Sunday, August 23, 2009
$100 Million Dollars
Have you ever wondered what $100 million dollars looked like?
That is a lot of money, right!?! The problem is, it is such a large amount of money that we don't really compute it... we just kind of go on tilt and just default to, "yeah, that is a lot of cash!"
In FY 2008, the U.S. Government obligated approximately $76 million to 140 international anti-trafficking in persons (TIP) projects benefiting over 70 countries and approximately $23 million to 82 domestic anti-TIP projects. These projects work to ensure the survivors are protected, the traffickers are put in jail and human trafficking is prevented. This is great so far and still looks like a lot of money...
The catch comes in to play when you consider the enormity of the issue. It is estimated that there are more than 27 million people in slavery around the globe.
Often times we hear this, and think that this is an issue that is somewhere other than the US... but in actuality the FBI estimates that there are 300,000 domestic girls that are trafficked every year in the United States of America.
So lets start breaking down these numbers:
1.) There are 27,000,000 people in slavery minus the 300,000 (that is just domestic children) in the US... that equals, 26,700,000 international victims, left.
2.) If there was $76,000,000 spent on international victims that equation would be.... $76,000,000/26,700,000 = $2.84 dollars per international victim.
Now, admittedly, there is somewhat of a discrepancy... Most Governments agree that there are 800,000 people "trafficked" (actually moved across country lines) every year, but that there are many more are slaves within their particular country. So just for fairness sake, let's rework the math.
$76,000,000/800,000 = $95 per survivor.
That is a little better!
3.) There are 300,000 American girls that are trafficked every year... We spend $23 million to help them... So, let's work the math on that.
$23,000,000/300,000 = $76.66 per girl.
At this point these numbers are all relative. This could be good and it could be horrible... who knows?? Well, to give us some perspective, let's back this whole scenario up to before a slave is purchased, and ask ourselves, "What is the purchase price?"
The average price to purchase a slave is $90. (insert jaw drop here)
Really, $90!! I spent more than that on my last trip to the grocery store and I don't even remember what I got.
One little girl who I know personally, was bought for $300, and her virginity was sold for another $300... .That was in Cambodia. How much do you think someone would pay for a virgin here in the States?
So, in summation... We are spending $5 more than the average purchase price per international victim (and that is just the ones that are actually moved from country to country) and $13.34 less than the average purchase price per domestic girl.
I personally don't think this acceptable, especially when it is estimated that Traffickers are making $32 Billion a year!
To give you some perspective on how much $32 Billion is... It is more than Starbucks makes... It is more than Google makes.... and it is more than Nike makes... COMBINED!
Ok... If that were not enough for the comparisons, humor me with one more... think about the fact that the US Government FY budget for 2010 is requesting $130 Billion for more war spending. That is 1,300 times more than the yearly budget for Human Trafficking.
OK, So... I guess my point in all of this is that we cannot count on our Government to do anything substantial about this issue. At least not right now. As to the question of whether we should be able to count on them.... Well... that is another blog all together.
We the people! We the people of The United States of America! We must do something about this! It is time for us a Nation to put up or shut up! Stop talking about how bad everything is and start doing something about it! If I hear of one more "awareness rally" or "awareness campaign" I am going to throw up! How about we have a DOING rally!?!
*** as a side note to Christians (I personally am a Christian)... the way I read things is that James 4:17 says, "If you know the good to do and you do not do it.. that is sin." It can't be more clear cut than that. However, for a little more theological debate, Isaiah 1:17 says to, "Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of the orphans. Fight for the rights of the widows."
If we look at this in context, we see that passage in Isaiah is directed at the "Rebellious nation" the focus is not on the ones who need justice, it is on the ones who need to seek it! We are not to "Seek justice" as long as we get them "saved" or as long as they hear the message. The verse is speaking to us and that we need to do it for us! Not for them.... Let's pull our heads out of our a..err... religion, and start doing what is right because it is the right thing to do.
When we do our good works with the hidden agenda of hopefully one day getting the individual "saved"... we are just prostituting our good works. For crying out loud... Just go and love someone without worrying about their eternal security. Leave that up to God. I dare you!! Don't bother with arguing the theological ins and outs of this theory with me. Just go try it and see what happens!***
***For those of my non believing friends and readers.... Thanks for letting me rant!****
Back to the subject at hand.... There are little girls that are waiting on us to just move to action! To put our time and our pocketbooks where our mouths are!
Edmund Burke (an abolitionist) has two great quotes that I love... The first is, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
The guys that are making $32 Billion a year are banking on this!
The second quote is, "No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little."
I understand that we all have lives, responsibilities, and pressures of our own, but we need to step up and do something... anything!
Imagine if everyone in the nation were to give just 1 dollar... We could more than triple the Governments annual budget for this cause.
And for those of you who have read this far... you are probably getting fired up and you might even give a damn! If you decide to actually act on your feelings... you are probably going to get push back from friends and family.
Most people don't want to hear about this. They don't want to think about 14 year old girls being raped 10-20 times a day, by 10-20 sweaty, dirty, disgusting, vile men. They don't want to think about the broken teeth that the little girls have because of what they have had mashed into their faces. They don't want to think about the destroyed GI tracts that are because of what they have been forced to drink/swallow. They don't want to think about the beatings, or the car batteries that are hooked to these girls to shock them into submission. They don't want to think about them and I am not sure why.... I think it might be, because if we do... if we truly think about this part of the population then we feel that we must do something!
And most of us are to busy living for ourselves to do that.
To those of you who are getting fired up and experience push back from those around you... I offer this quote to you from William Lloyd Garrison (an abolitionist in the 1800's). He said to those who criticized him for his enthusiasm, "I have need to be all on fire, for there are mountains of ice around me to melt." He was realistic (as I am) about the immediacy of ending slavery.. yet he was uncompromising. He said, "We have never said that slavery would be overthrown with a single blow; that it ought to be, we shall always contend."
I pray that each one of you reading this entry will be moved to action. There are little girls in our own backyard and around the globe who are waiting on us!