Thursday, November 12, 2009

Human Sex Trafficking: Fact Not Fiction

Movies touch on subjects that you can usually shrug off as just being a movie. When you find out, however, that such horrors actually do happen, it makes you think a bit harder.

Nicholas Kristof, two time Pulitzer Prize winner and author of “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” came to Vol State and told of such horrors he has witnessed in his career as a journalist.

Kristof touched on the subjects of gender inequality and human sex trafficking. “There are more females in the U.S. and Europe than men, but in the world as a whole there are more males. Every year two million girls die do to lethal gender discrimination,” said Kristof. He said that women are considered disposable. “From ages one to five girls are more likely to die than boys. Women and girls aren’t the problem, they are the solution,” Kristof said.

Kristof tells of the thirteen year old girl who got sold into slavery. The image of the smiling girl with one eye is shown. “She got her eye gouged out because she resisted,” said Kristof. As image after image of girls went up on the screen, it became apparent that these are real people, and not actors in a movie scene. “800,000 people are trafficked across the border a year,” Kristof said.

“I did something a few years ago that raised a few eyebrows in journalistic circles. I bought two girls. One sold for $150 and the other just over $200. I took the two girls back to their families,” Kristof said after explaining that he found out that the mother of one of the girls couldn’t afford to buy her daughter back from the brothel after she had been kidnapped. This example really explains the lack of worth that is put on women and girls in several countries worldwide.

“One of the main questions asked is, ‘why poverty?’ People tend to have the perception that this is a depressing field. What is depressing to me is when I come back and I find that new cars and the latest cell phone is what the main worry is,” said Kristof.

“People may ask, ‘why should I care?’ If you’ve seen the girl with her eye gouged out, then you won’t ask. One thing that does change our base level of happiness is to find a cause to give back. The fact that we are all in here right now means that we all won the lottery at birth,” said Kristof to the listeners in the room.

“We list organizations on the site and in the back of the book for those that want to volunteer,” said Kristof. For those who would like to educate themselves on human trafficking and other causes mentioned in Kristof’s book, go to http://halftheskymovement.org/.

Volunteer State Community College

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