The first time I heard about human trafficking was about five years ago. My husband was finishing his undergrad degree. We were newly married. I was early in my first pregnancy. He came home from a class one day with information about human trafficking for a project. I was naive and uninformed and unaware that a horror such as sexual slavery, involving women and children, existed in the world. What he learned, he shared with me. Yes, I decided. We needed to support those who fight human trafficking.
A year later, holding our less-than-a-year-old daughter in my arms, we attended a Ten Shekel Shirt concert near our new home in Pennsylvania. The concert supported an organization called Love 146, which works to end child trafficking and exploitation. During the concert, the band shared stories and statistics about child trafficking. I remember crying when I read the words about a girl who had been used and abused in unspeakable ways before her 8th birthday. I looked at the little girl sleeping in my arms and thought about the other little girl. Somebody’s daughter.
William Wilberforce, a man who worked to end another kind of slavery, said this:
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
Today is the first of many posts to follow about human trafficking. I’ve joined the blogging team for another organization, The Exodus Road, working to end child slavery.
At least once a month, I’ll share stories, pictures and videos from their work to rescue enslaved children in Southeast Asia. It’s not an easy topic by any means, and sometimes I want to turn away. But it’s my hope that the stories we share will move us to action. To do whatever we can, wherever we are, to fight this horrific crime.
Next time, I’ll share some of Sarah’s story. She was 15 when The Exodus Road investigators met her. Three days earlier, she’d been sold for the equivalent of $600 USD to pay a debt. In the meantime, I urge you to learn more about the modern-day slave trade. Through The Exodus Road, you can provide surveillance equipment for investigators or fund a raid. (Learn more about that here.)
The founders of The Exodus Road, when first faced with the challenge of child trafficking in Southeast Asia kept asking themselves the same question: “What if it was our daughters?” They speak more about their motivation to start this organization in the video below. I’ll hope you’ll come along with me on this journey.