Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Cycle of Trafficking

On the DFC website, we give just a small insight into the issues of illiteracy, poverty, children at risk, human trafficking and slavery. In the coming weeks I am hoping to expand on those issues to give you more information about what exactly we're talking about and what it all means. It is so complicated and with each article and book I read it gets more involved and more complicated. There are no easy answers at all, but the more we understand about these issues the easier it will become to act against them.

Illiteracy --> Poverty --> Children at Risk --> Trafficking --> Slavery --> Illiteracy, etc. etc.

Illiteracy leads to poverty.
If you are unable to read, go to school and learn (not because of potential but opportunity), you are unable to attain a good job, read a contract, buy a home, glean information from a billboard, operate a cell phone, handle money, budget and explore areas of life that you have not been taught as a result of growing up. Think of all the areas of life you have to read and understand numbers. If you couldn't do that, how marketable would you be and how much could you really do? It's actually scary to think of the powerlessness you might feel in going about your day. You'd truly have to trust what others told you.

Poverty leads to children at risk.
If I was unable to read and was therefore impoverished, my children would be at great risk. I would be much more likely to allow them to go with a stranger who guaranteed them a better life and handed me a professional looking contract when in reality I wouldn't know what I was reading and be handing them into a life of slavery in one form or another. My children would be at risk of leading the same kind of life I had if they weren't trafficked or they may be lured by a trafficker in the hopes of changing their life.

Children at risk leads to trafficking.
As discussed above, if your family is impoverished, you or they are more likely to believe, be guilted into, or even look for ways to guarantee them a better life.

Trafficking leads to slavery.
Obviously if you are trafficked you are delivered into the hands of slavery in one form or another. Debt bondage, forced prostitution, manual labor and a variety of other forms of slavery await you if you are trafficked.

Slavery leads to poverty.
Be assured, if you are in slavery, you are not learning anything other than how to survive. You and your children, if you are able to have them, are forced into a life of poverty.

And the cycle continues.

How can you stop such a vicious cycle?
I believe that by stepping in at any one of these steps in the cycle, you can help stop it. On our site, we list various organizations fighting each one of these steps and they each offer many ways to get involved. DFC offers the ability to shop to support the artisans who are themselves fighting to get out of the cycle and the organizations supporting the artisans. You can even shop according to cause if you'd like. I am so proud of the organizations we feature and highlight at our store. Find the area that touches your heart the most and focus your energies there. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and be an advocate for those who need you. We can fight this together.

Which of these areas touches your heart the most? What do you wish you could do about it?

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