Saturday, January 10, 2009

National Human Trafficking & Modern Slavery Awareness Day Sucks

Apathetic.
Shocked.
Embarrassed.
Angered.
Heartbroken.


These are the emotions I went through, over time, as I’ve discovered over the last 5-6 years that human trafficking is a wider spread problem than I realized. I really liked hiding in my protective, Christian, hole-in-the-sand world. I had heard it was happening in “other” places, but what could I do? I thought, “it’s that countries problem.” Boy, was I wrong.

About 6 years ago, one of my youth pastors, who had done some missionary work in Nepal, had a woman from Nepal come and talk about the condition of human trafficking in that country. She told a story of how a family sold their daughter, because they needed the money. Thinking it was going to get her a better life, they then found out she was to be a prostitute. The woman who was from Nepal was talking about how they were trying to raise money so that these families could start cottage industries to be able to support themselves without having to go to these drastic steps.

My thought was, “Gee, I'm glad I don’t live there.” And “Gosh, that’s a good idea. I hope THEY can do it.” You see, I thought it was a problem THERE. Besides what could I do, I’m HERE.

In recent years and months, my eyes have been opened really wide. My worship pastor’s cousin, Justin Dillion, has made a hugely successful documentary that has brought a lot of attention to trafficking. It’s called Call and Response. (You can be apart of of this group by clicking This.
I have to admit, I have not seen the movie yet, but have seen the clips, read all the articles, and have since, done a lot of research. I am shocked at how it is happening HERE in the U.S.A. If you haven’t see the trailer for the film, you need to see it.

Fast forward the clock a couple of months. A friend of mine (one who has become a great friend-check out Greg's Blog) who I meet through Twitter came to Vancouver/Portland to lead a conference. As we sat in a coffee shop and talked about life, Church and social justice, we talked about this movie. He then made a comment I totally blew off. He said, “Brett, it’s happening in your city. If you don’t think so, you’re not looking.” 

I thought “Yea, right Greg, maybe in Dallas or even Portland, but Vancouver? Come on!” A couple of week later, I became very embarrassed when I read THIS in our local paper. It was happening HERE!

Later that week, I received a newspaper article from my mother-in-law in South Dakota. You know what the headlines were about? Human trafficking in South Dakota! WHAT? South Dakota? It’s supposed to be a part of the Bible belt–how could this be happening?

Now, I’m angry & heartbroken over THIS. This shouldn't be happening on "our watch." And by "our watch" I mean I don’t care if you are a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, Hindu, Buddhist or whatever. It’s not about a religion, it’s about a human condition.

In this day and age, we, as conscientious, aware people should rise against such things. There should not have to be a day that brings awareness to it. This day needs to be abolished, and the only way it can happen is by all of us uniting together, doing what each of us can, and abolishing human trafficking.

Here are some great resources to check out:

Dian Scimone: a modern abolitionist

The Somaly Mam Foundation

Facebook Groups You Can Join
Call and Response
End Sex Slave Trade and Human Trafficking
International Justice Mission
National Human Trafficking Awareness Day - January 11th
Stop Human Trafficking

Statistical Stuff
Human Trafficking
The State Government
Human Trafficking.Org
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Doug Nichols

Yes, it sucks that we have to have a day to make us aware of this problem. But we must do something. We can’t just think it’s happening everywhere but in the good ol’ U.S.A. We need to respond. Pray, give, write, do whatever you feel you can do to help abolish this travesty in our lifetime. Let us be the generation who wipes out slavery.

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