March 18, 2014 – by Zohara Hieronimus, D.H.L.

The UN estimates that each year, nearly 4,000,000 men, women, and children are sold into slavery through human trafficking. Ships, planes, trains, trucks and vans worldwide transport them. The victims of this $10 billion industry (40% of whom are women and children sold into sex indenturment) do not willingly purchase tickets for their rides — they are victims of kidnap, extortion, and trickery.

While the international collaboration to find the likely sunken Malaysian aircraft 370, and the lost lives in its cabin, (12 crew members and 227 passengers from 15 nations) is a good sign, the failure of technology apparent, the lack of military psychics who are trained to see ‘everywhere and everywhen’ not surprising, but disappointing none the less. Forensics might reveal gas warfare-like traces in the bodies of the passengers, explaining the lack of cell phone texts to loved ones, and perhaps notice one male and one female no longer on board who parachuted to their sea rendezvous, where they were secreted away by boat, having put the plane on auto pilot knowing its fuel supply would only go so far, who were in fact hired by Russia to distract attention from their invasion of Ukraine. Everyone can imagine a good story line when no one yet knows what the true one is. That’s the power of TV, to draw us into stories other than those that are true. That any of it passes for news is dubious, that it brings higher ratings, obvious.

In the world of reality TV shows, this is a winner. People are conditioned now for survivor like games, where one jumps to conclusions, vilifies strangers and keeps watching for the next episode.

However, isn’t it interesting that this conspiracy of global good- will, has focused thousands of media hours — of non-stop coverage on the fate of the lives of two-hundred and thirty-nine free people, but not on the four million enslaved others who are the victims of another sort of global conspiracy; humans who get disappeared ‘to somewhere unfound’ each year?

Calculated by dividing four million people by fifty-two weeks of the year, if the same two weeks of time devoted to finding Malaysian Flt. 370 were given earnestly to ending institutionalized slavery, the effort might retrieve 153,846 of these men, women, and children and bring relief to their despairing families.

All of us should ask ourselves why are some lives worth saving and others considered irrelevant? How do the media, government and corporate advertisers decide what’s worth covering and who’s worth finding?

Zoh Hieronimus

Owings Mills, MD