You've heard the magic number: 27 million people enslaved around the world today. It's staggering but if you hear it enough, it becomes almost anesthetizing. Like any stat, the danger lies in just that: it remains a stat. The faces of those people living in slavery escape us. We can't see what it's truly like. Slavery has been driven underground. It thrives in the darkness. And we are left with vague numbers, with some agencies estimating the world's slave population to be at 218 million. In Canada, it is estimated that 800-1200 people are trafficked into our country from other places around the globe. Personally, I believe that number to be much higher.
Furthermore, the exploitation of aboriginal children and women has long been a darkness in our country that must be eradicated. The Metis General Council of Alberta says that 1000 aboriginal women have disappeared in the past 30 years of Canadian history. Their whereabouts have never been ascertained. Do I believe every single one of those women have been trafficked? No. Do I believe trafficking is a significant force in this number? Yes.
Canada is slowly being roused to the crime happening right before our eyes. Yet… it is still almost too unbelieveable to bear. But bear it we must. If Canadians are to stand against slavery, then we must shine light into this darkness, admit our own wrongs, and take responsibility for our fellow human beings. It will not come as a one time change, but rather a continous choice to safeguard one another's diginty.
If slavery has been driven to ground, then to ground we go as well. Into the tunnels and subways, forgotten corners and caves, to the borders and refugee camps, the suburban homes and upscale offices — into every place we will go and bring light to the darkness. This blog will provide thoughts and musings on slavery, what it is, the conditions and causes, roots and remains. But it will also provide resources, ideas, and HOPE to people who know slavery exists… and long to free the faces behind the numbers.
Join us. Come into the Underground.
It's dirty, it's messy, it's smelly and dark. But the faces in the dark need the light as badly as we do. And we have the light to bring them.