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Human trafficking can touch our daily lives

Jan. 11 was International Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Sometimes called modern-day slavery, it may seem like a problem found in only poor countries or un-Christian places. We may also think that human trafficking is a euphemism for girls and young women being sold into an underground sex trade. While both understandings are true, in part, the reality is human trafficking is a part of our daily lives.

Some of the food we eat may be harvested or prepared by women and men whose labor comes with a heavy price to them. They may be in debt bondage or their identification papers confiscated to prevent them from leaving or reporting abuse to the authorities.

A house down the street may be a place where young women and girls are taken to be sexually exploited. Runaway teenagers — both girls and boys — in the United States are preyed upon by traffickers who target vulnerable people.

While living in Botswana, I was aware of “hunting clubs” which attracted men from the United States and Europe. Awaiting the men were young girls. Many had run away from bad home situations or the families had been promised the girls would receive an education and good jobs.

In another case, people from the San — you may know them as Bushmen — were held in virtual slavery to provide food, hotel staff-work and entertainment to unsuspecting world visitors.

Two books suggestions are: “Daughters of Hope” and “Forgotten Girls,” both by Kay Marshall Strom and Michele Rickett.

Larry Colvin


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