Human trafficking is happening all around us, everyday.
A massive and essentially immeasurable number of today’s population is held in a daily captivity of horror, violence, and manipulation. Girls and boys are lured by lies, and bound by violence and threats.
The websites of the United States Attorney and news outlets yields a list of people from a variety of Missouri cities charged with child pornography, exploitation of children, and sex with minors.
In one such case last year, a 13-year-old girl met a 56-year-old man through a social networking site; he picked her up at her home in Montrose and took her to live with him in New Mexico, where she would pose as his daughter.
Luckily this girl was recovered very quickly, only 1% of Human Trafficking victims are rescued.
In another case ending in St. Charles County, a 15-year-old girl was brought to St. Charles County from Ohio and held against her will by a 41 year old man.
I hope these two examples will inspire investigation and answer the question I am asked most often on this topic, “It doesn’t happen here, does it?”. The answer is YES YES YES – wherever your “here” is – it is happening around you.
Why does this happen “here,” “there”, everywhere?
The answers are both simple and complicated: depravity of the human condition, biological sexual desires of men, inborn cravings of women to feel loved, valued, cared for; economics, minor consequences for profitable crimes – and many more contributing factors.
Where there is demand for something, there will be someone to take the money. Where girls feel misunderstood, lonely, unvalued and insecure there will be someone there to exploit and lure them into the supply chain. You might think, “isn’t that everywhere, isn’t that every girl?” yes, precisely! The vulnerabilities and factors for human trafficking exist everywhere!
This issue can be very hard to understand. The statistics are staggering: 27 million slaves, average age of 12, and only a 1-2% rescue rate. But like a lot of things, we can only understand it better if we learn about it. A simple Internet search about human trafficking will lead you to many worthy organizations fighting to end human trafficking. You can read stories and statistics about the issue. There have been many books written and documentaries made about the issue. I would encourage you to draw near and learn about this horrible thing, to let your eyes be opened and your heart broken for these victims. It will be hard! After learning about human trafficking I bawled my way through as many books, movies and websites as I could handle. I wanted to understand this atrocity and in doing so, hopefully help fight this nightmare!
We would like to give you an opportunity to learn more about the issue of human trafficking and how you can join the fight against it. Next month, we are joining other congregations throughout the United States to celebrate Freedom Sunday!
The Table is hosting a two-day event: Saturday, February 13 we will have dinner and a movie - the trafficking documentary, “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls.” This is a powerful film that exposes all aspects of sex slavery, from recruitment to liberation of victims. Sunday, February 14th will be our weekly gathering with breakfast and learning more about the issue and what the church can do to make an impact. We would love for you to join us.