The Thing No One Wants to Talk About
Camera info: Fuji Finepix A303 / Automatic Point & Shoot
ISO 100 • f 2.8 • 1/240 sec
I don’t know how I got here. I can’t remember much of the past few hours at all. This afternoon, I went to the market with my friends, and one of the merchants offered us free samples of his latest dish. Not long after trying it, I felt really tired, so I sat down on a bench while my friends continued shopping nearby. That’s the last I remember. Now I’m in a dimly lit room with no windows, and a door locked from the outside. I’ve tried calling for help several times, but no one answers.
Soon, an older man and woman enter the room. I try to get them to help me, but they just look at me coldly. The woman accuses me of stealing food at the market, and tells me I must work to pay her back. I refuse and try to run past her, but the man grabs me and hits me until I stop fighting. He drops me to the floor, where I sit there crying, unable to move because of the pain.
That first night in the brothel still haunts my dreams. I had three “customers” visit me, and each one was meaner than the one before. They didn’t care that I was only a child, or that I was trapped in a tiny room while my family searched for me in vain. All they wanted was what I could give them, no matter how unwillingly.
(This fictional story was adapted from the testimony of a young woman in India, who was rescued after being enslaved since she was 12 years old).
It’s Human Trafficking Awareness Month, so I wanted to focus on that tough topic this week. As most of America gears up for the Super Bowl on Feb 5th, traffickers are also preparing for one of their busiest weeks of the year. Children and young girls are brought into the city from Asia, Europe, and the Americas to give visitors more “entertainment” during their stay. Local law enforcement and many ministries are working to prevent these things from happening and rescue these modern-day slaves, but it’s everyday people who can raise awareness and protect their children and others’ the best. Turning a blind eye to the problem will only allow it to continue unhindered.
So what is your part in ending modern-day slavery?