As Halloween approaches I am reminded of the real-life monsters that exist all around the world in different shapes and sizes. The Boko Haram are craven creatures who attack helpless school girls for no better reason than the girls wanted an education.
BBC News – Escaping Boko Haram: How three Nigeria girls found safety http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29762252
I am amazed and humbled by the courage of these three young Nigerian girls in the face of the Boko Haram monsters. And hope that we do not forget the others who are still held captive. These “men” (I started to call them animals, but no animal is this cruel and base) need to be stopped.
This second article talks about some of the things to which these kidnapped girls are subjected. Not an easy read.
strength, courage, and confidence
by every experience
in which you look fear in the face.
You must do
the thing you think you cannot do.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
I think of those who are still enslaved… and surviving–even though many times they may want to succumb, to give up, they do not. They are my heroes–innumerable, faceless heroes. They are my definition of courage. I think of them, and I’m inspired to work harder, to live better. It requires little courage to live a privileged life, a safe life. Though if one has ever been enslaved, even living in freedom–and relative safety–requires daily courage: to not forget, to not disconnect, to not be tempted to eradicate the scars, to not get lost in the tenebrious labyrinth of regret. Today, I am brave too.
“There is no greater agony than bearing
an untold story inside of you.”
~ Maya Angelou
The above article from CNN focuses on slavery in Mauritania but addresses issues that are worldwide. It is masterful at personalizing the plague of modern day slavery and pointing out the complex issues found in trying to address the practices, beliefs, and customs that are sometimes centuries old.
I’m an American–a privileged, white American–who has a difficult time wrapping my head around the idea that someone would not jump at the chance to be free. But this article helped me realize that it is not so very different from when I was a child, trapped by abuse, not knowing there was anything better out there, afraid to trust, believing that anyone who offered help might only make things worse. I listened to the people in this article, and I heard bits of myself. Now that I’m free, I can see it so clearly, just as the former slaves in this article do.
Modern slavery and human trafficking are complex, multi-dimensional problems, but we have to keep fighting for the sake of those not yet free and those who don’t even realize there is something better out there.
I have followed photojournalist, Tim Matsui, and his work with the Alexia Foundation for about nine months. It was in his articles I first learned of the Genesis Project, an outreach to underage sex workers in the Seattle area, to help them leave the life or at least give them shelter and care for a time. It was started by a police officer who wanted to help rather than just arrest these kids. I’m excited to see their stories in this documentary.
Coming Soon: “The Long Night” – A Feature-Length Documentary by Tim Matsui & MediaStorm.
The article in the link below from Traffick Alerts brings up a lot of important issues connected with Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking and the foster care/social service system. There are no easy answers but something has to be done about criminalizing a child victim who has already been crushed by being sold and exploited. Should they be further traumatized, labeled, and carry a criminal record for life? What is our responsibility as a society?
From foster care into the sex trade.
I’m a visual learning. I find charts and graphs an easier way to grasp unimaginable numbers. I think these charts do a good job, though focused mostly on EU and UK.
Amazing to see how technology can help battle human trafficking.