For the first time, I am asking that if you read this post, share it, on Facebook or MySpace or Twitter or wherever, because I don’t want this message to be lost: Every year in the US, over 300,000 men, women and children are bought and sold into slavery. This year, 1 in every 5 of those men, women and children will be trafficked through Houston, because of the diversity of the city, the I-10 corridor, huge port and proximity to Mexico
Many were lured with the promise of work and a better situation. Some are illegal immigrants who were too afraid to report their working conditions and are now forced to work for no pay, unless they want to be deported. Others are runaways, now prostitutes, servicing up to 30 men a day. Still others were children from poor families, given to “friends” who promised to find them a new family in the land of opportunity. Awareness of child slavery is growing, but we still think it happens in Cambodia or Amsterdam or Mexico, and not here in the US.
According to the International Labor Organization, over 1 million children are currently acting as prostitutes all over the globe. In a Time article, Alex Perry said that some cities and towns in S.E. Asia are so poor, that the entire population of adults is complicit in the slave trade, selling their own children in order to survive, the truckload of girls sold to a slave trader and driven to their first selling point in a truck, often driven by police. Perry discovered that in Bangkok, a girl’s virginity can go for as little as $3500.
The conditions the slaves undergo is nothing short of shocking. BBCnews.com interviewed Dalyn, who had been sold into slavery at the age of 12 in Cambodia. She had spent months locked in a cage under a brothel, starved, beaten and threatened with a gun until she agreed to service clients. American University said that child slave trade is a $7 billion dollar a year industry, made mostly from deplorable living conditions under which they keep the children, more money going to make-up, condoms and clothing than to keep children healthy and alive.
We know it’s happening here. We know it’s happening now. We know that as individuals, we cannot solve the problem, but what if there were a massive shift of public outrage? What if there was a mobilized effort?
The Bible is silent on issues of slavery, beyond exhorting slaves to submit to their masters (Ephesians 6:5) and regulating the inheritance of slaves bought in foreign conquests (Exodus 21:2-6). Just because the Bible does not sanction slavery doesn’t mean that slavery is heralded in the Bible. No Christian of conscience, no HUMAN of conscience can see another forced into a life of servitude, can see a child led away to be raped, could watch a family sell their children in order to survive and not feel something, but will they do nothing?
My girls are 5 and 3. I cannot fathom the horror of them being injected with drugs, forced to please sex tourists, perverts and madams and beaten to keep them down, but that’s the reality for many girls the world over, ages 5 and 3. I must travel past bordellos and trafficking hubs everyday as I drive around this city. I must pass victims on the street and not even know it. I am part of the problem if I’m not part of the solution. Here is what I am doing:
2) I raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking, by speaking on the subject to my classes, publishing this blog and encouraging you to re-post this link to bring those of us seeking a worldwide paradigm shift, together.
5) Pray. Corporate prayer seeking a divine blessing on corporate human action can produce HUGE results.
December is Universal Human Rights Month. In my effort to highlight some of the other holidays in the month of December, I wanted to tell you about the issue that weighs heaviest on my heart. I don’t want to live in a world where children must sacrifice their innocence in this way, where women are chained in attics and basements, where men cannot earn a living of their own when they work harder than the rest, all because of a poor decision, or bad luck or the ignorance and apathy of people just like me.
I’m begging you to join me. I don’t just want to fix this problem, I want to eradicate it completely. That’s a tall order, so, I need your help.