This is a little bit of a cynical post but it will make some very good points.
Why do you care about human rights &/0r ending human trafficking?
In the many years I’ve been working in the human rights field I’ve seen people chain themselves, paint themselves, scream at others, starve themselves, repost, retweet, advocate, petition, braid, etc… I’ve seen churches host prayer-ins, school children save pennies, rockers host concerts, teachers lecture, marches, 5-k’s, films, PSA’s, etc…
All of these actions, what are they for? Are they for spreading human rights and ending human trafficking so that the at-risk &/or victim/survivor gets to live a rich full life? Or are these actions mean to raise awareness for the advocate to show others how caring and socially responsibly he or she is?
All of the ballyhoo (I’ve been waiting to use that word for so long) is amazing at generating a conversation, but that is all it is- a conversation. After all of the “look at me, look at me”-ing there is left one cold hard fact. It takes hard, dedicated lifestyle changes to even make a dent in ending human trafficking. No amount of ballyhooing will change anything, it takes action.
There is only one thing that will ever end human trafficking, removing the financial incentive to exploit others. That’s it, making it no longer profitable to sell and systematically abuse others. While we think with emotions, and have a great time showing others how caring we are, if the advocate is truly responsible he or she will advocate with their pocketbook and encourage others to do the same.
Human trafficking is a form of exploitative economy which removes and abuses human rights. Once the advocacy world realizes that it involves money, the quicker that form of economy will change.
I once had a very good friend that I attended a peace conference with. She was extremely excited to go and even dressed the part with beads and bracelets and a sweatshirt with a huge peace symbol on it. As we stood in line, (and me knowing this friend well) we struck up a conversation regarding intentions and actions and I, knowing this individuals purchase history called her out that she really didn’t believe in peace. I went on to cite how her purchases support atrocities around the world and that her dollar is distributed into exploitative economies. She looked at me absently and stated “I do believe in peace, it says it right here on my shirt”.
The cynicism in this post comes from the fact that I as an advocate see too much talk and not enough action. We can’t advocate against sex trafficking while wearing clothes made from forced labor. We can’t discuss human rights while eating foods harvested by force. We can’t equip survivors of human trafficking with items made by force from their brethren still in bondage.
If you truly want to end human trafficking and promote human rights, do it. Don’t talk about it. Do it and have your actions reflect your intentions!
The French Philsopher Albert Camus said “the only way to deal with an unfree world is to live so completely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion”.
Live free so that others can do the same.