The following is a guest post from my friend Angelyn McMurray, Founder and President of We Are Free. Please take a moment to read about this important ministry focused on helping victims of human trafficking and consider how you can help. To profess freedom in Christ while ignoring those being denied human freedom is a disgrace to the gospel.
Human Trafficking in a Nutshell . . .
To explain human trafficking “in a nutshell” is admittedly a fair request, but for someone who considers them self to be a modern day abolitionist, it is like asking Einstein to explain the theory of relativity or expecting a historian to briefly explain the circumstances which led to the rise of the Nazi party and subsequent politics of World War II. In short, it is nearly impossible. However, in consideration of the reality and ramifications of human trafficking, it is critically important to maintain the ability to briefly, raise awareness and provide practical action steps to counter this evil. To do so, let’s first look at the facts . . .
– There are roughly 27 million slaves in the world. There are more slaves now than at any other time in human history.
– More than 17,500 persons will be trafficked into the United States each year.
– Every year, approximately 100,000 U.S. Citizen children will be trafficked within the United States.
– In the United States, forced prostitution (trafficking) begins at an average age of 13 for girls and 12 for boys.
– And in the United States alone, human trafficking is a 9.8 Billion dollar industry. More specifically, in major urban areas, a pimp will earn as much as 1.7 Million dollars every year.
Still, these are just numbers, how is it that we can come to not only conceptualize but also empathize with these numbers? We must look at the humanity which these numbers represent and the practical circumstances of their every day existence. Consider this . . .
At this very moment, as you read information pertaining to human trafficking, somewhere within the vicinity of where you sit there is a man or woman working long hours in deplorable, most likely, abusive conditions with no hope of receiving compensation for such work. Worse yet, a woman or child is being violated (raped) by a stranger who has paid an ‘owner’ for the right to abuse, degrade and shame them for the sake of the buyer’s pleasure. That woman, that child has no hope of freedom or restoration. Their reality is that their body will be bought and violated again and again and again. The fact is, they have lost their humanity and are now a commodity.
These men, women, boys and girls who, like you and I were created in the image of God, have suffered unimaginable abuse and exploitation. They are broken in every possible way. Their bodies are broke, they suffer psychological anguish and live in a state of spiritual despair. They move among us and walk the same streets but they have no voice and there is no one to speak on their behalf.
Pause for just a second to close your eyes; can you see them? Can you begin to feel their desperation and hopelessness?
In the midst of this desperation and hopelessness, there is an ever-growing light bringing good news. The same good news that is found in the Gospel of John where it says, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” We Are FREE, exists to be that light to the victims of human trafficking and we do this by speaking on behalf of these modern day slaves who have no voice.
We speak on their behalf by educating groups about the reality of their circumstances and the means by which you could identify a victim and who it is that should be contacted once you believe you have identified a victim. Even more importantly, we will be speaking on their behalf by providing services to survivors at a faith-based aftercare facility.
We Are FREE’s aftercare facility, Hebron Hills, which is being built on 25 rural acres in southern Arkansas is slated to be a comprehensive care facility that will provide long-term temporary housing while addressing all physical, psychological and spiritual needs. We will also provide all necessary educational requirements and vocational training so that each resident has the power to transition to an independent sustainable life. Our overarching goal is to identify the specific needs of each resident and meet those needs while at the same time cultivating all that is unique about his or her Godly design so that he or she is able to achieve their own goals.
And here is the best news; You too can take your light and join it with other abolitionists so that the ray of hope which provides freedom can shine brighter and farther. To take these practical steps in combatting human trafficking, contact We Are FREE via email at firstname.lastname@example.org so that you can be connected with a local abolition group. You will also be able to receive additional information regarding advocacy and awareness campaign events and financial partnership as well as getting signed up to receive monthly newsletters and updates.
Slavery in various forms has existed from the time of the earliest civilizations and sadly, I believe it will exist until the end of time. That being said, there have been those to fight against slavery in the past and others will continue to fight in the future. This however, is our time! This is our leg of the race where we have the privilege as abolitionist to carry the baton of freedom, don’t let this privilege pass you by . . . Get in the fight . . . Become an Abolitionist . . . You can provide Freedom to others!