"Zero-Tolerance" on Trafficking Must Mean What It Says

U.S. officials have acknowledged that human trafficking is a problem of "crisis proportions," both outside and inside America's borders. Yet despite professed intent to end this scourge, including with the help of a "zero-tolerance, one strike approach," human trafficking remains a pervasive and ongoing problem in this nation. As part of ongoing efforts to combat the phenomenon, the ACLU and a coalition of anti-trafficking organizations submitted a written statement last week to the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council, urging the U.S. government to translate its words into actions.

The statement was submitted on the heels of a hearing entitled "Measures on Human Trafficking in the United States" before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In his testimony, the ACLU's Steven Watt commended recent efforts by the U.S. government to close loopholes that enable human trafficking on federal government contracts, such as an executive order on human trafficking and a provision in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which codifies many of these essential protections. Still, Watt cautioned:

This legislation and the E.O. are important first steps to ending trafficking on government overseas contracts. Together they improve oversight of the contracting process and allow for more effective enforcement of anti-trafficking laws and policies.  However, they will only achieve their objectives if properly implemented.

As the ACLU and Yale Law School documented in our 2011 report, Victims of Complacency, since 2003 thousands of foreign workers (known as Third Country Nationals or "TCNs") hired to work on U.S. government contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere have been subjected to illegal recruitment, trafficking, and forced labor, in stark violation of U.S. and international law. Disturbingly, although these abuses are well known, the U.S. government has utterly failed to hold those responsible accountable: in fact, in the past decade the government has yet to prosecute one single contractor for involvement in trafficking and forced labor.

In our submission to the FAR Council, we recommend the adoption of standards essential to ensuring better oversight of the government contract process so that trafficking does not occur. These include the elimination of recruitment fees, which place workers in a situation of debt bondage and make them more vulnerable to abuse by their employers; provision of written contracts to workers and use only of licensed recruitment agencies; the implementation of grievance procedures so that workers are able to report violations without fear of retaliation; independent verification to ensure recruitment of TCNs follows ethical guidelines; training programs to educate contractors about human trafficking; and the development of a wage compliance program to verify that employees are actually paid the wage they are promised.

Implementation of regulations incorporating these standards is vital to ensuring that the executive order and the new statutory provision are not empty promises. As Watt said before the Inter-American Commission hearing on trafficking, "Only then, will the government's oft touted zero-tolerance on trafficking become a reality for TCNs working for the government and the American public."

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Mark Schwendema...

Salvation Army = SLAVE NATION ARMY!

