|"...As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others..." Marianne Williamson|
As I was packing and cleaning my room today I was watching various makeup tutorials on Youtube and came across this video by Michelle Phan.
It reminded me of my first experience being confronted by the reality of human trafficking. Before your imaginations get ahead of themselves, no I wasn't kidnapped or anything but I was young and naive. Maybe it's something that comes with age or maybe more education I'm not too sure myself but I know that when I started high school, as each year went on I would gradually discover that the world is not always the host of lovely wonderous things, that people can do cruel, terrible things and that even for some of my friends, school was a safer place to be than their own homes.
This "awakening", call it a gradual lifetime learning experience if you will, only intensifies when you move out of home, start going to university/college and are taught to questions things, challenge more things and to change your way of thinking.
It was during my second year of university, I had a friend who wanted to change the world and was determined to start off that year by actively participating in clubs that would help her do that. I was invited along with my Japanese language partner, to attend one of the clubs events with my friend. I only had a vague idea what would be happening and that it involved free pizza an outdoor movie and something about human trafficking, little did I know at the time what human trafficking actually involved.
The movie shown was called The Jammed, (<--- Click on the name for the link<---). Based on actual events it follows the story of a girl named Crystal as she was travels to Australia under the impression that she'd be working as a dancer only to arrive at the airport and be handed over to a hmmn I can't remember what it's called but we shall call him a 'prostitute handler' as I don't intend to watch the movie again. The movie follows her and two other trafficked girls as they are forced into prostitution and kept as prisoners in an illegal brothel, which looks a lot like an abandoned building, in the city of Melbourne. There is a lot of swearing in the movie as well as nudity, graphic sex/rape, humiliation and abuse. It is definately not for the feint of heart and I could only really recommend it for those who wish to be shocked or see something gritty, dark and 'real'. THERE ARE THINGS IN THAT MOVIE THAT CANNOT BE UNSEEN!!! Such as the when Crystal gets 'broken in' by her handler when she first arrives in the country. For those of you who don't understand the lingo, when people talk about 'breaking in' a girl/sex slave it involves that girl being raped multiple times, sometimes by one person and sometimes by a group of people, until all of the fight in her has fled and she submits. It is a painful horrible thing for someone to go through and horrifying to watch, even though I know it was actors playing a scene in a movie I will probably have the imagery haunt me now and then for the rest of my life.
"A choir is made up of many voices, including yours and mine. If one by one all go silent then all that will be left are the soloists.
Don't let a loud few determine the nature of the sound. It makes for poor harmony and diminishes the song." - Vera Nazarian
Watching The Jammed was like a slap in the face. It is all too easy for many people to associate serious issues like this with something that only happens overseas, far far away in a distant land. This is simply not true, it happens everywhere, hidden in the most unsuspected of places.
And while we can't all go running around saving escaped prostitutes, (the movie makes you want to do that), we can be informed and accept the reality of this issue.
I felt inspired to write this post because I believe that by not turning a blind eye to this issue, by being informed and by sharing this information with others, is a way that we can all help to improve the lives of others, regardless of whether you have skills, money or time to donate. I know I certainly don't have those at the moment but it doesn't mean that I don't care! My heart really does go out to those affected by human trafficking and literal tears were shed in the lead up to writing this.
Please check out <<LOVE146 HERE>> as they have a really great and informative site.
If you don't have too much time to spend on the site I would recommend <<THIS PAGE>> and the story written on the home page; it sheds some light on the video - take say 5 to 7 years off the girl in the videos age and the impact becomes a whole lot more powerful!
I think that the reason Michelle Phan made the hash tag "Remember" the girl is because when the raid was conducted they tried to look for 146, the girl with the piercing eyes, but were unable to find her. No one knows what happened to her, all she left was her memory and a strong impression of what she stood for.
In support for Love146 and spreading awareness, I have decided that I will post a Love146 related video every week for the rest of the month!
Remember that you each have a voice, that you can use for good if you allow yourself to.
Till next time,