[cross-posted from my facebook page]
“What’s on your mind?” facebook asks me, inviting me to update my status even when I need to finish a project right now. Well, friends and “facebook” I’ve had a really heavy subject on my heart for a few days now, and it’s one that I’ve posted about before. It’s the heart-pounding, blood-pressure-rising, instant-headache-inducing, gut-wrenching, sickening problem of human trafficking.
And it’s everywhere.
Whether you live in the inner city, the ‘burbs, or a ranch in the country, there’s no escaping these crimes against the innocent.
Sure, you can look the other way and pretend that it doesn’t exist, but the fact is that girls – from elementary school through adult age – are being taken and forced into a “life” of sex, drugs, porn and prostitution.
Not exactly dinner conversation.
Look at your kids, or your nearest relatives, or kids’ friends. There they are: loved, happy, playing with toys and friends, going to school, dreaming, with their whole lives in front of them as it should be.
Not so for so many whose lives have been completely shattered. And, really, it’s so stomach sickening when you think about these little girls, as young as age 9, being forced to have sex multiple times a day for $4 each in Brazil, in the slums right outside of the Olympic arenas. And then there are the drugs that are forced on them.
And not just in Brazil and Bangladesh but right here in the U.S. and in our backyards. It’s the same – just more expensive.
So, why am I sharing this? What can any of us do? Well, I’m still figuring it out for myself, but I made a list to get us started…
1. Raise awareness about human trafficking, just like this post I’ve written. Share this post with your audiences. And, as awkward and disgusting as it is, talk about it. The more we bring the darkness to light, the greater chance awareness leads to rescue for the girls and women that are suffering.
2. Pray – for the innocents that are suffering and for the organizations and rescue teams that work in these difficult places. Some of these organizations are World Vision USA, Polaris, Rescue:Freedom International, Meninadança, Operation Underground Railroad, A21 , Rahab Ministries, Medina County Coalition Against Human Trafficking, Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force.
3. Get involved – Organizations are always looking for volunteers.
4. Give – There a bunch of non-profit organizations that are fighting the war on human trafficking and they always need financial support.
5. Sponsor a child and save a generation from trafficking. World Vision USA comes to my mind first because our family just had the opportunity to walk through the @World Vision Experience: Into The Margins Heartland Community Church over the weekend.
6. Keep your eyes open and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement or national authorities.
7. When you’re out with kids, keep a close eye. If you send them for an errand (getting in a line to buy an ice cream, etc.), or you let them go to the public bathroom by themselves, or countless other scenarios, be aware!! Where are the exits? How crowded is the area? Who are the people nearby? How close are you if you need to step in? I realize this may sound ridiculous, but traffickers often work in pairs and they know when a child is vulnerable. We want to raise our kids to have these independent reward experiences, but safety must come first.
8. ??? I’m sure I’ve missed a hundred ideas but hopefully this post will help get the conversation started. If we all pray one prayer, have one conversation, pay a little extra attention, and ask God to open our hearts & minds, He will use us, and it will make a difference. Why and How? Because girls are being rescued and God is changing hearts, and piecing the wreckage back together…even in the darkest places.