Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Reality Check

Do you recall the movie Matrix? It was huge to consider a parallel reality. One that existed beyond the realm of what the common person knows to exist.

I feel a bit like I am on a similar ride and it all started when I chose to pick up that initial book. My eyes were opened as I was introduced to a startling reality that goes well beyond what I was ever able to see in the world I lived in.

My life is grand; my reality offers no reason to complain. I have access to food, clothing, shelter and my freedom.

What I have learned though is that much of that has come at a cost – no, not the costs of our military fighting for the freedom we so often take for granted, but at a cost to the thousands of faceless people who make my comforts a reality.

I have spoken in this blog context about the realities of slavery as it pertains to coffee, and chocolate, but there is so much more and I am still learning.

Reading the current book “Invisible Chains”, I am seeing so much more into the world of human trafficking and I am so deeply saddened at how often the country I am so proud of has citizens that take no issue with the exploitation of other people to somehow earn themselves profit or gain sexual pleasure.

I find I think more about things now. Driving through Edmonton’s downtown this morning and through the interesting section known as Chinatown, I wondered who might be living here who wishes they could be anywhere else. Reality dictates that our city, among other large Canadian cities, is a harbour for many illicit activities involving detaining people against their will – for sexual or other purposes.

I question more now. Rather than think critically of the young ladies who are lingering, waiting for some interest, my heart breaks. I doubt any one of them woke up this morning thinking “Yes, I think today I’d like to sell myself.” See the guy watching her from the car over there? She's not here because she wants to be.

The sad thing is, it all comes down to economics. If there is demand, supply will be made available. There is obviously a profit for someone. That someone is not the person being sold however. Why is their life disposable?

In the Matrix, the lead character has the opportunity to select a pill. One will enable him to continue the path of gaining greater knowledge; the other will give him the chance to forget.

I feel like I can’t forget. I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to pretend this isn’t happening and go back to not wondering about how my comforts come to be.

People may not openly support human trafficking, but in the broad sense of economics, most people have decided to accept it or to simply ignore it.

People don’t want to know how their coffee came to be, how their chocolate was harvested, where their clothing was manufactured.


I choose to believe it is really that people don’t know the reality. Consider the movie of a few years ago “Amazing Grace”. The abolitionist William Willberforce’s story of how slavery came to be outlawed in the UK. He believed that people just didn’t know the reality. He chose to believe they were ignorant of the conditions that their slaves endured during their capture and transport into their custody.

He chartered cruises for people. Rich people who were used to comfort. It was a lovely affair with dinner, drinks & music. However he very strategically brought the cruise ship around to the other side of the harbour. The people smelled the slave ships before they saw them. The atrocities “their” slaves had endured were finally revealed. Reality was brought to light.

I truly believe the greatest way to fight a war is with education. In my heart of hearts, I believe very few people would support modern day slavery. It is happening though, it is real. It exists on a much larger scale than ever before in the history of man.

Please take a moment to consider reality. Do your research and do what you feel you can to help support the abolition of modern day slavery.


  1. Education and hope! Thank you for illuminating the darkness with your thoughts.

  2. I don't do enough but your post has challenged me to do so. Thank you.