Trafficking Is a Jewish Concern
First published in October 2008, Sh'ma is re-purposing this Sh'ma issue on trafficking because the problem—the coerced movement and labor of women, children, and men worldwide—continues to grow.
Trafficking has a surprising place in Jewish history and life—and this month Sh'ma will explore both the history of Jewish trafficking and how our Jewish history, values, and global networks both compel and enable us to combat it.
Jodi Jacobson & Ruth Messinger offer a Jewish lens on trafficking. Human trafficking places people in conditions of or akin to slavery. Trafficked persons are made vulnerable...because they already live in conditions of economic and social marginalization so desperate they are willing to believe promises made by traffickers of a better life elsewhere, irrespective of the lack of evidence for these promises or the trustworthiness of their source.
- Rahel Gershuni examines the issue of trafficking in Israel. Beginning in the 1990s, young women from the former Soviet Union were trafficked to Israel for the purpose of prostitution. When trafficking began, government agencies did not identify it as a new phenomenon, but rather classified the victims in known categories—as illegal entrants or foreign prostitutes.
- Karyn Gershon chronicles the life of a trafficked woman from the FSU. In her faded jeans, a black blazer, flats, and delicate earrings, Tanya looks more like the school teacher she was trained to be than a woman who lived through six years of hell as a trafficked woman in Spain. Until now, she has not shared her story publicly because the Russian press has insensitively portrayed the experiences of trafficked women in sexually charged ways and exposed their identities in the communities where they are being repatriated.
- Wendy Chapkis writes about the intersection of trafficking and U.S. immigration policy. In 1999, Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, providing welfare benefits and residency permits to a small class of abused and undocumented immigrants, including those engaged in prostitution.
Continue the conversation on trafficking on the daily S Blog, which features posts from some of today's top Jewish thought leaders.
Highlights from this month's S Blog include:
- Yoni Dahlen on trafficking in the Bible, and today.
- Alon Ferency on fighting slavery in Eastern Tennessee with the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking.
- Yael Roberts on the daily blessing thanking God for not making us slaves.