What is this silly talk? How will the Albania mafia ever be our heroes? Well maybe not, but a point is there to be made. Let me explain – –
FIRST, I have this disclaimer: I lived in Albania for three years and I liked it a lot. There are very nice people there, family people, and it is embarrassing to me to think they are every TV show and movies writers choice as being bad guys, vilons in so many books and movies. I defend them.
As I suggest repeated in this blog, the real trafficking story is that trafficking is a symptom of huge social pressures in reaction to population growth, rural-to-urban migration, technology, and so on.
Who are these traffickers? Two examples – –
American heroes: I ask you now, who were the conductors of America’s Underground Railroad prior to our Civil War if not traffickers defying legal slave owners! Slaves were helped to reach freedom within America.
European heroes: I am also remind of partisans in countries surrounding Nazi Germany prior to and during WWII. The Germans were the legitimate government of Germany. In most cases it was illegal for Jews to leave Germany just as it is hard for many poorer people to get visas now. Yet Jews sold everything they could to raise money to make an escape to freedom. They were desperate. These Jews paid, sometimes very high fees to partisans – or may I say “traffickers” since it is just a word – out of a feeling of well deserved desperation to escape Germany. Whether partisans were paid or not, they did risk their lives and did deserve a reward. Partisans who trafficked Jews out of Germany are considered heroes today.
Asian heroes: Even now as America forces countries all over the world to chase after traffickers, there are traffickers who are treated as heroes by America’s government. I am speaking of people who help North Korean people make the difficult trip out of North Korea and by a circuitous route through China, maybe Thailand, and finally to South Korea. These people every definition of traffickers, and if not they are smugglers of people, and yet they are heroes. Sometimes we have to ask Big Brother who this week’s good guys and bad guys are and even who we are at war with now.
Traffickers as Heroes – –
When we understand this we can get onto the right road to change what needs to be changed. We can pass the right laws. Maybe!
Until then we may not fully understand who are the good guys and who are the bad guys! Yes, maybe, at least some times, we even attack the good guys in our War on Trafficking.
Do you see any parallels with the stories you see in the newspaper about traffickers now? Are traffickers always thugs?
Elsewhere you will find stories of elected local leaders near the border between Thailand and Myanmar in two separate incidents, one in the North and one in the South of Thailand. In the North elected Thai community leaders helped cross border Karen people facing attacks from Burmese military. In the South elected Thai community leaders and some military officers helped Rohingya people, Muslims fleeing persecution and deadly attacks from Myanmar Buddhists.
In both cases the refugees were helped to cross into Thailand and take jobs. Those two incidents sound quite noble to me, even of hero quality, but I only read about those situations because the Bangkok Post reported the arrest of the Thais – for trafficking!
History will decide – –
What will history say about us all 80 years or so from now? Some experts predict the world’s population will more than double by then. Our population is now about 7 billion people and by the end of this century it could reach more than 15 billion people. What will that world be like then? I won’t see it, but that time line is well within the expected life span of my young grandchildren.
With twice as many people in the world, I suggest that pressures to go somewhere, anywhere even at great risk to make a better life will be much much greater than is the case now?
Will even more underground networks emerge to defy the bureaucracy of the future just as America’s Underground Railroad defied legal slave owners? Just as partisans risked their lives to rescue Jews from Nazi German?
Trafficking laws are fences – –
I see my government on the cutting edge of new efforts to keep people around the world in their place, possibly starving and desperate, but not trafficked? Trafficking laws are fences and those fences will only get bigger and better unless they are challenged now.
In the future will we have a different understanding of who were today’s good guys and who were today’s bad guys? I think so!