Caring for the 30 Million

Link to Abolition International

There are an estimated 30 million slaves in the world today – more than at any other point in history. Generally speaking, there are two types of slaves in the world today: sex slaves and slaves in forced labor. The common misconception I am consistently hearing is that slavery is “just a third world problem”. First off, even if it did only exist in the poorest places on earth, it would not be less detestable. However, it is a problem everywhere, in every country, in every city. From the middle class American teenager to the child living on the streets in Calcutta, slavery influences every culture and every class. Like every other form of abuse, it is not picky about ethnicity, geography, economy, age, or gender.

I first encountered the world of human trafficking (aka modern day slavery) when I was in college. I was appalled first, that I had made it 20 years into life without a clue of how enormous the human trafficking crime circuit is worldwide and second, that it was rarely being publicly addressed. How could there be 30 million people (est. 800,000 trafficked across borders each year) that the world doesn’t remember?

Link to The Future Group (Canada)

That was a serious turning point in my life: it wasn’t long before I was convinced that God had called me to be an abolitionist. The stories I’ve heard and read, the people I’ve met, and the statistics I’ve researched have led to much prayer and a passion to raise awareness. I will never forget one of the first stories I heard: she was a young teenager who had been chained to a wall in a brothel and consistently raped for six months. I did not sleep that night.

Link to United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre

What does slavery look like in the world? Sometimes it’s a girl living in a room about the size of an average middle class bathroom, filled with bunk beds. It doesn’t take too much imagination to know what her job is: she “services” clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 10 men at a time. Sometimes it’s an isolated place where thousands of small children are kept for easy-access for pedophiles

Sometimes it’s “baby factories”, where women are forced to become pregnant as often as possible so that the newborns can be sold, either on the black market or into the sex industry. Sometimes it’s a group of shoeless little boys running through the underbrush of a huge plantation, carrying machetes and collecting cocoa beans. Sometimes it’s an entire family forced to dig for diamonds or coal. Sometimes it’s a popular nail salon with a backroom brothel.

Link to Not For Sale Campaign

It can look like a 10 year old boy carrying a semi-automatic weapon through the jungle. Or an 8 year old chained to a tree when she isn’t needed for housework.

Link to Hagar International (United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand)

Sometimes it’s a group of women in a sweaty hut, sewing the pretty underthings that you’re wearing now (and I’m just as guilty so no finger pointing there). Sometimes it’s a child making bricks or carrying concrete slabs on his head for a building project. Sometimes it’s a woman living in a luxury highrise, held there as a “maid” against her will, unable to speak the language, abused by her masters. Sometimes it’s a woman, thousands of miles from her home, being auctioned off to the highest bidder in the basement of a ritzy hotel.

And sometimes it looks like that girl you saw on the corner last night while you were riding the bus home from work late. She looked like a twenty-something woman but underneath the heavy makeup and revealing clothes is a 14 year old girl who hasn’t seen her family in two years because her pimp keeps her locked away in his third floor apartment.

Greater awareness leads to a stronger fight against injustice.

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5 thoughts on “Caring for the 30 Million

  1. Great article. I like how it brings awareness of the wide range of human trafficking such as an entire family forced to dig for diamonds.

    I wanted to let you know about a feature film we’re producing – Lessons from Violet. It will be the first romantic comedy about human trafficking. As the movie Life is Beautiful got us to laugh while revealing the reality of the holocaust we are aiming to do the same with the issue of human trafficking. The awards given to our screenplay seem to indicate that we’re headed in the right direction.

    Here’s an article about it from Yahoo News:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/morning-star-pictures-produce-first-160000252.html

    Let me know if you’d like more info about it or if you’d like to feature it on your blog. We’re in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to build a team around Lessons from Violet:

    http://www.LessonsFromViolet.com.

    I look forward to your thoughts!

    Best,

    Johnson Lo
    Morning Star Pictures

    1. First off, ‘Life is Beautiful’ is my all-time favorite movie. Phenomenal film.

      Absolutely intrigued by the idea behind this film. It seems such a paradox to blend comedy with trafficking but I can definitely appreciate the thoughtfulness and resourcefulness that is going into this project. Art in drama is such a fantastic way to raise awareness. (I often find myself using the film ‘Taken’ as a springboard for discussion with people who are new to the entire concept of sex trafficking.) I would love to hear updates about ‘Lessons from Violet ‘and would be honored to include it here on the blog.

      Thanks for reading!
      R

      1. Thank you so much for willing to support us! If you would like to set up an interview with Allen Wolf the writer/director of the film. Please let me know.

        Johnson

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