Domestic trafficking occurs in Canada. It is a reality. It is a fact. Women and children especially are bought sold for both in-country use and abroad. But far from the glamorous portrayal of 'Taken' (Liam Neeson), where the victims are well-off, upper-class girls with ex-Special Ops dads, Canada's victims are largely aboriginal. Shuttled from isolated areas to urban centers, many girls walking Canadians streets today are First Nations, Metis or Inuit.
And the church struggles with this.
Apart from the dark history of the Residential School system and the blot the church as a system has left on Canada's aboriginal peoples, the church as a body today seems to rankle with the amount of "drunks", "druggies", "pros", "cons", "gangstas", and "wife-beaters" that are of aboriginal descent.
"They deserve it."
"They're dirty drunks."
"They made their choices. They have to live with them."
"They've been given more help than any white people have and they still drink, do drugs and sell sex. Why can't they get it together?"
No, not every Canadian feels or thinks this way (thank heaven). But the truth of the matter is when we offer the salvation of Jesus Christ and it is abused and spurned and ignored or taunted, we tend to get a little bitterly self-righteous. Furthermore, we are afraid of being accused of mixing 'culture' with 'spirituality'. Aboriginal people have a far stronger tie to the land than Caucasian Canadians. We have separated church and state. We have poo-pooed tradition and mysticism and many things that create 'culture'.
For example… drums. Aboriginal drumming is a form of worship to the Great Spirit. Thus many believers are afraid that if they participate in any form of drum ceremony, they will be committing idolatry. But not all drumming is spiritually linked. Much is cultural… like we have songs for love, beauty and life that sing nothing of God.
So with our fearful jaded goggles on, we see our aboriginal people as deserving of their own violence. Instead of mercy, we fall deeper into our prejudice. Instead of grace, we look down upon another people. Sure there are many aboriginal believers, but they've already come to the good side. No worries there. Others have mainlined into secular society, keep jobs, earn their right to be respectable citizens. No worries their either. But the rest?
They just don't get it.
But to shed light on this attitude brings about defensiveness and justification. It's not a popular statement to make because we all want to believe we have dealt with our demons, we are accepting of all cultures, and would do exactly as Jesus would do. Yet here it is — once again, the old coin: us and them.
People… if we don't lay down our tongues of hatred, trafficking will flourish. We are not responsible for the choices of others, rich or poor, Jew or Gentile (or Aboriginal), whether they reek of alcohol or swindle us at a corporate level. We are responsible for our own choices and attitudes. And racism is one that must be decimated.
I cannot speak to the data represented in the following article, but I can attest to the victimization of aboriginal girls across our country. And unless believers replace stereotypes with love… it will not change.