This deserves its own post

If you think slavery disappeared somewhere around the end of the 19th century, you’re misinformed. It just learned how to hide.

I spent several hours this weekend learning more about Not For Sale‘s campaign against global slavery from its founder, Dave Batstone, who was in Seoul for the weekend.

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.

Free2Work app info

First-hand story of a woman fighting sex trafficking


4 responses

  1. I doubly feel the same way about combating poverty and have been doing what I can to alleviate some of its detrimental effects upon unfortunate individuals. Within our ever-growing greedy world we live in, I sometimes feel hopeless and helpless too and it’s hard to ascertain how to “bail out a sinking ship with a spoon” and “plug the hole.” Rescuing people takes much time and sacrifice, but if enough genuine people are consistently doing so and growing in number, then those “spoons” will grow to such a high multitude that enough water can be expelled to where we can actually see the hole and the problems that are causing the ship to sink. Then, plugging the hole will consist of its own battles composed of those truly willing to stand in harms way.
    Stay pissed off and never throw in the towel, God is on our side.
    Great blog!

  2. Cool! Wow, Mother Teresa, she sacrificed so much to help those on the frontline of poverty. Mother Teresa is actually a great example…. For so many years, she worked so very hard to shed light on issues of poverty and a variety of other issues, and if there were only thousands more like her doing the same thing in that same capacity… Well, maybe they are, but they seem to be hidden from view perhaps out of safety precaution or perhaps we are all, including myself, not looking hard enough or perhaps we are just distracted by the “world.” So many facets come into play, but bluntly speaking, they are all excuses. Okay, wow, your blog just motivated me a little more. Thanks! :o)
    Hang in there! People that need assistance are right infront of our face, we just need to continually extend a hand and hold on tight until they are able to get back on their feet… if only we all can hold on tight enough and not let needy individuals slip through our fingers…it’s hard. Wow… sorry for my own blog here… poverty strikes a tender nerve in me.
    Great blog!

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