Sunday, March 13, 2011

Six Degrees of Worse

I’ve been reading about two tragedies recently that have given me a new perspective. Pretty much everyone is aware of the first one, the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the friends and family involved in this devastating event.

The second came from reading a book, The Natashas: Inside The New Global Sex Trade by Victor Malarek. While woman and girls being trafficked is hardly a new tragedy, it has gone on for too long. My heart goes out to all those woman and girls being subjected to this every day.

All of our technology in the world can’t prevent horrible events like the earthquake and tsunami. But, at least, when we find out about it we come together and try to help make a difference. Whether it’s through well wishing, prayers and condolences or donations to organization like the Red Cross. On the other hand, woman and girls being held against their will and forced to be sex slaves isn’t out of our control.

The news media is quick to bring us the latest bad news.  I’m not an avid news viewer, but I watch enough that I’m aware of the events that get the most coverage. So one thing I learned from this book is not all tragedies are splashed across the news. Maybe it’s just me, but I was completely unaware of the horror these woman and girls go through everyday.

So what’s being done? There have been laws passed and politicians who have made some great speeches about putting an end to it. But unfortunately laws and politicians don’t change things. That is evident by the length of time this injustice has gone on.

To give you an idea of how long I’ve provided a few resources below:

The Coalition Against Trafficking of Women was founded in 1989. They are a non-governmental organization promoting woman’s human rights.

The Natashas: Inside The New Global Sex Trade by Victor Malarek, was published in 2004. This book was well written and extremely eye opening. Anyone interested in learning more information on trafficking would do well to read this book. Mr. Malarek published a sequel in 2009 entitled, The Johns: Sex For Sale and The Men Who Buy It.

And most recently, in February, I heard of Amy Seiffert, who is trying to raise awareness on trafficking by wearing the same dress for 6 months. The money she saves by not purchasing new clothes she plans to donate to help The Daughter Project, a non-profit organization started to help those who have been trafficked and help prevent it from happening in the future. 

Mrs. Seiffert got some coverage on the news in February, but the focus was on how she was wearing the same dress for 6 months. They made sure the public was aware she was planning to wash it during this time, because these are the issues that are important. I’m sure this wasn’t what she was hoping would be discussed during her few minutes of airtime.

I, myself, would have hoped for a discussion on the actual problem she was trying to raise awareness on. In addition it would have been nice to know where she was posting details of her journey. And also a place where you could get more information if you wanted to help.

So I did some searching and found her blog: where she is covering her journey. She is on day 118.

But there is hope. On March 7th, CNN launched The CNN Freedom Project. According to them: “Throughout 2011, CNN’s reporting will expose the horrors of modern-day slavery, highlight the growing efforts to stop the trade and exploitation of human beings and amplify the voices of the victims.”

Who can stop this injustice if not laws and politicians? The public. As long as the public is okay with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” way this situation is being handled, it will continue to thrive. I’m not sure what to tell anyone to do. Hopefully the CNN Freedom Project will make the much-needed difference. Sometimes the first step that makes the biggest impact is just plain old awareness. So please tune in here.

I know this isn’t my normal, light-hearted, SHORT post. But unlike many I’ve written before, this one is really important. And while I’m in my 9-5 hell feeling overwhelmed, it gives a new perspective to consider. Many have heard of the whole idea that we are six people away from meeting everyone in the world. Well, I think we are also six events away from experiencing the worst things in the world. And my worst day at work is several degrees away from the two tragic events I spoke of here.

What is also true is there are plenty of situations that go in the other direction. It is important to keep a perspective on the difference in those degrees too. The whole point in life is to enjoy it, so I should keep in mind how many degrees I’m away from having the best day.

1 comment:

  1. This post hit home for me - my romantic suspense touches deeply on this subject. Its sequel will focus primarily on it. Shortly after beginning the novel, I flipped on the TV and this was on It's a tragic story of a few different Russian women who were sold into the trade. It focuses on a husband whose trying to get his kidnapped wife back. Just tragic all around.