I watched a great TED talk the other day – it is defiantly worth your time.
When you think of human trafficking you probably think of it as a violation of human rights, something you would never encourage and something you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. Well every day millions of people around the world are being exploited. Human trafficking is happening all around you and you might not know it but you’re contributing to this multi-billion dollar organised crime syndicate.
How many of you have brought an item from software giants like canon and Nintendo? Been to Asia and gone to a ping pong show? Brought coffee from a chain coffee store? I’m betting a large majority of you. Well I hate to tell you but that means you have played a part in keeping the human trafficking cycle alive.
Recent reports by ‘free2work’ analyse major software companies and coffee chains to see who is paying thier workers fairly – for the entire process. Not just workers in there head offices, but the staff who are in underdeveloped nations who are risking there lives in sulphur mines and breaking there backs to harvest coffee beans. The results are pretty shocking; if you’re interested read about it in detail here.
It made me think about the times in my life where I have made a concious decision to support this trade but, at the time was uneducated and naive on the impacts I was having. When I was 18 I went to Bangkok, Thailand – the sextourism mecca. I had had a number of friends go and watch a Ping Pong show and was intrigued. So one night my friend and I went to the infamous Pat Pong Market with thousands of other tourists and tried not to get husseled by the clubs (Note: You will always get husseled). We decided on a venue and sat down . Throughout the show I was shocked by what was happening in front of me, I mean, how does she do that? I also remember thinking, why does someone choose to do this as a profession? But merely passed off the unpleasant thought. Because the fact is that those girls DON’T want to be there and probably never wanted to be there in the first place.
They have been transported thousands of miles away from their homes by traffickers who promised them a good cleaning job. What they got was something far different – they were sent to work in the sex industry, told that they had a big debt and were in turn indebted to the brothel (a brother they didn’t even want to be in in the first place) . So then they’re trapped – with no identification papers – no money and no choice but to work. Then we westerners come along on our high horses, paying these girls and tipping for their services thinking “I am helping this girl out, if it weren’t for me she wouldn’t be working.”
Wrong. If you decided not to go along to that ping pong show or that massage parlour then you are really helping those girls. Because if there are no customers there is no business.
I am not ashamed to admit that I have been to one of these shows, because I was young, uneducated and oblivious to the situation at hand. I believe that more education about Human Trafficking is vital, because at the moment the information is not freely given to you by an author arrive body, you have to go looking for it. If I have had just one person read this and learn something from it then I know that I am contributing to help stop this vicious cycle.
If you won’t go to a zoo because of animal rights, then why would you support sextourism or the companies who use slave labor? Don’t humans have equal right too?