There’s been a lot of talk about modern-day slavery – or “human trafficking” – lately.
When I read that right now – right this minute – there are 27 MILLION slaves in the world… well, my brain just kind of retreats at the thought.
Considering my mortgage and the fact that I have three kids under 5 years old – my net worth is basically zero dollars. Am I just going to drop everything and fly to Thailand and go Jack Bauer in a brothel?
And then I visit a website like www.slaveryfootprint.org, which tells me that based on the size of my house and household and the age of my children and the items I own and the things that I typically eat and buy – based on my fairly “normal” “American” lifestyle…
There are about 100 slaves who contributed to my day-to-day life…
Theoretically, 100 people, somewhere in the world, are forced to work against their will so that I can have disposable diapers and cheap clothes.
So then the plausible deniability / cognitive dissonance part of my brain kicks in, and I think, “Well, ‘slavery’ is a pretty general word. I mean, I’m a ‘slave’ to my job. I’m a ‘slave’ to my mortgage. Maybe this is just a big play on words.”
But in my gut, I know that’s a cop-out.
So, with all these thoughts swimming around in my head this week, I came across this video.
I lived in this country for almost a year.
I visited these students out in the cotton fields…. and was chased away by their guards.
I watched them scramble to bribe the right people to try and get out of “going to cotton”.
I sat in the park and twiddled my thumbs because there were no students to hang out with – they were all out in a cotton field.
I listened to them tell stories about how their first experience with sex or drugs or alcohol was in a barn in the middle of a cotton field somewhere – with 30 other teenagers sleeping on the floor and no adults except the ones whose only job was to make sure they didn’t leave.
I was skeptical when they said that they needed to bring money so they could buy their own food, because there was never enough.
And there’s a really good chance that I’m wearing clothes made from that cotton right now.
What am I going to do about it?