We’re sheltered. All of us. And maybe you’re like me–we know bad things happen and occasionally we reach out in some small way to try to help. But mostly, we just try to shut the worst of it out, try to imagine that there aren’t really so many humans as evil and depraved as we hear about from time to time.
But then we read something, or hear about it, and this one time, God will not let go. That’s what has happened to me.
“…an estimated 27 million people worldwide are forced to work in slave labor camps with little or no pay or are trapped in brothels in sexual slavery.”
To be honest, I wasn’t very familiar with human sex trafficking. I mean I knew it existed but I really thought it was only something that happened sporadically, and not very often, in some remote, foreign country somewhere. I didn’t have any idea of the magnitude and I didn’t know how prevalent it was in the US until recently.
I read Eden: a sex slave story and it gripped me. It made me sick and furious all at once. And it won’t let go. And I can’t not do something. (Warning: the article contains graphic and violent descriptions and is not suited for a young audience.)
All I can hear is Isaiah 58:6:
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?”
My family is discussing different ways to get involved in helping. We have found a local shelter with all sorts of opportunities and we’re talking to them about those.
There is also an incredible ministry that performs actual rescue operations around the world. The Exodus Road specifically focuses on connecting funds from the West with undercover surveillance and rescue operations in the East (where the largest percentage of sex trafficking occurs).
Facts about human trafficking:
- There are more modern day slaves right now than at any other point in human history.
- Currently, an estimated 27 million people worldwide are forced to work in slave labor camps with little or no pay or are trapped in brothels in sexual slavery (This figure is highly debated and estimates range from 10 million to 30 million).
- Human trafficking is the 3rd most lucrative illegal crime globally, behind the sale of guns and drugs.
- It is estimated that every sixty seconds, two children are sold for sex worldwide.
- The average cost of a slave is $90.
- Human trafficking involves exploitation which can take many forms including: Misleading victims into debt bondage, subjecting victims to slavery or involuntary servitude, fear and intimidation, physical and sexual abuse, forcing victims to participate in sex acts for the sake of pornography, withholding victim’s passports/papers as a means of control.
- A victim of modern day slavery can be in any of the following categories, according to the US State Department: Forced labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, debt bondage for migrant workers, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, child soldiers, and child sex trafficking.
- Modern day slavery occurs in 161 countries (of the 195 total countries), including the United States.
- Human trafficking, according to the U.N. Trafficking Protocol is “the recruitment, transport, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a person by such means as threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of adbuction, or fraud or deception for the purpse of exploitation.”
- Around 70% are female and and an estimated half are under the age of 18.
And I keep thinking how big it is and how impossible it feels. But I also keep thinking of this: never in history have we had the power of social media like we do now. I read that gripping story through social media. The Exodus Road can reach the whole world through the same platform.
And this blog, which I consider a gift for which I am responsible to steward, can reach people and bring awareness that might turn anger to action.
So I’m asking you to consider helping however the Lord leads you. As our family prayerfully considers how to help, I will keep you up to date with specific opportunities that arise. Or, you can go straight to an organization like The Exodus Road and help there.
Or perhaps there is a local shelter near you where you could help. We can all do something.
At the very least, sharing this post will help reach one more person with the stories.