Your neighbor’s little girl, or your second cousin twice-removed, or the woman you saw waiting at the bus stop as you drove to work today, could be the next sex slave at the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Changes the way you view the game, huh?
I watch movies like Slumdog Millionaire and identify, not with the boy, but with the girl, because if I grew up in those circumstances, I’d have her life…not his. I know sex trafficking is real, but I tend to think of it happening in massage parlors in Thailand, or dingy brothels in India, and not in my own, proverbial, back yard.
But it. is. happening. here. This news site says it’s the largest trafficking event in the US, and this one says that the Miami Superbowl 2010 saw 10,000 sex workers brought into the city. TEN FREAKING THOUSAND.
ummmmm, excuse me???
Not only that, but measures to cut down on the trafficking often ends up hurting the sex worker (who was probably forced into it because of a debt she couldn’t pay, or because she young and vulnerable and, in essence, kidnapped).
So, what am I going to do about it? And what can we do about trafficking nationally and worldwide.
Well, first, I’m praying for these women and children. Oh man, I also need to pray for the abusers and the victimizers…but I don’t want to, so I need to pray about my attitude. (I’ll be honest, I’d like to pray that they suffer unusually painful deaths….but I don’t think that’s very Biblical). Oh, and there’s one more group: the ones creating a market for this trafficking…they’re also on my attitude check list.
And I’m also researching how to get involved and spread awareness.
Here’s what I’ve found so far:
Sex and Money Film: If you haven’t yet seen this documentary, at least go watch the trailer. It’s about the domestic minor sex-trafficking and the modern-day abolition movement. I’ve gotten to know the producers and another guy who helped interview in a couple locations. They are passionate about Jesus and about documenting modern day slavery. They did a fifty-state tour in 2011 and are currently planning a tour for 2012. If it comes to a city near you, GO see it. But be warned, it’s graphic.
International Justice Mission: They are one of the more well known anti-trafficking organizations. They work nationally and internationally to provide victim relief, perpetrator accountability, survivor aftercare, AND they structural transformation (which means they work to change laws and community responses to trafficking). You can donate, get involved by volunteering or raising awareness. Oh, and you can also go there to sign a letter asking Obama to end slavery. They also have conferences around the country. I’ve never been to one, but I’ve heard good things about them.
Shared Hope International: I’d never heard of this organization before now, but they are similar to IJM. They also provide training sessions and supplies to different groups of people: law enforcement, healthcare and social workers, clergy and teachers, etc. I’d like to go to one of their training sessions. They are mostly located in the Northwest, but you can request materials from them and hold your own event.
The Polaris Project: This website has great statistics on where trafficking occurs and gives tips for how to spot it. They have hotlines that you can call to report tips and that victims can call to get help out of a situation. They also list their resources by State.
Not For Sale: Their slogan is that they create tools that engage business, government and grassroots in order to incubate and grow social enterprises that benefit enslaved and vulnerable communities. They also created an app for your smart phone. When you’re thinking about buying something, scan the bar code, and it’ll tell you how the brand you like relates to human trafficking. If I had a smart phone, I’d download that app. 🙂
The International Princess Project: I found this via Pinterest a couple months ago. They advocate for prostitutes and then help them rebuild their lives once they’re out of captivity. They help provide sustainable enterprises for former prostitutes. And, their product is delightful: Punjammies. I still haven’t bought a pair….not sure why. Maybe that will be my birthday gift to myself.
Abolition International: They fight trafficking through accreditation, advocacy, education and restoration. They invite you to become a modern day abolitionist to end slavery. They work all over the US, as well as Greece, Moldova, and India.
A Walk Across the Sun, by Corban Addison: So, Lily (former foster child) couldn’t make it to my wedding (I know…lots of disappointed fans), because her dad is best friends with Corban Addison and was a guest at the big book opening at the beginning of January. I kinda feel like I’m two degrees away from fame. haha. Anyway, this book is fiction, but it’s based on truth. And according to Amazon, “leads readers on a chilling eye-opening journey into Mumbai’s seedy underworld – and the nightmare of two orphaned girls swept into the international sex trade.” I haven’t read it, but Amazon is currently shipping it to me and I will report back what I read. You should buy it yourself…it’s available for Kindle and iPad as well as hardback.
And that’s the research that I’ve done for now. Feel free to send me anything you’ve learned about sex-trafficking. And, don’t be surprised if you hear more on this from me in the future.
Oh, and enjoy the game on Sunday! But, be mindful to pray for those behind the scenes: both the victims who are sex slaves, and the abusers who are enslaved in sin.