Bhutan is a small country in the Himalayas that measures its wealth in the happiness of its people. Its economic structure includes self-reliance, environmental conservatism, cultural survival and good governance.
Throughout the world there are ventures of shared economies and cooperatives springing up. These undertakings are putting people and the environment before profit and are working to ensure good living conditions, education, clean food, water and air to all residents. They are doing simple things like setting up tool sharing, or more complicated efforts like rehabbing city blocks and welcoming small, local businesses to support the needs of local people… helping one another to ensure a good quality of life for all.
Here in the Driftless, there are discussions brewing about sourcing local energy through solar and other means; considerations of shared tools, skills and labor; and the possibility of creating small coops with local products and basics for everyone to utilize.
Consider what you need from your community and what you have to give to it.
Perhaps it is time to measure our wealth by quality of life instead of capital.
Making a community thrive is everyone’s business.
During a recent event held by Pax Christi in Viroqua, Sr. Marlene Weisenbeck, of The La Crosse Task Force to Eradicate Modern Slavery, introduced some very interesting facts.
Sex trafficking is not only those kidnapped and held as sex-slaves. Girls, boys and women are targeted by handlers seeking to profit from their exploitation as prostitutes, often right in our midst. These profiteers seek children who are runaways, or those in need of physical, or emotional support. They prey upon the vulnerable. In some cases, the profiteers are family members.
This business of seduction and entrapment of human flesh for profit is not limited to sex but also includes labor servitude, drug trafficking and the stealing of body parts. While it is estimated that 45.8 million human beings are currently enslaved, 63% are held for forced sexual prostitution.
Where are the hot spots for sex and drug trafficking? Interstate highways, man camps, shipping ports and recreational places where children like to frequent – such as waterparks – have been found convenient for this trade.
This business dubbed by Pope Francis as the “Merchandising in Human Flesh” is one of the biggest moneymakers in the world. Could this be a reason it seems illusive to law enforcement? Or could it be that we have looked the other way, as the estimated 1 out of every 7 men engaging in the purchasing of illegal sex may be our fathers, brothers, or sons? Or perhaps because it is found that many of these perpetrators work in professions of “trust” and are people of authority and power?
Wisconsin is about to pass a law indicating that minors are always victims in these crimes – hopefully this will end the nightmare of children being treated as criminals and may allow us to address the abuses of power and economic statuses afforded men in our system. Most importantly, it may get help to the victims so desperately needed, instead of more imprisonment.
This is not a time for silence. We all suffer in this abuse, all of us.See something suspicious? 1-888-3737-888 is the number of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. To learn more: La Crosse Task Force to Eradicate Human Slavery.