Our nation is on fire. A pandemonium of hate sweeps through every city, polarizing good Americans based on their skin color and their politics. Some would have us believe that these Confederate Statues, these symbols of hate, must be purged from our land before there can be peace. Others would have us believe that history must never be censored or quarantined lest we be doomed to repeat it.
Violent clashes between paranoid white supremacists and militant Antifa and BLM fanatics have resulted in injuries, deaths, and devastated communities. A father has disowned his son, a mother has buried her daughter, and neighbors have discovered that fences aren’t the only things separating them from one another. The only unperturbed faces seem to be those of the old stone statues at the center of the pandemonium.
While many would have us believe that racism and inequalities will subside once we remove statues of long dead slaveholders from sight, they are ignoring a very major issue.
Slavery did not die when the Confederacy was vanquished. Slavery did not end when the Civil War was over. Slavery did not cease to exist when President Lincoln emancipated black slaves.
Slavery evolved. It adapted. It is everywhere.
Today, hundreds of thousands of boys and girls, men and women, of all races, ages, and backgrounds are slaves. I am not talking about some far away nation, or some third world country where slavery is legal or considered the norm. I am talking about the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. In our largest cities and our most provincial towns, the signs go unnoticed and the cries go unheard.
Right here in the U.S.A., an estimated 1 out of every 6 of the 18,500 runaways in 2016 became child sex trafficking victims . 86% of those kids were in the hands of Social Services or Foster Care when they ran away . An estimated 55% are believed to be female, and 45% male, and these include LGBTQ youth .
Modern American Slavers use violence, threats, lies, financial dependency, and other manipulative tactics to keep their slaves quiet and controlled. They force them to provide commercial sex or labor against their will. Many adult victims have suffered in slavery since childhood. In fact, the average age most are enslaved at is 14. 
No one knows how many slaves exist in the US, but the numbers are estimated to reach into the hundreds of thousands. A recent study reported on by The Houston Chronicle suggests that there are over 313,000 slaves in Texas alone, including 79,000 child slaves. Houston is said to be one of the largest hubs, with hundreds of brothels scattered throughout the city.
Since 2007, The National Human Trafficking Hotline, Polaris, has received 162,660 communications reporting 31,600 confirmed cases of human trafficking; modern day slavery. These reports however, are merely the tip of a very deep iceberg. The vast majority of crimes go unreported, and unrecognized. The state with the most trafficking reports so far this year (as of June 30, 2017) is the liberal mecca of California with 705 confirmed cases, followed by conservative Texas with 433. In 2016, California had more than double its runner-up of Texas, with a whopping 1,331 cases.
The data from Polaris’ 2016 report are nothing short of heartbreaking. Below are some key highlights and trends which they observed last year:
- Modern Slavery is Color Blind. Of the 8,042 people rescued from slavery via Polaris’ Hotline, 1,040 were Latino, 715 were Asian, 577 were white, 553 were black, and 139 were biracial. Many did not report their ethnicity when surveyed.
- Reports of human trafficking in the U.S. are increasing exponentially. In fact, reports jumped by 35% in just one year. This is mostly due to the growing awareness of modern slavery, as well as an increase in awareness of the hotline.
- Sex Slavery accounts for 73% of Human Trafficking. Last year, 5,551 sex slavery victims were helped by Polaris. An additional 1,057 labor slavery victims (14%) were also helped.
- Labor trafficking soared by 47%, but is still widely underreported. Labor trafficking often goes unrecognized compared to sex trafficking because of a lack of awareness and the vulnerable type of workers it affects.
- Of the 8,042 people rescued, most were American citizens. 359 were identified as Mexican, although a good number of victims did not report their nationality when surveyed. The top risk factors for Human Trafficking seem to be Recent Migration/Relocation (852), Substance Use (448), Runaway or Homeless Youth (346), Mental Illness (340), and Unstable Housing (293).Download Polaris’ 2016 Hotline Statistics PDF Report here.
No matter how many statues you hide away in museums, streets you rename, and schools you retitle, racism will prevail in the minds of petty evil men. The abomination of early American slavery is a ghost that will haunt our country forever. The diabolical cruelty of separating families, forcing children into servitude, and denying education and basic human dignity to people who were created in the image of God, is one that can never be expunged.
Now, in 2017, despite the Civil War having ended over 150 years ago, slavery is alive and well in the United States of America.
One has to wonder what the American slaves of the 1700’s and 1800’s would think – what the Civil War veterans of old would say – if they knew we were fighting over cold dead statues, instead of the warring against the abomination they bled and died to obliterate.
Can we truly call ourselves a free, progressive, and civilized society, while slavery is alive and well?
Can we really be outraged over antique park decor – symbols of a bygone era – while even one child is being raped by 30 different men per night?
Why are we fighting over stone when living breathing slaves languish all around us? Who is protesting for them? Who is marching to set them free? Who is demonstrating, and making signs, and chanting slogans to shame the modern slaver?
Are we warring against a present evil that can harm and destroy, or the intangible shadows of painful memory?
Like the Confederates of old, fanatical liberal agitators have no sympathy for real slaves. Their privilege and sense of entitlement blinds them to the pain of others. They only see their own outrage. They only comprehend their own entropic self-serving ideals. With the rise of groups like the Alt-Right, KKK, Antifa, BLM, and SJWs, we witness the moral decomposition of our society.
Violence is violence. Hate is hate. Terrorism is terrorism. Set aside their skin colors. Dismiss their propaganda and rhetoric. Ignore their narratives and keywords. Forget what they’re telling you. If they breed chaos and division, then chaos and division is their agenda.
No one who genuinely cares about fighting racism, oppression, and slavery, is going to focus all their time, funding, and energy on statues that cannot speak, oppress, or enslave.
This war we wage, whether it be fought on the streets of Charlottesville or the threads of Facebook, is a war for America’s very soul. Stop battling the effigies of long dead men. Start freeing the slave next door.
Header photo courtesy of Kat Jayne, whose political views we have no idea of, but who takes stunningly emotive pictures.