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Kanwal Prakash Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA

I was honored to be invited to participate in the 2010 Human Rights Day commemorations at Indiana State University and at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute, Indiana. The ideas about human spirit, our individual and collective commitment responsibility to make a difference by being informed and involved in the solemn promise of inalienable Human Rights and the growing criminal industry of Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery were explored.

Distinguished speakers and experts in the field warned us that unchecked and ignored, this problem is bound to expand and touch each of us in unimagined ways and we need do something about it with a sense of urgency as our humanitarian and spiritual challenge and supported by local, national, and international law-enforcement agencies educators, social service networks, human rights organizations, and ordinary citizens.

Dr. Gurmeet Sekhon, an ISU proffesor emeritus and Professor Charles Norman and their team of so many dedicated civic-media-community-human rights organizations-educational institutions including Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and Indiana State University leaders and visionaries organized and sponsored the Ninth Human Rights Day at Indiana State University.

I was jolted by the powerful presentation of Dr. Mary Burke of Carlow University and the complexity of the law enforcement in this horrific crime against humanity and especially our young children and women presented by Michael Prendergast. Other speakers, including Dr. Dahlia Wasfi, an insightful scholar put a visual, physical, and emotional face to this tragic problem of our times. I had the task of offering how can interfaith community respond: get engaged, become an important frontline, and lead efforts to identify and help victims find their way out of this inhumane situation.

It was wonderful to see so many area high school students attend the various sessions, day-long workshops, and actively participate in the discussions and offer their concern about the global problem of Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery: human exploitation, sex slaves, violations of child labor laws, and other unpleasant outcomes of this fast growing involving millions of victims and multi-billion Dollar industry.

It is also reassuring that many good people and institutions are at work, inspiring others by their research, resources, spirit, and passions, and trying to understand, identify its various hidden and dangerous dimensions, and find answers to this problem. The thought keeps reverberating through my mind how faiths working together may be able to save some victims and prevent potential tragedies from this unconscionable trade of innocent children in the USA and around the world. I do not have any answers but we should all be concerned. May each of us make a renewed commitment to bring light and hope to humanity, each in our own way.

With kind regards and best wishes to you and your family at home and at
a very happy Baisakhi.


April 20, 2010
Kanwal Parkash Singh

As we gather to reflect, deliberate and understand matters that concern the sacred rights and central issues of our shared humanity, may our discourse be guided by:

A spirit that recognizes and honors the wisdom enshrined in the sacred texts and founded on profound thoughts, ideals, and experiences gathered during the journey of the human civilization though the ages.  The Sikh sacred scriptures remind us:

“Tum Maat Pita hum Barruk Terray;”
“God: You are Father and Mother of all beings and we are all Your Children.”

“Manus Kee Jat Subhay Ekai Hee Pehchanbo”
“O Mortal, recognize All Humanity as One Race, One Brotherhood.”

“Subh mein Jot Jot hai soi, Tis they Chanun subh mein Chanun hoi.”
“Every living being is a repository of the same Divine Light; it is God’s Light that illuminates all beings and radiates through the entire Universe and the myriad manifestations of His Creation.”

Always remembering:

“Subhay sanjhiwaal sudayyan, koi na dissay bahira jeo.”
“All are proclaimed to have their origin in One God; (I see) no one as outside the Circle of God’s Love and Benevolence.”

Therefore, an unmistakable reminder:

No one, irrespective of the caste, creed, ethnicity, national origin, status, gender, cultural heritage, or faith tradition should be outside the circle of our thoughtful consideration and unconditional compassion.

As brothers and sisters to one another, with human rights as our sacred anchor:

May we respect ideas and ideals that are unfamiliar or different from our own; Together, build a place where our shared values and inalienable rights to life, liberty, and happiness are recognized; our sacred rights, much like the air, water, sustenance, shelter, and serving others are the very breath and spirit of Life:

May we, in solidarity, in solemn commitment to the revealed Truth enshrined in the sacred texts, in proud testimonies to our unity amidst diverse cultures and faith traditions honor and defend the universally cherished anchors of our humanity;

May we in righteous defiance and with a sense of shared responsibility, help those caught in unconscionable and unfortunate circumstances:

  • Widespread outrage against innocent children, women, and minorities
  • Assaults on justice and serious violations of norms of civilization
  • Heartbreaking depravations and blatant gender discriminations
  • Unprovoked violence, religious persecutions, and hate crimes
  • Stereotyping of entire communities that threaten peace and progress.

