Saturday, November 14, 2009

Our Girls Have Their Papers and Speak English

Driving home from the grocery store this morning, I saw this on the marquee of one of the strip clubs that I pass on the way:

Our Girls Have Their Papers and Speak English

The sign surprised me.

Not because I frequent that institution and doubt their claim...but that I was surprised for the need for that announcement.

Do they really need to distinguish themselves from other strip clubs in town who can't say the same thing?

Has there been a recent crackdown on this in the area?

Is this really a problem in Springfield? I mean, I know it's a problem other places...but here?

Surely this is an "over there" issue isn't it? Somewhere else? Russia? Greece? Other parts of Europe? But Springfield, Missouri?

That's where I was confronted with my naivety on this issue--of women who // I always think women, I so easily forget children too // who are forced into 'the sex industry' against their will. Every year over 50,000 women and children are captured and brought into the United States to work as slaves.

Human trafficking.

Modern slavery.

I know it happens...but a part of me didn't think it affects us here in this isolated, small market.

I don't assume that women and children who are lured and deceived with offers of good paying jobs to support their families; are then kidnapped and taken into other countries, could end up in Springfield.

So naive.

I watched a trailer a few months ago from Christine Caine's organization "The A21 Campaign," whose goal is to abolish modern slavery and is based in Greece.

The issue of human trafficking is much larger than we usually think of it as. Slavery is still around. And around big time. Take 3 minutes and watch.

The sign I saw today was an unexpected reminder of the horrors that go on around me that I'm oblivious to, either purposefully or not. We should never turn a blind eye to people who need help, even if we're not doing it intentionally.