Last night, after watching rock week on American Idol, we ended up at our local Public Broadcasting Station watching Frontline of all things. Usually a nice newsie show such as this will cause Girl to find other things to do. She’s 16 and not terribly interested in news programs of any kind. Thankfully, she stayed for the entire episode, glued, as it were, to the screen.
Between 600,000 – 800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked internationally each and every year. They end up in far away from home, passports taken, forced to do the unimaginable, in conditions that are not fit for human or beast. The slaves are preyed upon by those who promise work and a better life. Other times slaves are simply kidnapped from their very homes or fields and forced into labor.
And it happens in the good ole’ U S of A. That’s right. Right here in River City. Right in your hometown someone may be held against their will in the slave trade. And you thought slavery had been abolished in America. Think again.
As we watched the program on Frontline I had the passing thought that I should turn the channel because it was so disturbing. When I looked at my daughter, my 16-yar-old daughter, my blonde and very cute daughter, I saw her eyes fixed on the screen. I wondered if she was breathing.
We watched the rest of the program. We watched a man trying to buy his wife back from a pimp. We traveled home with a young woman who had escaped prostitution only to return to it in order to provide for her family. We drank in the despair, the hopelessness, and the darkness of the human soul.
As I watched my little girl, I thought about the things we had taught her. The ways she’s been taught to defend herself.
(always go for the eyes and make as much noise as possible – fight as if you life depends on it because it just may - never go anywhere with strangers – if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is – make eye contact and give the look of "what the hell are you looking at" when needed – never put yourself in a positions that could be dangerous – trust your mama, you daddy, and your brother, everyone else is questionable).
I thought about mothers worldwide whose children have been snatched away from them. I thought about the young women, chosen for their looks, who languish in the human sex trade and I considered the men and women who sold them. (I wonder too, how these people can live with themselves!)
Although every nation on the earth has laws against slavery it continues. Traffickers are often protected by local police. The legal system slaps the hands of the convicted with probation or a handful of years in prison. This should not be.
I would urge you to consider your life. Imagine being forced into the sex trade, beaten, battered, and abused. Imagine if it were your daughter (or son). Go to the frontline website above and watch the program. Visit International Justice Mission and learn more. Pray for those held in slavery. Donate. Do something.
My daughter is a beautiful, fun loving, sweet sixteen. I cannot imagine her as a sex slave. I would be willing to bet most mothers can’t imagine such a thing happening to their child.
But it happens. Every. Day.
DO SOMETHING NOW!