The following is very important information. But it also clearly illustrates just how lost, blind, and foolish, downright ridiculous we people truly are. To designate A MONTH for such a matter is an absurdity. Beyond words. Yet this is the shortsightedness we people continually do. Setting aside a day, or a month and then imagining we have really addressed the matter as we move on to our selfish ways putting all the reality behind us.
While those human beings made in the image of God are trafficked daily and living the consequences much longer than a day, a week, or a month.
We designate a day, a week, a month of this, that, and the other thing to make us feel good about ourselves. As if we have done something good. Again, this a selfish act under the guise of being selfless and thinking and acting, bearing good fruit for others.
How about we pay attention daily? Nightly? Not so much attention to self as difficult as that is since it’s become so ingrained, so acceptable, so normal. And actually, REALLY begin to think more of others than ourselves as the Word of God instructs us how we ought to think, and thusly be and live.
A day for this, a month for that, a week of whatever — and then death and ETERNITY…
Would it not be much better, more fruitful, rather than boast, proclaim, make a noise and then disappear, forgetting, setting aside to scurry elsewhere in the constant clanking of selfishness under the guise of altruism if we actually were involved without the proclamations, the fanfare, all the noise and putting on as if those actions bore greater fruit than the quiet, hidden, no fanfare actual working in the trenches, actual daily, nightly acknowledgment of such ills?
Even if…that amounted to fervent, faithful prayer for more than a day, a week, a month regarding such things? Keeping in mind continually those oppressed, suffering, persecuted, weak, and in need of great help from God our Father in their circumstances which are much worse than our own, no matter how awful we may consider our own circumstances.
Think the circumstance of being spat on, reviled, whipped, paraded naked among people, beaten beyond recognition of being human, rejected, and then nailed to a tree — when the only sinless man in history, and not only enduring all that and more — but then also taking on the sin of every sinner who would come to know and believe earnestly upon that sinless, blameless man who was fully truly man while also fully truly God was awful, horrendous and such a thing to endure? Perhaps a worse condition and circumstance than anyone has ever endured? Even me, even you? And then we do what as a result? Wear a precious metal cross on a gold or silver chain around our necks. The symbol of greatest shame and sacrifice we turn into personal jewelry and contend we’re living to imitate Christ who died for us, for our sin.
Whatever our personal circumstances may be…there are always many, millions in the world now with the world population being what it is suffering, enduring far worse than me, than you. Let us at least think about them pray for them longer than a day, a week, or setting a month aside in some banal proclamation, and then thinking we’ve done something good. All the while those actually enduring the horrendous act of human trafficking are living daily, nightly, every minute longer than a mere month of time.
Ken Pullen, A CROOKED PATH, Wednesday, January 18th, 2023
The Truth About Trafficking
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
By Hannah Meador
Reprinted from American Family Association
The month of January is important in the fight against sexual exploitation. Since 2010, differing presidents have all deemed this month as “Human Trafficking Prevention Month.”
But what exactly is human trafficking?
Some Americans think that trafficking is someone sitting in a creepy white van at the local Walmart. Others picture it as something only happening overseas. And a large percentage of people even imagine the movie Taken as a spot-on presentation of the underbelly of human trafficking! While each of these instances occurs, it does not accurately depict common forms of trafficking in the United States. In reality, it is a heinous life-altering crime happening in every state, city, and town across America.
According to Homeland Security, “Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.”
And before I go any further, it is essential to note that human trafficking is an overhead term. There are multiple types of trafficking – sex trafficking (which I will focus on) and the second is forced labor trafficking. The United States Department of State claims that human trafficking enslaves “27.6 million victims worldwide.” Although, due to the underground nature of the industry, that number is likely higher.
What exactly can be done to stop it?
A big reason that trafficking flourishes is due to the many misconceptions shared among social media, mainstream media, and other platforms. To accurately raise awareness, we must first know the truth.
Below are some key sex trafficking facts from the anti-trafficking organization Shared Hope International (SHI):
- Children are commonly thrown into sex trafficking lifestyle between the ages of 14-16(but can be younger).
- Traffickers are known to lure victims with “promises of protection, love, adventure, home, and opportunity.”
- Traffickers often use social media to recruit their victims, and appear to be younger than they actually are.
- Due to widespread misinformation, victims remain unidentified and held captive.
What can everyday folks do with that information?
As a Bible-believing family, parents may read those stats and think, “Well, there’s no way that could happen to my child! We live in a safe neighborhood. We care for our children. They’re protected from all of these evils!”
But isn’t Satan known as the great deceiver?
Make no excuse. The enemy knows that children are a prime target for this lifestyle. Traffickers don’t care about the victim’s age, race, religion, or economic status; they only see dollar signs.
If a child has access to the internet, social media platforms, or gaming servers, they are at risk of being targeted. Traffickers are known to prey on children via these methods. They will create fake accounts pretending to be younger than they really are and build relationships with victims. After relationships are established, then things start to turn sour.
These vile men and women will start to blackmail these children. Usually, they will ask them to send an inappropriate picture and use it, plus other information they have gained, to coerce the child. If that doesn’t work, they will turn to threats of violence against the victim’s loved ones.
I have heard stories that have made me physically ill. The horrors inflicted on these children are, at times, unbelievable. But please know that the purpose of this article isn’t to scare you. Instead, it is meant to equip! We can protect our young loved ones as well as other children and teens by becoming aware.
How do you know if someone is being trafficked or groomed?
I’m so glad you asked that question! My friends at SHI have an excellent shareable resource for that as well.
Just to mention a few, these signs include:
- Older boyfriend, new friends with a different lifestyle, or gang affiliations/involvement
- Withdrawn, depressed, distracted
- Overly tired in class or unable to keep up with studies
- Sudden inappropriate dress or sexualized behavior
- Displays expensive clothes, accessories, shoes, or a new tattoo (often used by pimps as a way to brand victims)
Likewise, traffickers often exhibit these types of characteristics:
- May not become sexual or forceful until trust is built
- Jealous, controlling, or violent
- Significantly older than female companions
- Accompanies and translates for, or speaks for, the victim at school or medical appointments
- Befriends a child online through social media, gaming, or apps that provide private communications
If you believe someone is being trafficked, I would encourage you to call 911 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1.888.373.7888. There are trained teams to handle these situations. Do not act alone. Traffickers can be dangerous, so it is important to let authorities do their job.
As William Wilberforce once said, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
And just like Wilberforce, once you see these horrors firsthand, you will never be able to forget. I pray that the Lord gives you a burden for these precious men, women, and children. May we continue to fight the good fight and declare freedom for all.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy (Proverbs 31:8-9).
P.S. I always recommend that everyone interested in raising awareness do their own research. It helps us all better connect to the reality of this atrocious issue. A few of my favorite websites are Polaris Project, National Center on Sexual Exploitation (also known as NCOSE), National Human Trafficking Hotline, and Shared Hope International.