Can the War Against Human Trafficking Be Won?

January 14, 20131 Comment

In my last post, I answered the most common question I receive from readers and audiences: Now that I understand the reality of human trafficking, what can I do to stop it? My wife and I asked ourselves this question after we confronted the horror of modern slavery for the first time. Our search for an answer turned into a journey that became a novel–A Walk Across the Sun

I didn’t spend long in the research, however, before I stumbled upon a question far more profound than the moral imperative of action. As I dug into the vast and violent underworld of trafficking, as I lived with the stories of sexual torture and psychological abuse, as the overwhelming statistics took the human shape of names and faces and lives destroyed by an evil so reprehensible it left me dumbfounded at man’s depravity, I could not help but ask: Is there hope for us?

Can the war against trafficking be won?

For years I wasn’t certain I could say yes. I held on to individual stories of hope–the victims rescued from brothels and transformed with time and love into survivors, the traffickers prosecuted and jailed, the corrupt police officers converted into defenders of innocence–and set aside the larger, society-level question. In time, however, I realized that the answer was staring me in the face. I had forgotten the lesson of our history.

If our ancestors could vanquish the monster of African slavery, then we can defeat modern slavery. The logic is inescapable.

But how, you may ask? Historical facts are one thing, policy prescriptions quite another. If you’re interested in my answer, take a look at the op-ed I wrote for the Huffington Post in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. 

We can turn the tide against the traffickers. But it’s going to take a sea change in the way we fight the battle. Instead of merely managing the problem, we need to fight to win.

One Response to “Can the War Against Human Trafficking Be Won?”

  1. It’s interesting to think how it took 600,000 lives to end slavery in the United States while it was legal. I’d hope since it’s illegal, it won’t come to that. But instead of fighting against “a way of life,” and “state’s rights,” we’re fighting against the pocket books of middle class America and the sad, long history of male sexual abuse of women. All four of these reasons are strong forces to fight against. To fight to win, we need a “war of moral thought” to win. Which means 1000s of vocal advocates.

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