End slavery

Dear Editor:

Recently the astonishing Pope Francis opened a desperately needed conversation on the horror and magnitude of human trafficking here and around the world. According to USA Today, NPR and the BBC, there are hundreds of thousands of child pornography sites on the Internet. How many child victims does that number imply? How many customers? Every day in USA Today I find another picture of yet another stolen child … published right next to the Viagra ad in the classified section.

Young women from all over the world are promised nanny or other caretaking jobs in the U.S. only to be forced through drugs, violence and isolation into sexual slavery upon arrival here … forced into servicing up to 20 to 30 men a day. How many deaths might result from existing under such torturous circumstances?

My purpose here is not to shock but to stand with Pope Francis in his plea for us to join together to stop the horror and save the children and women who are being sexually exploited — often from infancy until their deaths.

I hear people say there is nothing we can do so don’t talk about it. Some say it’s always been that way and always will be so. Those are not answers. There is, however, a way we can help stop the nightmare.

UU Abolitionist is a group of individuals and congregations working to end modern slavery and child exploitation through education, action and partnering with other organizations. I am asking the pastors of all the churches in Pagosa Springs to click onto the following website, inform themselves and their congregations and then join the movement to end slavery in all forms all over the world. I am asking anyone and everyone who believes our inter-dependence really does make us all one to remember the words attributed to Jesus: ye who do it unto the least of these do it unto me. Alone we probably can do nothing. All one, we can work wonders.

Learn more and join the movement to end modern slavery at uuabolitionists.org.

Bonnie Runyan

This story was posted on April 24, 2014.