I first heard this quote when teaching the play, The Diary of Anne Frank, to eighth graders at Greenwood Middle School. Nineteenth century British statesman Edmund Burke’s observation certainly applied to Hitler’s regime and the Holocaust of the 30’s and 40’s.
This same idea of doing nothing haunts me now when I think about human trafficking. In the areas where CGI works, it is very common for families, mothers and fathers to traffick their daughters in order to put food on the table. As CGI president and founder Chris Alexander often notes, “Most of the world is just one crisis away from making a bad decision.”
The above photo was taken outside a Beer Garden/Karaoke Bar in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Though these girls seem “of age”, CGI has seen girls as young as 5-years-old being exploited for sex.
The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Trafficking (UN-GIFT) estimates that 2.5 million people worldwide are in forced labor (including sexual exploitation) with 56% happening in Asian and Pacific countries.
Meet the victims:
• The majority of trafficking victims are between 18 and 24 years of age.
• An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year.
• 95% of victims experienced physical or sexual violence during trafficking (based on data from selected European countries).
• 43% of victims are used for forced commercial sexual exploitation, with 98 per cent women and girls.
• 32% of victims are used for forced economic exploitation, of whom 56 per cent are women and girls.
• Many trafficking victims have at least middle-level education
Let’s not be guilty of walking by the problem and looking the other way.
By Joyce Long / photo: Jocelyn Post