DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

The Need for Stuff Is Real…But At What Cost?

Written by: on November 9, 2019

The Four is a raw book about the four tech giants that play a major role in today’s society. I found it interesting that the author related these four companies to the Four Horseman in the Bible. I also thought it fascinating that the author noted that these giants exist because of consumer demand. The need for stuff is real – and Amazon Prime holds 52% of the market share. Yet, it is because of our consumerism that this giant (and others like it) exists.[1]

I related Galloway’s book to my studies of human trafficking in many ways. Human trafficking is a market-driven industry that is based on the concept of supply and demand, similar to “the four” in the aspect of supply and demand fueling the fire. Many factors make children and adults vulnerable to human trafficking. However, human trafficking does not exist solely because many people are vulnerable to exploitation. Instead, it also exists because of market demand.[2]

Human traffickers are those who employ force, fraud, or coercion to victimize others in their desire to profit from the existing demand. To ultimately solve the problem of human trafficking, it is essential to address these demand-driven factors, as well as to alter the overall market incentives of high-profit and low-risk that traffickers currently exploit. I found the correlation between human trafficking and “the four” quite intriguing.

There are three parts that drive demand with regards to human trafficking. They include the men who purchase the sexual favors, the traffickers who provide the victims, and the culture that allows sexual exploitation to happen. Other elements that open the door to human trafficking include: gender inequalities, easy access for pornography, enhanced globalization, lack of accountability for suppliers and buyers, and lack of services for victims once they are rescued.[3]

Gender roles play a part in the issue of sex trafficking in the United States. It cannot be ignored that more buyers are men – and the majority of victims are female. Cultural dynamics of how men are perceived by women (as well as by other men) play a role in why we, as a nation, continue to fuel a culture of rape, violence, and the notion that sex should be violent – and that violence is somehow sexy.

Galloway asked us to reflect on what’s good for Amazon may be bad for society.[4] Yet, how do we get out from under the heaviness of consumerism? Just as the author shared about how “the four” have become masters of enticement (learning more about our inner desires than we would like to admit), the same is true in the world of human trafficking. Victims are hand-selected and groomed by their trafficker. The trafficker knows the signs of vulnerability and then promises of a better life are extended to the victim. They tell victims that they can fill their needs by providing housing, food, and even attention and affection. They also tell victims that they will always be there for them, as others don’t understand them. According to the trafficker, it is only they (the trafficker) who can provide what they are looking for.

I find it interesting that “the four” tout themselves as the answer to filling our needs and providing what we are looking for. It is also intriguing that we are coaxed into believing that “the four” will always be there for us and that others don’t really understand our needs. Hmmm, I am thinking there may be a correlation…what do you think?

[1] Scott Galloway, The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google (New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2017), 27.

[2] Amy Joy, Human Trafficking 101 (Chicago: Joy Publishing, 2018), 43

[3] Joy, Human Trafficking 101, 88

[4] Galloway, The Four, 40

About the Author

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Nancy VanderRoest

Nancy is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and fulfills God's calling on her life by serving as a Chaplain & Counselor with Hospice. In her spare time, Nancy works with the anti-human trafficking coalition in her local community.