Human trafficking. It's a term you are probably familiar with.
But did you know that along with that term come facts?
Facts such as:
-There are an estimated 27,000,000 men, women and children in slavery today. That's more than any other time in history.
- Two children are sold into slavery every 60 seconds.
- 2,500 women and children are sold into sexual slavery every day.
- Over 80% of human trafficking victims are women.
- In 1850, a human slave cost roughly $40,000 in today's dollars. Now a person can be bought for as little as $30.
- The total market value of human trafficking is estimated to be $32 billion- that's more than Google, Starbucks and Nike combined.
- Right now there are at least 200,000 slaves in the USA and 17,000 more will be trafficked into the U.S. next year.
Pretty astounding isn't it?
That not only is all of that happening, but it's happening in your backyard no less. In your hometown.
I attended a camp during high school where a representative of the A21 Campaign came and spoke to us. That time, several years ago at camp, was the first time I learned about human trafficking, and more specifically sex trafficking.
Ever since then it's been an issue that's weighed on my heart.
I learned about this issue several years ago but it still often shocks me that so many people today are unaware that this sort of thing goes on in the world.
How could people not know about something this big?
A problem that is 27,000,000 people big?
It is the third largest crime in the world today.
That includes the United States. Yes, things like this don't just happen in far off third world countries; they happen in your hometown too.
So why don't people know about it?
Then again it's not a very pretty subject to talk about.
It's a crime so incomprehensible that people tend to leave it unchallenged because it is such an unimaginable thing. And even if it does seem real, what difference could you possibly make, right?
Well I believe that we, as Christians, are called to make that difference. We are called to help the helpless, like it says in Proverbs 31:8-9:
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.
and Isaiah 61:1-3
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenheartedand to proclaim that captives will be releasedand prisoners will be freed.He has sent me to tell those who mournthat the time of the Lord’s favor has come,and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.To all who mourn in Israel,he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,a joyous blessing instead of mourning,festive praise instead of despair.In their righteousness, they will be like great oaksthat the Lord has planted for his own glory.
As big as some problems may seem, with God all things are possible. He's equipped us to do his work and help those who need it, even when it seems like too big of a task for us to do. The beauty of God's plan is that He's created each one of us differently and with specific gifts and talents and different causes that burden each of our hearts.
This is just the cause that I feel burdened to act on.
Ways that I feel called to help are by raising awareness and telling people what I know about the issue. Additionally, I volunteer for an organization based in my hometown called The Gray Haven Project.
I love TGHP because they are all about having people using their talents to help others in any way that they can. One way that I've used my talents for them is to take photos for their website, brochures and flyers. These images help them draw attention to the issue of human trafficking and their fight against it. I also am in the process of working with them to create some knit pieces similar to those from my Etsy shop to have them sell to raise money for their cause. There are a lot of ways you can use your talents and abilities to help further the causes you believe in. Think outside the box!
The purpose of this post was not to accuse you of being ignorant or even to say that I'm a better person for wanting to do something about those 27,000,000.
It's to inform you.
Because there are so many people who don't know about this problem. I was one of them at one time.
It's to challenge you.
To step up and be a voice for those people. Those who have had their voices taken away.
It's to encourage you.
Because you can make a difference. Whether it's by donating money, volunteering at a local organization, or spreading the word and informing people about it.
Ignorance isn't an excuse.
Indifference is not an option.
It's time to rise up for freedom because slavery still exists.