I’m still in England for another week, and my little sister (who’s not so little anymore, mind you), has graciously written a blog on human trafficking for me to share with all of you lovely people who read Great Smitten. God has blessed Catherine with a heart that breaks for oppressed peoples all over the world, and she’s currently interning with an anti-trafficking organization in Greensboro, North Carolina, and preparing to spend a year learning Spanish in Mexico.
You can read her blog at sociallyactive.wordpress.com, and follow her on Twitter at @catherinetatom.
Slavery Still Exists?
Human trafficking is defined as the recruitment, harboring, obtaining, and transporting of persons by use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjecting them to forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation.
A few facts..
- There are at least 30 million slaves worldwide, more than any other time in history. 80% of these victims are exploited for sex.
- Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry. The second largest crime in the U.S.A.
- Over 50% of child pornography web sites originate from the U.S.A.
- U.S. citizens account for 25% of sex tourists worldwide and 80% in Latin America.
- A victim of trafficking may look like many of the people that you see everyday.
- Over 200,000 youth are victims of commercial sexual exploitation within the United States.
- There is a trafficking victim brought into the United States every 10 minutes.
- Human Trafficking is rapidly on the rise in North Carolina due to military presence, Interstate 95 & 85, coastal ports, agricultural industry and a large immigrant population.
Human trafficking is nothing short of modern-day slavery. I’m doing an internship in Greensboro with the Triad Ladder of Hope, which combats Human Trafficking in the Triad (bet you didn’t even know it existed!) It’s all over the state of North Carolina, as well as the entire United States. I went with our Executive Director, Danielle, to do a presentation last week and when we introduced the concept to the ladies, a few were somewhat familiar with it. “Yeah, I’ve heard of that…it happens mainly in Eastern Europe…very sad,” one lady said. Granted it’s great she’s even HEARD of human trafficking, although her facts are somewhat skewed. Labor and sex trafficking are happening right here in Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem; right here in our own backyards.
Many people don’t understand that, I’m going to take the liberty to say ALL, women in prostitution do not want to be there. What a degrading position to be in as a human being! Most of the women in the sex industry are there by force. Whether they’ve been trafficked into the country or abused by someone who threatens to ruin their “reputation” by not performing certain acts, they are victims of sex trafficking. Many vulnerable women abroad are lured into the sex trade by false promises of well paying jobs, work visas or passports. Traffickers, who are often disguised as legitimate businessmen, or a modeling agency, offer safe passage to destination countries, or convince a woman that he loves her.
Danielle has been asked numerous times about the statistics of human trafficking and her answer is simply, “What number is enough?”
Is one human being not enough reason for us to get up and say, ‘no, it’s not okay,’? What number is large enough to get the body of Christ to stand up against this horrific problem? Human Trafficking has surpassed drug trafficking in Europe and is now the continent’s number one crime; it’s time for us to take a stand.
Not only is it necessary for us to take a stand against human trafficking, but it is also INCREDIBLY necessary for us to reach out to those who are or have been victims. Can you imagine being a 12-year-old girl and being sold 30 times a day to be raped by men who bought them? This is such a devastating thing to be involved in and the rehabilitation process is incredibly difficult for victims. Without Christ, there is no way to survive something like this…and that is our role as believers and followers of Christ! I’ve been asked how I would respond to a woman dressed like a prostitute coming and sitting beside me in church. My initial reaction was “Whoa, that’d be weird and inappropriate”…and then it was such a slap in the face when I realized what position I was putting someone so broken into. The same role we put victims in when we call them prostitutes, or when we cringe at the thought of seeing one of these broken women walking down a dark street. We should be broken with them and for them…
My charge to you is this: If, when we read Luke12:48 [To whom much is given, much is expected], and wonder what exactly it means, this is it. Those of us who have been fortunate to live comfortably are now forced to think of those who haven’t. By following Christ we agree to love the homeless, the widows, the orphans…we agree to forget how we’re seen by our business colleagues, employers or our friends. Following Christ wholeheartedly means to take up the cross and bear it. Christ died for us, ALL of us, don’t you think it’s time we showed others what that means?