Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What would you die for?

Mark asked a question the other day that was basically what would you die for? or something like that...

We started casting the vision for the fall project today. I am excited.
It is going to be a crash course in activism and we are taking on the slave trade.

Also I signed up to go to some Advocacy days in DC in october. I will get to advocate for improvement on the T Visa. 

In short at this point people who have been trafficked in illegally can get up to a 3 year visa, if they help the prosecution. So basically our government thinks that people who have been severely abused, raped, and psychologically manipulated, should go to court and then get shipped home. They are being treated like accomplices to the crime that has been committed against them. It is like they are being offered a really bad plea agreement. They have already been imprisoned, they need to be set free.

One of the biggest holes in the trafficking problem is aftercare. There is no where for these people to go once released where they will be safe, where they can heal emotionally and physically, where they will be cared for as they recreate their lives. They have already been traumatized enough without. They should not be treated like criminals. Forcing them to relive their experiences in front of a court is immoral. Yes we need them to testify so their captors can be stopped, but we need to care for them. This is our shared humanity we are talking about here, the only way we can end slavery is if we can live the belief that all people are equal and all of us are loved.

This is going to be a long journey. To end trafficking we must deal with poverty, globalization, the sex industry, human rights, women's rights, children's rights, we will have to take on cultures and be willing to say that some elements of culture are evil. People will need to open their homes to former slaves. We will need to take on our government and tell them their laws are unjust. 

As we talked about this in the staff meeting today Adam threw out some ideas that would get him killed. Most of them required that we have more money than we have and again they would get us killed. Oddly it was the fact that we simply don't have the money for this idea that held me back in my head more than the getting killed. 

What if we bought people? I think old time abolitionist used to do, right? but we don't have the funds or the network inside the trade, and plus the government might not know that we want to free them so that is a problem, cause buying people is illegal (which is a good thing). So we can't do that. 

But still I wonder. What if we were as brave of the underground railroad? What if we were willing to get ourselves killed to save others? What if we had the type of love that would lay down one's life?

I want to be like Paul able to say that I do not fear death. He said it when he was in prison on his way to his execution. It wasn't just a figure of speak. It death was right before him. Still he did not fear death. Right now I am so safe that I don't even know what it would mean to not fear death, but I know that I need that kind of courage. 

I feel like I am speaking of lofty ideals, I hope I am spreading a vision, I hope that I have the courage to find a way to enact change. I think that activism is the first place to start. Rescue work is glamorous, and necessary; but we need to get to the root of the problem, and we need to offer hope to survivors before they are trafficked again. There is so much to be done.

If you know anything about how people can help please leave a comment. I want to know. 

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