Most of my days are spent enjoying this ridiculously blessed life of mine wondering what it is that God is up to in me, with me and around me. He seems to do his work more stealthily that I'd like.
But on occasion, I can almost hear him screaming at the top of his lungs for me to pay attention to something specific. He wants me to notice something and sends His message over and over until it dawns on me what is happening.
This is one of those times.
In the past several months, I have been exposed over and over to the reality of global human trafficking, slavery and the international sex trade. And I will never be the same.
It began when Andrew and I rented and watched Blood Diamond. There is a scene in the movie where the rebels, after steeling young boys--we're talking 7 and 8 years old, are injecting them with illicit drugs to bend their wills and make them a part of their armies. It was, perhaps, one of the most disturbing things I had ever seen.
I spent some time investigating child soldiers: how many there are, where they are still being trafficked and what organizations are fighting against this disgusting evil.
This fall, a new family began attending All Souls. It turns out the husband has written a novel about the trafficking of young girls and woman into India for sex. A human rights attorney, Corban spent months doing research on the topic and even traveled to India to visit the brothels. His book, A Walk Across the Sun is available now. He discusses it here in a Barnes & Noble blog.
In December, I read this blog post about Christmas. In it, she talks about the responsibility of knowing from where our gifts come. There are 27 million slaves worldwide. TWENTY SEVEN MILLION. Most of these men, women and children are forced, against their wills, into working 18+hours per day to produce products that we use every day (some of the worst offenders include cotton, coffee, chocolate, sugar).
So, I decided to visit slaveryfootprint.org to see how many work for me.
My number: 51.
Dear Lord, let it not be so.
Last week, my two office mates happened to be out of the office all week. This meant I could listen to things a little bit louder than I usually do. The Passion 2012 conference was taking place in Atlanta during that same week; so I decided to watch as many sessions that were streaming during the day as I could. The focus of their conference: Ending Slavery.
See what I mean about God screaming at the top of his lungs?
So, what does this mean for me. A regular ol' mom trying her best to love her husband, raise her son and live a life for Jesus?
Here's a quote from a friend on Facebook (actually, Corban's wife):
" The truth is, this will only stop when enough people rise up and say enough. We need a modern day abolitionist movement. What can an ordinary person do? Support justice groups working to combat the issue, spread the word so that more people are informed, call your representatives and ask them to increase funding for anti-trafficking initiatives (the U.S. government spends more money on military marching bands than it does on the fight against slavery), use a gift or a talent to help raise awareness or funds. We can all do something. Everyone has a voice. What ideas do you have to help combat modern day slavery?"
At the moment, I'm light years away from understanding how I can make a difference. I'm looking forward to attending the International Justice Mission's Global Prayer Gathering in April with a group from All Souls.
But in the meantime, I'm reading and praying and hoping.
I also can't help but share that Andrew has been SUCH a blessing to me. He has encouraged me and not once looked at me like I was crazy becoming obsessed with this issue. Thank you, love. Your support means everything.
I tell you this because TODAY is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. And I have a voice. And I choose to use it.
There are so many amazing organizations doing work to fight this massive human injustice. Here are a couple if you'd like more information.
International Justice Mission
Tiny Hands International
Not For Sale
Word Made Flesh