This post may be inappropriate for those under age 18 due to the subtle mention of sexual language. Reader discretion is advised.
Yesterday was Shine a Light on Slavery Day, a day to promote the #EnditMovement (Did you wear your red X?). Today, I’m ready to share how I feel about human trafficking, not only in the United States, but all over the world.
For those who don’t know, human trafficking is “the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another, typically for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation” (Google Dictionary). Not only does modern day slavery involve sexual exploitation, but it also involves unfair wages for laborers, physical and emotional abuse, and a debt that can never be repaid. Young men come to America in hopes that they will have the money to support their families back home, but when they arrive, their new owners put them to intense work, often sexually abusing them and refusing to pay them. Young women are enticed by men who promise to give them a good life, only to sell them into prostitution and make their lives living nightmares.
After praying and doing my research, I realize that we all have a part to play as the body of Christ in tackling this issue. My part may not be traveling around the world, busting down brothel doors, rescuing innocent babies, and counseling victims of human trafficking. However, my part may be writing about it. God has given me the gift of writing, so I intend to use it for His glory, to further His Kingdom.
Think about it: there are 40 million people in slavery today around the world. Including in your backyard. Including in the sweat shops that make your clothes. Including in that sketchy hole-in-the-wall store around the corner from you. Like little ugly cockroaches, these pimps are everywhere, and if we continue not to do anything, they will multiply.
When we first hear about human trafficking, it may seem overwhelming. How can we stop such a dangerous industry? Well, as a writer, I hope to offer you some practical tips that you can start doing today.
At every For King and Country concert, Joel Smallbone talks about their song “Priceless.” He says that the human trafficking industry is all about supply and demand. As long as there are men who look at pornography and buy the services of a prostitute, there will always be a need for sexual exploitation. However, I also believe that women also gain from this. Obviously, there are women who look at pornography and buy the services of prostitutes (and there are also males who are sexually exploited), but I’m talking about a different type of satisfaction. Many of the women who are brought into this industry feel worthless. Sometimes, their families even sell them as sex slaves because they do not have the money to support them. As I mentioned before, boys will woo these women by buying them jewelry and cars and making them feel valuable.
So, what can we do today? Let’s start with the simplest (not the easiest) step, and then move on from there.
First of all, every woman needs to know her worth. From the time a girl is born, she needs to be told that she is priceless. No one can put a price on her. She is beautiful, she is loved, and she is enough. Start to see people as those who bear God’s image, not as those who can be sold for any dollar amount. That is the first step, but I believe it is the fundamental step to seeing any real change in this industry.
You can also pray. International Justice Mission sends out a prayer letter e-mail. Pray for victims all over the world, and pray about how God can use you. You can also give financially to the work that International Justice Mission and other organizations are doing. Some organizations even have short-term trips where you can see this evil first-hand (definitely prepare your heart for that!).
If you feel led to do something more tangible, such as breaking into that sketchy store and bringing the exploited workers into your home, I suggest that you read this brief page from Homeland Security. They encourage us to leave any suspicious activity to the authorities, but they do tell you what actions you can take to alert the authorities and what to look for.
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