Friday, March 23, 2012

Modern Day Slavery in Your Neighbourhood

Having lived in Lebanon and witnessed the abuse first hand, and with the recent coverage that Mauritania's slave-class is getting, I thought it might be worthwhile (in the name of human decency) to point out that it really isn't all that difficult to have a slave in ANY country of the world, and though they're carefully hidden, most countries have a lot of them! No, I'm not being a 'bleeding heart liberal' nattering on about the plight of the developed world's poor, I'm talking about actual, real slaves.

If a weirdo in Germany could keep his own daughter as a sex slave for 20 years, or a hobo could enslave Elisabeth Smart, or Jaycee Lee Dugard could be held captive in plain sight for 18 years, then picking up a non-native speaking girl coming in through an international airport on a tourist visa, taking away her passport and keeping her locked up inside a large house or condo isn't all that tough.  And if you were brought up in a culture in which your family always had a maid who was a slave, you'd be predisposed to seeing the practice as perfectly normal.  For many, many cultures, it is.  And when these people emigrate, looking for a better life in the Developed World, the one thing they really miss, as one would, is a slave!  (And think about this fact: Lebanon truly is THE most progressive-thinking country in the Middle East.)

So here's a 'heads up': there's a secret down your street. Some neighbours of yours, who still harbour a fondness for the 'traditions' of the country they emigrated from, have a maid from another country where the citizens are darker skinned who works very hard for them. The secret is she never goes out, doesn't get paid (or is 'paid' only via pitifully small cheques sent directly to her family back home to allay suspicion), she 'entertains' the family's sons and his friends, and they won't give her back her passport. Really.

Modern day slavery is alive and well in every "Western Country" in neighbourhoods just like yours. It's happening TODAY in your city, no matter where you live. Wake up and smell the reality, then take note of that briefly glimpsed, thin shadow of a 'maid' who 'works' down the street and call the authorities (but only if they're 'bribe-proof"!).


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