I have noticed that my energy this last month has not been outward in my writing/sharing. I have been digesting and unwinding threads in my research about human trafficking and labor/sexual slavery (as I am about to work with 2 organizations in Nepal/India focused on these issues).
I suppose I am not surprised that as I research more I find how everything is connected. That all paths lead back to the core questions about:
~the roles we play out as humans
~whether or not we choose to question our conditioning no matter how ‘status quo’ it looks
~what happens when we are disconnected from our core sense of self love
My intention is to breathe into a practice of non-judgement and to look at these injustices through the lens of these essential questions. I don’t see how it is possible to separate any of it…..
How can we isolate human trafficking and forced sex labor as problems unto themselves. The issues are always complicated when it is about money and control/power. The threads of this go way back into history and in every geographic location. It is undeniably linked to prostitution, pornography, the sex industry, socio-economics, gender inequalities……it goes on and on.
Even the impressions I have personally had about strip clubs or prostitution (as becoming increasingly about an empowered choice more often than not) are being pretty much blown out of the water. All of it has been based on assumptions or misguided information that is far from accurate and simply convenient ‘smoke screens’.
Again, I am not here to judge….that is not my desire or my style.
I want to understand even though it is incredibly uncomfortable most days as I continue to learn more.
As I read and research about the rise and development of the sex industry here in the United States along with:
~the increase of violence in pornography in the last few years
~the rapid growth of internet pedophile sites/clubs in the United States (coinciding with the accessibility of the internet)
~ what is unraveling and being learned about the priests within the Catholic Church
~ American companies outsourcing to developing countries to run their pay per view live sex channels and the increase in violence and use of children for American clientele.
~ Perceptions men and young boys have about women in relation to violence and sex cultivated by exposure to pornography
~ The ‘why’s and ‘how’s of men choosing to pay for sex (with women and children) and what they expect and desire
……I realize all of this and more is shaping this territory of human trafficking and forced labor.
We have all allowed for this ‘settling in’ to an accepted sense of ‘norm’ when it comes to living our lives. We see every day (as the presidential race heats up) more prominent topics debated around the nature of religion, marriage and the Occupy Wall Street movement…..
So many judgements being cast and assumptions based on historical ‘values’ and ‘norms’…….
but how do we truly come to know ourselves and live in this diverse world together if we simply perpetuate old standards and imbalances?
How do we create common ground when each of us, to some degree, buys the ‘norms’ without question?
This includes our perceptions around:
~ ideas of success and competitive drive towards this ideal
~the gender roles we each accept and perform without question that shape the world we live in (in comfortable and disempowering ways)
~the inherited conditioning that shapes our choices and personality
~sex and our own sexuality
I understand to some degree our inclination towards this…….
…..if something is the accepted ‘norm’ why on earth would we question it?
That would seem like undue work wouldn’t it?
So I suppose that it is exactly this that I am pondering……that it comes down to each of us questioning our/the ‘norm’ and our comfort zone. To enact this ‘undue’ examination because it is perhaps the core of how atrocities such as human trafficking, slave labor and sex labor can be dissolved.
(Just look at something as recent as slavery and the Civil Rights Movement in our American history alone to get an idea of how this plays out)
What I speak of is a challenge on many levels for myself as well.
I have never had a direct issue with pornography or prostitution…..it has fallen into a category of ‘to each their own’ (to be honest I had not perviously put much thought into it). And I have no puritan ideals about sex to impose on anyone…..I believe in ‘let your freak flag fly’ as long as you are not harming someone else and not labeling, judging or imposing on one another.
And I am ALSO seeing how inherent the proliferation of pornography and prostitution is in the problems of sexual abuse with children, violence against women, sexism, pedophilia, forced sex labor and on and on…..
It was much simpler when I generally thought of these as separate issues….and yet the more I learn the more intertwined it all reveals itself to be. And the more I realize every choice we make can underlie these societal conditionings around gender subservience and sexual dynamics (what it means to be a ‘man’, a ‘woman’ and how we repress or express our perceived sexual drive).
They say (and I agree) that you can pass laws and legislation but the only true way to eliminate this epidemic (of trafficking and forced sex labor) is to decrease demand.
How can we do that?
What is it in our humanity that perpetuates the instinct to exploit those we see as weaker or vulnerable?
How do we continually act out injustices on others to have power, control and financial gain?
What is it about our sexuality and gender roles that feeds such a demand for the sex industry to exist?
Why do we allow and make room for anything that does harm and makes any person or group ‘less than’ and abused?
I am not judging people for what they do….instead I am trying to understand what drives us to want those things that directly or indirectly harms another person. In my opinion, condemning people for these choices does little to understand the ‘why’…..it just allows us to point fingers.
There are ways in which each of us perpetuates less than nourishing stereotypes and prejudiced ideas about what it means to be a woman, a man or simply a ‘successful’ human being.
How can we each create awareness and responsibility for the subtleties of our own thoughts and perceptions as a form of revolution?
Or at the least….a slow unwinding of prevailing inequalities……
Thanks for riding this with me…..
take care of yourself and one another….
feel free to check out:
to learn more about the work I am doing and human trafficking.