Two questions I, as an INDEVOUR, often get asked are:
- What does that (International Development) mean? Followed by;
- What are you going to do with that?
For a long time I responded with “fight human trafficking”. My entire privileged North-American life has been quite sheltered to say the least. Yes, I’ve lived in a town no greater than 400 people or less since I was born, and have yet to watch the classic Disney movies (don’t judge me, I can’t control my upbringing) but I don’t mean that kind of sheltered. I mean sheltered from the naked realities of the world.
We have all heard the staggering statistics that:
- 2.5 million people are in forced labour/sexual exploitation
- People are exploited in 137 countries – reaching every continent and type of economy
- 95% of trafficking victims experience physical or sexual violence
- Profits from human trafficking are estimated between tens and hundreds of billion dollars
But it’s easy to think that it’s a world away, thus we remain sheltered. This past weekend I heard about a woman who spent time with trafficked victims of Cambodia. The woman giving an account of the international volunteer said she came back “just… broken”.
A typical response to my “fight human trafficking” is a serious “wow, that’s heavy” or “it takes a special type of person to do that”. What does “special type” mean? Strong? Selfless? Indestructible? I don’t know that I am any of those, but I do know that nothing can make me [cry, scream, angry, want to change the world, turn into a monster etc.] exercise my passion for justice more than hearing the realities of human trafficking.
What if I come back broken? Maybe that is just what my sheltered little mind needs. It is in the break that healing can make someone stronger. I am not trying to be self-destructive, but we are all equal, all part of the 100% and my remaining sheltered does not benefit any part of the 100%.
This Friday is the International Development Conference on the topic of human trafficking. I will likely cry, I will definitely try not to, but I hope to become even slightly less sheltered from the everyday lives of my fellow 100%ers.