Monday, October 17, 2011

Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery

 by Dina Sleiman

Okay, so I guess today won’t be one of those light posts. Week after week we look at current events. Some comical, some light, and some serious. When we examine our current events, we must remember that today we are making the history of tomorrow.

How will history remember us? As the generation who let injustice thrive and simply didn’t care? I’m sure there’s a part of each of us that would rather not deal with life’s horrors. Human trafficking and sexual slavery are probably the greatest atrocities of our time. We can’t just turn a blind eye. Jesus says that what we’ve done for the least of these we’ve done for him.

I thought I understood this subject, held a general awareness. I had seen it on the news and even watched a dramatized mini-series. But it wasn’t until I read a novel by bold and brave author Kathi Macias that I fully awakened to this issue and saw the extent of the problem.
Many of you are probably thinking about now, “But I read for pleasure, for escape.” Well, that’s nice and all, but once in a while, we need a wake up call. It wasn’t until I followed this issue through an entire novel and lived with the characters for several days that I actually “got it” on the heart level that I needed to get it.

There is an entire group within society, yes sadly enough even here in America, that have been completely and utterly dehumanized for the momentary pleasures of perverse men. Children who’ve been locked away, rendered nothing better than sex toys and punching bags until they give up and die. Yes, you need to hear this! Don’t look away. This is exactly who Jesus meant by the least of these. And while this atrocity is hidden in areas of town we might never visit, we need to care. We can’t just do nothing. We need to be aware and help in whatever small way we can.

Kathi brings us into this world in Deliver Us From Evil. But she does it with the seasoned grace of an experienced Christian author. She exposes the emotional horrors without dragging us through the mud with all the gritty details. And she gives us breaks from the intensity by bringing in a normal Christian family struggling with how to get involved and help. In an odd way, I truly enjoyed getting to know Mara and her life of slavery. Why? Because I needed to. Because somehow she held on to a shred of her humanity and never gave up.

I was incredibly moved by this book. Was it a hard read? Yes. But an incredibly important read. I needed to meet these people and understand their plights. And I will tell you that the end is emotionally satisfying. In fact, I thought I would read book one of the series and that would be enough. But now I need to know what happens to these characters next and will definitely follow them until the end. If you read one serious book this year in order to read and to grow, please make it Deliver Me from Evil.

We don’t want history to look back on us as the generation that let this injustice thrive and simply didn’t care.

What hard books have you read that have truly touched your heart? Do you have any thoughts to share on the subject of human trafficking? What are you doing to make a difference in your world?

 Dina Sleiman writes lyrical stories that dance with light. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. She was the Overall Winner in the 2009 Touched by Love contest for unpublished authors. Her first novel, Dance of the Dandelion with Whitefire Publishing has just released. She has recently become an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire as well. Join her as she discovers the unforced rhythms of grace. For more info visit her at


  1. I wish I'd picked this book up at the Philly conference. I did have the pleasure of taking a class with Kathy Macias and found her an incredibly warm person and great teacher.
    You're right, Dina, this is a tough subject and one we shouldn't ignore. Did you see Lisa Samson's FB post yesterday on this subject, only based in the Caribbean? No one wants to think it's here in the US of A, but of course it is.
    Thanks for bringing it and this book to our attention.

  2. Yes, I saw that too, Deb. How horribly sad that they would endure one tragedy only to be thrust into another. How can anyone doubt that human nature is evil?

  3. Dina, I can't thank you enough for your thoughtful post about Deliver Me From Evil and the horrific crime that compelled me to write it. May we all stand shoulder to shoulder to combat this atrocity and see the captives set free!

  4. Amen to that, Kathi. My daughter has to dress up for a cause this week at school. I was pleased to see that with no encouragement from me, she chose human trafficking. She hand made a "Stop Human Trafficking" t-shirt.

  5. Wow, Dina, I'm not sure, but I think this might be the first Inkwell post that has left me in tears. Especially when I read the scripture that I know by heart.

    Kathi, I'm so sorry I haven't read your book yet. To be 100% truthful, it is a subject which I've avoided reading about. I don't know if it's a "bury my head in the sand" response (I honestly didn't think it was), but I do know it was a "protect my heart from the horror" response. Some subjects bother me deeply, and this is perhaps the one that bothers me the most and gives me nightmares when I read about it.

