Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Refuse To Do Nothing

Refuse to do Nothing

What a book!  When it arrived in the post, I was surprised to discover it was all about modern-day slavery.  Huh?  But I was intrigued because it was written by two normal-sounding, ordinary mums.  Right from the Foreward, Refuse to do Nothing is gripping reading.  Sometimes I was horrified by what I read; there were times it made me feel nauseous, there were lots of tears, and sometimes I had to take a breather between chapters so that I could process the issues raised.  But I was compelled to keep turning the pages.

In the initial chapters Shayne Moore and Kimberly McOwen Yim introduce themselves and their families, and share how human trafficking/slavery first came to their attention.  Throughout, their mantra is that we shouldn’t just read the book, cry, and then move on.  Oh no, they are passionate that we each do our bit – no matter how small – to end the suffering of modern-day slaves.  In almost every chapter they give the US National Human Trafficking Hotline number (888 373 7888) – it’s 0800 0121 700 for the UK – and urge readers to keep this number in their phones so that they have it to hand when they come across a victim of human trafficking.

The early chapters cover the fact that human trafficking exists – even on your own doorstep – and reveals some useful tips for how to spot it.  There are more slaves now than there have ever been.

The later chapters deal with particular issues:

*  Do you know all the components that make up your smart phone?  Where do those components come from?  How are they mined and by whom?  Are the working conditions fair?
*  What about chocolate?  Is your favourite company’s brand guilty of using slave labour and exploitation of children?  Which supermarkets make a point of stocking fair trade chocolate?  And which are out for the cheapest price?
That bargain blouse I saw, why is it cheap?  Is it because the high street store is having a sale?  Or was it manufactured in shocking conditions by slaves?

Shayne and Kimberly are keen that we are not just shocked, but that we take action.  They clearly point to actions individuals can take that will make a difference.  There are useful websites to check which companies and stores stock fair trade goods and who stand against using slave labour.  At the close of each chapter there are reflection questions as well as suggestions of how to take action.

As I read of the awful misery and suffering that human trafficking causes – and remembering an Asian expatriate working in Abu Dhabi who told my friends with tears in his eyes that they were the first people who had spoken kindly to him in months – I had to make some changes.  The UK national hotline for human trafficking is now on my iPhone, just in case.  I find myself looking at people (door-to-door salesmen, cleaners, etc) with different eyes – are they doing this because they have chosen to do it or because they are being forced to do it?  My husband and I are becoming much more selective about what we buy.  You see, once we know about human trafficking, we have a responsibility to act.

Refuse to do Nothing is changing my life.  Some of the horrific stories contained within its pages haunt me.  I can make small changes:  I can pray for an end to human trafficking.  And I can be responsible about what I purchase.  But I cannot sit back and refuse to do nothing….

Thank you to IVP for providing me with a free copy of this book for the purpose of writing a review.

3 Comments

  1. Thank you Mandy for this review. I have made a note of the Uk hotline and will also become more alert to where our goods are sourced from. I’ve read “Stop the Traffik” by Steve Chalke, another book on the subject which I can recommend.

  2. John Ridgway

    16/04/2013 at 10:18 am

    Mandy, just read your blog/review and I’m going to see about reading this. I think it is something we should know about. Thanks for posting xx

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