Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Modern Day Slaves and Future Abolitionists

Three days ago I received an email from Samson, a friend of mine in Kenya. He was writing to regretfully inform me of a tragedy that had just taken place in their small town. Jane, a young girl that I had met while on a trip to Kenya a few months ago, had lost her father. He died of an illness that probably could have been prevented if good medical care was available.

Jane is 13 and she is one of the young people who has been helped through the Taveta Children’s Assistance (TCA) program. I remember when I first heard of the TCA’s efforts to help feed and educate orphans and impoverished children in Taveta. One of the things that caught my attention was a praise report in one of Samson’s monthly newsletters. He said “Praise God that since we began helping, there have been no cases of girls engaging in immoral behavior to earn a living as was previously the case.” The “girls” he is speaking of are all under the age of 16.

When children have nobody to protect them, they are very vulnerable. Prostitution, slavery and human trafficking is a much larger issue among at risk children than many of us realize. Children who are orphans and or homeless are among those with the greatest risk of being trafficked. According to statistics compiled by the Polaris Project, 1 million children enter the global commercial sex trade every year. Take a moment and try to wrap your head around that number. One million!

As I think about Jane, I think about a young girl without a mother and father. I am so thankful that she is a part of the TCA and that we have the opportunity to help in her situation. She will be fed, taken care of and educated. However, many children like her are much less fortunate.

What can we do to make a difference? First, it is important for us to be educated on the issue. This is a real problem affecting not only those on the other side of the globe but it extends right here to our own city. It was only months ago that the police arrested a man who was holding a minor against her will and prostituting her to men here in Jacksonville.

According to the organization Force4Compassion “Human Trafficking is the second largest crime in terms of dollars transacted and is the cruelest form of crime against humanity. It involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them”

Through organizations such as Force4Compassion, Transitions Global, Shared Hope International, Meet Justice and Shop to Stop Slavery (just to name a few), you can be educated and start making a difference.

Recently I was given a "freedom chain" from Robin Rossmanith of Shop to Stop Slavery. The bracelet was actually made by a survivor of human trafficking. Not only is it a cool bracelet, it is also a chain that reminds you of the bondage that people all around the world are suffering. The chain came from Force4Compassion and can be seen here. At first glance it may seem like any other piece of jewelry, until you put it on and allow yourself to engage the thought that a real person who experienced the real horrors of this issue, created it with their own hands.

The issue is personal.

It is personal to God and should be personal to us.

Jesus said “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)

How can we read passages like this and think that we have no responsibility in the matter? It is reprehensible to think that those who follow Jesus and are aware of such injustice, can simply sit by and do nothing. I fully understand that there are many worthy causes in the world and that every person cannot be involved in everything. However, I am convinced that all of us can and should do something!

We need to stop believing the lie that says "I can't change the world".

Yes we can! We can all do our part in changing the world one person at a time.

Scripture tells us that Jesus lives in and through His followers (Col. 1:26-27). As we read in Luke 4, He desires to bring good news to the poor, proclaim freedom to prisoners and release the oppressed. How do we expect Him to do this?

If not us, then who?

I believe that He is simply waiting for everyday people like you and me to make our time, resources and talents available to be used by Him to accomplish great things.

I encourage you to consider these things and seek God as to what part you can play in helping those who are hurting.

Let's join Him in bringing healing, deliverance and hope to those who find themselves in desperate need.