Will You Stay Silent?

My Facebook timeline today reminded me of a "memory" from 2014. As I re-read the blog I wrote that day, I wanted to write new words. We have learned so much more about human trafficking in the past three years. More and more people are speaking out about it, but the fact remains, there are still women and men being trafficked all around the world at this very minute. They are trafficked in your city. They are the sons and daughters of someone—maybe even someone who is trafficking their child.

As pornography rises, the demand for those who are trafficked will rise, as well. The stuff on screens is not the stuff of life. Those in the porn industry may or may not have been trafficked into the industry, but once there, they become stuck. Trafficked individuals need rescuing.

I recently watched the For King and Country movie titled "Priceless." It addressed human trafficking. My husband could barely watch it, and we fast forwarded a few parts because they were just too intense. Women were held against their will inside of a house in a regular neighborhood—a neighborhood that could be any of our neighborhoods. Good won out at the end of the movie, but it took someone taking action.

We need to take action, too. Get involved. Pray. Support organizations that are rescuing trafficked people. Volunteer to help someone who has been rescued. Be a voice for the voiceless.

Be a Voice for the Voiceless

I stumbled across an article today regarding sex trafficking in the United States. The article is about the movie “Eden: Innocence; It’s Not Lost, It’s Stolen” that was released in July 2013. The movie is based on a true story about the account of a Korean-born American who was sold as a sex slave to Russian gangsters in 1994. The article highlighted some of the things that this woman experienced and/or witnessed during her three years of captivity (http://investik8.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/eden-a-sex-slaves-story/). All of it makes one’s stomach feel slightly nauseous and weak.
 
As I read the article, I kept thinking about how easily this could happen to any woman…any of our own girls. Yes, some of us put ourselves at greater risk by some of the choices we make, but nevertheless, bad people can do bad things even to the best people.
 
My heart raced as I read this woman’s account about how she was sold by someone she was dating and how she went on later, as part of her escape plan, to become a madam and began to lure young woman into the industry. The youngest victim she saw there was seven years old…seven years old! She said the image of that child still haunts her in her dreams some twenty years later. Horrific!
​Photo from www.women.org.
I am not a man so I cannot for the life of me figure out how a man could find it acceptable to visit a woman under these conditions solely for the purpose of being “serviced.” Without being too graphic, it is just sick. These men are politicians, businessmen, sports players, husbands and fathers…doing despicable things to young women who they know are enduring a complete hell. This madness has got to stop.
 
Most of us think that sex trafficking is something that occurs only overseas. To some extent that is true. A lot of the women who are trafficked within the United States are not American born, but this still does not make it solely an international problem. It is happening right here in America at this very moment. Women are being forcibly drugged and held hostage in deplorable conditions far worse than anything our convicted criminals endure.
 
These are but a few of the statistics:

* Human trafficking generates $9.5 billion yearly in the United States. (United Nations)
* Approximately 300,000 children are at risk of being prostituted in the United States. (U.S. Department of Justice)
* The average age of entry into prostitution for a child victim in the United States is 13-14 years old. (U.S. Department of Justice)
* A pimp can make $150,000-$200,000 per child each year and the average pimp has 4 to 6 girls. (U.S. Justice Department, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
* The average victim may be forced to have sex up to 20-48 times a day. (Polaris Project)
* Fewer than 100 beds are available in the United States for underage victims. (Health and Human Services)
* Department Of Justice has identified the top twenty human trafficking jurisdictions in the country:” Houston
• El Paso
• Los Angeles
• Atlanta
• Chicago
• Charlotte
• Miami
• Las Vegas
• New York
• Long Island
• New Orleans
• Washington, D.C.
• Philadelphia
• Phoenix
• Richmond
• San Diego• San Francisco
• St Louis
• Seattle
• Tampa  (Department of Justice)
* One in three teens on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. (National Runaway Hotline)   

    (Source: http://thecoveringhouse.org/act/resources-2/sex-trafficking-statistics-source-documentation/)
 
Maybe you have seen these statistics before, maybe you haven’t. Maybe you care about these statistics and maybe you don’t care to think about these things. Is your heart burdened for these women? What about for the men who feel the need to visit these women? Is your heart heavy for them? Yours may not be, but let me assure you that they are on the heart of Jesus. Like you and me, Jesus weeps for these people. Jesus prays for these people. And because Jesus is burdened by their conditions, we too should be burdened by their circumstances.
 
Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. (Hebrews 7:25 NLT)
 

The one tool we have to fight this battle is prayer. The second tool is awareness. Did you know that the trucks you see on the highway as you drive to work could contain a truckload full of these young women? Are you aware that at any given moment, you could be driving by an establishment or a warehouse where these women are being held captive? Did you know that these traffickers lurk about our daily places looking for victims as well as clients?
 
It makes me sick that at this very moment there are women locked in a dark warehouse that are unaware what time of the day it is or what day of the week it is for that matter. They are being held completely against their will…imprisoned by evil.
These are real issues. These are things we should be talking about. These are the people we are called to fight for…the voiceless, the oppressed. Why aren’t we doing that? Why is it easier to close the webpage than to finish the article? Why is it easier to think there is someone else who is better adept at tackling this issue?
 
It takes a village…and that village includes you and me.

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This blog, "Be the Voice for the Voiceless" first appeared on sandalfeet.org, March 6, 2014.

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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