Social Change Book Club:
Hello friends. Chapter 9 touched really touched on the current atrocities and struggles in human trafficking. The idea that there are young children all over the world whose lives and futures are being forced out of their control is appalling.
The world needs to understand that slavery still exists. Even today, young children are bought and sold like trinkets. Little girls are forced into the dark, illicit sex trade. Young boys and girls are coerced to beg in the streets, and bring their proceeds back to line the pockets of thugs who abuse them at night. Others are forced into labor mills with long hours, intolerable heat, and strict production quotas, all in horrible working conditions, cutting the young away from any possibility of education. The dark streets of the swarming city become a marketplace where young adolescents are offered for sale to satisfy the case needs of amoral souls who think nothing of the lifelong impact of a few reckless minutes.
However, I want to settle into an even more unhinging thought. I want to take a moment to think about the parents in these situations. Now, I know that there are a myriad reasons as to how a child might end up trafficked. In some situations, the children might be taken without the parents knowledge. On the other hand, what about the even darker scenarios. What about the parents, relatives, or neighbors who are the ones selling these children?
On the surface, this type of occurrence seems absurd. As westerner’s, many of us would think to ourselves, what kind of person could knowingly sell a child into slavery? I agree, it’s deplorable. But let’s take a step closer and ask, how do we go about changing the environments and conditions that often lead to trafficking? How do we (as in people all around the world) foster communities where parents don’t see selling a young girl as the only conceivable way to feed their other seven children?
I don’t know all of the answers or solutions but I do think that there are a lot of amazing organizations paving the way. Furthermore, I think that two of the best ways are education and small business.
Studies have found that children who are in school are much less likely to be trafficked than their peers who are not in school. On a simplistic level, many children are often trafficked during the day as they are walking the streets. If a student is in school, they lessen their chances of being noticed by a pimp or trafficker.
Additionally, small businesses often provide families with the financial resources to support their families and to even send their children to school. Many countries have also seen a rise in female entrepreneurship which is both empowering and inspiring to young girls in societies where females are often viewed as less valuable than men.
Overall, I believe that there are three important steps that we can can take.
First, is to raise awareness and support for organizations that are working to fight trafficking as well as offering support and job training to those currently entrenched in the circle of trafficking. Two that I would recommend checking out are A21 & Not for Sale.
A21 was started by Christine Cain and is involved in both prevention of trafficking through awareness and education as well as protecting victims and prosecuting traffickers themselves.
Not for Sale works with both survives and at risk communities through shelter, healthcare, and legal services. In addition, they also work with survives to receive education and training to provide them with better futures for both themselves and their families.
Second, is to either volunteer either time or resources towards education in developing countries where trafficking is particularly prominent. Two organizations that I would recommend are Compassion International & Pencils of Promise.
Compassion International is a Christian organization that provides sponsorship to children throughout the world. My husband and I love getting letters from our sponsor child, Joshua and his family in the Philippines. It’s nice to have a personal connection and to see directly how you are making an impact.
Pencils of Promise is doing amazing work to build schools and in the process to also build up communities. With their model, the communities are required to contribute 20% of labor and materials to each project so that community members will have an invested interest in what they are creating. If you want to learn more, I would also encourage you to check out the book Promise of a Pencil by the founder Adam Braun. It’s a great book!
Kiva provides micro loans to men and women throughout the world to allow them to start small businesses. What I love about Kiva is that it’s exactly what it says, a loan. Once the person is able to re-pay their loan, you can continue the cycle by then investing in someone else. You are also able to choose the country, person, and industry you would like to invest in.
31Bits is a for profit business that sells beautiful handmade jewelry by artisan women in Africa. The best part is that they also put each woman through a training program that provides education and skills that allow them to move forward in life as smart, empowered leaders of their communities.
Book Club Action Steps:
- Read Chapters 11, 12, & 13
- Learn more about human trafficking and check out some organizations that are mentioned above
- Check back on the blog next Tuesday for notes and ideas on Chapters 11, 12, & 13
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