Last week President Obama launched a nationwide human trafficking awareness campaign, proclaiming this month National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Leading up to this month, my sister, Marissa, and I began e-mailing back and forth about the injustice of slavery and human trafficking. "I can't help feel guilty—guilty of ignorance, lack of action, or the privilege and freedom into which we were born," she wrote.
I understood her sentiments. The summer after my sophomore year of college, I was volunteering at a school for slum children in Bangalore, India.
Shortly after my arrival, I discovered that I was living next door to a brothel.
My housemate and I decided to invite some of the girls over for dinner, hoping to hear their stories, but our invitation was turned down. We soon learned that the girls were not allowed to leave the premises for more than five minutes. Any errands lasting longer could result in a severe beating, or worse.
It seemed that all I could do was report the brothel to uninterested authorities.
Like Marissa, I felt guilty and defeated in the face of injustice.
Unlike willful prostitution, modern-day slavery means having no control over your body. Your life is at someone else's command. You cannot control where you are taken or how many men will rape you per day. You cannot control whether or not you get free time, food or sleep, and whether you get to live or die. And there's often no escape.
India, the world's largest democracy, has the largest number of bonded slaves. At least 100 million people are involved in human trafficking in India, according to Home Secretary Madhukar ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more