Written by Audra Haney. Read her blog here.
If you scroll Facebook or any other form of social media today, you’ll see a lot of people sporting a red X on their hands today…and it couldn’t thrill me more! Today is the “End It” Movement’s “Shine a Light on Slavery” Day for the 27 million trapped in human trafficking. I highly recommend that you visit the website for more statistics and ways to be involved.
In addition to sharing this movement and this ministry, I’d love to share with you some ways that God is moving in my own life and in Nashville.
Over the last 6 months to a year, God has really put a burden for this issue into my family. My husband and I have felt this supernatural, unexplainable call to help in this area, but we truly didn’t have any idea how to start. I feel that many people are in the same boat. How do you even begin to tackle such a huge and extremely sensitive issue?
For us, God started introducing us to PEOPLE that were part of the statistic. One was Tajuan McCarty. Around the same time that we were praying for specific ways to help out, I was “randomly” assigned to produce her story.
I think what I learned most from Tajuan, was that this is more than a number or statistic. These are someone’s sons and daughters. These are VICTIMS, not a lower cache of society that makes the poor choice to work in the sex industry. In fact, I’ve produced somewhere around 40 stories that involve former strippers or prostitutes and almostEVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of them were sexually abused at a young age and eventually manipulated or forced into the sex industry.
The second big thing that happened for my husband and me was to see what was happening in human trafficking LOCALLY. Through a Nashville-based ministry called Rescue 1 Global, we discovered what human trafficking REALLY looks like and that girls, boys, women were being trafficked RIGHT IN OUR BACKYARD (I mean, literally, there are some hot spots..plural…within a 5 mile radius from our home and we live in a quiet suburban area.) We have fallen in love with this ministry because of their passionate, yet practical approach to ending trafficking here and overseas.
So, all this to say…we’ve come a long way in recent months. We have realized that we can’t do everything, but we can do something. If you have a burden to be a modern day abolitionist, here are some places to start that are very realistic and practical:
1) EDUCATE YOURSELF ON TRAFFICKING FIRST:
It doesn’t look the way you think it does! You can be much more effective if you can know whats going on in your area, identify what a victim looks like (you should be aware that a trafficked girl or boy could look as normal as you and me), how the world of trafficking operates, how to help someone trapped in trafficking. If you are in Nashville, Rescue 1 Global has some amazing training seminars. If you are not from this area, do some research and try to find one close to you. There are tons of great organizations doing this kind of training. If you can’t find one, reach out to me and I’ll do some leg work for you to get one in your area.
***If you are a teacher or law enforcement officer……I can not emphasize enough how effective you could be as front-line abolitionists! Training like this could give you the tools you need to RADICALLY change this industry.
2) SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL AND LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS:
Did you know that there is currently NOT ONE safe house in Tennessee for rescued victims? Rescue 1 is very close, I believe. (please check out their Grace Oasis if you’d like to contribute to this awesome opportunity!) But, how about your state, your region? Is there a safe house? We want to “End It” but do we have a place to house and protect these victims? Do some research to see and support those organizations making efforts to start one. If there is a safe house near you, please ask about their current needs. Some need major funding and some need things as simple as toiletries and other small donations to supply the house.
In addition to being aware of local trafficking, educate yourself on international trafficking. Sex tourism has become a huge trend and many countries are fueling their tourism economy with trafficking. This has to stop! Ask God for a holy discontent and for ways to support international organizations.
3) BE A PART OF LONG-TERM HEALING AND RESTORATION:
There is a huge need to rescue victims from the physical bondage of slavery, but the GREATEST need is the long-term healing. There is much restoration to be done after a victim is rescued. A great place to start would be sponsoring a victimthat has been rescued. There is a financial burden to house and restore…and every little bit can help!
Are you a counselor, could you help with equestrian therapy, a beautician that could help cut hair for women in a safe house? Could you offer tutoring for those attempting to get their degrees? These victims have been severely abused mentally, physically, and emotionally. Chances are you have SOME talent or skill that could help restore a victim to a life of freedom and joy. Give of your time and love!
These are just a few places to start! Please reach out to me if you have more questions!!!
GO GET ‘EM MODERN DAY ABOLITIONISTS!!! LET’S END IT!