Monday, February 23, 2009

Sex And Chocolate

<a href="">Fields of Mudan</a>

If you choose to watch the video above, I have to warn you that it's content is EXTREMELY disturbing. And sadly, the story depicted in this video is not uncommon in the world today. I don't want to discourage you from watching the video, but I do want to warn you that it is not pleasant. I've never left this disclaimer on my blog before, but if you are under eighteen, you may want to ask your parent or guardian to watch the video first and then get their permission. At I'm trusting on your honor to do so. The content isn't crass or distasteful, but it is highly disturbing. The video is about 20 minutes long, and was nominated for an academy award. It was produced by Florida State University.

Friday night, this video was shown at sozo café in Morgantown as part of our series of events Another World Is Possible. It left people speechless, and caught up in trying to process what they had just seen. The speaker who showed the video told the group that he wished he could say that the story being told was uncommon to re-assure folks that this was not the norm, but unfortunately this story is all too common. The event was called "Sex and Chocolate" because both of these industries have strong ties to human trafficking and slavery.

Friday night was one of our most packed nights for an event. We had a speaker by the name of Charles Lee come and share with folks about the issues of slavery and human trafficking. The numbers are staggering. Over 27 million PEOPLE are ENSLAVED in the world today. This is more than at any other point in human history. 600,000-800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year. Most of these are women and children who are forced into the sex industry. The numbers are staggering. And there is a very real possibility that there are slaves being held against their will EVEN IN YOUR TOWN! Charles Lee Created a website called One Voice To End Slavery. You should check it out and learn how you can spot potentially trafficked or enslaved individuals in the businesses around your town.

Of course the root cause of this issue is the darkness of the human heart. And the root solution is for individuals to be reconciled to God. But there are also some ways of making strides to reduce the frequency of slavery and trafficking. It starts by being aware of the issue. Once your eyes have been opened, there's really no turning back. Then you have to take action. You have to do something.

Here are some ways to fight it.

Learn how to protect yourself and others by educating yourself and others on the issue.
Contribute to organizations that are fighting slavery, trafficking, and extreme poverty.
Did you know that many children are sold by their parents because they don't have enough money to feed the rest of their family?
Research the products you buy. Charles shared that many well-knownchocolate companies are buying cocoa that was harvested by slaves. Maybe you could write letters to those companies to change their practices. Buy fairly traded products when you can.
Jump into the foray, and use your talents to enter the frontlines with a qualified non-profit who is doing excellent work.

Here are a few groups that might be of interest to you--I've blogged about them before, and I'll probably blog about them again.

International Justice Mission--they work to bring perpetrators to justice
One Voice To End Slavery--awareness group training folks to take action.
Nuru International--wholistic sustainable solutions to extreme poverty

Whatever you do, don't merely do nothing. Take action. Take a stand. Change the world.

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