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Abolitionist Mama

May 6, 2013

Refuse to do nothing

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For months I have been recommending books on human trafficking. My passion and focus is on Sex Trafficking in the USA and as such, I frequently urge people to read Renting Lacy or Girls Like Us.

There are other great resources on the global issue… academic texts such as Sex Trafficking, memoirs like God in a Brothel or Somaly Mam’s Road of Lost Innocence, fiction works such as Sold or Priceless, and broad overviews like David Batstone’s Not for Sale and Kevin Bales Ending Slavery: How we free today’s slaves. I have read them all.

But I have longed for a book like Shayne Moore and Kimberly McOwen Yim‘s Refuse to do Nothing: Finding your power to abolish modern-day slavery. Their’s is an easily digestible and tangible primer on human trafficking for the justice-aware woman wondering what she can do.

I appreciate the way they handle the face of local trafficking- Asian Massage businesses, strip clubs, and underage prostituted girls. But Moore and Yim also spend time on the various ways modern day slavery infiltrates our everyday lives from how to approach conflict minerals in our electronics to child labor in our chocolate. Each chapter contains doable action steps and convicting points of reflection.

The book concludes with an encouragement of our power to end this atrocity, paralleling the ways in which women abolitionists of the 19th century tackled slavery. I think this is the point at which so many women, especially Moms or retired activists, feel hindered. What can I do? Refuse to do nothing! This book will not let you get off the hook, make excuses, or feel overwhelmed by the enormity of it all. You will conclude with a plethora of achievable ideas and options to somehow work into the reality of your roles and responsibilities.

No legislative power is vested in us; we can do nothing to overthrow the system, even if we wished to do so. To this I reply, I know you do not make the laws, but I also know you are the wives and mothers, the sisters and daughters of those who do; and if you really suppose you can do nothing to overthrow slavery, you are greatly mistaken. You can do much in every way: four things I will name. 1st. you can read on this subject. 2d. You can pray over this subject. 3d. You can speak on this subject. 4th. You can act on this subject. I have not placed reading before praying because I regard it more important, but because, in order to pray aright, we must understand what we are praying for.

Angelina Grimke (1836) Appeal to Christian Women of the South (Refuse to do Nothing, p. 170)


If you have felt paralyzed by the darkness and evil of human trafficking, wondering what you could possibly do you in your corner of the world, you can begin by picking up this book. You can refuse to do nothing. Start now. Start here.

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