No Fancy Title- Just End Human Trafficking

Frau M, busybody that she is, was the first to spot her through the window at the McDonalds playland- a 16-20 year old girl with heavy make-up smeared by tears.  Our mom radar went into the red as we surveyed the gold-chained, heavily tattooed man seated across from her, easily twice her age decked out in all the latest finery.  We, three moms with eleven kids between us, tried to read the signs. Was he allowing her to move about freely?  Did she seem anxious or fearful?  Was she in poor health?   Was this young woman being groomed or used by this man and if she was, most importantly, what could we do?

Listen up people. Slavery is happening.  Open your eyes and look around traffickingbecause it could be taking place in the booth right next to you.

Children overseas are sold or kidnapped from their homes.  They are taken to a neighboring island or across the ocean so that can “service” (read: a sanitized word for – be raped by) 8-12 rapists, um “clients,” each day.  Adults are promised a job in the US, but once they arrive they are saddled with exorbitant debt and their passports confiscated.  Children from your local middle or high school are being lured away by “bottom girls” – here you go if you cannot infer her job description:  — or the pimp himself and then coerced into a life of prostitution.  A pimp also finds fertile ground at the mall seeking girls hungry for male attention. Over time, he convinces the girl that he is in love with her and then steals her away, hooks her on drugs, and moves her from city to city within his network.

Human trafficking is modern day slavery and it is rampant. You pass these slaves at Costco, walking with their heads down as their handler speaks for them.  They do your nails, but cannot speak English and are never in a room without the “manager.”  They sit across from their future pimp at McDonalds, watching the kids in the playland run and laugh around their mothers.

There are 27 million slaves in the world today.  It is the second-largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world and it’s not just a “third world” problem.  Nita Belles writes in her book In Our Backyard of where, how, and how many slaves are living out lives of forced servitude in the US today:

  • About 80% of all US trafficked victims are female, about 50% are children.
  • 70% of those female victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation (and many boys as well.)
  • In addition to the 100,000 children trafficked annually, 244,000-325,000 American children and youth are at risk for sexual exploitation and sex trafficking every year.

If you are not aware of this insidious and thriving industry, you need to be. Please.  Familiarize yourself with the signs that someone may be a victim of trafficking.  Read In Our Backyard so you can understand the magnitude and urgency of the problem.  Support organizations like Enditmovement.com and Traffickjam.org.  Memorize, oh dang I reveal my age, program the National Trafficking Hotline: 888.3737.888 into your phone.

But really?

Act. Take action. Be wise and fearless at once. With the prayers of my fellow moms by my side, I cornered her at the soda fountain.

Hi.  Are you ok?  My friends and I see you, a beautiful young girl, sitting across a guy who looks like trouble.  (I notice her pock-marked face, evidence of meth use, that she tries to hide under layers of foundation.)

Her: Um, yeah.  I’m just having some problems with my family.  That guy is actually trying to help me get some money for a place to stay.

Me: Ok.  Well, I hope he is not expecting anything from you in return.  You are too valuable to let a guy like that make a decision for you.

Her: No, it’s ok.  I’m just trying to get some stuff figured out.

Me: Well, if you think that this guy’s is going to hurt you or use you, come home with me instead.  I’ll make some soup and we talk for a while and figure out a way to help if you need some.

Her: Oh that’s really nice.  But I think I’ll be okay.  But really, thanks for talking to me.

Me: I’ll be in the playland for a while longer.  If you change your mind, please come and find me.  We can figure out what to do together.

She didn’t and I so desperately wish I had at least given her the number of the Genesis Project so that she knew that there were options.  I wish I hadn’t been so vague.  I wish I had just grabbed her arm and dragged her to my car (though my super fierce cop friend strongly advises against that).  That fierce lady cop friend also said that even though “Sam” didn’t come with me, just speaking with her was a step in the right direction.  Many of these girls think that no one sees them. That no one cares.  Sometimes just reaching out and looking them in the eye can go a long way.

Beloved readers (and you cantankerous ones too), I write about homosexuality and gay marriage because I have a personal stake in the way the church handles this issue.  According to polls and personal experience, it is the number one issue that outsiders have regarding Christianity and while it is at the forefront of the cultural push, it often the subject that Christians seem the least prepared to navigate. Thus the mission of my blog.  That said- homosexuality and all that goes with it is NOT the place where the church should put the majority of its time, talents and treasures.  There are so very many social issues in which Christians can make a critical difference- advocating for the unborn, ministering to the poor and sick, taking in the orphan, caring for the widow, and, certainly, fighting for those who are held in bondage by slavery’s chains.

The gospel is not just a spiritual matter, as you well know.  So get your Harriet Tubman on, and help set the captives free.

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7 thoughts on “No Fancy Title- Just End Human Trafficking

  1. Ask Me,
    This is a wonderful post! The problem is huge and horrible. All parents need to make their own children aware of it. It is happening in safe small towns all across America. I see small kids and teenagers wandering aimlessly everywhere and I can’t help but wonder …are the parents really this naive?. There are loads of information out there including videos , books and tons of real life stories. We must inform our children and those we love. These power hungry, money loving pimps hate an informed public.

    • I agree, Yolanda. That night, my daughter asked me why I was talking with that girl at McDonalds. So we talked about trafficking (in simple but honest terms) with our kids. We talked about what to do if someone tries to lure you away from a group. We talked about how drugs are used to hook kids and enslave them.

      It turned my stomach to discuss it with my girls- 8 and 10- about this (the boys didn’t understand much of it).But you are right- we must equip our kids to be discerning. And as parents we certainly must fill their emotional tanks so that they don’t feel the need to seek approval or attention from strangers.

  2. We ran into this issue when we adopted my child from another country. It’s one of the reasons that the cost of adoption is so high….there is a huge amount of evidence that is needed to prove that the child was given up willingly by the parent or legal guardian and not kidnapped for profit. Slave/sex trafficking is rampant….and it’s not an issue that happens in “those kind” of countries. It happens everyday in America. From inner cities, from small towns, within close knit communities and in every community.

    This evil has always existed, but it flourishes today. It is a horror that every parent needs to know about and to protect against.

    • You are right about this horrid injustice being an ancient practice.

      “We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for **slave traders** and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine…” 1 Tim 1:9-10

      I am trying to bring myself to pray for the pimp too, but that is slow-going. It usually ends up something like “God bring your justice to him now and not only in the afterlife. Let him taste the pain that he has brought onto others. And then wreck him over it. Turn him to You and then make him a force that will work for You. But if that’s not going to happen, can you please just TAKE HIM OUT?!?! Amen.

  3. Indeed, it is really hard to pray for the pimps of the world. I struggle to pray for them, too. For me, though, I can pray much more sincerely for those I don’t know, even though they cooperate fully with evil, than those who do evil to me or mine. I can pray more easily for Craig Michael Wood, who kidnapped and killed a beautiful and innocent 10 year old girl this week (“Lord, bring this man directly to the foot of Your cross, that Your just and healing blood can both convict and convert him to love of You”), than I can pray for those who bully my child (“Lord, maybe these evil doers can be converted to Your will and I know that is by far what You would wish and Thy will be done, but I really think they’re too evil and so will bring Your vengeful wrath on their heads and I’m okay with that. Amen”).

    As you can see, I’ve got a ways to go (eye roll)

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