30 December, 2014

Opening My Eyes

With Christmas last week I decided to unplug and be with my family. Here is my entry from the last Friday Creativity prompt

One of the times that my view of the world changed (there have been many) is when I was fifteen. I started being a correspondent for a girl with Compassion in India. I have always had a fascination with India, and so was excited to write someone from that part of the world. I was telling someone about it and they said to me, “Well you know what happens to little girls in India, right?”

This was my introduction to human trafficking. Spared some of the details, I learned several things from the conversation that followed:
  •         Slavery still exists;
  •         People are capable of doing really horrendous things to each other;
  •         I should not assume the safety, security and love I received is shared by all.

I was dumbfounded. How could people enslave each other? Why would people want to hurt each other in that way? How does someone stoop to buying another human being?  

In that moment I realized that if girls in India were being subjected to these unspeakable horrors then someone had to speak out about it. So I found out all I could. I started to talk about it. I became an abolitionist.

It took years for me to figure out that trafficking happens in the U.S. too. Girls are tricked into slavery; we have forced labor happening within our borders. Those unspeakable horrors are not just for people overseas, or brought into the U.S., they are for our citizens as well.

I wish I could remember who I had conversation with. I would love to tell him that it altered my entire life. It was my entrance into injustice, my slowly pulling back the layers to poverty, deceit, powerlessness, and ultimately the heart of sin. I got a degree in International Affairs because of that moment. I’ve been in the nonprofit field for ten years because of that conversation. My core values of everyone has a voice, every life matters, everyone is equal, can be traced back to the moment someone older than me respected me enough to speak to me like an adult.

The idea of purchasing another human being for domestic servitude, forced labor or a sexual act still perplexes me. If the average age of someone entering sex trafficking is twelve, that means some kids are pulled into it much younger. I read an article this morning where police pulled out an infant who was being sold for drugs.

He knew and could not be silent about it. I know and cannot help but stand up for the ending of those still under something that should have been eradicated 200 years ago. 

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© Amanda Lunday