In the late 1700s the slave trade spanned the known world. Europe and North America were filled with slaves, humans forced into bondage at the hands of their fellow man. In the midst of the abolitionist movement in England, a man named William Wilberforce was brought to the forefront of the cause and is today still a face for the fight against slavery. Wilberforce died in 1833, three days after hearing that the bill that outlawed slavery in the British Empire would pass. I’d like to post a hand full of his quotes.
“God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.”
“So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the Trade’s wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for Abolition. Let the consequences be what they would, I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition.”
And of course there is the quote at the top of this page.
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
Slavery may not be as easily seen as it was in the days of Wilberforce but the crime is still thriving. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise and second most profitable behind the sale of illegal narcotics. The exact number of trafficked victims poses a problem, we don’t really know how many are out there. Most anti-trafficking charities put the number at around 30 million people. That’s more people than the entire state of Texas (actually larger than every US state except California). Even if you were iffy on trusting the charities approach to numbers, the International labor organization believes the number of forced laborers to exceed 21 million people.
Slavery on the mind. I knew human trafficking existed probably about as much as everyone. It wasn’t until I took a class at American Public University that I began to see the problem for what it is. My class on human trafficking hammered it into me. If that wasn’t enough, every class I take deals with international criminal organizations, all of whom have become involved in and are increasingly practicing trafficking. The reality that so many people live in such horrid conditions (vast quantities of these victims are right here in the United States and Texas for that matter but that will be a post for another day)breaks your spirit. I hate to think the country I live in, the one who is always branding itself with freedom has a market for victims. The truth is the market is everywhere.
I imagined myself by now making a difference in the fight but that hasn’t really happened for me yet. A few weeks ago I started a new job in an office doing nothing of real importance. It weighed on me significantly and I know it is part of the reason I just can’t stand the job. In my mind I am off someplace else fighting some worthwhile cause. Last week, I got accepted as an Ambassador of hope, which is essentially to say that I became a community activist for a charity called Shared Hope International. Shared Hope International focuses mainly on domestic trafficking of minors here in the United States. It’s a chance to raise awareness and teach people about how terrible the crime really is. In my heart, it isn’t enough.