A few weeks ago, I completed a 14-day online introduction to various aspects of human trafficking/slavery as it exists in our country and world today. Prior to completing these days of awareness, I thought of human trafficking as women and children forced into sex work. It actually involves a much wider range of forced labor including factory, domestic, and agricultural work. Most of this labor is performed under unsafe and degrading circumstances.
For me the 14 days were a valuable source of both information and of steps to take to bring this horrible practice to an end. I invite you to go to www.freedom united.org to access their reporting and to take action.
One aspect of agricultural slavery that stands out for me is the production of chocolate. The initial production and preliminary processing of cacao beans is work performed by 2 .3 million enslaved children in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and other countries in West Africa. Most of the major chocolate manufacturers use supply chains that tap into the use of child slave labor. For more information on this topic go to www.slavefreechocolate.org.
Before you think that human trafficking is less of a problem here in Baltimore, think again. There are parents who sell their children’s bodies to support their own drug habits. If you as a child live such a brutalized life is it any wonder that school would become unimportant or that fear and anger are constant companions?
Being an abolitionist brings thoughts of struggles in the 1800’s in the United States but being an abolitionist is still within the realm of possibility here in the 21st century. You can talk with your friends; write letters to lawmakers and corporations; donate time or money to a human trafficking non-profit group; avoid products made with slave labor; or whatever action comes from your heart.
Covets money and power
Enslaves so many
Human beings bought,
Sold without regard for their
Unique thoughts, feelings
Each individual’s pain
A hell of despair
Let us bring relief
Work for freedom of body,
Mind, soul. Yes! You, me.