Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Horror of Human Trafficking

Let Us Eradicate Human Trafficking

One of the issues which the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary have tried to address in the past few years has been that of Human Trafficking.  This summer I read the book: The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today and it is a sad commentary on the amount of human trafficking which has been supported in the United States in this century.  There are three types of human trafficking and slavery in the US today:  Sex trafficking, labor trafficking and domestic house-slave trafficking.  Most of the sex trafficking is trafficking of women and children, and I have been horrified to realize that so many men, frequently wealthy, support this industry - through paying for pornographic videos of trafficked women, through "gentlemen's clubs", through massage parlors, etc.  I am aware that there have been efforts to educate law enforcement personnel to recognize incidents of trafficking in our neighborhoods, and to ensure that trafficked victims are not jailed for crimes such as prostitution, or illegal entry into our country, when, in fact, they have been essentially kidnapped and forced into performing these actions.

The RSHM have had some workshops on Human trafficking and have put some information on our website:

A Workshop: Human Trafficking: the Price We pay with input from trafficked persons

I personally cannot imagine what it would be like to be a sex slave, a labor slave or a domestic slave, with no control over my life and living in a constant state of torture with little opportunity to escape.  Yet, this is the state of trafficked persons, whom we often think of as being in other countries, but who live in large numbers in the U.S.  The RSHM belong to a few organizations to help stop the traffickers, such as the New York Anti-Trafficking Coalition on the East Coast and the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking on the West Coast.  However, some recent statistics from the U.S. Department of State indicate that there is much work to be done to identify and prosecute traffickers and help those who have been trafficked.  The process is long and hard, and often freed trafficked persons are merely released with no help in order to regain their lives.  However, I was pleased to see anti-trafficking blogs, such as A Heart for Justice which gives some insightful suggestions for those who wish to help.

This trafficking situation is so big, yet so hidden, that I feel almost powerless to fight it.  Yet, I know that conquering this evil can and must be done, even if in baby steps.  It is important to use the power of education to teach young men and women the value of respect for one another and to stop them from relying on naive decisions.  It is not easy, yet we can support one another in the battle.  The main players for the abolition of trafficking may be our politicians to turn their eyes to the problem, our pro-bono lawyers and social workers to help, and ourselves to nag our politicians to help our country be more proactive against traffickers.  And, if we have financial resources, we can help to sponsor those organizations which are trying to help trafficked victims to regain their lives and their dignity.  And all of us can pray.  These are great resources, and all of us can take a part dependent on our skill.  So, let's both use our skill and storm heaven for the conversion of traffickers and the protection of the trafficked persons. 

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