Connections between human trafficking and environmental destruction

Coming to one of the modern thinkers on the subject, Kevin Bates is synonymous with the cause of abolishing slavery.  He makes an observation that reaches the heart of the connection between trafficking and environmental degradation.  Bales tries to demystify what environmental destruction actually entails. Contrary to the common illusion of huge bulldozers ravaging their way through pristine forests, the apparently far removed fact of human liberty has a far-reaching effect on the environment. He expounds on this insidious chain of relations thus:

“the people who live in the forest and rely on it are usually the ones forced to destroy it. Tree by tree, the hands of slave wrench the life out of their own land and prepare it for a new kind of exploitation. The slavery of Brazil is a temporary slavery because environmental destruction is temporary: a forest can only be ruined once, and it doesn’t take that long.” (Bales)

Bales’ warning should be heeded by all, lest we make irreversible damage to the environment and endanger the survival of our species.

Finally, the spiritual seeker’s aspiration is thus two fold. First is his/her life of devotion to God and by extension to his chosen people. This precludes any form of human slavery from members of religious communities. The second aspiration, which is contained within the first, is to protect the environment. The term ‘environment’ here could be interpreted in several ways, from the metaphoric socio-cultural atmosphere inhabited by humans to the natural ecological systems.  The health and conduciveness of both these spheres is essential for the survival of our species. The spiritual seeker’s task is somewhat simplified by the fact that taking care of human dignity will naturally lead to a healthy environment and vice versa.  The following wise words from De Paul serve as a motto for fulfilling the aforesaid two goals: “Do we have the freedom of the children of God, or are we bound to possessions, comforts, and honors? We must examine ourselves to discover our bonds in order to break them.” (De Paul)


Quotes from Disposable People, by Kevin Bales, retrieved from <> on 29th January 2014-01-30

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Quotes, The Catholic Reader, retrieved from <> on 29th January, 2014

St. Vincent de Paul Quotes, What Did Vincent Say?, retrieved from <> on 29th January, 2014

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