I’m going to try to open your eyes – the public’s eyes - and minds - to the biggest charity scam operation based in southeastern Michigan. I hope my revelations may encourage someone to do something to stop the plundering of the public – and the enslavement of Americans - under the guise of a Christian-based charity!
I’m speaking as a former ‘beneficiary’ of the Salvation Army Southeast Michigan Adult Rehabilitation Center. What I hope to expose is based on my observations, experiences and investigations of the Salvation Army’s so-called “rehabilitation” program and the operations of “thrift” stores as an ‘insider’.
I have read numerous reports from various sources on the internet, and other sources, and I empathize with all those who have filed negative reports/complaints about the Salvation Army in these various forums. But all I can report on is the S.E. MI A.R.C., and its operations. I am myself, a victim of this organization’s atrocious behaviors. I’m willing to do my best to ensure this information will also be dispersed throughout numerous public forums, including: the internet, as many governmental, civil rights and news agencies as it takes to force a full investigation of the entire Salvation Army organization, and especially the operations in southeast Michigan and to prompt appropriate action be taken to correct the wrongs this so-called Christian, non-profit charity has perpetrated against those truly seeking help… and to the general public.
What I have learned in my time there is that the abuse of the public’s trust and the mistreatment of all who seek recovery from their addictions and homelessness or alienation from their family is exploited by the Salvation Army locally and, I suspect, nationally, if not globally.
The Salvation Army has two ‘rehab’ (Adult Rehabilitation Center) centers in this area – the Detroit center is all male and the Romulus center is all female. The organization also operates thirty-four retail stores and a number of warehousing centers in the area.
I was a beneficiary at the Detroit center. I was seeking recovery from alcoholism and I was jobless. I thought a six month residential rehabilitation program would be a great step toward recovery. Isolation from the environment that sustained my affliction seemed to be something that would contribute to my recovery.
The Salvation Army considers beneficiaries as ‘clients’.
A beneficiary can be best described as someone who is attempting to recover from a drug addiction, alcoholism, homelessness, joblessness, or any other alienation from family and society. Some beneficiaries are ‘walk-in’ (those who seek recovery under their own volition), and some are court-ordered, those who are forced into the program by the Department of Corrections as an alternative to probation and/or parole prerogatives. Non-the-less, they are people who may be seeking a way to better themselves and their lives and to recover from their addictions.
During the intake process at the center, the question is raised as to whether a potential beneficiary has a ‘Bridge’ (food stamp) debit-EBT card. If so, the card must be relinquished. If not, the intake director makes arrangements to obtain one (it is guaranteed that the food stamp debit card will be approved due to the Salvation Army’s collusion with the Family Independence Agency & Health and Human Services departments). It is explained that is how your stay at the center will be paid for, and, very well may be food stamp FRAUD. Because the cardholder no longer has any control how the debit card may be used…but has been coerced into relinquishing that control to the Salvation Army the organization gets the monthly benefits.
You are then told that the program is not a rehab program, but a work therapy program! And, it is explained, that is another part of the way that your stay at the center is paid for. The S.E. MI A.R.C. administration has the audacity to call it work therapy, but it is actually slave labor. The beneficiaries DO THE MOST WORK! Beneficiaries are the back bone of this organization, although much of the general public has been duped into believing they are volunteers. Any area, or department a beneficiary is assigned is included in that department’s operating budget and a salary value is attached. The beneficiary does not get a salary, the Salvation Army gets to report a salary, and the Salvation Army gets to ‘cook the books’ on operating costs in its annual report. It is just another way the ARC can get another revenue-earning deduction which is included in operating costs.
I believe a closer look at the organization’s ‘books’ should be taken by a legitimate governmental oversight agency on a continued basis to guarantee the legitimacy of this organization’s reports. I do not believe the Salvation Army would survive such scrutiny
If a person is court-ordered to participate in the ARC program, the Salvation Army receives payment from the Department of Corrections. That way, the Salvation Army is profiting three ways on court-ordered beneficiaries! The organization obtains the Bridge-EBT card, gets free slave labor and receives a reimbursement from the court system/Department of Corrections. These beneficiaries may get a reduced sentence/parole/probation by completing a six month program. It may sound like a good deal, except court-ordered beneficiaries are rarely able to complete the six month program because the Salvation Army tyrants always seem to find a reason to discharge these people so the only choice they have would be to go back to jail, or start the six month program all over. The Salvation Army can string these people along for up to several years for free labor.
Beneficiaries who receive a pension, social security benefits, or any other type supplemental income must sign over 75% of said monthly payments to the Salvation Army to cover the cost of residing there. This practice costs those beneficiaries from $800 to $1200 dollars per month, and they still have to work with no compensation.
Those who complete the program and attempt to become an employee must go through an additional three months residency, as a probationary period, and pay $800 per month rent. They get paid minimum wage and find themselves in a “catch 22” situation because their pay is so low and their rent is so high, they have no way to get out of the quagmire the Salvation Army has put them in. Should they make it past the probationary period, they can become resident-employees (while continuing to pay $800 a month rent). Consider this: resident employees are in dorm rooms on a separate floor from the beneficiaries, at least six to a room paying $800 per month rent. The Salvation Army profits $4800 per month, per room! Yet the Salvation Army would have the public believe that housing, food and services are provided by donations free of charge to beneficiaries and resident employees!
Or, they may become a regular employee and move out to a private residence. Again, with rent so high and pay so low, it is very difficult to live outside the facility. Some of the employees from the male facility have fraternized with employees from the female facility to ‘shack up’ in order for both to save costs on their living arrangements. Fraternization is strictly prohibited by the Salvation Army’s rules, but due to favoritism this practice is permitted.
Also, if a resident employee has any legal obligations such as child support, restitution, court costs, etc., these costs are deducted from their gross pay; they may end up with all zeros on their paycheck stub! Then, they have NO WAY OUT!
The different charges for, and the treatment of the different types of residents/employees/beneficiaries are thoroughly discriminatory. That is another violation of civil rights.
And in all cases, everyone must continue to attend “classes” and attend all chapel related events!
Residing at the Salvation Army is not free! The Salvation Army leads the public to believe all services are given to beneficiaries for free! (This organization states this on its websites) And, if you cannot work, you cannot stay! If a beneficiary is injured on the job or suffers from some type of illness and is unable to work for more than two days, they are thrown out!
Most of the work is done in numerous areas by the beneficiaries with little or no recognition and no real compensation at all. And, the beneficiaries are treated as if they are sub-human at the job sites and worked like dogs!
Beneficiaries who are hoping for recovery expect to be treated like human beings, not used to reap a profit for a corrupt organization, not exploited, not violated, disregarded, discriminated against, harassed, flagrantly punished, denied our freedom of speech, denied our freedom of privacy, treated like criminals, regarded as having no credibility whatsoever and subjected to psychological abuse - brainwashing...and…most importantly, forced into indentured servitude! Slavery!!
