It could be me.
That’s all I can think of when I hear another story of a young woman being trafficked. We are not all that different she and I. She needs air to breathe, food to eat to stay strong, real love to keep her heart from failing. I too need these same things. The difference between us often comes down to a lottery of where we were born. She was born there ______ (you fill in the blank) and I was born here, in America, the land of the free.
Yet I cannot shake the reality of our connection. We are the same, she and I. We both bleed if cut, break if abused, cry when we are hurt. We are the same, she and I.
I also cannot shake the reality that we are different. She has had her dignity, her future, her dreams, her peace, her comfort stripped from her. I have not. We are distinctly different.
The truth, the real truth, is that she could be me and I could be her. We are the same, she and I. She also could be my niece, my sister, my friend, my aunt. The reality though is that it is not only she who is suffering. He could be suffering too. He could be my son, my nephew, my brother. This business of trafficking is no respecter of gender.
There is also something else I cannot shake and that is the magnitude of HOPE. Hope that we can end human trafficking in our lifetime, hope that rehabilitation can happen, hope that women, men, and children can all be rescued, hope that this atrocity can come to an end. Hope that the victim can heal and that the perpetrator can be redeemed. There is still so much hope.
I have seen this hope in action through the incredible work of Rescue Freedom International, through Purpose Boutique where I work, through Freedom Dinners began by Ciderpress Lane, and through Coffee Connect Change, a tiny coffee initiative. We all can play a part and make a difference if we choose to.
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. It’s a month of starting over and rebooting our own lives, yes, but it can also be SO MUCH MORE. As we set out to live our best lives this month and in the year ahead can we also determine to help those who have been victims of human trafficking live their best lives too?
Rescue Freedom International has began a virtual book where you can sign your name to begin your part in ending slavery in the form of human trafficking. You can also make a one time donation or become a monthly donor to this necessary and tremendous work. The choice is yours. (Simply click this link to take action.)
As I finish this blog, I will share an excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech “But If Not”. A fellow mom used it this week as our devotional during our Mom’s Group at Bellevue Presbyterian and it seems an appropriate time to share here. It moved me to tears and solidified my desire to play my part, however small or big, in this fight to end slavery and human trafficking. I hope it inspires and challenges you the way it did me.
“You may be 38 years old as I happen to be, and one day some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause —– and you refuse to do it because you are afraid; you refuse to do it because you want to live longer; you’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you’re afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you or shoot at you or bomb your house, and so you refuse to take the stand. Well you may go on and live until you are 90, but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90! And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit. You died when you refused to stand up for right. You died when you refused to stand up for truth. You died when you refused to stand up for justice.”
Excerpt from “But If Not” -A Sermon by Martin Luther King, Jr. given November 5th, 1967 -click the link to watch the full sermon