Written by: Ethel Sha (Participant of CEDAR Barefoot Walk 2017)
A year ago, the chief executive of CEDAR commenced the event by sending out this command. Everybody in the hall took off their shoes and got ready to step out of their comfort zones to walk around Tseung Kwan O barefoot. Since then, I have never bared my feet to walk in the city, but to learn and be aware of the issue of human trafficking with a “barefoot” spirit.
My memories of the Barefoot Walk last year are still vivid. From the moment I “applied” to work as a domestic helper overseas, to “being exploited” in labour, I discovered that I would lose power over my life and my body due to poverty, ignorance, and vulnerability. I would even lose my basic rights and dignity as a human being due to other’s power and greed. I was experiencing these in an activity, but the victims were trampled alive in reality. When I revisited my experience in the Walk again, I was shocked by the fact that there was no one playing the role of protection, prevention, rescue, and advocacy! And we, the “victims”, were exploited unseen and unheard. Who to be our voice? And who to be THEIR voice? In Proverbs 31:8-9, it says: Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. This injustice needs to be ceased by a justice movement.
After the event, I was motivated to search and learn more about human trafficking. I followed the news of local and overseas human trafficking, and shared the causes and harms of it with friends. I surveyed around 200 people about their understanding of of the issue in Hong Kong, as well as planned an anti-human trafficking project, working with other overseas organisations, in a hope of supporting these organisations and their survivors and vulnerable groups. All these are pointing to one aim: to find a way to unite all people to defeat this unjust power in the world, to arouse public awareness in Hong Kong, and to urge the Hong Kong government to establish laws to protect the victims and bring the criminals to justice.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8). It is true that the injustice will not vanish immediately after joining the Barefoot Walk, but the Walk helps broaden our minds to look at all the injustices happening in the world. Through experiencing how evil deeds break one’s soul, we ponder over our lives and missions again, and let God’s compassion and justice grow in our hearts, then we will know how to utilise our resources, gifts, and talents to implement God’s justice on earth. I dearly encourage our readers to join this year’s Barefoot Walk, and meekly seek our role in God’s justice and mercy.