Friday, February 4, 2011
WTF(atwa)!!! or The Cowardice Of Evil.
One of the most maddening, disheartening factors of the fight against Human Trafficking and the fight to protect children from sexual brutalization is the complicity of law enforcement in many countries. The stories of police officers being bribed or being regular patrons at brothels where young girls are forced into prostitution are many, and the magistrates and judges that continue to be bought off make the conviction rate for traffickers anemic and laughable. But when self appointed, self-important, judiciaries take the law into their own hands and mete out the most reprehensible of rulings under the religious guise of fatwa, it breaks the will of even the most hopeful optimists.
Hena was 14 when her 40 year old married cousin raped and beat her. That was last Sunday in Bangladesh. And though the man did not deny his crime, Hena was not given justice. Instead she was given one hundred one lashes. But at least for tiny Hena she didn't have to experience all of them, that's because she fell unconscious after 70. The young girl was rushed to the hospital where her broken body was beyond repair, and she died today, five days later.
The fatwa council that met early Monday convicted Hena of adultery, which is often just code for being alone with a man, but in Hena's case the reality was much more tragic. Her punishment was swift. Her death, unimaginably painful and infinitely senseless. The High Court is demanding an explanation but there is only one: evil is a coward. Evil hides under white sheets and under the cover of darkness, it masquerades as blind justice, but it blinds those who have no appetite for confrontation. It preys on the weak and defenseless and is emboldened at the deafening silence of society. It uses religion, every religion, as a justification for its lust for power and control, it uses religion as a blunt object, a raised fist that strikes fear into the heart of those that would resist.
Conspiracy Of Hope is a non-political group. Our members are as varied as are their beliefs. We do however support legislation that protects the innocent from exploitation and we support organizations that work tirelessly to see the law enforced justly.
International Justice Mission is one such organization. They work with just local law enforcement, lawyers and judges all over the world to protect the rights of the innocent. Their work with Project Lantern in Cebu, Philippines led to the number of underage girls in brothels declining by 79%. (You can read the COH blog about Project Lantern here.)
IJM has also put together a petition to ask President Obama to renew his administration's commitment to justice for the victims of trafficking. You can sign the petition here. It takes all of 30 seconds. Also there will be legislation going before congress soon called the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). We will keep you up to date on the status of the legislation and let you know when you can call your congresspersons to let them know you support it. The legislation will give the State department some of the tools it needs to help other governments fight trafficking by enforcing anti-slavery and anti-exploitation laws already on the books and by encouraging them to amend Draconian laws like the one behind the fatwa that led to little Hena being beaten to death for being raped.
Please use your voice, your talents, your resources to expose the injustice of trafficking. Please support organizations like IJM that are fighting relentlessly to stem the tide of injustice. Remember, every time you speak out, the cowardice of evil is exposed for what it is, and you give the Henas of the world a fighting chance.
From all of us at Conspiracy Of Hope, thank you for being that voice.