17 Feb


… | … | … PART ONE

my brother recently wrote about some horrific things.

Today in Thailand there will be several hundred women who will begin to be raped for 24 hours straight until they are numbed into useful sex slaves. There is a lot of blood involved. It’s the only way to feed a hungry market – hunger that, when fed, only becomes hungrier.

nothing we say will change the fact that so many suffer tonight at the hands of a few. Thailand could outlaw the sex trade—as if such a remote possibility existed—and women would be raped nonetheless.

is it depressing that we are so helpless? frustrating that in so many ways our beliefs are futile? yes it is. but we gotta move on, so we ignore it, put it away in a box marked “For Later” and go about our lives.

what are supposed to do? become vigilantes? Become lawyers? Missionaries? Advocates? Soldiers? Documentarians. Songwriters. World Leaders. No position of power can force evil out of a human being. Likewise, there is evil inside all of us. Without an interconnected web of trade and profit and convenience, slavery would be useless. So we hold at least a tiny fraction of the blame. All of us. The child in her classroom and the restaurant owner in his home. The politician and the delivery driver and the graphic designer. The artist and everyone in his studio, in his paintings.

but we aren’t getting any closer to a response are we? and while we’ve been discussing the issue, seven more girls have been brought into brothels for a first-night experience.

what do we do? we could go with Shane Hipps for this one.

“electronic culture creates empathy at a distance. your soul is not designed to withstand the weight of planetary suffering”

He’s right. It’s why we’re sitting here, reading words on a small screen. we are overwhelmed and cannot respond at all.

so, for the logician, we have reached a conclusion. we focus on something else. something closer. more in our sphere.

but this, really, is not ok.

if we don’t care we’re not human. Hipps’ observation isn’t a stopping point. we can do something, can’t we?

… | … | … PART TWO

Kevin Bales is the leading expert on modern slavery. His book Disposable People was a breakthrough work on the subject and he is president of the U.S.’ sister organization to Britain’s Anti-Slavery International.

He recently published his third book on the subject, Ending Slavery: How we free today’s slaves.

In a page and half, he illustrates how complex the problem is by asking over 60 questions—questions that must be answered—ranging from the specifics of rescued children…

[What diet, medical care, and physical rehabilitation will return his health and youth? How do we reach his mind? How will the trauma of slavery affect him as he grows? Can we find his parents? And how will they deal with the reunion if we do?]

to bigger questions of numbers and logistics…

[How many children can the (anti-slavery) groups reach, and how many are beyond their ability to save? Should they be spending more time lobbying governments or freeing children? What happens if they run out of money?]

to why exactly slavery is so profitable in our world…

[How do we differentiate a slave-made rug from one that is made by a free worker? If we all stopped buying rugs, would that make the lives of child slaves better or worse? What about the other things that slaves around the world make? Are they in our homes as well?]

to laws and regulations and the enforcement required to make them real…

[Should our own laws keep slave-made goods out of our country or take advantage of their cheapness? Do they arrest the slaveholders in our country or punish freed slaves as “illegal aliens?” Can our politicians do anything about slavery in other countries? Does opening the global market have to lead to the impoverishment and enslavement of some people?]

to questions that challenge our every action and every minute we let pass indifferently…

[Is there some difference between our children and children forced into slavery that makes their enslavement acceptable? Are we willing to pay more for goods made by free people? Are we willing to pay more taxes to pay for the rescue and rehabilitation of slaves?]

The book goes on to attempt to answer the questions. And this makes me happy. Because those questions were ones that have had me, on occasion, literally furious with this seemingly impossible problem.

I’m only on page 48. But hopefully, when I’m done, I’ll have a better understanding of what I can do to help stop global slavery, which Bales asserts, can be done.

In the meantime, pray and hope that the anti-slavery organizations that are working right now will continue the fight for human rights, that they will be funded and have the energy, the contacts, and the manpower to free the slaves.

One child at a time.

Grace & Peace [for all].

One Response to “disposable”

  1. snowtone February 17, 2009 at 8:47 pm #

    i’m glad that the global discussion on these issues is finally moving past identifying the problems and to “so, how could we actually fix this.”

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