Water Through the Eyes of Slaves

Slavery has had a connection with water since the dawn of time. Waters parted to free slaves from Pharaoh’s army. Slaves have been forced to build dams and wells. The African slave trade happened on the ocean. Slaves on those ships died by the hundreds each trip, and most were tossed into the sea.

Modern-day slaves, like their historical counterparts, have a very different experience of water than we do. Sometimes, slavery even occurs because of water. In India and surrounding countries, women and children are vulnerable to the sex trade while migrating to find safe water to drink.

Many if not most of the victims of trafficking are slaves to “happy traffickers:” people who promise a good job and clean water if they will travel to another country. The promise of clean water, for the child and his or her parents, is what convinces some parents to let their little one go. Even after years of rape and torture, some of the victims see their traffickers as benevolent and kind, because they provided water.

But not all slave-owners do provide water. From East Africa to Eastern Colorado, there have been reports of slaves being denied water as punishment, or only being given water unsafe to drink. Common tortures and threats include being doused with water or worse: being doused with boiling water.

In the Philippines, the sex trade often takes place at ports, because prostitutes are in demand from the Coast Guard. And in Thailand, one of the worst slave industries – the shrimp industry – thrives in and near the waters.

But perhaps this young Moldavian woman, who was trafficked into the sex trade in Turkey, gives the most meaningful illustration for how water is used by slaves: “I took a bath every time I came across some water, hoping the soap could wash away all the pain from my body. There was not a single day without sexual abuse and threats.”

A prayer for today:

God, we pray for these men, women and children whose lives are being destroyed by the sex industry and the slave trade. As the God who freed your people from slavery in Egypt and on the cross, we ask you to free the slaves of today and heal their brokenness. Give them proper health care, counseling and love. Show them the well of your compassion. And bring their traffickers to justice in America and throughout the world.

Make us modern-day Wilberforces. Give us the courage to stand up for what is right. Give us a deep love for justice. Please show us how we can be fighting slavery, even if it means giving up or rethinking things we enjoy. And help us not to take for granted our own freedoms as we fight for the freedom of other people.


Update on Henry:

Good news and bad news. The tests didn’t show anything – which is great because it probably means he doesn’t have anything as serious as cancer. But it also means we don’t know what is causing the strange blood test results. He is having a little trouble gaining the weight he’s lost, even though we’re feeding him double amounts, and his internal organs have basically no body fat at all, which the vet finds very odd.

They are sending in two more tests, which we will know about today or Monday. If nothing comes from those tests, then either his blood production is just not that great (all that means is that he is more prone to infection if wounded), or he could have bone marrow cancer. But the latter seems very unlikely for an otherwise extremely healthy, 2-year-old dog. His x-rays and ultrasound looked great. As the vet put it, “I’m telling you, this is the most healthy sick dog I’ve ever seen!”

The only other possibility is an extra testicle growing internally. The vet looked for one, but couldn’t find it. But he said that doesn’t mean it’s not there. If that were the problem, it would explain a lot about our crazy dog.

Henry is feeling great and enjoying all the extra fatty foods he’s getting.

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