Slavery a growing evil, students told
April 20, 2007
“Slavery is more alive today than it was 200 years ago,” a journalist who has researched extensively the issue of human trafficking told an audience at The Commoner Forum April 18.
Christine Dolan, former political director for Cable News Network, said as many as 27 million persons, from infants to adults, are victims of various forms of abuse by criminals in the modern slave trade.
“In 2000, I was asked to do an investigation into missing and abused children in the Balkans,” Ms. Dolan said. “What was demonstrated to me was a tidal wave moving west” of organized crime groups taking advantage of individuals threatened by war and poverty. The fall of communism in the former Soviet Union, globalization and growth of the Internet combined to create a fertile field for exploiters.
“Trafficking is really talking about logistics,” she said. “They have to think of human beings as commodities, nothing more than a head of lettuce. That’s how traffickers think. The difference between the civilized world and the evil world is that we value human life; they view people as a piece of meat.
“My definition of evil is a conscious mind with no conscience, and acting it out.”
She listed seven types of modern-day slavery:
· Sex slavery. “Sex slavery is not just prostitution, because in prostitution you have a choice. Slaves have no choice.”
· Labor trafficking. “This has components of sex slavery, but it also involved undocumented aliens, sweat shops”
· War slaves. This particularly involves children kidnapped, tortured into insensitivity and forced to fight and kill at their masters’ bidding.
· Sex tourism. This often is disguised as tourism with the purpose of having sexual contact with children.
· Internet pedo-criminality. “There is no such thing as child pornography,” she said. “Pornography is legal; this is child rape. The most alarming thing in the past four years is confirmed evidence that 83 percent of child pornography on the Internet involves children under age 12.”
· Organ trafficking. This involves persons, usually desperately poor, selling organs such as kidneys to support their families. This also includes instances of skin trafficking. In West Africa, she said, there have been found cases of human beings being skinned for use in cultic rituals.
· Ritual Abuse and Torture. A phenomenon of groups, sometimes including families, coming together to systematically abuse children or adults as part of a ritual.
As a result of her investigation she said she realized “we as journalists need to do something about this. Faith-based groups need to be (involved in the struggle). Who better to take care of the victims’ souls? You need to have God in the room.
“My faith in God grew exponentially” as a result of this investigation, she said. “I know there is a God because, if there were not, there would be so much more of this because it is such as slippery slope.”
She said “greed and money” are the driving forces behind the scourge of human trafficking. “It’s not just sex, it’s evil. We’re talking about people using people as a commodity.”
Commoner Forum moderator Bonnie-Marie Yager said Bryan students in the next weeks will discuss forming a chapter of Students Stopping Trafficking of Persons on campus to follow up on information provided during the forum.