Tag Archives: slavery

Helpful (short) definition of sex trafficking


ImageAt staff meeting today we watched, Not My Life. A film about human trafficking and modern slavery. Narrated by Glenn Close, this documentary explores the cruel inhumanity of trafficking and slavery around the world today. I recommend it for anyone wanting to get a clear picture of the types of trafficking and slavery, whether in Africa, India, Cambodia, Europe, or the United States.

Somewhere in the movie someone defines sex trafficking as supported by,

force, fraud, and coercion

You might think that force and coercion are the same but here is how I hear those words:

force: the physical power to control another person

fraud: deception often makes it possible to get more cooperation without using as much force

coercion: psychological efforts to get someone to do what you want. It is one thing to kidnap someone. It is another to convince them to act in ways that they would never choose to do. Coercion could be physical but sex traffickers rarely stand over their slaves and make them act out with those who buy them–at least after the first times. No, coercion is often psychological. If you don’t do this, I will kill your family. No one will want you now. Force starts the process, coercion keeps the victim entrapped.

Why is this helpful? Because these three items can be found anywhere. It is far too easy to believe that trafficking happens elsewhere or is something that only a monster does. Well, that last phrase is true…but we all know a little about force, manipulation, and deception. These features are found in everyday life.

Want to do something about trafficking? Stand up against force, manipulation (coercion) and deception everywhere you see it–in yourself, in others, in systems.

2 Comments

Filed under Abuse, Uncategorized

The danger of apologizing too soon


Can an apology come too soon? I was listening to an NPR show discussing a national apology for slavery in the US (and reparations). One guest on the show stated that if a government or organization apologizes before there is adequate dialogue about the real effects of that entity’s misdeeds (i.e., support of slavery), it kills further dialogue.

Really? Why is it that if we apologize for hurting someone that we think the conversation is over?

Point of fact: true apologies invite further discussion, including exploration of the effects of the “crime.” When discussion ends because of an apology, we discover that the apology was really cover for, “Will you let me out of jail for what I did to you? Will you forget my bad behavior?”

True apologies are not formed as questions or requests–either explicitly or implicitly. It is offerings of forgiveness that end or at least change discussion regarding criminal activity. When we demand instant forgiveness or apology acceptance we inappropriately tie apologies with conversation endings.

Do you agree with this next statement? The truly repentant do not mind apologizing as many times as necessary nor engaging in conversation about the effects of their misdeeds.

In relationship to slavery, the matter is complicated in that the conversation is happening between those who either indirectly benefit or suffer from slavery. Because of our overemphasis on individualism, we often fail to acknowledge corporate sins and that some of us benefit from those corporate sins. Read Ezra and Nehemiah and you see a different picture. A people repenting for sins done by the previous generation. Now there’s a novel idea.

6 Comments

Filed under conflicts, Cultural Anthropology, Doctrine/Theology, Forgiveness, News and politics, Race, Racial Reconciliation, Repentance