This coming week on February 3, America will slip into the cozy confines of the average family room and dig into the dip and the cheese crackers while guzzling a beverage and turning to the television where two top football teams will play their hearts out to win the Super Bowl.
The host city, too, will be on watch making sure there is no crime magnetized by the numbers of people making their way to Miami to enjoy an American tradition.
But there will be thousands of young victims that weekend whom many Americans know nothing about. Their average age is 12 to 14 years and their nationalities from anywhere in the world, even the United States. They are the individuals trafficked as part of the international sex trade. They have been found on the internet, on squalid streets of poverty all over the world, and their average economic worth is $90.00 per service. Yet, they generate $32 billion a year in the world’s economy. There is no other word for them except to call them slaves. In fact, the United States Department of Homeland Security refers to human trafficking as “…a form of human slavery which involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to exploit adults and children into some type of labor or commercial sex.”
These young persons will be funneled toward the Super Bowl into hotels and secret venues as they are to all major sport championships anywhere in the world. These are the places where large numbers of people gather and where sexual abuse can be hidden under the guise of celebration and championship fever.
Several Sisters in my community are part of a group that prepare “care packages” to distribute at hotels and venues where trafficking is known to occur mostly around celebrational events. Phone numbers are provided on bars of soap for potential victims to use for help. Many women religious are part of a national network confronting the causes of trafficking while ministering to the victims individually. In Cleveland, a group of sisters founded The Collaborative To EndHuman Trafficking. www.collabtoendht.org This is another form of radical kindness and one that any of my readers can assist in. Please check the following information to see where you can help or at least increase your knowledge of this overwhelming grip of evil on your youth worldwide.
If I want to do something to confront human trafficking, perhaps I can start by learning more about it. The web site, polarisproject.org provides educational information.
I can certainly become a smarter consumer to avoid products that have contributed to human trafficking. Check out, endslaverynow.org/act/buy-slave-free
I can advocate an end to trafficking by signing online letters to elected officials: polarisproject.org/action.
Certainly I can pray for the victims of human trafficking and for the traffickers themselves that they might have a conversion of heart. This is an issue that cries out for extraordinary kindness. This is one of the evils in the world which we do not readily observe, but it is there and it often eludes detection. Becoming aware, dear readers and anonymous angels, will inspire you to some kind of faith-driven radical kindness. I invite your comments, please.