Friday, April 23, 2010

Beneath The Surface

I want to write about a topic which is very close to my heart. Human Trafficking. Or, as it is also called, modern day slavery.
I believe it's an issue God has called my to do something about. I'm not always sure what that looks like, but I'm willing to learn.
Also I want to make a difference now. Life is rarely a bunch of major events but the culmination of numerous smaller ones. One day we wake up and find ourselves in a place we don't recognize.

This post is meant to be educational. It will probably be a bit shocking if you're unfamiliar with the subject.

OK, so lets begin with some stats:

Today, millions of lives around the world are in the grip of injustice.
More children, women and men are held in slavery right now than over the course of the entire trans-Atlantic slave trade: Millions toil in bondage, their work and even their bodies the property of an owner.
Trafficking in humans generates profits in excess of 12 billion dollars a year for those who, by force and deception, sell human lives into slavery and sexual bondage. Nearly 2 million children are exploited in the commercial sex industry. The AIDS pandemic continues to rage, and the oppression of trafficking victims in the global sex trade contributes to the disease’s spread.

The total market value of illicit human trafficking is estimated to be in excess of $32 billion (U.N.)
Each year, more than 2 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade (UNICEF)
27 million men, women and children are held as slaves. (Kevin Bales,Disposable People)

Now for some stats I've seen but don't have a reference for
The selling of human flesh is the fastest growing illegal industry in the world. Now a slave only costs about 90 bucks. Accounting for inflation it would run you about 40 grand to buy a slave in the 1850's. Lower price, greater availability. It makes sense, from a purely objective amoral perspective. Humans are a renewable resource, unlike drugs or guns. You can only sell heroine once, but you can sell a 13 year old girl for sex thousands of times.
(OK maybe I do have some references).

Sick criminals see it as a good investment and act accordingly. Terrible things happen as a result. I've heard more horrible stories than I can remember. One of the most disturbing things about this problem is that it's going one in your Country, your state, your county and perhaps even your neighborhood.

If you live in NC, (which most of you do) then I'll bet you weren't aware your State (my State) is a center for human trafficking. In fact, we make the top five worst States in the nation for Slavery. No Joke.
If you happen to live Guildford County, you're in an area that's so bad, the police force has one office who solely handles Human Trafficking. That might not sound so bad. However, when you take in to consideration that North Carolina only has ONE other officer who works on Human Trafficking cases full time, it becomes frightening. So a grand total of TWO PEOPLE in the entire states' police force are addressing this full-time. Feeling warm and fuzzy yet? I didn't think so.

Who are the victims of this crime? The poor, vulnerable and unwanted people of the earth. Most of their stories follow a pattern. Either the child run away and is kidnapped or given up by family (wittingly or otherwise). Then they become caught in the cycle, held against their will.
What most people don't realize, is that slaves live all around us. The rich keep them as domestic servants, restaurants (particularly Asian and Hispanic) use them for labor. As for sex traffic, it's everywhere, not just in the red light district. I heard of a case locally, where girls were being sold in an average suburban neighborhood. The house had essentially been converted into a brothel. It was a development populated by your average middle class American families.
The truly terrible part? That house was one in a string of several, all in comparable neighborhoods, all brothels.

I think one of the hardest things for me, is handling my emotions toward the perpetrators of such heinous crimes.

I value my own fecal matter above the life of a man who would willingly sell a girl (some who are nine or younger) for sex. In all seriousness, I don't think it would be hard for me to kill someone so perverse. It would bring a sick kind of pleasure.
However, sanity and are still pretty well connected at this point so I don't think I'll blowing anyone's brains out. But the hate remains.

I struggle with the idea that God could (or would) forgive such a wretch. The Bible says I'm only better than the pimp because of Jesus Christ, without whom I'd be burning in hell. None of it has to do with my own merit. It's humbling and difficult to grasp.

I want to close on a lighter note, so here is a link to a very uplifting story about a girl who was rescued from slavery.

Also, Here are some links to great nonprofit organizations who help trafficking victims or raise awarness.

As always, Thanks for reading. I hope this has been educational.


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