The first time I heard about human trafficking was in 2007 at a conference in Atlanta.
It felt like a punch in the gut. I couldn’t believe something so horrific was so prevalent, yet so unknown.
Months later, I was on a Southwest flight and I “randomly” sat next to a woman who was fighting against sex trafficking in the United States. She told me the greatest need was for recovery, and that there was not one single woman’s home in the United States specifically for those who have escaped this life.
Four years later, trafficking has become a buzzword, a red hot issue in human rights organizations all over the world, and thankfully is beginning to seep into the subconscious of The Church.
Yet, there is still only 200 beds available to house girls and women who are recovering in the US. (According to The Rebecca Project for Human Rights)
While there has been some controversy on the exact statistics because the numbers are so hard to attain, we know that human trafficking is the world’s second largest criminal enterprise, next to drugs.
Investigators and researchers estimate the average predator in the U.S. can make more than $200,000 a year off one young girl.( NBC Report by Teri Williams.)
Why isn’t more being done to help these girls? In a Vanity Fair article, on Sex Trafficking in America, it was put quite simply,
The second-hardest part (next to housing) is finding them treatment. There are experts in rape, addiction, sexual abuse, battering, but not in counseling trafficking victims who suffer from all these problems combined.
While these issues can be overwhelming, we cannot let our feelings of inadequacy paralyze us from action.
While these girls and women (and boys as well) have deep psychological trauma and need for patient, professional care, I believe there is a need just as great that is simple enough for anyone to give: unconditional love.
As much as they need a hot meal, a warm bed to sleep in, and education to allow them to live a different life style,
They need to know they are not guilty.
They need to know they are loved.
They are beautiful.
They have worth.
Those simple words of encouragement are what all of us are aching for, and it doesn’t take an expert to give them away.
When I was in India and we took a group of girls from the brothel to a water park, and got a taste of the hate and judgment they constantly received. Telling those girls that they were loved by Jesus (who is love) and that God hung out with prostitutes, was one of the brightest moments of my life.
Despite the darkness, I saw a glimpse of hope only unconditional love can bring.
I am so encouraged by all the effort and love “ordinary” people are exerting in order to bring redemption to these girls. My friend Barb is starting a recovery home in Dallas called Refuge City and I am so excited about it.
We believe that the key to healing and restoration is the love and power of Jesus Christ. We stand, as a team, to walk out this healing side by side. We use a holistic strategy targeting physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Our goal is to provide a safe place of recuperation and hope where people’s God given purpose and destiny can be rediscovered and restored through the application of Biblical principles and the love of Christ empowering them to be fulfilled and vital participants in their communities.
Refuge City is committed to providing a clean and safe home for the children/women to live in surrounded by people who will love them and are committed to their restoration and independence. The residents will follow a highly structured daily program that will include on site schooling, professional counseling, classes on life skills and independent living, sports activities, musical training and anything else that they might be interested in.
RC will supervise the educational needs of school age children, with higher education or vocational training as its goal. Upon intake, each child will be assessed and an individually suited education, psychological and medical plan will be implemented according to their needs.
Please like their facebook page and stay connected to find out more how you can be part of the rescue and healing of God’s precious daughters.
You can donate to Refuge City here.
Visual Poetry- The Brothel
This is a poem I wrote that captures the tragedy of sex trafficking.
This poem is from my book All Things Are Becoming New.