Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Say Something if You See Something

“Say Something if You See Something” is the name of a new human trafficking and sexual exploitation “education and awareness” program launched by the Halifax Police and the RCMP and targeted at workers in the hospitality and transport sectors.Say Something if You See Something brochure, Halifax RCMP

The name of the campaign (which  originated in the UK) is an awkward reworking of the US Department of Homeland Security’s post 9/11 “If You See Something, Say Something” slogan which I can only assume was trademarked and/or applies strictly to terrorists.

The Cape Breton Regional Police were briefed this week on the program, which basically enlists hotel employees and taxi drivers as police informants. They’re to watch out for signs of human trafficking, which could include such things as “paying cash at a hotel counter” or requesting  “a room away from other guests.” That those could also be signs of “bad credit” and “not wanting to listen to Fox News blasting from the room next door” were not points raised in the media coverage I saw of the initiative.

Here’s why hospitality industry employees should be involved in the program, according to the campaign brochure:

If people are being trafficked/sexually exploited in your place of work, other illegal activities may also be taking place, such as drug use, sexual assaults, disputes [emphasis mine], physical assaults and robberies. These activities pose a serious risk to your clientele and business.

Disputes are now illegal? Or just disputes in hotel rooms? Do police really want to be inundated with phone calls about people “requesting rooms away from other guests” and later having “disputes?”

At this point you, like me, will probably want to know how serious the problem of human trafficking is here in the CBRM. Const. Tammy Lobb of the Halifax District RCMP Integrated Vice Unit, who did the training session with local officers, told the Post:

Human trafficking is occurring in communities and cities and provinces across the country.

Right. But, do you have any, I don’t know, statistics to back that up? Could you give us an actual sense of the seriousness of the problem here, in this community? I’m not saying it’s not happening, but wouldn’t it be in your own interest to tell me something a little more concrete?

If you know something based on empirical research, say something.


You Want it Darker

I realize that telling you about a great lecture I heard that is over, not available via podcast and not likely to be repeated could be interpreted more as gloating than reporting but here’s my rationale: the lecturer, CBU Professor Emeritus Richard Keshen, could very well give another talk on another subject, in which case this will count as a timely heads up that you’ll want to attend.You Want it Darker, Leonard Cohen album cover

Keshen spoke at the McConnell Library in Sydney on Tuesday evening on the subject of Leonard Cohen’s last album, “You Want It Darker.” A hardy band of Cohen fans braved the cold to listen to, then discuss in detail, three songs from the album.

Keshen pointed out how much knowledge Cohen assumes in his lyrics. One song alone, the title track “You Want it Darker,” in the course of a single stanza invokes the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac; the Kaddish (a Jewish prayer of mourning); and the image of Christ on the cross. That’s decidedly dark but not, in Keshen’s reading, depressing.

It was interesting to take the time to consider songs in all their aspects and not something I do much since music became so readily available in such copious amounts. Not all songs could bear this kind of scrutiny — I doubt Keshen will be lecturing on the works of Justin Bieber anytime soon — but Cohen’s songs get better the closer you examine them.






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