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Human Trafficking: The Ugly Truths

Today calls for a little change of pace, in that I’d like to share some thoughts on a serious subject.

No, that’s not necessarily the change of pace I’m referring to, since I’ve been, umm, known to write a serious post or two here.

What’s different about today’s post is that it is not about a pleasant topic. In fact, it’s on a topic that really bothers me. It bothers me so much that I managed to conveniently ignore it for quite some time.

Human Trafficking.

As in the trafficking of people, our fellow human beings, against their will.

For some of the most heinous reasons imaginable. Or unimaginable, for that matter.

Like you, I’ve been aware of this issue being in the news for many years.

I’d glance at the print and online headlines, and move on.

I’d wince if I caught a few words from the radio or television, and move on.

I’d catch a glimpse of a photo or two, and move on.

If I asked myself why I was so quick to ‘move on’, I’d reassure myself that it wasn’t because I was an uncaring person.

It wasn’t that I was incapable of feeling compassion or empathy for the victims of human trafficking, or abject horror and disgust at the cruelties inflicted on them.

It wasn’t that I was a ‘bad’ person.

The truth was that it turned my stomach. When I read more, listened longer, followed closer, it made me physically nauseous.

It made my skin crawl.

Now as someone who worked in the international arena for quite some time, who adores traveling and experiencing new cultures, and is living overseas as an expatriate, I am quick to share the wonders of getting to know this global landscape we inhabit.

And slowly, over time, I came to the realization that being uncomfortable, upset or feeling like a ‘wuss’ about this subject just wasn’t going to cut it anymore.

Because no matter how queasy or terrible I felt when thinking about human trafficking, it pales in comparison to the horrific torture, abuse and degradation others are experiencing on a daily basis.

Unremitting.

Twenty four/seven.

So I finally decided to answer that little voice in my head that was saying ‘it’s time’. I took a deep breath (or three) and jumped into the research.

I would like to say that it was as bracing as jumping into a pool of cold water.

It’s really more like jumping into a never-ending nightmarish horror movie, full of terrifying silent stalkers, chainsaw-wielding psychopaths and things that go bump in the night.

I wrote this piece, Human Trafficking: The Ugly Truths for my regular contributors’ gig at I Am Expat. It certainly deviates from my usual fare, so very special thanks to Sergios for being willing to go with this.

I hope you take the time to read this short article. Just two minutes of your time is all I’m asking.

As I told a friend who has spent almost her entire career working in humanitarian and refugee issues, including human trafficking, ‘I finally got off the fence and into the game’.

It’s something I had to do. Have to do.

I may be just one voice, but voices do matter. Even one at a time.

Please don’t ‘move on’.

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