If you think slavery disappeared somewhere around the end of the 19th century, you’re misinformed. It just learned how to hide.
It’s safe to say that nothing makes me angrier than this particular lack of justice.
And nothing makes me more ashamed.
My knowledge in this area has built ever-so-slowly over the years. It started when I escaped the bubble of my life to visit countries where sexual advertising often rivals that of Las Vegas, then continued: from working in domestic violence shelters in the U.S., to meeting Lisa Thompson of the Salvation Army’s Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking, to being brought to tears from the horrors enacted in the war-torn D. R. of the Congo, to reading the mountains of information on the internet, to researching Asian countries while searching for jobs and realizing the literal hub for trafficking contained in Thailand and throughout Asia.
Seriously, it’s everywhere.
All this feeds my shame. My shame comes from knowing so much for so long, and being so slow to act because I just don’t know how. Being a natural big-picture thinker makes it difficult to take a problem on a grand scale and turn into something you can tackle in your own backyard, but it shouldn’t function as an excuse.
Even more frustrating is that no matter how many people are out there rescuing victims–whether of sex slavery or forced-labor in factories and restaurants and the like–there’s always more to take their place.
As I struggle to find where exactly God wants me to fit into this–as I have been for several years now, because I have to fit into this, somehow; I can’t just ignore it; I can’t just walk away; I can’t continue inaction with anywhere near a clean conscience–I keep coming back to the idea that we have to fight this issue at its source.
The main cause is poverty. Poverty that drives people to the desperation of selling either themselves or their children into situations where the dangers are unknown until it’s too late.
Well, poverty and greed. The greed of these men and women who use people as unpaid labor to increase their financial bottom line.
A secondary cause–in terms of sex trafficking/slavery, as I see it–is how content men are to conduct their lives with such immense amounts of dishonor. Yes, women traffic other women as sex slaves–which makes me sick to my stomach. But majority-wise, there’s a reason why for the most part, women and children are the victims and men the users in the industry of sex tourism.
And it pisses me off. I think it’s best to stop there, for now, before it turns into an entirely nonconstructive rant.
It’s why I feel so helpless, because, with such a high demand to use and abuse bodies of women and children, rescuing victims feels a bit like bailing out a sinking boat with a spoon.
We have to plug the hole. We have to keep more victims from being created. While we bail, of course. Rescue is important. Oh man, don’t get me wrong. Obviously, we need to help who we can as much as we can.
But we can’t ignore what’s causing the sinking in the first place. Or we’re just fighting a losing battle.
And I’m just not good at losing.
Like I said, I’m trying to figure out my place in this. So we’ll see.
Meanwhile…if you’re the type of man who simply has to sleep with a prostitute to make your life worthwhile, can you at least please make sure she doesn’t have bars on the windows of her room? That’s not so hard, is it? Baby steps. (<<sarcasm)
For everyone else, just try to take off the auto-pilot in the day-to-day. Slavery is everywhere, from here in Korea to there in the United States to almost everywhere in between, and you don’t have to ignore it.
I’m still learning here, so I’m far from an expert on the subject. But my new favorite app on my new favorite toy is Free2Work–NFS’s bit to help people shop and consume responsibly, so you’re not unknowingly supporting a business that utilizes slaves. Ironically, I think Apple’s grade is in the C range. Of course, I bought it used, so that helps, right? I don’t know. Like I said, I’m still learning.
You should be, too.
And if you know things I don’t, please, do share. This is a fighting-together sort of thing.