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Tag Archives: 27 million slaves

Where Do We Go from Here?

I pulled this image from a great and brief blog post by Rob Morris of Love 146

I pulled this image from a great and brief blog post by Rob Morris of Love 146

Exactly a week ago I had a large red X drawn on my hand as a symbol to bring awareness to modern day slavery, more commonly referred to as human trafficking (a term many don’t understand), and so did many others.  I blogged about Shine a Light on Slavery Day and the End It Movement, and so did many others.

It was awesome to see celebrities and regular people flooding social media with inspiring quotes and pictures of them showing off their marked hands.  People who had been unaware were asking questions, which was exactly the point.

But now what?  I wore an X on my hand and more people know about slavery, but what can we do about it?  Plenty.  You can give to an organization that fights the atrocity.  You can find a way to get involved in the fight through one of the great organizations out there.  You can blog about it or find your own way to continue to spread the word.

JUST DO SOMETHING. Sorry- I don’t usually do the all caps yelling thing, but I really need to emphasize this idea. You need to find your own way to contribute to the fight.  Imagine if everybody who now knows about the 27 million slaves today took some sort of action.  That number would fall drastically.  So help to end slavery.  How?  Below is a list of several organizations I know of, and there are so many more.  I suggest you research what is available in your local community too.

Love 146

A21 Campaign

Not for Sale

Polaris Project

Free the Slaves

International Justice Mission

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My Words as Weapons: Joining the Fight with Others

This video has gotten me all excited about the End It Movement this year.  Let’s all join together and fight together to free the 27 million people who are enslaved at this exact moment.

It seems such a daunting task to take this on alone, but we’re not alone if we work together.  27 million seems like an impossible number to free, but we just have to start with one.  Don’t not do something because you don’t think you can make a difference.

“Be the difference you want to see.” -Gandhi

Share this video because there’s no doubt this vile practice still exists and YOU can help. Ignite a fire for change.

Righteous Anger

I’ve been caught up in the world of marketing my book, because that is a never-ending process, but looking back over my recent posts, I realize that I’ve lost sight here of a big part of who I am, or who I want to be anyway.

One reason I left teaching, aside from wanting more time to write and promote my book, was to be a better person and to reach out to the broken in various ways.  I was so closed off.  I do not have much of a resource of money to give, but I can give of myself, which I feel is more rewarding anyway.  Instead of writing a check or donating online for a cause, I like to actually meet the people I am helping, or at least to feel like I am physically doing something.  I did this recently on a mission trip to Guatemala and while I worked at a local food pantry.  I enjoy this sort of activity because I feel like I am doing good with my time.  Of course I know I am not going to change the world alone, but I like being a part of the bigger picture.

Human trafficking, modern day slavery, is the specific area where I wish to help make a difference.  With numbers like 27 million people worldwide being enslaved, it seems like a hopeless fight.  But we must have hope.  And if enough people have hope, we can work together, for the bigger picture, and bring this evil to an end.

Because I live in a small town, I do not really see the effects of human trafficking close to me in my daily life, so I try to keep this injustice in front of me.  I follow various organizations that work to fight it and I research it, keeping it in the front of my mind and weighing heavily on my heart.  I try to imagine myself or people I love living through these atrocities, because that makes me angry.  I know it’s not good to go through life angry, but sometimes anger is a good thing.  Righteous anger keeps us focused on what we need to change.  When that anger brings us to action, we see hope and change, even if only in small ways.  It brings me joy in the middle of the sadness, because a difference can be made, even if just one life at a time.

Again, one reason I left teaching was to pursue a way to make more of a difference in this area.  I recently found this quote:

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

– Frederick Buechner

To me, this is hopeful.  I love being able to reach out and make a difference.  I find gladness in that.  I also find gladness in writing.  Perhaps my writing is one small way I can incite and inspire action and change in the world’s deep hunger of healing for the people currently struggling with enslavement.  More to come on this.

Let Freedom Ring!

It’s been some time since I have felt compelled to contribute my “voice” to cyberspace, but I’ve been ruminating on much: my future, human trafficking, serving people and God.  How can all of these ideas coexist?  A better question may be, how can these ideas not exist together for me? Many of the thoughts I have been pondering will remain deep in the caverns of my mind for a bit longer, though I will expound on my recent thoughts on the atrocity of human trafficking: the imprisonment of human beings against their will for the purposes of trade and profit.

Last Sunday was Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, and this Monday many of us get to enjoy a day off from work to celebrate President’s Day. President Lincoln remains one of the favorite presidents among many, even to this day.  Talk about being a president up against hard times!  Yet he was able to reunite our nation (which is a good thing since other countries were waiting and hoping our young republic would fail even then) and end slavery in the United States, neither of which was a small or easy task. Yeah, he’s one of my heroes. The cool hat is just a bonus.  However… I cannot help but imagine Lincoln would feel heartbroken to learn that slavery still exists, not just in other areas of the world, but IN OUR OWN COUNTRY as well.

