The right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness can become a reality through one’s aspirations. The aspirations to lead a life that is productive, inspirational, networked and reliable run through all humans. With existing structures such as governments, intact social services, a vibrant productive society, judicial services and civil society it has been possible to involve many people. The people are the beneficiaries and active participants in taking responsibility to their lives. Promise of existing enjoyment in the present and now has been a hall-mark of belief in systems by many people all over the world. However, wars, bad-governments, poor skills, displacements, human trafficking, isolationistic acts, dependence, poverty, economic imbalances, brutality, intolerance and exploitation have ruined this promise. The internet has been used to compound situations of desolation! There is an internet based soliciting ranging from: supporting rich elderly females (why females?); to helping the rich bedridden who can no longer access their large sums of money to; joining multi-level marketing that promises quick money from work-at-home schemes! These work at home schemes and credit extension facilities via internet seem to be the same cartel. Other traffickers pose as ‘do-good’ philanthropists. There is what is called ‘the Nigerian scams’ or solicitors who claim to have very rich cousins, uncles, aunties, mothers or fathers with accounts in Swiss Banks. These, they claim, also happen to have been tortured or killed by despotic governments (always on the other side that is killed and therefore needs mercy-acts). The solicitors present a remedial plan that if the solicited can ‘allow to stand in as signatories, provide their own bank account details and also just come up with $ 500-1500,’ the solicitor will then be able to process everything in about two days. Many have sent money over internet or remittance facilities to support a process that would open up these funds locked up in Swiss banks vaults! This same number has faced disappointment on discovering previously functioning phones suddenly go off, websites or e-mails are no longer active and the money sent can no longer be retrieved. The solicitors disappear in thin air. The persistent ones, call back to say they never received the funds! ‘Could you send more? But this time be very careful. Also send as fast as possible the deadline to retrieve the money is due!’ These schemes started around 2001; they are still used to lure many more unsuspecting internet users. The victimization that follows could involve many more people who may have pooled funds to send via remittance companies. The Nigerian scam industry based on anonymity, adept technological skills and use of good English are able to send junk unsolicited mail in one’s inbox. This starts the process. Illegal profits are raked in through this business! For the unsuspecting this promise is the stuff of the American dream. The other businesses that need mentioning are: drug trafficking and; human trafficking. They are the first and second in raking in illegal profits respectively. Human trafficking feeds; forced labour, sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude. 27 million people are trafficked worldwide annually and this brings in about $ 32 billion illegal profits.
Having said all that, there are forms of divides or barriers we tend to neglect yet impact on our lives profoundly. The inability to relate through literacy or numeracy in this day and age can be a big barrier and divide for immigrants. Immigrants from low developed countries who are new in the cities of the developed countries may be forced into isolation from fear. The fear to surmount the complexity of the processes from starting a computer to finding one’s way around a city may be daunting. These may in turn lead to lack of zeal and desire to find out life in a new country. Many settle back in a lifestyle that revolves around dependence and comfort of familiar grounds. This may lead them to think small and avoid anything that makes them rediscover their potential. A counsellor and social worker should look into this background as they try to guide an immigrant counsellee as they steer a development course for themselves.
Be careful as you pursue your American dream! Fools’ gold comes in many disguises!