Wednesday night I went with a group of 5 friends and new friends to Heartland Church in Fishers for a StAT (Stand Against Trafficking) community forum. Words that come to mind are: fear, powerlessness, humiliation.
Human trafficking is modern day slavery; it is a crime against humanity. In the world today there are over 27 million human slaves. That is more than there were at the height of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade (wow!) That is more than the population of New York City, LA, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Dallas, San Diego, San Jose, Detroit, and San Francisco COMBINED.
Trafficking of humans is the 2nd largest criminal industry in the world after drug dealing, and is the fastest growing. Many victims of trafficking are made to engage in prostitution, pornography, or exotic dancing. Trafficking also occurs in forms of labor exploitation, such as domestic servitude or restaurant work, sweatshop factory work or migrant agricultural work.
Force (rape, beatings, confinement), fraud (false offers of employment, marriage, better life), and coercion (threats, debt-bondage, psychological abuse) are methods used by traffickers to press victims into lives of servitude and abuse.
About 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year as human slaves. Their plight largely goes unnoticed by the average citizen, and not only is it not just, but it does affect us all.
Below are a few lyrics to a song called "Child of God" by Steve Siler. This is powerful stuff.
I paint on the face
I strap on the heels
I shut down my heart so it won’t have to feel
the hands that don’t know me all over my skin
and the eyes that don’t love me drinking me in
Under this make up
I’m black and blue
The petals were crushed before I could bloom
I didn’t choose this
No one ever would
And I’d break these chains if only I could
I’m a child of God
I hide in plain sight
I’m a child of God
Slave to the night
Powerless, broken, abandoned, abused
Do you see a child of God
Or just a prostitute?
The world looks away and calls me a whore
and each day I die just a little bit more
A disposable person to keep at arms length
Is that what you think?
Trailer for the 2009 film Taken.
Seventeen year-old Kim is the pride and joy of her father Bryan Mills. Bryan is a retired agent who left the Secret Service to be near Kim in California. Kim lives with her mother Lenore and her wealthy stepfather Stuart. Kim manages to convince her reluctant father to allow her to travel to Paris with her friend Amanda. When the girls arrive in Paris they share a cab with a stranger named Peter, and Amanda lets it slip that they are alone in Paris. Using this information an Albanese gang of human traffickers kidnaps the girls. Kim barely has time to call her father and give him information. Her father gets to speak briefly to one of the kidnappers and he promises to kill the kidnappers if they do not let his daughter go free. The kidnapper wishes him "good luck," so Bryan Mills travels to Paris to search for his daughter and her friend.