Learning to See

I recently finished reading an incredibly inspirational book called Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull.  It is the story of Pixar and the culture that they have developed in their organization.  You may well be asking at this point “What this has to do with the fight against Trafficking in Persons?” So, let me explain…

In one of the chapters Catmull explains that in the creative process artists often need to focus on, what he calls, the “negative spaces”.  Those ‘spaces’ or areas around the actual subject, that is being drawn or developed.  In other words, how the object interacts with the image as a whole and not in isolation.

Ed Catmull says it this way.  “It isn’t that you don’t have biases, more that there are ways of learning to ignore them while considering a problem.”   Now, whilst I understand that he is speaking about art, it got me thinking about the work we are doing in Bulgaria.

You see, all too often we approach the challenges of Trafficking in Persons in the same way, which results in us seeing the problem through other people’s eyes, the way someone else has seen it or perceives it.

The reality however is, that Trafficking in Persons does not exist in isolation and the ‘spaces’ around the actual subject of Trafficking in Persons are a critical aspect in trying to evaluate and look at the ‘BIG picture of this modern day pandemic.  These ‘negative spaces’ around the topic of trafficking are all to often the result of a broader social dynamic.

During the past two years it has become clear to Peta-Ann and I that we cannot merely see the solution to the challenge of Trafficking in Persons as a one-dimensional approach, but we rather need to evaluate and assess the problems and solutions from a multi-faceted approach.  In other words, we need to consider not only the very obvious problem of trafficking that exists here in Bulgaria, but we also need to consider the broader social issues when looking for potential solutions.

In order to address the multi-faceted problem of trafficking in persons, a holistic approach is required which needs to address among other points the following:

  • Legislation
  • Local government responses and services
  • Safe houses and transitional homes
  • Street ministry
  • Advocacy
  • Racism
  • Poverty
  • Education
  • Awareness
  • Response of business to employing trafficked labor

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it does give us a glimpse of the complexity of the issue.

In addition to this list, the recent exploitation of the refugees fleeing war torn areas such as Syria, Libya, Ethiopia and Afghanistan as well as many other countries have exacerbated the problem and resulted in an increase in the practice of trafficking in persons – which continues unabated.

No one organization can address all these issues, which is why the collaboration within organizations such as the European Freedom Network in Europe and the National Freedom Network in South Africa are essential.

Partner with us in our fight against the exploitation of humans for personal gain!

European Freedom Network

National Freedom Network

Set Free Foundation

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