Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Zealous Love: Human Trafficking

I started reading Zealous Love: A Practical Guide to Social Justice by Mike and Danae Yankoski this weekend. I was a bit surprised by the set-up of the book. Having read and absolutely love Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski, I was expecting something similar which goes to show I should have read the summary more closely. Zealous Love is a look at several key social justice issues and what's being done about them with essays/reports from multiple organizations. Due to the nature of the book, I'm going to read about one issue every week and post a reflection or response.

Issue #1 : Human Trafficking

I remember when I first learned that slavery still existed in the world. Given my upbringing in a middle class neighborhood in the United States and the narrowly focused school curriculum (a rant for another time), it really wasn't too surprising that I assumed that the abolition of Slavery in the United States meant that there weren't anymore slaves. When I was sixteen, I attended an international youth conference. One of the speakers (the only one I remember, really) was a man who had been a slave. At that point my world was shaken and I was absolutely heartsick. Underneath that sickness though was a simmering anger that my education had been so ethnocentric that I was completely unaware of such a major human rights issue.

Over the years, I've learned of more of the ways that human beings are stripping away each others basic rights and there were many causes that captured my attention and my heart. One of the first social justice initiatives to snag me was Invisible Children. The movement took the initial form of a documentary depicting the use of children in Uganda as Soldiers and the struggles of children trying to stay safe in an unfriendly environment. Invisible Children still creates documentaries to showcase the difficult time in East Africa but they also have volunteers on the ground rebuilding schools and providing scholarships. From there, I developed an interest in the Sex Slavery found in many major cities in the world. I never did connect with an organization but it is an issue that is close to my heart. Most of the essays in Zealous Love deal with the Sex Trafficking industry rather than any other Human Trafficking issues.

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