Recently, I watched “Children for Sale” on TV. It was a rebroadcast of parts of an expose done in 2003, with some updates following the children who were rescued at the time. You’ll find my original post here.
When I watched that show for the first time, it seemed so far away.
Then, I bought Natalie Grant’s CD, Relentless. And I read the inside back cover.
I was sickened. Physically ill. Emotionally disturbed.
Young girls forced to perform sexual acts 25-30 times each day.
no. typos. there.
Difficult to comprehend, isn’t it?
Still – at the time – I did nothing more than read it, feel disturbed, and begin praying.
Then, Roy received a publication from the seminary where he received his Master’s Degree. The entire focus of the publication was human trafficking. One of the articles contained excerpts of a full article to be released Fall 2009. The more I read, the deeper I felt the horror of this atrocity.
When I read that Toledo was among the cities “with the highest cases of human trafficking” I was shocked! That is in my neck of the woods! Not New York? Not L. A.? Nope. Toledo, Ohio. And I started wondering what I could do about it.
According to the Polaris Project, “Sex trafficking victims, on average, are first exploited by their trafficker at the age of 13.”
While the sex trade is not the only “business” profiting from the exploitation of these children, and manual labor is included in these statistics, I was simply horrified by the thoughts of these young women, these GIRLS, being violated and used in such a way. All driven by the greed and lust of others.
“The FBI estimates that well over 100,000 children and young women are trafficked in America today. They range in age from 9 to 19, with the average age being 11.”
The Freedom Center reports that an estimated 600,000 – 800,000 are trafficked outside the U.S., with over 17,000 trafficked into the U.S. Three in four are women.
For many of these girls, escape is not an option. They are subjected to despicable acts of violation and threatened with further violence if they refuse. They are told their families will suffer – or die – if they refuse. Many of them don’t even have families or know where their families are.
Child trafficking is highly profitable.
Did you just read that???
CHILD TRAFFICKING is HIGHLY PROFITABLE.
According to Love 146, the United Nations and other experts in the field, “estimate the total market value of illicit human trafficking at roughly $32 billion.” More info from Love 146 can be downloaded here.
Lucrative for those who exploit the innocence of children. It’s about collecting the almighty dollar for some; about fulfilling deadly lust for others. All at the cost of CHILDREN. Their innocence. Their trust. Their identity. Sometimes Their Life!
They are valuable to their captors only for the currency they bring in, but are treated like nothing more than garbage. For the profit and pleasure of others.
And it’s happening today. In the world. In your country. In your state. Maybe in your neighborhood!
And then there is Internet Trafficking. Just another venue where victims are preyed upon. Think about that the next time a loved one – say, your daughter, for example – logs onto the internet.
Just last week, Roy attended an informative luncheon at work.
The topic: Human Trafficking. He was given information about several organizations within the state of Ohio that already offer education, assistance to victims, and pursuit of “the bad guys.” One of them local, that I can contact for more information and learn about opportunities where I can become involved here. Where I live.
The Rescue and Restore Coalition, based in Columbus, Ohio, is dedicated to providing education through public awareness, offering services to trafficked victims, advocacy, and supporting law enforcement with resources and training.
Grace Haven, of Dublin, Ohio, “is a faith-based non-profit organization started in 2008 for the expressed purpose of providing shelter, security, and rehabilitation to girls under the age of 18 who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation in central Ohio.”
Rahab’s Hideaway, also in Columbus, provides “a safe haven for those who need a way out,” including residential on-site recovery assistance, housing, and medical care.
There are other state-wide organizations, other domestic organizations, and world wide organizations fighting this battle.
Natalie Grant’s Home Foundation “is dedicated to the eradication of human trafficking both domestically and abroad.” Partnering with other relief organizations focused on ending sexual slavery, the Home Foundation offers internship opportunities for college students to work with these organizations in this fight. Providing medical equipment and facilities to treat these recovered victims. Helping those who are unable to help themselves.
What Can I Do About It?
If this disturbs you like it does me, and you want to do something about it, here are some suggestions to get started:
1. Prayer. Pray for the efforts of law enforcement and organizations who pursue the predators and captors of these innocents. Pray for the workers who are on the front lines rescuing these victimized children and attempting to provide safety and shelter for them. Pray for the victims themselves. Pray for the hearts and souls of the people involved in this heinous industry. Even Jesus prayed for his enemies…
2. Education. Visit some of the resources I’ve listed below and educate yourself. Do your own research. Sign up for newsletters and mailings from these organizations. There is so much information out there – and these are just a few resources – but the more we all know, the better we can be prepared to fight against this scourge that seeks to destroy life.
3. Support. Join up with any of these organizations and provide your time or money. Participate in local events providing education and awareness.
4. Fight. There may be someone reading this who wants to seek an internship with the Home Foundation or the International Justice Mission. Support an individual victim who is in recovery. John the National Grassroots Network of the Polaris Project. Visit the links below, find local resources and join up in a more active way.
Here are some other suggestions if you feel the need to DO something about human trafficking.
This is not a world away – it’s in our back yard.
The Home Foundation (Natalie Grant)
In the dark blackness of this world of human depravity, we must shine the Light so darkness is forced to flee. It begins with education, but does not have to end there. It does not take a lot of money – it may not even take a lot of time. But every little effort helps.