The Slave Next Door
Two years ago, as we were moving into our charming, lake view apartment on a quaint little corner of Lake Merritt, I got this email from a friend:
Subject: URGENT NEED!
Hi friends… I recently received an email from Kathy Wilson at New Day for Children, a faith-based organization providing a program and facility to give hope and security to girls from the ages of 10-18 years caught in the desperation of sexual exploitation for commercial purposes.
They are in emergency mode as they've had 3 girls referred to them in the past 2 weeks and need people to partner financially in a huge immediate way so they can take these girls. The one who contacted them most recently, which prompted the crisis email, is in such terror of being recaptured that her parents are not letting her go to school; they are just barricading themselves in the house here in Oakland.
Thanks for reading this, and if you'd like to help out, awesome.
And even though it said, right there “…they are just barricading themselves in the house HERE IN OAKLAND,” I filed it under “a far away problem of people I don’t know.” And I went back to my coffee, marveling at the picturesque view of the gondola gliding across the water.
What I did not know then, was that my other windows, the ones that don’t look at the serene lake and middle class joggers, face International Boulevard. Or, as Kathy Wilson and her rescued girls know it, “The Track.”
“The Track” is where some of Oakland’s most egregious crimes are committed over and over again. On the Track, and throughout the city, about 100 youth are trafficked for commercial sex each night, according to the Oakland Police Department. Nationwide, 300,000 to 400,000 kids are trafficked on the streets or traded over the Internet each year, according to the U.S. Justice Department. And human trafficking, as experts are beginning to say, is just another form of slavery.
In fact, it’s estimated that 27 million people worldwide are forced to work without pay and are unable to walk away for threat of violence. It’s not legal anywhere, but it happens everywhere.
Impossible to stop slavery? According to Kevin Bales, founder of Free the Slaves, it’s not only possible, it’s only 25 years away if enough people take enough action. Now.
Join Project Peace this Friday, April 20 to hear Kevin Bales talk about the real picture of slavery in today’s world and what he thinks we can do about it. We’ll also hear from Minh Dang, a survivor of sex trafficking who is now getting her PhD at Cal State Berkeley as well as a panel including OPD’s human trafficking task force and fair trade retailers. And, after listening to these inspiring stories from the trenches, we’ll be able to meet the real feet on the street by visiting over 25 local organizations at the exhibitors fair.
Two years ago, I had no idea how close I lived to victims of modern day slavery. Now, I’m bringing my neighbors to “The Slave Next Door” in an effort to open their eyes and take action against slavery in Oakland and across the globe. Would you join us?
What: The Slave Next Door, Make Justice Personal.
Real facts, inspiring stories, and ways to take action against modern slavery. Sponsored by the Project Peace Speaker Series and Free the Slaves
When: April 20th, 7pm
Where: First Presbyterian Church, Berkeley
Cost: $15/$10 with a student ID
Advance ticket sales at www.projectpeaceeastbay.org
Proceeds to benefit New Day for Children and MISSSEY
Volunteers still needed. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Nov 14, 2012
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