118 – Slavery: From Compassion Fatigue to Empathy

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During this episode 118, Slavery: from Compassion Fatigue to Empathy, Dr. Sandra Morgan and Dave Stachowiak discuss the implications and the complexity of today’s slavery in the modern world. Sandra Morgan shared Shyima Hall’s story of her own experience of being taken as a child slave. Shyima was born in Egypt and at eight years old; her parents sold her to a family in order to pay off her eldest sister’s debt. Shyima worked for the family for a year in Egypt and then moved to the United States.

When she moved to the United States, Shyima slept outside in the garage in a small storage room that contained no windows or lighting. She was with them for over twenty two months and her job was to not only care for their five children, but to clean the home, cook, and do laundry. The family constantly told her that “you belong to us” almost every day. They threatened her stating she would never see her family again if she were to try to run away. Shyima was finally rescued when a neighbor called the police because she noticed that a young girl never left the house. After being rescued, she went into foster care and stayed in the US. Shyima’s one true desire was to become her own person. In 2007 her case finally ended and her traffickers were sentenced to prison. Shyima’s inspiring story encourages others to be a voice for someone else.

Be ambassadors of sharing stories and building relationships and if we do that we are not only studying the issue and making a difference but we are also understanding and appreciating the real human impact of slavery and refugee status that we see in the world today. When we understand these experiences, we move from compassion and compassion fatigue to empathy.


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“Hidden Girl” by Shyima Hall

“Where the Wind Leads” By Vinh Chung

Dr. Sandra Morgan’s new blog

Global Center for Women and Justice

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