A strange statement, maybe, but true none the less. Five years ago, a friend came back from vacation with the words "human trafficking" on her lips. "What?" was the only reply with which I could answer.
She went on to tell me that human trafficking is "the illegal trade of human beings, mainly for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor" (thea21campaign.org). I thought to myself, Okay...that's a weird thing to learn about while you're on vacation. But I am so thankful she did, because it opened my eyes to a whole new world...right in my own backyard.
When I first started learning about human trafficking I kept thinking, What an awful thing people are doing in other countries. How could someone even entertain the idea of "owning" another person? But the more I searched, the more I found this horrific crime happening closer and closer to my own house...literally less than two miles away!
A few weeks ago, I was at a Fierce Freedom event (fiercefreedom.org). An illustration was given of what's being done about human trafficking. It's like you're in a closed room. There is pipe in the wall out of which water is gushing. You, being in the room with no way out, are using a bucket to scoop out the water, a little at a time. This is keeping you alive, but how long can you keep it up? Organizations have been pulling victims out of human trafficking one at a time, similar to one bucket of water being scooped out. It's helping, but there's still more water, more victims, to get out.
Then, along came a guy who asked, "Why don't we just plug the hole in the first place and stop the water from coming in?" Why don't we? Now, people and organizations are working to not only rescue victims, but to "plug up" human trafficking before it begins. Pornography is a big factor in the existence of human trafficking; eliminating it will be a start in closing the hole. The guy who asked the question started an organization called Men Against The Trafficking Of Others (mattoo.org), with the hopes of plugging that hole by getting men to take a stand against human trafficking.
My heart does break when I hear what's happening to our precious children, women, and men. Sometimes I can't even think about it, because it literally makes me sick. The more I learn, though, as awful as it is, the bigger my heart becomes for the victims, and yes, even the traffickers. It's not hard to love and feel compassion for those who are hurt and misused. It's much more difficult to show compassion and mercy toward those doing the hurting and those misusing other people. But, they need hope, too; the hope that only comes through knowing Jesus. My hope is to not only help rescue victims of human trafficking and rebuild their lives, but to also give help and hope to those who are exploiting their fellow humans. If they were to truly find the love and hope of Jesus, I believe they would work harder than anyone to end human trafficking.
You can help "plug the hole" and give hope. Inform yourself about human trafficking. Become aware of what's going on around you, in your community, state/province, and country. Contact your local authorities to see what's being done in your area. Contact your state, congressional, and government leaders, and ask them to put laws in place that will stop the trafficking. And pray.