Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Slaves - is it my job to free them?

I'm on a shoot this week, a video that teaches people with diabetes how to shop for food. George, the actor, is also a producer for the World on CNN, so you can imagine I'm having a lovely time chatting with him.

Tonight I looked at the CNN website and ran across this story about sex slaves in Britain.

For years I've had a feeling that a house near Sarah's old school was a brothel, and have wondered if girls worked there against their wills. If so, why would the police not clamp down on it?

Well, after unsuccessfully begging police to close the crack house next to my rental house for over NINE MONTHS now, I imagine that brothels and possible trafficked girls are low priority.

When I tell police we saw 10 drug deals go down in broad daylight in the space of 4 hours and they say there is really nothing they can do, then what will they say when I tell them that I suspect a brothel with possible sex slaves in an unmarked house with blackened windows and a privacy fence where only men visit at all hours?

On the way home from work today I heard a story about women losing freedom now in Iraq. During the story, I kept thinking, why aren't we women standing up for our sisters?!

There are many examples of brave women who stood up (or, thank you Rosa, sat down) for others. What made them do it? What made them step out and face fear to fight injustice?

I'd love your comments on women you admire and on what you think it takes to stand up and help save the lives of other women.

7 comments:

Crystal said...

Hi Heidi! This is so sad. Many Americans think that foreigners are the only ones that could possibly hold the role of "slave". But here, on our own grounds, it happens every day. I think that most of this type of responsibility should be held by the Church. The government can stop it but that's as far as it goes. They can't change it. The Church needs to come in and implement change. Just my 2 cents. :)

LA Kornegay said...

It wouldn't surprise me to know that these kind of things happen in our backyards.
Having the courage to challenge, fight and stop injustice is often difficult. Just the other night I asked a local bar owner and long time friend when he was going to ban smoking in his establishment to protect the health rights of his workers and he jumped on my shit and didn't even want to discuss it. Didn't like me "attacking him". I didn't feel like I was attacking - just expressing an opinion on what I thought was right with evidence from across the county and world that people still frequent establishments that have banned smoking. Point is - he quickly made me feel as if I should just keep my mouth shut although I stand by pointing out an issue I feel strongly about. Standing up against things you believe to be wrong does take courage, especially when there could be retaliation of some sort. BUT - We must all fight for the rights that bring dignity to all.

Michelle Malay Carter said...

Heidi,

This is sad.

Maybe instead of the police, you should call an investigative reporter.

Michelle

Heidi Mehltretter said...

Thanks for your feedback, ladies! I may call a reporter, ask me again in a month if I did it - that is a good idea. I considered it with the crack house, but I think they would know who did it, and my husband tells me it is unwise to put myself between a dealer and his money. Lee Ann, excellent example of how easy it is to feel shut down! It actually encourages me to want to try harder and not give up easily. I'm also curious, Chrystal, how the church could help in these situations. So many of us are in a church "community." perhaps we should further discuss HOW to activate our churches to not only reach out to give physically, but fight these injustices as well.
Thanks!
Heidi

heidi r weimer said...

Heidi---
You are right on. The church is certainly getting better (I think) at meeting physical needs. It's always been said that the church is a good band-aid, but not so great at preventing the injuries in the first place. The church should be at the forefront of championing for justice and fighting the social structures and culture that lead to oppression.

I am loving reading your blogs!!!
-heidi

Heidi Mehltretter said...

Thanks Heidi. I just updated that post with a shot of the house I suspect is not really an interior design and flower arranging business, as the sign out front states. I would have taken more shots, but I noticed a video camera mounted to the back wall and decided it was time to head on home and strategize the best next step.

Elizabeth said...

Heidi. Hi. Stumbled on your blog from Zhuzhou families group which I just joined. (We are in the process of adopting a SN son from Zhuzhou.)
I have to tell you that I just read all of your newer posts and wept through alot of them. I have a similar passion as a believer to intervene in crisis or unjust situations. My husband and I have recently been awakened to the anti-slavery movement. We have read some inspiring books: Not For Sale, Good News About Injustice. Have you been in contact with any anti-trafficking agencies such as International Justice Mission or The Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking (FCAHT)? FCAHT travels all over and trains law enforcement about human trafficking. IJM also fights again slavery through the legal system. They might be able to give you some insights on how to address the possible sex slave situation you discuss in this post. Have you discovered any other resources? We believe God is calling us to be directly involved in working to stop the child sex trade industry. We are still trying to figure out how, but have some possible leads. The local Christian college in our town has a human slavery awareness week next week that we hope to make contacts at. When I look at my 2 year old daughter adopted from China and think about people sexually assaulting children, I want to scream. I know that I was created to do something about this injustice. Blessings, Elizabeth eereid@neo.rr.com