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What Year Is It?

Real Estate Agent with KW at the Parks 651506396

What Year Is It?

 I know we just celebrated New Year’s Day, and I know from looking at the calendar that it is 2015…but is it really?

The Pope, in a December message, spoke of the evils of slavery. Then more recently, on Yahoo, I read an article about a man who escaped slavery by running away from a salt field where he was forced to work 18-hour days on an island off the coast of North Korea.

One has to wonder if it is not 1615, or 1715, or 1815…because it surely can’t be 2015!

Pope Franics wrote, “to all men and women of good will, and all those near or far, including the highest levels of civil institutions, who witness the scourge of contemporary slavery, not to become accomplices to this evil, not to turn away from the sufferings of our brothers and sisters, our fellow human beings, who are deprived of their freedom and dignity.”

He further stated there is a “social responsibility” borne by consumers, calling to mind that “every person ought to have the awareness that 'purchasing is always a moral – and not simply an economic – act,'” quoting from Benedict XVI's 2009 encyclical Caritas in veritate.

On the heels of the Pope’s message was the story of Kim Seong-baek, an escaped slave from the sea-fed fields of an island off South Korea where he was forced to work 18-hour days collecting salt crystals. Kim told his sad story of his escape, his capture and return to the fields, and his final escape. For trying to escape, he was severely beaten.

Kim had been homeless for over a decade, before a stranger offered him a place to stay and a job. The stranger was paid the around $700 for Kim from the owner of the salt farm on Sinui island. According to Kim, the beatings began on the very first day on the farm. Authorities described Kim as being visually impaired and having the social awareness of a 12-year old.

Sadly, Kim’s story isn’t an isolated one. Thousands of young women are abducted each year and end up being sold into slavery and forced to work in the sex trade. Thousands more are forced to work long hours for free, or near-nothing wages in factories making goods then sold in industrialized countries.

In a CNN interview Professor Kevin Bales, co-founder of Free the Slaves, stated his organization calculates the total number of slaves globally to conservatively be near 30 million.

 So…what can we do about something happening on the other side of the world?

As the Pope stated in his message, as consumers we need to start to do a little more digging into the source of the products we buy. Do our purchases help to lift people up, or drag them down? If we start to ask the places where we buy things to explain who made various products, and under what conditions they were made; companies will become sensitive to the manufacturing process. It only takes a few people to start asking questions, before companies will react to the pressure.

We also need to be consistent in our values. You can’t say you are for empowerment of women in our country, let ignore what is happening to women around the world. Rape is a crime no matter where it happens on our planet. Young girls being forced into prostitution and sexual slavery is an abomination in the Far East, or the Middle East…just as it is here.

Pornography is not harmless. Just because pornography can be obtained on a computer screen today instead of having to travel to a seedy section of the city does not make it any less vile. Sadly, the smut industry is a gigantic financial industry; and it didn’t get that large by selling its wares to a few dirty old uncles. No, mainstream America is feeding this monster with discrete credit card transactions from pillars of the community throughout our nation. Those images on the screen are individuals being exploited. They are desperate, they are homeless, they are on drugs…they are at the lowest point of their lives…and from the comfort of middle class homes, their plight is made worse by making those who exploit them even richer.

 The examples could go on, but the point is this…stop the demand and you will help to solve the problem.

We are not powerless. Each of us has a duty to one another to bring no harm to our fellow man. Each day we are presented hundreds of opportunities to be a blessing, or a curse in both large and small things. I will end with this quote from Mother Teresa, “It is poverty to decide that a child must die so that you can live as you wish.”






Comments (2)

Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good afternoon Tom and Happy New Year to you and yours. There is a lot to think about here, and each of us is the only person what each of us wants to have. Perhaps if we all try, we can make a better world.

Jan 06, 2015 04:06 AM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL

...and good afternoon to you too, Sheila!

It is just hard to fathom that the human race has made so many improvements in so many areas, and then to hear that slavery still exists in the world- and that it is on the rise!

Thanks for taking the time to read and then to comment. I know this is a long way from real estate, but we are consumers too! And you are right, if we make ourselves informed; we can make this a better world!

Your friend, Tom

Jan 06, 2015 06:10 AM