Over the past several years, I have gained a greater awareness of the evil of human trafficking going on in America and around the world. If I ever needed a reminder of just how fallen this world is, this modern day slavery does the trick. What I am learning is that it is in my own backyard. People are being sold every day and treated as if they are less than human. To make it worse, children are often the victims.
“Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. It involves controlling a person through force, fraud, or coercion to exploit the victim for forced labor, sexual exploitation, or both.”
I live in Texas and the statistics that I hear about for my state alone are staggering. People often seem to think that this happens only overseas, but it is happening right where we live. We cannot afford to remain uninformed. How can we protect our children if we remain in the dark?
In recent years, my heart has become burdened to help spread awareness about human trafficking. I have a special concern for girls who are sex trafficked. I can’t even imagine being forced to have sex with strangers over and over again, but I feel for these girls.
I hate the idea of anyone going through that so I feel compelled to help. If I can be a part of building self-esteem for girls who might be vulnerable to being manipulated into being trafficked, I want to do that. If I can show the love of Jesus to girls who have been rescued from that lifestyle, I want to do that too.
I think trauma that I have experienced in my own life, issues with low self-esteem, feeling unloved and often invisible at times, are some things that draw me to feel burdened for these women. We all need love and we need to build each other up as much as we can. As human beings created in the image of God, we all have worth. Love and kindness should be our practice. In my life, I want to be about helping those who suffer from low self-esteem.
I know that a greater awareness of the issues of human trafficking has changed my mindset about things. I don’t look at prostitution in the same way as I once did. In many cases these women are truly victims of sex trafficking. I think about how pornography devalues women and makes it easier to see them as a commodity. I would love for our boys and men to be educated about this. I wish our society wasn’t so sex crazed.
If you don’t know much about human trafficking, I recommend a Human Trafficking 101 seminar. In North Texas, various groups are raising awareness about human trafficking. These same groups are active in the fight against this evil. It is helpful to gain awareness.
It is good to learn about what to look for and how to report suspicious activity. I now pay more attention to things like tattoos because I have learned about how they are used to brand women. The last time I stayed in a hotel, I was aware for the first time of what could be going on in the rooms around me and in the parking lot.
One resource that works with several organizations is The Denton County Human Trafficking Coalition. It has a list of resources for North Texas primarily, but can be a good starting point for others as well. A couple of the groups that I have become the most familiar with are the Poiema Foundation and Refuge for Women. Both have recently opened safe houses in North Texas. I also just learned of another resource Engage Together.
Because I am against human trafficking in all its forms, I look for the Fair Trade label on food and other products. To be fair trade certified, child labor and forced labor are prohibited. I am glad that there is more awareness lately, but there are still many who don’t know what is happening in their own neighborhood. In my humble estimation, stopping modern day slavery is a fight that we all need to be a part of winning. We need to abolish it.