Human Trafficking – What am I doing?

14 Nov

I have a six year old daughter.  She is the most beautiful, smart, fun, wonderful little person I know.  The very idea of someone hurting her provokes in me some painful and angry thoughts that make me tremble as I try to type.  Modern day slavery and the sexual exploitation of children became real to me when I read the stories and thought that could be my little girl.  The thought of girls not much older than my daughter being sold as slaves and being forced to serve as prostitutes moved me to tears…

Then I started to find the staggering statistics about the fact that human trafficking is a 32 billion dollar industry that ranks behind only illegal drugs and arms as one of the most profitable criminal enterprise in the world. And that 27 million people are enslaved worldwide. And that a child is trafficked every 30 seconds.  600,000 to 800,00 people are trafficked across international borders each year.  Of the 600,000-800,000 people trafficked, 70 percent are female and 50 percent are children; the majority of these victims are forced into commercial sex trade   This is massive injustice on a global scale.  And it’s not just over there – it is estimated that 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year.

These numbers take my breath away if I slow down enough to think about the fact that every one of those numbers is a person just like me and my wife and my children. What can I do about a problem this big?  What can Christians do about this?  Honestly I have no idea.  Problems this big have so many layers that solving them will require solving many other problems as well – problems like the fact that so many people live in extreme poverty, and that in many places women and children are not valued as people but as property, and that many times the legal system cannot or will not protect the poor from exploitation by the rich.  But I do know this – I know that I cannot stand by and do nothing.  I know that I cannot spend all my time and energy and devote my talent and treasure to making my life as enjoyable as it can be.  I know that I am compelled to do SOMETHING.

So what am I doing? I am spending my time learning about organizations that are dedicated to helping children and families in need.  I would ask you to spend a few minutes at www.love146.com – read those stories, look at those pictures, watch those videos and see if compassion moves you to do something to help. I am giving my money to organizations like International Justice Mission.  Would you visit their site at www.ijm.org and read about the work that they do all over the world bringing freedom and justice to victims of slavery and exploitation and consider how you can help?  Can you read about the work being done by groups like World Vision www.worldvision.com and see if you are compelled to sponsor a child or give a family a gift or participate in their microfinance lending programs?  For me, taking the time to learn about World Orphans www.worldorphans.com has resulted in my opportunity to go to Ethiopia this December to serve Orphans.

The most important thing I am doing is this – I am praying daily that I can know God better, that I can know his heart and what he desires for me to do with all that he has blessed me with.  I am praying that he will show me how I can break out of my selfish mindset and begin to think in terms offering my whole life as a sacrifice to him, instead of giving God what is left over out of a sense of guilt or obligation.  I know that I can do very little in my own strength – I am the proverbial kid throwing the starfish back into the ocean on a beach filled with more starfish than I can count, but I also know that I serve a God who loves every person he has created and has repeatedly shown that he can do great and mighty things through weak and broken servants.

As I close this blog I would like to quote from the opening chapter of Daniel Walker’s book God in a Brothel:

I began to wonder what would happen if men everywhere embraced the God-given destiny to defend and protect the vulnerable woman and children in their communities.  What would happen if in addition to unleashing their strength, skills and passion on the sports field, in their office or behind their computer screens they discovered their true masculinity by answering this call to arms and to action.

I wondered what would happen if the church worldwide took the offensive against oppression and slavery so that such acts of rescue and restoration occurred every day. What would happen within our faith communities if we became proactive in the face of injustice? Indeed how would our own families, our own discipleship be forever changed if we were all actively involved in some way in rescuing the oppressed and defending the orphan and advocating for the widow.

 

What could we do if whole communities of Christians decided to give their whole lives to Christ as an offering instead of giving him what is left after we get what we want and “need”?

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