Edge of Faith March 2017 - Page 19

her neighbor, she realized this neighbor was never leaving her house and she began to share her story and is afraid to leave and didn’t think this is what she signed up for. So, there is a variety of domestic type slaves that exist, but Chima’s story was one that really struck me because it is so close to my house. It’s such a nice neighborhood with a gated community and an area that frequently is the best place to live in Southern California. Irvine is the safest place and high academics and IQ and if it is happening there, most likely it’s probably happening in my town.

Right, and you know those same domestic slaves are told, many don’t speak the language, and they’re told the police would throw them in jail, right, so it’s not like just running away. They are frightened inside and outside, so they truly are enslaved.

Yeah, I mean, they don’t trust law enforcement and most likely they came from areas where, you know, in many parts of the world law enforcement is also part of the problem. There is so much corruption in law enforcement, so they don’t know. And they have also been told … there may have been threats on their own lives or if you leave I will hurt your family, because I know where you are from. There might be a, often times, there is a connection with their family and so that they keep them and enslave them, not necessarily by chains, but by fear and threats of violence and, often times, violence itself.

Take a moment and picture every person in Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago enslaved. The slave trade we learned about in our history classes has been abolished, and yet modern-day slavery is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world with an estimated $150 billion industry.

I’ve lived comfortably in Orange County, California most of my life and I am fortunate to be raising my own family in the city I grew up in. So, when I first learned of the reality of modern day slavery I was shocked to learn it was happening everywhere, including my own community. The problem seemed overwhelmingly huge. Who was I to make a difference?

If you are like me, an ordinary citizen without any specific expertise or training to contribute to the fight against trafficking, you may feel overwhelmed or disconnected. What can we possibly do to help this extreme problem? If you are not in law enforcement, a human rights attorney, a social worker, a politician, or work for an organization that fights human trafficking -- what is to be done? This question haunted me so I began to educate myself and others. I eventually joined with a few local women and founded the San Clemente Abolitionist, a very small group of ordinary citizens looking to do something to help put an end to slavery once and for all.

Along the way I have learned there are many meaningful and easy things everybody can do regardless of their circumstances to fight all forms of modern-day slavery. Here are TEN things you can do today to help put an end to human trafficking: