It's not quite a quiver full, but it's a start!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Taking Our City Back

These girls represent the true life stories of the victims of Human Trafficking.
These are not statistics, not numbers, these are real women and children.
 I may not be able to save the 27 million in slavery around the world,
but I can still make a difference. I can still save some.
I keep hearing how hard it is to truly believe human trafficking is happening here in the United States. I don't blame anyone. The statistics are mind-blowing, the information is so hard to even comprehend at times. We are taught to believe that there is good in everyone, we are not prepared to come across the true evil of this world, to see it for what it really is. Had I not met victims face-to-face and heard their stories, I don't know if I would be able to see the truth beyond the statistics either. The truth is that these are real people, with real faces, and real names. Each has a very real story and for each one that is saved there are thousands more that will never be rescued.

If you have trouble putting faces to the names, the next time you have 30 minutes to spare watch the video from the Passion 2012 conference to hear three victims sharing their own stories in their own words.

Because they are all foreign victims I feel like it is important to also share the story of a victim from right here in the U.S. Here is the true story of Ave [not her real name]. Ave lived with an abusive father who sexually molested and physically abused her. When she was nine years old, her father dropped her off for a visit with a relative and never came back. For two years she lived with various relatives, mostly an aunt, in New York City. She did not attend school and was physically abused by her aunt and her aunt's boyfriend. She ended up staying at a street children's shelter at the age of 11. Outside the shelter, she met a man who said he would take care of her. He became her trafficker for prostitution. He brought her to Miami where she was arrested. Back in New York City she was arrested again and charged with prostitution when she was 12 years old. The prosecutors in New York City wanted to send her to a juvenile detention center where she would be imprisoned for her crime. Her defense attorney sought placement for her where she could get the care and counseling she needed to recover from the violence and abuse she had endured. Such places are rare in the United States, so she ended up in a residential center for emotionally disturbed youth. Lucky for Ave, she also received counseling from one of the few specialized organizations that work with sexually exploited children.

Former Congress Woman Linda Smith, founder of
Shared Hope International, speaking at the Faces of Hope Gala
Commending Louisiana's HB 49. 
So what is being done to help these victims? Not only is awareness being raised among churches, but it's being made among the officials. Former Congress Woman Linda Smith did an evaluation of Louisiana laws based on the laws in other states and their impacts on the human trafficking industry. In most cases the laws protect the criminals and punish the victims when it comes to cases of human trafficking, and there is no help available to victims especially once they reach a certain age. Recently a Bill has been passed to committee changing these laws. HB 49 is a vital step when it comes to legally protecting victims and prosecuting the pimps and handlers.

As was mentioned in the story of Ave, housing for the victims of human trafficking is very rare, and there is none available in the south. These victims require extensive medical care and high levels of protection. It is just not a possibility to set these women up in hotels or apartments once they are rescued. Thanks to Trafficking Hope this will hopefully be made a reality for us very, very soon. In fact, the mission of the gala last night was to raise funding for the home that is trying to be opened for these victims. Changing the laws and providing shelter for the victims who are rescued are the two major things that need to be done in order to deal with the existing issues of human trafficking, and both of those things are being done!

We can take the world back from human trafficking
on city at a time...
I'm here to take my city back!
There is no doubt that things are getting done, but it is still the beginning. We have got to continue to follow through with all of this, not to become weary of doing good. We have got to tackle this issue from all sides, and to always stay on our toes. The #1 thing we need to continue to do is to raise up men who respect women, and women who respect themselves. If we can do that, we can choke out the human trafficking industry from the outside in. If we cut off the demand there will be no need for the supply, if we cut off the supply they will have to go elsewhere for the demand. There are many different aspects to the human trafficking industry, but the main thing to remember is that it is a business. And we are here to drive them out of that business.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you found encouragement and joy from my posts. I would love to hear what you have to say! It is my responsibility to make sure all of the content is uplifting, respectful, and true. Any comments that are viewed as personal attacks, false accusations, and any use of profanity will not be tolerated. Thank you, and please leave a comment that I will be able to post so others can be encouraged through your words as well!