In 2005, I walked into the conference room that my fellow coworkers would often use as a quiet place to eat lunch when it was not being used. As I was enjoying my packed lunch, my eye caught an article that was in a newspaper laying on the table. There was an 11 year old boy taking up nearly the entire top half of the page with big bold letters stating “Slavery Still Exists.” This was the first time I had heard about the multi-billion dollar industry in today’s world known as the human trafficking trade.
The article went on to tell of this little boy’s awe after his teacher explained that slavery no longer existed in the world during a social studies class. He raised his hand into the air to ask a follow up question to that statement. He asked if it was true -- if slavery really doesn’t exist anymore. The teacher was taken aback by this question. She had no idea that slavery was still happening in the world. It wasn’t in her text books or teaching materials, and the internet was not quite everyone’s bff yet. Her answer was vague enough but not confident to keep the little boy from moving away from the subject. He decided to do his own research to see if she was telling the truth. It turns out, she wasn’t, however unintentional it was. This young man, not even a teenager yet, uncovered the reality that slavery was not, in fact, extinct. No. It was even more prevalent than anyone could imagine it to be. I admit, I too, was shocked to discover this. I never believed it to be completely eradicated, but I never imagined it was a multi-billion dollar industry as it turns out to be.
Flash forward to 2013 and we are still only barely spreading the word about this epidemic. There is no one way to combat this issue. It’s multifaceted and layered with levels that require every single station and position in the world to find involvement. Even still, I am baffled at how many people think this is nothing but a third world issue. According to Love146.org 15,000 - 17,000 young women and children are being trafficked INTO the United States every year. That point of data makes me sick to my stomach. Young boys and girls all over the U.S. are being lured into the sex trade by methods mirroring the scene in Pinocchio where the young boys are enticed with candy and toys to a circus, turning them all into asses. Organizations like Not For Sale have uncovered that more than 30 Million people are enslaved today. Families, men, women, and children are forced into sexual exploitation, child soldiering, sweat shops, and all kinds of other horrific scenarios where they are disallowed basic human needs and treated as animals. They are beaten, mutilated, humiliated, and degraded until they are nearly unrecognizable -- many are murdered.
Here’s where I get a little more honest than giving a simple, “this disgusts me,” statement. I cannot fathom a world where my fellow countrymen are outraged at the torture tactics used to gather information from terrorists, but do nothing to look at the torture being imposed on innocent people who were sold for food, for clothing, or simply because they were unwanted into a world where they are mutilated, beaten, and forced to do things that not one of us would choose to do on our own. We have more outrage towards each other by discovering that we are not on the same political side than we do towards the more than 40 all nude clubs/bars that exist in Portland, OR because we have been led to believe that those girls are there by their own free will. Are you so sure of that? I am not. I have read too many articles in The Columbian & The Oregonian telling of yet another young girl who has been lured into a world where she is being trafficked to serve the sick fetishes of those who have no sense of morality, and no consideration for human life. This may sound harsh, but it is a harsh subject and it has gone on too long.
Not everyone needs to drop all that they are doing and join the front lines of this crusade, but there is so much that can be done to END SLAVERY! Whether we choose to turn a blind eye to it or not, it exists. God forbid it should be your son, daughter, brother, or sister who ends up in a real life tale of the movie Taken. I mean it, may God forbid it! Let us not look the other way anymore.
Here are some resources and some ways to look around and know that you can be a part, not matter how small it seems, in ending slavery!
Not For Sale
Don't be afraid to write your congressman and senators and let them know you won't stand for this happening in their districts anymore! Call them if you must, but they need to get in on this fight as much as law enforcement and independent organizations do!
Use hashtags on your twitter feeds and instagram feeds like #enditmovement #endslavery
Change your profile pics, blog, program 800 help lines in your phones...
LET'S END THIS NOW!
Until next time,
Take care of your hearts & ears!
Listen With Your Heart