Since the second semester started, I have been sitting with a new group of people at lunch, mostly because everyone in my old group now have lunch at a different time. The topic of conversation varies, but there was one topic that I somehow brought up, and the response I got disturbed me.
Somehow, we got onto the topic of slavery in the United States. I don’t know how, but that is what we were discussing. I also don’t remember how I brought up that although slavery was officially abolished in the United States over 100 years ago, it does still exists. The four people with whom I sat at lunch didn’t believe me. They didn’t believe that slavery still went on in the word. They refused to accept that humanity is still in the slavery age. This post is being written for those who don’t believe that slavery exists, to show that we are not as civilized as one might believe; slavery still exists.
The first thing that comes to mind is human trafficking. We should all know and recognize that this is a problem, one that is incredibly difficult to stop. There is a worldwide network of human trafficking, ranging from people forced into labor, forced to be servants, and/or forced to be used for “pleasure”, to put it mildly. I don’t know what the world is doing about it. Seems to me that we are just turning a blind eye to the thousands of people who are being sold off as if they weren’t human at all; as if they had absolutely no rights. In this version of slavery, you have at least a couple million people, fellow human beings, who are forced to work in various ways.
A second thing that comes to mind is slavery in the shrimp industry. I read an article that depicted the lives of slaves living in eastern Asia and Southeast Asia. These slaves were homeless on the street or they were lost and were taken, probably abducted, and forced to work in terrible conditions. Children as young as four are in these factories de-shelling shrimp, along with the elderly, some as old as 80. According to the International Labor Organization, it has been estimated that there are 250 million children between the ages of five to fourteen who work not only in undeveloped countries but also developing countries. 61 percent of THESE are in Asia. The reporter of this article tried to trace the routes where the shrimp went. As it turns out, it goes to a variety of restaurants, including Olive Garden. I don’t think I’ll ever set foot in that chain of restaurant again because the article I read will forever come back to mind.
Visit http://bigstory.ap.org/article/8f64fb25931242a985bc30e3f5a9a0b2/ap-global-supermarkets-selling-shrimp-peeled-slaves for the article referred to above.
The problem with this last example is that the people at my lunch table don’t care because this version of slavery is taking place in countries such as North Korea, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, etc. They think that because it isn’t in the United States, because it doesn’t pertain to them and doesn’t affect their every day lives, that it isn’t worth the effort to try to change. They also argued that the world doesn’t like it when the United States tries to be the police of the world and fix other countries’ problems. My response was that as a human, you should try to help other humans. Don’t help as the citizen of the U.S., help as a fellow human being! Naturally, they scoffed at me. Then the bell rang, ending lunch.
Visit http://humangoods.net/?page_id=1096 for more horrifying examples of how slavery is still affecting the world.
Although this may not affect you, you should care. You should be bothered by the existence of such organizations and companies that benefit from slavery. You should be bothered that slavery still exists. You should want to stop it! Why hasn’t humankind ended it yet? What in the world is preventing you from taking action? What is stopping you from speaking up?
I would like to understand why you haven’t been helping and what you plan to do about slavery in the comments bellow.