Friday, April 15, 2016

Doing something about sex trafficking

I'm not a follower of professional sports at all - or most amateur sports, for that matter.  In the past I've thought that most professional sportspersons are in it for the money alone.  However, people like recently retired baseball player Adam LaRoche make me think twice about that.  I was startled to read this in a recent article about his decision to retire.

But what if the origin of LaRoche's decision can be found in early November, in -- of all places -- the red-light districts of Southeast Asia?

Working through a nonprofit called the Exodus Road, LaRoche and Boyer conducted surveillance in brothels and tried to determine the age of the girls -- known only by numbers pinned to bikinis -- and identify their bosses.

"Something huge happened there for us," Boyer says. "You can't explain it. Can't put your finger on it. If you make a wrong move, you're getting tossed off a building. We were in deep, man, but that's the way it needed to be done. Adam and I truly believe God brought us there and said, 'This is what I have for you boys.'"

When it came time to board a flight back home, LaRoche hesitated. "I was sick," he says. "I was thinking about my kids and then thinking about the hundreds of thousands of parents who are searching for their 12-year-old daughters."

As they waited for their plane, LaRoche asked Boyer, "What are we doing? We're going back to play a game for the next eight months?"

They wielded their emotions like crude homemade weapons. Every crazed thought ran through their minds. Quit the game. Sell the house and move here. Give up everything and fight the fight full time.

LaRoche couldn't talk about it for two weeks. It's going on tonight, he thought as he tried to sleep. And here I am, in paradise at the ranch with my kids, where everything's safe.

There's more at the link.  It makes interesting reading for those who, like me, think that family and relationships should come before money whenever possible.

I've seen something of the murky world of sex-trafficking and the kidnapping and sale of young girls, forced into prostitution at an unconscionably early age (many of them long before puberty).  In parts of Africa there's a pernicious belief that sex with a virgin can cure AIDS - and since a young, pre-pubescent girl is almost by definition a virgin, they're in high demand by desperate men who will grasp at any straw to stay alive.  As a result, many young girls - some as young as three or four years old - are stolen and trafficked for that purpose.  It's sickening . . . particularly when those youngsters themselves end up with AIDS, and die before puberty.

I'm very grateful to Mr. LaRoche for mentioning this problem in so public a forum, and particularly for trying to do something about it himself.  We can't eradicate it - evil has been with us since the dawn of time, and will be until it ends - but we can at least make a difference in some lives.  It looks like he (and Mr. Boyer) are trying to do just that.  Thank you, both of you.  I wish there were more like you.



Old NFO said...

Sadly, they are the exception rather than the rule... Especially in Thailand and that area...

Anonymous said...

It is worthwhile to temper enthusiasm for Mr. La Roche's and Exodus Road's good intentions with at least a dram of skepticism about both the sources of information on which they act, and the actual outcomes of their actions, based upon sources besides themselves.

This does not mean to discount them peremptorily, but to verify whatever claims they make, and their sources of both information and support. This merely means to trust based only upon verification.

There is good reason for this.

The "sex trafficking rescue industry", for lack of a better descriptive phrase, is rife with scams and scammers.

For an overview, see:

For one particular example of a major scam, google the case of Somaly Mam.

For some introductory fact based research and analyses of the subject, see the publications of Laura Agustin, or read some analyses and opinions published by Reason Magazine.

Again, I am not suggesting peremptory discounting of Exodus Road's good intentions, or suggesting that their actions are inherently flawed. I am only suggesting verification of their factual claims and their actions, through sources besides themselves or their own favorite references.

Evyl Robot Michael said...

What an inspiration!