Involuntary servitude is a United States legal and constitutional term for a person laboring against that person's will to benefit another, under some form of coercion other than the worker's financial needs. While laboring to benefit another occurs also in the condition of slavery, involuntary servitude does not necessarily connote the complete lack of freedom experienced in chattel slavery; involuntary servitude may also refer to other forms of non-free labor. Involuntary servitude is not dependent upon compensation or its amount.
The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution makes involuntary servitude illegal under any U.S. jurisdiction whether at the hands of the U.S. government or in the private sphere, except as punishment for a crime: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
It is really human trafficking practiced by an organization that claims to be opposed to it and claims to be actively fighting it.
Human trafficking (also referred to as trafficking in persons or TIP) is an umbrella term used to describe the process by which millions of people become enslaved each year. A widely accepted definition of TIP has been created by the United Nations (UN). The UN definition is as follows:
"(a) 'Trafficking in persons' shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of exploitation, forced labor of services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;
(b) The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth in sub-paragraph (a) of this article shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth in sub-paragraph (a) have been used;
(c) The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a person for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered 'trafficking in persons' even if this does not involve any of the means set forth in sub-paragraph (a) of this article;
(d) 'Child' shall mean any person less than eighteen years of age"
The UN definition of trafficking in persons can be divided into three parts: acts, the means used to commit those acts, and goals for which those acts are committed. At least one element from each of the three parts of the trafficking definition is required to create a TIP case.
Each year millions of human beings are subjected to the trafficking process and find themselves exploited in settings such as brick kilns, sweatshops, chicken farms, cocoa plantations, mines, fisheries, rock quarries, or for compulsory participation in public works or military service, Salvation Army operations, as well as a variety of other settings. Countless others, predominately women and female children, but also boys, are trafficked into the commercial sex industry where they are used in forms of commercial sexual exploitation like prostitution, pornography, and nude dancing. Some are sold as "brides."
Trafficking in persons is frequently referred to as modern-day slavery. It is an apt analogy that shocks and challenges us. Americans in particular are moved by this comparison. To us, slavery is a sordid, indelible stain on our national heritage, but nevertheless it is an evil most believe we conquered and relegated to the history books. However, news media accounts, on-the-ground intelligence from nongovernmental organizations, and reports from agencies such as the U.S. Department of State and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime create a different picture. They reveal the inescapable truth that trafficking is one of the principle means by which slavery survives.
(The above-mentioned statements are similar to those on the Salvation Army’s own website in the section on their ‘fight’ against human trafficking!)
The definition of trafficking in persons is met by the Salvation Army’s actions: a) forcing beneficiaries to work in Salvation Army facilities as part of “work therapy”, b) threatening beneficiaries with punishment up to discharge from the A.R.C. if they do not comply, c) the goal being to maintain the process that produces profit for the Salvation Army. In other words, beneficiaries are kept in a state of indentured servitude.
The beneficiaries and resident employees are the prostitutes of the Salvation Army, to be pimped out to the organization’s various profit making concerns, for the sole purpose of generating revenue for the Salvation Army, the most profitable, non-profit organization in the world!
The whole operation here also stinks of a religion-based cult! It violates every constitutional, labor, safety and environmental law there is!
The only god worshiped by the Salvation Army is money. The program is run by relentless mini-dictators who have taken their positions to the extreme, will yield to no one and believe they do not have to answer to anyone. Their illegal practices should not be ignored any longer.
They are a disgrace to the idea of A Salvation Army and religious beliefs of all faiths.
The Salvation Army may appear to provide excellent and reliable service in helping domestically, and in foreign countries, but only when a photo opportunity presents itself, when television news and newspaper cameras are present, or when the organization stages a self-promoting event.
The program here is a total fraud and an outright failure when it comes to helping people with homelessness and addiction issues. It is what it is, “A FRONT” for a money-making machine exploiting human suffering! The only homeless, helpless, addicted, alcoholic people it “HELPS” are the ones who it is able to SNAG into the so-called rehab programs.
This organization does not help the general public, or anyone ‘on the street’, it only tries to snare people into a program that is designed to only generate profit! This organization provides no real services for the public, no safe houses for battered women, no temporary shelters for ‘street people’, no alternatives for children who may find themselves separated from their parents, (and, as far as I have seen) no food service trucks for people on the streets. The only ‘food trucks’ I have seen are the ones that service the Salvation Army’s catering concerns. This organization does not actively seek out and help anyone who will not result in a profit. The beneficiaries are provided only donated food (a lot of it well past expiration dates), while the catering services provide first-rate, purchased food specifically for the catering services.
Their oppressive approach by those who run the A.R.C. has created a hostile, stressful, mentally unhealthy environment for the beneficiaries and employees alike. The result is a high rate of recidivism or relapse of beneficiaries. This A.R.C. counts on these results because it will be able to exploit ‘fallen’ beneficiaries for continued in the form of free labor, continued slavery!
Employees and beneficiaries (after 13 weeks in the program) are mandated to attend AA/NA meetings, which may be unconstitutional and illegal due the religious nature of those meetings.
Also, it is mandatory that everyone must attend chapel services every Sunday…men and women alike…in the church/chapel at the Detroit-Fort street facility (unless they are in work therapy). Also, on Wednesday evenings, beneficiaries must attend a chapel/bible study service. We are being forced, against our will, to attend church services that most would not attend otherwise. That is a clear violation of our Constitutional rights!
You do not need a church to worship your higher power. I worship my higher power every day. I believe…as I look around at this wonderful universe I am part of, that this all did not get here by chance. But why is the Salvation Army permitted to tell me who my GOD should be?
Beneficiaries are also required to attend various ‘classes’ throughout the week such as: Living Sober, Relapse Prevention, Anger Management, Domestic Violence, Bible Studies and various others. These ‘classes’ are thinly-veiled brainwashing sessions. They are run by facilitators, not teachers, because they are not certified as teachers in the state of Michigan. Somehow, regardless of the supposed focus of the class, the facilitators relentlessly direct all thought back to the Salvation Army’s religious point of view.
A number of the facilitators also double as ‘counselors’. Beneficiaries are required to schedule counseling sessions around their work and class times. The focus of the counseling sessions is also mainly religious in nature. Beneficiaries are assigned journals for each level. Each level is measured by completion of specific goals and objectives mostly religious in nature. Advancement to the next level depends on completion of all requirements of the beneficiary’s current level. Beneficiaries are required to complete the journals – by giving answers to questions that are acceptable by the counselors – to be permitted completion of the program. Beneficiaries are told the interactive journals are the framework of the program. The counselors tell beneficiaries that the journals will provide organization & structure to the program and help beneficiaries stay focused on important issues of their life and develop a personal plan for success. The journals are part of the brainwashing process.
