Kevin Bales jumped off my desk the other day. He was I would say, more than slightly annoyed at how little I knew about his book, “Disposable People.” After reading it, I can understand why and I must admit, I’m pretty upset that I was as naïve as I was myself.
At best this is an alarm clock book; once you read it, you are suddenly awake to an issue I am sure, you haven’t thought about in a long time. And without doubt you have to ask, how could this be happening, this being, slavery in the year; 2007. And he makes this very important statement, “That there are more slaves alive today than all the people stolen from Africa in the time of the transatlantic slave trade. Put another way, today’s slave population is greater than the population of Canada, and six times greater than the population of Israel.”
Granted there has always been oppression. People with power have always used it and not necessarily for the good. And people without power have done the best they could to survive. Even if that means giving up their freedom to get ahead; don’t’ forget our country was built on the backs of people who indentured themselves to others just to get here. But after these early pioneers paid their debts; they moved on. We all know of others who weren’t as luck. They never got the chance to move on or no matter how hard they worked had the chance to be free.
But that was then; this book is about right now. Bales, holds back no punches as he takes us on a worldwide tour, that runs form Indonesia to San Francisco. He outlines the specific instances of current wrongs and how they have come about. Particularly disheartening are the lives of those sold by their families into prostitution in the Far East. The next time you hear people complaining about having to get along with their families during the holidays think of the poor in Thailand that sell their daughters into prostitution to get satellite TV’s!
For those of you who saw the movie, “Blood Diamond,’ you quickly realize that we are all part of the system that supports slavery somewhere in this world. Our choices have major effects on people we will never meet, but for ever be indebted to.