In India’s Ganges Delta, a group of islands called the Sundarbans are experiencing the devastating effects of rising sea levels. This has made the area a prime target for traffickers, who lure in desperate people with promises of work in the city.
“…families need money to repair damaged homes and to buy food after the floods — which now happen every year, sometimes caused just by high tides. The dire circumstances give families no choice but to send their children away, as young as 10 or 11 years old, to work in factories or in cities.”
Save the Children has started educating children in the region on how to identify traffickers, but the root of the vulnerability – environmental changes mixed with poverty – makes for a challenging situation.
- Natural disasters and environmental change usually have a disproportionate effect on the poor. While middle class/wealthy people have the option to leave or rebuild, the poor often do not.
- Issues of social justice are interconnected. If you are passionate about environmental sustainability and protection, but also want to contribute to anti-trafficking efforts, your work or activism in the former can have effects on the latter.
- We’ve heard some people say that people are more important than the environment. But what if protecting the environment in turn protects people? If we have compassion for human beings, we should seriously consider the effects of our own habits on the environment, and see this earth as a gift and a stewardship.