Wednesday, October 17, 2012


A few days ago as my wife and I were coming home in a taxi, we saw a small boy dressed in his school uniform and having a marvelous time while walking to school.  He was not far from our home in the countryside near the little town of Santa Cruz Tlaxcala here in Mexico.  Seeing him alone, happy and having such a good time interacting with nature’s beautiful environment, not only reminded us of  our own childhood but also of the current danger young humans face in this so-called modern and progressive world.  We truly felt concerned for the safety of the little boy, who was alone and on his way to class.

Moreover, just as other people  who see, hear, and read the details of human trafficking in the news and documentaries, we often feel the heartbreaking pain of such tragedy--the capture, sale, purchase, slavery, brutalization and murder of innocent victims.    Our inner beings cry out.  We feel helpless as to what we can do.  And we shudder at the idea of imagining what we would experience if we entered the minds of those being trafficked, doing the trafficking, or committing the brutalization.  Such a thing seems beyond our reality; yet, what if we did imagine ourselves stepping into the shoes of these people?

Although this experience could be difficult and even frightening, we might find instruction and comfort in the words of the famous second secretary-general of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskj√∂ld, spoken over 50 years ago, about developing peace and compassion: “he must push his awareness to the utmost limit without losing his inner quiet, he must be able to see with the eyes of others from within their personality without losing his own.”  Such wisdom reminds us of the need to develop insight (real understanding) into the issue of human trafficking before choosing what we, as individuals, can do in supporting the cause to halt this horrendous crime against humanity.

Holding a vivid image in our mind of a small boy or girl, who has been sexually or otherwise victimized, we might begin to sense what he or she has experienced mentally and physically.  For example, we would imagine seeing and feeling the event of the child’s capture, the shock of his or her freedom being ripped away, the crying out for his or her family, the fear he or she has of the captors, the painful beatings, and the explosion of tears running down his or her cheeks—the trauma is overwhelming.  Continuing to contemplate the child, we see and feel the experiences of ensuing events, such as the transportation, sale, and pain of being violated in different places, from the very rich and luxurious homes to the putrid, disease-ridden, and infested environments of prostitution.  We might even see the child being harvested for his or her organs before the cadaver is ground up and mixed with other materials to make hog feed.  Of course, all the while it’s possible that we feel the sensations of the cries of loss within the child’s family, especially that of the mother.

Certainly, this is but a small touch of what it might be like for us to enter into the lives and experiences of all the people involved in human trafficking.  The wisdom of doing so would help us to not only increase our understanding of the issue but also our feelings of compassion, the ones that cause us to take right action.  Also, it’s possible that the feeling of being a helpless bystander would subside as we experience the usefulness of investigating and involving ourselves empathically.  It might even be that through the practice of awareness, compassion, and prayer, we develop an appreciation for the effectiveness of the collective unconscious referred to by the famous psychologist Carl Jung.  Thus, while our news services and investigative reporters inform us about the events and details of human trafficking, we realize the value of something we only infrequently read about:  the indispensable contribution and power of silent and collective inner practice, which leads to more powerful interventions in the halting and prevention of such dreadful wrongdoing in world society.  Also, might it not be valuable to examine this issue more closely, even the treatment of the victims?

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