Monday, October 5, 2009
the devil is in the details
Over the last two years I have lived and breathed, all things, Human Trafficking. I still have a lot to learn, but there is something that I have noticed during this time that is turning into a concerning trend...
I have noticed a great majority of people who are moved to donate time or money to organizations solely because of the issue. The issue itself is very emotional and very moving. The thought of little girls trapped in cages and sold for sex. Who wouldn't want to help?
However, it seems like people are so moved by the cause and a good website, philosophy, video, or photos that they do not ask the hard questions.
What I mean is.... At the end of the day, when the donor time/buck has stopped... What is actually happening? What lives are actually being changed? What are these organizations actually doing?
There is no doubt that this issue is huge, and that there are many avenues to use in order to end modern day slavery. Some of these avenues are; Awareness/Education, Legal (such as changing laws or prosecuting perpetrators), Law Enforcement, After Care, Etc...
The thing is... I have seen a ton of groups that have a lot of "fluff" and seemingly no substance. Or worse than "fluff" is when they use "faith" to draw people to support their organization. They use "fat" words like; Campaign, Task Force, Coalition, Villages, Communities, Strategic Initiatives, Targeting Predators, etc.... I call them "fat" words because they are words that make it seem like the group is doing a lot, but when we stop and think about it... we are not really sure what they mean and/or what is actually being done.
I understand why people stop at the "fat" words.... We are all really busy. We care about the issue and we are compelled to throw our money at the first cool website that pops up and then tell ourselves that we did our part... Or we go the extra mile and volunteer at an event with another friend. We do this because we want to do something, but we just don't have the time to drill down to the details....
Recently there was an article that came out about a group who claimed to run an aftercare in the US. I remember looking at this groups budget a couple of months ago and thinking, "there is no way they can do what they say they are doing." They are now being sued for misuse of funds by the Attorney General.
I am sure there were a lot of people who bought into the story, the cause, and the website. I am sure the donors figured that no one who claimed to do such amazing work could be misusing funds.... I hope the AG is wrong... I hope I was wrong... I hope this group comes through the investigation and lawsuit and they prove everyone wrong. Not for themselves but for the survivors that they claim to serve.
Please do not misunderstand the purpose of this post... I am not trying to "call out" other organizations. I do not feel that is my place. What this particular post is for.... is to encourage the average Joe or Jill who wants to make a difference.
I know the "devil is in the details" but please believe me when I say that it is worth that extra time to ask the hard questions.