Dignity for All

August 05, 2022 3 min read

2 Comments

“Do you even know what a big problem human trafficking is?” 

This is a question I was posed by someone I love, someone who knows me and what I do. But this was a rant borne, I think, of the powerlessness and overwhelm of learning more about the world; of being faced with the cruelty & despair of suffering; of coming to see — and really feel — the frustration that some people with money, power, & influence, continually wield it unjustly with no end or recourse in sight.

Do I know what a big problem human trafficking is?
Yes, it is a big problem. Yes, I am aware of it.
 


I am one of the few people I know who has actually met victims — survivors — of human trafficking.

Aduri — whom I met in Jessore, Bangladesh at Friends of Basha’s women's home — brushed and braided my hair while she told me (through translation by the house mum) her story. It was sad & horrific… I listened and cried. 

Each girl in the transitional home had her own story, but the truth is that most of our time together was spent laughing & having fun. We walked through town — Aduri guiding my arm to protect me from traffic —, we went for dinner, we learned names & played get-to-know-you games. 

Life was sad, yes, and the brokenness was real; Aduri, at one point, leaned her head against Auntie, the house mum, while tears slipped from her eyes.

But, life also persists. Joy — in the company of others who are safe & trustworthy — is possible. 

I was astounded mostly by the resilience of these young women. Life, smiles, tears, learning math, English, and how to use a bank card… the overcoming of trauma, the persistence of life, was extraordinary.

Do I know what a big problem human trafficking is? 

Yes.



I also met a woman in Bangladesh who had been a trafficker. Just a bit, just a dabble… if it is possible to “dabble” in the negotiation of lives for money.

Where did I meet this victimizer, this worker of evil?

She was sewing a blanket, at the Basha office. Not just any blanket, but one of the large, indigo bedding blankets. The most valuable, priciest item we sell. These kantha pieces take the most skill and precision. When I tried to stitch a line as I sat beside her, it was pitiful. Her work was straight and true, fast and without error — a beauty in itself to behold.

She was older than some of the other women. Harder. Less boisterous, more focused. Quiet. Dignified in her attentive work.

She was the same age as me, had the same number of children.

She was once the devil, the victimizer… as well as the victim. Does she deserve the same respect & dignity I had for Aduri? 


Father Greg Boyle founded Homeboy Industries, an organization in L.A. for formerly gang-involved & previously incarcerated people seeking rehabilitation & re-entry into the community. He writes in his book
Tattoos on the Heart:“Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it.”


“Do you even know what a big problem human trafficking is?” 

Yes. But, a much more difficult, challenging question is:
What does it look like to take this seriously?

Is it a rant, a passion? A life of dedication? Is it a look, a smile, a posture? Is it an offer of dignity? A purchase of a blanket?


Women who once felt hopeless have new hope for their destiny. We — me writing this, you reading this — participate in that hope! We have more than just wringing hands & despair... we are doing something about the problem of human trafficking. It may be small — one blanket, one generosity at a time. But, it's real and it is good. 


2 Responses

Kathie Reid
Kathie Reid

August 06, 2022

It’s a powerful thing to be able to contribute real goodness in this world. Thanks for opening eyes and hearts to this horrible situation, and providing a means for us, your patrons, to make a difference. Blessings on you, your family, and your business.

Sandra
Sandra

August 06, 2022

I thank you once again for your powerful words and message and all that you share in your posts. They are truly life changing for me.
What you do for a living is amazing in itself, but the words of inspiration you share are also a gift.

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