A big part of recruiting players and their wives to the Free2Play team involved giving them some awareness about the situation. When Dave Batstone and I visited Bible studies for players during spring training, I shared some of my ideas about why slavery is a Jesus situation. I explained that Jesus would not support human trafficking. And since Jesus wouldn’t support it, neither should we.
Then I told them about slave labor. They were really amazed. “Wow,” they said, “slavery is in the things we buy!” And I said “Yeah, it’s in the things you buy.” But I also explained how slave labor is a really tough thing to fight, because it’s so hard to detect. For example, every one of us has a cell phone. The cell phone itself might not be made by slave labor, but your cell phone probably contains some sort of mechanism or some sort of device that was made in a sweat shop. It’s hard to look at everything we buy and figure out where every part of it comes from. We’re really trying to make some advances in that. We’re trying to figure out how to create regulations for businesses to help them make sure that they’re not using slave labor at some point in time in their production line. But it really is a huge thing.
“Meanwhile,” I said, “here’s something that will hit you maybe a little bit more in the heart. It’s something you will really need to focus on when you become part of the Free2Play team. I’m talking about sex slavery.”
I explained to them that sex slavery isn’t about the occasional prostitute that you meet. I explained that I was talking about slavery, and that it often means the slavery of children. I gave examples and described scenarios from all around the world. And then I helped them understand that this is not something just happening somewhere else. There are an estimated 250,000 sex slaves brought into the fold in America every year. That is in this country, within America. And the average age of these girls is 12. We’re talking about American girls being used as sex slaves, and the average age is 12.
This is on our soil. Sometimes they’re imported from overseas, sure. But the US State Department’s 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report says that 83% of the girls prostituted in this country were born in this country. It is on our soil that this is taking place. People are selling other people. People are selling these girls, and they are just girls. They are selling them for greed, and they are selling them for lust, and frankly, they are selling them for just really, really gross scenarios.
So I told these guys and their wives that as baseball players, we have to understand that we can have a greater purpose in playing this game. And that purpose is not to go out there and see how much money we can make. That purpose is not to buy all these houses and all these boats and all these cars. The purpose is not to look good and feel important. If that’s why we’re playing the game, then it’s not worth it. We’re never going to be fulfilled. And we’re going to end up, when the game’s over, saying, “Man, I tanked it. I could have done a lot more with that platform.”
There’s a miracle within our reach, I told them. More on that next time. See you Wednesday.