Since my awakening that human trafficking is going on in our area and across our nation, I’ve become more sensitive to articles appearing in our newspaper. In the world section, I read a story on sex workers in France protesting a proposal to penalize clients caught in the act of soliciting a prostitute. The few men and women in the picture taken in front of the French Assembly in Paris claimed to have chosen this line of work, but I couldn’t help wondering about the thousands of foreign prostitutes from Asia and eastern Europe flooding into France, the vast majority trafficked victims. Other countries like Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands where brothels are also legal are watching the French. I imagine most of the countries that legalized brothels thought they would be able to control prostitution, prevent disease and protect the women “in the life”. Instead, they got organized crime and human trafficking on their front door steps.
Shortly after reading that article, I came across one about the Lulu app, a new social networking site on the Internet that allows women to offer up reviews on men they have met and dated via cyberspace. According to one woman, “Meeting someone out in the world when you’re not in school or don’t work with each other or have mutual friends – you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.” It’s a dangerous world out there. My immediate thought was the women visiting this review station should have greater empathy for sex trafficked victims who “meet” 10-20 new men a day, and they know what to expect: abuse. Some are even killed. Some of those who survive and escape “the life” have worse PTSD than returning veterans from combat zones. And still — there are people who believe girls/women chose to become prostitutes — that it’s all right to look the other way because those girls chose their bed and now they have to “sleep” in it.
Even the editorial page had something to boggle my mind. Nicholas D. Kristof wrote a piece on how adopted children are traded in like cars. The practice is called “private re-homing”. If an adoption doesn’t work out, especially one involving a foreign child between the ages of 6 to 14, some people post an advertisement on the Internet. Trading away a child is so easily done; no court involvement, no lawyer’s fees, no social service agencies, no vetting of the new parent. Pedophiles and traffickers must love this new trend.
What have these three articles in common? They are a sign of our times. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s right. And when something isn’t right, there is always a victim who needs help. When a nation comes to believe everyone can do what is right in their own eyes, great suffering is sure to follow.
Becoming aware of what’s going on around us is also a call to action. One match lit can be seen a mile away. One small change over time can transform many lives.