Why Invest in the Human Trafficking Fight?

Friday, January 31, 2014

Today is the day that Purdue University {right in our own back yard} is hosting the "Sex Slavery & Human Trafficking" symposium. While I am thankful for the recognition that it will bring to subject of human trafficking and slavery, I have spent a good portion of my day with a heavy heart praying that it brings reality rather than sensationalism to the surface. That it will educate rather than simply incite. Because in the midst of the hype that events like the Superbowl bring toward awareness about trafficking, I feel the very everyday ordinariness of it all-- and that is what breaks my heart and causes me to invest my voice to somehow bring about change.

Selling humans isn't something we look at once a year in the context of a big event, it's something that happens every moment of everyday in every town. Only if you don't look, you won't see it. It's painful to see.

I had someone ask me recently about how I got involved in the fight against trafficking. It's a long story that I will share one day, but for now suffice it to say that it's personal to me. No, it didn't happen to me, but it has happened to people that I love dearly. I've walked hard roads with them. Shared deep conversations. Learned about what helps-- and what hurts-- survivors in their journey toward healing. Love helps. So I'm continually learning to love more and to love better. I don't have answers, I have ears to listen and a heart to encourage.

But the moment that I knew that I would always be invested? It was the moment that I walked into Shared Hope's conference this past fall. The only way to explain it was that it felt like I was home.

I understood myself in that context. I saw Jesus more clearly than I've ever seen him in that setting. I felt more alive. My heart broke and healed simultaneously as I felt revulsion for abuse and beauty in redemption.

I was home. 

So this is why I keep sharing and and talking and going on and on about this issue. The chance is pretty high that you have a friend who has been there too-- and you have no idea. How could you?

When we take a moment to understand the things that we maybe cannot comprehend your compassion, grace, kindness and love have the opportunity to grow. If not us, then who?

You don't have to speak or write. You just have to do what you CAN do.

Do you have a son? Teach him how to love his wife and one day when the time comes in his life for these discussions,  don't let sex be a shameful mystery that he has to discover in the pages of a hidden magazine or a dark site on the Internet. Talk. Allow him to ask hard questions in a safe space.

Do you have a daughter? Love her and cherish her. Guard her and keep her safe to the best of your ability. Give her the gift of confidence and bravery.

Are you a teacher? Youth pastor? Social worker? Nurse? Understand that the "punk-kid" who manipulates every situation in front of him or her probably learned the skill of manipulation for a reason. Manipulation = survival skill. Listen to them. Believe in them. Choose to actually BELIEVE them too. They may lie and overstep boundaries and make horrible choices-- but you may be the one person who is there to love them unconditionally when they do. It makes a difference.

There is so much more to say, but I have a full couple of days ahead and I need to stop typing and stay on task.

I posted this on Facebook, but if you are in the area I strongly encourage you to come and hear Melissa speak tonight. If you can't make it, you can click here to listen to it live.

Compassion begins when we become educated about something that we couldn't possibly otherwise comprehend. Let compassion be the first step that moves you to action.  

Melissa Woodward is a child sex-trafficking survivor, fighter, overcomer and all-around BEAUTIFUL person. This weekend she is speaking at the "Human Dignity, Slavery and Sex-Trafficking" Symposium at Purdue University and her talk is titled "I Once Was a Sex Slave BUT Now I am FREE".

In addition to that talk, she will be sharing her heart and her story at Elston Family Church THIS Sunday morning at 8:15 and 10 am. I'm so grateful that our paths crossed and that she is able to share with us.

I would LOVE for you to come and listen with your heart. I am so deeply invested in this fight because I see the beauty of redemption in the lives of every brave and strong person who has walked down this road. The very least I can do is to offer up my time, influence and voice to this cause as well.

{Please feel free to repost and let your friends know~*~ I will also be reposting a few times between now and Sunday ~*~ Note: We will have a secure place for all children so that they are not in the room for this conversation. Feel free to send a private message me with any questions.}

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