Kevin Bales gained notoriety when his book, Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy, was published in 1999. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, the book launched Bales onto a path he hadn’t planned. A one-time college professor, today Bales, is a self-described abolitionist.
If you thought abolitionism was a relic of the past, the sad truth is slavery is just as prevalent in modern times as it was 150 years ago. Although we often think of slavery ending with President Lincoln, the U.S. Civil War, and the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, according to “Free the Slaves” a non-profit organization founded by Bales, there are more than 27 million slaves in the world, many of whom are in bondage right here in the United States!
I became aware of the child sex slavery industry when I stumbled upon a documentary on Link TV. The documentary told the story of several sex slaves in Asia and the international sex slave industry that is supported, in large part, by successful American and European businessmen. These men, who are often thought of as pillars of their communities, take trips to places like Thailand, the Phillipines, Burma, and Ceylon specifically to participate in sex slave tourism. According to the documentary and other reports, a large percentage of these men engage in sex with children as young as 5 years of age. (Read more here about ending the child slave sex industry.)
It is difficult to hear about this. I personally had a hard time listening to the little girl tell her story but as hard as it is to know that this is going on, our continued inaction serves to support this appalling industry.
The people at Free the Slaves are committed to finding ways to eradicate this and all other types of slavery. They have developed a 25-year plan that attacks the problem at the ground roots level with participation from governments, consumers, businesses and international organizations.
- ECAPT International