I used to have a half-hour commute to work. Most of that drive was on the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, aka “The Shoreway”, which was comprised of Ohio Route 2, US Routes 6 and 20 and Interstate 90. Since I drove the Shoreway at prime commuting time, most of my commute was spent in traffic. I didn’t like sitting in traffic. Having learned to drive on the Harbor and San Diego Freeways in California, I usually resorted to some creative driving to free myself from the gridlock. No wonder I score so well on the “Fast & Furious” arcade game!
A good kind of traffic happened when Steve Winwood, of the Spencer Davis Group, left that band to form the band “Traffic” in April 1967, and then trafficked his services to form “Blind Faith” in 1969. Ralph Bakshi brought us his acclaimed film “Heavy Traffic” in 1973, and Status Quo caused “Heavy Traffic” on the UK rock charts in 2002. Our vernacular has even run into interpretive traffic in regard to the use of the words “traffic” and “traffick” and their interchangeability.
When your internet connection is slow, it’s said that the server is receiving a lot of traffick. People who sell things are often called “traffickers”. Pedalers traffick their wares at swap meets. Sometimes, people sell things illegally. Pirated media and “knock-off” clothing items are trafficked on the black market, over the internet and from the trunks of cars. Illegal drugs are trafficked in creatively covert ways to get them into the hands of the addicts who support that trade.
What was once called slavery is now known as “human trafficking”. Human trafficking is the sale of humans, usually for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor or organ harvesting. The International Labor Organization estimates that forced labor generates approximately 31 billion dollars in revenue for the companies using trafficked forced labor. Furthermore, it is estimated that there are over 250 million exploited children worldwide who are being forced to fight in foreign armed forces or who are being used in prostitution, pornography or the illegal drug trade.
These trafficked individuals don’t always come from some poor, third world country or even some poor part of this country. Many of them are just like you and me. Some of them were kidnapped or taken prisoner as a result of a military invasion of their homelands. Others become indebted to someone and resort to selling themselves in an effort to repay the debt. Some simply fall into a trap set on social networks to catch inquisitive and unsuspecting young people. Not all human trafficking involves physically transporting the individual to another location. There might be bondage and forced labor taking place in your own neighborhood.
January was Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Organizations and governments around the world are beginning to understand the severity of this injustice and are slowly beginning to take steps to intervene and end this abuse. This is only because of public outcry. We must continue to speak on behalf of all who are enslaved by human trafficking. Until ALL are free, we will be stuck in immoral traffick.
© 2014 Curt Savage Media