May we with an enlightened attitude and all-embracing spirit:

  • .See ourselves as brothers and sisters with common hopes and dreams
  • Help to dispel ignorance that leads to indifference and discrimination
  • Reject indifference that leads to unjust perceptions and alienation
  • Protect against alienation that leads to disenfranchisement and disengagement
  • Prevent disengagement that leads to diminished promise and destructive despair
  • Nurture human spirit that leads to daring the unimagined and impossible
  • Pursue ideas that build bridges and create a sense of belonging

May we with a spirit that honors God and Man:

  • Approach others with respect, guided by a spirit of generosity and kinship
  • Acknowledge our intertwined destiny, collective heritage, and strengths
  • Provide relief to those facing unspeakable hardships due to natural or
  • human disasters, religious persecutions and ethnic cleansing;
  • Those caught in the criminal and dangerous web of human trafficking;
  • Those deprived clean air, water, food, and shelter for body, mind, and spirit;
  • Peaceful pursuit of creative interests, dreams, right to the matters of spirit;
  • Freedom from want, hunger, ignorance, oppression, or exploitation;
  • Together build a world “Where the mind is without fear and head is held high

God Almighty: give us the wisdom to see Your Light in all that we see and imagine, in all that we do not understand nor fathom;

May our thoughts and actions be guided by courageous defiance when we see wrong; Each of us embracing a spirit of unconditional goodwill, connect with others; serve worthy causes that enlarge hope, mutual trust, and friendships across cultural divides and unexplored ancient and modern frontiers;

As in the daily Sikh prayer, in humility placing our petition before God:

“In Your Name, By Your Grace, may there be peace and goodwill among all people and nations throughout Your unfathomable Kingdom and Wonderful Creation.”  May we all serve as God’s sevadars (volunteers) in this noble effort.

Together we pray for the success of this gathering of learned educators, fellow citizens and young minds, civic leaders and friends, ordinary folks and community anchors, each holding some remarkable facet of the destiny of our common future as Americans and world citizens.  Guide those who are here, on the campus of Indiana State University in Terre Haute for the commemoration of the Human Rights Day, to enter into faith with one other to find answers to the troubling challenges and undreamed-of promise of our times.  As we bring time-honored wisdom, diverse perspectives, cultural and personal experiences to the urgent deliberations, may we carry home positive ideas and lasting inspirations for our lives and to others we may encounter at our destined crossroads.  Lead us forward in a spirit that blesses Your Grace and Peace on Your Children across the entire universe as we pursue the unanswered prayers awaiting attention and discovery.

Indianapolis, Indiana USA



April 20, 2010
Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh

We universally accept that basic food, water, clean air, and shelter from the elements and danger, are the basic needs of all living beings to survive.  These ‘survival essentials’ are closely followed by other social and cultural needs that make us human: right to work and making a living, raising a family, being happy; right to education, free expressions of ideas, thoughts, and matters of spirit; and right to privacy, opportunity, justice, equality, pursuit of cherished dreams, and freedom to serve.  We are often willing, and sometimes forced, to give up our familiar environment in our struggle to survive, to feed and nurture those we are directly responsible for, and dare to answer our premordial intense desire to get more out of Life than what we find ourselves in, or have been dealt by time and circumstances.


This taking a chance at life when we are struggling under in humane conditions and back-breaking physical, emotion, and financial burdens sometimes forces us to look in other places to improve our situation and fortunes.  At great personal risk, many plunge into the unknowns, into the hands of waiting unscrupulous merchants of human exploitation.  That is what is fueling the global human trafficking industry.  Countless millions, especially young women and children, are the unsuspecting victims of this vicious trade of humans and doomed to lives where they face immense dangers, unspeakable violations of their minds, bodies, virtue, and human dignity.  This is happening not just in far away distant places or cultures but also right here in America.

Until a few decades ago, human trafficking would have been not a major problem.  Today, add this to the latest, and among the greatest crimes against humanity.  Some estimates suggest that millions of innocent children are at risk, forced into slave labor, prostitution, criminal activities, and lifetime servitude to pay off their debt to those who arrange their illegal passage from their remote villages and destitute lives into the “promised lands of opportunity” and fairy-tale futures.  This is an exploding multi-billion-Dollar industry involving humans, trade of precious and innocent souls who deserve protection from unspeakable indignities and nightmares of horrors.


This modern-day slavery is spreading across the continents.  For the perpetrators of this crime, this is a profitable trade but for the countless millions of victims, this is a death sentence and one-way destination to a life of humiliation, depravation, and darkness.  The victims have mortgaged their life and honor in hopes of a breakthrough from devastating poverty and destitute conditions that they were in and traded it for far dangerous unknowns, false promises, and glorified temptations to a wonderful life and opportunities in new lands to pursue big dreams.


