So I’ve recently joined a movement called END IT.
There’s a really teeny graphic for you. They apparently don’t have much designed for their site yet.
It’s a really new development, launched just days ago, so I hope you’ll read on. This is about something happening right now in our country, and in the world. It seems to be what’s on God’s heart right now.
I’ve decided to actually concentrate on fighting a specific inequality in our world, and become a hardcore advocate of the organizations in the battle. This is pretty rare for me, because while I’m compassionate I’ve never been the typical definition of activist.
I had always thought, “there’s so much bad in this world, how can you choose one thing to be more passionate about fighting than all the others?”
Homelessness. Poverty. Abuse… I get overwhelmed just typing those words. I want everyone to be saved from suffering, y’know? And always, I want people to be saved from spiritual slavery more than anything. Most people who don’t know Jesus are enslaved to themselves… I know I was before I understood that God had provided a way out of legalism and perfectionism, and separation from Him. I definitely care about being a good person but it no longer determines my salvation, and I live in the freedom of grace each and every day. It’s a joyous life. So in the past, I have focused on sharing this great message of freedom, and growing to live more and more the way Jesus did.
In the last few months of this journey, God has been teaching me more about how Jesus calls us to care abou the lowly, the helpless, the desperate. So I have definitely tried to do what I can as a full-time student. Donating to fight world hunger here, volunteering at a homeless shelter there. But honestly? I tend to get overwhelmed by the humongous need.
This is one reason why I hadn’t wanted to BEGIN truly letting myself think about the horrors of human trafficking, especially the sex trade.
I have friends who post about it on Facebook all the time, but I just couldn’t bring myself to become one of the hard-core warriors against it. I think it was because I was afraid that its abolition was impossible; that it was an issue too big, that too small a group of people cared about. I was afraid the evil swallowed up the good in this situation. I admit (with shame) that I wasn’t about to join up against this cause because I was poorly educated and I thought progress was impossible.
The good news is, that’s not true at all. This past week I watched the live streaming of the Passion 2013 Conference in Atlanta, GA. The annual conference focuses a lot on the issue of slavery in the world. I learned a good deal more, and it turns out it’s an issue that’s a quite different than hunger or poverty. Those things will unfortunately always exist, I believe until the day Jesus returns, just because of the way our economy works. There will always be demand for food, and a demand for money. Of course if all the rich people decided to live below their means and give the rest, maybe we’d get somewhere. But that’s a different point. Human trafficking isn’t about food, and not exclusively about money. The demand is perverted. It’s dishonest and unlawful, and it denies approximately 27 million people their basic rights every day. It’s a human problem, not explicitly dealing with our economy or a societal food chain. It’s one result of all those other negative things I listed above: women, children, and men are abducted or swept into the industry due to homelessness, poverty AND abuse everyday, and I’m sure the list doesn’t end there.
The thing that really kills me is the amount of children forced to be a part of this industry. They are being traumatized and stripped of a normal, healthy life each and every day. Here’s one example of an inside-look on the sex trade: Love 146 Story. Or you could watch Meena’s Story.
I don’t know about you, but those stories jar me a little. There are countless other articles I could post, reporting raids, or recording testimonies of women who were subjected to violence and forced to do horrific things, whose pimps tattooed marks of “ownership” across their bodies. I urge you to become educated and read about the specific people. Their stories will change you.
So anyway, if we are talking about desperate people, I don’t think there’s a larger or more helpless group. 27 million. If Christians don’t rise up here and fight for these people, then who are we anyway?
These people are in so much pain, there’s a very slim chance they could believe God is good. At least not enough to trust Him as their savior. That’s the biggest injustice, to me. A lifetime of pain and unfair circumstances? That’s horrible. But an eternal existence separated from God? I believe that’s much worse. So, yet another reason I think the slave trade is worthy of the energy to be stopped. And as it turns out, massive amounts of energy are being exerted to stop it.
The other factor that changed my perspective about the fight against human trafficking was the amount of organizations who are actively fighting the war against human slavery, and a great majority of them are walking in the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish it. It gives a lot of hope, to see that there are systemized categories of organizations and movements that are walking with God to successfully liberate victims every week from this evil.
Check out the END IT movement to get the inside scoop on this battle. I linked the website, which is the newly-launched hub for a plethora of anti-slavery organizations. It also has a pledge you can electronically sign, signifying that you are in for the next four months or so to actively do what you can in your own way to fight human trafficking. Each organization has a different function or comes from a different angle, all working to Awaken, Prevent, Rescue, and Restore. I’ve linked just a small portion:
Polaris Project – features a hotline victims can call to be rescued
Slavery Footprint – find out how your everyday consumption affects the slave trade… how many slaves work for you?
A21 Campaign – among other things, helps fund the training of law enforcement officers all over the world to help identify trafficking victims
Free the Slaves – educates and protects children in countries all over the world about the reality of multiple forms of slavery
Not For Sale – engages the business and governmental world to fight slavery
International Justice Mission – they’re in there, busting the brothels.
She Is Safe
Warm Blankets Orphan Care
I don’t know about you, but it’s encouraging to see that so many people are working to fight this. It’s possible to abolish it, if we do what God is asking us at every crossroads. This means that if you feel the call to help in any specific way, you will. It’s more a question of obedience, rather than muscling our way through.
Here’s one of the last things I’ll say and one of the most exciting: On December 31, 2012, President Obama declared January 2013 to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. January 11th is officially National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Our nation is rising up against this, and now is the time to get educated, talk to God about your role, and come together. Much can be done if reg’lar ole citizens get behind the organizations fighting this. They need funds, they need volunteers, they need citizen support to push laws that will keep the problem away. It’ll take a large group of people in our generation deciding to trust God, be brave, and talk about this issue… join together as a nation. I’m just one other person who is finally becoming passionate about helping these people. It’s been long overdue, and I hope I can be someone who educates someone else, just like how the people running Passion helped educate me.
So nope, this blog post does not mean I’m suddenly more passionate about social justice than global missions. Actually, I’m only learning that they go hand-in-hand. Physical and spiritual needs met in one. It’s how Jesus worked, and I think things like this in our world are only a call to trust God more. To paraphrase a friend: social justice can often get separated from a pusuit of Jesus. But I think there’s a way to do this WITH God. In fact, it really won’t work any other way .
It feels overwhelming to “actively care,” but it’s more about asking God to show you what you can personally do. How you can be involved the way you would with politics or other common goings-on in the world. This problem is common, so why would we who are free continue to ignore it, when there are things (even small-seeming) we can do?
My friend Kris is a choreographer for a modern dance troupe on our college campus. He came over to my house to watch Passion. After the week of discussion and education on the issue, he’s starting to think about the next dance show he choreographs, and how he can tell the story of modern slavery to raise awareness.
Personally, am highly involved in the art world, so I’m already thinking about how I can raise awareness through creative expression and talking to other artists about using their gifts in the same way. One of my ideas involves talking to gallery curators to see if they would host an exhibition featuring art that raises awareness, and then giving part of the profit from the exhbition to an organization that I listed above. This is just me taking a step to talk to people I already have connections with.
How can you use your connections and gifts to shine a light on modern slavery?
I hope this post has encouraged you to face what is happening in our nation and our world right now. We are rising up to fight it. Will you be a part of it? I hope you will! If you decide to, make sure you stop by enditmovement.com to sign the pledge. This will get you on the road to action, using what is already in your hands.
Blessings, and remember that we are the generation who can END IT!