A number of facilitators/counselors are also in the church choir and are paid $200 per performance, along with whatever they get paid for their other duties.
In classes, the most facilitators show movies containing profanity, drug and alcohol use, violence and nudity and don’t put any real effort into actually teaching. For example, one facilitator had a class view the movie “Flight” with Denzel Washington. The opening sequence contained full-frontal nudity and alcohol and drug use. It is outrageous that this was shown to a group of guys in recovery. And in a facility where pornography is prohibited!
And, keep in mind, a majority of the facilitators/counselors are recovering addicts and have been through the program.
The inmates run the asylum in Detroit. Everyone in control of anything is someone who has been through the program (sometimes several times), a recovering drug addict, a recovering alcoholic, a convicted felon, a child molester, or some other type of reprobate…and it appears they make up the rules as they go along. Many are the biggest thieves and liars in the place! They run the place like a prison slave labor camp. They confiscate beneficiaries’ items, at will, and keep the items for their own use. They allow thefts from the warehouses, only to do “dorm raids” so they may confiscate the goods for their own use! They are also the first to steal as soon as any worthwhile shipments come to the Detroit, Pontiac and Romulus warehouses. (Just look at their shoes, clothes they wear, electronic devices they have and various & sundry items…everything has been ‘appropriated’!) Yet, they act as if they are above the laws of society, because they are running their own kind of society! They believe they don’t have to live by the laws the rest of society must.
At the thrift stores the managers, assistant managers and paid employees are the ones who have ‘first pick’ of any valuable merchandise that is received from donors, and they take unabashed advantage of their positions. Each store has its own ‘production line’ to receive merchandise at the donation area, a number of sorters, people who price and tag goods and the people who place the goods in the store showroom. When clothing is sorted and placed in the showroom, it is never washed. So, when you buy articles of clothing at a Salvation Army thrift store you are getting clothing that some paid employee has determined to be clean enough to sell. In some cases, this practice could be a health issue. Clothing that is deemed to be unsellable is relegated to ‘rag out’ bins and sent off to the various warehouses to baled into 1400 pound bundles that are sold overseas for $500 each. Semi truckloads of these bales are continuously sent out all week long. The same goes for rag out linen and blankets.
The pricing in the stores is based on the Salvation Army’s value chart and the prices still end up being near prices you would find at any other retail stores such as: Wal-Mart, Target, Macy’s and many others that sell brand new items.
The working conditions in the back of the stores are run like sweat shops. The production quotas are set at unbelievable demands. If the quotas are met…they are raised. Many times beneficiaries are working on the lines and are threatened with possible discharge if they do not perform up to expectations, or to the demands of the paid (civilian) management types. The people who are under pressure (paid management employees) from their higher ups, for quota numbers, pass their frustration on to the people working the line. And, again, the beneficiaries are the ones who bear the brunt of any retribution. They always face being penalized, up to discharge, because of some employee’s blunder. How in the world does it benefit a beneficiary, who may be truly trying to put their life back together, to continually face the possibility of being put back on the streets…and in most cases, actually being put back on the streets, because of some marginally employable person’s mistakes or incompetency?
Many of the stores are also mini-warehouse facilities…which provides the Salvation Army with even more cubic feet of storage for merchandise that is donated TAX FREE from the unsuspecting public, sorted out, picked through and then sold back to the public (If it is not stolen first, or sent to the trash compactor!).
The Salvation Army gets ‘sweetheart’ deals on the leases for the buildings where the stores are located and whoever leases the stores to this organization reaps a big tax break! The administrator of the S.E. MI A.R.C. was given a store located in Rochester and reaps all the profits!
The three main warehouse facilities (and many other ‘hidden’ warehouse facilities in this area) affords the Salvation Army approximately over 500 thousand square feet of storage for merchandise donated freely by the unsuspecting public. In the more than 500 thousand square feet of warehouse storage, it must be kept in mind that the storage bins used (4’x4’x4’sized - and sometimes larger - cardboard boxes commonly called ‘gaylords’) are stacked, most times, three units high (up to approximately 16’), affords the Salvation Army the storage of more than a billion dollars of tax free, donated surplus merchandise in 8 MILLION CUBIC FEET OF SPACE! This is not a poor, or suffering charity operation! They put more, perfectly good, merchandise into their compactors, as trash, than they ever present to the public for sale. Apparently this organization gets paid more for landfill trash than it would make by selling to the public living on limited means. This is for the southeastern Michigan operations alone!
The conditions in the warehouses are deplorable! They are dirty, dusty, poorly lit, poorly ventilated and, many times, in many ways, unsafe. The beneficiaries perform all the manual labor while the employees stand around and bark out orders, stay in the offices, drive forklifts or stand around doing nothing besides digging through merchandise in gaylords looking for something to steal. If a beneficiary is even caught taking something out of the trash they are subject to punishment up to discharge. The employees treat the beneficiaries like second-class citizens, or like their personal slaves.
An enormous amount of perfectly good donated merchandise never reaches the stores, but is sent as trash to the compactors at the warehouse facilities and several stores. This includes clothing, furniture, toys, games, paintings, radios, stereos, compact discs, books, other household items and numerous other, perfectly usable items which are sent to the compactors because the warehouses and stores are overstocked!
Many types of items that are harmful to the environment are put into the compactors. For example: batteries of all types from hearing aid and watch batteries, AAA, AA, C-cell, D-cell and up to car batteries, paint, solvents, fluorescent lighting, televisions and numerous other items that contain lead, mercury and other harmful chemicals that end up in landfills and will eventually find its way into groundwater.
All metal items are sifted out by beneficiaries from the trash and loaded on trucks as ‘scrap’. Items such as bicycles, steel appliances, table utensils, metal patio furniture and just about anything that contains a portion of metal is sold as scrap to the tune of about $7000 per truckload. Most of the items are in very good, if not perfect shape! Working televisions and other appliances have the A/C cords cut off so the copper wire can be sold as scrap and then those televisions and appliances are sent to the compactor.
Even cardboard is bundled into bales and sold for recycling. Not a scrap of anything of any value is wasted. The Salvation Army makes money on every phase of its operations!
And, this is a Christian organization? This is clearly a money making organization. Production numbers, and profits to be made, are clearly put before any beneficiary’s recovery. Money before helping your fellow man is the message here. And by claiming to be a ‘charity’ all its financials should be public record.
This is the worlds most profitable non-profit, yet this organization has the nerve to continue to put out propaganda such as the following:
Donors, unite: The Salvation Army reaches out for help in its Detroit-area thrift stores
Posted on February 8, 2013 by Karen Dybis

