Trafficking: No Political, Cultural or National Boundaries
Chicago Council on Global Affairs :: THE FIGHT AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING
January 21, 2013
Attending this event was a life highlight for me. Not necessarily because of the words spoken by the panelists, but because I got to see (and hug!) a woman I have respected and admired for 4 years now. I'm not really a person who, at any given moment can rattle off a few people I'm dying to meet, but I can say that I've never been so honored to meet another human being than I was to meet Somaly Mam. I read Somaly's book, the Road of Lost Innocence, in my search for information after first hearing about the devastating crime of Human Trafficking. I was deeply touched by her story and her passion for rescuing girls experiencing a fate similar to hers. She is one of the bravest women I've ever heard of. After her successful escape from captivity, she dedicated her life’s work to saving victims, building shelters and programs for healing, and empowering survivors to become agents of change. She is the perfect example of someone doing what they can with what they have, despite how little, because something isn't right in the world. It's very simple to her: women and girls are suffering greatly and something must be done. There's no question or hesitation, she just acts the only way she knows how. Her smile, her beauty, her bubbly nature, and her positive outlook are what shine the brightest. Nothing about her suggests even a glimpse of the devastation she's experienced. During the discussion she said one of the girls she rescued asked her how she could believe in God, and she replied that it wasn't God who placed her in those dark places, it was God who rescued her and gave her the gift of life. What perspective! Hearing her speak also convicted me because I possess more resources than she did when she started this fight against human trafficking, yet she has managed to assist over 7,000 victims to date.
This event as a whole was especially powerful because it displayed a sense of teamwork on the issue of Human Trafficking. I loved what Scott Portman, Director of International Programs for Heartland Alliance International, said something to the effect of human trafficking being one of the few issues that crosses political boundaries. This is an issue almost every American, every human can agree on, regardless of political affiliation or agenda. Slowly but surely an alliance is forming and a glimpse of this partnership was seen in the conversation between Somaly of Cambodia, Susan Bissell of Canada, and Scott Portman of the United States. Their conversation offered a beacon of hope amidst a very dark issue.
If you haven't read Somaly's book, I highly recommend it! It will change you. It will also be our next Traffick Free Book Club book.
You can purchase her book and learn more about her here.
by: Betsy Drach (pictured right, Somaly Mam center)
Graphic Designer & Traffick Free Volunteer