So I'm minoring in Human development and this quarter I'm taking a class in Cross-Cultural Differences in children. We watched a video, "Modern Slavery." It was such an eye opener. At one point, I was tearing because I got so emotional. Basically, the video was what the title suggest, modern slavery. There were pieces on household slavery and sex slavery.
So I love fun facts and that includes statistics too. Statistics make something that much more real. A number associated with something can make it a reality because you can picture just how prevalent it is. Currently there are 27 million slaves worldwide....27 million. During the transatlantic slave trade alone, the whole 350 years it went on, there were only about half that number of slaves. This is because the price of slaves dropped drastically. Back then, a slave would of cost $40,000-$80,000 in our money now. While, a slave today is only worth $100. This results in objectifying a person. Treating them like toys or appliances, used till it's abused and broken down till it's time to get a new one.
What made me really emotional was the piece on sex trafficking. There was a girl who had a happy life in Vietnam and a woman talked her and her friend to leave and go to Cambodia, where she was then sold to be a sex slave. Can you imagine being forced to have sex with 30 "customers" a day? It isn't something you would ever want to imagine. And another girl, a 12 year old, was sold by her aunt to a 65 year old French guy. The French guy beat her then raped her. Makes you think about the world today and what drives people to do basically disgusting and inhumane things to others- to kids nonetheless. I look back when I was 12 and though I heard about sex I was still innocent and clueless about most of it. I grew up in household of Filipino immigrants. My gender and ethnicity shaped and socialized my sexuality. It dictated what was acceptable and unacceptable. I did not feel like an autonomous individual, there were boundaries for sexual behavior, expression, and activity. My parents were not too conservative, but I did grow up with a heavy Catholic influence and more of the “old-fashion” ways of thinking. My sexual health knowledge was zero. So I can not imagine being that child and the first experience I have is being coerced into sexual activities against my will.
One of my best friends, Bernie, is a psychology major and she brought a point I never really thought about. It's the question of what made these people do or act like this? There has to be some event or events that affected them when they were growing up to drive them to act this way and believe it's normal. There isn't anything biological about treating people like this. We were not born with a gene to intentionally hurt others. It is through nurturing and the environment that attitudes, acts, and feelings of hate, maliciousness, and hurt develop.
Everyone knows slavery exist..they hear little pieces here and there about sex trafficking or children working in the fields. I mean they even made a kick ass movie (the movie itself was kick ass...not the sex trafficking) with Liam Neeson around sex trafficking and how people can be kidnapped and forced into it. I remember in high school I did a report on sex trafficking, and I told myself I will try to be a better individual in society and raise awareness. However,it happens to everyone but sometimes your own life blurs everything else. Your life becomes the focus and you live each day ignorant or oblivious of everything else around you. Since I've been in college I feel like I've been stuck in this bubble. During the week I have no idea what is going on since I don't read the paper or news when I'm in school. I get too caught up on my own life, I forget about others around me. Until something like the documentary happens, where I am brought back into focus, there is a world and I'm not the only one in it.
Poverty. Poverty is what keeps slavery alive. We can fine and jail all the slaveholders, but new ones will arise and that's because of places like Cambodia and the Ivory Coast of Africa who are in poverty. They calculated the estimate of ending slavery worldwide and it would only take 22 billion. Seems like a lot to individuals like us, but just think about how much our country spends on the war alone or other superfluous expenses. It is estimated the war alone cost about less than $1.8 billion a week.. so it will only take about a little more than 22 weeks to get to that point.
I didn't write this to preach. I just wanted to remind myself especially and everyone who live free lives just how truly blessed we all are. Empowering to hear the stories of people who went through all this pain and suffering, yet they find hope and have a fight to survive. Their basic human rights are taken and their humanity is destroyed, yet they rebuild and can love and live again.
If there is one important thing my trip to the Philippines taught me was how blessed I am. That was one of the worst trips I've been on. (not because of my family.. I loved meeting them all) It was just shocking seeing in plain view how poverty and the socioeconomic inequality affect the lives of others. You see a nice house and right next to it are a group of people in rags and nothing but a "house" made up of ruins. We do not see it much here because we have a middle class, but in places like the Philippines...there is the really really rich and the ones with nothing at all.
So this was heeellla long.. it was more for me and to get my thoughts out AND to raise awareness... All we need is the 'political will, the resources, and awareness...'
PostScript. Sorry if this jumped all over the place, choppy, and did not fulfill your college english paper requirement. Im a freakin Science major for a reason... haha. I just wanted an outlet for my thoughts and rants.. so if you have a problem with my novel... don't read it..shiiii