Saturday, July 14, 2012

Development and Freedom

"Bangkok is selling it's beauties for mere dollars and cents, and the commodity is in high demand. This is the path of survival for many Thai girls....she makes the sacrifice to send money back to those she loves. I turn to leave" writes a young adult photographer, "my heart in my throat. She stays. She doesn't know the way out."

 This is a story recorded in a book of photo essays collected by young adults on a learning trek through impoverished communities (photoGenX 2008). The author continues that she believes that together the international community can work to make a way out for the hundreds of thousands of young women and boys who are sold for sex.

I also have hope that there is a "way" for the little girl in Thailand....revolutions and cultural shifts have happened before in the face of seeming insurmountable struggles. I have been thinking lately about stories where the victims of trafficking are sold because of poverty, desperation, and the worn out hardened heart of a parent or other authority figure: easy money from seemingly insatiable demand for prostitutes-- women and children--- rupturing the safety of even family life.

 Human trafficking demands multiple strategies for breaking the cycle for perpetrators and victims, but I have been particularly struck by how working for economic change will impact the sex trade. The more self determination and autonomy people have the less vulnerability to pimps and johns there will be. So things such as sponsoring a child, working with international medical missions, or supporting global literacy are indirect and powerful things that everyday folks can contribute money to to break the chains even of trafficking.

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