The Common Good

Human Trafficking and the Average Joe

090911-human-traffickingSo a friend of mine, Shelton Green, has started an organization to help fight human trafficking -- What's Your Response. The purpose of the group is "Bringing the issues of human trafficking and modern-day slavery into the consciousness of our city and giving everyone avenues for action to end this tragedy." It's a great group, and Shelton is really committed to helping raise awareness about this issue. This weekend the group organized a Coaster Crawl -- delivering coasters with stories of trafficked people to local pubs and coffee shops. The point was to get people aware that slaves exist in our very midst. Their endeavor was featured in the Austin-American Statesman recently.

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While I think it's fantastic that the local paper is getting the word out about how people can work to help stop human trafficking, the responses to the article were a sobering wake-up call. Yes, maybe I am just naive, but I want to believe that ordinary people have the capacity to be good. That they are capable of compassion and of living out the call to love our neighbor. Instead, the majority of responses to this article merely revealed that hatred and prejudice run deep (and, yes, I know that people who leave responses to newspaper articles are generally the freaks on the extremes, but they are still saying out loud what generally only gets said in the privacy of people's homes -- the sentiments are real). In this case the hatred took the form of the attitude "screw the victims; it's their own fault anyway. What's in it for me?" Here's a brief sampling of these sorts of responses:

"Very commendable effort in an attempt to stop human trafficing.However,the unlining cause of this slavery is illegal immigration.Stop the illegals from entering our land and this crime will almost disappear.I am addressing this to not only illegal mexicans,but also to other Hispanics countries,Asian,European and Africans. White,black,brown,yellow,red,race does not matter.As mentioned below and we have seen examples of this trafficing on tv,the main hold that slavers have on these poor souls is thier fear of arrest and deportation.However,we need to bear in mind that these immigrants make their own decision to enter our country illegally and to break our laws. They must also realize that there is a correct and legal available to them if the wish to enter. If not,then they create their own hell

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