Then I also think of William Wilberforce, who spent his life working to abolish the African-British slave trade. Just three days before he died, he was informed of the passing of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, and he was able to die with the peace that his life’s work had not been in vain.  Though I cannot help but imagine Wilberforce would feel demoralized if he learned that worldwide slavery still exists.  In fact, there are an estimated  27 million people enslaved today, which is more than double the number of Africans enslaved during the entire Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

People unwittingly believe that slavery no longer exists, or they feel it is happening in remote areas of the world, and so they care little about the matter.  If people are ignorant to this activity it is because those of us who do know need to keep spreading the word and make people aware.  Creating the awareness is the first step to take in order to make a difference.  But for those who do know yet choose to ignore it or to believe whatever is happening in remote parts of the world is of no concern to them, they are just as guilty as those who actually shackle other human beings.

In my efforts to educate people on the matter of human trafficking and modern day slavery, I actually have had people ask me not to tell them about it because it’s awful and they didn’t want to know something that bad exists.  Why not?  Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away! Should we behave like ostriches and stick out heads in the sand?  Facing it head on, spreading the word, and working to abolish slavery in all its evil facets is the ONLY way it will end.  Otherwise we’re just big stupid birds with our butts in the air.  If this makes you angry, good.  Get angry.  Get downright furious… and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”  Albert Einstein

My husband and I watched Taken starring Liam Neeson last night.  I know as a Christian that I am not really supposed to promote violence, but I have to confess that I enjoyed the idea of these evil people involved in forcing unsuspecting young women into prostitution “getting what they deserved.” Sure, the movie is fictional, but there is truth in it too.  This sort of thing truly does exist and it makes me angry.  Most often it is in a similar form to that of what takes place in the movie, but young children are also sold, kidnapped, and forced into it as well.  In fact, up the 1.2 million of these victims are children, some of them as young as six years old!  At this point, angry seems a weak word, but whatever it is, it is a righteous anger.  God wants us to be angry at injustices because we should not accept them; we need to find ways to stop them.  This doesn’t mean we become vigilantes, but we can certainly start by informing others of these injustices and contributing in whatever ways we feel we can to prevent, to rescue, and to rehabilitate.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get JUSTICE.” Proverbs 31:8-9

Here are some of the groups I know of that are fighting against human trafficking. There are more of them out there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-VC8AUE3Bc   Nefarious: Merchant of Souls trailer

Love 146

FIGHT (Fight Injustice and Global Human Trafficking)

Somaly Mam Foundation

Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking

Team This is STILL my AWESOME back

A Human Trafficking Jam

Christmas is my favorite time of year (cliche, I know); the reasons for this joy have changed over the years as I’ve grown up and come to realize what is really important in this life I’ve been blessed to live. It was once about getting gifts.  Then it was about getting the perfect gifts for others.  Last year my husband was unemployed and we opted out of gifts altogether, a choice which opened my eyes and heart in a new way.  Perhaps I’d lost sight, or never had it in the first place, of the TRUE meaning of Christmas.  A savior was born with the full intention of dying as the ultimate sacrifice for a lost world that continually turns its back on Him.

Now that is LOVE!

So it is with this in mind that I go forward.  Christmas is about salvation… for everyone.

Some time back I prayed that God would “break my heart for what breaks [His],” and he’s been doing it over and over again.  The further I research human trafficking as I get ready to run another 200 mile relay with some friends to help fight this atrocity, the more my heart breaks, and the angrier I become that more people aren’t doing anything to stop it.  Doesn’t anyone care?  There are 27 million people around the world right now who need SALVATION from slavery.  Many are children, and for them my heart breaks the most.  We are to stand up for the orphans, the widows, the poverty-stricken…and those who cannot stand up for themselves.

I’ve recently become frustrated.  As our race comes closer (Ragnar Relay FL Keys, Jan 6-7), our fundraising meter continues to stay at about 12-13% of our goal.  I guess it’s a bad time of year to ask for donations.  Money is tight for many these days and their families are the priority for Christmas spending.  I get that, but just wish everyone could set aside just a tiny bit to give these children the gift of freedom, even donating in the name of a loved one perhaps.  I think the problem is that Christmas has become so commercialized that many have forgotten that SALVATION and SACRIFICE are the true meaning of this beautiful holiday.  It’s sad.

I have little money to give (right now anyway), so I understand that side of the issue.  But there is hope.  Though little money has come in yet for our cause (Love 146), we’ve managed to get the word out about human trafficking, and creating awareness is the first step.  When people find out about this race and why I’m running it, I get a chance to answer a lot of questions.  Maybe when people do have money again, they will remember the 27 million slaves and help us free them, just as Jesus came to free us from our bondage. I’d love to do more… like hold each of those little children suffering at the hands of sick child molesters, and tell them that no matter what has happened in their lives, God loves them, and so do I.  But until then, I will continue to spread awareness and work towards a human trafficking jam (abolishing slavery) in the only ways I can.

Several years ago, Jewel put out a Christmas album, and her song “Hands” was on it.  It isn’t a traditional Christmas song, but it seems to capture what I believe God wants us to understand about Christmas.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk0bKfC8XSE

If you are interested in giving to our cause:

http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/robert-harper/love146rr