Macklemore has it right: You can find some kicking threads at the neighborhood thrift store.
Now, I’m not going to credit a white rapper with the recent run on merchandise at Metro Detroit’s Salvation Army stores. But something – namely, the economy and people’s perceptions of value – has made thrift-store shopping a hot ticket.
Granted, most teens eventually find their way to the thrift shop. Like Macklemore, we’re all looking for a good price and individual style. But here’s the point of this blog post (don’t you wish they all had one?). It is good to give and to receive.
The Salvation Army wants everyone to know they’re welcome to shop at its retail stores. You are indeed welcome to other party. But we’ve collectively need to step up, get those bags of clothing and brick-a-brac out of the basement and into its warehouses. The Army needs you, soldier.
The need for donations is becoming critical, said Jacqulynn Idzior, director of operations at The Salvation Army Southeast Michigan Adult Rehabilitation Center. These ARC thrift stores and warehouses are echoing with empty shelves and not enough coming in to stock them. Chances are if you drop off some bags this morning, you’ll see the items on the floor by the afternoon.
“People are being more economically conscious about what they’re purchasing. It makes sense to shop at thrift stores; some of our merchandise is nearly new and there’s plenty with tags still on them. Why spend $25 for a new shirt when you can spend $5?” Idzior said.
So between Macklemore and the Fiscal Cliff, things have been hopping around her offices.
“There was a lot of nervousness as far as spending surrounding the election; our sales continued to be very good following that point,” Idzior added.
The overall number of people donating has decreased in recent weeks, an alarming trend for The Salvation Army here. And the amount of donations needed has continued to climb. The continually increasing demand and lack of supply, if you remember your Economics 101, equals a problem that needs a human solution.
“We need everything. The clothing accounts for 60 percent of our sales, so we’re looking for wearables – shirts, pants, skirts, shoes, accessories, belts. And we love our brick-a-brac – candles, dishes, bake ware. We need that desperately.”
Sales trends are showing that 2013 will be another big year for the 33 area Salvation Army stores. During its New Year’s Day Sale, the chain reported sales increase of 2.5 percent over the previous year.
Prior to the New Year, the ARC put a call out for year-end donations, resulting in a lower response than usual from the community. The ARC reported a 20 percent drop in donors in the last two weeks of 2012, yet actual donations surged to 40 tons more merchandise than in 2011.
“While it may sound like a lot of product, it’s really only enough to get us through one day of sales across our metro Detroit thrift stores,” said Idzior. “The need for donations remains prominent in our stores and warehouses.”
Every donation results in funding for The Salvation Army’s ARC programs. These rehabilitation facilities are independently funded, 180-day residential rehabilitation program for adults.
The ARC is a key part of TSA’s mission, and offers substance-abusing adults the opportunity to rebuild their lives through a voluntary, short-term residential self-help program. Through these programs, people ideally earn the dignity, self-esteem and personal strength that will allow them to resist the desire to abuse a substance and regain their rightful place as contributing members of society.
Last year the ARC provided essential services including 343,632 meals, 98,208 nights lodging, 78,238 counseling sessions, 43,806 worship/Christian education sessions and served 1,919 individuals in residence. All free of charge.
“These donations fund our rehabilitation program. The facility in Detroit serves 300 men. The facility in Romulus holds 80 women. They’re going through issues in their life, dealing with substance abuse and different addictions. We help them get their life in order, be productive.
And you’ll have two new spots to shop soon. The Salvation Army is adding its newest thrift store March 9 in Taylor. The store is located at 9830 Telegraph Rd. in front of the Oakwood Heritage Hospital. And to give some time to our friends over at Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, it recently announced it will open its first retail store in Oakland County this year.
The Commerce location is scheduled to open in June. The new 15,000 square foot store, located at the corner of Haggerty and Crumb roads, north of Maple Road, is now under construction. It will be the third Goodwill store in Metro Detroit, following successful operations in Canton and Dearborn, and the first to be located in newly constructed retail space.
Donations of gently used clothing, linen, household appliances, furniture, toys, shoes, purses and house wares are accepted at all Salvation Army thrift store donation centers. Donation centers are open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For specific hours of your local Salvation Army thrift store, visit www.salarmythrift.com.
This blog article is just one example of how the Salvation Army dupes the press and the public. The Salvation Army does not lack merchandise.
Many of the older thrift stores have a run down, ragged look. Cement floors and out-dated, industrial type lighting. They have filthy restrooms with no hand towels or toilet paper. Many have mismatched display cases and poorly fabricated shelving and racks along with disorganized displays. It is an image that is cultivated by the Salvation Army which encourages the public perception that it is a poor organization! The newer stores (Taylor, Chesterfield and Monroe/Frenchtown, for example) get outfitted with brand new everything! New floors, new ceilings, new display cases, new racks and shelving and with the ‘best of the best’ merchandise! And all that fine merchandise is priced at retail prices. The newer stores do all right, initially, because of the curiosity of the local residents and because those areas are limited in the number of retail outlets available to their community. Eventually they will be allowed to take on that typical, run down look of the other thrift stores.
Racism runs rampant in the Detroit facility. The “N” word is pervasive throughout the facility, the stores and the warehouses. I sent a letter to the administrator, Merle Miller, expressing that many were offended by the use of that word in all its permutations. He mentioned the issue briefly during a chapel service and a memo was issued prohibiting the use of that word. The policy is never enforced. All profanity is supposedly prohibited. That policy is never enforced. The directors, managers, housemen and most everyone in control don’t hesitate to use profanity or racial slurs toward beneficiaries and employees. A number of housemen, department managers and warehouse supervisors are black and they don’t hesitate to discriminate against white and other non-black beneficiaries.
Pornography is prohibited, yet facilitators show videos containing nudity, violence and drug and alcohol use freely. Again, this contributes to the recidivism and relapse of people truly looking for a recovery plan.
Drug use and drug dealing is widespread throughout the facility. A houseman was fired and thrown out for buying prescription drugs from a beneficiary. He was caught because someone ‘snitched’ on him. (The housemen are the overseers of the facility – the equivalent of correctional officers in a prison or jail.)
Housemen are required to reside at the facility and are not required to pay rent.
Recently a member of the choir tested positive for drug use and was kicked off the choir and forced to start the program over. He is married and lived in private residence but he was forced to start the program over, move back into and live in a dorm room. One can only wonder what the Salvation Army had on him to make him go back into the program and reside in a dorm room.
I doubt that any of the department managers, directors, supervisors or housemen is subjected to drug or breathalyzer tests.
