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Often, the concept of retreating and even the word 'retreat' brings to mind a negative image of moving backward, losing ground or escaping. However "to retreat" may also mean to move to another position to re-group in order to be better able to "fight another day". The word 'retreat' also means to hide away, sequester oneself, to withdraw from one's usual life, work and society to contemplate, study, re-direct oneself or heal.
There are different types of retreats in all parts of the world and some categories of "retreats" have become lucrative businesses. More people with disposable income who have few responsibilities are finding ways to travel and take a break in the shelter of various theme oriented retreat programs and holidays. Over the last decade the emergence of Yoga retreats in many less expensive parts of Asia has made it possible for people of all ages to participate. The countries benefiting from this type of tourism are India, Nepal, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines and of course, Thailand. Remarkably, Iran is now aggressively marketing their Yoga and "Eco retreats" at about $100.00 a day on a number of sites: www.tourradar.com/i/asia-yoga-retreats
While for thousands of years there have been places which hosted spiritual retreats or meditation retreats based on all the world's major religions, these past decades a secular or mixed approach to retreats, has resulted in a 'retreat business' which is often just a fitness based holiday with some "classes" and generic guided meditations combined. Yet, these are very popular especially if western style comforts and amenities are added to the facilities. You can find Yoga retreats with all sorts of themes, too. Examples of existing retreats include: "recovering from bad break ups retreat" and "women only retreats" or "detox retreats" and so on. These retreats offer different 'packages' and there are retreats for almost every budget including 'luxury' and 'luxurious' retreats.
Retreats attract people from most parts of the world and the international language in Asia is more English than Mandarin Chinese. Climate and location are quite important therefore warm, mild weather, access to various means of reliable transport as well as consistent hi speed internet connections are important factors for a sustainable, year round retreat business.
Yoga involves lots of stretching and maintaining postures which are easier on the body in warm rather than cold climates. This is why I chose Thailand for the first package retreat of my life. What initially was a frustrating situation of having to leave Henan, China due to visa restrictions as well as the training center school shutting down for winter holidays (information they don't provide on their website); soon evolved into a new adventure possibility. I decided to embark on a journey to a country I had never really visited before; since I don't include flying into an airport and flying out again an actual 'visit' to a country. My retreat would be to the "Land of Smiles"
Oh, some of you may be thinking...these are not the smiles I usually associate with Thailand...because these are older women. Yes, very sadly for Thailand, thousands of people come to Thailand every month for their own sex and debauch retreat since the "Land of Smiles" is also the "Land of Sleaze" and Thailand's beautiful children, beautiful scenery and nefarious criminal networks combine to make the Golden Triangle area a hell on earth for those trafficked, imprisoned in the life of a sex worker slave, taken away from their families or sold to be a "product" or "package".
January is officially National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in the USA. However much of the human trafficking and sex worker networks are international. It is worth bringing this to your attention if you don't already know. Hoping you will 'Join the Fight' against such terrible crimes and injustice-especially against children. Read the links below to start your search about the problem:
This crime is a scourge on all of humanity! Pedophilia, child rape, child kidnapping, child torture, child exploitation in all forms...is never not a crime. While we may be "on retreat" or vacation in different parts of the world as well as in the North America, it doesn't mean we can turn a blind eye to this crime or excuse those we know among our family and friends who participate in "sex tourism" at home or abroad. neonnettle.com/features/1602-under-obama-us-became-world-s-number-1-for-sex-trafficking-and-pedophilia
Most people do not know that it is documented that under the Obama Administration, over his eight years in office, the USA became the #1 destination for child sex trafficking and child sex slavery in the world. www.dailywire.com/news/14176/sex-trafficking-arrests-soar-under-trump-msm-joseph-curl Only under the current administration has progress finally been made over the past two years, in terms of arrests, enforcement of existing laws and sincere efforts to secure the borders-where these children are brought into the USA. (see links below)
You can help the fight against child sex trafficking and abuse in your own country if you choose to be brave and open your eyes, ears and mouth. There are people to contact who are professionals and who need and appreciate any information you might have concerning possible criminals and criminal acts. At present the independent organizations which remain small, effective and accountable are the best channel for information and can connect to databases for digital interface and possible tracking and re-uniting of trafficked children back to their families or to agencies which will truly support them with counseling, education and safe shelter.
