with that.)
  • RESEARCH FIRST!  Just writing your officials to support any proposed law with the words "trafficking" may not be helpful.  A badly written anti-trafficking law can sometimes hurt those they are meant to help, so make sure to do your research before your write your letters or take up a cause.  A good place to start is to see what extablished anti-trafficking organizations are saying about the measure.

  • IN CONGRESS:  Find out what bills related to human trafficking are being considered in Congress here.  Do your research and find out whether this is a bill you want to support, then write your Senators and Representatives. You can find your elected officials here.

Use Your Talents
Are you an artist, musician, or performer?  You can use your talents to help fight slavery.
  • Art4Abolition is looking for artists, musicians, and performers to help with various projects.
  • I am looking for donations of graphics (artwork, photography, or infographics) that bloggers can use when blogging about slavery.  The collection I've started is here:  Please e-mail me at ecarian@yahoo.com if you would be interested in adding to it.  

If you are someone who believes (as I do) that prayer is powerful, than I hope you will pray for slavery to end.  Here are some links to some prayer guides which you may find helpful:

A Squidoo Problem and a Request for Help

Hello friends.   As you know I have been hosting an event here called Hearts Should Be Free to raise awareness of modern slavery.  Another thing I do, year round, is I upkeep a Squidoo lens on how to shop in a way that help reduce slavery/help victims.  This lens features various fair trade shop, shops featuring items from rescued victims, and shops who donate to anti-slavery charities.  You can visit it here.

Well, for the second time I've had this lens get "froozen" due to Squidoo's fliters--so I can't make changes, including some much needed updates to some facts on my "10 Facts" list which are now outdated by new research.  Here's what Squidoo's automated system says the problem is...

Our Squidsystems found specific spam words or spam patterns on this lens. This filter is in place to prevent publishing on topics that have unfortunately demonstrated an overwhelming attraction to spammers. We're really sorry, but we can't allow publishing of this lens as it is right now.
While we can't divulge exactly what words or patterns are causing the problem, you can read our SquidDon't policy and take a fair guess at the type of topics we can't allow lenses on.
Recommendation: Re-read your lens with a critical eye and ask yourself if it is promoting a subpar affiliate program, if it's using profane language, if it's skewed as an Adult lens, or if it's on any of our SquidDon't topics (like gambling, pharmaceuticals, escort services, etc).
P.S. If you think your lens is clean as a whistle and not remotely on a SquidDon't topic, you canrequest a hand review here.

Now, I have tweaked and tweaked and tweaked...I've tried to cut down on key words (but there's only so many ways to say "slavery" and "human trafficking.")  My referneces to sex trafficking (which I can't entirely remove because some pull from etsy shop product descriptions) might be getting this flagged as adult.   I could just move the page to this blog, but I like how I can donate my ad revenues directly to charity through Squidoo, and I have no way, without being able to make changes, to let people know where the page has moved.

So I'm asking for your help.  I've already applied for greenlighting and haven't gotten it.  Can you all please write Squidoo and tell them how you value this page and ask that they either greenlight it or send me more specific instructions on how I should greenlight it?  I think if they heard how many others valued this page they would possibly respond.  To contact them just go to www.Squidoo.com and down at the bottom click the "Feedback and Bugs" link.   Please specifically mention http://www.squidoo.com/shop2fightslavery in your feedback.  Thanks.