I surprised Justin last week with my level of outrage towards human trafficking at the Super Bowl. It isn’t really about the Super Bowl, and my new-to-him passion isn’t new. It has just been dormant in the light of other priorities (namely five kiddos and a crazy life in Africa).
Injustice is a catch-phrase that is big right now. I hesitate to use it and sound cliché. But there it is…whether it’s children abandoned on the streets, or the baby in a mother’s womb who doesn’t have a chance of life because of the inconvenience of having a baby, or the woman underneath the burka that is treated as an object and not as a human, or the child or adult who thinks she’s headed to a new life with a paying job and then ends up as a sex slave or as unpaid labor, it bothers me. a lot.
I research said injustice and read blogs and articles and commentaries and statistics. I meet people who share the same views and we discuss personal plans of action.
And then I get up on my soap box and talk about it to anyone who will listen. ad nauseam.
So here is some more research that I’ve done in the last few days. Justin warns me to take statistics posted by NGOs and Non-Profits with a grain of salt. He says they’re usually exaggerated…but here is what I’ve found and you be the judge.
Governmental Organizations agree trafficking is a problem:
Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools: This was one of the first links my google search found. Although it doesn’t give stats, it does give a list of resources and publications…I followed the trails for some of the others. Also, it gives tip sheets on identifying victims of human trafficking in school children.
The Trafficking in Persons Report: The Department of State does a trafficking report (TIP) every year (the link above is the 2011 report). They describe their methods and they give a brief on each country and their “grade” for the year. Here is the link for the United States’ grade. Scroll down through the countries till you get to the US, near the bottom. Also, here is the report for 2010.
The Department of Homeland Security: Their program is the Blue Campaign. You can also report suspicions of trafficking and sign up for their email newsletter with current trafficking issues. They even have a Facebook page.
The US Department of Justice: They have developed a Web-based Human Trafficking Reporting System. They list the offices within the DoJ that work to fight trafficking and how they are doing it.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation: This link will take you specifically to the Crimes Against Children page. It does not specifically list trafficking programs, but if you follow the link to the Innocence Lost page, it addresses the problem of trafficking of children.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes: They have links to describe what they are doing to end trafficking and FAQs.
US Department of Health and Human Services: They have their own tip line for reporting suspected cases of trafficking, as well as a list of resources and ways you can get involved in fighting trafficking.
The Council on Hemispheric Affairs: COHA is a non-profit research group (the first I’ve mentioned in this post). They agree that trafficking is a problem, but point out the problems with the TIP report (that I mention above).
Exodus Cry: “a prayer movement to end slavery and human trafficking.” Lily’s dad sent this website to me and I’m not going to lie, I was immediately sucked into their blog. They have a country to pray for each day with the specifics on slavery and trafficking. They also have videos…I only watched one and it has haunted me for days. One of Exodus Cry’s projects is a documentary called Nefarious: Merchant of Souls. I only watched the preview and will be buying it when it comes out on DVD. You can also fill out this form to host a screening yourself and spread awareness about modern-day slavery.
Sex and Money Film: I mentioned this in my last post but feel the need to mention it again. I spent about a week with the producer in Uganda last year and was very impressed with her love for Jesus and for people. Also, the film is on DVD and can be purchased from the website! I ordered it a few days ago and am still waiting for it to arrive. Their national tour is over for 2011, but they are planning a tour for 2012, so stay tuned for it to come to a place near you.
One more thing on the Super Bowl…maybe there weren’t 10,000..maybe that number was exaggerated…I don’t really know. The news articles I read stated the numbers came from the US Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Miami Police Force. Someone asked me how it was possible for that many women to be brought into the city and go unnoticed. The average number of visitors for any Super Bowl is 150,000. According to Wikipedia, the population of the Miami metro area is 5.5 million. It’s reasonable to me that 10,000 could go unnoticed. And ultimately, it’s not really about the Super Bowl or any other sporting event.
Slavery and prostitution and abandonment are the symptoms of a sinful heart and the absence of Christ. Rehabilitation, orphanages, feeding programs, pregnancy centers are band aids on severed jugular. The programs we create to solve world hunger and end slavery won’t do the job any better than that band aid will for a person who is bleeding out. The only solution for these problems is Jesus entering the lives and changing the hearts of pimps, slave traders, and prostitutes. But you and I must be obedient to the commands of Scripture and go into the world and make disciples. Jesus didn’t eat with the religious leaders, he ate with the tax collectors and sinners. Who are you eating with this week? Who are you praying for before you go to bed each night? Ending slavery won’t happen over night, but I can be praying for those who are working among the pimps and prostitutes and sharing Jesus with them. And I can be intentional to share Jesus with the people I meet on the bus or in the grocery store. I can be praying for those modern-day slaves, whether they are sex slaves or labor slaves, that Jesus would meet them in their dreams or in unexpected ways. I can pray that they would know Jesus and that their current situation would be “light and momentary troubles [that] are achieving for [them] an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Cor. 4:17).
So, don’t be offended by my posts. And if you think I’ve said something grossly in error, then find your own research and correct me. But please say it nicely.