There was a recent incident where a beneficiary was having heroin delivered to him while he was working collecting donations at the thrift store owned by the A.R.C. administrator. Another incident involved five out six beneficiaries in one dorm room being thrown out for heroin use. These types of incidents in the facility are numerous and continuous.
There was an incident in 2012 where a gay beneficiary was gang raped in a vacant dorm room and was taken, bleeding rectally, to the hospital and was never to be seen again! There was no police involvement and no news coverage of the incident. The rapists suffered no repercussions because there was no effort put toward determining who they were. It seems like an obvious cover-up by the Salvation Army. It could be part of the homophobic stance this organization has and the actions it takes in regards to lobbying against LGBT groups and its related efforts to circumvent the rights of people…even though in the Detroit area operations there are a number of gays in leadership or administrative positions.
I was not in the facility at the time of the incident, but I was told of the details by the person who had to dispose of the bloody mattress.
Now, you should understand that since the Salvation Army claims to be a Christian organization, it would take a stance against gays and quote Biblical scripture. But to actively lobby against anyone’s civil rights is outrageous! It is unbelievable that this organization could strong-arm the city of New York by threatening to ‘close up shop’ and leave all those homeless and hopeless addicts and alcoholics with no where to turn to for help and with no shelter or food! It just goes to show that the entire organization believes it has the power to force anyone to accept its political agenda. This is an issue that is all over the internet and is obviously of concern for many people. You can see it for yourself if you Google (or use any search engine you wish) “Salvation Army anti gay”.
Issues related to the Salvation Army in Southeast Michigan are so numerous and complex it is very difficult to explain and very hard to get people to believe that terrible things happen at the adult rehabilitation centers. This organization has woven itself into the fabric of society in a way that is almost inextricable. The general public believes that this organization ‘does the most good’. It enslaves people who are seeking a solution to their addiction and other shortcomings in life. It is an organization that preys on the public’s good intentions. It is hard to explain what is experienced when one is going through the program. People say, “Oh, you guys are doing such a wonderful job to help people!” or “The Salvation Army helps so many people, I’m happy to give”. This is the public perception that this organization has successfully cultivated over the years. This is an organization that only does what results in a profit for the organization. Beneficiaries suffer a real conflict of morality when they forced to portray that the Salvation Army is doing the most good for the public. This organization is only doing whatever is necessary to generate profits.
Some people do benefit from the program, though. Court-ordered people can get their sentence/probation/parole reduced by up to two years for completing a six month program. But, many say that is the only reason they are there. Many are just going through the motions, “fake it to make it”, and they say once they complete the program they will just go back to their old ways which include drugs, crime etc.
Some men are so ‘institutionalized’, because all they have known for many years is dealing with the court system and being in jail or prison. It is the only way of life they have known for many years and the Salvation Army, to them, is better than jail. Some act as if they are still in jail. Some cannot deal with life in the ‘outside world’. The housemen and others who run things at the “Sally” pick up on these attitudes; and they take advantage. They know the court-ordered people have the most freedom to lose. These are the people the Salvation Army prefers for beneficiaries. The organization makes more money from court-ordered beneficiaries.
Some go into the program believing the temporary isolation from the outside world and their old ways of life would be beneficial to their recovery. Nobody goes into the program expecting to be brainwashed and used as a slave.
Some people actually do beat their addictions and go on to live normal lives. There are those who make the program work for them and get their recovery going in a positive direction and actually continue in their recovery. But that is because they really want to recover. And they understand that their recovery will continue for the rest of their lives. Many have never worked or held a job. They have never made their bed, they have never done their own laundry, and they have never done the things that most have taken for granted. For some this program gives order, discipline and a daily routine to live by. But, at what cost? Only to support a corrupt organization that has duped the public into believing it is helping humanity by utilizing indentured servitude.
This organization grosses nearly one-billion dollars a year, in southeastern Michigan alone. It claims (according to its website) that it makes about 98 million dollars a year with operating costs taking about 88 million dollars per year. It makes much more and retains about a billion dollars in surplus merchandise. The Salvation Army doesn’t pay for any food or housing for beneficiaries, the beneficiaries pay for their own room and board! And, they still have to work for free…in indentured servitude.
Anyone in the ‘army’ with a rank of ‘captain’ or above gets free everything, all expenses paid…their home, cars, utility bills and everything else, plus they are paid hefty salaries. Their housing is far from ‘meager’! The administrators (Merle and Cheryl Miller) were even given their own store (Rochester)! The whole operation does not pay rent for its A.R.C. facilities, does not pay for electricity, gas or water service, gets enormous tax breaks for leased property, has obtained all of its delivery trucks in the form of donations, gets free labor in the form of slavery, gets tax free donated merchandise to sell at almost retail prices, is paid for all the landfill trash, all baled clothing and linen, all the baled cardboard for recycling, and scrap metal, all under the guise of a non-profit charity/church. And this organization does not provide any outside services such as temporary shelters, food or soup kitchens, food trucks for street people, or anything that does not profit the Salvation Army.
The administrators of the southeastern Michigan program (Merle and Cheryl Miller) can only hold the rank of ‘administrators’ because of Mr. Miller’s ‘scandalous’ divorce. He will never be permitted to achieve a military rank in the ‘Army’. But, he is such a great huckster who brings in the dollars for the organization that the organization does not want to let him go.
The Salvation Army also controls several short-term detoxification centers (Harbor Light) which it claims it does not run (on its website), but everything from stationary to signs on and outside the buildings are emblazoned with the Salvation Army emblem. Treatments in these centers are paid for by the South East Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA) if the recovering addict qualifies. And, these centers do not cost the Salvation Army anything.
Things appear really out of control at the Southeast Michigan Adult Rehabilitation Center and something needs to be done!
You may read more negative reports on:
Inferno - http://www.viren.ca/blog/why-the-salvation-army-sucks/,
www.fractallywrong.com, http://www.consumeraffairs.com
Facebook.com/slavenation army
And there is more information on many others websites. Copy and past in your web browser or just 'Google' "negative reports about the Salvation Army” and see what you find!
Do not donate to these scam artists! Fight human trafficking! Beneficiaries work in a state of indentured servitude! Stand up for civil rights!


