Trafficking in the US
11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
1 John 5:14-15
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.
For too many Americans, the issue of human trafficking is far removed from their daily lives—something that only happens in foreign countries or Hollywood movies. Tragically, this issue is far closer to home than many of us realize.
The federal government reports that as many as 17,500 people are trafficked into our country annually, and these estimates do not even capture the number of individuals trafficked within our borders each year. Runaways are very vulnerable to trafficking. (2.8 million minors annually run from home) and one of three are picked up by pimps within 48 hours. With the rise of the Internet, the number of sex trafficking incidents in particular has exploded.
Perhaps most disturbing, some of the most at-risk Americans are children. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the average age for a girl to enter the commercial sex trade is just 12-14 years, and only 11-13 years for boys.
Children this young should be preparing for school dances, or cheering on their favorite sports teams. Yet some of these young victims are horrifically being forced to have sex as much as 25-48 times per day, according to research from the Polaris Project.
And while many Americans think this issue is relegated to normally high crime areas or inner cities, these crimes are actually occurring in communities and neighborhoods across the country. (Source, Congresswoman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. She has been a registered nurse for more than 40 years and serves on the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees.)
- Reflect on the information above regarding the fact that human trafficking is happening in your “backyard.” What are some thoughts and feelings that come to mind?
- In Luke, we read about one of the many stories where Jesus intervened to restore two lives. Which two lives did He restored? What do we learn from Jesus compassion for the mother? For her son?
- In 1 John we are reminded that we can approach God with confidence to ask anything according to His will. Are you approaching God with confidence that He intervenes, just like He did for the mother and son, in your community against the slavery and exploitation of those who are trafficked? If yes, write down your specific prayers so that you continue to be faithful in approaching Him. If no, write down what is preventing you from having this confidence to ask God to intervene?
- Connect with a local organization that supports the efforts in your community to fight human trafficking. If you live in the DC area please consider connecting with NCC-ASE so they can share information on volunteer opportunities locally.
- Watch the documentary Sex & Money: A National Search for Human Worth to learn more about domestic minor trafficking and the modern-day abolitionist movement fighting to stop it in the United States.
- Be part of a service mission to partner with Streetlight USA this summer. Streetlight USA, located in Phoenix, Arizona, and works with rescued young women ages 12-18 who were victims of human trafficking in the US citizens.
- Pray for the women and men in the United States that are victims.
- Pray for our government officials and law enforcement officers as they combat human trafficking in our borders.
- Pray for the service providers in the United States that are caring day to day for the needs of victims.
- Psalm 119: 33-40 over your heart and God’s leading for you on how to get involve and intervene today for the victims in your community.
33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
40 How I long for your precepts!
In your righteousness preserve my life.