God’s children are not for sale

By Enid Westerlund 28 September 2023, 12:00PM

Bula from Suva, Fiji.  The weather is gloomy but the awesome customer service makes up for it. From the airport arrivals waiting for luggage to the domestic flight and taxi hopping in Suva, the customer service does not disappoint. Nothing is ever too hard for hotel staff and paying attention to the minor details makes a lot of difference to my stay.

Out of all the places I have stayed in the world, I have not once received a call asking me whether I slept well or whether the noise was alright after the first night. Courtesy calls are new to me and extra quick service. For instance, there was a problem with my room after the second day, I called reception and the maintenance guys turned up in less than five minutes. They fixed the problem in about ten minutes and I went back to my writing in peace.

Only in Fiji and that is why the tourists keep coming back despite the gloomy weather and the pick pockets. After a day’s work, we decided to go to the movies downtown and watch ‘Sound of Freedom’. I’ve been wanting to watch this move since the trailer came out but the movie schedule in Samoa did not coincide with mine. After having a $6.50 blueberry muffin and a $8 small coconut latte, $14.50 chicken or pork dumpling plate, it was time to lean back and enjoy the movie.

I knew ‘enjoy’ wouldn’t be a word to describe this movie. Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises and is estimated to be a $150 billion a year global industry. This movie will make you think twice about a child being accompanied by an adult. It will make you look twice. If you want to see this movie, you might want to stop reading right here.

The story is about two children, siblings who were tricked to audition for a modeling or commercial show by a beauty queen. She is part of the trafficking ring and stole these kids from their parents without a trace. After the boy was rescued from ruthless child traffickers by a federal agent, he learnt that the boy’s sister is still captive and decides to embark on a dangerous mission to save her. With Ame running out, he quits his job and journeys deep into the Columbian jungle, putting his life on the line to free her from a fate worse than death.

The heroes are really the children, who never gave up caring for each other. The agent with his amazing skills and detective work might be the main character but there is power in children hoping for the light at the end of the tunnel after experiencing the most evil and vile things on Earth. Watch this movie if you have Ame. One of us came out of that moving wanting to be a cop so he can save more children.

For me, you don’t have to be a cop to see evil or do something about it. You can help from wherever you are. Whether you are a cleaner, lawyer, doctor or journalist, the most powerful weapon is a story being told. A story that will make people think for themselves.

A story that will stir up so much emotion, you will never forget. That is what this movie represents for me. It is an evil reality happening right now in our world, it’s probably already reached Samoa. How many of our local children go missing every year? Are these cases being reported? How many of our children get adopted out to American and overseas parents with the promise of a better future and not knowing where they end up? It will make you hug your children a little closer every day and memorise their faces.

Enjoy the rest of your week Samoa and remember to really look at children who are being accompanied by adults who might not be their family. Our children are not for sale.

By Enid Westerlund 28 September 2023, 12:00PM
Samoa Observer

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