Friday, October 5, 2012

Definition, Definition... So What Really is Modern-Day Slavery?

DC Stop Modern Slavery hosted the 2012 Stop Modern Slavery Walk on September 29, 2012. I have been fortunate enough to become a part of the amazing team that brought thousands to the Washington Monument grounds that beautiful Saturday.

The week before the Walk was filled with human trafficking headlines. The Sunday before the event, Washington Post covered the terrible child trafficking situation in India on its front page. Two days later, U.S. President Barack Obama devoted his speech at the Clinton Global Initiative on human trafficking in front of many world leaders. Then on Thursday (September 27, 2012), USA Today puts the United States' domestic sex trafficking problem on its front page. 

But what is human trafficking? I personally find the official United Nations' definition a bit cumbersome. Just thinking about the official definition makes human trafficking hard to explain to my friends and family, who still have no clue what it is all about.

I had a quick conversation at the Walk with a man from the Caribbean. His comment made me aware that the abolitionist movements needs to work on its language. He said something like human trafficking contributes to slavery. Isn't it generally accepted that human trafficking, trafficking-in-persons is slavery, modern-day slavery? 

A The New York Times editorial article ("To Combat 'Modern Slavery,' October 2, 2012) stated:

'This should be the first of several steps to bolster the attack on the scourge that Mr. Obama described as "modern slavery" in a passionate address on the issue last week at the Clinton Global Initiative.'

Apparently, the editors of The New York Times don't think it is slavery either. They must think slavery ended with the end of the American Civil War, just like most people.

(In the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Washington Post publishes a weekday tabloid that is freely distributed via human distributors directly outside subway stations and the recognizable yellow newsstand boxes on the sidewalk. It is simply called Express.)

There is 'Taken' movie review on the Express on Friday, October 5, 2012. This statement disturbs me:

'The appeal of "Taken," apart from its straightforward, unpretentious approach to otherwise pedestrian material, was Liam Neeson.'

Has sex trafficking become "pedestrian material"?

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