01 August 2017

Bring the Horror Closer

File:African American Juvenile Justice project human trafficking ribbon.png

Auschwitz is on a tour, lest we forget Nazi death camps.**
Human trafficking has been on tour, but not in museums.
It moves with slave keepers wherever they find those who’ll pay
under tables for power, pleasure and unlawful gain.

Bring it closer, so I can hear.
Bring it nearer so I can see.

The numbers of victims are huge, how can they be so unobserved?
We asked Germans and Poles how they could not see.  Now it’s we
who are hoodwinked and docile; now it’s we who claim
we don’t see. And we don’t.  I don’t.  Is it staring at me?

Make it louder, I will listen.
Make it stink so I’ll see.

The exhibits are flesh and bones, human victims of greed.
As long as we buy under-priced and illicit products,
as long as we believe we can’t afford and must possess
and need not know nor care—we contribute, we are there.

Tell me where the buck stops.  
Show me how the buck can stop with me.

Awareness brings on pain, and I am willing to feel it.
Small steps prepare the ground, and I am willing to begin.
Little progress may discourage, but I am willing to
stay true, to believe as horror ends, justice will break through.

*The ribbon colors are dark blue for human trafficking, light blue for child abuse 
and teal for sexual abuse victims. “Individually, the colors represent so many
other awareness issues. Therefore it is important to custom design a ribbon 
specific to the issue of domestic minor sex trafficking and child sexual 
exploitation,” said Sherri Jefferson, the founder of the African American 
Juvenile Justice Project. Sherri Jefferson is the founder and managing 
attorney of the Family Law Center, the LawMobile is the LawOnWheels 
initiative. and the AAJJP and has been dedicated to improving 
the lives of clients’ one family at a time. 22 October 2015 

By JOANNA BERENDT, --NYTimes, Thursday 7/27/2017

My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast


Sumana Roy said...

A great prompt it was Susan.

"Tell me where the buck stops." Such a profound line connecting past, present and future. The questions raised here point to our worthlessness. Poverty is the main culprit at least in my country. You can't imagine what horrors we hear of our everyday living in India concerning this issue. So heartbreaking.

Marja said...

Heart wrenching fantastic poem. Sometimes I think people are robots, just following the herd and just gather and gather at the cost of what. At the cost of more than we want to know. How many must suffer to sustain the lives of the ones at the top. Awareness is a great step forwards. So an important prompt and your poem says it all.

Old Egg said...

The answer is for our governments to stop trading with countries that condone human trafficking. Sadly there are just not enough of us (and that does me you and me) to pressure our own governments and even if we did there will always be something far more important for them to do. So not this year then!
The is a most telling post Susan and we really should pressure our representatives more.

Jae Rose said...

we can but hope that justice will always prevail.. sometimes that hope feels distant however

annell4 said...

I hope you are right, "justice will break through."

Julian said...

Hi Susan. Thank you for this weeks prompt. Lets hope Justice will break through. Another good poem.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh how I still hope that justice will break through. A powerful poem, my friend..........could not be said any better.

Salem Lorot said...

Awesome poem, Susan.

You tear into the hypocrisy of our world. A world that pretends that human trafficking doesn't exist, a world that does not want to own up and accept responsibility. And it is this hypocrisy that we need to address as a human family. To feel the shame in our veins and doing something about this.

Anonymous said...

As you know. here in California. awareness is being raised. People are encouraged to learn and report any suspicions.

Nimi said...

'Show me how the buck can stop with me' - that to me is the essence of this prompt... to accept that each one can make a difference. Touching!

rallentanda said...

We are complicit by buying cheap products but it is not straightforward because without the western dollars there situation would be even worse. The offending countries need to respect their citizens by granting equal opportunity and a living wage. Yes and little piggies do fly. The West need to clamp down using legislature on exploitation including the sex tourism industry which is rampant in SE Asia.

Panchali said...

Amen to that, Susan!!
Human trafficking is one of the most organized crime and at its roots is profit from human misery. May the victims find healing, hope and justice.
Superb piece...very powerful write up!

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

I like the plea for awareness that pervades this poem. If we are not aware of the victims' plight, we just go on our way--and they continue to suffer at the hands of their exploiters.

Anjum Wasim Dar said...

justice will break through' a powerful write...