It’s pretty cool when research for a writing job overlaps with research for my novel. However, this research is a horrifying subject. Human trafficking has gained popularity as an issue the last 5 years or so. A lot of this is because, in my opinion, we are more aware of it than ever, our empathy for people outside our borders is increasing, and we are realizing how inextricably tied we are to modern slavery. But it probably isn’t as regarded as it should be. We are much more aware of the threat terrorism poses to us than we are of the exploitation of humans as a perpetuating factor of it.
Most horrifying is realizing how Americans completely avoid education of modern slavery. And in some cases, they demonize the very changes that would save lives and alleviate pain and terror.
When you consider your political motivations, I encourage you to look past how they effect your own comfort and rights. Human trafficking is effected by hot issues such as immigration, refugee care, crime, labor, minimum wage, free trade, consumerism, import/export, natural resources, war, education, health care, fashion, hospitality, commercial taxing. In fact, in some cases, the laws we vote in are reinforcing the power to enslave and exploit people. Our government can either support and worsen modern slavery and sexual exploitation of men, women, and children, or it can help combat it. But no doubt it will be a cost to you.
The rights and privileges we hold so dear are trampling over the rights of a 5-year-old girl, sold as a domestic slave and is consistently neglected and raped.
The hard-working American dream is built on the work of a man who was deceived into forced labor for little to no pay, died from unsafe working conditions, and whose debt was transferred to his family, who then enter into the same perpetual trap.
Immigration reform doesn’t just deny rights to education, medicine and a somewhat better life. Some reform literally and legally supports the systems that trap an 11 year old girl, forced to wear makeup and take body modifying drugs, to satisfy the lusts of men who will likely impregnate her and give her deadly disease.
Your Black Friday and related Christmas consumerism is based on labor dealers profiting from the desperation of companies to produce more and faster as they falsely promise good jobs, create illegal and impossible debt, and put laborers in secluded camps in terrible living conditions, forced to purchase from the company store with ridiculous prices, and in danger of rape, violence and death.
The military we think we need to take out is composed of young boys sold into slavery as soldiers.
When we think about rights and justice and security, we need to look toward those who are truly persecuted, exploited, endangered. We need to look past ourselves, past our borders and also within our borders. We need to see there is more than what the media is telling us. ALL MEDIA. We need to open our ears and hearts to the horrors of this world. We need to move past being just Americans, and see ourselves as human beings.
We need to not support the enemy and partake in their horrors.
Resource allocation and preservation law and practices isn’t just about environmentalism.
Immigration reform isn’t just about protecting our safety and jobs.
Minimum wage reform isn’t just about paying people just as much for simple work as difficult and high education work.
Buying coffee isn’t just about religious ornamentation.
Entitlement isn’t just a Millennial generation thing, it’s a First World Problem.
I’m so overwhelmed with my social footprint that I feel hopeless. But I have a few ways I can look at my life and make changes. They sound hippie, crunchy. They sound like propaganda, But they are directly related to the lives and safety of people:
- Thorough education of issues. Not just what I am handed.(For a great display of data and stories, I recommend reading The US Department of State’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.)
- Reduce spending, consumption, waste, collecting things, desiring artificial beauty.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose, rebuy.
- Purchasing local and fair trade food, textiles, whole products where possible.
- Wear layers or endure the cold.
- See people, not policies.
- Vote responsibly.
- Speak up. (Not only am I posting this on my blog and sharing it with my social media circles, I am also incorporating it into a novel I am writing.)
- Support the cause. (I have recently been introduced to Rapha House who works with children in human trafficking.
This seems like so little to come up against such a monster. I hope you’ll join me in the fight. Please feel free to recommend specific action I can do right now.