I had this revelation with a movie. There are only a hand full of movies that I can watch over and over again. The movie "Taken" starring Liam Neeson happens to be one of the few. I have watched that movie dozens of times.
And though I watched Liam's character go after the bad guys that took his daughter, and watched the movie time and time again, I missed the whole over arching message of the movie.
Human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking, is big business and a big problem in the world.
When I finally came to this realization it really saddened me. There are people, overwhelmingly women and children, that are trafficked and sold into (modern day) slavery and the sex trade everyday. The market for it is high and the suppliers make sure the demand is met. There were a few articles that were written around the time of the Superbowl that addressed the issue, but I don't know how many of us realize how prevalent this issue is here in the United States and across the world.
Unfortunately, when you hear about missing persons and unsolved cases many assume they ran away and don't want to be found or might be deceased. The reality is that some find themselves trafficked with little to no chance of being rescued. The network is too tight and awareness, in the U.S. and around the globe, is lacking.
For example, we see a prostitute and assume she chose that lifestyle.
Perhaps she did, or quite psossibly she was trafficked. Maybe she was promised a better job and she can't seem to find her way out-especially if she is not from the country, or got trapped as a pre-teen or teen.
We also assume that there are laws to protect those that are trafficked and police officers know what to look for. The reality is, the training to deal with this issue is minimal. Only very recently have some laws changed to try and identify and protect the rights of those trafficked instead of criminalizing them along with the "John" or trafficker.
Most of the time, it isn't as crystal clear as the case in Cleveland where three women had been held captive for a decade and were sex slaves of their captor. But it is my hope that we will take the time to educate ourselves about this pervasive problem and ask God what He wants our role to be.
We can be advocates - taking time to bring awareness to and educate others. We can support ministries and organizations that minister to or rescue those that have been trafficked. We can write to our politicians and let them know we are concerned about this issue and urge them to pass legislation that will help, not hurt the victims.
And we can all pray.
Pray for those in the trenches trying to put a stop to this around the world. Pray that the politicians and law enforcement "get it" and do what they can to execute justice. And certainly we can pray for the victims - for the ones who have been blessed to get out and are recovering - and then for the countless others who are looking for a way out.
I heard about a ministry who felt an overwhelming urge to pray for a particular country, not knowing why, they just began to pray. They found out later that a very large raid at a brothel had taken place and many children had been rescued out of a sex trafficking ring. They were told much later that one of the children had prayed for God to release them if He was real ... He did just that ... and the prayers of the ministry helped move some things into place so it could happen.
Prayer. Really. Works.
So, today, this week, and beyond I hope you will think and pray about how you can help address this issue. We can't just turn a blind eye because if it was our friend, sister, mother, child ... us ... we would want someone to take action on our behalf especially if we aren't able to do it ourselves.
Just Around the Corner,