Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Soapbox Activist

For anyone who even remotely knows me, it should come as no shock that issues of social justice is a very large soapbox that I oft find myself climbing onto. I basically have "social justice" scratched on the front of said box with a permanent marker. Its that obvious when I'm about to get going on the topic. I have this recurring mental picture of myself climbing aboard this massive refrigerator box (my soapbox is that big) the instant I open my mouth and out comes this virtually unstoppable word vomit in projectile form that would do "The Exorcist" proud. How's that for a tasty mental picture for you?

I have had many conversations in recent weeks on the subject of human trafficking. Trafficking in persons is not something that is on the forefront of most people's minds in this day and age. Especially in America, it is very common to believe that slavery went rolling out after the Civil War ended well over a century ago. Admittedly, it isn't a topic that I had spent any considerable amount of brain power on. Poverty, social inequalities, gender discrimination.. sure. But human trafficking? Yes, I knew it was there, but I think I preferred to believe that it was as dead as Elvis and surely not working in such profitable circumstances as to be a true source of wealth and "business" around the world. It isn't a pleasant subject, not something that one wants to acknowledge, perhaps for fear of what it would do in upsetting one's perception of the world even further.

My recent piqued interest on the subject of human trafficking prompted me to go see the movie "Taken." I already wanted to see it, even before I knew how much it focused on trafficking, purely for the adrenaline aspect of it. When I discovered that its primary focus was on the sex slave trade, I basically wanted to jump in line immediately to view it. Mind you, this was not out of any sick sense of sadism. I am a firm believer that people need to know what's going on in the world, regardless of how uncomfortable it is and how it might impede on their personal sense of satisfaction in ignorance. I was very pleased to see that a mainstream movie was taking the leap into such a massive issue that is not much in the public eye in America.

The fact that the subject had made it to the forefront in a major motion picture encouraged me that perhaps these items of discomfort to the soul of humanity may have a chance of being brought to some form of justice, purely through awareness. If the world remains in ignorance on the real issues occurring, there is no hope of any change coming to light in the dreadful darkness of the realities that exist. I know of many people personally who would rather not know. I have heard a host of excuses as to why they wish to remain ignorant, but I do not understand the benefit of this, besides their own personal sense of comfort. I know that this may sound harsh, but we need to know. There are people around the world who are literally dying because of their circumstances. If the world turns its head because it makes them uncomfortable, more and more will pass away everyday.

I think that this act of knowing is even more important for the people of the Christian church. It is our duty as Christians to reach out to the lost, to feed the hungry, to protect those who cannot protect themselves. We are denying the very life of Jesus when we stand by and do nothing. I am not meaning this as an attack towards Christians, but more as an encouragement to open our eyes, take in the horrific scenes and stories around the world, and then act. In whatever way you can. Become an activist, even if it is only through prayer and spreading the word to others.

I am currently working my way, somewhat slowly, through the 2008 TIP (Trafficking in Persons) Report put out by our government. It is a compilation of statistics and strategies to prevent human trafficking and prosecute those responsible for enslaving other humans, whether it be for labor or sex. It is very enlightening on the subject matter, and I am sure to have information to share with you all once I have a chance to better wrap my brain around it....


Mama Janna said...

Oh this is a subject that has been one of my passsions for sometime. Please do tell me how the movie was, and how that report turns out to be.