Jul 8, 2008

buy a child

I was at the gym this morning going nowhere on one of the many elliptical machines. I had my headphones in, as I always do, and was enjoying the soundtrack from "Across the Universe." There are TVs all over the place, but most of them do not have subtitles which means that as I sweat, grit my teeth, try to go just a little harder, I generally do so without any regard to what is on each of these TVs.

This morning was different.

This morning I was in front of the TV showing reruns of ER. [I had completely forgotten that George Clooney used to be on that show!] Directly to the left of ER was Good Morning America [heretofore referred as GMA]. This TV was the only one I could see that had subtitles and the words "child slavery" happened to catch my eye as I was in the middle of mouthing the words to "She's So Heavy" and pondering the youthful good looks of George. Immediately all other thoughts were forgotten and I was glued to GMA.

They did a story on child slavery, and more specifically they looked at just how easy it is to BUY A CHILD.
Not adopt a child.
BUY a child.
Buy a CHILD.
The reporter started out for JFK at 7:10A and within 10 hours had made it to Haiti and back. During that time he met with two different people who were each willing to sell him a child of around 10 or 11. Although the first person he met with recommended a child of closer to age 15 because she would be "more developed." During the first meeting the reporter, undercover of course, and the man selling children bartered over the price of the child he hoped to purchase. The seller started out at the bargain price of $300. [THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR A HUMAN LIFE.] But he was talked down to $150, including all the necessary forged paperwork. The second seller's price was a bit steeper, $10,000. Although he more than implied that in purchasing the child she became yours and would then have to do WHATEVER it was you required of her and was much more open about the sexual nature of the transaction they discussed.

And we all just kept on doing what we were doing. We kept running on our treadmills, going nowhere on our elliptical machines, climbing imaginary stairs. Maybe because we were too engrossed in whatever workout mix we'd chosen for that morning. Maybe because we were to enamored with George and his incredible medicinal skills. Maybe because learning something like that feels so overwhelming that all one can do is go into shock.

But what happens when the shock wears off? What then? Not knowing the answer to those questions I kept on sweating. I poured my anger and my broken heartedness into the rest of my work out. I listened to Delta Spirit's "Streetwalker" as I stretched out tired muscles. And then I crammed myself into one of the showers that, until this morning, seemed so spacious. And I cried. I cried big, hot, silent tears as I struggled to keep myself upright. I cried and I prayed for an end to injustice, or as much of one as we can hope to see here and now.

Let us not be silent. Let us not be content to simply sit and allow these things to happen. Let us not be more concerned about the rising cost of gas than we are about the bartered price of a human life. Let us respond in a way that honors the One who came before us, who came to seek and save the lost.


bff said...

thank you for sharing this. my heart is breaking with yours.

Anonymous said...


I watched that guy's special report last night and could not even wrap my head around it. If there is a way for you to watch the whole, hour-long piece, you should. It will rip your heart out through your chest.

J. Harv