Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. So she (Sarai) said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman (Hagar) with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac. (Genesis 16:15 and Gen 21:10)
Most images of mothers we see in advertising, movies, and publications reflect middle class standards of living. Though a mother may have her challenges; she also has resources and people to help her. That is not the motherhood experience for millions of women in our global village. Some bear babies they did not intend to have, but were pressured – or worse, raped – into having. Other women very much wanted their babies, but live in such desperate conditions they are tricked into selling one child into human trafficking to provide for other children.
Unscrupulous human trafficking dealers tell desperately poor parents lies about seeing great potential in a child. They offer to pay the family to compensate for the loss of this child’s contribution in the family economy. Then they claim they will get the child a good education and a promising career. Within hours that child starts a life or horror as a victim of human trafficking.
Hagar International formed twenty-four years ago to address this blight within the human community. An estimated 40.3 Million people were trapped in modern slavery in 2016. One in four victims of human trafficking are children. The victims are exploited in domestic work, construction and agriculture, or forced to work as sex slaves.
Slavery is alive and thriving today. Rather than being moved across oceans in ship holds, modern slaves are transported by trucks, or even planes. Then they work in squalid conditions for people who often treat them with horrific cruelty while making money off their bodies and labor.
Human Trafficking Destroy Lives
Today Hagar International supports 1,200 women and children victims of such trafficking in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Vietnam. Executive Director Mike Nowlin has a Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. That, combined with his Bachelor Degree in Psychology & Sociology, certification in Global Mental Health and Recovery from Harvard University, and certification in Human Services Management from Ohio State University, give him a broad background to tackle this plight on society.
Human trafficking continues to destroy lives of millions of vulnerable people for a variety of factors, such as desperate poverty, cultural attitudes about the value of women and children, greed on the part of those who buy and sell people to pad their own pockets, and unrestrained impulses that drive people to engage in depravity of the most sordid degree imaginable.
Some Good News
Yet, there is good news. Hagar International and many other non-profit organizations help those who have been victimized. Yeang is one success story. Poverty led her parents to send her to live with her grandparents. An uncle, who also lived with her grandparents, felt free to rape her for years. When Yeang finally told her parents what was happening, her father’s solution was to have her marry the uncle, to preserve the family’s reputation. Her grandparents didn’t approve, thinking she was too young to be useful as a wife. Eventually they heard about Hagar International. Today she teaches at an international school and hopes one day to be the principle at the school.
We can be part of the solution by paying attention to what we buy as consumers. In our complex global community it’s nearly impossible to know the source of everything we consume. However, we can do a little research and do what we can to avoid supporting places that use slave labor to provide goods and services. We can buy fare trade certified goods when possible to ensure fair wages and working conditions. These sites provide information about what we’re supporting when we spend money:
For more information visit Hagar USA