We went on a little trip.  At the train station, Kate said she hadn’t read the book by the guy we were going to go see, and I told her I didn’t think it was the same guy.  But she was right – it was.

We found a cheap but nice hotel.  We did a little shopping in Myeong-dong.  Then we went to the church where the conference was being held.

The first night, Dr. David Batstone spoke about his introduction to the modern slave trade.  He told us amazing stories that he and his college students uncovered about slavery right in their city of San Francisco.  I wish I could recreate it for you – the church was recording it, but hasn’t posted it yet – when/if it does, I’ll post it for you.

Here’s a story I want to share with you:

Half an hour later, the girls heard the apartment door open.  It was the courier, accompanied by two portly men, both of whom sported soiled brown leather jackets.  The men eyed the girls lustily as they spoke to each other in a thick Serbian dialect.  Once they appeared to reach an agreement of some sort, the courier grunted, “OK, you work now.”

“What do you mean?” asked a befuddled Nadia.

“You cost me much money,” he replied angrily.  “You give good sex to these men.”

Both girls took several steps backward, and Nadia spoke strongly: “No way! You have the wrong idea about us!” Desperately searching for a way out of this mess, she offered an alternative.   “We will work very hard for you in a restaurant, but we cannot do this kind of work.”

The Serbian man had no patience for negotiation.  He reached inside the right side of his jacket and pulled out a flat instrument.  Nadia could not make out what he was holding until she saw the blade flick out form its shell.  He deftly grabbed her by the hair and pressed the blade against her throat.

“You show men good time, or I cut throat,” he threatened.

Shaking with fear, the girls went into separate bedrooms, where the portly men raped them.

Over the next month, this script was played out countless times.  Four simple words – “You go work now” – transported Nadia into a living hell. – Not for Sale, David Batstone

This is just one of the stories I’ve read or heard recently.

Here are the scribbled notes – and my translations – from the first night:

What do you love?  Do that to free another person.

David talked about how the abolition movement needs people of every type of background.  Are you a doctor?  Then you can be used.  Are you a dentist?  A lawyer?  A policy maker?  An entrepreneur?  Can you teach?  Can you teach someone how to make jewelry or bake bread or cut hair?  Whatever it is that you do, use it towards ending slavery.  But he did caution us with this – as Christians, we think our “default” is to do whatever we want and throw the Christianity in like bacon bits on a salad.  Our default isn’t to do whatever we want – our default is to set the captives free.  So really consider if what you are doing is somehow as important or better than setting slaves free… just a thought.

When you take a step, God will lead you the right way.  Ghanaian proverb: We don’t mind stumbling because it makes us move forward more quickly.

You don’t have to know where you are going.  You don’t have to know what will happen.  You just have to put yourself out there; doing nothing will bring you nowhere towards ending slavery.  It can be scary, but have the courage that when you are working towards a goal that is from the heart of God, he will equip you to keep going.  And if you aren’t a Christian and that doesn’t speak to you, then remember: slavery is wrong.  And it must be stopped.  And as a free person, it is our job to free the slaves – and to make sure that we are also not perpetuating slavery by consuming goods produced by slaves.  More on that later.

$32 billion is made annually by the human traffickers.

200,000 slaves are in the U.S. today.

80% of slaves are female and 50% are children

Psalm 10 — a perfect description of human traffickers and slave owners today:

2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises.
3 He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD.
4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
5 His ways are always prosperous;
your laws are rejected by[b] him;
he sneers at all his enemies.
6 He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”

7 His mouth is full of lies and threats;
trouble and evil are under his tongue.
8 He lies in wait near the villages;
from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
9 like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
10 His victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.
11 He says to himself, “God will never notice;
he covers his face and never sees.”

Kru Nam – Thailand (painter) – how Not for Sale Campaign started

You should just read the book to learn this story – it’s too good for my telling to wreck.

Don’t be a dumb activist – spray painting a sign about hating globilization and posting it outside of Starbucks doesn’t get anyone to change.

There is smart activism and there is dumb activism.  One produces results and one makes people think they are producing results, and when they finally realize there aren’t any results, they give up on trying.  For example, wearing a little red bracelet from the GAP isn’t going to end poverty or hunger or whatever.  (Does anyone remember my rant about changing your Facebook picture to a cartoon character to end child violence?  VALIDATION from Dr. Batstone himself!)  But researching, finding facts, investigating, and not letting something go because you don’t want to get involved – presenting your findings to people who can do something with them – this will change the way the world sees slavery.

How can you help?  You figure out how to find the slaves in your area.  Document what you find.  Show the authorities.  Without data, the problem remains invisible.  If it remains invisible, so does the solution.

Make a commitment to the lives of the vulnerable.

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