What is human trafficking? It is a criminal activity in which human beings are treated as possessions to be controlled and exploited; such as being forced into prostitution or involuntary labor. A simpler definition – human trafficking is modern-day slavery.
Slavery in this day and age? In the United States? Europe? Australia? That seems hard to believe. Didn’t these countries eradicate slavery in the 1800s? Officially yes. This is an underground, criminal activity, similar to the trafficking of drugs and illegal firearms. Heroin is not sold from storefronts, neither are people. But, believe me, people are sold as slaves, even in “first world” countries, even in your town.
Here are some statistics* that you may already know, and some that may startle you:
There are at least 27 million slaves in the world today.
80% of all slaves are used for sex (prostitutes). This is called sex trafficking.
Human trafficking is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world, after drug trafficking, but it may soon overtake drugs. Why is that? A bag of cocaine can be sold and used only once. A child can be sold for prostitution against her/his will up to 40 (yes 40!) times per night.
The average age of a slave is 12 – 17 years old.
The younger a child is, the more money they are worth as prostitutes.
Victims are often sold into slavery by someone they know (a family member or “friend”). They usually have no idea what is about to happen to them. They believe they are going to boarding school, or to become an actress or model, etc.
Once a person becomes a sex slave, they usually live only 3-7 years. Why is that? Because they are often forced to become drug addicts (to keep them docile), they may die from drug overdoses. Or, they may die from sexually transmitted diseases, malnutrition, be beaten to death, or kill themselves.
I invite you to watch this video called “The Fields of Mudan”. It will give you a taste of what the life of a little girl who has become an unwilling sex slave is like. It is sad, but tastefully done. Here is the link.
I will make a couple of comments about the film:
Her pimp Madam Zhao holds off selling Mudan, not out of compassion, but because she is waiting for a higher price for the child’s virginity.
The film is unrealistic in that the girls are allowed to rest between “Johns”. In reality, they often “service” between 12 and 40 men per day.
Given that I usually write about domestic violence, why am I focusing on human trafficking today?
Many domestic abuse victims are trafficked, without being aware of it. They are often sold by their partners or parents for sex or to perform other types of labor (and never get paid).
This issue has captured my heart. Because I love children, the thought of any child being continually raped day after day horrifies me. I can’t sit by and do nothing.
Just as the church in the United States and England rose up and fought against the institution of slavery in the 1800s, I believe the church has an obligation to rise up and free these slaves. As Dr. Phil says,“Awareness without action is worthless.” It is one thing for us to be aware of the problem, but quite another for us to DO something about it. There are many organizations that fight human trafficking. Many are there to educate others about this issue, which is great. However, very few will actually rescue victims already trafficked.
Here are two organizations I recommend if you want to work to stop this evil:
The Defender Foundation – In the United States
The A21 Campaign – in Europe
In Matthew 25:31,34-40 Jesus says:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory…..Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
I pray we will be people who help the “least of these”. Bless you all.
* Statistics taken from http://thedefenderfoundation.org/the-problem/