Those of you who see my posts on Facebook know I often re-post updates re. modern-day slave trade. As we all learned in school, slavery has plagued humankind almost since the beginning of time, even in America. Thanks to my cousin Sue’s recommendation, I’m currently reading Undaunted Courage – Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose. The story of Lewis and Clark’s expedition across our great country fascinates me; however, I’m troubled by the treatment of Native American women.
Men in some tribes offered their wives to their elders and to the expedition’s soldiers for sex, hoping to gain prowess for themselves through the transaction. One woman “appeared with six of her daughters and nieces in tow…selling their favors. Clark remarked, ‘Those people appear to view sensuality as a necessary evil.’ He added, ‘The young females are fond of the attention of our men.’” As if they had a choice…
Certain tribes frustrated Lewis, who “condemned their petty thievery and sexual morals.” And his men had better morals? Sexually transmitted diseases plagued the soldiers the entire journey.
In most cases, the native women did the heavy work around the campsites and carried the load when their tribes relocated to another place. Yes, the men fought wars and hunted for food, but the women built their living quarters, skinned bison, deer and elk, dried the meat, tanned the hides, made the clothing, cared for the children, prepared the meals, and whatever else the men demanded of them.
Today’s human trafficking is no different. Boys and girls, men and women around the world – and here in our country – are forced to do the bidding of those who hold them captive. They labor in homes, in factories, on farms and ranches, strip clubs and brothels. These captives are beaten and abused, starved, threatened, chained and humiliated. Their bodies and their lives are not their own, whether it’s sex that’s required of them or labor or organs.
I know – trafficking is hard to think about. On the positive side, we recently met a rest-stop caretaker (older guy) in another state who keeps an eye on trucker activity. One driver who was way too interested in children showed up regularly at the rest area, so the caretaker took a picture of his license plate and learned the guy came from a nearby town. The next time the man appeared, the caretaker told him he knew who he was and to stay away. He also cautions moms and dads who stop there, warning them about potential danger and reminding them to watch their kids closely. What a guy!
But most of us don’t hang out at rest areas, at least not for long. How can we fight trafficking? A few simple, practical suggestions: Teach our children ways to avoid traffickers, be alert to what’s happening in their lives, pray for trafficked victims, ask school officials to educate students about traffickers, report suspicious activity, support organizations that assist those who’ve escaped slavery, and petition for tough anti-trafficking legislation.
What else can we do to fight today’s slave trade? Suggestions?
One more thought. Some experts suggest a direct connection between rampant, easily available pornography and trafficking. Porn whets the appetite for more than just photographs and videos. According to PornHarms.com, Google made a recent decision to “no longer accept ads that promote graphic depictions of sexual acts including, but not limited to, hardcore pornography; graphic sexual acts including sex acts such as masturbation; genital, anal, and oral sexual activity.” Good for Google!
But we’re not Google. How can we fight pornography? Suggestions?
Amos 5:15 – Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts.