I have had the opportunity lately to meet groups of ladies in living rooms and talk real talk about the real issue of human trafficking.
When I start with Statistics like 30 million men, women and children are enslaved today and that human trafficking or modern day slavery is a 32 billion dollar industry which means that we are selling people and making more money than the NFL, NBA and MBA combined (Harmony Dust, Treasures Intl.) Or that 300,000 children are sold into sexual slavery per year in the United States. How about that the average price for a human life is $90. Or that 1 out of 5 pornographic images is of a child and 55% of all pornographic images come from the United States. Statistics like this make my stomach turn and my mind reel.
I believe that for so many women feelings of being overwhelmed or feelings of I am already serving and giving so many places how can I add something else to my plate render us paralyzed in this huge issue of slavery. Yet I also believe that your role and mine isn’t necessarily to find the brothels and knock down the doors to rescue, rehab and restore these victims. Our role starts smaller and happens a little every day.
A year ago when I began to really look into and understand the idea of human trafficking the number was 27 million slaves, but now a year later the number is closer to 30 million, and according to Professor Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves, it is even more than that. This issue isn’t a problem that is going away or even decreasing, it is increasing and as it increases I feel impassioned to preach that you and I not only have the ability but the obligation to work at prevention.
How does one prevent modern day slavery? I truly believe that there are 3 steps that each individual has to go through to begin to be a part of the solution to ending modern day slavery.
1. Be Aware. When statistics are shared, articles posted, opportunities to go to an event or read a story from a survivor present themselves, go. Learn. Read. Don’t hide. Don’t close your mind to the horrors. Learn the stories. Connect with the people. Learn about how and why this is happening.
2. Open Your Eyes. Awareness will naturally lead to a keener understanding and awareness of modern day slavery in your world. Numbers don’t lie and with statistics as they are the chances that human trafficking affects someone who is already in your circle of influence is great. Whether it be through pornography, pimping out girlfriends and boyfriends in the local high school, an insecure overlooked girl being pursued by a pimp in your youth group, a young boy without a dad being raised by the worlds version of manhood, a broken marriage, girls using their bodies as sex objects – all these play into the huge beast called human trafficking.
3. Step In. Once our eyes are opened we have to step into the mess. We have to commit to take and even sacrifice the time to listen to the story of abuse. To pray and speak truth over the marriage that is failing because of a porn addiction. We need to be the safe place where there is love and warmth for the children who feel they have no one and no where else to go. We need to live authentically. Love selflessly. Stop frequently and Surrender willingly.
Finally, Free people, Free people. Even if the numbers of people in physical bondage start to decrease, if we aren’t showing them how to live free spiritually through the freedom purchased for us on the cross , then they aren’t really free at all. And you and I can’t show people spiritual freedom if we are still allowing ourselves to live in bondage in our own spiritual lives. I challenge you today to take off the masks. Get real with God about the places in your life where you are trapped. Preach the gospel to yourself, you have been set free, redeemed, chosen, planned for and purposed. And then in authenticity, humility, compassion and love be an agent of freedom everywhere you go. Become aware. Open your eyes. Step in. That is where it starts.
Stephanie Page is a wife to one very supportive man and mom to three beautiful girls. With a background in foreign and local missions, youth and women’s ministry her heart is to see people living their lives in the freedom purchased for them on the cross. She spends her time as a speaker, writer, bible study leader, human trafficking advocate and conference planner. She is the author of two books, “It Started with a Blog” & “Preparing for Christmas”. She is also co-founder of Allied Women. Her favorite things are hanging out and serving with husband Chris, speaking on Freedom and snuggling with her girls. You can find her blogging at www.simplyfaith.us and www.storiescafe.org as well as on Facebook & Twitter.