"A human trafficker can earn 20 times what he or she paid for a girl. Provided the girl was not physically brutalized to the point of ruining her beauty, the pimp could sell her again for a greater price because he had 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." - RandomHistory

Saturday, April 9, 2011

More Community-based Freedom

"Using the power of governments or the United Nations would seem to be the way to end slavery once and for all. But while governments, in time, may indeed be the most powerful forces against slavery, today they are not. At present, the most efficient engine for freeing slaves and keeping them free is when a community makes a conscious collective decision to do just that. As far as I can tell, more slaves are freed every year through community organization than any other way; they are also freed more efficiently, and their freedom has more permanence. What's more, the critical and needed rehabilitation after liberation happens more quickly and with greater power when it grows from the community. Recent local elections in India demonstrate this.

"I have always been amazed and moved by the resilience of freed slaves, but I was stunned when the election results were announced in rural Uttar Pradesh in early 2006. In the preceding months the Sankalp and other activists in the antislavery movement had been helping hundreds of slaves who had recently come to freedom, some of them the people in the village of Azar Nagar whom we met at the beginning of this chapter. We knew that these ex-slaves would be working hard to better their lives, but when I heard that ninety-nine freed slaves had decided to run for office, I was astounded. I was also a little worried that the disappointment of election defeat would be a real setback for them. Then, two weeks later, I heard the news that floored me: of the ninety-nine running for office, seventy-nine had been elected. In a groundbreaking change for rural Indian politics, thirty-one of the newly elected ex-slaves were women. This rapid transformation from slave to elected official demonstrates how powerful the community approach can be. Looking at other ways to end slavery, today and in history, I have found nothing like this. Yes, some ex-slaves were elected to office in the Deep South after the American Civil War, but they did so with an army of occupation to back them up, and as soon as that army pulled out, they were quickly pushed to the side or worse.

"The local self-help groups of ex-slaves are also having a profound impact on the natural environment. Remember that the slaveholders destroyed the national forests with illegal strip mining. Now in villages like Azad Nagar, villagers are replanting the forests. Free the Slaves helped Sankalp and the villagers raise funds, and now more than ten thousand trees have been planted. And these are not just any trees; the villagers are planting the five species of trees that Mahatma Gandhi recommended for village prosperity-trees that supply food, fuel, fodder, fiber, and flowers. When whole villages come out of slavery, it seems miraculous. Now I feel I need a word for "more than miraculous" when I see recently freed villages replanting forests; landscaping strip mines into watersheds, ponds, and irrigation systems; building schools; putting an end to child trafficking and "slaveproofing" their villages; electing their members to office; and startLng new businesses. What powerful forces for freedom are locked up in every slave! It is up to us to find the best ways to set those forces free."

 - Kevin Bales, Ending Slavery, p82.

The Price of a Slave

The average price of a slave has decreased.

Community-based Freedom

Regarding villages trapped in bonded-labour slavery: "In these communities, across different continents, languages, economies, and governments, the same story keeps unfolding: no matter how powerless and poor, with just a little help, people will do whatever is needed to get slavery out of their lives and homes. Over and over, when a community believes there is a realistic possibility of freedom, it becomes unstoppable - even when there is risk.

"Understanding that fact is crucially important, because when it comes to ending slavery community-based freedom may be the best strategy of all. Rescuing individual slaves can leave the criminal slave-based businesses intact, and soon a new slave has taken the place of the freed one. But when a whole community drives out the slave traders and the slaveholders, freedom is firmly set in place. Breaking the cycle of slavery will also free a community to smash through other problems that support slavery, like illiteracy, poverty, and disenfranchisement. Slavery is a blood-sucking parasite that leaves a community paralyzed and stupefied. Get rid of slavery and, with a little help, a village can actually slave-proof itself. The process of confronting and defeating slavery shifts power to the community, which means achieving community goals like good education and economic stability becomes possible. In turn, education, economic stability, and learning to work together are a vaccination against slavery. Without slavery incomes go up, children go to school, and corruption falls. There will still be problems, of course, since every community is made of people who have different interests and goals, but now the community is moving forward without the dead weight of slavery holding it back. "

 - Kevin Bales, Ending Slavery, p79.

"Freedom spreads like a virus"

"Freedom spreads like a virus"

 - Kevin Bales, Ending Slavery, p69.

Human Trafficking compared to Murder

"Today, the rate at which we are cracking down on this crime is nothing to be proud of. Note that the FBI reports about seventeen thousand murders every year in the United States. Not surprisingly every police department of any size has a homicide unit. Now compare that situation to the fact that the government says about seventeen thousand people are trafficked into slavery in the United States every year. When it comes to murder, more than twelve thousand of those seventeen thousand homicides will be "cleared," that is, solved and brought to trial. How many slavery and trafficking cases were brought to trial last year? Slightly over one hundred. Imagine the public outrage if America's police could solve only one hundred murders a year out of the seventeen thousand committed! The day will come when most police departments have a slavery and trafficking unit next door to the homicide unit, but every day that passes until that happens is another day in hell for thousands of slaves."

 - Kevin Bales, Ending Slavery p57

It all boils down to Public Opinion

"Unlike the abolitionist movements of the past, the fight for public awareness and public opinion today has three great advantages. The first is that the moral argument is already won; no government or organized interest group is pressing the case that slavery is desirable or even acceptable. No minister is standing in the pulpit and giving Biblical justifications for slavery. The second advantage is that the monetary value of slavery in the world economy is very small, so the end of slavery threatens no country's livelihood. No country can say, "We would like to end slavery, but we just can't afford it." The third advantage is that, for the most part, the laws needed to end slavery are already on the books. Given these advantages, bringing an end to slavery requires the political will to enforce law, not campaigns to make new laws. But political will (in most countries) is directly proportional to public awareness and concern. Until slavery reaches the public agenda, slaves will continue to suffer."

- Kevin Bales, Ending Slavery - How we free today's slaves, p27

What will you do to stop Human Trafficking & Slavery?