Anger....the mo...

I was a beneficiary at the Orlando ARC. I now work at the ARC and my life has never been better. I found Christ and am now a productive person. EBT card? Did you not eat three meals a day? As I read between the lines, you chose not to follow the rules, most likely you were a constant negative, angry beneficiary. You still need help and your attacking the very people who tried to help you...sounds like your an entitlement type person. Come to Orlando, we can help you.


And I'm a gimme a cotton pickin' break kind of person. Anyone who even MENTIONS that someone ELSE is an entitlement type is the entitlement type.
Giant corporations are costing taxpayers literally billions of freakin dollars and all YOU people care about is someone that costs a few hundred.
Gimme a break, shut up and go away.


I am not familiar with the beneficiary employment side of the Salvation Army but was employee regular employee there. It was possibly the worst place of employment I had ever seen. The district managers instilled fear with every visit. Negative reinforcements were a mainstay with absolutely no positive feedback or recognition whatsoever. The employees are treated horribly. Write ups are a common occurrence regardless of seusness in nature. Firings occurred daily with no thought to the effect of family. I never saw anyone advamce. Only demotions. They transferred staff without notice and with no explanation. They Constantly belittled staff and used fear as a tactic all while spouting that they want to "set you up to win". If the general public knew how badly the Detroit based Salvation Army treated their employees, they would be outraged and not shop or donate there. The change has to start at the top. Those running the thrift stores at the business office and the District Manager's Have To go!


