Saturday, April 15, 2006

Human Trafficking Continues

Currently, the USS George Washington is in the Caribbean for naval exercises. While it is there, the military will be focusing on problems in human trafficking in the region.

The continuance of slavery and especially sexual trafficking first came to my attention about a decade ago. I met a woman who had gone to Thailand to do Christian-based humanitarian efforts. Her mission was to buy back young girls in sexual slavery, give them a safe place to live and grow, and educate them so they would never have to go back to that industry for lack of skills. Hearing of little girls being used as sex toys for men, when they should have been enjoying their childhood in innocence, shocked me, and the knowledge still haunts me.

According to The History of Slavery, there are currently over 200 million slaves in the world, despite a UN Declaration in 1948 outlawing slavery. Most of these are supposedly free, but because of terms in their contracts which they were forced or tricked into signing, they are not free in actuality. The State Department estimates that approximately 500,000 children are forced into slave labor or prostitution annually. Also according to World magazine, 600,000 to 800,000 people are forced into sexual or non-sexual slavery each year, the vast majority of them female.

For years, human rights advocates begged the Clinton administration to take action, but it seemed uninterested. Then at the very end of Clinton's second term, legislation reached his desk, and he signed it.

President Bush is taking this human tragedy seriously, and under his leadership, the U.S. is seeking means to be a positive force in the world against this evil perpetrated on the weakest among us.


Sources, acknowledgements, and additional reading:

Sexual slavery as practiced in the U.S. today- World, "The Abolitionist", March 1, 2003.

Mynym- thanks for the article on the USS George Washington.

The History of Slavery by Norman L. Macht and Mary Hull from the World History Series, Lucent Books, San Diego, 1997. (I read this book with my children; it's about high school level. It follows the history of slavery throughout the world from the beginnings of civilization until 1997.)

U.S. Department of State- "Trafficking in Persons Report"

3 Comments:

At 4/15/2006 3:10 PM, Blogger mynym said...

President Bush is taking this human tragedy seriously, and under his leadership, the U.S. is seeking means to be a positive force in the world against this evil perpetrated on the weakest among us.

I'm glad to see someone actually giving George Bush credit for something. I have a feeling that history will be kinder to him than his current critics are because it will bring about some perspective that is not lost in the politics of the moment. People forget that leaders that are now looked up to often faced tremendous amounts of criticism of the trivial/political type in their day for doing the things that they are now looked up to for.

 
At 4/15/2006 6:15 PM, Blogger Anna Venger said...

Good points, Mynym. Personally, I think W. should credit for a lot more positive things than he is!

 
At 4/15/2006 6:17 PM, Blogger Anna Venger said...

oops. ...should RECEIVE credit...

 

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