By being silent you are being complicit in the worst crime against humanity...against children...even if it is not in your own country.
Here are links to organizations which are credible and independent of government:
There are numerous non government organisations (NGOs) in Thailand, and working in Thailand against child trafficking for sex and other industry work which exploits children. You do have to be careful the NGO is actually legitimate and not using money for other purposes or worse not taking in vulnerable children only to use and 'disappear' them again. Instead of the "See Something, Say Something" course of action, I would recommend if you see something suspicious...1) try and record it surreptitiously and 2) send the "evidence" to those who know how to handle the information responsibly. 3) Do not send the photos/videos directly from your own phone however, download them and try to send from another computer without your direct IP address-just for your own protection.
FYI: The UN and UNICEF programs are not to be trusted. I have witnessed first hand UN workers bragging about being able to procure "very young" children for "escorts" in a number of countries. There have been documented cases in a number of countries of supervisory UN officials and UNICEF program managers involved in child and sexual abuse. Incredible as it may seem, often the whistle blowers on these crimes were prosecuted and not the United Nations officials. www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/europe/item/28313-un-exposed-as-haven-for-child-rapists-more-scandals-coming
The child sex trafficking problem is endemic in Thailand and much of South East Asia. The criminal networks processing and transiting children from other countries to Thailand and neighboring countries is increasing. Children, tragically can be ordered, traded and bought on the dark net. Children from Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East and North America are "ordered" then "transferred" to Thailand. Sometimes the internet has children "for sale" under codes i.e. labeling different ethnicities, ages and genders by substituting the word child. Branding children as different animals, fruits, food types-disguises the real "products".
"According to the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, numbers of foreign children being trafficked to Thailand for sexual exploitation is on the increase. They are trafficked from neighbouring countries such as Cambodia, China (Yunnan Province), Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam while Thai children are trafficked into sex businesses abroad, such as in Japan and Australia, via Malaysia and Hong Kong. For internal trafficking, the majority of the trafficked victims are hill tribe girls aged around 12 to 16 years old from the north and northeastern part of the country. They are usually sent to closed brothels, which operate under prison-like conditions. Women and children, mainly from Thailand, are trafficked to countries in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to be prostitutes or brides." www.ecpat.org/wp-content/uploads/legacy/Factsheet_Thailand.pdf
While you may decide you need a retreat and go to another location to refresh, re-focus and heal, I write this post to remind you not to retreat entirely from being situationally aware, or from continuing to be alert and ready to respond when (and if) you see this scourge happening, or suspect a child is in danger. While the month of January is highlighted by the US government and NGOs working in this field, every day children are affected by this crime and "industry". Those who are vulnerable, weak and unprotected need the help, assistance and vigilance of those who are stronger, capable and compassionate...always.
For those of you who would like to know more, and would like to do more-I recommend watching the powerful documentary about Operation Cathedral which took down an international pedophile ring called the Wonderland Club. "Wonderland" is a BBC documentary made almost two decades ago and sadly is tame compared to what is happening for "skin trade" in children presently. You need a strong stomach and heart to watch this, but it will open your eyes: www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcsITzVKrNQ
I have also included the video "To Catch a Paedophile-Program 1" from the UK, in the links below for those interested in cyber law enforcement strategies for combating these crimes.
Since I am staying with people from many countries but hosted by a group of enterprising Israelis, I will include a musical version of Psalm 27 in the original Hebrew. You need extra protection when you decide to be a warrior of light.
Shalom and enjoy: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMZkqhZFVqc
From an island in Thailand,
To Catch a Paedophile-Programme1