Approaching the Human Trafficking Cause with a Broader View

This week’s featured article from Comment Magazine came in an email with a provocative subject line, “Yes, Human Trafficking Is Popular.”  The article itself was provocative as well.  Trafficking is a brutal evil, and it has captured the enthusiasm of myriad young activists longing to be part of a noble cause.  As explored in a recent Christian Alliance for Orphans’ webinar, the issues of trafficking and orphans are frequently intertwined. At Summit VII, we’ll have workshops on engaging this issue, as well as a keynote interview with a young woman who fell prey to trafficking as an orphan in Russia.

At the same time—as explored in this prior blog post—enthusiasm for the anti-trafficking cause can sometimes divert energy from the long, slow, costly acts of service that constitute the bedrock of justice.  The article from Comment Magazine that came today, How to Combat the Crime Du Jour, provides a careful counterweight to the “cause enthusiasm” many of us have felt towards getting involved with the trafficking issue.  Its author, Laura Bramon Good, pours her days into anti-trafficking efforts, yet she observes:

New abolitionists always tell me they want to do something real. They want to get their hands dirty—but, I often find, not too dirty.  It is a peculiar disappointment to watch their faces deflate when I suggest that what would really help human trafficking survivors are loving foster parents, faithful friends, and honest employers who offer good wages and health insurance. Unfortunately, nobody gets paid very well for any of that work. Nobody gets famous for it, either.

Laura Bramon Good clearly has no desire to diminish the significance of real anti-trafficking efforts.  It’s her daily work, after all.  But she wisely urges that the many visible “advocates” that identify themselves with the cause move beyond concerts, slogans and t-shirts to the more costly choices that constitute real justice—from foster parenting to mentoring to creating good jobs.