Friday, March 12, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are?

I try to avoid writing opinion pieces on this blog. This is supposed to be presenting the facts and only the facts. Tonight, though, I found my Friday evening plans cancelled and myself at home in front of the TV. What I saw compels me to write.

NBC's new show "Who Do You Think You Are" follows certain American "celebrities" around as they trace their family history.

Tonight's first episode featured Emmitt Smith, retired Dallas Cowboys running back (one of the best ever in the NFL) and winner of the coveted mirror ball trophy with partner Cheryl Burke on "Dancing with the Stars" in 2006.

His search through time for his ancestors brought him face to face with the slave trade in America and how much was lost because of greed, selfishness, heartlessness...ugliness... pure evil. He traveled from Texas to Alabama to Virginia and then to Benin, Africa. There he was put toe to toe with children who have been rescued from today's slave trade.

So much was said in that brief segment regarding modern day slavery but so much was left out, too. For instance: it was shared that many of today's trafficking victims are children. What was left out? There are more "modern day" slaves - more people enslaved right this moment - than were enslaved during the entire 400 years of the African slave trade.

While I will not, do not and under no circumstances am I to be construed as having - downplay the horrificness of the African slave trade of the 17-1800's I do want to point out that today not all slaves come from Africa. Slaves come from every country in the world, they are trafficked into every country in the world. They are every color, every ethnicity and of every background. The poor are most especially vulnerable but the middle class and even the rich fall prey to modern day traffickers.

I enjoyed tonight's show. It was wonderful to see the eyes of yet another person opened to the horror of slavery - both old and new. It was very hard to watch, though, as slavery became "personal" to someone else. It is just such an ugly, ugly, ugly part of humanity and it should never happen - and it should have never happened. Now, however, I hope this challenged Mr. Smith to step into the fray that is trafficking. Battle it. Fight to eradicate it. Fight to free those caught up in it.

Do it in the name of Mariah. From what I saw last night, she fought slavery with every weapon she had available to her.

Proverbs 31:8-9


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Patty said...

I just attended the UN conference on the Status of Women in New York. Trafficking was a HUGE topic. Someone said that the rumor (?) was that So. Africa is trying to legalize prostitution prior to the World Cup so young girls can be brought in. Have you heard anything about this topic?

Bonnie said...

Patty ~ I have not heard anything on this topic as yet but I will definitely be doing some digging on it now. It doesn't surprise me, though, as there was talk of doing the same in Canada before the Olympics. Fortunately, that campaign did not gain any kind of momentum whatsoever. Considering how much money is involved in prostitution, there is always someone somewhere looking for some way to make it acceptable. Considering how many countries have policies against trafficking, even if they were able to legalize prostitution, they would have a tough time justifying putting "young girls" to work. Even in areas where prostitution is legal, it is illegal to work anyone under the age of 18. Thank you for the information! I'm off to do some research...