My first public speaking event on the issue

Jan 25, 2011

I was deeply thankful for the invitation to speak about this issue at my church two weeks ago.  What I was most touched by was the desire to make it a community event and how helpful everyone was in making it a successful evening.  I was given an hour to speak with an additional 30 minutes for questions.  An hour!  It was a great opportunity and yet at the same time I was freaking out a bit.  Thankfully I had my fellow Abolitionist Mamas (I need to write a blog about them as they are amazing) to flush out ideas and offer great suggestions.  I also had some pretty high speed technology so I was able to include some video clips and powerpoint slides thanks to the church’s amazing tech and sound guy, Jon, who made me look very professional.  Everything I wanted to do, I was able to do and more as we had Call + Response DVDs, copies of the book Not For Sale, as well as our own labeled *Cup of Freedom: abolitionist blend* Grower’s First coffee available for purchase in the back.  One of the Abolitionist Mamas made bracelets to give to every person who walked in made from 6 inches of duck tape signifying all that it takes to silence someone; and another abolitionist mama passed out flyers to a book club she is starting where they will be reading all kinds of books on issues of justice.  It far exceeded what I could ever do on my own.  For me, it was a great great gift to be able to share what I have been wrestling with for a while – and yes, I teared up a bit – it the beginning only – as I was caught off guard with just what this means to me.  So, here it is for those who are interested – the outline of my first public speaking occasion.

“And so, I ask you to stick with us through the discomfort caused by some of the subject matter.  For in the pain, there is promise; in the hurting, there is hope.  And our God is God of justice, who does not turn a deaf ear to the cries of the oppressed.  He alone empowers us as we confront the dark world of injustice and experience the joy of rescue, relief, and grace given to those who are suffering” – Gary Haugen (President and founder of International Justice Mission)

show trailer of the film Playground

Yes, it is uncomfortable, it is depressing, it is hard to watch or to hear, but that is not the end of the story for tonight.  Please be patient with me.  This is my first time to publicly speak about this issue that I have been wrestling with for almost 4 years now.  For those who don’t know me, my name is Kim and I am a wife and mother of two elementary school kids. I first heard of the term human trafficking around 6 years ago through my brother-in-law who told me about the organization called International Justice Mission.  Then a few years later I was invited to attend a screening of a new film, actually considered a rockumentary, called Call + Response.  It was this film, that haunted me for a year and I found myself polking around on the computer learning as much as I could.  I think Call + Response is the best film to both communicate the global picture of what Slavery looks like today as well empowers individuals to respond with where they are at in life.

show Call + Response Trailer

Types of Trafficking – Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery are interchangeable terms at this point.  Actual movement or transportation of a person doesn’t define the term.

Generally speaking slavery is the force of work (all kinds of work) against ones will under violence or threat of violence and are paid nothing or not enough to get them out of their situation.  If they don’t like their circumstances, they cannot leave.

 –  Sex Trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person forced to perform such an act is under the age of 18. This includes prostitution, strip clubs, pornography, etc. . . The average age of first being prostituted and trafficked in the commercial sex industry in the US is 13 years of age.

 – Labor Trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, debt bondage or slavery.  This can be seen in agriculture work, restaurant business, mining, nail-salons, hair-braiding places, domestic servitude, manufacturing, – it has a variety of faces.

– War children – these are children who are often stolen and force to fight in tribal wars in Africa.  These are mainly found in African countries such as Uganda, Ghana, The Democratic Republic of Congo.

Some of the common areas in which trafficking victims have been identified in the US include:

  • Commercial sex industry – domestic street prostitution, strip clubs, and escort agencies, asian massage parlors, residential brothels, “hostess” bars/clubs, residential or underground brothel settings.cantina bars, any pimp controlled prostitution such as hotel based, street-based, internet/escort based, truck stops, online websites like Craigslist – 15 year old in Northern California
  • Agriculture – farm – tomatoes in Florida
  • Industry and Manufacturing – factories, construction, large factory work
  • Retail businesses – restaurants, nail salons, hair-braiding salons, magazine crews, flower/candy sales crews – Not For Sales David Bastones and Tracy’s friend’s conversation in Santa Ana
  • Private Homes – domestic servitude, bride trafficking, maids/housekeepers – case in Irvine of Egyptian girl

Who is trafficked?

–       there is no one consistent face of a trafficking victim.  A victim can be rich or poor, men or women, adults or children, or foreign nationals or US citizens.  Some are even well educated with college degrees, while others have no formal education.

–       They can be anyone, but usually come from vulnerable populations, including undocumented migrants, runaway and at-risk youth, oppressed or marginalized groups, and the poor.  Traffickers specifically target individuals in these populations because they are often easiest to recruit and control.  I think this is one reason why I get so upset with it – evil exploits those who are already have it rough – already poor, orphaned, widowed and then you are exploited because of it.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke – over 200 years ago.

Justin Dillon, the producer of the Call + Response film briefly talked to us about how the poor have a poverty of material necessesities, however, those of plenty have a poverty of the soul.  Gary Haugen’s, the president and founder of International Justice Mission, who, in his book Terrify No More, answer’s the question, “Why do good women and men do nothing?” by addressing 3 reasons.  He refers to them as 3 sources of poverty.

