A young woman, seventeen years old, sits in a room dimly lit by the yellow light of a dying fluorescent bulb. Her head pounds and around her it smells something like mildew and cigarettes. The room that she’s in is bitterly cold, and the thin mattress that she’s sitting on is soiled. The door in the corner of the room is thrust open in a single, swift motion and hits the wall with a thud. She hears the grunt of a tall, muscular man that orders for her to get up. She has to obey. If she doesn’t, he will kill her.
This is the harsh reality for victims in the sex trade.
Sex trafficking is one of the most commonly known forms of modern-day slavery, and it can happen at any time and to any person. Sex trafficking can be defined as coercion or deception by another person into commercial sex exploitation for profit. To those involved in the sex industry, the sex trade is considered a business transaction in which women and children are sold to people who can do with the women and children involved, whatever they want.
And it doesn’t stop there.
My first semester at Kent State, I followed two of my friends to a meeting after a thrilling game of ultimate frisbee, and little did I know that this would be a day that changes the way I perceived the world forever. I had heard of human trafficking beforehand but my knowledge of it was small and inaccurate. The way I saw it, human trafficking was something that happened in other countries—not the United States. Therefore, I was within my limits and couldn’t help people who were timezones away from me.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
International Justice Mission is a faith-based global non-profit organization with a passionate mission to end modern day slavery in our lifetime. After joining IJM Kent, I’ve realized the reality of modern-day slavery and I’ve become passionate about joining the mission to end it once and for all.
Micah 6:8 reads:
“The LORD has told us what is good. And what does He require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.
The way I see it, God has a heart for justice, and He’s not “okay” with His children being treated like this.
Yes, it is true that God could end this; yes He could come down and righteously destroy all of those who have contributed; yes it could be over. But I think Lecrae puts it best when he says, “hey look, man, some people say that God ain’t real cause they don’t see how a good God can exist with all this evil in the world. If God is real then He should stop all this evil, cause He’s all-powerful right? What is evil though, man? It’s anything that’s against God. It’s anything morally bad or wrong. It’s murder, rape, stealing, lying, cheating But if we want God to stop evil, do we want Him to stop it all or just a little bit of it? If He stops us from doing evil things, what about lying, or what about our evil thoughts? I mean, where do you stop, the murder level, the lying level, or the thinking level? If we want Him to stop evil, we gotta be consistent, we can’t just pick and choose.
That means you and I would be eliminated right? Because we think evil stuff—if that’s true, we should be eliminated! But thanks be to God that Jesus stepped in to save us from our sin! Christ died for all evilness! Repent, turn to Jesus man!” *
Sometimes the answer isn’t, “wait for God to fix it,” but rather, it’s “God wants to help me fix it.” I believe that this is the case here.
The month of November is what IJM refers to as No Slave November. Throughout this month, we have several events marked in order to continue to raise awareness for this cause. The largest one is the Freedom Fast; no food** for 24 hours, prayer for 24 hours, and a donation of $24 to International Justice Mission. For IJM Kent, this will take place on November 16th at 7pm and conclude the 17th at 7pm. While this is the day that Kent’s chapter is participating in this, you can do this any day during November. Whether or not you want to fast, please consider donating $24 to help IJM fund rescue missions across the globe.
Being in IJM, I’ve learned a lot about human trafficking and my heart to stop this terrible act never stops growing.
Modern-day slavery makes me wanna go all Jesus in the temple and start flipping tables.***
There are people all around the world who are being stripped of their belongings only for themselves to become someone’s belongings. One day they are normal people with hopes, dreams, and families, and then the next they are stripped of their clothes, they are stripped of their identity, and then they’re given a price. One day they are a person, and the next they are a product.
People who are trapped in this vicious cycle of trafficking face a variety of hardships and even death with every day that they remain in captivity. Forty million people across the globe face the severities of human trafficking every day, each of them encountering rape, being drugged, beaten, and forced to work for unreasonable hours, in unspeakable conditions, for little to no money at all. Victims face physical and psychological damage, their self-worth and their identity mean nothing to the people inflicting this harm. Every thought, action, and emotion felt by those enslaved are discarded as slavery continues to exist, and the enslaved continue to go from everyday people to products in the eyes of their captors.
Every day in cities and towns across the map, men, women, and children suffer an unutterable injustice described simply as human trafficking. They are brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives; they are someone to somebody, and they are being abused and mistreated. We do not have an excuse—we have an opportunity to help those who are made helpless through this savage deed. We can get involved with non-profits, we can call our congressman, we can donate, but our ignorance proves no excuse. It is time to exercise our privileges and become a voice advocating for the one whose voices have been stolen.
* Truth by Lecrae
** if you think that not eating for 24 hours could put you at any health risk, please, please, PLEASE consider fasting another item for 24 hours. Examples include, but are not limited to television, social media, cell-phone use, and/or your nightly Netflix binge.
*** see John 2:13-22
For more information follow IJM on social media and check out their website at http://www.ijm.org
(this is not a paid advertisement ya-da-ya-da-ya-da, I just wanna end modern day slavery and make the world a better place for everyone)
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