27 million slaves: facts you need to know w/ Justin Dillion

(Approx. 2 min read / 9 min video)

Today more slaves are in bondage than were bartered in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Of course our worlds highest ever population is correlative to this sum, still, the estimated 27 million humans that can be bought and sold at a median of 300 USD horrifies me. Here are the facts you need to know to rise against:

I met the director of Call+Response, Justin Dillon, before the London screening of the rockumentary. I was curious to find out what prompted the California native to travel the world for the last few years to spread awareness about the world fastest growing and second largest illicit trade, human trafficking.

Earlier this year I had no idea that human trafficking had surpassed the arms trade with an est. 32 to 36 billion USD annual income, right behind the drug trade. Justin voiced his frustrations that mainstream media was not giving this worldwide crisis enough of a spotlight.

“The thing that we need to understand is that slavery isn’t sweatshops, this isn’t not being paid well, this isn’t prostitution for a low wage; this IS people being forced to work, under the threat of violence.” – Justin

After the 5 minute mark Justin gave an example of how slavery could happen in western civilization: Here’s the way one former pimp was able to describe whether or not he was going to be able to trick a girl into prostitution while trolling a mall. He would go up to them and say, ‘Gosh, you look really pretty,’ and if she would look him straight in the eye and say thank you, he would keep going. It’s any kind of weakness you can find.

At the 7:45 min mark I asked him what he wanted to be remembered for; he gave one of the best responses I’ve heard yet. Including: “…to help people address their own poverty of purpose and actually turn that into fighting poverty of a different type…”

I believe that becoming aware of the evil that’s happening out in the world is important for gratitude. When I’m having a rougher day or complain about some petty issue it makes me shake my head and shut up. Out there are families who are trapped on brick farms under debt slavery, generations working on cocoa fields that can never leave, young girls stuck in underground brothels who never see the light of day “servicing” dozens of clients a day and all other horrors that happen in the name of slavery.

It makes me realize I do not have the time or luxury to ever be bored or stay complacent. There is so much in the world to stand for, sometimes it is overwhelming how much needs fixing but I think it is important to pick something that works best with your talents and dig in. And in the case of Justin, a call for justice seems to be his response.

If this is something you would like to investigate, check out Justin’s website Call+Response to learn of actual ways you can make a difference.

Comment

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  • Kevin Bales

    Thanks for a great posting! Justin Dillon is truly inspiring.

    I understand how coming to grips with the size of modern slavery can leave people feeling overwhelmed. But there's an interesting paradox about the 27 million slaves in the world–yes it is a huge number, the largest ever in human history, but it is also the smallest fraction of the human population to ever be in slavery. Likewise, the amount of money slaves pump into the world economy is big, but it is also the smallest fraction of the global economy to ever be represented by slave labor.

    The truth is that slavery has been pushed to the edge of its own extinction and working together we can tip it over the brink. There's a law against slavery in every country, and more and more people are united in wanting to end it. I hope you'll visit and share our website (http://www.freetheslaves.net) and have a look at our book on how we can bring slavery to an end in 25 years, it is called: “Ending Slavery: How We Free Today's Slaves.”

    All best wishes,
    Kevin Bales
    kevin.bales@freetheslaves.net

  • http://standstrong.tv/ Filip Matous

    Kevin – Key point indeed. Smallest fraction ever. I mentioned at the start that the high population was correlative but didn't know the percentage, thanks for the heads up.

    Looking on your website I saw that you are based in Washington DC. Do you guys work with IJM?

    And kudos for really diving into the work http://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_bales_how_to_com… you truly are standing strong. It seems sometimes you are in London? If so please get in touch next time you are here, it would be useful to build connections as I'm working with the small IJM team here (helping them build a strategy to spread the news online) and am connected with Steve Chalke. I will do my best to help spread any of your news when it happens.

    Stay in touch, thank you for connecting.

  • http://standstrong.tv/ Filip Matous

    Kevin – Key point indeed. Smallest fraction ever. I mentioned at the start that the high population was correlative but didn't know the percentage, thanks for the heads up.

    Looking on your website I saw that you are based in Washington DC. Do you guys work with IJM?

    And kudos for really diving into the work http://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_bales_how_to_com… you truly are standing strong. It seems sometimes you are in London? If so please get in touch next time you are here, it would be useful to build connections as I'm working with the small IJM team here (helping them build a strategy to spread the news online) and am connected with Steve Chalke. I will do my best to help spread any of your news when it happens.

    Stay in touch, thank you for connecting.

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  • Agapistudios

    Perhaps people should discuss illicit … why not legalize trading humans … get the whole thing out in the open. It's sad but poverty makes the price of a human being very cheap and the more there are of us … the worse it's going to get … I think

  • http://standstrong.tv/ Filip Matous

    I agree that population influx has many consequences. What kind of solution do you think could be feasible? Could you clarify what you mean by legalization of slavery?

  • agapistudios

    Actually when you responded by saying I wanted the Legalization of Slavery … was a bit of a shock to me that that is the reception of my perception of your point of view. I think they should legalize prostitution as a solution to a part of the problem.

  • http://standstrong.tv/ Filip Matous

    It was unclear to me what the “why not legalize trading humans” part of your comment was. Thank you for clarifying.

    Yeah, it's a tough one isn't it? If prostitution was legalized I don't think it would make much of a change as many of the girls are not of age… when researching into this issue I learned that often girls' virginity is for sale. Often the girls are sewn up to be sold again as virgins. Part of the draw is that the client thinks he is getting a girl that is free from aids, which makes the girls that are sold quite young. As Justin pointed out, the 27 million slaves is not inclusive of prostitutes being paid a low wage, sweatshops or low wages. It's about people that cannot leave even if they want because they are under the threat of violence or other abuse.

    I really appreciate that you took the time to dive into this hard issue, because we both learn from discussing the issue and are more likely to tell others and bring awareness since the mainstream media isn't.

  • http://standstrong.tv/ Filip Matous

    It was unclear to me what the “why not legalize trading humans” part of your comment was. Thank you for clarifying.

    Yeah, it's a tough one isn't it? If prostitution was legalized I don't think it would make much of a change as many of the girls are not of age… when researching into this issue I learned that often girls' virginity is for sale. Often the girls are sewn up to be sold again as virgins. Part of the draw is that the client thinks he is getting a girl that is free from aids, which makes the girls that are sold quite young. As Justin pointed out, the 27 million slaves is not inclusive of prostitutes being paid a low wage, sweatshops or low wages. It's about people that cannot leave even if they want because they are under the threat of violence or other abuse.

    I really appreciate that you took the time to dive into this hard issue, because we both learn from discussing the issue and are more likely to tell others and bring awareness since the mainstream media isn't.

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