Ethical Question

This weekend, I started reading the book, Not For Sale, by David Batstone. It is a frank look at modern day slavery. Obviously, it is a tough read (emotionally). Since I started it Saturday morning, I can’t stop thinking about the millions of people who are bought and sold in our world.

So, I’ve got a question.

I want everyone to tell me what they think and why. Discuss amongst yourselves all you want, but I’m not going to give my opinion for a day or two. I just want to see what everyone out there thinks. I suspect that some of you will have strong opinions on the matter.

My question: If you were offered the chance to buy a child, knowing that if you did not, they would be sold to slave owners as laborers or sex slaves, would you do it? Would you be justified by the fact that you would be saving them from a horrible fate, or would you be condemned by the fact that you had purchased a human, no matter what the reason?

Ready. Set. Go.



Filed under Books, politics, The Me Behind the Mommy

15 responses to “Ethical Question

  1. thanksgivingmom

    Honest, ugly, gut instinct response?


    But is there a pretty response? No. I’ll think about this more to see what the honest, still ugly, well thought out and pondered upon response would be….

  2. jenn

    If I were in that situation, I would buy the child. However, I would think of it as an adoption instead of buying because, essentially that is what I would be doing.

  3. I agree with thanksgivingmom. I could never walk away from a child knowing that would be her fate if I didn’t step in – no matter what it took to keep her safe.

    Would you recommend the book?

  4. Julie,

    So far, yes, I would recommend it. But only if you can handle looking at a really depressing reality. I’m about a third of the way through the book, and I am just amazed at just how large of a problem slavery still is. I can’t figure out why it isn’t discussed more. But that is part of why I would recommend it. For as hard as it is to digest, how can anything be changed if people don’t learn about the reality?

    The book is very honest but, so far, it is not graphic.

  5. Nancy

    I don’t see this as a difficult question at all. Would you try to save a drowning child or a child in a burning house? Would you walk away from the child if you realized it would cost you financially to do so?

    Have we really been taught to question the morality of saving a child just because there would be money involved? If so, shame on our society. The sin or crime – call it what you will – is in the intent. A mother selling her baby because she can’t afford to feed it is committing an act of desperation, not a crime. A person buying that child out of compassion is saving it from those who would buy it to enslave and abuse it.

    That said, we really don’t want to see an open market on selling people for any reason.

    “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in… Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:36, 40.

    The Scriptures are still our best guide in moral issues.

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  7. omgdidisaythat

    I guess it is not a one off right? I mean after this one, there will be another and another.

    I think I need some other provisos here, To be completely honest if it was out of sight it would be out of mind. I have heard of modern day slavery before, both adults and children. If I cared so much I would be doing something about it now.

    If the child was right in front of me, I think my guilt would be too much and I would buy the child to save it from such a fate. That would probably be a step to far and I would end up fighting slavery for the rest of my life.

    I think this is why most people ignore most injustice in the world, because if you look at it, you have to act, you can no longer pretend that it isn’t happening.

  8. omgdidisaythat


    Maybe that is why you do not have many answers to this question.

  9. mama2roo

    guilty here, of reading and not answering before đŸ˜‰ I trie dnot to read any other commens so as not to contaminate how I feel about it. I don’t think I would do it. Doing it would save one child, but put countlesothers at risk, should the “sellers” continue to make a practice of slavery/selling. I see it somewhat as a hostage situation. We can buy back a hostage, but that makes hostages that much more enticing for the bad guys…they know people will pay the “ransom”, and so it keeps on going. People should not be sold and the world should not tolerate slavery. Ideally we would all put our money towards getting rid of the child sellers and making sure they didn’t have any “business” and save many many children/people.

    Okay, I hope I didn’t just fall into some kind of trap there…just how I’m thinking about it now…

  10. Nicole

    I agree with Nancy. I would absolutely buy the child. It’s not about money, but motive. I certainly wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing what a child would have to experience, and I had an opportunity to help him or her.
    I’m just grateful that God knows all that is happening in this world and that will hold all those accountable for harming a child in any way. It must be so difficult for Him to allow us our free agency with everything that goes on in this world.
    “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” Luke 17:2

  11. thanksgivingmom

    See? Then mama2roo makes a really good point that slaps my gut reaction answer in the face.

    Because she’s right – buying the child doesn’t solve the problem, it perpetuates it.

    If you fell into a trap I might be falling in right behind you…..

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  13. I think this is a great question. Here’s the problem as I see it: I don’t want to perpetuate a global problem of human trafficking. However, the problem is that a global market exists right? Which means even if I, or my nation (the U.S. for conversation’s sake) choose(s) not to participate, plenty of other buyers will step up to the plate. If that’s the case, and I consider myself and the future I can offer that child to be the most humane option (and since I’d view it as a totally loving and caring adoption and would love that child with no plans to put him/her to work) then it seems like I’m not the worst choice by far. The first and best solution would be to work with all other nations to truly prohibit human trafficking, but I imagine enforcing and policing this would be incredibly hard. Which means outlawing it completely in the immediate future seems unlikely. Terrible dilemma.

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  15. Hmmm…I know it’s been a while since you posted this, but I just found your blog today. I fast forwarded (or rewound, depending on how you look at it) through all the follow-up to find out what the question was. Now that I’ve found it, I’ve got to admit that it’s really made me think. On the one hand, I’d love to “save” that one child, and I would naturally view it as an adoption, rather than a purchase. However, the logical part of my brain wonders about how my “purchase” would affect the “vendor.” Would it drive them to sell another child? Would it perpetuate the problem of slavery? Thinking about my own personality and the drive I have to fix things and help people, even if it’s not my responsibility, I’d have to conclude this: if I knew the child, or if I’d had the chance to meet, hold, or bond with the child, I’d be hard pressed to keep from buying the baby to save it from a life of misery. However, if it was something that was from a distance, where my protective, motherly instincts were not so involved, my logical, pragmatic side would probably kick in, and I’d resist the urge to increase the market for human slavery. How’s that for a have-it-both-ways, two-sided answer? Sorry, knowing me, that’s the truth of it.

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