Day 78 Question 78:
What world issue tugs at your heart strings/needs more world-wide/media attention?
There are issues all over the world. It is unfortunate but this world is not a peaceful place. Every day we are shown images of war and hear about a school shooting where innocent victims lose their lives. I started reading a book called Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. I am only about ¼ of the way into the book and my heart has absolutely melted. The first part of this book discusses human/sex trafficking of young women in countries such as Thailand and China. I knew this was happening. I know this is happening on the same land that I walk my feet on every single day. I know it happens everywhere but I just did not know about the brutality and the covering up that was being done.
I am always talking about having choices and detesting the victim mentality but I must admit that there are exceptions. There are so many women that are sold without having a choice. Their free will is stripped from them and they are treated like objects…not human beings. How does this happen? I understand that desperate times call for desperate measures but how can an individual (a father, a mother, a brother, aunt, uncle, etc.) sell their young child for profit. How can they knowingly allow their child to be raped, beaten and used in a way that makes them just want to die? The thing that sickens me the most is how the issue is swept under the rug by law enforcement and the media. There are women that voluntarily sell their bodies for profit in order to make ends meet but there are millions of young girls (as young as age 11) that are kidnapped and have all purity stripped from them against their will. It is unimaginable to think of having your virginity taken away forcefully by a stranger. Young girls grow up to know nothing of what real love is all about. There is nothing normal or natural about human/sex trafficking and these young girls may never know that.
In the beginning of the book (Half the Sky) a story is being told about a young girl named Rath. This young girls family was running very short on money so Rath decided to take a dishwashing job in Thailand (a distance from where her family lived). Her family was very concerned for her safety but Rath reassured them that she was traveling with four friends and they would be fine. They were not fine. These young girls were all kidnapped and thrown into a brothel in the poverty-stricken, red-light district of Thailand. I wanted to share an excerpt:
“Rath was shattered when what was happening dawned on her. The boss locked her up with a customer, who tried to force her to have sex with him. She fought back, enraging the customer. “So the boss got angry and hit me in the face, first with one hand then with the other,” she remembers telling her story with simple resignation. “The mark stayed on my face for two weeks.” Then the boss and the other gangsters raped her and beat her with their fists. “You have to serve the customers,” the boss told her as he punched her. “If not we will beat you to death. Do you want that?” Rath stopped protesting, but she sobbed and refused to cooperate actively. The boss forced her to take a pill; the gangsters called it the “happy drug” or the “shake drug”. She doesn’t know exactly what it was, but it made her head shake and induced lethargy, happiness, and compliance for about an hour. When she wasn’t drugged, Rath was teary and insufficiently compliant-she was required to beam happily at all customers-so the boss said he would waste no more time on her. Rath then gave in. The girls were forced to work in the brothel seven days a week, fifteen hours a day. They were kept naked to make it more difficult for them to run away or to keep tips or other money, and they were forbidden to ask customer to use condoms. They were battered until they smiled constantly and simulated joy at the sight of customers, because men would not pay as much for sex with girls with reddened eyes and haggard faces. The girls were not allowed out on the street or paid a penny for their work.”
This is only one small excerpt from the book. It absolutely made my skin crawl. I am not a mother but all I kept thinking about was if I was and if this was my daughter. What is my daughter were kidnapped and sold into a sex slave trade. I even thought about it being me. I can only imagine how horrific it must be. I cannot imagine the mentality of these young girls. These girls will be scarred for life and even if they are to escape these circumstances their lives will never be normal. They have been accustomed to a life of fear. They will constantly be looking over their shoulder waiting to be taken. They will be haunted by nightmares of rape and beatings.
I don’t understand how such inhumane acts can occur and how the governments do not step up to the plate and get these women out of these brothels. I know there is (as always) so much red tape and some women are there voluntarily and blah blah blah. No woman should sell her body in this fashion. I always want to be a part of the assistance and the aid in some way or another but in this case the problem is so huge that I am unsure of what the solution would be….hence why am not a government official. It breaks my heart though because these women are brought into the world never standing a chance for a decent life. They are breeded like animals and are sold at young ages to have their bodies mutilated and taken advantage of. How awful it must be to be born in certain countries. I guess this is all these women know though. I must share one last excerpt from the book-two journalists were crossing the border from India into Nepal:
“While sitting in the border shack, Nick began talking with one Indian OFFICER who spoke excellent English. The man said he had been dispatched by the intelligence bureau to monitor the border. “So what exactly are you monitoring?” Nick asked. “We’re looking for terrorists or terror supplies,” said the man, who wasn’t monitoring anything very closely since one truck after another was driving past. “After 9/11, we’ve tightened things up here. And we’re also looking for smuggled or pirated goods. If we find them we’ll confiscate them.” “What about trafficked girls?” Nick asked. “Are you keeping an eye out for them? There must be a lot.” “Oh, a lot, but we don’t worry about them. There’s nothing you can do about them.” The officer replied. “Well, you could arrest the traffickers. Isn’t trafficking girls as important as pirating DVDs?” Nick asked. The intelligence officer laughed genially and threw up his hands. “Prostitution is inevitable.” He chuckled. “There has always been prostitution in every country. And what’s a young man going to do from the time when he turns eighteen until when he gets married at thirty?” Nick replied, “Well, is the best solution really to kidnap Nepali girls and imprison them in Indian brothels?” The officer shrugged unperturbed. “It’s unfortunate.” He agreed. “These girls are sacrificed so that we can have harmony in society. So that the good girls can be safe.”
How very disheartening to read this words. How awful is it that people have become so stone-like that they do not care what happens to an innocent human being. It is all a game and these girls are the pawns. It terrifies me to think about the things that the government just lets slide because they just don’t want to deal with it. When the KONY 2012 campaign came out, of course like anything else, there was criticism. People assumed that the creator of this campaign was just looking for publicity…meanwhile young children are being made into killing machines or are being killed themselves. Children are sleeping in rooms piled wall to wall with other children. They live in rags and are malnourished terribly. I can only imagine how many diseases are floating among these young people. I watched part of the mini-series called Human Trafficking and it was all about sex-trade and the American government getting involved trying to stop this crime ring. The girls in the brothels became friends because all they had was each other. Two girls in particular became very close and always confided in each other. One of the girls grew very sick and the other told the “pimp” that she had to get medical attention because she was going to die if she didn’t. He told her he would get her help. He carried the sick girl out of the room dragged her into a room next door and shot and killed her. He killed her like he was hunting an animal and felt absolutely no regret and no guilt. How can people function like that?
I know this entry wasn’t my typical happy, inspirational type post but I felt it was something important to address. I sometimes feel the NEED to bring awareness to certain issues and subjects. I don’t have the answers but I have information and I feel like it is my job to share the information…because someone else might have the answer…or at least part of it. I also wanted to share a website: http://www.skirball.org/half-the-sky A friend of mine from high school scans my Facebook page from time to time and she knows my interests and the type of person that I am and she knew this would be something that would interest me. Once I visited this site I bought the book and I have drowned in every word. I share this with you in hopes to bring awareness.