There is something to be said for statistics. People may not love crunching the numbers, but ultimately they love the numbers. They need to be convinced there is actually a problem and testimonies of the few sometimes fall short. You can argue the validity of someone’s retelling of a story, but you can’t argue with the numbers…right?
“There are 21 million slaves in the world today, more than any other time in human history.” “The average age of entry into prostitution in the United States is 14.” “Slavery generates $150 billion for traffickers each year.”
These numbers sound really scary, especially if they aren’t even accurate. I hear over and over again that these figures are being debated and tested. And good, I hope someday we can better quantify the actual numbers, the actual lives. People love numbers, but let’s not forget about the faces, the hearts that beat inside of those being trafficked and abused everyday. Whether there is one, 21 million or 50 million, we should be enraged. We should always be willing to look for and fight for the one.
So what makes finding actual data and numbers so challenging, impossible even? First, our information is old and outdated. We continue to rely on and repeat past statistics and never take the time to research new information published yearly by trustworthy sources. There is also the underground nature of prostitution and trafficking which makes counting and keeping track of the individuals next to impossible. Very few victims will ever self identify because of fear, shame, and guilt. It is amazing how crippling fear can be to a person. And the fear of violence and threats are very real. For many of the victims, they’ve seen their friends beat up and even murdered. They know what will happen if they report and end up having to go back to their trafficker. If the proper measures aren’t taken to get them to safety, their life is at far more risk than if they would have just kept quiet.
This week, let’s worry less about whether or not the facts are truly reliable and worry about the one. The one society often forgets about, doesn’t care about or is annoyed by. What would it look like if each of us spoke up for and cared for our one?