Some subjects are hard to write about. Such subjects reveal a baseness in our nature that is hard to accept, but is still there nevertheless.
It has been a privilege to have traveled around the world, seeing and experiencing many wonderful sights, sounds, smells, and any number of titillations to the senses. Coupled with this are other experiences that have brought me face-to-face with the seamier side of life. I have walked through some of the worst hell-holes imaginable, and seen the worst of human degradation. Children typically are the ones who are targeted most because they are the most vulnerable and the most trusting of the adults in their lives.
I guess the first time I was aware of some of life’s injustices on a large scale was when my family moved to Paris, France in 1960. This “City of Lights” was truly spectacular, especially at night! But what I was stunned to see were those who were destitute begging for a few centimes, or perhaps a franc. Mostly these were men who were missing a body part, having served in World War II, now relegated to sitting in the long tunnels of the Metro stations, dirty, disheveled but otherwise harmless.
Later after I had enlisted in the Marine Corps, I was exposed to poverty and rejection at a level unknown to me. Certain children in the Philippines, who were unfortunate enough to be left as orphans, lived in a communal garbage dump. Hundreds of children clawed through the piles of refuse, searching for anything they could resell so as to earn a couple of coins, thus allowing them to buy a bit of food. The more fortunate of these children might have enough to eat one small meal a day. At night they would burrow down into the garbage mounds where they would sleep, staying warm by the heat emitted from the decaying trash. It was not uncommon to find a child dead in their hole.
In countless bars and saloons all over the world young girls are routinely subjected to lives of prostitution, typically against their will through deception on the part of those who stand to make money from them; and from ignorance on the part of the girls and their trusting families. Parents of a young girl, usually from an agricultural community, would typically be offered a sum of money to take the girl to the city where she would be hired as a nanny or housekeeper for a wealthy family. Instead, the girl would find herself dumped into the bowels of some bar where her life of slavery to strangers and forced prostitution would begin. Many of these girls are as young as eight or nine.
It has been said in recent years that the worst slave market ever is the current slave trade in human trafficking. If you are unfamiliar with the term human trafficking, here is a simple definition: children and women forced into deviant lifestyles.
The following are current Seven Human Trafficking statistics obtained from the internet (JusticeforYouth.org).
First: The number of slaves in the world today is far greater than ever before in history.
Second: Approximately 75-80% of human trafficking is for sex.
Third: It is estimated that 30,000 people die each year from abuse, disease, torture, and neglect while being trafficked for sex. 80% of those enslaved are under 24, and some are as young as six years old.
Fourth: A human trafficker can receive up to 2000 percent profit from a girl trafficked for sex. The pimp can often turn around and sell her again for a greater price because he has trained her and broken her spirit, which saves future buyers the hassle. A 2003 study in the Netherlands found that, on average, a single sex slave earned her pimp at least $250,000 a year.
Fifth: The highest ranking source countries for human trafficking include Belarus, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Albania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, China, Thailand, and Nigeria.
Sixth: Today, slaves are more cost effective for the trafficker than they have ever been in history. The population explosion has created an abundant, on-going supply of victims, and globalization has made people more vulnerable and easily enslaved.
Seventh: Sex traffickers often recruit children because not only are they young, innocent and more unsuspecting than adults, but there is also a high demand for young victims. Traffickers target victims on the telephone, on the Internet, through friends, at the mall, and in after-school programs.
Consider these sobering statistics. I will continue this subject next week.