My eyes were first opened to the reality of human trafficking (sex slavery, modern slavery) when I attended a conference in Atlanta. A copy of “The White Umbrella” was given to everyone in attendance. For the next several weeks I read a chapter every day in carpool line and it broke my heart. It scared me and it made me overwhelmingly aware of the reality of human trafficking all around us, not just in other countries. My eyes were beginning to open. This video also had an impact on my tiny glimpse of seeing more into human trafficking.
Trafficking primarily involves exploitation which comes in many forms, including: forcing victims into prostitution, subjecting victims to slavery or involuntary servitude and compelling victims to commit sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography. There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today. According to the U.S. State Department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, of which 80% are female and half are children. However boys are not excluded and this man’s story is sad but incredibly powerful.
So what’s one to do when this seems like such a HUGE issue and it takes more than just you or me to do something about it in terms of making a difference. I think the first thing we can do is to educate ourselves on these hard topics. And it won’t be easy. It’s hard to read “The White Umbrella” and other articles of human trafficking. Reading about the pain of others, especially kids, rips a Mama’s heart out and you can’t help but think of your own children. The easy thing is to turn our heads, close our ears and let someone else read that stuff. Let the non-profits deal with it. But these people – the marginalized, the victims of abuse, the abandoned are at the very heart of Jesus. So when we take time to read these true stories we are reading about people who are precious and dear to Jesus. We are stepping into his heart for people.
But just reading and understanding what’s going on in the world of human trafficking isn’t enough to make a difference. We must take the next step and pray for these children. To take them to our God who sees and knows everything. Who cares. Who listens. We can spend a lot of time dwelling on how and why He could let this happen or we can trust He is who He says He is. He is faithful and good and all knowing. Of course we don’t understand why these things happen other than it’s a devastating part of living in a fallen world with sin. Or we can trust that our God loves and cares for each one of these victims. We don’t know their names but we can take them to the One who does. Prayer makes a difference. If you can pray you can make a difference.
After education ourselves and praying for the victims of human trafficking we may see that the Holy Spirit is calling us to go further in involvement. At that point we can look into organizations and ministries in our area that help with rescuing children, women and men out of modern slavery. You can give financially or you can volunteer to help.
I love what Atlanta Dream Center is doing on the weekends through “Princess Night”. Also the author of The White Umbrella has put feet to her prayers and burden through Wellspring Living. These are both places in the Atlanta area and they function on both paid staff and volunteers. I have a few friends who go onto the streets of downtown Atlanta on the weekends to tell prostitutes that Jesus loves them and there’s a way out of their industry (slavery) if they’re ready. They work with Wellspring and are trained before going out so they are cautious and fully aware of safety measures. They have a team of people praying for both safety and for God to rescue women out of slavery on these nights of outreach.
This article made my heart smile although I was uncomfortable with some of it too and I think that exposes my own still struggling legalistic heart.
So yeah, I can talk about the neat & tidy outreach like visiting the elderly, mentoring, and spontaneous giving and those things are important but getting involved in something like human trafficking is truly serving in the trenches. It involves risk and being uncomfortable. It’s not neat and tidy by any means. “Risky and in the trenches” doesn’t mean it’s any greater of any outreach. Because outreach is sending a message to others that Jesus fully loves and he is enough. You can do that while sharing and showing that message to a prostitute as much as you can with a 90 year old toothless granny or your neighbor next door. The Holy Spirit is our guide and as we pray and ask him to show us outreach opportunities he will open our eyes and help us along the way.
Father, you are our Revealer. You expose the deep dark things that are hidden. Today we pray for those that are being held in captive and have become accustomed to a way of life they think they can never leave. Rescue them Abba Father. Send someone to share a message of hope. To show a different way. To provide everything they need to leave. Give those girls the courage and faith to step out and trust the ones trying to help them. Reveal, rescue and redeem these victims O Lord. In your powerful name I ask these things, Amen.