Before reading Refuse to Do Nothing by Shayne Moore and Kimberly McOwen Yim, I knew nothing about the topic of human trafficking. Nothing. I fall into the category they write about on page 60, when they write
"When we have spoken about modern-day slavery, women have often stopped us midsentence, saying, 'I can't hear it! It's just too much!' So we stop. We bite our tongues, but inside we're screaming, 'Are you kidding me? There are thousands and thousands women, girls and boys trapped, often beaten and raped night after night for the profit of their slaveholder, and you, in the comfort of this coffeehouse sipping your latte, can't hear it?"Their criticism of those of us who "can't hear it" is well-deserved. They note that we live "in the midst of the comforts of our sanitized society" which makes it "difficult to imagine the nightmare of others' lives" (61).
Honestly, I'm not even too sure where to begin with the review. The book was so eye-opening that even though I finished it a week or so ago, I'm still processing everything I learned. And so, I will share with you some of the quotations that stood out to me the most (I was tempted to underline the whole book, though).
"Poverty and extreme levels of gender inequality play a significant role in why women and children make up more than eighty percent of trafficking victims. Lack of education, low social status and gender discrimination contribute to the viewing of women and children as commodities to be bought and sold." (64)
"the average age when a commercial sex worker turns her first trick is between the ages of eleven and thirteen" (76)
"The act of manipulating a child into prostitution is now referred to as 'child sex trafficking,' and those who were once called pimps are now referred to as 'traffickers.' (83)
"Most men buying sex are ordinary guys who come from a variety of backgrounds and occupations. Some are teenagers and young twenty-year-olds who visit a brothel in order to lose their virginity. Others might be retired college professors, megachurch pastors or successful businessmen. Every age and nationality is present among men who are willing to pay for sex." (86)
"the first online exposure to porn happens at eleven years of age and that thirty-five percent of boys aged thirteen and fourteen say they've viewed pornographic Internet content 'too many times to count'" (91)That's only part of trafficking. There are domestic household employees, migrant workers, restaurant workers who are also victims of human trafficking. The numbers regarding modern-day slavery is astounding. It's no wonder we want to stick out heads in the sand.
But we can do things, each one of us, from being educated to the signs of slavery to buying fair-trade products.
At the end of each chapter are sections for reflecting and taking action. What I liked about these was that they were so short. It makes it manageable and not so overwhelming to just do a couple of little things here and there. This book is full of information and resources. Read it. Put something into action. Experience uncomfort with the topic in order to help others.
What will I do? I'm not sure, yet. But I have learned just this week that a friend of mine is interested as well, and I hope that she and I will work together to help raise awareness.