Tuesday, March 24, 2009

you don't want to know...but you need to

As soon as I mention the topic of this post, some of you will immediately stop reading. Perhaps you will take the time to scroll down looking for photos...or you may just quickly hit that back button and get the heck out of dodge. Let me say...I totally understand.

But hear me out. I'm not saying you need to do anything drastic. I'm saying you need to know...to be aware. To have your eyes open to the realities of human trafficking.

It's difficult to face. Our minds don't want to "go there." But right this moment a little child, a young girl, or a woman IS THERE. Actually living in the place that we don't want to go.

You need to know that
- human trafficking, the buying and selling of people, is a business that is bigger and more prevalent that you can fathom...and it is rapidly growing in our country,
- forced labor associated with trafficking can be sexual in nature, but also includes working in sweatshops, agricultural settings, and domestic settings,
- the United States is one of the largest markets in the world for sexual slavery.

I'm not going to post stats because I think they can overwhelm and take the focus off the individual. But it's safe to say that by the time you finish reading this an American businessman will have had his way with an 11 year old Filipino child, a vanload of teen girls who thought they were coming to America for school will be herded into an underground brothel in your state, and a young woman will have sexually served, against her will, her 20th customer for the day.

God is not calling everyone to become ICE agents or open a transitional house for victims. But God does call us to free the oppressed. Is there really any who are more oppressed than those who are bought and sold to be used for brutal, humiliating sex or labor against their will?

You can
- do nothing
- pray (I even pray that God will bring the oppressed to my mind so that I remember to pray for them!)
- become more aware (look around when you are at gas stations or public restrooms...notice the people in your surroundings)
- become more active (research sites, donate $, host an event to inform your community)

Some resources:
Shared Hope Int
Life Impact Int
Kim Daniels w/AIM
Hagar Int
The Defenders USA (great site for men!)

I recently watched the movie Human Trafficking. I never watch these types of movies because I see no point in filling your mind with such things, but I feel that this movie accurately depicts various aspects of the scope and brutality of human trafficking. In the final scene, Mira Sorvino's character says that we must face the fact that "none of this horror would be possible if our culture didn't create a demand for it."

UGH! Doesn't it kill you that the men (and a growing number of women) in our cities...in our neighborhoods...are fueling this tragedy? PRAY for the victims, the oppressors, AND the buyers who are creating the demand for this product of human lives. As God answers prayers and brings His light to the darkness, healing and hope will come...but also future lives will be spared the horrors of human trafficking.

"modern day slavery is only occuring because we choose to ignore it..." - Human Trafficking, the movie


Andrea said...

I heard a radio brodcast and the woman speaking said that if the men/woman who support these trafficers were punished like they should be instead of getting a slap on the hand...It would stop.
Supply and Demand.
I mean who suffers more in the hands of our country's legal system the Prostitute's or the John's?
Makes no sense.

dan and rachel said...

very sad, but "good" to know. my in-laws have been active in supporting orgs that fight against human trafficking in Asia, but i had no idea it was going on here in the US until you mentioned it in a previous post. that's just astounding! it's horrible. i will PRAY.

Tish said...

@Andrea...yeah, that is why many girls don;t come forward. they are treated as the criminals. those who have been trafficked into our country don't have access to their passports and IDs, so they are at the mercy of our govt.

@Rachel...many girls are trafficked into the US from other countries. to get american girls they use tactics like forcing another victim to "befriend" a girl...and then abducting her. most of the american girls that are forced into sex slavery come from broken homes, from dysfunctional homes. the guys will woo them...treat them nice, act liek they care as a boyfriend would, and then sell them off to a pimp.

most people in america don;t realize this is going on here and also don;t realize that EVERY click onto a porn site, EVERY risque magazine purchased, EVERY dirty cable movie are ALL interrelated to this massive sex industry ring.

dan and rachel said...

wow. i had absolutely no idea that they were all inter-related. i'm speechless.

Mark, Rebecca and Sophia said...

Ugg. You are correct. I did not want to read this. But, I needed to. As I told you, I don't know much about this topic. I think my heart and mind just revolt against taking it in. Not a good excuse. Thanks for the regular reminders about this topic. So sad.

taiwanbaby said...

thanks for bringing this to our attention. I think most of us "know" about human trafficking, but don't want get involved. ummm, what would i be looking for at gas stations and restrooms?

Tish said...

@cari..you're right, we don;t want to get involved. when you make a list of all the people in need and all the ways to help, caring for orphans, feeding the hungry, drilling wells for the thirsty sound much more appealing. and perhaps that is part of the reason this has become such a HUGE problem...we'd rather not think about it.

as for gas stations and public bathrooms...truck stops/gas stations are often places where girls are pimped out...public bathrooms may be the only places where abducted girls are out-of-sight of their captors. i guess it's just a matter of being more aware of what's going on around you.

Tami said...

Tish, This is heartbreaking, and you're right, we need to know, be more aware and act, although this topic is uncomfortable to sit with.
Praying right now.... and will check out the sites you have listed. Thanks for the well written, powerful post.

Mary Marantz said...

wow what a powerful post. I watched a documentary about this once...chilling.