Can you hear me?
There is a novel series I enjoy that is based in medieval times. In one part of the series, the sea ports have been affected by a group of human traffickers (which is still a big problem in many parts of the world).
One scene has a big city wide party going on with loud music and cheering and fireworks. In this scene you can notice the slight screams of the people that are being silently stolen out of the crowd.
In this scene the protagonist asks a companion if they had also heard an odd noise, to which the other character answers, “yes. The sounds of the party covered it, but there were screams.”
I wonder how often we miss the screams in the midst of the party. The laughter, the excitement, the fireworks. Noise. Sounds of pleasure that cover the sounds of pain and distress. The people we don’t see due to the crowd who are silently being stolen away. The world has so much suffering that we just don’t notice.
Question. How many of you were at least a little bit surprised when I mentioned that human trafficking is still a problem? How many were angered and disgusted? If I said that many of the people on the streets in large cities have jobs, sometimes several jobs, but the cost of living is simply too high, would you be confused or argue with me?
I grew up near the large city of Vancouver, a city I love and miss, but even the beautiful lady has a dark side. A very dark side. Because of friends who were cops we learned of the on going and somewhat large problem of human trafficking that was happening right out of the inner harbor. A problem that the police struggled to control because of it’s strength. So you didn’t walk the streets alone.
Because of ministry friends we learned of the plight of the hard working man who lived in a cardboard box in the downtown area. There were many just like him. Steady job. Not enough to get by on.
We learned also that we were far from the only city with these problems. In Canada and the US especially it is easy to live the party life because we can have so much. But there are screams that we can’t hear that are happening just down the street.
This is not a criticism. Feel free to enjoy life. But now you are aware of the pain that you cannot see. What can you do about it?