There are a lot of things about this world and about this country in general that infuriate me and break my heart, but nothing breaks my heart more than knowing that right now as I’m writing this blog post, there are 27 million people being used, abused, and sold into slavery all over the world. 200,000 of those people are in my own back yard—the United States of America. 80% of them are women and girls, 50% of them are children, and the average age of them is 14 years old. Do you remember what you were doing when you were 14 years old?
I was 14 in 2008, so I was obsessing over the Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana, and all of the other Disney pop stars and actors. I was also obsessing over Taylor Swift who had just recently surfaced into the music industry. I was playing basketball on a team with my best friends. I was going to church every Sunday morning, youth group every Sunday night, and Awanas every Thursday night. It hurts me so much to know that there are girls right now who should be obsessing over Justin Bieber and One Direction who aren’t because they aren’t free to do so. They are slaves in the sex trade industry. The innocence that would allow them to obsess over boy bands in a beautiful and ideal world has been and is being stolen from them in the ugly and real world.
I remember the first time I learned that the sex trade was a real thing. I don’t know where I was, why I heard about it, or how old I was, but I do remember that I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that this was a real thing. In a sick and twisted kind of way I can somewhat understand horrible things like murder, even though that deeply pains me to think about as well, because it’s something I’ve also heard about. It’s always been talked about in the news, in the Bible, and in other places and stories. It something I just had to accept as a real thing however awful and sickening it is. The sex trade is different though. It’s not something I grew up hearing about on the news or in the Bible. I don’t think I knew it existed for a very long time, so when I found it did, I was crushed. With murder, I thought at least the person only has to suffer for a time period and then it’s all over, but in the sex trade, the person has to suffer over and over and over again day in and day out, and in most cases multiple times a day.
Sadly, I more or less forgot about it for a while and then about a year or so ago, I watched “Taken” starring Liam Neeson for the first time. Watching that movie made me so angry, I seriously wanted to go find someone who was sick and twisted enough to put girls through such awful things and punch him in the face myself. “Taken” may be “just a movie,” but the story of “Taken” is not just a movie. It’s real life. Things like that happen every day, every minute, every second. Someone is being kidnapped, sold into slavery, and sexually abused right now as I type this and as you read this.
Slavery is real and it still exists more prominently and viciously than ever before in the history of the universe. The biggest problem is that it’s so easy to hide and that so few people care enough to try to end it. Stop and think with me for a moment. If you’re reading this odds are you are a female yourself, you have a younger sister, a young female cousin, maybe a daughter of your own, and or there are other little girls around you right now. What would you do if one of them was kidnapped, sold into the sex trade, and used day in and day out? You would pull together all of your resources to try to save her. I have six little sisters and all of them are fifteen or younger. Every minute of every day 2 children are sold into slavery and it imagine “What if that was one of my 6 sisters or even one of my 6 brothers?”
You may not have the money or the resources to actually free a slave, but you do have two other options:
1) You can pray. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have. Pray for those people who are being traded into the sex trade, those who are in the sex trade, and those who will be sold to the sex trade.
2) Draw a Red X on your hand and be a walking billboard for the trade. When people see the red X, I can guarantee they will ask you about it. As I’ve worn a red X on my hand, because I unfortunately don’t have any extra money to donate, so many people have asked me about it and I’ve been able to tell them about the #ENDITMOVEMENT which encourages people to draw a red X on their hand in support of those who are being sold for sex.