Edge of Faith March 2017 - Page 59

I guess for many years, the Chinese were only allowed one child, so they preferred it to be a boy. I am assuming that’s part of the shortage of girls at this point, right?

Michelle: That’s right and the same in India. And of course, there are wonderful families in China that love their girls and in India too. We have met lots of them; who treasure their girls as well as their boys, but the studies show that there is a pretty pervasive and deep dehumanizing and devaluing of the female child, a sense that she is not going to be a contributor to the family, that she will be weak and unintelligent and so it's best just not to invest much in her; she won’t be building into your future. So, with this kind of mythology about little girls, you can see how it is easy for them to be marginalized or sold or arranged in a marriage while they are still children, to try and do something that can help the families, especially impoverished families economically and often people have seen this for generations, so they cannot imagine another way of thinking about girls and another way of taking care of their own needs without, you know, it falling most heavily on the little girls.

Right, yeah, it is just horrible. You know, Kay, another story in the book, covers even more of this issue, on sex trafficking and it’s this situation in Nepal, where a lot of the girls that are of the upper class get an education and can be successful, but the poorer children really don’t have much of a chance, so I believe the statistic was something like 20,000 girls from Nepal become prostitutes in Mumbai, India every year and the saddest part to me, is when you say the word “prostitute” in this reference, it is talking about nine to sixteen year olds. So, with everything we have talked about, and with what a huge problem that it is, what does one do to help with — to fight — such a huge human industry issue?

Kay: Well, that is a very good question. That is a very good question. Certainly, poverty helps to drive this. Families will look at their six children, and say, “If we sell one, the rest of us can live … If we don’t sell one to the traffickers … we are all going to starve.” And, that poverty really is a huge part of this, but, also, the money that those traffickers get, it just is obscene. But, if we look at this industry of trafficking and forced prostitution, and too often, enslavements, well, it just seems too entrenched as a way of life and too profitable to combat at all. One time, I was in India and I was in a brothel talking to a woman who was there with her little girl that was about five years old. She thought that her husband had gotten her a job cleaning, but when he never came back she found out that he had actually sold both her and their little daughter to the brothel. I was talking to her and interviewing her and the owner of the place stood by listening. He had his arms crossed, and was listening and had kind of a smirk on his face and finally he said to me, “Don’t think that you Americans are any better than us, “ he said, “If it weren’t for western businessmen … and America’s addiction to porn,” he said, “ we would be out of business tomorrow", and I think that we need to hear that. It is not just them. It is us as well. But, sex traffickers prey on people’s desperation, that’s what they do.