    Dina, I've read two books that have disturb me to the point of nightmares when I think about them. One was about little children who were kidnapped for their organs, and the other was just unspeakable. It will forever remain the one book I've read that has a subject matter I didn't know existed and that is too horrible to even tell anyone else about. It was marketed as a romance novel with no mention of the horrors inside.

    God bless you, Kathi, for stepping out in faith with these books. And God bless you, Dina, for this thoughtful and informative post.

  6. Suzie, I definitely get your point. And maybe that's exactly why people stay away from these hard books. But I do think that reading about the subject from a Christian author like Kathi will leave you more hopeful than horrified.

    To me, other than the ages of some of the children, the thing in the book that horrified me the most was that business in America was great during graduation season, as men bought nights with children for their sons as gifts. This is the sort of thing that truly should disgust us.

  7. I agree, Dina. That's why I like that you said Kathi left out the gruesome descriptions. I'm planning to read the book now.

    Thank you, truly, for shining a light on this subject.

  8. Another great thing is that much of the book is about how we can get involved and make a difference. So it doesn't leave you feeling defeated by the evil.

  9. Thank you, Dina for bringing Kathy's book into the Inkwell and it's readership sphere of awareness.

    And thank you, Kathy for writing about this subject. I'm not sure if I will read it though. I've had enough abuse in my life. I know the physical, emotional and mental impact adults - women as well as men - can have on kids. However, I will renew my prayer efforts for both the children and the adults involved. And I really appreciate that you didn't get into the grittier details. There are already enough of those books around.

    And based on Dina's recommendation, I will add your name and book to my resource list in case God puts me in the path of someone who could be helped through it.

  10. Thanks, Anita. And that is a valid point that a book like this may stir up trauma for someone who has been abused. It might even be too much for someone who suffers from depression. But, I believe it will move and bless many people.

    As for the grittier details, you do witness some on screen violence, but there aren't really details of sexual abuse. Generally we see the characters before and after their abuse and get acquainted with their thoughts and feelings, which is certainly difficult enough.

  11. Thank you for writing about such an important subject, Dina. It's heartbreaking. I hadn't heard of Kathi's book, but I put it on my "list"--it sounds powerful and I appreciate you spreading the word.

    Like Anita, I'll renew my prayers for the victims of abuse and trafficking.

  12. I spent some extra time in prayer today too. That is certainly one of the main ways we can help, also with supporting ministries who specialize in these delicate situations.

    In the book one of the characters is even able to make a huge practical difference by being aware and following God's leading.

    I was also touched by a family in the story who adopted a child from Thailand because they realized they would probably save her from being trafficked.

  13. Recently I read Allison Pittman's "Forsaking All Others," and that one was hard to read because it dealt with Mormonism it a very vivid way.

    Human trafficking is such a terrible reality. To think there are more slaves today than in the times of William Wilberforce. That is incredibly heartbreaking.

  14. It is heart-breaking and truly mind boggling.

  15. In my view it is a great Travesty that so many of the Slave Trades of the past have been either forgotten or sometimes deliberatly ignored.

    I remember dicovering a mention of the Viking slave trade of the Ninth and Tenth centuries as few years ago. It is hard to be sure of the full scale of this event, but that is known as that Tens of thousands of people From Ireland, Britain and Nothern Europe were kidnapped by Viking raiders from thier homes, and sold as slaves in North Africa and the Middle East.

    Whilst many Medievalists know od this event, it is not widely known in society, one of the apparent reasons for this being that is was the Islamic kingdoms and powers of Africa and Asia who who buying and trading in slaves, and it is not Politically Correct to mention this.

    Particularly in tne Middle East the Slave Trades were common throughout the Middle Ages and beyond, wiht men and women, including Muslims being trafficked from across the known world.

    I believe we must not ignore those aspects of History that do not appeal to modern Western sensiblities, no matter how painful this may be.

  16. Hi Anna, I love when you stop by with your great perspectives. I've been reading a book about Vikings, and yep, slaves from Ireland.

    It's so true that political correctness can be a problem and keep us from the truth.

    Historically, one of the things I find interesting about slavery that is often ignored is that the Africans were generally the ones enslaving warring tribes and then selling them to the Europeans.