The victims never imagine that they will be sex slaves, prostitutes, work long hour and in areas that shatter their cherished values, spiritual lessons, and dreams to strike rich.  They do not know that their new masters will use them to contribute to global drug problem, AIDs epidemic, and related criminal activities.  Unchecked this problem is making visible and irreparable tares into the fabric of society; and this flourishing, above and underground, criminal enterprise, horrific exploitation of innocent children, is causing national and global anguish.  This is a cruel hand of evil at work, robbing and ruining in broad day light the lives of countless millions of every culture, ethnicity.  This crime against humanity is expanding exponentially and with no end in sight, claiming innocent victims in new places while the authorities, either by neglect or design, look the other way, hoping or calculate this does not concern me or my comfort.


As One God’s Children, Brothers and Sister in Faith, Spirit, and our Common Origin, this grave and alarming matter must concern us all.  Our civic leaders, spiritual teachers, law-enforcement and human rights organizations, social networks, media, and educators have a very special role to play to make us aware, identify potential victims, and develop strategies to prevent others from becoming victims of this insidious menace lurking on every human horizon.  The criminals engaged in this activity are without conscience and indiscriminate; they ruthlessly victimize people without fear of being easily traced for prosecution.  They have help from unsuspected quarters; some responsible agencies and authorities may be complicit or looks the other way.

As faith leaders, you do not have this luxury.  As representatives of faith traditions, many of you daily proclaim the message of God’s Love for all His Creation.  This message includes the sanctity of all Life and especially the care of innocent children.  Faiths working in solidarity have immense power and each faith leaders a personal responsibility, to take up this matter in your congregations and advocate the urgency of this growing hidden danger in our midst.

Much like the interfaith alliances formed to alleviate local or world hunger, poverty, illiteracy, discrimination, domestic violence, child abuse, and myriad troubling conflicts in our society, the faith leaders can step forward, take up this matter of human trafficking from the pulpit, initiate a  new interfaith alliance carrying the mandate to end human suffering whatever form it takes.


We need to identify children and families in our areas caught in this vicious cycle of human slavery, dangerous and demeaning exploitations.  The teachers, the community advocacy groups need to look for signs of abuse, unusual behavior, isolation, or disengagement.  Then discreetly alert responsible agencies and others who can help.  We must be ready to be the “underground shelters” for this tragic problem as we were during the dark days of slavery in America.  Be the lighted house, not just the window, for the abuse victims that they may approach in safety.  In case of an encounter, be supportive and not judgmental; be the anchor of trust and understanding and see how you may be able to help.  Develop plans with those already working on this problem in our State to rescue the identified victims.  Knowing the victims live in fear, we could cause great danger for the victims of the human trafficking if we handle the matter in haste, without the due process and safeguards to assure the safety of the persons that we are trying to help.


Our responsibility does not end with the rescue of victims of human trafficking.  We will not be able to remove the deep scars; we may be able to start the process of restoring the victim’s shattered trust: faith in human goodness and networks that they can count on for support.

The “Never Again” pledge of humanity has many holes.  The terror and terrorism in many shapes and varying intensity continue to devastate human lives and shatter our false sense of hope and peace.  The ethnic conflicts raging in many countries displace people and lives who then seek shelter and opportunities elsewhere.  The merchants of human trafficking are working overtime to trap such victims with temptations of new lives and opportunities.  The cycle of violence and rampage against human beings continues, just moves to a different setting.


The pledge of “Never Again” cannot be limited to wars, genocides, and holocaust; the global human trafficking, child abuse, economic slavery, and resulting societal disintegration have been sending new shockwaves across the globe.  This destructive and raging tidal wave of modern-day slavery has the potential to permeate many aggravating problems into society and that must be a serious cause for concern.  A firm pledge of ending this nightmare for innocent young women and children need a commitment from nations and institutions to tackle this problem as a major and urgent priority.  Faith leaders and spiritual mentors need to lead the way and help us see this challenge in a spiritual and humanitarian context, for this is a slow and painful death for millions of God’s Children, all part of our extended family.  God does not always assign simple problems to people of faith and conscience.  God often tests our very mettle, witnesses our testimony of His lessons sent through His personal Messengers and how well we have embraced those lessons, offered support to our fellow beings in harm’s way.  Our community response ought to be innovative, farsighted, sustained, and in a resounding affirmative that we will individually and collectively work to end Human Trafficking and Slavery as an act of faith and as a tribute to our shared humanity.  God’s Power is always at work helping us to fulfill righteous pledges, and Prayer has always offered undisputed testimony that it can work miracles.

Indianapolis, Indiana USA


Human Rights Day Indiana State University

St. Mary-of-the-Woods Reception


April 19, 2010
Kanwal Prakash Singh















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“KP” Singh,
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