Monday, April 12, 2010

Creating Human Trafficking Awareness

Living in Washington DC, I am bombarded with ads about defense & technology companies, movements towards vegetarianism and animal rights but nothing about human trafficking. Nothing! There is now currently an ad on Metro trains about the "Great Ape Protection Act." It portrays a picture of a sad female gorilla. The print talks about her losing her baby to some inhumane act. I was aghast... I mean this is for an ape, an animal we barely understand. But what about a human mother... Is it too close for comfort to show a mother mourning for her lost child? How can animal rights organizations have more funding than human rights agencies? Our priorities are skewed... In New York City, I remember seeing a large billboard or two about ten years ago advertising Amnesty International driving out of the MidTown Tunnel towards Queens. Now, all I see in the Big Apple are billboards for fashion labels, TV shows & movies. I know we are just coming out of a recession but why is the nation's advertising dollars spent not spent on bettering the human condition. Are we all that self-indulgent? I know most people would rather turn a blind eye and a deaf ear towards the ills of the world but modern slavery has been such a major problem for eons. From prehistoric times up to now... Slavery is barbarism. It is inhumane. And as a free citizen of the world, how can you just live your life taking your freedom for granted when your neighbor is working hard night and day without pay or even a decent place to sleep in and most times, are given the worst food to eat or end up being the food of farm animals themselves? I can't... Compassion isn't compassion if you don't do anything about your brother's or sister's oppression. Refugees are important and so are slaves. Refugees are often slaves themselves. In Haiti, child slavery (restaveks "stay withs") is a major problem. But the world does not know about it... After the major quake that collapsed Port-Au-Prince into ruins, all we heard about is the need for food, clean water & medicine. We barely saw that the real problem was the lack of infrastructure. Still is! And with the earthquake, I am sure the restavek system has gotten far worst. More parents are willing to give up their children to strangers thinking the children will get a good education. But unfortunately, most children end up slaving away 24/7, end up being beaten up and RAPED. This is hard to stomach.

We as a movement against human trafficking must act on getting the world's priorities straight... WE MUST LOBBY HARD, WE MUST ADVERTISE BIG. Look at the tobacco companies!

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