WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker, Paul Ryan, released a statement back in February regarding the horrible state of sex trafficking in America. He began by stating, “Sex trafficking is a crime that involves coercing a person to engage in commercial sex acts. It is the ultimate violation of human rights and really is modern day slavery.”
Often considered to be a crime in certain parts of the world, the International Labor Organization estimates there are 20.9 million victims of a $150 billion industry in existence worldwide. Speaker Ryan wants to raise awareness to the tragedy taking place in our own country. Literally hundreds of thousands are being forced into this work across the nation. “So many victims of human trafficking are in our own backyard, and many of these cases start with deceit, exploitation, and recruitment on the internet,” stated Ryan.
Surprisingly, this sort unlawful action is taking place under our noses, in the suburbs and around the corner. Amy Lipovsky, ministry leader for FRe Outreach, shared in a recent article, “The way trafficking happens in the suburbs is through hotels and motels, not brothels and street prostitution. In nice hotels in affluent communities, we notice more of what I call the ‘Pretty Woman’ or more high-class call girl” while other victims may look like a woman on a business trip or even an ordinary mom.” It isn’t always easy to detect so training and keen awareness help, especially when we can educate front desk clerks.
Barb Fahrenkrug, volunteer with FRe Outreach, shares, “We don’t want to be obnoxious - we just want to show we care about their business and the people who visit their hotels.” “Building relationships with them is a really good thing. We’ve been able to pray for and minister to staff as well…” Churches across the country have just as much opportunity to get involved in their own community. There can never be too much care shown in the name of Jesus. The hotel staff respond to it and the victims of trafficking can be rescued. It’s a win-win!
Human trafficking has become so rampant in certain parts of the world it is woven into the fabric of the culture. As Christians we should make no bones about it, God does not like it, nor ever intended for such atrocity. The Bible is clear that vulnerable people are to be protected, cared for and loved. We can not turn our eyes from the obvious sin in our midst lest it become part of the culture here in our home land. I Timothy 1:8-10 states kidnapping as sin, “Whether the biondage is physical or psychological, unjustly restraining another is wrong.” When Jesus ascended into heaven, God provided the Holy Spirit to be His representative on earth, guiding our hearts and lives. He specifically charged the church with showing love to others, to look after the disadvantaged and to keep ourselves uninfluenced by the world’s values. It is the church, gifted and prepared, that is called to stand up for injustice.
People caught up in sex trafficking often struggle with acceptance once rescued. They need to see and experience good, healthy community in order to heal. Many have come from broken homes, were abused as children, and have never known what a good family looks like. The church family can provide these victims with a safe, caring environment in which to overcome and observe Godly acceptance. Since victims are often conditioned to think a certain way, feeling the wrath of an absolute authoritarian when they fail, truth can be misguided, misunderstood and misplaced. God loving people are called upon to wrap the victim in their arms of healthy love, shower them with positive examples, and disciple them in the ways of the Bible.
So, what do you do if you suspect someone is being trafficked? Pray, always pray. If the situation feels urgent call 911. If there is no immediate need call the non-emergency number of 311. You can always search the internet for your local anti-trafficking ministry/organization or call the national hotline - 888.3737.888. Whatever you do, please do not turn a deaf ear or blind eye to the ever growing problem. Help the helpless once again find freedom in the land of the free.