Saturday, September 11, 2010

Slavery Is Not Dead

On Thursday, I attended an all day conference for social justice.

The day was filled with poignant speakers, who really brought several issues to light.

If you remember, I am a social worker. Much of my job is to advocate for the rights of the oppressed in this society, as well as help support them through healing.

Therefore, this conference was an excellent resource for me.

And because several issues discussed were extremely relevant to all of us, I realized that I could not keep this information to myself.

You do not need to be a social worker to act on behalf of victims.

I hope that right now you will not walk away from this post, but stay for a bit.

Take a journey with me into the lives of victims and allow yourself to be moved.

To be changed.

To spur yourself on to action….

The keynote speaker was named E. Benjamin Skinner, who is the author of the book A Crime So Monstrous: Face to Face With Modern Day Slavery. I’ve not read it yet, but after hearing him speak? I will be purchasing it.

Take a moment to imagine some the most atrocious times that have been documented in the history of the world.

Slavery should pop into your mind.

Mr. Skinner started out his speech today with this staggering fact: There are more slaves in the world today than there has ever been before (the percentage is lower in relation to the population, but the numbers are higher).

Wow. Thought slavery was dead? You were dead wrong.

He then goes on to explain some of his own encounters with human traffickers.

In Port-Au-Prince, he was offered a ten year old girl for a mere $50.

I know you know a ten year old.

Imagine her life being worth only $50 to someone.

Fifty dollars. A little girl with laughter, a personality, a heart that feels fear, a mind that has deep thoughts, who probably had dreams for her life. A human being.

Fifty dollars.

He then describes the life of thousands of street children, mostly boys, (some as young as 5) who were selling unprotected sex for a mere $1.75 just so they could eat for the day.

In another country, he describes young girls being brought into sexual slavery as prostitutes.

In one heart-breaking moment, he visited one of the places where the slaves are housed.

On the bottom floor of the building, the rooms are infested with the girls’ handlers. They remain there to protect their ‘merchandise’.

On the second floor is an illegal abortion clinic. Not only are these girls forced (by violence or mental manipulation) to remain in slavery, but are experiencing the heart wrenching physical and emotional aftereffects of an abortion.

On the third floor are the girls themselves. Some are expected to perform sex and sexual acts on at least 25 men a day.

When I picture this place, all I can imagine is a cloud of darkness covering it.

But then Mr. Skinner discusses America.

Yes, it may seem that slavery is worlds away.

It is not.

Several news articles were discussed wherein THOUSANDS of slaves were revealed to be

It is not an overseas problem.

It is not a third-world problem.

It is a humanity problem.

There are slaves in every country in the world, and we cannot walk away and ignore them.

I encourage you (and myself) to get involved.

Here are several organizations which are designed to reach out and abolish modern day slavery:

The oldest organization against slavery. It offers a lot of opportunities to get involved on their website.

This organization educates and advocates to end trafficking.
This organization houses ex-slaves in Washington DC, as well as works in Africa, Cambodia, and India to stop trafficking.

This organization focuses on ending slavery in Sudan and Mauritania.

This organization is based in Florida and working to prevent the use of slaves in farming practices.

These are all just ones that popped up as soon as I googled them. I know there are more out there.

I think we all need to work to do something. Even if it is just to begin advocating in laws, or volunteering at a homeless shelter (which is where many go if they are able to escape). We need to take action.

Living like nothing is happening is foolish and selfish.

Mr. Skinner referenced a quote from W.E.B.DuBois that says the following:

‘There is but one coward on earth, and that is the coward that dare not know.”

We can act like we don’t know what is happening here in the states and around the world, but it is a true act of cowardice.

Get involved with me!

(If any of you know of more organizations out there, please place them in the comment section so more people can get involved!!)