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On Thursday, September 27, I attended the Dignity Initiative’s presentation with the speakers John and Mackenzie Baldwin. Mackenzie and her father, John, are co-authors of the book Almost Gone: Twenty-Five Days and One Chance to Save Our Daughter, the story of Mackenzie’s internet relationship that almost landed her in the hands of human traffickers.
In this day and age, the internet age, many men and women find themselves meeting and interacting with people online who they do not know. We all hear cautionary tales but assume that something like that will never happen to us, but it so easily can. John and Mackenzie shared their full story, from when she first began this online relationship during her junior year of high school, until the FBI was called in to prevent her from leaving the country to be with this man, fourteen months later.
Mackenzie revealed that her relationship with Adam started off innocently but grew to something that was manipulative and controlling in ways that she only noticed afterward. They cautioned others not to fall into the trap she did by sharing warning signs and encouraging the audience to speak up for others as her friends did in order to save her. Human trafficking is despicable and, contrary to popular belief, is still continuing to a disgusting degree today in the cities we call home. The whole act boils down to a group of people benefitting by taking advantage of others. This is described by the social conflict perspective, whose proponent, Karl Marx, claimed that society experiences conflict due to competition between the upper and lower class with order being maintained by those with power. In the case of human trafficking, the two groups of people are the traffickers and the victims. The traffickers are profiting financially through the forced labor and/or sexual exploitation of others. The traffickers use domination and manipulation to capture vulnerable men, women, and children, who are usually either: young, runaways, lower class, foreign nationals, or previous victims of abuse. This has been going on for centuries all over the world.
Today, most societies see the wrong in this and have subsequently outlawed it, but until trafficking is truly stopped, it will continue to be a stain on mankind. I highly recommend this event to others because it is a fascinating story that is made even more interesting by hearing it from the woman who experienced it firsthand. Also, this is still a big issue and one that people like me, living in the suburbs, forget is happening in our backyard.
I think the Dignity Initiative is doing a wonderful job advocating for women and I would recommend this presentation be done each year.
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