Be A Light Against The Darkness Of Human Trafficking.
Several years ago I was sitting in a room full of female pastors and ministers listening to a speaker. She was telling us her testimony and it was miraculous in so many ways. For a couple of years she served as a missionary assistant in India with Project Rescue. It was the first time I heard about human trafficking. Don't get me wrong, I am sure I knew about human trafficking. I am sure I had read articles or seen information. But this was the first time I really heard...the first time the information dug in deep enough to move me to action.
She stood in front of us and talked about the selling of young girls for sex in India. She talked about how you could buy a 16 year old girl for $200. I pastored 16 year old girls. I talked to them about purity and their value and purpose. Meanwhile so many young women all over the world were having their purity and value stolen from them in evil and perverse ways.
It broke me.
I went home and told my class of teen girls and we cried together. We prayed together. And we decided to do something about it. Two weeks later they raised over $2000 in one Sunday morning to send to a home in India that rescues girls.
I'm not telling you this to pat myself on the back. That isn't what this is or should be about. It's not about me. I'm telling you so you know that this issue means a lot to me. It still breaks my heart. I still find ways to support those rescue homes and other organizations. I still do what I can to spread awareness. I still pray.
I know, given stories of Epstein and PizzaGate and Wayfairgate, there are many of you who are hearing for the first time. You knew and you felt, but now you are broken and burdened like never before. I understand how you are feeling.
You are angry.
You are scared.
You are disgusted.
You want to do something.
You don't know what to do.
I am not an expert. I am not on the front lines of this issue. I do not have all the answers. But I thought maybe I could offer you something. So here is something...
Don't let the evil consume you.
Evil has been in the world since the snake in the garden. The world is not more evil today than it was 2000 years ago when Jesus came in human flesh. We just are more readily exposed to it via our computer screens. We can't ignore it when it's popping up on our social media feeds. It's good to be aware of it. It's good to be aware of issues like sex slavery and human trafficking. But you don't have to go down the rabbit hole of evil and obsess over the atrocities until they steal your hope.
I see a lot of people, as they wake up to these issues and become burdened by them, start to watch every documentary and look for every image and twisted video and search every dark corner. It's because we want to know more. We want the whole picture. You don't need the whole picture of evil to take action against it. Too often when we focus so much on what the darkness is doing we don't realize it is squelching our own light.
Focus on hope.
Jesus is the light and He is stronger than the darkness. Even in the face of horrible evil, God is working. He is healing. He is setting people free. While you learn and educate yourself about the issue of human trafficking be sure to spend time learning about the modern day abolitionists who are on the front lines doing good work.
This isn't an issue that gets headlines or lots of screen time on the 6 o'clock news, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of people doing the hard work to end it. There are celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Blake Lively speaking on capitol hill and in front of crowds to raise awareness and advocate for legislation and support. There are organizations like Project Rescue and A21, and more than I can name, who are in the trenches rescuing men and women and children and offering restoration and healing.
Human trafficking is evil and dark and horrid...but there is hope. Don't miss the light shining in the darkness. Embrace that light. Share it. Celebrate it. Support it. Become it.
Support organizations who are fighting this good fight.
Human trafficking affects millions of people. We don't know what to do with something so big. The size of the problem can paralyze us. (I think that is part of the reason we allow ourselves to get consumed, because feeding ourselves more information feels like all we can do. But it is really only the illusion of action.) We have to remember we can do something...even if it's a small something...it all adds up!
Start by finding and supporting one of the awesome organizations that is doing the work. Three that I support are A21, Project Rescue and Legacy of Purpose. (In 2015 I was able to visit one of the children's homes run by Project Rescue and see firsthand the work they do.)
There are also plenty of local organizations and rescue homes right here in the USA. Remember this isn't just an "over there" problem. It's a right here in our backyard problem.
Be aware and spread awareness.
Talk about the issue. Share about it on your social media. (Not just the scary videos that show off evil. Let's not give evil a bigger platform, but let's educate people on the issue and what we can do.) End it Movement has lots of resources to help you.
I also suggest looking at the Can You See Me? Campaign from A21 which teaches how to recognize victims of human trafficking and report. When we learn who the victims are and how they are enslaved and trafficked we can also learn ways our communities can help protect the vulnerable from becoming victims in the first place. (Here are some bonus educational resources for easy access.)
Pray for the vulnerable. Pray for victims. Pray for those on the front lines. Pray for freedom and justice and healing. Prayer can seem like a cop-out but it isn't...especially if you combine it with education and support. When we pray, God acts.
I have the faces of ten children engrained in my mind. They were children rescued from brothels in the redlight district of Delhi. I pray for them. I pray for their mothers who are still in the brothel. I pray for their caregivers and teachers. When I pray for them specifically-- because I know their faces and voices and got to give them hugs and dance with them and learn from them-- I am also praying for every man, woman and child I don't know and don't see.
When I pray my heart is kept soft and broken so that I don't give up, so I don't grow weary, so that I keep doing the things I can do even when they don't seem like enough and the problem seems too big. When I pray I am reminded that my God is still bigger.
Several years ago I sat in a room full of female pastors and ministers, and I was awakened to something. I am still awake. May I remain awake and may my opened eyes keep my heart and hands and mouth open to this burden...this cause...this fight. This is a big issue, but not so big that we can't end it. Let us be warriors. Let us be a light in the darkness. We are stronger than that darkness.
For you, my new abolitionist friends, I leave you with a line from a story I wrote. It is a send off. It is a battle cry. It is a reminder. In this dark and terrible world...