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Cafe Society to discuss human trafficking

By Staff | Nov 20, 2015

The Cafe Society, a part of Shepherd University’s Life Long Learning Program, will hold its next discussion on Nov. 24. The topic will be “How can we raise awareness and do something to curtail human trafficking?” These weekly discussions are held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in the Rumsey Room of the Shepherd University Student Center each Tuesday morning. Pre-registration is not required and there are no fees or charges.

Mike Austin, one of the Cafe Society facilitators explained,”Human Trafficking, often known as ‘white slavery’ has long been considered a third-world problem to be lamented, but largely ignored something for international NGOs to wring their hands about. In so many words ‘It’s not our problem.’ But it is! We are talking about growing incidents of illegal trade of people people as chattels or commodities — for exploitation or commercial gain. It is a significant part of the globalized commercial world, second only to drug trafficking as a profitable multibillion dollar form of transnational crime.”

He also said, “This is a difficult form of crime to stop because the victims are vulnerable and frequently don’t want to, or can’t make their situation known, or are prevented by coercion or intimidation from doing so. Frequently language difficulties or simply the shock of immersion in a seemingly hostile foreign culture are key constraints. Further there is a tendency for moralists within our society to be judgmental without understanding the scenario that has transpired. They place all or most of the blame on the helpless victim because that is the only aspect of the transaction that is visible to them. This is the same dilemma that makes our growing immigration problem so intractable. The immoral exploitation continues because there is no lack of demand. In fact, it is heightened by usually unrealistic expectations that are increasingly exacerbated by business network inducements or promotions that operate outside of our social mores. If you haven’t noticed, internet doesn’t have a conscience. All too often some of our most vocal and vociferous citizens who lament this dark form of labor management are themselves exploiters who take advantage of human vulnerability for personal gain or gratification. They are insulated by several layers of transactions, time and distance, but they still are culpable. These victims are pawns in the great game of greed that drives our socio-economic culture. They deserve the right to preserve their personal dignity and enjoy equal protection under our laws regardless of how they find their way to our shores.”

Those who have suggestions for future Cafe Society topics or requests for more information about the Cafe Society program contact Mike Austin at 304-876-0598 or michael.austin@frontiernet.net.