WORDS TO WORLD: Sold & Modern Day Slavery
Photos courtesy of Red Sand Project
Welcome to the very first installment of a new series here on Mimp Mag: Words to World!
In this series, I hope to combine discussion about books I have read with meaningful, real-life connections to a current event, social issue or just an important theme that’s relevant today! I want to kick off this series by discussing one of my new all-time favourite books, Sold by Patricia McCormick. This short but impactful book focuses on an extremely relevant topic today: human trafficking. The story follows 12 year old Lakshmi, who lived in a village in the Nepali mountains with her family until she was sold into slavery by her stepfather. Although she is a fictional character, this type of fate is too common for girls across the world, and continues to happen every day. THE BOOK: First, I want to discuss the book Sold itself, because I absolutely adored it. I liked that this book was really short and to the point, but was also able to develop a really detailed and heart-breaking story in the process. An aspect of the book that was hard to get used to at first was the fact that essentially the entire book is written in a poetic kind of style, including titles separating passages and really strong but subtle word choices. This style in a novel was completely new to me but by the end of it, I couldn’t have imagined it any other way. Lakshmi’s voice was powerful, especially because reading about a serious issue from a child’s perspective is always thought-provoking and shines a light on the underrepresented youth who are victims of trafficking.
THE FACTS: Source: www.dosomething.org 1. Trafficking primarily involves exploitation which comes in many forms, including: forcing victims into prostitution, subjecting victims to slavery or involuntary servitude and compelling victims to commit sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography.
2. Right now, there are about 20-30 MILLION slaves across the world.
3. Human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry (behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking). It reportedly generates a profit of $32 billion every year.
4. The International Labour Organization estimates that women and girls represent the largest share of forced labor victims with 11.4 million trafficked victims (55%) compared to 9.5 million (45%) men. THE TRUTH: As you can tell, slavery is still a huge global crisis and It’s really difficult to realize that despite huge advances in human rights in this era, trafficking is still an issue that hasn’t been combated, and often goes unnoticed. This obliviousness can be seen in a scene in Sold, where Lakshmi is locked in a room due to disobeying the leader. “Each day, a thousand people pass below my window. [...] Not one looks up.” This scene alone represents a much larger image, and that is the fact that most people are not really aware that slavery is an ongoing problem. AKA, just because it isn’t happening to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening to people of another gender, socioeconomic class, or nationality. In fact, although it pains me to admit this, I didn’t know what human trafficking was until much too recently, because it’s not openly discussed in school, or on any public/media platforms that I use. LEARNING FROM IT: Learning from this, I now insist that you (yes, you!) take any steps needed to stay informed on human trafficking, because it is real, it is happening and it will never stop unless people start getting informed! You can do this by checking reliable news sources for current events, keeping up with organizations that deal directly with the rescue/rehabilitation of victims and then discussing it with the people around you! Human trafficking is scary, and may be uncomfortable to hear about, but every victim deserves to have a voice and know that there are people willing to listen. Here are some useful websites you can check out to learn more about human trafficking: http://sharedhope.org/resources/ https://www.antislavery.org/ http://www.gaatw.org/ https://www.unodc.org/unodc/human-trafficking/