Hello and welcome back to another exciting edition of the Maseno Minute! From your loving team here at TLC, we hope you had a good weekend, filled with red and yellow oak leaves and Halloween costume preparations. Because we know you would never procrastinate something as important as Halloween.
This week’s Maseno Minute is taking you to East Asia to talk about five awesome organizations the Pad Project has the privilege of partnering with: Destiny Rescue in Cambodia, Love Children’s Home in Myanmar, Zoe International in Thailand, Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation in Vietnam, and Rahab Ministries in Thailand. All of these organizations are comprehensive, providing long-term solutions of for the people they help—all of whom have been victims of human trafficking.
These organizations focus not just on rescuing victims from the immediate danger of human trafficking, but they also enable victims to have a future through offering career training, counseling, and love. The Pad Project is excited to team up with these organizations and deliver pads to the women in these shelters. Destiny Rescue will receive pads in December, Love Children’s home is getting pads in November, contacts from Zoe International already have pads which will be delivered in the coming weeks, Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation received pads last April and will receive more pads this coming March, and we are teaming up with Rahab Ministries in the coming months, as well.
But we, here at TLC, don’t think the gruesome reality of human trafficking gets as much attention as it should—maybe that’s because our media is a little bit too focused on Trump’s latest Tweet to pay attention to the estimated 46 million people trapped in ‘modern slavery.’ And that is neither right, nor fair. So we want to spend some time talking about it today.
46 million people are in situations of modern slavery. That is equivalent to the whole population of Spain being used for sexual exploitation and forced labor. The majority of the victims of human trafficking are women and girls, as sexual exploitation is the main form of human trafficking, though forced labor, organ removal, and forced marriage are also prevalent. Many women are also being sold into China, as China has a massive demand for women due to their history of female infanticide. Some organizations, like Love Children’s Home, will buy women at the border of China and take them to safe rehabilitation centers.
Some victims of human trafficking are kidnapped while others are tricked, falsely promised a job or some kind of advancement opportunity. Many victims are often taken to other countries where they do not speak the language. Because of this, victims can’t ask for help, and are often too afraid to run away because they don’t know where to go, can’t navigate the language barrier, and will receive deathly beatings if they are not successful in their escape. Some organizations, like Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, enlists the help of volunteers to walk through popular streets and discuss how women can find help through their organization. They have these conversations in different languages with the hope that women from different countries and backgrounds will hear and be able to get help. Tragically, many of the people who are sold into human trafficking are children who are used for labor until—in the case of young girls—they are old enough to be sold into the sex trade.
While human trafficking is happening in many countries throughout the world, 2/3 of the total number of people living in modern slavery are in East Asia. This is partially due to the fact that Asia is the most populous area in the world, so there is some obvious correlation. However, it would be irresponsible and dismissive to write the statistic off as a mere correlation.
We live in a consumer-based society where happiness is equated with having more, better, and prettier than what we had yesterday. We want a better layout for our kitchens, we want to trade in our car for the newest model, and we need to do it all for the best price possible so we have enough left over to go out to that new expensive sushi restaurant down the road. But these lifestyles—for most people with most means—are only possible if we can buy more for less money, something that oftentimes requires slave labor.
People are doing things to combat this: frequenting local farmers markets, buying coffee tables from boutiques down the road that support local artists. We aren’t bashing these important everyday attempts at justice—but we also can’t be complacent, either. Because we are all supporters of companies like Nestle, H&M, Godiva, and Hershey, companies that use slave labor to help us buy a 6 pack of chocolate for 2.99.
We all unintentionally support slave labor. To some extent it’s inevitable because of the way our society is structured—for example, a team of journalists investigating the fishing industry in Southeast Asia traced fish caught with slave labor back to supermarkets and pet food providers in more developed countries like the US. But we need to remember that our desire for more brought us here.
Human trafficking is a massive structural issue, made more dangerous by the fact that the majority of us are also very removed from its reality. Many people look at the problem, feel pain for the victims, but then feel like they’re too small to make a difference. So they blink a few times and then go back to their morning paper.
But here at TLC we know that’s not true—you and I can help. We need to if we ever want to see the changes we wish were realities.
If you feel called to help victims of human trafficking and don’t know how to help, you can make pads in your own community that the Pad Project will send to one of these projects. (The links to the projects are at the bottom of this article, if you want to know more.) If you feel compelled to act, let us know and we will deliver your pads to one of these specific organizations. We are asking for two people to have a Pad Group in their community so that we can send two shipments of pads to women in the rehabilitation process. We want them to know that they are loved, they are worth it, and—once they start living their own lives again—they will never have to worry about being women, at least when it comes to their period.
This week TLC challenges you take this survey to see what your personal role is in human trafficking. Of course, while the survey is not exact, it’s important to be mindful of who and what we are to other people.
From all of us here at TLC, we hope you have a good week, and we hope you know that you don’t need things to make you worth it. Everybody wants a nice house and a fluffy blanket to wrap up in at night, but we don’t have to be the mindless consumers a lot of companies wish we were. Because you, and millions of people across the globe, deserve a lot more than that.
Destiny Rescue: https://www.destinyrescue.org/us/countries/cambodia/
Love Children’s Home: http://lovechildrenshome.org/
Zoe International: http://gozoe.org/
Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation: https://www.bluedragon.org/
Rahab Ministries: http://www.rahabministriesthailand.com/