Tag Archives: slavery

Will Lawrence Taylor Become The Poster Boy For Child Sex Slavery?

Lawrence Taylor, the NFL Hall of Fame linebacker and recent Dancing With The Stars contestant, is now a high profile illustration of the buy side of the supply and demand equation that fuels child sex trafficking.

I’m no longer surprised when I read a story like the one accompanying Lawrence Taylor’s arrest. It’s a pretty typical American child sex trafficking story. A 15-year-old girl from the Bronx is reported missing to the police in March, only to be found beaten and bruised, physically and emotionally, imprisoned by fear and force, and serving her master by having sex with men of his choosing. No one appears to be denying the truth of this part of the story. It’s just another child sex slave. Except the press would rather call her a prostitute and her master a pimp. And many would argue that she wasn’t really “enslaved.” She chose to go with the man in the first place. That makes it all easier to swallow.

It’s also not surprising that such a prominent name is implicated. I’ve been writing about this issue for several years now.  The sheer volume of children being held captive as sex slaves made the participation of prominent public figures a certainty. So the allegations against Lawrence Taylor only serve to further illustrate just how pervasive the problem of child sex trafficking is in the United States. If the allegations against him are false, it won’t change that fact.

What would surprise me?

I’ll be surprised if this story doesn’t quickly fade from the front pages. He may be innocent. If he is, it should. But if he’s not, I’ll be surprised if it actually  serves as a lightning rod for changes in legislation that make it easier for authorities to prosecute those involved in the enslavement of children for sex.

Why? Because vast numbers of the American population view slavery as American history. It’s simply more comfortable to think of these girls as prostitutes and not slaves. And we’ve popularized the use of the word “pimp” to such a degree that it is more likely to be seen in the positive than the negative. There are already YouTube parodies that make light of the incident. We like it that way. It helps us sleep at night.

Will Lawrence Taylor become the poster boy for child sex slavery? I doubt it.

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A Need To Properly Define “Modern Day Slavery”

I think the title of the following video is inaccurate.

What I see in this video is exploitation, but I don’t see slavery. And I think to fight modern slavery properly, we need to make sure we define it properly. Kevin Bales, in his TED presentation on how to combat modern slavery, went out of his way to make certain his audience understood what he meant by “slave.” He needed to be specific to frame the conversation properly. And his definition of a slave and mine are the same: a slave is someone who is forced to work, under the threat of physical harm, without pay.

What this video is documenting is important. It’s just not slavery. Perhaps that’s why “modern day slavery” is in quotes. I don’t know. What I do know is that the tactics required to fight modern slavery are different than those required to fight the exploitation of the poor and disenfranchised. Both camps will be better served if we focus properly.

What are your thoughts?

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How To Combat Modern Slavery – Watch This

“If you worship in the temple of learning, do not mock the gods. Because they will take you, fill you with curiosity and desire, and drive you with a passion to change things.” – Kevin Bales, Free The Slaves

“Are you willing to live in a world with slavery? I think there is enough intellectual power in this room to end slavery.  And if we can’t use our collective intelligence power to bring about the end of slavery, are we truly free?” – Kevn Bales

I hope you worship in the temple of learning.

18 minutes long. Make the time.

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The Body Shop Lives Its Values, Fights Against Child Sex Trafficking

I can only applaud the efforts of The Body Shop as they shine the light of public exposure on the crime of child sex trafficking.

“The retailer spent 16 months researching the effort to fight sex trafficking before introducing it, Ms. Simmons said, because of the nature of the problem. The idea was to learn “how we can deliver this” message, she added, “without switching people off.” – New York Times

This is just one of their excellent “living our values” initiatives, but their focus is clear. They have a bold stop trafficking campaign, designed to “raise awareness of the scale of the issue, raise funding for vulnerable children and young people, and inspire those with decision-making power to effect change. And I love this part of it – they give their clerks training on how to “talk authoritatively about the issue.” I think it’s a bold step and one that’s needed in order for a campaign like this to have real impact. Signs are simply not enough. As a result, they’ve already raised $1.5 Million for the Somaly Mam Foundation, a substantial portion of that donated by shoppers. That’s not an accident.

This is a virus that can’t thrive in the light and we simply need more light.

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Child Slavery In The Wake Of The Earthquake In Haiti

I was sent a link to this video, Helping Haiti’s Child Slaves, this morning via email. I’ve seen it before and even linked to a longer version of it in A Capacity For Cruelty Is Never Justified.

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.

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Kuwait Taking Steps To Counter Human Trafficking

The Kuwait Times is reporting that the embassy of Netherlands in Kuwait is sponsoring a three-day workshop about fighting human trafficking to be held, coincidentally, on Monday, the same day the United States is observing National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

“The workshop aims to help the State of Kuwait to benefit from increasing Kuwaiti employees’ qualifications by offering the required training in this regard,” Iman Ereiqat, the officer in charge of the IOM’s regional office, told the Kuwait Times. Source: New steps to counter human trafficking.

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Rowing Against Slavery Spreads The Word

Peter Gadiot explains Rowing Against Slavery’s attempt to set a world record for rowing across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to Antiqua. The current record is 33 days, so their goal is to cross in 32 days. But the real goal of the journey to help raise awareness about modern slavery.

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