1)     Poverty of Compassion – We seem to care if a problem is near, but not necessarily if it is far from us.  How as a nation we became tolerant of what was going on in Rwanda.  My friend, Shayne Moore, writes in her book called Global Soccer Mom about her journey in facing the realities of the global AIDS pandemic.  In the book she writes about the need to exercise and strengthen our compassion muscle. “To recognize that the fight against human trafficking faces the same challenges that any human rights movement has ever faced (Holocaust, Civil Rights Movement, Rwanda).  The primary challenge is not the greed and evil of the bad guys, its our indifference.  Indifference mixed with evil equals tremendous loss of life.” (Justin Dillon)

2)    Poverty of Purpose – Gary Haugen writes about how much of life bends us toward petty things and away from grander purposes.  I can relate to this as it doesn’t take much for me to be distracted by small and unworthy things and often I find that I actually look for small things to consume me.  We can see this with our news – how much petty junk news that competes with more significant news.  Gary Haugen writes, “In a world of so much acute suffering, hurt, and need, for what purpose have you and I been granted much?

3)    Poverty of Hope – “In the face of overwhelming evil and injustice, we often feel powerless.  And that powerlessness paralyzes us and steals our hope.  We are paralyzed in a poverty of hope because we first underestimate the value of what God has given us to transform lives.  Second, we underestimate the value of a single life.  And third, we underestimate God’s determination to rescue us from a trivial existence if we will just free up our hands and our hearts from unworthy distractions and apply them to matters that make a difference in someone else’s life.

Truth compels people of goodwill to act; and because all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing, the end is near for the perpetrators of injustice when the truth compels good people to do something, especially good people in places of power.” – Gary Haugen (International Justice Mission)

We are the good people in the place of power.

I have come to believe that it is not just chance that I was born in the United States with the freedom, opportunities, and liberties that I have.  That as a citizen of the United States I have power that most people in this world do not.  It is hard to believe that less than 100 years ago, I as a woman, would not have a voice of power in this world.  As a woman, born in the United States, I have come to believe that I have an obligation to speak on behalf of those around the world who do not have one and those who are often targeted of abuse and torture because they are female.

I have come to believe that each one of us – right where we are in exactly the age and stage in life that we are have a voice of power and have something to contribute in this fight against modern day slavery.  And don’t get me wrong – it is a fight.  There is a lot of money to be made for the bad guys and we – the goodwill people – must have a little more resilience, faith, and courage to stay strong.  And we must fight against our indifference – our feeling of “it’s over there – there’s nothing I can do”

So we may not feel all that wealthy, but we the wealthiest 2% in the world and live in one of most lucrative counties in the state in the state which is an economic power in and of itself.

You may not feel like you have power, but you do.  Here is the power we have.

1)     Voting power – we have a political voice and I am hear to tell you that the politicians will listen if we bother to call, write, and visit them.  Give examples – letter from Ken Calvert’s office, meeting in Boxer’s office for Child Protection Compact Act.  Trafficking Victims Protection Act was passed in 2000 which does research and give countries 3 Tier rankings based on how they are fighting Trafficking within their countries.  Ask, write, email, visit elected officials.  If you care, they will care.  If you don’t care, they won’t care.

Do you Own Stuff Made By Slaves – youTube video

2)    Buying Power – we may not think we are big spenders, but we buy things – food such as bananas, rice, coffee, chocolate, clothes, rugs, jewelry, cell phones – if you own or have used any of this, then you have power to make a difference.  Ask companies what they are doing to guarentee that their products are slave free and how they are monitoring their supply chains.  This has a ripple effect – think organic, environmental issues and products.

** Get on computer and show Chain Store Reaction website:

3)    Education/Relationship Power – we all know people, we all live in types of communities of people – book clubs, walking groups, bible studies, work friends, neighbors, kids friends, classrooms etc – we can talk about it – share what we have learned.  What do you talk about at work, with friends, with family – talk about it once a month – just bring it up and share with someone what you know.

4)    Keep your eyes open and call hotline number if you notice anything suspicsious.  888-3737-888 – 

Shyima Video (Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force case)

Ideas for what to do with your Power:

1)     Memorize the National Hotline number and use it if you notice anything suspicious – 888-3737-888

2)    Go Online and receive updates from organizations that are leading the charge against modern day slavery – International Justice Mission; Not For Sale; Call + Response, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves

3)    Go to Call + Response’s website and read their updates – very informative

4)    Go to chain store reaction and email 10 companies asking them what they are doing to make sure their products are not affiliated with this crime.

5)    Give money to fund projects – it is expensive to fight the bad guys – it is a very lucrative business.

6)    Educate yourself on the issue – Read NOT FOR SALE – first book to read

7)    Watch Call + Response video

8)    Get the Call + Response phone app and use it

9)    Buy Fair Trade when you can – Coffee is the easiest – almost every place has a fair trade option of coffee.  Ask for it.  Buy fair trade coffee and chocolate

10) Sign up for the NOT FOR SALE book club with Julie

11)  Come to the Freedom Summit with me – January 21/22

“learn to do right! Seek justice, rescue the oppressed.  Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17)

“He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what the Lord requires of you.  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”  (Proverbs 31:8)