8-year-old me: “Dad, why is there a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day, but no Kid’s day?”
My Dad: “Because every day is Kid’s day.”
It’s an old joke, and it’s just true enough to be a little funny. It can never be more than a little funny though, because, for the estimated 13-15 million kids trapped in slavery (at this very moment!), no day is Kid’s day.
Forgive me the somewhat mawkish intro there. I was thinking about that long-ago exchange with my dad because today is February 1. Meaning National Human Trafficking Prevention Month is over. But, of course, (say it with me now) every day needs to be Human Trafficking Prevention Day. To that end…
The CNN Freedom Project has excellent coverage of child labor slavery in the chocolate industry. There’s even some good news: The Hersey company is finally addressing the issue:
The Hershey company, one of the United States’ leading chocolate producers, says it’s pledged $10 million over the next five years to educate West African cocoa farmers on improving their trade and combating child labor.
The company said in a press release that chocolate consumers will later this year be able to purchase a new version of Hershey’s Bliss brand, which will be 100% made from Rain Forest Alliance-certified farms mostly in Ivory Coast and Ghana.
“It’s a start,” said Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum. “We see this as a welcome first step toward accountability.”
Sex trafficking is a local problem, and today Alex Campbell was convicted in a federal trial for selling women and girls out of a massage parlor in the Chicago suburb of Mt. Prospect. The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation applauds this victory and urges the community to hold purchasers (johns) accountable for buying sex and fueling the sex trade. Campbell recruited and prostituted women using force, fraud and coercion and had his name tattooed on their bodies to claim his ownership.
When, as is true today, the richest 10 percent own 85 percent of the world’s wealth and the poorest 50 percent live off the crumbs of 1 percent of the total global wealth, you’ve created a market where slavery will thrive.
What will it take to shut down “Satan’s marketplace,” the global slave trade? Every weapon in the arsenal of nonviolence.
Faith-based and other organizations are using a variety of methods to discover and “rescue” trafficking victims. By using a private investigator, Traffick911 recently rescued two girls from traffickers, including one who was sold as “Thanksgiving dessert.” Groups like Traffick911 and TraffickStop are training individuals to recognize signs that indicate a person is being trafficked.
Next, groups like Refuge of Light and Traffick911 are attempting to build safe houses where rescued individuals can recover, a costly process that requires a safe environment. Safe houses are rare across the country. For a group like Traffick911 that discovers trafficking victims each month, that must change.
Along with the film’s creators, we believe “the end of modern-day slavery will come from individuals who gather together to push on businesses, media, and governments to support their existing values for human rights. We believe that this is a bottom-up movement that needs dynamic information, sustained inspiration, and most importantly, tactile activation.”
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