The video speaks for itself.
The video speaks for itself.
As a society, we have to begin to label crimes accurately. Is a teen who is reported missing by her family, kidnapped and forced to work in an underground brother guilty of prostitution or a victim of human trafficking? Both can’t be true.
Children forced into sexual service are not being held by “pimps.” Pimp is a word that has lost it’s negative power. These children are being held by slave traders. This problem might be treated differently if we can change the words we use to describe it.
“As if ignoring all those red flags wasnt bad enough, the LAPD actually arrested a 17-year-old girl, who by virtue of her age is automatically a trafficking victim. The girl had even been reported missing by her family. Yet somehow, it didnt occur to the LAPD that if one trafficking victim was kidnapped and forced to work at Club 907, perhaps others were as well.” via Change.org.
He’s also teamed up with The Blind Project which is a group devoted to exposing the sex trade. Through the connections he’s made, John Mark is putting together an art exhibition in Columbia which will feature work from world renowned graphic designers. – WLTX.com
Children are still being recruited and abused in conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“Used as combatants, labour and sex slaves, victims of months-long violence and rape, girls are all too rarely freed by the armed forces and groups,” UNICEF said in a news release in Goma, eastern DRC, marking the International Day against the use of Child Soldiers, noting that only 20 per cent of freed children under the agency’s care were girls. via YubaNet.com.
Please read about the use of children as soldiers and spread the word about this horrific abuse.
But in light of the recent earthquake in Haiti, it seems more urgent than ever that the world be aware of the plight of a segment of the restavec (French: rester avec – one who stays with) population in Haiti. What is evident from the video clip is that, in today’s world, some restavec are indeed treated as slaves. But what is also evident is the complexity of the problem in light of the cultural differences that exist between countries. And it’s not just between the USA and Haiti. My wife just returned from Kenya with Mothers Fighting For Others, where the people she met could not believe we DIDN’T beat our children with a cane. And while I agree with the conclusion that “a capacity for cruelty is never justified,” it is also true that “child labor is an unfortunate consequence of poverty and it’s attending miseries.” It’s a complex issue.
Not All Child Labor Should Be Considered Child Slavery
If we’re to address the issues that surround child slavery in developing countries like Haiti, we must not look at them through the myopic lens of our own culture. I’m neither an economist or a sociologist, but, as I read more and more, it is painfully clear to me that sometimes what I would love to be a “black and white” issue is incredibly gray. There are no simple answers. My perspective is one of a myriad. So, I encourage you to read this post by The Haitian Blogger for a different viewpoint. Warning, it’s a long post. Clear out some time to digest it properly.
One thing I know for sure – the earthquake in Haiti is not going to make the task any simpler.
Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. What can you do? Change.org has a great post detailing 40 Ideas for Action on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day: From Facebook to Legislation.
I caught up with Jean Robert the next day and ask him – “in the end, does this all happen because of poverty?” He is adamant. “No, no, no. Poverty doesn’t explain how one human being can treat another this way,” he exclaims.
This morning I had the extreme pleasure of doing a live video interview with Shelley Seale, author of The Weight Of Silence: Invisible Children Of India. Unfortunately we ran into some audio issues and decided not to present her full screen during the session and this resulted in the recording from that conversation only capturing my side of the conversation. Trust me when I tell you that my side of the conversation was NOT the most interesting side!
While this is extremely unfortunate, I’m gives me a reason to schedule another time to do an interview with Shelley. Next time we will do the video interview in the evening when more people can show up and listen live. In addition, I’ll use my own recording tools to make sure we get it all.
Shelley, thank you so much for your time this morning and for the wonderful gift that The Weight of Silence is!
With my feed reader overflowing with thousands of articles to sift through about modern slavery, I’ve recently turned to Twitter to find the stories that are moving others to speak out. The quote above came from a post cited by Chris Hogg in his twitter stream.
Slavery today, specifically child slavery, is being driven by the same motivation as it always has – profits. Coltan (Columbite-tantalite), it turns out, is ONLY in existence in the Eastern Congo and a small region of Tanzania. It doesn’t exist anywhere else. It is used in the production of capacitors.
Every day hundreds of thousands of Congolese child-slaves are forced to crawl into underground mines on their hands and knees to dig for the essential raw material make electronic gadgets like cell phones, iPods, laptop computers, play stations, wireless systems, DVD players, blackberries and pagers possible.
Clearly, I applaud the Dutch labour MP for his desire to see the end of child slave labor in the Congo. And there are alternatives to using the Coltan produced in Central Africa. Australia is also a major producer of Coltan and many electronics companies are now rejecting Coltan, opting to only purchase from legitimate sources. Unfortunately, I think real change will only come from finding an affordable alternative to Coltan. Thankfully, there is a movement to find alternatives to Coltan in capacitor production, including Niobium, multilayer ceramic capacitors and aluminum-polymer capacitors. I have no idea how long these methods will take to make their way into production or what their viability is.
In the meantime, children in the Congo are being abused daily to feed our addiction to ever cheaper technology. The Dutch petition was sent to all of the major multinational firms that produce cell phones. Let’s hope they act.