I am currently being "investigated" by my supervisor at a Salvation Army arc (I am a grad student intern, and have been "working" there for over 1 year). The supervisor has claimed that "allegations" have been made against me, but refuses to disclose to me, or my university what these alleged "allegations" are. The program secretary as well as the intake coordinator have confirmed that my supervisor has been on a mission to get me out of there since the men's assistant resident manager began a campaign to get me fired because he felt that I was doing his job. Also, I am disabled and a women. Several woman, especially women of color have been forced out and discriminated against in less than one year. My university is threatening that I will lose the nearly 8000.00 I paid for internship and case consult, as well as my hours and credits, should the Salvation Army arc in Seattle choose to fire me. Even though they have provided absolutely no proof of any allegation. In addition, I have had nothing but positive feedback from said supervisor. But the supervisor has gone around to my clients, and other employees asking about my scars and the nature of my "medical conditions" and "disability" without ever asking me anything. If anyone can help, please contact me.

Ken Brancheau

That article is completely true. EVERYTHING in it. The admins of that place , the Millers , are as corrupt as any mafia figure. Christ will not be kind to them.

Steve's Junk

To "Anonymous"
You certainly don't sound like someone to sue every person who insults your intelligence, HOWEVER you should
sue the Salvation Army!
You are a Disabled Adult! So if you are not already in contact with the ADA
then you should first start by signing up with DOR Department of Rahibilitation, all of us who are Disabled
are backed by the same list of ADA attornies, which is one of the (if not the) most powerful Attornies in the
United States!
What little power you think you have, is just a grain of the UNSTOPPABLE POWER you definetly have, so stop
feeling so uncertain and take action!
You are more than likely going to continue letting people tell you what to do and when to do it, so break the
cycle by stopping that Supervisor dead in their tracks, and I don't mean telling the Supervisor what you are

going to do, NO! Just do it then let someone else higher up speek on your behalf to your Supervisor.......
oh and you should definetly have your Attorney's name on the contact information, so once you have an attorney
just set up an appointment with the Supervisor to "update" your PPI records and add the attorney's contact
information in the Emergency Contacts, that way your Supervisor is given a choice to stop harassing you and
start harassing an Attorney. Good luck and God Bless all those with Disabilities going through "it".
With Kind Regards,
Steve's Junk


I entered the ARC Seattle in 2005-2006. By the grace of God I survived that experience ,and went on to make a better life for myself. I saw the writing on the wall early on, and escaped to a Pioneer Square homeless shelter five months later ,where I could work day labor jobs and keep my money. (I also kept my food stamp card and 20 bucks hidden in my shoe during my time at ARC). From there I worked, became deeply involved in AA, and moved into n Oxford House. Where I became a self supporting, sober, and helpful member of the community.
When I first arrived at the ARC the Couple running the place (Mag. & Capt wife) had two things going on a Private high end antique store in capital hill. Free product free labor, trucks distribution. Dumping the cream of the crop into there own personal bank accounts, they had a completely insane individual running the factory (Distribution Center) , who was aiding the management in labor acquisition and cooking the Books . When I first arrived I was told not to make eye contact with her, and to act as if she was a master and I was a dumb slave, because all it took was one look, and you your kicked out the next day without warning or reason. For a lot of people that meant dumped on the street with nothing. On Pioneer Square that meant Drugs and Death.
Eventually this came to be too much for even the S.A. to stand, and this couple was mysterious replaced over night, without any explanation. Although in typical SA style, recruits (volunteers) were needed to move the new Majors into there housing.
I worked my way up into high positions of responsibility at the ARC, before my exit, and can tell you this for a fact. There are only two goals with the residents. One, is to bring them into the SA organization as a working member of the SA army. Second, is to use them as free labor until they become not useful, or problematic to any staff member (the ultimate authority right or wrong)
I don't what this to be a sour grapes column, because it was pretty clear to me, what was going on from the get go, I choose to stay in their system , until I could find an opportunity to free myself from the streets of Seattle. I made that choice.

But a rehab for Men or Women, a Christian organization for addictions, a place concerned with helping others. Nope, I spent 5 months working for the Pharaoh' s and Egyptians to construct Pyramids and monuments to honor a very bad religion, which has nothing to do with Christianity.

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