I have written about this subject before, but I can still forget about it. And, because I live the life of a pretty typical American, I have the choice to put it out of my mind if I want to. I can hide from it and pretend it doesn't exist in the world today. But, I have to be honest with myself and admit that now that I know that this goes on in the world, and now that I know some of the stories, I can't just turn around and go back to life as normal. As a Christian I'm called to be compassionate toward these men, women and children caught up in slavery and trafficking. And, helping those who cannot do for themselves, is to seek justice. It is to right wrongs for those who are weak or poor or in a position of powerlessness.....
This is what the Lord Almighty says, "Administer true justice, show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor.
Tomorrow (Friday,11th) is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. There are things that we can all do every day to help stop slavery. As a woman I cannot let other women and children in the world suffer this way while I have a chance to help stop it. So, what can I/we do?
PRAY! That is obviously the most important thing I need to remember. Pray for those in slavery, and pray for the folks out there working to rescue them and help them restore their lives. Our minister, Kent, always says prayer is the work that lets you do the ministry.
I can shop with ethical companies like Radiant. Buying lipstick...or other makeup from Radiant Cosmetics is fighting against trafficking. Radiant was founded by a young woman whose year long mission adventure with The World Race led her to start this company. They partner with anti- trafficking organizations, and through cosmetics help "set the captives free...one lipstick at a time". This month, not only will the company donate their typical 20% of profits to Redeemed Ministries (they do this all year long), which works in Texas with people who have been trafficked, but for every lipstick bought they will donate a lipstick to an organization working to help women in the slavery. And here is why that is important...
Donated lipsticks will be sent to Brazil with The Trade who teaches women job skills (in hair/makeup) which is crucial in preventing trafficking. We're also giving lipsticks to our partner organization Redeemed Ministries Austin who will use these in outreach gift bags, which serve as a way to reach trafficked women. Gifts are a great conversation starter to let these women know there is help available. The women don't usually receive gifts, so it's a fun way to show them they are loved, and trust us, they love the girly gift baskets so lipstick is a perfect addition.
If you'd like to learn more, read the book, Rescuing Hope by Susan Norris. This book is about the sex trade industry in the U.S. Trafficking just doesn't happen in foreign countries, it is happening in our backyards. To be honest...it is not an easy book to read but I know I needed to read it. I need to have my eyes opened. This book is a work of fiction, but it is based on true stories. Susan spent six months interviewing survivors, family members of trafficked girls, detectives and organizations that fight for these girls. She even interviewed a former pimp, who after years of pimping, gave his life to Jesus and now works to rescue girls from the trafficking industry. You can go here and read the whole interview with Susan. I love what Susan says in the Acknowledgements section of her book...
To my readers, thank you for taking the time to read about a difficult subject, when it would be easy to turn away. I pray Rescuing Hope stirs something inside you to propel you to action. Find your place in the fight against commercial sexual exploitation of children. There's room for everyone in the battle. We need your voice, your gifts, your talents. What part will you play in becoming a voice for hope?
Check out Susan's website and please consider reading the book. It opened my eyes and made me realize that there is so much more that I need to be doing, if I really want to live out the command to love others like I love myself.
Here is a list of incredible organizations working tirelessly to help those being trafficked here at home and around the world.
Wellspring Living...their vision is to serve locally, influence globally.
International Justice Mission...the work they do is incredible. Check out what they have done the last 15 years.
Polaris Project...they are named after the star, Polaris, that guided those on the Underground Railroad to freedom. They are one of the leading organizations in the fight against slavery today.
There are so many other organizations out there...ones that work locally and globally. I know I need a constant reminder or life can settle in and it is so easy to forget. Or maybe I want to forget. None of us want to think about these things....it's pretty ugly stuff. I know we all look back at our ancestors and wonder how in the world did they read the same Bible we read and think it was ok to own and sell another human being? I don't want my kids or my grandkids or my great grandkids to look back on me and ask that same question. How could you just sit by while this was happening? How, when you had the power to act, and do something, you didn't?