Sunday, August 21, 2011

The worst of worlds

Slavery today is not just forcing people to work, it is often rape. But first, the abductors ensure the victim cannot escape. They bring them to a different country, usually with the promise of good work, then take their identification (passports). This does two things. It takes them away from everyone they know and puts them in an environment with which they are unfamiliar.

It's only rarely that we hear or read about this on the news, which is interesting because according to the Freedom Center ( there are between 12 - 27 million people in some form of enslavement today. Many of those are children while about 75% are female. There are approximately 600,000 - 800,000 people trafficked internationally every year ( If it is so prevalent, why do we not hear more about it.

Obviously, those in control of the slave trade do not want it to be front and center. They prefer it stays a non-issue. Also, many people would prefer not to admit it occurs.

It is interesting to me that we have a "War on Drugs" that most Americans know is a miserable failure, but we do not have a "War on Slavery." It may be challenging, but I think it is worth it to begin reallocating resources to stop slavery. The resources wasted on the war on drugs can be reduced by decriminalizing some drugs (for example, marijuana). This would also have the positive effect of increasing taxes, just think about how much in taxes is collected on tobacco (many millions of dollars).

We are starting to wake up. There are more resources available to educate people about human trafficking, both government and non-profit. There have also been some successes with convicting those guilty of trafficking. However, it needs to be a bigger issue. When people are oblivious to the fact that thousands of humans are brought into the country specifically for forced prostitution, how good can we feel about our society?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

A lot of effort has been expended on treatment, and rightfully so. The women who are subjected to breast cancer should be treated as best we are able. However, the other side is prevention, which some effort has been expended. Figuring out why women get breast cancer in the first, and subsequently figuring out how to prevent it should receive a significant amount of effort itself.

How to balance the two is challenging. By using money raised to learn about prevention takes money away from those suffering right now. Using money for treatment instead of prevention causes many more women to be subjected to breast cancer. There may not be an easy answer to this dilemma.

In my opinion, equal effort should be expended on each side of the equation. This has the obvious "it's fair" factor, but also, it shows equal respect to those who are suffering now and those for whom we may be able to prevent that suffering.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Finding Meaning

People need to have a feeling of purpose. However, for many, the job we are doing does not seem meaningful. This causes internal strife. We want our lives and what we do to mean something, to have some lasting effect.

"If you are not serving the customer, you should be serving those that do." I read that quote on a motivational poster. If you look at most jobs in this world, it does not seem like they contribute to something larger, in other words, to have some larger meaning. A data entry operator may see their job as tedious and even meaningless. However, almost every job contributes to the continuation of our society in some way, however small.

Take the data entry operator (DEO). If that job did not get done, the information may not be available to someone else. As an example, suppose the DEO is entering medical records for archival purposes. They may think it has no purpose, the paper copy can just be kept somewhere. However, some researcher may be interested in finding some cause and effect from either a treatment, symptoms, or some other medical situation. They may be able to use the information that was entered to discover something no one had discovered before. That discovery may even save lives in the future.

You can take most jobs and discern some value from them. It may not be apparent today, but there should always be hope that what you do will contribute, in some small way, to the betterment of humanity.