It’s the time of year when we think about giving. The Combined Federal Contributions Campaign has been active for Federal employees, mail boxes and inboxes are filling up with letters, catalogues and other forms of pleas for donations and charities.
If you have a business or work for a large corporation your company may have a whole department, or person, dedicated to charitable giving. Businesses gain a large amount of goodwill among their supporters by giving back to the community that benefit from their business.
I come from a background of studying Sociology and International Relations. I started out studying psychology but quickly found that the social context one lives in has a very strong effect on their life. In order to be most effective in helping others I switched my major to Sociology. I found a world full of answers to complex problems, and more questions than I could imagine to ask, were now in front of me, along with myths that had often been seen as fact.
A civil society
One of the issues that was powerful for me in my studies is the idea of civil society. Civil society is the way that organizations of people fill in the needed gaps between government and business that make a society function properly, or improperly, if those gaps fall unserved. Organizations that are immediately recognized would be the YMCA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Salvation Army and many more.
There are many societies in the world that do not have a full range of organizations to meet the gaps between business and government. Both business and government can be harsh and leave many needs unmet due to bureaucracy or staying focused on markets.
In the United States, we place a high value on professional services like attorneys, engineers, accountants, sports figures, celebrities and others. We often expect those who serve people to take little to no income. People who educate, rescue lives, and provide social services are often marginalized when it comes to financial compensation.
However, when we have the services needed for families in crisis, it benefits all of society. The presence of social services restores employees to their jobs, helps children reach their potential, makes neighborhoods safer and guarantees our thriving in the future.
Yet, as I counsel many college students who ask, “How can I do what you do?” I respond, “The best advice I can give you is to do anything else! You will not be financially rewarded and if you need money to survive, go elsewhere.” What a shame to have to choose between helping others and financial stability.
Example of financial expectations
I was at a meeting years ago with a man who was truly blessed, he and his family owned many businesses in southern California, all extremely successful. He was wonderful to meet with me and let me know he wanted to help with combating human trafficking.
We developed an idea for a fundraiser and raising awareness that trafficking was occurring in his community. After our meeting he said, “This is great and I need your help to make it successful, but I have to work and earn money.” A few sentences later he said, “… and we will raise all this money, but no salaries will be paid.”
My heart sank. He needed me to feel good, contribute to society, but relieve him so he could earn money. He gave no thought to me not being able to pay my bills or be secure in the process, even though he met me because of my work rescuing victims.
That’s when I realized that our American society does not value the work of social services. It wasn’t his fault, but it’s what we have come to expect.
My personal dream
My dream is that we value human and social services more than we value professional sports teams or the latest celebrity in the news. If people are enslaved, missing, victims of crime, and hungry, then how can we pursue so many other expensive endeavors?
We should solve human suffering as the highest priority, because we are a country built on the idea of compassion, but, we’ve also become a nation of greed. We are a people that puts focus on a problem and we fix it, it’s been proven so many times. The end of World War II, winning the Space Race, finding Bin laden, are examples of human energy put towards a common goal, often framed as good and evil.
Resources for freelance advocates
Why should someone who is combating modern slavery be forced to do so with little to no resources? What could be more evil in modern times than selling others for commercial sex or for forced labor?
We villainized Saddam Hussein for his rape police, but we buy and sell rape in the U.S. as a commodity. Those perpetuating the rape culture and sex trafficking have up to $32 BILLION dollars.
How much could we benefit as a society if the suffering that money caused was stopped?
What if all those people were free and pursuing their full potential and benefitting society?
What if they were never exploited?
What if children were never born into or because of this spectrum of crimes?
What if those children affected by trafficking were protected? Nurtured? Supported?
How much is that worth? Should someone who is experienced and skilled have to work with the risk, but without the benefit of financial resources?
Building a better world for all
If freelance advocates could receive financial compensation similar to an attorney, engineer, or sports figure, the population we serve would benefit and it would allow the freedom needed to find more victims and prevent more exploitation.
I believe we can change the world in a very positive way. I believe we can start a wave of good and create the ability for others to be able to reach their purpose in life. It could be a world with less crying mothers, damaged children; a world with less rapes for money, less murders, less adultery, less STD’s; a world with safer schools and communities for children to grow and thrive.
We need a world where men don’t engage in the barbarous acts of commercial sex. Men would be able to enjoy women for who they are and not the distorted lies of commercial sex. Men would become the men they should be.
It would be a world safe for victims and hostile to those who exploit them. It would be a world of compassion, where the best and brightest minds were paid to help other people, where material things and fame still existed, but aren’t as important as us as a society loving ourselves!!!
It would be a safer world where everyone has the chance to reach their highest and brightest potential to shine and pursue happiness and joy.
Dottie Laster is the Executive Director of Heidi Search Center in San Antonio, TX and is also affiliated with the Austin, TX non-profit Bernardo Kohler Center where she is accredited to practice immigration law. She heads their Save One Soul outreach.
She is the recipient of several human rights awards and has been featured in numerous publications including recent issues of Texas Monthly, Town Hall, and MORE Magazine.
She is the CEO of Laster Global Consulting, has consulted in several high-profile trafficking cases, and has been directly and indirectly responsible for the rescue and restoration of hundreds of trafficking victims. Her strong multi-disciplinary team has an established track record and provide project development, consultancy, and training resources in domestic and international trafficking.
To schedule training in your community and become involved in making your area safe for victims and their families, and hostile to traffickers, contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-0859 or email firstname.lastname@example.org