Jono Hirt | Week 16

Warp speed ahead. Four months in. Two months left. I can’t say what I will be doing when I finish. Because I don’t know. I’m not sure what it is going to look like, but I know that I am going to continue this work, against modern-day slavery. I am definitely in it for the long haul. As long as it takes. I think at some stage I will burn out. That my resolve will waiver. This journey for justice that I am beginning is going to be trying. If it was easy we wouldn’t have the problems that we do. The world’s a mess in case you haven’t noticed. Human trafficking is just one of the symptoms of a larger narrative of inequality and persecution. I have picked my issue. Something that one of my lecturers said, during the first day, during the first class of my Masters. She said, pick your issue. Compartmentalize what you want to do. Extreme poverty due to persecution is the umbrella problem. We need people, many people to join the fight to restore justice and bring equality to the bottom rungs of the world – but we don’t want everyone working against the same things, whatever the vogue issue is at the time. Pick what it is you feel most passionate about, focus on it and stick with it. We need smart activists in every social justice movement, who are experts in that field. Human trafficking will not end while there are still poor, displaced, vulnerable people strewn across the world. We need to work on multiple fronts. Within each issue, we need people working from every angle. I am trying to figure out what my angle is. I’m reading “Half the Sky” at the moment. And one of the women in it who is working against forced prostitution of children in South East Asia said that for every 10 girls they save, 20 more appear. As Dave Batstone often says, we can’t simply keep pulling people out of the stream, at some point we need to move up stream and stop them from going in. “Half the Sky” talks about a multi pronged approach. Part victim centric – rescue and rehabilitation. Part political centric – to create the legal mechanisms and will to prevent and prosecute. And lastly, a cultural shift, namely through education, to shift paradigms that tell us that injustice and inequality is acceptable.

Lessons learnt from the recent “Three Cups of Tea” debacle. Lesson 1: Don’t believe everything you read. Lesson 2: To work for justice and equality is not just about doing things like building schools or wells or whatever, I think you need to live what you preach. To live authentically is to not contradict your passion by the way you live your life. If you work for Green Peace, you really shouldn’t litter. If you work in an anti-human trafficking NGO you really should buy Fair Trade. I think to be uber authentic; we poor fools who are committed to the story of justice really need to live that story out in all areas of our lives. If I drive to work in my gas guzzling SUV, buy slave picked coffee on the way to work, thrown the cup out the window (I have also left the living room and kitchen lights on at my house) and rinse, lather and repeat that nigh on everyday – but I work for an non-profit that does great work around the world – is it okay? Of course it isn’t. It’s fraudulent. Yes there is an “I” in self-righteous. And no I’m not perfect. But if you are going to drink 3 cups of tea make sure they are Fair Trade. Practice what you preach, eat, drink, and wear. Be authentic. I double dare you. My Dad said to me, a long time ago, that sometimes you have to live your life like there is no one else around. Well in this case you shouldn’t. Because there is, and our imprint on the world effects the whole world. People and planet. A wise and cool scholar once wrote, “there is no point working for justice, if you buy injustice at the supermarket”. Authenticity is the name of the game. Make like a Greek goddess and Just Do It!

If you are interested read an article I recently wrote on ’10 Things You Need to Know About Human Trafficking’…


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