Reflections

Journey - Emma Thompson and the Helen Bamber Foundation

Journey - Emma Thompson and the Helen Bamber Foundation

It's the time of year when it's customary to look back and reflect. What do I see?

If I limit my gaze to the Cuatro Corridos project, I see our premiere seven months ago in San Diego and successful performances before large audiences in Tijuana and Dallas since then.  I remain grateful to our funders, the members of the creative team and my colleagues, all of whom contributed so much to bringing this opera to life.  

I also see our collaborations with extraordinary organizations and great people doing the difficult, daily work of helping victims of human trafficking. It's been an incredible journey.

When I look at the larger issue of human trafficking, this is what I see:

Journey - Emma Thompson and the Helen Bamber Foundation

Journey - Emma Thompson and the Helen Bamber Foundation

  • There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today.
  • According to the U.S. State Department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. More than 70 percent are female and half are children.
  • The International Labour Organization estimates that women and girls represent the largest share of forced labor victims. 
  • Human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry (behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking.)It reportedly generates a profit of $32 billion every year.
  • Of that number, $15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries.
  • Globally, the average cost of a slave is $90* 

That's the bigger, tougher picture.

Before Cuatro Corridos, my awareness of the extent of modern day slavery was practically nil. I imagined it occurring rarely and in remote locations. Now, I know differently.

There are so many organizations doing tremendous grassroots work who could use our support: the Cuatro Corridos forum participants in San Diego (Legal Aid Foundation), Tijuana (International Network of Hearts) and Dallas (Mosaic Family Services) are just some. The international organization Polaris Project has a website full of information and is making a difference on a global scale.

One of the most popular posts on social media sites recently has been a New York Times article on the value of the "selfie" - you gaze at yourself on a four inch screen, take a photo and shares it with the world. 

In 2014, I think I'll try to keep looking out at the bigger, tougher picture and inviting others to do the same. 

If you can see it, you can change it.

- Susan Narucki

*Statistics from CNN's Freedom Project and DoSomething.org.

Images Journey Emma Thompson and the Helen Bamber Foundation

Journey - Emma Thompson and the Helen Bamber Foundation

Journey - Emma Thompson and the Helen Bamber Foundation