    In this book something that hit me is that we're told that parents in poor nations sometimes sell their children as slaves and to the sex industries. But this helped me see that that point should be completely irrelevant. One, they are usually tricked and lied to. Two, even if they did it intentionally, if anything that makes the child even more of a victim, not less.

  17. Child Trafficking is truly awful. I feel for those poor children.

    Yes, I have heard that there were many cases of African Tribes selling other Africans during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. And yes, this is hardly ever publicised, I think though, surprisingly enough I first heard about it on a Video at school about the subject, and my parents told me about it afterwards.

    Those who do talk of the Viking slave trade sometimes try to Downplay it by saying the Numbers captured do not even compare to those it Later slave trades, but the population of Europe was much smaller then so Tens or Hundreds of Thousands would have been a pretty signifigant Proportion of the population i expect.

    Maybe that's why there are sone people with Blue eyes and Red/fair tinged hair in the Middle East today? Who knows.

    Im glad you appreciate my posts, I am very passionate on all things Historical and Especially medieval, but I also hate to see History Ignored or distorted to serve people's agendas.

    Rant over.

  18. Anna, in case you feel like ranting more, how do you think the Christianization of the Viking lands affected their culture? From a nonhistorian view it always looked to me like the "Viking" culture pretty much died out once Christianity became prevalent.

    By the way, when I was homeschooling my children and did a unit on Vikings (kids love Vikings, knights, Ninjas, etc...) my then second grade son wrote this song about the Viking culture and religion.

    Rejoice, rejoice
    Killing the people
    Rejoice, rejoice
    Kicking their butts
    Rejoice, rejoice
    Throwing the people
    Rejoice, rejoice,
    Slashing their guts.

    Of course you have to realize he was smart enough to understand sarcasm at age seven for that to be funny.

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  20. I'm not sure about Scandinavia but I know that in Britain the 'Christiaization' usually involved retaining many elements of the Pagan religious beliefs and Practices that had come before, and just giving them a 'Christian' veneer.
    I have not studied that subject specifically, but I do not think it really lead to the death of the culture, except perhaps that the people stopped worshipping Thor, Woden, Freya and the rest.

    I know Historians these days have a tendency to emphasisng the Positives of Viking culture, and how sophisticated they were. However, I think it is easy to say that with 1100 years if Historical Hindsight.
    The way I see it, if you were a 9th century Saxon Farmer who had his home destroyed, his sons killed, and daughters raped ir kidnapped by the Viking you would not be praising then for thier intricate artwork. Its no surprise that people had a Negative view of them back then really, if they were on the recieving end of attacks.

  21. Agreed. I was just curious about the Scandinavian people because now they're like the gentlest, kindest people on earth. I've been to Sweden and Norway. That's quite a change.

  22. I'm sure a lot of them were OK even in the Medieval Times, it was just if you were thier enemies that you felt the rough edge of the sword I suppose. It was a very brutal age.

    From a strictly religious standpoint, it could be said that the Anceint Vikings nigh on fanatical devotion to bloodthirsty war gods perphaps lead them to commit acts of violence that would be unthinkable now.

    I dont know if you have heard of the Beserkers, the Elite Warriors of the Vikings. These were said to do things like foam at the mouth and bite thier shields, it is beleived even by secular Historians that they somehow managed to whip themselves up into some kind of frenzied trance like state, which made them more aggresive.

    Not very nice thing to talk about though I must confess.
    Its interesting though that the Saxons really had a lot in common with the Vikings, having come from more or less the same part of the world originally.
    Despite what movies like Braveheart might say, we English can be quite nice really, and we dont usually tend to go arounf Killing people for fun. Unless they annoy us of course!

  23. . I just bought the Kindle version of your novel ‘Dance of the Dandelion’ and was quite surprised to find that the first part is not only set in Sussex but also in the specific part of Sussex where I live.
    Arundel Castle is only a few miles down the road from me, and I have visited it many times since childhood. Worthing is also not far away, and yes the region does come under the Council district of Arun. Though I believe this area was originally named after the River of the same name which flows near the Village of Arundel.

    So when I read the book I will be able to think of my home county, and perhaps even fill you in with some extra details about the area. I am honoured to have a novel set here in Little Old Sussex


  24. Yay! Should be fun to hear your perspective, Anna.


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