Refuse to Do Nothing

From Volume 1, Issue1, 2017


We are talking about the book, “Refuse To Do Nothing”. Perhaps what we should do first is to start by telling the audience a little bit about the book?

Yeah, so the book is, I had the privilege of writing the book with a friend of mine and it is basically the book I wish had about 5 years ago. People always say, like the best book is the book you wish you always wrote and I, in this case, wrote the book I wish I had about 5 years ago, so the book is basically a primer, an introduction to the issue of human trafficking, but more than an introduction. It specifically points to concrete things that everyday ordinary people can do to fight human trafficking, also referred to as modern day slavery and that was the biggest piece for me when I started, was trying to get mobilized, trying to get movement and traction on. Now that I know what this global problem is, what I can do about it in the busy life of motherhood and so this book not only explains what is modern day slavery, what are the types of slavery that exist in our world, how can that actually be and even more importantly than what the problem is, what does an everyday person have at their disposal to do something about it and it’s like I say, the no excuse primer for addressing the issue of modern day slavery.

So, right, you know in the book you mentioned some of your earlier frustrations both on, how you didn’t know what to do about these specific things and then even after you did know they existed, what to do then. But I guess as you went, you learned if everybody did something, right? 

Yes, yes and we look at even, I think … it was really helpful to me once I began to see that this has been done before. When I began to see what was done in the first abolitionist movement. That, the tide turned when the average person got involved. They needed people upfront leading, for sure, risking everything to push legislation and to talk to the powers that be. But the ordinary, everyday people including women, who at the time did not have a vote, did not have much of a voice outside of their home and if they did it seemed quite radical, but they were pushing outside their comfort zones and talking to their pastors and talking to their husbands and rallying together and getting together in sewing circles, so when the ordinary person started getting involved, I believe that’s what really … the tide changes. You needed both those like the William Wilberforce and those that were speaking at the abolitionist speaking circuits, but you needed people funding that, you needed people following those and that requires the masses, the
boycotting of slave-produced sugar, you needed the masses to follow and also do their part or it would have just been a couple of leaders up from just saying this is what we are supposed to do. It did take the average ordinary person to acknowledge there was a problem and do something about it.

Right … and you know, you would think just being educated on it would be all you need for people to stand up and start moving. But you know, I was really moved when I read the book a few weeks back and, maybe you have experienced this too, but I began to start spitting out all the stats and things you informed me about in the book, but I was talking to this one person who had this blank look and they stated, “That is so painful”.


And they replied, “I can’t look at that”. So, I informed them, but instead of action, they are like, I have to turn away, because I can’t even look.
Yeah, yeah … people say I can’t stomach it, that is too much. And I think that it’s, I think it is such a fine line to push people to really see …this is reality, being compassionate about their feelings, but I think we do need to keep pushing the conversation and keep pointing to what is really going on in our world. But it has to, I think, be balanced with hope, like I am telling you this because there is something we can do about it rather than telling you this to be sad, I am telling you this because this is happening in our neighborhoods, as well as around the world and there is something we can do and we have to be okay that it’s not a, send your twenty bucks, snap your fingers and it is all goes away, it’s like most of life, right, it’s messy and it requires perseverance, but it requires something. It requires us to know and to keeping pushing through that … I guess paralyzing despair that I think people get when they first hear and they plug their ears and say, “Don’t tell me, that’s too much”. But it’s not too much, they need to hear it, but it needs to be, I think in balance with, “I am telling you this because we can do something about it”.

That is absolutely what we have to do, and you just keep going, right, until something happens?

Yeah, and I think for those that are first kind of stepping out and talking about it or wanting to have a conversation with their friends about it, there is definitely, I mean I definitely experienced it myself, there’s a little bit … there is some risk. When I first got motivated, people probably think, think there has to be a little bit of, yeah you’re willing to risk it, but it’s worth the risk to begin that conversation and especially now, there is so much out there and articles written and celebrities taking a stand that people can point to, so real quickly they can see they are not alone.

You point out in the book when you are discussing sex trafficking, that the average age is between 11 and 13?

Kimberly McOwen Yim

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