There is a connection between and among racism, abortion and human trafficking. As we connect the dots, let us pray for enlightenment and God’s mercy. Below is a recent talk. Thanks for your prayers.
ALVEDA KING: LOVING THE UNWANTED IN A SELFISH WORLD
It’s an honor to be with you here today. It’s also a privilege to be in the midst of brothers and sisters who love and care about our fellow brothers and sisters.
That’s what our fight to end human trafficking is about – loving and caring for others.
If we recognize someone’s humanity, we should see him or her as worthy of respect, just as we should see ourselves as worthy of respect. And because it’s written on our hearts, we know that we should love others as we love ourselves.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
This is the heart of the struggle against human trafficking.
It’s the interests of those who are unwanted, unseen, and forgotten that we try to look out for. It’s the command to love our neighbors as we love ourselves that we seek to obey.
Love will ultimately end human trafficking. Until that time, however, we battle with man’s deprived nature. And humankind’s deprived nature is saturated in selfishness.
Selfishness blocks out love. It causes people to serve their own desires without consideration for others. It causes people to see others not as equals, but as useful pawns or obstacles to be eliminated.
If a tyrant wants to raise an army and doesn’t have enough willing soldiers, his prideful search for power will lead him to kidnap children, take away their freedom, and use them as cannon fodder.
If a greedy manufacturer can’t find enough people to work for him voluntarily at the wage he wants to pay, he might force foreign-born workers to toil in horrible conditions with no chance of escape, treating them as if they were cogs in a machine.
Or if a depraved man sees girls and boys as a road to riches by forcing them to cater to the lustful and perverse desires of others, he will commit any number of crimes in order to fill his bank accounts with filthy lucre. To him, those children are not precious souls, but inventory to be used and discarded.
But it doesn’t even take thoughts of political power or money to lead us to dehumanize each other, does it?
A look at last week’s news tells us that mankind is capable of all kinds of rationalizations for treating others as less than human.
Three Cleveland area girls were torn away from their homes, lives, and families and held as prisoners for ten years. They were allegedly held in chains in subhuman conditions. Why? Because their kidnapper dehumanized them to satisfy his selfish desires.
He not only regarded these girls as his slaves, he also dehumanized the children he allegedly fathered. One child he allowed to grow up bound in a dungeon; the other babies he killed by beating their mother and causing miscarriages.
Ultimately, this alleged monster differed from international human traffickers only in scale. His crimes involved fewer victims, but his heart was as calloused as any slave runner.
And in this sense, human trafficking does not stand alone as a separate issue. It’s part of a greater over-arching problem plaguing our world since the beginning of time – our selfish tendency to dehumanize those whose humanity is in the way of what we want.
Then there’s the case of Karnamaya Mongar. Mrs. Mongar was forced to leave her tiny Himilayan nation of Bhutan because of internal strife. Discrimination in her country had led to the loss of livelihood, loss of rights, and even loss of life. Tens of thousands, including Mrs. Mongar and her family, fled Bhutan and lived in refugee camps in nearby Nepal. Mrs. Mongar had been dehumanized by her government.
After spending 18 years in a hut in a refugee camp with no real home and no real hope, Mrs. Mongar was allowed to come to the United States with her family. It was here, though, that her lack of hope and trust caused her to seek out an abortionist when she became pregnant. Mrs. Mongar’s grown daughter had urged her to keep the child, but Mrs. Mongar didn’t share her daughter’s optimism.
Her desperation led her to Kermit Gosnell, a human trafficker if ever there was one.
Kermit Gosnell hired people who were desperate for employment, some of whom he knew were suffering emotionally, and then paid them ten dollars an hour to perform the work of medical professionals.
He exploited women, treating them in what one employee called an assembly line system. Frankly, though, I have to disagree with that employee. An assembly line builds things. Gosnell destroyed.
Gosnell stabbed necks, snipped spines, and cut off babies’ feet. He used and reused dirty tools and equipment, placing women’s lives at risk. And lest we forget that Kermit Gosnell viewed human beings as commodities, he stored the bodies of precious little babies in milk cartons and cat food containers.
Gosnell, like every other human trafficker, had no regard for human life.
The Gosnell case has appalled the nation in the same way that most people are horrified when they hear about the reality of human trafficking. People are shocked that such cruelty exists.
The shocking reality is that human traffickers are enabled in part by the general dehumanization that engulfs our culture. This dehumanization is pervasive, yet so subtle that we may not even notice it.
In my lifetime, I have seen how our culture embraces dehumanization in various forms. I see very plainly that there are common threads in these manifestations.
When I was growing up, some of my schoolmates were killed by a bomb blast. Some white folk thought that people like me and my friends were somehow less than fully human.
My house was firebombed because my daddy worked for the basic human rights that were denied to people because of the color of their skin. My daddy, the Reverend A.D. King, later died under very suspicious circumstances – and many believe he died because of his civil rights leadership.
My uncle, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated because he refused to accept the dehumanization of African Americans.
Countless others were beaten with pipes and baseball bats, fire hosed, jailed, and lynched just for the color of their skin.
African Americans were regarded as inferior because we had been treated as less than human for hundreds of years.
When you’re treated as less than human, it’s easy to appear that way in people’s eyes. If people see you being abused for decade after decade, your mistreatment becomes, in a sense, the natural order of things.
All of this makes human mistreatment somehow palatable if not acceptable; and thereby the lives of those who oppress the most vulnerable easier. If the American public learns to accept everyone from natural conception or fertilization to natural death as brothers and sisters, the exploitation of all human beings would become much more difficult to justify.
