Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Human Trafficking

The State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report, was released back in June ‘09. It documented the scope of this vicious and challenging industry in every country. It underscored root causes of human trafficking, like poverty, lax law enforcement, especially exploitation of women. It revealed the devastation wreaked upon victims and families.

The problem is particularly urgent now, as economies reel from the global financial crisis and people‘s increasingly desperate attempts to support families, which makes them especially susceptible to the wiles of ruthless criminals. Economic pressures add incentive for unscrupulous bosses to squeeze everything they can from vulnerable workers with fewer resources for the organizations and governments trying to stop them.

Since 2000, more than half of all countries have enacted laws prohibiting all forms of human trafficking. New partnerships between law enforcement and nongovernmental organizations, including women's shelters and immigrants' rights groups, have led to thousands of prosecutions, as well as assistance for many victims. We applaud those church organizations like the Wesleyan Church for adding their organizational efforts, and any others I am not aware of.

The 2009 report highlights progress in several countries that have increased intentional efforts against human trafficking. In Cyprus, where Oxana Rantchev was trafficked and killed, the government has taken new steps to protect victims. Costa Rica, long a hub for commercial sex trafficking, this year passed an anti-trafficking law; trained nearly 1,000 police, immigration agents and health workers to respond to trafficking; launched a national awareness campaign; and improved efforts to identify and care for victims.

This encouraging effort largely results from the hard work of local activists such as Mariliana Morales Berrios, who founded the Rahab Foundation in Costa Rica in 1997 and has helped thousands of trafficking survivors rebuild their lives. Advocates such as Mariliana help spur change from the bottom up that encourages governments to make needed reforms from the top down.

Criminal networks enslave millions of people crossing borders and spanning continents. The United States claims commitment to building partnerships with governments and organizations around the world, to finding new and more effective ways to take on the scourge of human trafficking. Let Christians of America add their personal efforts.

Human trafficking flourishes in the shadows; it demands our attention, and commitment. Picking up just one thread, I defer to Hillery Clinton who began advocating against slavery in the 1990s, after visiting Thailand, where she held hands with a dying 12-year-olds, AIDS victim who had been “trafficked.” Later, she shared the tears of Eastern European women who questioned ever seeing their relatives again. As Americans we may think human trafficking is limited to other places, but sources document its abundance from deep in SW Michigan to most anywhere in the USA.

Checkout … if you dare … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_slavery

Christians, especially, ought not to be able to sleep at night knowing that such activities happen within our borders. From Warner’s World, this is

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