September 19, 2013

Seeing the Signs of Human Trafficking [1]

Before I begin, let me tell you that this problem seems so much bigger than me. I am just one small voice, but I feel compelled to at least try to make others aware, if nothing else. Modern day slavery is what they call it, but it seems much more like a living Hell for its victims.

I recently attended a training session that opened my eyes to evils of this world that I never really wanted to know about. I heard details of horrific conditions that thousands of women, children and even babies are sold into on a daily basis. Details so horrific, I don't even want to write the words. I heard from police in my own area about recent cases of sex trafficking that I never knew existed. I heard from a survivor who was kidnapped, thrust into sex slavery, escaped..and lived to tell about it. I left the conference with a heavy heart and a killer headache. It seems like such a hopeless world filled with so much unthinkable evil. I had a hard time processing what I heard, much in the same way I had a hard time processing the depravity of abortion.

Human trafficking is another terrible violation of basic human rights. People are bought and sold for various reasons, but the most common are labor and sex.  Thousands of children are sold daily here in the Land of the Free. They can be kidnapped or sold by their parents/caregivers. And not all traffickers are men. In fact, some traffickers are mothers and elderly women.

Human trafficking is a lucrative business where women and young children are ripped from their homes, beaten and raped repeatedly. It's sex abuse on steroids. The crazy thing's not about sex. It's about power and money. Lots of money. Why is it so lucrative, even more than drugs?  Because drugs can only be used once but a woman or child can be used many, many times per day, like 30 times or more. I read that the average life expectancy of a sex slave is about 7 years.

Just think about that.

It's happening in America.

It's happening in my town.

Chances are, it's happening in your town, too.

At the conference, I was given resources to help respond if I ever suspect or witness human trafficking in my area. After learning what I learned, I have to share.

In my opinion, the first two steps in helping to stop human trafficking are:

  1. Know what it is.
  2. Understand your community's risk factors.

I learned that your town is at risk of human trafficking if you have any of these things:
  • oceans
  • ports
  • major highways
  • tourism
  • military bases
  • children
  • drugs
  • minority communities
  • entertainment (massage parlors, bars, strip clubs, etc.)
  • poverty 
  • organized crime
  • internet communication
  • secrecy

So now you know (1) what it is and (2) if your community is at risk. Later this month, I'll post again about how you can get involved in your community to help fight this. 

However, if you can't wait for my post, check out Women At Risk International for ways to get involved. This organization provided the training session that I attended and they provide many ways for the average American woman (like me) to get involved. Watch their video below:

Just thinking about this topic makes my head swirl. I have to remind myself of my Precious Savior who said these words,

"...In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

 How thankful I am that there is hope in Christ!

Seeing The Signs of Human Trafficking [2]

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