January 9, 2014

Playing Our Part in the Abolition of Slavery & Trafficking

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. -Proverbs 31:8-9
There's an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today, 80% of which are women, and 50% are children. 126 million children working in horrible job conditions. An estimated 300,000 children are forced to be child soldiers in war torn countries. Another 2 million little girls sold and forced into the sex-trafficking industry. They are beaten, tortured, and raped repeatedly, so much so that by the time they reach their teen years they're cast off, destitute, and left to live out their short life. 70% of the pornography that's sold in the states is of women and minors sold into prostitution. 2,800 kids will be sold today alone. Human trafficking is the third largest profitable criminal activity, making slavery more prevalent in our world than ever before in human history. If you live in a metropolis area, trafficking does exist in your city. Turns out you don't have to travel outside of the country to find it because it's in the backyard. And on and on the statistics go and grow.

The question both you and I have to ask though is...

What am I doing to fight this injustice?

Am I praying? I believe that prayer matters; that God hears, listens, and responds. We shouldn't think little of this act. It's not small, it's massive.

Do I vote wisely? There's a political component to this battle, so let us pay attention and use our voices and votes wisely. To get updates on which politicians are fighting against modern-day slavery on important legislation check out IJM.

Am I informed? Contrary to popular belief ignorance is not bliss at all, but more often then not damaging to others. Research organizations, the abolitionist movement, and the various branches of slavery. Some places to check out:

Does my wallet prove it? Does my mouth and my money preach two different things about what I believe? Unfortunately many of the companies and stores we buy from buy their products from other companies and manufactures who've used slave labor in their supply chain at some point. Support those companies and businesses that make a real effort to investigate their supply chain and fight to keep their products slave free. Look into stores and write/sign petition letters here, and you can find out just how many slaves are working for you by taking the survey at Slavery Footprint, as well as updates with their new app. Free 2 Work grades popular stores we shop at. Make a genuine effort to buy fair trade. I love how Emily did this whole blog series on slavery, fashion, and clothes on her blog, which you can check out here: 31 Days of Fashion for Freedom.

Finally, are you viewing porn? If you watch or buy pornography, you're supporting the Human Trafficking Industry. You can't simultaneous view or buy it and be against human slavery. It's impossible. You were called to a more beautiful, satisfying, and greater love, but you will not EVER find it in the porn or sex industry. Get help and healing yourself, and stop enabling an evil industry. (The video below may not be appropriate for younger audiences as a warning.)

    More further Info here: Storming Brothels and The Hearts of Man and The Porn Path

    January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Let's do our part to aid and heal the broken. And not just for this month, but for every day of our lives.

    8 comments :

    1. This grieves me so. I'm familiar with most of the resources you've listed (though not all, so thank you for sharing!). Before I was married and with kids, I was hoping to invest my life in this. I still have so much of my heart in it, and would still like to "bodily" do something should the Lord open doors. I agree with how close to home this is--in one of our college towns, a billboard for trafficking recently went up, with information for the local authorities. It was such a reality check, and spurred fearful and grieving prayers. It's easy to be "ignorant" when it seems these things happen in faraway lands--but evil is good about subtly and concealing itself, especially in cultures like ours. We're more often lulled to sleep than called to arms. This was an excellent word for the latter, friend.

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      1. I echo the same sentiment Jen! Thanks for all the lovely and thoughtful comments you've been peppering the blog with =) You're the best!

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    2. Whenever I am faced with posts such as this one you've written, I feel so upset that it paralyzes me, and I can't think clearly about what I should do, specifically feeling convicted about what I buy. I'm afraid to buy clothes/food/anything without being sure it wasn't produced by a child slave. I fear my intense reaction to this subject immobilizes me in an unhealthy/unproductive way, but where do I shop for fair trade clothing/food in Raynham, Massachusetts? I clicked some of these links and am very overwhelmed. So far I watched the YouTube video and looked at the apparel site and got confused. I don't want to forget because I want to help and not make matters worse. Am I overreacting? Sorry if this comment is incoherent. I'm going to stop writing now and pray for guidance.

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      1. Hi Jade! I think God wants us our hearts to break over the things that break His, and human trafficking slavery certainly is a major one. But I also don't believe God wants us to feel paralyzed. It's overwhelming for sure, but our God is bigger then it and can and is moving. I think probably the most helpful way is to think about little things we can do to help fight. Just pick a place to start, you know? Like only buying fair traded coffee (it's usually on the package) and fair traded chocolate/cocoa. In regards to clothing, I'd highly recommend Emily's post that I linked to above. She's got great ideas and resources: www.scribblesfromemily.com/2012/10/10-items-one-month-new-series.html

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    3. Love this list, Natalie. As you know human trafficking is something I think about and advocate for but so often I find myself falling short. I remember reading somewhere in Seven where Jen Hatmaker was talking about the inner fight to be cheap/save money and then the fight to buy fair trade, especially when the cheap stuff that might not be fair trade is so much more accessible.

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      1. Seven is such a great book for this topic actually as I think Jen gives some great wisdom on the matter.

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    4. Oh Natalie, this is beyond words. Thank you for defending the defenseless by giving them a voice. This area has been a deep ache in my heart and I've often felt helpless in how to even get started in becoming an advocate. I am only familiar with Project Rescue (have you read Beyond the Soiled Curtain that explains this group? It is shocking and heartbreaking, but stirred my heart many years ago).
      The resource at the end "The Porn Path" was a sermon gripped me when I first heard it during the Real Marriage series at Mars Hill because I felt honored as a woman that my pastor condemned porn so publicly and aimed to defend women from this horror. It is not talked about as often as it should be, which leads men to brush it under the rug as something not so serious. But as Pastor Mark and the contributors to the above video shared, it is a deep-rooted weed that entangles and chokes any joy out of a tree that was designed for delight and beauty.

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      1. I have not read that book Elle, so thanks for the recommendation! I've watched that sermon and was deeply moved by it as well =)

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