Those who exploit and oppress fellow human beings under the cloak of racism, reproductive genocide or human trafficking are motivated by selfishness, greed, hunger for power, and the plain old bigotry that comes from pride and fear. All too many people take cover in denial that these problems exist, not wanting to look or care. Out of sight, out of mind is a much too familiar mantra.
While skin color slavery has been abolished in the United states, there are still entire classes of people who are treated as slaves and regarded as less than human. We find them in the shackles of human trafficking, and we find them in the wombs of women. Those in the womb are viewed as sub-human for any number of reasons –
Some people make money, lots of money, off of their helpless condition
They’re rarely seen.
And all too often, they’re just plain unwanted.
They are unborn human children; yet they are regarded as people only if someone wants them. The objective reality of their humanity is somehow a reality no longer.
The parallels between the abortion industry and human trafficking are striking.
The 2007 State Department report on human trafficking states,
Human traffickers prey on the vulnerable. Their targets are often children and young women, and their ploys are creative and ruthless, designed to trick, coerce, and win the confidence of potential victims. Very often these ruses involve promises of a better life through marriage, employment, or educational opportunities.
You could insert “abortionists” for “human traffickers” in this paragraph and you wouldn’t have to change another word.
Human traffickers and abortionists prey on the vulnerable. They both target women and children. Abortionists’ targets are clearly children and young women. The children they eliminate for a fee; the women pay them the fee.
Abortionists’ ploys are even the same as human traffickers’ – they promise their victims a better life. They tell young women that they’ll be able to go to college, find a job, and get married, but only if they have an abortion. Just as human traffickers don’t tell women what really awaits them, abortionists don’t tell women what happens next.
I know. I’ve had two abortions. I was lied to. I was told my baby was just a clump of cells. When I told the nurse that I had pain, she told me that I would be all right.
I wasn’t all right. I had no idea what I was in for. I had been deceived. Just like vulnerable little children and young adults are being deceived, tricked and trapped into the net of human trafficking.
Our fight against human trafficking involves not just direct action against those who are perpetrating this evil. It involves raising the consciousness of a public that consciously or unconsciously dehumanizes certain people.
It involves appealing to people to open their hearts, to love their neighbors.
It involves putting aside the selfishness that motivates us to regard others as less than human.
It involves embracing the selflessness that sees others as brothers and sisters; as blessings in our lives.
Today, society tells us that children are not blessings. Children are expensive; they hurt the environment. If you want to get dirty looks at the supermarket, show up with more than two kids.
Pharmaceutical companies have grown rich because of the notion that children are a burden, a nuisance, and budget busters. Children are seen as an obstacle to the “good life.”
For many people today, children have just become unwanted.
This mindset, which tells us that we should take pills or use devices to avoid children, enables us to take the next step, which is that if birth control fails (and it will over the course of time), we can avoid children through abortion. It’s this mindset that, as we now know, allows abortionists to kill babies even after they’re born alive.
Today, if you’re unwanted, you’re not a person.
And who’s more unwanted than the runaway? The foreigner who’s completely alone in a land where she can’t even speak the language? The child who’s literally or figuratively orphaned?
The unwanted girl or boy seeking to escape a life without love, all too often becomes the victim of people who walk in darkness. This isn’t a contest to prove which class of humans is most unwanted. We are not talking about a television entertainment reality show here. We are talking about human lives.
Friends, we are dealing with a three headed monster; one that devours the weakest of our society. The thing about such a beast is that you must sever its source of power by eliminating all three heads; racism, reproductive genocide which breeds abortion and sexual perversion which breeds human trafficking. Cut off the heads and the monster will die.
One of our most important efforts is to show the world that the victims of human trafficking, just like the victims of racial discrimination and abortion, are our brothers and sisters. We need to remind the world that the victims of human trafficking may be hidden from sight, but they exist, and they are persons worthy of love.
One of the defining moments of the Civil Rights movement came when national newspapers and magazines showed pictures of peaceful demonstrators being clubbed and beaten. For the first time for many white people, racial discrimination and oppression were not just concepts. Americans in every part of the country saw segregation as the dehumanizing force that it was. They saw the faces of its victims.
Those bloodied, battered individuals wanted nothing more than to eat at a restaurant or stay at a hotel. They became the reality that Americans could see. The conventional wisdom that segregation was someone else’s problem was blown away by images of people being bludgeoned – because they were unwanted.
I believe the Kermit Gosnell trial, which is a tip of the iceberg situation by the way, will be a defining moment in the civil rights movement to defend the humanity of unborn babies. Because Gosnell did his killing outside the womb instead of inside it, America, at least that part of America that has seen news reports about the Gosnell case, has now seen some of the victims of abortion.
The rescue of the three girls in Cleveland who just escaped their prison of depravity is another tip of the iceberg situation, reminding America that young and vulnerable women are at risk of being secreted away in broad daylight to become abused and misused in a form of human trafficking in their own communities. This too is a defining moment where we can charge ahead with awareness campaigns to stop this inhumane victimization.
We cannot save the victims of human trafficking or prevent innocents from becoming new victims without public awareness. Public awareness only happens if the public cares. And the public will only care when it loves the unwanted.
With love, children are adopted, not aborted. With love, children are cherished, not abused. With love, there is less room for the human trafficker because his hunting grounds are smaller.
There is much to be done to set the captives of human trafficking free. But if we can help create a culture that values others, we will have begun to break the captives’ chains.
We will win this battle with truth and love because love never fails!