Wednesday, February 8, 2012
when fiction makes me think
Several of my favorite authors have recently written books in which the protagonists go up against (in one way or another) human trafficking rings. These include Walking Dead by Greg Rucka, Worth Dying For by Lee Child, and Taken by Robert Crais. There was also the movie Taken starring Liam Neeson (which is a completely different story, but also about human trafficking). I have made the assumption that this is a rarity in the modern world. Slavery is largely outlawed and I would assume that most people are fairly well identified, etc. A google search reveals that there is interchangeability of the terms modern day slaves and human trafficking victims, and that the occurrence is far more rampant than one would imagine. While I think most of us think of sex slavery (which is the topic of Walking Dead and the movie Taken), Worth Dying For and the book Taken center more around the taking of people for work in factories or for asian gangs. These are books of fiction, yet each point out at the end that the authors were appalled to discover the extent of these practices, and how global they are. I once again turned to google, hoping for information. Avoiding information from sites set up by activists (not that these are a bad thing, but potentially biased), I found a wealth of information about the extent of the issue, including http://thecnnfreedomproject.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/15/5-things-to-know-about-human-trafficking/, http://www.unglobalcompact.org/docs/issues_doc/labour/Forced_labour/HUMAN_TRAFFICKING_-_THE_FACTS_-_final.pdf. If it happens, and it certainly appears that it does, who is working to stop it. Luckily, there are several organizations, some international http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=12434, some more locally based responses to the global issue http://freedom-summit.org/2011/, http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/. I hold very few beliefs as strongly as I hold that enslaving a human being is more than wrong, it is evil. It is no doubt a sign of my lack of connection to the news of the world that it took novels to raise my consciousness about this issue, but given what I now know, I will add this to the list of causes close to my heart (and checkbook) in the future.